Title: Safe At Home Revisited
Author: Sue
E-Mail: susieqla@yahoo.com
Website: None
Category: Vignette
Rating: PG
Summary: A roadside chat among the familiar.
Archive: Anywhere, fine. Just tell me where,
Disclaimer: The X-Files are C. Carter's, 1013
Productions and FOX.
Notes: Alternate post Jump The Shark universe.
Spoilers: Minors for The Unnatural and JTS.

Safe At Home Revisited
by Sue

A contented Margaret Scully walked into the
living room, having just put William down. Her
grandson was such a good baby. He'd nestled
within her arms, and had dropped right off. No
fuss, no muss. Not usually from him. Dana's
hand, having just alighted on the knob, turned
it as her mother spoke, "How long will you be
gone, dear?"

"I'm not sure, Mom." She checked her wristwatch,
a pensive look overshadowing her eyes, and with a
shrug said, "I shouldn't be long. I'm off for a
drive to unwind. A little hectic in class today.
Could pick something up, if you want. Want

Maggie thought, then replied with a wistful lilt,
"Some ice cream would be nice."

Her daughter liked that idea. "Vanilla, Chocolate
and Strawberry." A trio that went together as 
well as...she caught her breath, letting the air
out of her lungs leisurely...Langly, Frohike and

Her mother nodded, her favorite trio of flavors
responsible for her uncomplicated smile . It'd
been ages since she'd had an old-fashioned sundae.
"Don't forget the hot fudge and whipped cream."

"And a cherry on top?" Dana added, returning her
mother's smile. No strings. No hidden agendas.
When her mother smiled, the world turned a little
easier, to the new mom's way of thinking.

"Yes. We'll really splurge tonight."

Dana stepped over the threshold with a twinkle
in her eyes which shone for her mother, and in
anticipation for the man she was slipping away to
speak to. She had roughly twenty or so minutes
to get to where she wanted to be when her
cellphone would chirp. "Mother's and daughter's
night in. Maybe there'll be an old movie on we
both like."

"I'll check to see, Dana. I'm in the mood to
watch 'All About Eve.' Backstabbing at its best.
I absolutely love Betty Davis in that movie.
Most of all when she delivers that line about
fastening seatbelts, 'it's going to be a bumpy

'If you only knew how true that's become for us
all, Mom,' Dana briefly thought. She was all for
it too. "Great. I'll be right back." She held
up long enough to tack on, "I'll rent it. That
way we'll really get to see it. 'Bye."

Maggie headed for the kitchen to finish drying
the dishes, and humming 'When You Wish Upon a


The drive over to the baseball field...'their'
baseball field...afforded Scully the perfect
opportunity to sort herself out. Times to do so
uninterrupted were few and far between. Thoughts
radiating around how the four of them were faring
on this forced road trip were a constant. Ever
since she had hung around for the lowering of the
three empty caskets into 'hallowed ground,' with
Skinner, the willing accomplice, dutifully at her
side, she worried for them now too. Every bit as
much as she did for the man, her man, whom Doggett
and Reyes had tipped about the 'vultures' circling
around the Gunmen, preparing to bring them down.

Acting upon that timely information well in
advance, had saved the Gunmen's lives.

It was painful how much she missed them. She
had had a headstart with missing Mulder, and
now add the Gunmen to the list. She missed
Byers' natty appearance, his gentle steel for
a backbone. Langly's weird T-shirts, his if
it's junk, I'll eat it, whatever it is, mystique.
They'd gone to see the 'Phantom Menace' together
where she'd been an eyewitness to that.
Frohike...well, she'd be the last person to
admit this to anyone, most of all to him, but
she missed everything about him. The way he
still looked at her with appreciatively attentive
eyes which bespoke, 'all these years later, and
you're still hot. You're hotter. You're
somebody's mother now, and still the sexiest
woman going in three-inch 'I can outrun Mulder'

It was two weeks ago to the day since the
charade had been pulled off, and the last she'd
heard from Mulder, telling her that, going
forward, he would call her at this time, two
weeks hence.

Where did she want to be when he would speak
with her over her phone? She wanted to be at
one of the few places they hadn't felt hounded.

That magical municipal baseball field, not
far from her apartment, where 'Poor Boy' had
chucked baseballs at them. Where Mulder
pressed his advantage of feeling her up under
the pretext that she needed to learn how to hit
a baseball. Something her brothers had wasted
no time teaching her how to do as soon as they
discovered they had one fine tomboy for a

She was pulling the car into the empty play
field's parking lot. Nothing radical had
changed about the place. Nobody was around.
Nobody in the well-manicured outfield, nor
hardpacked infield, nor at the hard rubber
slab...home plate.

She got out of the car, and headed in that
direction. She looked up at the sky as she
went. A smile of nostalgia spread over her
face. 'Are the stars out tonight...I can't
tell if it's cloudy or bright...'cos I only
have eyes for you.' The stars were as bright
as they had been that, what felt to her still,
mystical night.

The air was still rife with Mulder's blarney.

'Oh, no, Miss Scully, the pleasure is all mine...

'...A mighty fine piece of ash...'

Scully felt lightheaded all over again, just as
she had that first time Mulder's arms tightened
around her.

When her cellphone chirped, she dragged her mind
away from steamier memories.


Through the phone, "Yeah, Scully, it's me."
In the background she could hear the faint
bits and pieces of an argument between...it
sounded like Frohike and Langly. Who else?
But their familiar sound of discord was music
to her ears.

"Where are you?"

"Where are we, Byers?"

She wished she was with them to see the
bearded (she wondered if he had shaved it off
for appearance-altering purposes) perfectionist
consulting the roadmap he invariably must have.
Then, his voice was funneling into her ear.

"Hello, Scully..."

"Hiya, John. So, how much distance have you
put between yourselves and here?"

"We're just outside of a suburb called The

"It's a suburb of what?" Scully glanced up at
the full, cooly pale, faraway orb shining its
rays down upon her.

"Sheridan... We're in Colorado, Scully."

She whistled. "That's some time you're making."

Byers dropped his voice and said confidentially,
"Well, we would be making better time, if we
didn't have to stop so much because Langly
has to relieve himself every time he drinks
something jumbo-sized and cold."

"Don't let him drink so much."

"Easy to say," Byers muttered. "Then he whines.
You know how he gets."

Feeling forlorn then, suddenly, she did. Langly
and William got along famously. The connection
was obvious. "Let me speak to him."

At their end, she heard Byers tell Langly that
Scully wanted to speak to him. His muffled,
"What'll I say?" brought a constrained pursing
of her lips. Then, "Uh...Scully?"

"Hey, Cutie, how's it going?"

The baseball diamond was cleaner than a
whistle. It was downright immaculate. Scully
hunkered down into a crouch which she didn't
maintain for long, finally opting for sitting
upon the diamond cross-legged style. There
were many reasons she wore slacks more so
nowadays. Comfort was at the head of the list.

Her legs felt tired. Standing before a class
for the better part of the day was tougher
than all the travail she'd had tracking down
the gamut of mutants alongside Mulder.

"Okay, I guess. I wish we were there already."

Scully grinned, having heard the, 'Are we there
yet' inflection oversewn in his tone. "Hang
in there, Scarecrow. You'll make it." Her
brow wrinkled in thought, then with an air of
collusion she said, "I've been watching Farscape
for the past two weeks. Keeping our weekly new
tradition alive."

She heard his sharp intake of breath. "Cool.
Catch me up," he said on impulse, then realizing
in that same instant that the call had to be
kept short. "Like next time we see each other
fill me in. Tape the stuff we're missing,

"I'll start this week."

"Thanks, Scully...I...uh...well. You know."

"I know. I miss you too, Langly. All of you.
We'll see each other soon." Her voice held
promise, but there was a hint of uncertainty
lurking amidst the resolve. "Could you put
Frohike on for a minute?"

"No prob." To Frohike he blared, "Hey, Doohikey,
Scully wants ya." Even louder then, he taunted,
"*NOT*. Ha-ha, psych. Here--"

"Gimme that, Woodstock aftermath." Scully,
despite her on-again, off-again distraction with
melancholy, smiled, hearing how much she missed
this sort of thing. Two weeks felt like a very
long time not seeing them. With Mulder gone,
she had made it a habit of seeing them at least
two or three times a week, not counting having
them come over to watch Farscape with her. A
wild idea that had grown on her. "Hey, there,

"Hi there, 'Hike."

"Miss us?"

"What do you think?" she demanded.

"You're quite the little actress."

"Mulder said the same about you three."

"Were those real tears you shed as I watched
you through binoculars more than a hundred
yards off?"

"They could have been. My eyes always tear
when there's a brisk breeze, and Skinner was
cracking jokes through a straight face.
Off-color jokes. Targeting the status of the
love lives, or lack thereof, of you three."
She sniggered, changing tack, and asked,
"'Hike...what are you wearing?" Scully
sniffed through a brief chuckle.

"I was just about to ask you the same."

"I asked you first," Scully plied.

"Leather..." Frohike insinuated, and as easily
as releasing a breath to relax, Scully imagined
the look he was wearing.


"Think I'd go out half-dressed, Foxy Lady?"

"Never. Not you. Little black cap as well?"

"The whole ensemble. Not much variation on
funky poaching attire."

"The only difference being..." She paused,
giving herself time to phrase it accurately.

"It's funky takin' it on the lamb...Pacific
West Coast, or bust threads for the time

"Well put."

"Where are you call--"

"Sorry to haveta break up this cozy chat,

She heard Mulder intervene, and Frohike's
parting words were, "When we get to where
we're goin', we'll contact you. The rumored
father of your child's pullin' rank again.
'Bye, Scully. Miss ya."

"Miss you too, 'Hik--"


"Yes, Mulder." Then with just a tinge of
irritation coloring the sound of her voice,
she said, "That was rude, you know. Not
letting me finish saying goodbye to him."

"Yeah, rude," Frohike complained, his keen
hearing treating him to Scully's protestation.

"We'll kiss and make up about it when we're
together again," Mulder said, his voice
flirting with sarcasm. "We'll do that for a
lot of reasons." It was spoken much too
mutedly and gravelly for her to hear him
distinctly. Static wasn't the culprit this
time. She imagined that the Gunmen were
formed around him in a tight circle, making
him feel awkward. "Once the Gunmen
re-establish themselves, I head back."

"Any serviceable idea when that could be?"
she asked, sounding expectant, hopeful.

"You want a ballpark estimate?"

Measuring a beat, Scully did an unhurried
visual scan of her present surroundings,
nodding. "Considering where I am, that would
be very apropros."

"Another two to three weeks, dependent upon
how smoothly their setting up goes." Sounding
pressed for time, Mulder stressed, "We hope
to be well through Idaho this time tomorrow."

"We will, if Langly can hold his water,"
Frohike reamed, sounding closer to the
mouthpiece than Mulder did.

"Gotta go, babe," Mulder underscored with an
undertow of regret.

"Watch out for each other," Scully enjoined.

"That's priority number one. Love ya."

"Love you too, Mulder. Be careful. All of

"I know this is a ridiculous thing to ask, but
try not to worry."

"Yeah, right, Mulder. That's as easy as
keeping your fish well fed. The greedy little
grubbers are always hungry."

"You're the momma. Put 'em on a diet."

"Sure, and since I am, I overfeed them until
they bloat."

"See ya soon. Remember...trust no one, except
those who've already proven themselves."

"Many a lesson learned the hard way in keeping
with that," Scully leaked into the phone.

"Wish we were there to watch your back, Scully,"
came the sentimental tidings in triplicate.

"So do I, but now your backs need watching.
Guys, be good. Mind Mulder."

"Yes, *Mommy*," Langly nimbly bantered,
sounding as though he were in possession of
the phone.


"'Bye, Mulder."

She held the cellphone, just staring at it for
a while, wondering what she was going to tell
her mother when the time came for detailed
explanations, covering the balance of the last
nine years. Shortly, the end of the agonizing
associated with such a conversation would come.

Shrugging off the dictates of the problematic
conversation, reserved for the future, she rose
from the hard diamond, dusted her pants legs off
a bit, and even stretched before heading back to
the car.

Thoughts of where she'd rent the old movie, and
what brand of Vanilla, Chocolate and Strawberry
she'd get swirled in her mind. It was a toss-up
between either Edy's or Ben and Jerry's. She
conjectured for just a moment what the Gunmen's
favorite ice cream flavors possibly were. Oddly,
the subject had never come up in all these years.
Well, not wholly true. There had been that one
flash of insight as far as Byers was concerned.

Frohike was probably a Rocky Road man. A
mixture of the hard with the soft. Byers...
Tiramisu, when he indulged his flamboyant side.
One did lurk beneath the academic etiquette,
contrary to popular belief. She'd been at their
headquarters when he'd brought a quart in that
time. Langly...Chunky Monkey, Phish Food and
Cherry Garcia, all shmushed into one easily-
unappetizing creation. Never one afraid to
experiment on himself, which was probably why
he was having stomach upsets more often with
the passage of years.

The vast, starry firmament, flecked with the
diamond-like illuminance of incidental light,
drew her eyes heavenward as it had both hers
and Mulder's eyes that special night. Small
comfort was better than none to think that this
same night sky, just beginning to darken where
they were, watched over them too. She smiled,
then spoke to the glittery audience.

"Godspeed, Mulder. Godspeed, Gunmen... There
are none whom I trust more."