Sent: Friday, June 08, 2001 7:19 AM

Debra aka Romantique


Title:  The Promise
Author: Romantique
Classification: VA - Vignette, Angst.
Rating: PG.
Distribution: Archive anywhere, but e-mail me,
Spoiler(s): Brand X
Summary: Mulder wrestles with a promise.
Feedback: Yes, please:

Here's the final fic in my "Rubber Band" Series. 
This fic originated as a 500 word writing exercise
using the topic, rubber band.


The thick red elastic band was stretched taut around
Mulder's left wrist.  With his right hand, he pulled
it back away from his wrist as if he was drawing a
bow.  Taking aim at himself, he quickly released. 
The wide band popped against the back of his hand
with enough force to leave an angry red welt at the
point of contact.

In reaction to this self-inflicted wound, an
involuntary "Owwww" escaped his lips.  His hand stung
with a vengeance.  Leaning back in his chair, Mulder
closed his eyes and offered himself up to the pain. 
He embraced the pain as it was a preferable, albeit
temporary, alternative to the unrelenting pangs of
his addiction.

Mulder was strong enough to take on more pain and
suffering than most.  After all, he had been through
enough physical injuries and personal tragedy to last
any one soul for multiple lifetimes.  But the one
thing Mulder knew he could never endure was the look
of disappointment Scully would give him if he were to
cave into this weakness. Only hours before, he
promised Scully he would not give into his cravings
for a cigarette.  He was determined he would never go
back on his word.

Since his infestation with tobacco beetles, Mulder
had been fighting against a constant craving for
nicotine.  Scully saved his life by administering
near lethal doses of the legal drug, but Mulder
couldn't help but wonder if the side effect of
addiction was almost as bad as the infestation
itself.  His stomach gnawed, beads of sweat broke out
on his forehead, and his breathing became erratic.

"Snap," he gave his hand another forceful pop with
the rubber band, creating another temporary

His body and mind screamed for the chemical, telling
him it was more necessary to his survival than air,
food, water, or sleep.  These irrational thoughts
crowded his head and urged him to reach into the
wastepaper basket and retrieve the crumpled package
of cigarettes he had previously thrown away.

Perhaps just the smell of the package would offer him
some measure of relief, he rationalized.  Succumbing
to his thoughts, he pulled the pack of Morley's out of
the trash and took in a deep whiff of the fragrant

"More necessary than air, food, water, or sleep," his
mind reeled, as he peeled away the cellophane wrapper.

Then, something from deep inside him suddenly took
control, and he snapped his hand again with the rubber
band.  His hand was now swollen; the rubber band was
cutting off his circulation.

"But not more necessary than Scully's respect," he
swallowed hard.  He picked up the telephone and quickly
dialed Scully's number.

"Scully," he spoke into the telephone, trying to sublimate
his sobs.  "I need help.  I almost did something tonight
that I don't want to do.  I'm afraid I won't make it
through the night without you."

"Hold on, Mulder.  I'm on my way," Scully assured him,
her voice calming him through the receiver.

Irrational thoughts of an overwhelming temptation
returned once more.  Again, Mulder took in a deep 
breath and responded to these dark thoughts, "Not
more important than Scully!"