Sent: Wednesday, March 07, 2001 5:46 PM
TITLE: Before The Storm
AUTHOR: P.C.Rasmussen (firstname.lastname@example.org)
SPOILERS: None really. Takes place long after Scully's baby is born, so in
general, Season 8 so far, I'd say.
DISCLAIMER: Not mine. :)
RATING: PG, I guess. Nothing really gruelling is going on. There's
MulderDistress, SkinnerDistress and character death.
FEEDBACK: Yes, please! :)
DISTRIBUTION: Anywhere, just let me know where and keep the disclaimer and
my e-mail address attached.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This is what I like to call a little mood-piece. It's not big
on story content or conversation. Merely the thoughts of one man before the
She came into my room this morning, that little, scrawny girl with the big,
dark eyes and the weight of the world upon her shoulders, seeking the
comfort she apparently only needs during the early hours of the morning. How
can such a small girl, such a skinny little thing carry so much weight on
her shoulders and not succumb to it? What makes her so much stronger than
the rest of us? I don't understand it.
I've seen hell. Heaven knows I have. And I survived to tell the tale. But
it left its mark. Of course it did. No man can see as much death and
destruction as I have and walk away unscathed. I have my own demons to
fight, both those of the mind and those of the real world. And I keep
pushing on, though I sometimes wonder if it's worth it. I wonder how I do it
sometimes. The simple act of getting up in the morning is sometimes more
than I can bear. But I do get up and I do go through the halfhearted routine
of my day, seeking a meaning in it all, trying to convince myself that I
wouldn't be better off dead.
But then I see her, that little girl, and suddenly all my misery means
nothing any more. Suddenly all I can see are those ember eyes of hers, as
wise as if she were a hundred although she has only just turned six, and I
wonder how I can even begin to think that I've got it tough. I've never had
a special relationship with children. Most of the time, they actually scare
me a little. I feel apprehension at touching them, afraid they might break
under my big hands. But this little one is tough, tougher than most men I've
encountered. She has a will to live that is stronger than anything, even the
life of her mother, which drained away moments after she was born.
Whenever I think of that moment, I try not to let my emotions take over.
I'm a tough guy, supposed to be strong and steady, but I can't help the
feelings overwhelming me every time I think of her, of how she died with her
baby girl in her arms. She witnessed the birth. After four gruelling days of
inhuman labour, she gave birth to a pipsqueak of a girl, small enough to
have been one of three. But the birth took its toll on her mother's already
weakened body and she died with tears streaming down her face as she held
that scrawny bundle barely squeaking in her arms.
The doctors gave the baby a chance in one hundred of surviving and she beat
the odds. She was too small, they said, too exhausted from the long and
harsh birth to stand much chance of survival. But she did. She fought for
the first year of her life, struggling against all odds and winning the
battle. She's small for her age, much smaller than most children. And so
thin it almost hurts to look at her. But she's tough. A fighter. Of course
she is. Her mother was the same, beating all odds, fighting impossible foes
and winning most of the time. What was supposed to be her joy in life ended
up killing her, though.
She's standing by the window now, looking out over the city, and I can't
help wondering what she thinks when she watches mankind mulling by,
oblivious to all the horror and pain the universe has in store for all of
them. She knows. This little girl with her bony shoulders and too big eyes
knows what's in store. And she's the only one who can stop it, the only one
who can save mankind. It's ironic, really. Whenever I look at her, I see no
hope for the future. How can this tiny being possibly have any influence on
the coming storm? But they assure me that she does. They say that she can
stop those coming to wipe us out. I don't know how and I suppose it isn't
really anything I need to know, either. I just know that when the time
comes, she'll have to be strong enough to break the waves.
I want to talk to her, to reassure her, but whenever I try, she just looks
at me with those bottomless pits and I realize again that nothing I say is
news to her. She doesn't need my support, doesn't need my help. But in a
world where children are considered inferior, she can't get around without
me. So, in that sense, she does need me.
Sometimes, I just want to take her in my arms and sooth her, rock her
gently back and forth and assure her that things will be all right, that
everything is just a bad dream and that we will wake up from it soon. But I
know it isn't true and I know she would see right through that ruse. She
always does. There's no sense in telling her lies. She can read my mind with
the cunning of the half-being that she is. Half human and half something
else. I've never dared to ask what the other half is, what it means to this
little girl with the slightly too long arms and the slightly too big eyes. I
know she will find out in time and so will I. All I can do until then is
teach her about being human. That's the only thing she doesn't know.
Is the world worth saving, she asked one day. What kind of question is that
from a six-year old? I didn't know how to respond to that, didn't know what
to say and I guess she deducted her own assessment from my silence. I later
tried to tell her that I thought that the world was worth it, but that a lot
of people had just forgotten what was important. She just looked at me,
nodded once and walked away.
She never smiles. Never once have I seen even the indication of a smile on
those thin lips of hers. And her eyes. If she ever grows up and maybe fills
out a little, a man could get lost in those eyes, so deep and dark they're
To say that I love this little thing would be a lie. My feelings toward her
are very versatile and I guess she knows that, too. What can I do? I can't
hide how I feel about her. She has a partial responsibility in her mother's
death. As does her mother and those who created this alien life inside her.
And now I'm left with the burden of her mother's unlived life, with the
burden of teaching this being by the window right from wrong when I hardly
The question I keep asking myself is whether it's all worth it. She's the
last reminder of a beautiful woman, a caricature of her mother and I can't
help thinking that maybe this little one would have been better off dead.
She should have been allowed to pass away with her mother, but she didn't
want to. Not then and not now.
So, what does it all mean to her? Does she have a sense of self or was she
solely created to save us? Will she have to give up her life to end this
struggle? I don't know and I wouldn't know who to ask, who's answers to
trust. All I know is that today is our last day together and it raises a
conflict of emotions in me. I promised her mother that I would look after
her, that I would indeed keep her safe. And I have grown attached to her.
She's been with me for nearly five years now. But I have no real
relationship with her. I don't feel what I guess a parent should feel.
Because she's so much older than her years, so much wiser than I could ever
be. I've tried to find the answers to these all questions, to what step to
take next, but I don't know how to find the truth behind all the lies.
Sometimes, I even doubt that the people creating the lies know the truth.
But she does. She knows and she's not telling.
I watch her standing there by the window, waiting for whomever they have
sent to pick her up. I can't help wondering what she's going to face out
there, what she will have to do to ensure our survival. And, most of all,
I'm not at all certain that she will succeed. She's too small, too thin. But
maybe she is that way because she won't need bodily strength. Maybe she will
only need the strength of her mind. If that's the case, then we have won
already, for there is nothing she can't figure out.
A knock on the front door interrupts my contemplations and I rise from my
couch to answer the door. The time of reckoning has come. She's going to
leave in a moment and I might never see her again. Her flimsy
carrot-coloured hair, a vague indicator of the rich auburn of her mother's
hair, her big, big, bottomless eyes, the thin, pale face, the near
transparency of her skin, her soft, somewhat melodic voice. I will miss
those things, but she's not a child. I don't think she ever was. Not even in
infancy. Yes, I will miss her. I will probably spend times staring at her
favourite spot by the window and wonder what has become of her. I told them
up front that I didn't want to know what happened to her. They can return
her to me if they want, but I don't want to know it if she dies. I don't
think my heart could bear that.
I glance back at her standing there when I reach the door and my hand rests
on the doorknob a moment longer than it has to. She's not concerned about
what lies ahead. She knows by instinct what she has to do and she will do
it. I'm certain of that. No matter what kind of danger it might put her in,
she will do it. I only hope that it's enough.
With a sigh, I open the door and turn to face her escort. It's with no
small amount of surprise that I see Mulder standing there, a grim look on
his face. We lock eyes for a moment, then I step aside and let him in. He
nods briefly and walks silently past me to where she's standing. I can't
believe they sent him. I wouldn't have expected him to agree to do this. But
he is resolute in his movements even when he crouches down beside her, one
hand on her shoulder. He talks quietly to her for a moment and I have no
interest in knowing about the exchange if indeed there is one. She merely
looks at him, then nods once and Mulder rises again and takes her frail,
little hand in his before turning back toward me.
They walk side by side back to the door and it once again strikes me as odd
that he refrained from taking on the responsibility it was to take care of
her. But, on the other hand, I do understand him. To look at her and know
that she is, at least in part, Dana Scully's daughter must twist a knife
into his heart. Long before anybody else even suspected it, I knew, I
realized that they were an item. And Dana was so adamant about having a
child after she found out that she couldn't. Well, she got her wish.
Unfortunately, she won't see her grow up or know how much this little one
means to mankind. And fortunately, she won't see what happens to her
daughter as she protects mankind.
I gaze down at her little face and reach out to gently caress her cheek.
And that's when she smiles. For the first time in five years, she smiles.
And in that smile, I see her mother. All I can do is smile back for a
moment, before raising my eyes to meet Mulder's. "Take care of her," I say,
well aware that he will.
"I will," he promises in return, the everlasting sadness which crept into
his eyes the day Dana died lingering there. "And thanks for taking care of
her for this long, Walter." With that, they take off, leaving me behind to
feel inadequate and afraid for our future.
Did you like it? Hate it? Couldn't care less? Let me know. :)