Sent: Monday, April 02, 2001 11:32 AM

Perchance to Dream
Author: Agent L
Classification: S, post-ep
Rating: Nothing objectionable
Spoilers: DeadAlive
Distribution: Archive anywhere, but keep my name and
e-mail attached please!
Disclaimer: To Chris Carter, David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson,
Robert Patrick, Fox, et al.: I know they're not mine, and no money,
gifts or even chocolate would be expected or accepted for this.
Summary: Mulder has a bad dream after leaving the hospital.
Feedback: Yes, please!

Perchance to Dream

"Mulder, I don't think this is a good idea."

"I heard you the first ten times, Scully. Just help me out of the
car, will you?"

Scully bit back a grin at hearing a hint of her old impatient partner in
Mulder's voice. She couldn't quite get used to the fact that he was
sitting in the car beside her when she had watched his coffin being
lowered into the ground only three months ago, and he'd been
clinging to life with the aid of machines, against all probability and
laws of nature, a little more than five days before. Not that he hadn't
"died" in the past. But this had been much too close. She shuddered
a little to think of what might have happened if...

"Scully. Are you okay?"

He was looking at her a bit worriedly now and she realized she'd
drifted off. She had less focus lately, probably due to the hormones
from the pregnancy. Oh yes, and the fact that her partner had just
come back from the dead.


She shook her head to clear away the lingering fear. He was here.
He was alive. "Sorry, Mulder." She got out and walked around
to his side of the car. He already had the door open and was
struggling to get out. The experience had left him incredibly weak --
he had done little more than sleep for the first two days after he'd
been revived, and wasn't up to much more activity than that even
now. But when he'd asked for a cheese dog on the third day,
she'd known everything was going to be all right. Although she
would have preferred that he remain in the hospital for observation,
Mulder and the doctors both insisted that all he needed was proper
rest and nutrition, which he could get just as well in the more
comfortable surroundings of home. Scully sensed, however, that
the doctors just didn't want a reminder of something they couldn't
explain or understand staring them in the face, walking and talking
and teasing the nurses.

She grasped Mulder's arms and helped him out of the car. He had
refused her suggestion of a wheelchair or walker, but had at least
grudgingly accepted the cane. He leaned on it and Scully heavily
as they trudged up the sidewalk to her apartment. He had wanted
to go home, of course, but she didn't have the heart to tell him he
didn't have a home anymore. There had already been too many
surprises for him to deal with: her pregnancy, Agent Doggett, Billy
Miles...Instead, she had pointed out that her refrigerator was fully
stocked with healthy food and her medicine cabinet contained more
than a two-year old bottle of aspirin and some band-aids. She hated
to lie to him, especially when he looked at her with such trust and
gratitude in his eyes, but she couldn't bear to destroy his illusion that
she was his savior... not yet.

They got him inside and she took him into her bedroom despite his
protest that the couch was fine. She had fallen asleep on the couch
so often over the past few months that she wasn't sure she'd be
comfortable in the bed anymore, anyway. . Scully had managed to
change that subject when it had come up, as well. It had seemed so
logical at the time, to get rid of everything he'd left behind. Everything
that reminded her of him. She had had so little faith...

He lay down on top of the covers, wearing the sweats they'd borrowed
from Byers, since most of his clothes had been given to charity and
wouldn't have fit him anyway. Another truth that would have to be
revealed at some point, like exhuming the grave all over again.

"Do you need a blanket?" she asked, chilled at the memory.

"No, it's warm in here." Like a cat, he scooted over until he found
a patch of sun and turned his face toward the brightness, closing
his eyes with a little smile of pure pleasure. She almost expected
to hear him purr.

"Call if you need anything."

"Mmm hmm," he replied, already half-asleep. As she pulled
the door partway closed, she marveled that this was the same
man who had previously existed on two hours of rest a night.

But he wasn't the same man. No matter how desperately she
wanted him to be, his experience had profoundly changed him
physically and she would no doubt see other, more subtle
changes in his personality as he recovered. No one had talked
much about what had happened, all of them just overwhelmed
and relieved to have him back, still struggling to assimilate the
bizarre circumstances. No one had asked Mulder about how
much he remembered, and he seemed content not to talk
about it -- this man, her partner who questioned everything,
who examined every detail of life, both the beautiful and the
ugly. Scully suspected that right now he was simply focused
on survival, on getting through the next moment, grateful to
simply be alive. She knew that feeling. She would not press
him as he had once pressed her. She didn't want to know
the truth.

Scully sat down on the couch, found her own little patch of sun,
and closed her eyes, leaning her head back against the cushion.
It felt like forever since she had truly rested, truly been at peace.
For so long there had been the nagging pain, like a splinter
under her finger -- the absence of him, like the absence of a limb --
and despite the life growing in her, she had felt empty and restless.
There would be problems ahead, more sleepless nights for both
of them. She would have to tell him about the apartment, his
clothes... He would want to retrieve his memories when he got a
little stronger. But for now, she only needed to know that he was
in the next room, safe and sound.

The scream woke her sometime later. The sun had vanished,
leaving chilly shadows in the room. At first she was disoriented,
her neck stiff, legs asleep, but then she heard it again. He had
screamed her name. Scully bolted off the couch and ran into
the bedroom.

Mulder had apparently gotten cold as the sun set and had slipped
under the blanket. Somehow in his sleep he'd gotten tangled in
the folds and his struggles were just wrapping the material around
him more tightly. His eyes were still closed, and he didn't awaken
even when she turned on the light. His cries had become whimpers
now as he fought to free himself from his imaginary captor, and he
was fighting for each breath in shallow pants.

"Mulder." Scully approached carefully and shook his shoulder.
She'd had to dodge his fist more than once when she'd awakened
him from nightmares in the past. He usually came up swinging.

He flinched at her touch, his body trembling violently.

"Mulder, it's me, Scully. Can you hear me?"

His eyelids fluttered as he responded to the sound of her voice.
The pillow was damp from sweat.

"It's all right, Mulder, you're safe. No one is going to hurt you
here." She reached down gingerly to try to loosen the blanket,
hoping that a little more physical freedom would convince his
subconscious that he was safe.

He woke abruptly, his eyes dark with terror, and sat bolt upright,
gasping for breath and clawing at his throat, then shoving away
the blanket. He batted her hands away as she tried to help, still
half in the grip of his nightmare, until his jerky movements
subsided and his breathing settled back to a more normal rate,
although Scully could see his pulse still pounded in his throat.
She moved into his line of vision.

"Mulder...? Are you all right?"

He looked up at the sound of her voice and she was relieved
to see recognition in his eyes. The scars stood out like fresh
wounds on his white face, and his hair clung damply to his
forehead. She reassured him that he was all right, that nothing
would hurt him, as he fought to regain his composure, to come
fully back to her. Finally, he relaxed back against the pillow
with a shaky sigh.

"I - I had a bad dream," he whispered, then gave her a
shadow of his old grin. "Guess that's an understatement."

She nodded, her own heart still pounding. "Let me get you
some water." She left the room to allow them both a few moments
to gain their composure.

He had slipped back under the covers when she returned, probably
chilled as the sweat dried on his body. He drained the glass and
closed his eyes.

"Do you remember any of it?" she asked, sitting down next to him.

He shook his head. "No." Then he opened his eyes. "I mean
yes. I...I don't know." He pulled the blanket up around his neck
and shivered. "It was dark -- pitch black. And cold.
I couldn't breathe. Couldn't move." His eyes drifted closed as
his physical exhaustion smothered the fear, and his voice
faded to a murmur. "...buried alive..."

He didn't see her shocked face or the tears that pooled in
her eyes. "I called for you..." he went on drowsily. "Then you came..."

He quickly slipped back into a deep sleep, unaware of the silent
grief of the woman beside him.

How would she ever be able to tell him that that hadn't been
a dream?

The End

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