"Only With The Heart..."
by Christina M. Simmons
Illustrated by Erin Livingstone
**Standard Disclaimer: The X Files, Mulder, and Scully are the sole
property of Twentieth-Century Fox, 1013 Productions, and affiliates
thereof. No profit turned by this piece's composition, not copyright
**Additional Disclaimer: All "bordered-off" segments of this piece are drawn directly from "Le Petit Prince" by Antoine de St. Exupery, no copyright infringement intended; the words are direct quotation; the arrangement my own, to contrast with the prose of the story.**
Summary: Waiting for Scully in the hospital hallway, Mulder contemplates
their partnership's history and progression. V/A, MSR, Rating: G
Author's Note: I loved "The Little Prince." It's a book every feeling
person ought to read... timeless... and very appropriate for our times.
Personally, I see this as the sort of story Mulder might read to his
children, someday... a gentle sort of alien encounter. Even before I
became an X Phile, I loved the chapter about the Little Prince and his fox
friend best of all. That one chapter spoke volumes to me after "Mementos
Mori"... Scully taking the role of Le Petit Prince, and Mulder being his
foxy self. I've attempted to parallel the two stories here... more as an
exercise for any future fanfic I may write, though I've decided to share
it... and while St. Exupery might not agree, I've a feeling his Little
Prince would have much to say about our favorite alien chasers... for with
them, as with so much of what they are together, and for 'shippers like
ourselves, "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly. What is
essential is invisible to the eye."
"I am looking for friends.
What does that mean tame?"
Mulder paced in the hall... the door to the hospital room, shutting with a
click soft to the hearing ear, echoed in his mind with all the clarity of a
fired shot. She was safe, that was the important thing... safe, his
partner, his friend. Not dead, not taken... he knew that. But now the
frantic energy that had driven him here was beginning to dissipate, leaving
in its absence not comfort, but nagging doubt. Scully was alive, he
repeated to himself, trying to push those colder, darker thoughts back...
she was just steps away, sitting out her vigil with Peggy Northern, safe
where he'd left her. Safe, so long as he was here. He'd see to that.
But for how much longer?
The question chilled him to the core. How much longer? What Scully needed
shelter against was nothing he could turn back with body or blows, or
cunning, or sacrifice. He was, as much as his partner... more so...
powerless against this common enemy. Cancer. He turned to regard the door
once more, and the hall... sterile, barren, empty, a void of its own
design, threatening to swallow him whole. How long would it be, until
another door shut behind him... and Scully lay on its opposite side, still
and cold? How much longer, until he was again alone in a hospital
hallway... and there would be no Scully to wait for?
The shudder took him, and he regarded the door mournfully. How long, indeed?
"It is an act too often neglected,"
said the fox.
"It means to establish ties."
"To establish ties?"
"Just that," said the fox.
" ... I have no need of you.
And you, on your part, have no need of me.
To you I am nothing more
than a fox like a hundred thousand other foxes.
But if you tame me, then we shall need each other..."
There had been no Scully, once. Long ago, it seemed now... but at the same
time, too short a time. The length of a single breath... a heartbeat. He
remembered it well... the solitude of his basement office, the security of
a closed door that nobody knocked upon to enter... to question his cause,
his pursuit of the truth, his findings. Nobody to wonder where her desk
was. No reason to regret that he'd never thought to find one for her.
He'd built that fortress for himself. From the moment the light had faded
that autumn evening so long ago, he'd started to build it. His world had
crumbled to dust with Samantha's vanishing... his family shattered, the
feelings of trust, and love, and security all vanished with her. For a
time he'd tried to recapture them... tried to remember the way things had
been, to hold fast to memories... but memory brought only pain. There
would never be family again, not in that way, and the boy Fox mourned its
loss. Never again trust, or security... or love.
Again and again he'd told himself that until finally he believed it...
again and again, he had been proven right. In his life he was never
utterly alone, but people came and went, their presence no different than
the passing of a wind, and after a time he was satisfied with that. If
they did not stay... he would not miss them, in their absence. He'd been
pleased enough with his lot, once he'd settled into the security of
isolation... fleeing the island that had too many ghosts upon it, excelling
in his mastery of studies at Oxford, with his acceptance into the Bureau,
with the regard he'd earned in the Violent Crimes division. Relying on
himself, on his own powers of intellect and perserverance, he'd earned the
respect of others, if not their friendship... but the respect was enough,
and no person imposed on his solitude. Respect, yes... it was a good
thing, keeping people at their distance, for it did not give license to
intimacy as friendship did. It was more than enough.
And even that respect was not vital... for eventually, when it had
vanished, when he'd claimed the X Files as his own, he had discovered that
he barely missed those he had worked so closely with, barely missed the
commendations accorded him, barely missed being on "the fast track." Loss
of respect was a small price to pay for freedom to do as he would.
He'd told himself that, at least.
He had his work - that was the important part of it. And, when the buried
memories finally came, he'd found that he had a goal to pursue. He would
find the truth... would find Samantha, whose photographic image was his
sole officemate, his only companion. Let the others call him "Spooky." He
had no need of them... though they needed his expertise, his instinct. And
it brought some small pleasure, a triumph of sorts, each time they were
forced to call him from the exile of the basement, to ask for his help
against their will. They could not restrict him, hold him back, on those
grounds... he was too valuable to them, and too good at his work. So they
called him Spooky, and smirked at him... and he worked on, alone,
untroubled in mind or spirit.
He had needed nothing, and nobody, to make that life complete.
And then she had walked through the door.
"... in consequence, I am a little bored.
But if you tame me,
it will be as if the sun came to shine on my life.
I shall know the sound of a step that will be
different from all the others.
Other steps send me hurrying back
underneath the ground.
Yours will call me, like music out of my burrow. . ."
The fox gazed at the little prince,
for a long time.
"Please tame me!" he said.
He hadn't wanted her there. He'd smirked at the thought, mentally counting
the days until this stripling, this green young thing, fled to her
higher-ups, demanding a transfer to a position more worthy of her time and
attention. Dana Scully.
Oh, he'd had warning of her arrival; what friends might have done for him
well-placed contacts did just as well, and many people owed him the favor
of inside information. He'd known weeks in advance that something was
stirring, and had found her personnel files, her thesis paper, and studied
her with the same intensity he had given before to Luther Lee Boggs, to Monty Propps, to a hundred other names on papers before him. She would be easy to u
nderstand... FBI agents were notoriously sane, and Quantico instructors dry
as dust on a bureaucratic desk. Reviewing this small, pale life on paper,
he knew that he'd driven off more seasoned agents than she, and with less
effort. This Scully posed no challenge to him.
It was almost unfair, really, what these office bureaucrats were doing to
her... sending her down, a virgin to the beast in the basement. A very
spooky beast, and he'd snickered. She was intelligent, gaging by her
writings... and respected, based on her reviews. She toed the line,
followed the rules, and impulse and instinct were likely as foreign to her
as the paranormal phenomena she would be asked to study.
How long would she last, trying to monitor his movements, report on his
doings? Yes, he knew that, too - her ulterior motive. Well, it could not
be avoided, and he would call no attention to the matter by formal protest
at this subtle insult. It might even be amusing to watch her, for a time,
until she'd had enough. To see how cunning she could be. To thwart her
efforts, perhaps. Or... no. Just to watch her, to let her know, simply by
his presence, that he knew what she was about. That would be entertaining,
in its way. He did not regret his solitude, but there was precious little
to laugh at, in the basement. Or in his life outside. Yes... this Scully
would be good for amusement, at least.
"I want to, very much," the little prince replied.
"But I have not much time.
I have friends to discover,
and a great many things to understand."
"One only understands the things that one tames,"
said the fox.
" Men have no more time to understand anything.
They buy things all ready made at the shops.
But there is no shop anywhere
where one can buy friendship,
and so men have no friends any more.
If you want a friend, tame me. . ."
She could not have surprised him if she'd intentionally tried to.
Standing there, a taut, upright little thing in an unflattering hairstyle
and an unadorned, even dowdy, suit, this Dana Scully had extended her hand
to him in the most barren of gestures. Not formality, not between assigned
partners... but there was reserve there. She'd heard of Spooky Mulder. He
could see it in her eyes, the barest flicker of assessment, before she'd
masked it. She was measuring him, even as he had measured her, calculating
his resistance to her presence, to her ideals, to what she represented.
Confronted with his snide comments, his bold challenges to her scientific
beliefs, she had neither backed down nor lashed out.... only dug in, as one
prepared to stay out a pitched battle. She'd met him glance for glance,
fact for fact...
He could respect her, for that. He could, if he wanted to... so he'd taken
it one step further, to see how far she would go from the very start of it.
"Do you believe in extraterrestrials?" And he'd gotten right in her face,
right from the first... intentionally pushing her, testing her boundaries
before she could really form them, before even the facade of a partnership
could place the restraint of politeness on the two of them. He needed to
see how she would react, when she was herself in her purest form, to
measure her out.
"Logically, I would have to say no." And she hadn't flinched, hadn't
retreated only gazed at him steadily, with perhaps a hint of reproach
for this sort of unprofessional behavior. But she favored him with a calm,
collected rendering of her standpoint, as though defending a thesis before
a fellow scientist. That she could do that... face him down, this untried
agent, and show no hesitation about doing so, secure in herself and her own
beliefs... that drove him to momentary distraction. That intelligence...
that reason... that stubborn core of strength, apparent even now... dear
Lord, what a partner she could make!
If he'd wanted one, he'd amended. And he didn't.
And... it didn't matter in the least to her. Hours into their first case
together, that much was clearly apparant. His feelings about her sudden
arrival mattered less than nothing. The prospect that this might well be a
short-lived pairing - by his hand, or her hand, or forces beyond her
control - was similarly dismissed. Despite the expectations of their
superiors, despite his own intractability, Dana Scully moved about him
utterly unphased. If she did not want to be there, if she was not wanted,
well, she *was* there, and that was all there was to it. Wanting or not
wanting had nothing whatsoever to do with it.
It intrigued him, that detatchment from desire. It was fascinating to
notice how, though she did not particularly want him for a partner, she
accepted him. Not unquestioningly... but entirely. This was Spooky
Mulder; she could not change him, her manner said, and she would not try...
but neither would she change or alter her path for him.
Knowing that, and watching her work beside him, her manner neither guarded
nor resentful nor yet resigned, he was surprised to realize that something
in him had warmed to that presence. So quickly! Maybe it was the way she
looked up at him, tilting her head slightly, face angled up to meet his
gaze. Maybe it was the way, when she confronted his theories with
counter-theories of her own, he expected her to put her fists on her hips
and call him "buttmunch"... just like Samantha used to. He'd shied away
from that... realizing the implications... and had thrown up his stoutest
wall between them, confronted her with his beliefs regarding aliens and
alien abductions, government conspiracies, and her own part in that.
Telling her that nothing else mattered... not their job, not the case they
worked, nothing at all. It had almost been an accusation...
But she had not flinched at that, had not grown defensive; the theory was
separate from the theorist, and the respect granted him in that was...
well, utterly alien to him. All she did, all she could do, was offer her
word to him that they were working towards a similar goal.
And, surprisingly enough... he'd found it easy to accept.
"What must I do, to tame you?"
asked the little prince.
"You must be very patient," replied the fox.
"First you will sit down
at a little distance from me
like that in the grass.
I shall look at you out of the corner of my eye,
and you will say nothing.
Words are the source of misunderstandings.
But you will sit a little closer to me,
Night had worn on in the hospital... and still Scully did not emerge.
Byers had long since departed. A nurse had brought him a chair... an
uncomfortable chair, but a chair nonetheless. Nobody made the move to
tell him that visiting hours were over... and nobody could have moved him,
even if they'd tried.
For a time, he'd wandered the halls... not looking for anything, or anyone,
just expending what energy he'd had left. His rambling would bring him,
inevitably, to Scully's room, still empty... and he paused there, as the
night dragged on, and read from the journal he'd glimpsed before. He'd
felt the ache in his chest as keenly as though he'd lost her already,
reading those words... admissions of a trust and friendship, and even an
affection that had taken so long to build...
Taken too long to build, to have it severed like this, so suddenly.
Again his mind roamed backwards... no, it had not happened all at once. It
could not... they were too much who they were, and from that first case,
from that initial testing period, he had realized that there would be no
changing any of that. The schism would always remain there... he on one
side, she on the other. Science and parascience... reason and intuition.
Scully had never pushed those boundaries, never demanded that he relinquish
his claims to "extreme possibilities." She was patient... she could wait
him out. And she tried... as a forced pairing became a mutual bond or
respect and partnership, and that partnership became a friendship...
neither bending entirely to the other, each strong in their own beliefs.
Instead, it became a melding of sorts... and what he would not have forced
upon him by so many others, he came to accept in Scully's passive
persuasion: the scientific counter-question to things he'd assumed, the
drive to find tangible fact, the insistence on going, even marginally, by
the book. For her part, Scully seemed to accept his theories as another
science, though one she could not herself subscribe to... happier if his
theories could be proven, but sometimes, a definite impossibility served as
well, if not better than, as a questionable fact.
She was more of a challenge than he'd expected, for that. He found himself
working harder to prove to her his case... he wanted her to believe, but
more, he wanted her to make that step herself, rather than accept it from
his mouth and learn it by rote Her presence honed his skills, which he'd
relied on almost glibly for so long... he wanted her to respect him, to be
worthy of that respect.
She was more amusing than he'd thought, as well. Where he'd initially
expected to find a twisted sort of pleasure in watching her squirm, then
flee, meek and confused, he'd discovered the joy of having a sparring
partner. Scully gave as well as she got, understanding the dry wit that
others had found arrogant, returning with tart rejoinders and a twinkling
eye. He found himself, all unwitting, listening passively for the sound of
her distinctive pace down the basement hall, anticipating her reaction to
their next case, the look on her face that always made him want to laugh
aloud... Scully's "you-MUST-be-joking" look, for she could never seem to
expect the unexpected. He found himself appreciating the long times of
transit from one location to another, when they would, more often than not,
sink into a companionable silence, proximity speaking volumes more than
words ever could.
And then... then the day had come when he'd realized that it had happened.
That day when, faced with the respectable agents of Violent Crimes, with
her own classmate from the academy, and the open invitation to return to
the land of the provable fact and rewards for work well done... she had
chosen him. Not the X Files... not the paranormal... not the job itself,
though all of those were part and parcel of the results. She had stood by
his side, still, strong, with dignity and self-bearing, opening herself to
the scorn of others, to the wagging of heads, to the whispered comments
about "Mrs. Spooky." Her face, her manner, spoke nothing of regret. She
was his partner now... his partner, and more than that: his friend. It was
as binding as a marriage vow... and it had frightened him, even as he'd
reveled in it.
But he pushed back the fear, the nagging awareness of something deeper...
content for the moment to bask in the companionship that had warmed him,
drawing him out of a prior chill of the spirit that he could only recognize
now, in her presence. It strengthened him, and if the reciprocation of
that bond terrified him, the knowledge that no partnership, no friendship
was single-sided, he was willing to ignore it... for the time.
So the little prince tamed the fox.
And when the hour of his departure drew near
"Ah," said the fox, "I shall cry."
"It is your own fault," said the little prince.
"I never wished you any sort of harm;
but you wanted me to tame you. . ."
"Yes that is so", said the fox.
"But now you are going to cry!"
said the little prince.
"Yes that is so" said the fox.
"Then it has done you no good at all!"
"It has done me good," said the fox...
He had cried for her before.
It had been silent, at first... through many separations. They'd come so
far together, they had... joint witness tothings that science could not
fully explain, and while Scully remained as stalwart in her facts as he was
in his truth, the union between them had been sealed. He could no longer
imagine a time when she was not there to counter his theories, to force him
to work for what facts did exist. To protect him from himself, and he knew
it. Belief was no longer enough...
And he'd known how dangerous that could be. For him. It exploded in their
faces with the assassination of their one contact... his one contact, for
Scully had never accepted the man... and suddenly, the basement was again
empty, and Scully was gone... as were the tools of his quest. That he
missed the former more than the latter had been salt on the wound. The
sudden ache, all too familiar, demanded action, and he'd tried to cauterize
the sore with a coldness that burned, had tried to shut out what had been.
She hadn't let him go.
His beliefs were not her beliefs, but she would not allow him to release
them to despair... and, despite the bindings of their positions, despite
the enforced separation, despite even the introduction of that bastard
Krycek, they had remained, ineffably, together. Her voice was in his mind,
even when she was not at his side. Knowing that she was out there...
somewhere... knowing that her office door was open, knowing that her voice
was on the other end of the telephone line... he'd clung to that.
It was tempting the gods, and he knew it. Defying fate.
And then the forces that would be gods had asserted themselves, and she was
"Mulder... I need your help!" The words would burn him forever. He hadn't
been there for her. His partner, though separate... and he'd failed her,
and she'd been taken from him like a limb removed without anesthesia. He'd
pursued, aching, burning, driven... but he could not find her. The
awareness of his negligence was overwhelming. He'd put her in harm's way.
He'd drawn her into this life... his quest... and left her unguarded.
Inside of him, something cracked like a breaking bone, as he realized what
that meant... and her cross, worn close to his heart, was only barely
enough to hold him together. But even then the tears would not come... it
was not yet time.
They had come, instead, months later... in the dawn-lit solitude of his
shattered apartment. She had been returned to him, though battered,
bruised, and broken. He'd raged against her pain, sought vengeance against
the demons that had brought her to that state... only to find himself
looking in the darkened mirror, and recognizing a demon as himself. He had
tried to make amends, going to her bedside. But in that dawn stillness,
when the sudden realization had come that despite all his work, despite his
searching, despite the return of her spiritless body, that he would lose
her anyway... the tears had come then, and he had gone to his knees, and
sobbed, brokenly, the loss amplifying both memory and the unhealing wound
of loneliness and empty frustration.
But she had been returned to him... and he'd sworn to himself then,
promised to her, though silently, Never again...
There had been rifts after that, of course, though time passed quickly
after that... small or mid-sized, the strains that always accompanied a
joining of any kind. Perhaps it had been that very fear of losing her that
had forced him to resist her once more... the realization that she had
power over him. He would not lose her... would not stand a second
separation... but neither could he allow her to own him. It had been a
shifting, rather than a pulling away, settling into the role of partner
once more. Scully, too, had shifted... never retreating, but now, more
than ever, determined to stand on her own. There had been arguments...
small resentments, flares of temper and heel-dug opposition of ideas. Had
he come to take her for granted? Yes, he was sure he had. Had she
irritated him, as time wore on? Yes, she'd done that, too. It was part
and parcel of any union as unbreakable as their own... and he, for one,
found them stronger for it.
Strong enough to forge a trust stronger than family. It was he, not her
mother, who had faced with her small, upright figure... her calm tones,
stating the inevitable. Sharing her burden.
"Mulder... I have cancer."
And, with those three words, something in him had irrevocably shattered.
For her, it was the beginning of a long goodbye... her own coming to terms
with what she knew to be inevitable. For him... it was a separation he
could not bear, and an admission that he could not, would not, accept.
When his partner had bowed to the weight on her shoulders, entering the
hospital, leaving him alone and beyond her reach, he had launched into a
last, desperate course of action. Seeing no alternative, he had been one
step from making himself the servant of the very shadows he had so long
railed against. In his eyes, once more, the light blinded him, and the
spindly-limbed figures stood ready to claim her... though whether it was
sister or partner or something more, he could not tell. He'd gone to the
Cancer Man once before, with a gun in his hand... now, he asked nothing
more than to walk that path again, though he felt the gun to his head. It
didn't matter. Nothing mattered, if Scully...
He pushed the thought away. She was alive. She had not been taken from
That path had been denied him, at any rate. Find another way, he'd been
told... so he'd tried, and found yet another sort of truth, and another
laboratory, and men who admitted his suspicions, his theories, to be truth.
It hadn't mattered.
He hadn't been at all surprised to realize that, standing amid all the
proof he could ever need... enough to prove to Scully, to the world, that
his cause had not been a crusade against Don Quixote's windmills... he'd
regarded it numbly. The awakening had come, even as he held the vial of
his partner's ova... her seed, the extension of herself... that without
Scully, none of it mattered at all.
He'd fled back to the hospital, to her side, where he'd ought to have been
all along... and finding the room empty, he'd felt the resurgence of
chill... the heart-deep agony, as if he were condemned to a private hell of
reliving her absence for all eternity. And that would be his hell, if he
were so consigned... for no other torment could compare.
But she isn't gone... you saw her yourself... she's alive, she's fine...
Returned to the chair, slumped and cramped, Mulder dreamed. He did not
sleep... could not sleep... but his mind had gone distant, waking dreams
flitting across his consciousness.
"Mulder, I feel you close tonight..." The words in his mind, Scully's
words, wound around his thoughts. Do you, Scully? Do you know I'm out
here, waiting for you? Do you feel me here... as I feel you?
He did feel her... the surety of her presence, like a warming blanket. How
long had she been in there? Hours? It felt like days But he would not
leave... could not leave. He would not rest until she returned to him once
more. And after that...
Is it worth it, Mulder? he asked himself... a faint half-question, born
of exhaustion. Is it worth it? The fear? The wondering? The not
knowing? Does it equal the questioning, the frustrations, the arguing?
It was not a month ago that they'd found themselves once more at odds...
over that damned desk, though Scully swore that wasn't the source of the
matter. Is it worth it? Wouldn't you be better off if you'd never met
her... if you'd gotten rid of her, like you'd planned?
The wordless surge of rage, self-loathing, self-accusation was his reply,
and he cringed. She would be gone, someday... but she was not gone now.
Now, she was here... and while she was here, she was his, even as he was
hers. That knowledge no longer brought even the slightest twinge... he
closed his eyes. He'd fought it for so long, that realization... but it
was true. They belonged to one another, each tamed to the other's hand.
Knowing that, he sighed, regarding the door once more. She would emerge...
and they would be together again, as they should be.
"Goodbye," said the fox.
"And now here is my secret, a very simple secret:
It is only with the heart that one can see rightly;
what is essential is invisible to the eye."
"What is essential is invisible to the eye,"
the little prince repeated,
so that he would be sure to remember.
"Men have forgotten this truth," said the fox.
"But you must not forget it.
You become responsible, forever,
for what you have tamed..."
She hadn't let him hold her at once. She'd held back from him, afraid that
to go to him would prover her weak... but at last she'd come close to him,
and finally allowed him to swath her in his arms, warm and close and
tangible, while tears ran down both their faces.
She felt good in his arms. He could hold her forever... wanted to hold her
forever, feeling her thin frame pressed close to him, feeling her arms
around him. She had come back to him... not only in body, but in spirit.
It might not be forever... the danger was there, and the darkness...
But she was with him now. She had emerged alone, grieving, not expecting
him to be waiting for her. Seeing him there, she'd been too drained to
hide her surprise, her puzzlement... her gratitude. She was naked to him,
emotionally... and for his part, the overwhelming joy of seeing her there,
that small, pale figure, left him open to her, as well. It was meeting her
again for the first time...
But it was not the first time. She had been with him before... she'd
always been with him, and the moment she reached for him, just as he
reached for her, was ages before and eternity after. He would have to
release her, eventually... remove his arms, allow her to walk free... but
he would never again let her go. He would hold her to him for always and
And maybe, someday, he would tell her that.
Surrendering to the relief, to the emotion, he cupped her face in his
hands, pressed his lips to her forehead. She did not resist, and when he
pulled back, stroking her cheek, she turned wide blue eyes up to meet
his... and he did not need to meet that gaze to see to the core of the
matter, clearer than any eye might see, or could ever see.
Always starts right now.
He let her walk away from him, both now strengthened and strengthening...
and every step was a small forever, and he held her that much tighter.