Title: REAL
Author: Alison X
E-Mail: lammasday@yahoo.com
Feedback: Please! 
Website: http://netjeru.ma-at.net/SurrealArts/Annex.html 
Category: Scully Angst
Archive: Anywhere, just tell me!
Disclaimers: Not mine
Notes: Another of my rare ventures into non-slash. And a first for 
me in a couple of ways: Scully POV, second person narrative. Let me know if you 
think it works!


It's another mortuary, another small town a couple of hours outside 
And it's night again, a cold windy rainswept night. Why is it always 
a night like this?

You park in the lot which is almost empty this time of night, and 
make your way 
through the puddles to the reception area, brightly lit. The young 
man at the security desk looks up expectantly.

"Doctor Dana Scully. I'm here to perform an autopsy."

"Oh yes, Dr Scully. Director Skinner is waiting for you." 

You turn to see Director Skinner sitting in the reception area. He's 
staring at a clipboard held in his hand. He rises to his feet when he sees you 
and hurries over. He takes your hands in his, squeezing gently. Kind of him to 
come . . to wait for you.

"I'm sorry, Dana. I'd do anything to spare you this . . but it's a 
holiday weekend, there's no-one else available. I told Kersh he had 
to find someone else, but he insists that we need at least a preliminary 
report tonight."

Part of you is saying "this can't be real, not even Kersh would ask 
this of me . . ." but like all nightmares the most bizarre circumstances seem quite 
normal. And the fear, the numbing disbelief is quite real. You try to ground 
yourself, to find something normal, and your gaze drops to the clipboard and you see 
the brief summary on the top page. 

"Male, Caucasian, brown hair, age approx 40, height approx 6ft."

Skinner is still speaking. "He's the third to be found in identical 
circumstances in this town in the last two weeks-" he trails off.

You're clutching at straws here. "Sir . . are you sure it's . .?"

"I'm sorry, Dana. I ID'd him myself. I thought that I could at 
least spare you that . . but that was before Kersh ordered an autopsy tonight."

You try to take a deep breath, try to fight down the swelling 
tightness in your chest and your throat. You look up at Skinner's face. He's trying 
to stay impassive, trying to be strong for you. You appreciate that; he 
knows that your professionalism is the only thing keeping you going. You try to 
swallow past the choking sensation like a noose round your throat. 

"Agent Scully . . do you know why he was here?"

"Yes . . he was helping me . . " You can't go on. You try and 
compose yourself.  "How did it happen?"

Skinner can't meet your eyes, he looks bleakly over the top of your 
head at some unknown something outside the window. "He was found in a motel room 
just outside of town. The cleaner found him when she used the pass key to 
get in to clean."

You look away again, away from the concern in his eyes. At least he 
knows you well enough not to offer sympathy at this time. That would 
be the one thing to break you. Concentrate . . just think of the job in hand.

"Yes, sir . . I understand. I'll start straight away."

He nods and steps aside, gesturing to a set of swing doors, one 
propped open, and a corridor beyond. "Last door on the left."

You can't feel your legs but they're carrying you anyway, inexorably 
down the corridor and the horror waiting behind the last door. Your 
hand is on the door handle, turning it. The top half of the door is frosted 
glass, with a crack in the bottom left corner . . why do you notice things like that at 
a time like this?

You stop, shutting your eyes briefly. One last brief pause before 
you have to face the ordeal. Oh, god, please, don't make me do this . . 
can't someone else do this? Back comes the answer. There's no-one else. You have 
to do this. The last thing you can do for him.

You open the door and there it is. The same scenario you have seen - 
how many times - over the last eleven years. The high table, the 
still quiet shape shrouded in white. Still and quiet and finished. 

You remember what Skinner said when he first told you. "There's not 
a mark on him. Just like the others. It must have been quick . . he 
doesn't seem to have suffered. He looks . . he looks like he's just sleeping." 

Just do it, Dana. You have to. Just get started. 

You turn away from the shape on the slab and find the robe, the 
gloves and mask that have been left for you. You see the instruments, laid out ready 
on the tray.  Nothing left to do now but start. 

You stand for a few seconds more beside the white sheeted figure. A 
few more seconds before it all becomes real. Pull back the sheet and look 

Yes, it's him. Unmistakable. The brown hair is ruffled, the long 
eyelashes and full eyelids now covering the beautiful eyes for the last time. The 
gentle mouth that smiled so seldom but so sweetly, silent for ever. 


The figure blurs in the rush of your tears, and you turn away, shaken 
by your sobs. Then the whole room, the whole nightmare situation dissolves and 
fades into your own bedroom, your own bed, your own pillow wet with tears.


You get up and make a cup of tea, knowing you won't sleep any more.

This is happening more and more often, dreams increasing in frequency 
and horror. Different each time, but the same theme. Someone you know, 
someone you care about, suffering because of you. Always your fault.

Always when you are separated from William; nights when Doggett and 
Reyes call for your help, nights when you have to leave William with your 
mother, and go. Rare nights like tonight when your mother asks to keep William 
with her "to give you a break". All of these nights, a dream comes to punish you 
for leaving him.

You recall the first of them; standing on a windy dockside somewhere 
watching a ship (was it the Queen Anne?) pulling away, with Mulder standing on 
the deck, calling your name.

Another when you watched a nurse walk away from you down a long 
hospital corridor, cradling a stiff little bundle in her arms.

And each time you wake, you are left with the conviction that "this 
time it will happen. This time it's for real."


Six thirty . . is it too early to call them? No, they'll understand.

The phone rings and rings, but before the machine can cut in, a 
sleepy voice answers. "Lone Gunmen."

Suddenly you're hesitant, self-conscious. "Uh, Frohike . . it's 

Surprise and pleasure in equal measure in his voice, followed quickly 
by concern. "Scully . . are you okay?"

Now you're really embarrassed. "Yes, I'm fine. Look, Frohike . . 
this is going to sound really weird . . um, could you do something for me?"

"Anything for you, Scully. Just name it."

"Um . . is Byers there?"

"Sure, do you want to speak to him? He's still asleep, but I'll go 
and kick him outta bed if you say so."

"No! No, that won't be necessary. Look, Frohike, like I said this 
is going to sound really crazy . . but can you go and check that he's okay?"

You hear Frohike's surprised grunt and can almost visualise his 
raised eyebrows. "Sure, Scully, just hang on a minute."

A brief pause while you imagine him hurrying through the murky 
recesses of the back of the HQ where you have only been rarely. How long will it 
take him to check on Byers and get back?

You jump in fright when he picks up the phone again. "Hey Scully."


"Sleeping Beauty ain't in it . . he's sleeping like a baby."

You feel a rush of relief mixed with embarrassment. "Thanks, 

"Any time, Scully. Only . ." is that a tinge of jealousy in his 
voice? "gonna tell me what this is all about?"

You hesitate again. But you owe them so much . . and part of you 
wants to see for yourself, to reassure yourself that it was only a dream. "Can I 
come over, later? There's something I need to explain."

"Sure, Scully. Hey, come for breakfast. Do you like huevos 


Half an hour later you're walking up the steps to the HQ. Frohike 
must have been looking out for you on the monitor because the door opens before you 
have time to knock. He stands aside for you with his old-world courtesy that 
is so at variance with his outward attitude.

Early as it is, the computers are humming, the TV is on quietly and 
there's a delicious smell of breakfast. Everything looks so normal; so real. 
Langly is at the breakfast table with his nose in the papers, a piece of toast in 
one hand. He looks up over his glasses at her and waves a brief greeting. 
Byers . . . you look quickly around, to see Frohike at the door leading to the living 
quarters. He yells "Byers! Get your ass in here, you got a visitor."

And here he is, coming out of the shadows beyond Frohike, still in 
his pyjamas and bathrobe and looking at you questioningly. "Scully, are you 
okay? Is William okay?"

For the second time in a couple of hours his figure blurs in your 
tears, and you instinctively reach out. You shut your eyes, trying to squeeze the 
tears away, and suddenly he is right there. His hands on your shoulders, holding 
gently, and you gulp your sobs back and clutch at his arms. Then you are in his 
arms, being held firmly, securely against him, and you bury your face in his chest and 
sob helplessly.

It's like coming home, like finding a safe shelter from a storm, to 
stand there for a few minutes in the warm haven of his arms, feeling the soft fabric of 
his bathrobe under your cheek and the warmth of his body seeping through you. You 
take a deep shuddering breath and sniff, blinking away the tears and giving 
in to the comfort of a friend's embrace. His hand is stroking the back of your 
head reassuringly, he's murmuring something comforting, just "it's okay, 
it's okay . . ."

You take another deep breath and pull away a little, self-
consciousness returning. "Sorry . . " and you wipe your eyes and try to smile up at the loving 
concern in his face. He smiles down at you and guides you to a seat at the 
table. "C'mon, sit down . . and tell us how we can help."

Unasked, Frohike places a cup of tea in front of her and takes the 
seat opposite. He repeats Byers' first question. "What's wrong? Is anything wrong 
with William?"

You shake your head. "No, he's staying with my mother, I called her 
before I came out. He's fine."

"Have you heard from Mulder?"

"Last week . . he was fine then."

"Us too. So . . ?" His voice ends in a question. You look round 
the three faces, seeing nothing but deep concern. Come on Dana, you can tell them. 
You know, from things they've said, they have nightmares of their own.

"Sorry about freaking out just then . . It's just . . I've been 
having these dreams."

The three of them exchange one of those wordless telepathic looks and 
Byers places his hand over yours, it's warm and reassuring. "Don't be 
afraid, Scully. Tell us."

You swallow and look him in the face. "Byers, I dreamed you were 

Frohike whistles softly and shakes his head. Langly 
mutters, "Heavy." Byers takes her hand in both of his. "Tell us all about it."

"I . . had to do an autopsy. And it was you." Suddenly you're 
embarrassed again and can't look at any of them. But Byers' hand is still warm on 
yours. He gives you a few moments to collect your thoughts.

"You said, 'dreams'. Were there others?"

"Yes . . one where Mulder was being taken away from me . . and one 
where William was dead . . it's always the same. I lose someone close to 
me. And each time when I wake up, I'm sure that this time it's for real."

Another of those wordless three-way looks, but the silence is 
comforting. And Byers is still holding your hand. You try to laugh. "So, I had to 
come and see for myself that you were okay."

Langly speaks for the first time. "Uh . . . you know, we all have 
dreams like that, Scully."

Byers shivers, you can feel it go right through him. "Baltimore."

Frohike nods. "Vietnam."

Langly grimaces. "Las Vegas." He looks up defensively at the others' 
questioning looks. "Um, Jimmy and the bus."

You look from one face to the other. Of course they understand. You 
go on.

"It's not like I don't know why it's happening. Because of 
Mulder . . . because I don't know where he is or if I'll ever see him again. But knowing 
why it's happening . . . that doesn't help."

Byers shakes his head. "One thing helps."

Langly takes it up in the seamless way that is so characteristic of 
them. "Telling someone."

Frohike: "When it happens to us . . we tell each other. 

Byers: "I know it sounds trite . . . but it does help. Knowing 
someone else knows, someone else understands." 

Langly: "Having friends to talk to."

Byers goes on. "What we've learned is, you have to hang on to the 
things you still have. We have each other, we've been there for each other for more 
than twelve years now. You, you still have William. And you still have Mulder, 
even though he's not right here right now. But one day, you'll be together 
again. You have to hold on to that."

You look from one face to the other, feeling a rush of affection for 
each of them. "That's not all."

Your reach out to them, one hand to Langly and one to Frohike, and 
pull their hands together with yours and Byers' on the table top. "I have you 
three as well."

It's a compliment to you, to their regard for you, that they don't 
immediately rush to demur, to deny or politely brush it off. There's just a short 
silence before Byers says "Thank you, Dana", Langly gives you a shy smile and Frohike just 
looks at you and nods. Because it's absolutely true; these three have been a 
wall at your back, your safety net, your guardian angels in more ways than you 
probably will ever know. This is real; these three friends, probably three of the 
best friends you will ever have, are here for you, for William, for Mulder, always and 
for ever. Dreams die in the morning; dawn brings reality, both the bad and the 
good; these three will be on your side, for as long as you need them.