for Lori for the "Five Things" meme.
Disclaimer: Characters belong to Chris Carter and 1013 Productions. No profit or infringement intended.
1. When they (temporarily) moved into the shack on the banks of the Colorado River, the first thing Scully unpacked was the alarm clock her father had given her just before she went to college. There is no power in the shack, but she puts it on the creaky bedside table anyway, the long cord dangling on the floor. When Mulder steps on the plug in the middle of the night for the twentieth time, swearing under his breath, she pretends she doesn't hear him.
2. Under the bundle of letters she's saved for address book purposes (she keeps meaning to buy an address book, but out here in the Ozarks, they're lucky the General Store sells milk that isn't more than three days away from expiration), she keeps the small picture of William, the one Monica took just before the social worker took him away. She's never shown the picture to Mulder (sometimes she wonders if William meant as much to Mulder as he did to her), but when Mulder's out in the woods, looking for whatever it is he's always looking for, she'll take it out. She wonders if William's hair is still red, or has it darkened into another shade entirely, or if his eyes are still that bright blue. She imagines he's walking now, probably babbling a few words here and there. William was a happy baby; she hopes that hasn't changed.
3. She keeps her gun in the middle drawer, even though Mulder has pointed out many times that the Colonists are quicker to the draw, that by the time she rolls over, reaches for the gun, she'll be dead. His solution is that they take turns sleeping and keeping watch. He always takes the night shift, but sometimes she'll wake up and watch him. He never looks at her, always keeps his eyes on the door, his hand curled around the butt of a gun. Sometimes, he'll react to some external stimuli -- something only he can hear or see -- and he'll leap off the bed. That's when she reaches for her own gun. When Mulder returns -- and he always does -- he always seems surprised she's awake.
"Go to sleep, Scully," he says. "I've got it."
"We're in this together," she says. Every now and then, she feels the need to remind him of this fact.
"I know." He eases back on to the bed, his hand warm against her bare leg. "Go back to sleep, Scully."
She hates the way he treats her like a child sometime, that she needs protecting and watching. "What was that noise?"
"I don't know." Mulder presses his lips together into a straight line. "I couldn't find the source."
Scully puts her gun back into the middle drawer. "It was probably nothing," she says.
There's a moment of silence and then Mulder says, "I can't take that chance. Tomorrow, we leave." When he sounds like this, she knows better not to argue; she always loses because in the end, he always pulls out the argument she can't defend against, the one that gets her every time: "I'm not going to risk losing you, Scully."
The first thing Scully packs in the morning is her gun. She notes, with some trepidation, she only has six bullets.
4. In a life long ago, one filled with all the conveniences of modern life, Mulder gave her a gift certificate to Starbucks. If memory serves correctly, Scully's still got a credit of about $6 on the card. She doesn't know why she still has it -- they keep far away from any metropolis that might possibly have a Starbucks in it, and God knows what she'd give up from her dwindling possessions for a real cup of coffee -- but every now and then, she likes to think one day they'll take the chance of sitting at a Starbucks, sipping $4 lattes and watching the people go by. Every now and then, Scully likes to think she'll have a life that doesn't involve dilapidated shacks, rusty-tasting water, and creaky floorboards. Every now and then, she thinks, they'll stay somewhere for more than a couple weeks, and she'll stop having to leave a piece of herself behind.
5. In the cottage, nestled in the verdant hills of Appalachia, as she unpacks her bags for what must be the millionth time, Scully finds the rock. It's rough, black, the size of a baby's fist. She stares at it, turning it over carefully in her hands. Over time, she has left behind things of more consequence than this (including the Apollo 13 keychain), and yet, thirty-two states and four countries later, she still has the rock. She's still staring at it when she hears Mulder's footsteps on the linoleum.
"What's that?" he asks. He sits down on the bed and the springs creak; Scully's already dreading spending the night on the too-thin mattress that sags in the middle.
"A souvenir," she says. She hands it over. "From Antarctica." Somewhere between the time Mulder rescued her and they stumbled upon scientists' outpost, she'd closed her fingers around the rock and she'd never let go.
Mulder hands the rock back to her. "Why do you still have it?"
"So I don't forget what we're fighting for," she says. She opens the top drawer of the nightstand and deposits the rock in it with a resounding thud. Scully gets to her feet and absently kisses the top of Mulder's head, letting her fingers linger lightly on his shoulder. "I've always wanted to vacation in Appalachia," she says softly.
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