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In The Fields Of Boaz

Title: In The Fields of Boaz
Author: Crinolynne
Rating: G
Spoilers: Little Green Men
Disclaimers: Not mine, don't sue, I am a poor boy from a poor family, etc.
Notes: Thanks to Eloise and Amanda for support.
Summary: He's still not sure what she's doing here, her presence a Fortean event.



^^^^^

On the fringes of a Puerto Rican jungle, twelve crumpled dollars will buy you six empanadas made of indeterminate meat, two conch fritters, a jug of metallic-tasting water, and shelter in a shack furnished with mildewed hammocks. Spanglish and hand gestures will reveal that the lavatory consists of a hole in the teeming earth.

Mulder is hunched in a corner of the hut, knees drawn up beneath his chin, and dried blood crusted along his shoulder. Persistent blackflies hover nearby, and he shoos them with halfhearted resignation.

"We're lucky to be alive," Scully says for the fifth time, her Pollyanna bromides plucking at his nerves. "The body, Mulder...we're in enough trouble without hauling a cadaver around. This isn't Weekend at Bernie's." She pinches a wicked-looking centipede from her shoe and tosses it out the window.

"It was evidence," he replies, flaking off a scab with his thumbnail. Mulder realizes that he's being ridiculous, that he's pouting over a bloated corpse as though he is a child denied a favorite toy. Still, he'd come to think of it as his corpse. Scully of all people should be sympathetic to postmortem attachments.

"You have the tapes," she points out, testing her weight in a hammock.

He looks at her balefully, noting how improbable her redheaded pallor seems in these surroundings. She's abandoned the jacket and her bare arms are pink and sticky-looking from the heat. Perspiration makes her thin camisole cling. Her hair's tied back with a dry-rotted rubber band, and damp tendrils are clinging to her freckled cheeks and neck. He's still not sure what she's doing here, her presence a Fortean event.

"I wish we had some quinine," she remarks, scratching a welt on her wrist and licking beaded sweat from her upper lip. A lizard ambles up the wall behind her.

Mulder mops his forehead with a grimy hand, then coughs. He once read an article about an archaeologist who inhaled spores and died in froths of blood when fungi began to grown in the moist heat of her lungs. The air smells green and vegetative. Fecund. He can easily imagine an organic slurry sparking to life eons ago in such ripe conditions.

"If wishes were horses..." he murmurs, closing his eyes to relive his journey into storm, to squeeze an ounce of meaning from the terror-stricken face of Jorge. He has begun to wonder if color-blindness accounts for his inability to see the little green men that pop up so obligingly for others.

"Beggars wouldn't wish for horses, would they? They'd wish for money."

She's insufferable at times. "The point still stands. And you can sell a horse. Or eat one."
 
"The proverb says they'd ride. Mulder, why didn't you tell me you -"

"Are you sure you weren't followed?" he asks, opening his eyes.

"You didn't believe me last time I answered that question," Scully replies, annoyance pinching the edges of her exhausted voice.

He shrugs, but offers no apology. She doesn't understand how it is for him. Diana would never take this personally. Scully may not be a note-taking apple-polisher after all, but she doesn't fully appreciate the scope of things. Doesn't matter now though. She'll eventually get tired of luring him to abandoned parking lots and move on with her life.

"You shouldn't have followed me here," he tells her.

She smoothes her torn and bloody jeans. "Do you trust me?" she asks.

He looks away.

He does trust her, has trusted her since she wouldn't let them put a worm in his ear, but this thing they're in is something else entirely. Trusting her personal integrity doesn't mean he can trust her earnest and skeptical soul with his work.

Scully rises from the hammock, walks to him. She crouches down and he can smell her hair, her skin, the undeniable  reality of her presence in this steaming back of beyond. A trickle of sweat runs down between her breasts. Scully touches his face and the simple humanity of it makes him hungry, makes him wish he hadn't set himself apart like a recondite ascetic. "Hey," she says. "Mulder."

He takes her hand from his jaw and rests it on her thigh. "You're not my partner anymore," he says, feeling it holds enough truth to pass for an answer.

"But I'm here. Why don't you -"

"You don't understand." It's how he always starts this conversation.

"I want to," she says, tucking errant hair behind her ears. She could have been a nun, he thinks, her frank Hibernian features inviting confidences. She could have been any number of things, but she'd come after him into the dark. He feels no responsibility for that.

"Do you?" he asks. "Do you really? Because this isn't about the career, Scully. It's about the work. The FBI is a tool for me, a resource. I put in my time, I dazzled enough to be the Golden Boy, and now I'm reaping those rewards."

Scully casts an ironic look around their current surroundings.

He grants her a rueful smile. "Generally speaking."

Scully turns in her crouched position, slumping next to him against the splintered wall. "I've made a choice," she says. "What you do, Mulder...it's why I gave up everything I knew to join the FBI. I don't think we're expecting to find the same thing, but there's obviously a reason that someone doesn't want us to find whatever 'it' is. And that's enough of a motivation. It's not about the career for me anymore either."

She doesn't mean it. He knows for certain that she doesn't, but the fact that she believes she means it touches him. "So you still don't believe in little green men," he says, bumping her in the ribs with his elbow.

"No," Scully says thoughtfully. "No, I don't." She laces her strong fingers through his. "But I don't believe in elves, either."


^^^^^

The End




Comments

This has a sharp originality about it that I really like. As a missing scene it’s intense and there’s a lot of meat to it, in terms of how you portray Mulder and Scully’s relationship. I wasn’t expecting something this incisive.

Mulder… honestly, he kind of pissed me off in this fic. But he pisses me off this way in canon fairly often, so I think you’ve written him very accurately, and with a lot of complexity – particularly for such a short fic. You’ve given me that, “Mulder, damn it, you’re smart and independent and driven and I kind of want to fall in love with you, if you’d only just stop being condescending and self-centered” feeling, which for me is so particular to this one character.

I also think you capture a certain kind of intensity that exists between them, which could be attraction, but sometimes seems equally like repulsion. I like the passages where Mulder looks at Scully, observes her loveliness, and just thinks about her, without any emotion being ascribed to his observation in the moment.

Question:

She could have been any number of things, but she'd come after him into the dark. He feels no responsibility for that.

Is Mulder being honest about this? My reading of it is that he’s telling himself what he needs to tell himself. But what’s you’re take?

One nitpick:

"No," Scully says thoughtfully. "No, I don't." She laces her strong fingers through his. "But I don't believe in elves, either."

This feels off, since Mulder and Scully pretty much always hold hands by gripping each other’s fingers, rather than by lacing fingers. It wouldn't be a big deal as it is, except that if you put a hand squeeze here I think it would read like it was the moment the tradition was cemented between them, and that...would be pretty great.

Edited at 2012-01-19 02:29 am (UTC)
[quote]Mulder… honestly, he kind of pissed me off in this fic. But he pisses me off this way in canon fairly often, so I think you’ve written him very accurately, and with a lot of complexity – particularly for such a short fic. [/quote]

Awesome feedback, thank you! This is exactly what I was going for.

[quote]I like the passages where Mulder looks at Scully, observes her loveliness, and just thinks about her, without any emotion being ascribed to his observation in the moment.[/quote]

What has always interested me about Mulder is the way in which he is very obviously sexual and interested in women, but he never comes across as objectifying them based on their beauty, unless it's a comic episode like WOTC or Syzygy. Beauty almost seems to make him wary.

[quote]Is Mulder being honest about this? My reading of it is that he’s telling himself what he needs to tell himself. But what’s you’re take?[/quote]

I think he means it right then. I hate the fanon Mulder as being this guilt-soaked martyr, looking at scully as some kind of selfless goddess he's dragged into his personal hell. I think that - early on at least - he'd rationalize that he never asked for a partner, didn't want her when she arrived, repeatedly tried to ditch her, and distanced himself when they were split up. and yet she came to puerto Rico. i mean, what else can he do?

[quote]This feels off, since Mulder and Scully pretty much always hold hands by gripping each other’s fingers, rather than by lacing fingers. It wouldn't be a big deal as it is, except that if you put a hand squeeze here I think it would read like it was the moment the tradition was cemented between them, and that...would be pretty great. [/quote]

Haha, well, you've put way more thought into this than I did when I wrote it.

I hope it's okay to piggyback this onto your comment

Haha, well, you've put way more thought into this than I did when I wrote it.

You are a Phile? We all obsess over this series, myself included. *cough*

First, I have to say how wonderful it is to see early seasons fanfiction posted. There isn't enough of it period, let alone fic this good. Sentence by sentence, paragraph by paragraph, this is very skillfully written. It's an original and striking post-ep for the episode.

I hate the fanon Mulder as being this guilt-soaked martyr, looking at scully as some kind of selfless goddess he's dragged into his personal hell.

That's understandable. I'm not sure canon (or fanon?) supports Mulder being guilt-ridden at this point in the series. This is pre-Scully's abduction, pre-Melissa's death, pre-cancer arc. Nothing that terrible has happened yet to her personally. So, okay, we've established he's not acting out of guilt. What is he so angry about here? Well, if you are interested in my theory, I think he's angry about losing the Files and maybe about losing her, too.

I think that - early on at least - he'd rationalize that he never asked for a partner, didn't want her when she arrived, repeatedly tried to ditch her, and distanced himself when they were split up.

Early on, maybe. If you go by the time stamps on the episodes, March 7, 1992 for the pilot and May 24, 1994 for the day Skinner told Mulder about the breakup, they were partnered for over two years. That's a long time to rationalize, even for Mulder. Even if you choose to ignore the dates, and many writers do, they still had to be partnered for over a year. I think he distanced himself when they were split up to protect her and to protect the work. He assumed they were being watched, and that meeting her out in the open was too dangerous. At the end of season one, she had to trade the alien fetus for his safe return, which led directly to the death of Deep Throat. A couple, four episodes down the line, Scully gets abducted, so he was right: she was in danger. They both were. That's canon, not fanon, she said pedantically.

and yet she came to puerto Rico. i mean, what else can he do?

Well, nothing else apparently. I can think of other things, but it's your story to tell as you see fit. It's a damn good story, too.

She could have been any number of things, but she'd come after him into the dark. He feels no responsibility for that.

See, I'm with amyhit on this. I think he's kidding himself there. When you watch them together on the screen, he doesn't act dispassionate towards her. He acts like he cares.

Well, that's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

Edit: Oh, and a great title, with the allusion to Ruth 2. I can see Scully as Ruth here, leaving behind the familiar to follow Mulder, with his strange ideas, so foreign to her usual way of thinking. I think you can also loosely read her as Boaz, as Mulder's guardian and his redeemer, his human credential.

Edited at 2012-01-27 04:13 am (UTC)

Re: I hope it's okay to piggyback this onto your comment

I'm so glad you enjoyed the fic and took the time to comment! There is a shortage of early season fic, so it was pretty fun to write this.

I am interested in your theory about his anger, and I think there's a lot of truth in it. And brava on the date stamps! It honestly never occurred to me to check.

This feedback was a lovely treat, and I'm so sorry I was remiss in getting back to you.

Late

Just have to say, this was fantastic start to finish. So much tension here (and not UST in particular, just tension from stress, etc.). Just... So good!
Study In Blue

November 2012

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