Incomplete Thought
by JHJ Armstrong
Content: Angst, bits of story
Rating: PG-13
Summary: Kyrie eleison, Christe eleison.
Distribution: Anywhere's fine, but please link to my site:
incomplete.html
Notes: Thanks to Alanna for being online, and to Virginia
for just always being there
.

========================================

Mid-April, and assorted Hoover's boys were talking about 
ERAs but not the Constitution. Scully arrived just in time 
to hear Mulder tell Kittridge, a rabid White Sox fan, that 
David Wells was a fat fuck who didn't know a fastball from 
fast food. She towed him out into the day before blood was
shed.

Lunch was sandwiches in a nearby public park, hers tuna 
(light mayo), his BLT (double B), with communal chips 
(baked not fried), eaten while sitting on the same side of 
a sun-warmed granite table. They watched twentysomethings 
play Ultimate Frisbee; idly, Scully wondered when the gene 
for hips had disappeared from the human population.

A dog, a scruffy mutt type, raced by on the walking path, 
and Scully laughed softly, sympathizing with the girl 
being towed along behind it.

"Did you ever have a dog, Mulder?"

"Yeah. Chocolate lab named Cookie." He cocked his head,
remembering. "Samantha named him; she was two, and the 
first word out of her mouth when Dad brought him home was 
'cookie'. He died my senior year of high school. Old age."

"Mmm," she said, chewing and swallowing. "Nothing since?"

"No, I seem to be a one-dog man. But there were, oh, six 
turtles, a Chia Pet and a frightening number of fish." He
squinted at her. "How about you? Ever thought of getting
another dog?"

"I miss Queequeg sometimes," she said. "Not because he was
especially lovable, or even obedient, but because he was
there when I got home."

Mulder gave her one of those looks where she thought he
might be able to see her heart flutter inside her chest.
But he just looked, he didn't speak, and another moment 
when something could have been said passed by in silence.

-------------------

If the world was just and right, no child would ever be 
hurt, and those who were would have safe places to go with 
no questions asked and love freely given.

But the world was full of wrong, and in the afternoon 
Scully carved into a battered 15-year-old boy, gangly all 
over in the way boys are when their bodies grow faster than 
their coordination. Still, he was probably a basketball 
player, wingspan and big hands helping when spider legs and 
bigger feet got in the way.

She imagined Mulder at 15, and then herself, and wondered
what the star athlete and the shining pupil would have 
thought of each other. Probably not much.

"Got a cause yet?" The grown-up Mulder's tie was askew, 
and if her hands hadn't been covered in latex and blood 
she would've reached up to straighten it. So she looked 
at it, and he did it himself.

"Basal skull fracture with associated brain trauma, most 
likely caused by repeated shoves into a wall at high 
velocity. Just because the body stops moving doesn't mean 
the stuff inside does."

He nodded. "Call me when you're done and we'll get dinner." 
She nodded back, and they gave each other a half-smile,
a promise with no words.

After he was gone, she returned her attention to the 
dead boy, twice the hurt at less than half her age. She 
catalogued a crooked rib, noting not for the first time 
that, when broken, humans will heal and be stronger than 
they were before the break.

No kidding, she thought. Mulder and I ought to be made of
fucking titanium by now.

-------------------

Scully wanted chocolate, but she was grumpy and there were 
people in the break room laughing hard enough to expel 
dentures. She didn't want to ruin the mood.

She sat on a chair in the hallway and dialed Mulder, 
wanting him, his voice, but getting voice mail. "Mulder, 
it's me," she said. "I'm done." She slipped the phone back 
into her pocket and rubbed her temples, the boy's face
with its peach fuzz and acne scars large in her mind.

Every so often this happened, this inability to put death
back in cold storage. She supposed she should be thankful
for the proof she was still a person before she was a 
doctor or an FBI agent, but it always made her feel weak
and that wasn't something she ever wanted.

Did profiling make Mulder feel this way? Did the motley 
faces of suspects, of victims, ever surge up from the 
depths of his psyche and threaten to drown him? 

"Scully, you okay?" Her partner's baritone dared her to
tell him a fine lie as he crouched beside her chair. The 
hyenas tromped past them, oblivious.

She looked at him, eye level for once, and decided it was
time somebody said something. 

"No, I'm not."

---------------------------

Back in her apartment, he heated soup while she selected
music. She pushed play, and chamber singers filled the 
air with words it seemed like she'd known since birth. 
Her brain translated the Greek into English out of habit.

"Kyrie eleison (Lord have mercy)...Christe eleison (Christ 
have mercy)..."

Mulder brought soup, crackers and juice on a tray. "That's
pretty." He handed her a napkin and a bowl. The soup was
soothing, but as its steamy warmth seeped into her flesh 
she wished heartache could just evaporate, too.

"I loved to listen to the choir sing this at Mass. First 
and last time I ever sang along in church," she said, not 
trying to be funny. Just trying.

He settled on the couch next to her, slurping for a few
minutes, and she thought maybe she was trying too hard 
until he put his bowl back on the tray and sat sideways,
facing her, with his head leaning on his left hand. 

"When I was little," he said, tracing a blue stripe on the
couch with eyes and fingers, "I would listen to the cantor 
and even though I didn't understand everything he said, the 
purity and conviction in his voice was something special, 
something holy. Something...higher." He picked up his glass
of juice, wiping the condensation on wool trousers before 
it dripped on the couch.

"My cynicism grew with me, but I never was quite able to
shake that sense of awe I felt as a boy in temple. To this 
day, I still feel it whenever I see or hear beauty."

She would not cry. "Hard to find beauty when you have to 
look at beaten and dead children."

He sipped his juice and nodded. "Yes, it is." Then he put
down his glass, took her soup away and held both her hands
in his. "But I am in awe of you every day."

She smiled at him, accepting his kindness, and he squeezed
her hands before handing her back the bowl of chicken and
stars. 


-- 30 --
============================
thanks for playing in the sandlot with me

N.B.: I find it interesting that the happier our heroes
are on the show, the more angst I want for them in fic, and 
vice versa. Argue/agree at fullback48@zdnetonebox.com.

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