Wasting Time

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Summary: post Requiem; Scully has too much time to reflect

Originally posted October 2000

Spoilers: Post Requiem, references to events in En Ami, all things, Redux II, Memento Mori, Zero Sum
Category: MSR, SA
Rating: PG
Disclaimers: I make absolutely no claims on the characters. They are property of Fox, 1013 Productions.
Archiving: yours for the asking
Notes: Verses included in this story come from the poem As I Walked Out One Evening by W.H. Auden

Time will say nothing but I told you so,
Time only knows the price we have to pay
If I could tell you, W.H. Auden

Scully was told that they wanted to keep her overnight at the hospital. Just to be on the safe side. She told Skinner it was ridiculous. She’s a doctor for Christ’s sake. She had to get out of there. She had to begin the search.

But Skinner had pressed her to listen to them. His concern persuaded her. Maybe because he sounded like Mulder, and right now, she needed to cling to anything that reminded her of him. Skinner knew
Mulder would say the same thing in his self-deprecating and infuriating manner. Mulder would tell her he wasn’t worth the risk to herself, and now, to her child.

Skinner swore he would help her. He swore she could trust him. And he swore to keep her pregnancy a secret. He felt a strange mixture of honor and regret that she could confide in him. It shouldn’t be me she’s telling this to, he thought, it’s not fair. He took her hand as soon as she told him of her condition. And she squeezed his in return, fighting back the tears and emotion that cracked her voice.

The revelation of his agents’ intimacy came as a shock to Skinner. In retrospect, he should have known. He was surprised that he had never recognized it. The two of them had been thrown together in an impossible situation where they learned they could only rely on one another. Who couldn’t have seen this coming?

Me, Skinner thought. He wondered if his own feelings had clouded his judgement about them. He had a fondness for Scully that he revealed to very few people. Mulder knew, but never spoke of it. He wasn’t sure if Mulder was jealous or grateful that someone else cared.

And unfortunately, Skinner had revealed it to the blasted Smoking Man, convinced he was the only one who could help her. He thought he was protecting both Scully and Mulder by going to Spender. But Spender had exploited Skinner’s affection with promises of saving her. He felt like an utter fool. It took months before Skinner could look Scully in the eye again. He wasn’t even sure she knew of his duplicity. And in the end, it was Mulder who had saved her without giving into the Spender’s threats or bribes. Even her recovery wasn’t enough to sweep away Skinner’s shame.

Now, he thought, I can make it up to her. Until Mulder’s return, he vowed to himself to be there for her no matter what his superiors said, and no matter what Krycek threatened him with. It was the least he could do for the both of them now.

He reluctantly left her but not before he made her promise she would stay put until the doctors okayed her release.


Scully felt like she was wasting time lying in her hospital bed. It was time she could be spending searching. The doctor had insisted she stay under observation. She felt silly. Women find out they are pregnant all the time.

Granted, not all of them are supposed to be barren. She couldn’t even begin to imagine what had happened to allow her to conceive at all. It was nothing short of a miracle.

She thought of calling her mother. I can’t worry her, she thought. She won’t want me to look for Mulder. She’ll be angry I didn’t tell her right away, but she’ll understand, eventually.

She was restless. Daytime television offered her no distractions. She had already read and re-read the newspaper. Skinner had refused to bring her any of her case files ordering her to take it easy. She tried to take comfort in the fact that Skinner would begin the search for Mulder. But she needed a diversion to keep her thoughts away from where Mulder could be and what could be happening to him.

Out of the corner of her eye, she spotted a passing orderly.

“Excuse me!” She called to him. “Could you help me?”

He sighed, exasperated, but he obediently went to her. She smiled politely at him. Her smile seemed to warm his disposition. He asked her, “What can I do for you?”

She said, “I’m stuck here and I have nothing to do to preoccupy me. Can you possibly find me something to write on, or even something else to read?” Her hand gestured at the newspaper.

The orderly thought, is ‘servant’ in my job description? But she looked so anxious, so small, and alone. He said, “I’ll see what I can do, but it might be a while. I have duties to attend to.”

“I’d appreciate whatever you can do.” And she smiled at him again.


She had fallen asleep. She hadn’t expected to, being so tense. It was a light sleep though because she woke as soon as she heard some movement beside her bed. The orderly had returned finally with a pile of books. He placed them on the bedside table. Then in his other hand he passed her a pad of paper and a pen.

“Didn’t mean to wake you. Sorry it took so long. Here’s the writing material, and here’s some books that were in lost and found. Wasn’t sure what you’d like so I took a bunch.”

“Thanks,” she replied, “So what did you bring me?”

He pulled out the books one by one. “Fiction, poems, somebody’s unauthorized life story, and magazines.”

“Thanks again.”

“No problem. I’d better get going. Let me know if you need anything else.” He seemed to mean it.

She picked up the paper and pen. She stared at the blank page. She wasn’t sure she was ready to do this. The last times she had written to Mulder, it was a log of what she had seen in Africa. But she remembered the more passionate journal of her thoughts while she was in the hospital fighting the cancer that ravaged her body. He read it without her knowing, while she sat up all night with Penny Northern. She was never going to show it to him. She told him she was going to throw it away. And when she had gone back to her room, the journal was gone. She suspected Mulder had taken it, but she never asked him about it.

Now she felt she had to write to him again. He should know what is happening if he… when… when he comes back. He would want to know how she was getting through this, how afraid she was, how much she misses him, how much she needs him…

But she couldn’t start. The blank page taunted her. It’s too soon, she thought, for all we know we could find him tomorrow.

She put the paper down, and looked at the books. Not much of a selection really. She had already read the novel and she didn’t care much for subject of the biography. She finally picked up the anthology of poetry. She opened the book and there was a carefully arranged bookplate inside the front cover: “From the library of Melissa Sullivan.”

She was taken aback and drew a sharp breath. Dana instantly thought of her sister. She thought of Melissa lying in a similar hospital room. She remembered desperately holding onto Missy as she slipped away. She hadn’t been prepared for the coincidence. It was then that she realized that these books weren’t lost and found. They belonged to owners who could no longer claim them. She immediately wanted the books away from her. She didn’t need to think about death. Not now. Not with Mulder’s whereabouts so uncertain. It was too soon to think about that. And especially not now when she had to think of a new life.

She calmed herself. I’m being silly, she told herself, what the hell is wrong with me, I’m bordering on superstitious. It’s only a coincidence. Lots of people are named Melissa.

She picked up the book of poetry again with conviction as if to prove to herself that she was strong enough. She began to flip through it. Familiar poems and a verse here and there caught her
eye. But she settled on one poem in particular where the narrator was eavesdropping on a declaration of undying love. The verses were light and airy, but the words soon became sombre:

But all the clocks in the city
Began to whirr and chime:
‘O let not Time deceive you,
You cannot conquer Time.

‘In the burrows of the Nightmare
Where Justice naked is,
Time watches from the shadow
And coughs when you would kiss.

‘And in headaches and in worry
Vaguely life leaks away,
And Time will have his fancy
To-morrow or to-day…

‘…O plunge your hands in the water,
Plunge them in up to the wrist;
Stare, stare in the basin
And wonder what you’ve missed…’

Dana put the book down. She hadn’t finished the poem. She began to contemplate the meaning of the words she just read…weren’t she and Mulder always racing against Time? Wasn’t Time their biggest obstacle?

It took them seven years to even admit to themselves and each other that there was something other than work, other than friendship, that existed between them. They had inched so slowly towards their relationship. But now that they were finally there, he was gone…taken from her. They hadn’t had enough Time. They barely had even a moment that they could sort out where they were going and what they wanted from each other. They had been too late getting to where they were. And now Time was mocking her because she had too much of it to dwell on what wasn’t.

She began to cry. Dana let her memories drift back to his apartment only weeks ago. Sitting on his couch watching a stupid movie. How long had it taken them to get to that point? To the point where they could just sit all night together and not have it be about some case, some stakeout, some conspiracy…how long had it taken for it to be just about them?

She remembered their first time. They were so self-conscious. They knew each other so well. But they hadn’t expected what this kind of intimacy would be like. It wasn’t like they hadn’t seen each other naked before. It wasn’t as though they hadn’t imagined it. But none of it prepared them. Seven years of pent-up emotions and desires did that to people, she guessed. It didn’t take long for the discomfort to fade and for their passion to take over. She remembered wondering what had taken them so long.

She could count the weeks back to that night. And in counting back, she deduced that it must have been that night that this miraculous conception occurred. That day, she had just seen her former lover Daniel for what would be the last time. How ironic that her decision to remain in her present life with Mulder had changed it so irrevocably.

She remembered that night that it had only been a few weeks since her excursion with the Smoking Man. She remembered among other things, that night Spender’s words were echoing in her head as she tried to sort out what she wanted: “You’d die for Mulder, but you won’t allow yourself to love him.” She proved Spender wrong. And they continued to prove him wrong in the following weeks.

She remembered their fear of getting caught. What did it matter? It was no one’s business, they would tell each other. But still they pretended at work. They tried to be discreet for their own
sense of security. Nothing more than knowing glances and lingering touches. They kept separate hotel rooms when they went on their investigations. But she suspected everyone knew and was whispering about them. She was even surprised to see the shock on Skinner’s face when she told him.

The memories of their affair caused Dana to weep harder at her loss. She wiped at her tears and tried to compose herself. No, she thought, I can’t think like that, I haven’t lost him yet.

What am I doing? Why am I letting a simple poem affect me so much? She wondered, God, are the hormones kicking in already?

And as if to defy the negative thoughts, she picked up the book again and steeled herself to read the remainder of the poem, tears still defiantly filling her eyes.

‘…O look, look in the mirror,
O look in your distress;
Life remains a blessing
Although you cannot bless…’

She said the words aloud, “Life remains a blessing”, and as she said them her hand caressed her abdomen. She decided then that she couldn’t write to Mulder as though he was gone. So she chose not to write to him at all, but at the same time she still needed to feel connected to him. She picked up the pad of paper and pen again and began to write instead to her child…to their child:

“Today, I found out that you exist. I never expected you. I

can hardly believe you are actually here. But I’ve wanted
you for so long and for so many reasons.

I want to tell every one about you. But there is only one
person I really need to tell, and I can’t, not yet. You are
my connection to him now and for as long as I can’t be with

But more than that you are the realization of my hope and
faith. I hope that you never doubt for a moment how much I
need you and want you in my life…”

She looked at what she wrote. The last line could have been written to Mulder she thought. She looked out the now darkened window and was met with a vague reflection of herself. She looked small, tired, and alone.


Skinner returned to the hospital. He paused waiting at the door, looking in at Scully. She was looking out the window again. He entered the room quietly. She looked up at him and he could see she had been crying. He was immediately anxious for her and instantly regretted having left her.

“Agent Scully, are you all right?”

“Yes, sir. Just something I read made me a bit emotional. Kind of silly, I guess… Why are you back? Have you heard anything yet?”

She put the pad of paper aside before he could see what she was writing. He thought of asking what it was to make sure she wasn’t working, but he left it alone.

“I just came back to make sure you were okay. I wanted to know when they are going release you,” he added, “We have teams scouring the forest where he…disappeared. But there’s nothing yet. I’m sorry.”

“It’s not your fault,” she whispered back.

“But it’s not fair,” he said, shaking his head.

“No, it isn’t,” she said, slowly as her eyes began to fill again.

Skinner resisted an urge to wipe away the tears.

There was a heavy silence. He had no idea what to say to her. She had no idea how to comfort him either, but offered him her hand, which he gladly accepted. Finally, he asked her, “Is there anything I can get you? Is there something you need?”

She sniffled and laughed a little. “Yeah, maybe I’m already getting cravings. Could you find something for me?”

“Anything. What would you like?” he asked with eagerness. At least he could do small things for her.

She took a deep breath, exhaled, and smiled. “Sunflower seeds.”