Title: Journey into Darkness
Author: Tabby
Feedback: Please send to my sister at allycat9@earthlink.net and she'll forward it to me.
Category: M/K
Rating: PG
Spoiler: Existence
Disclaimers: Do I have to? Okay, characters are property of Chris Carter and Ten Thirteen Productions.
Archive: Anywhere
Summary: Alternate ending


Journey into Darkness

I'm standing in a parking garage, wishing I were anywhere but here; I've got a Sig Sauer trained on me and the bullets have my name on them. I'm staring, as steadily as I can, into the cold eyes of Assistant Director Skinner, and I'm hoping he'll show me clemency. Mercy. My God, I'm about to die.

"You bastard. You slime," Skinner spits out the words. "Shooting you will be just a disposal of so much garbage."

I say nothing, swallow, lock his brown eye to my green ones. Mulder, on the far side of his car, begins to approach. "Hey," he says, his voice trembling, "A.D. You can't shoot him! He saved me and Scully from Billy Miles. Don't shoot!" His arms are outstretched in the classic posture of supplication. I look at him. He does care. Doesn't he?

"Darling," I whisper. Skinner's trigger finger tightens and begins to squeeze.

"Don't! Don't!" Mulder repeats, ever more urgently, as he walks toward me.

"Stay out of the way so I can get a clear shot," says the grim-faced Assistant Director.

"No!" Mulder insists, and suddenly he is standing in front of me, putting himself in harm's way, only a few feet from his murderous boss.

"Get. Out. Of. The. Way." Skinner says, between clenched teeth.

"No," says Mulder again, quietly but firmly. Skinner darts quickly to the right, but Mulder echoes his movements, protecting me gracefully and determinedly with but his slim and agile body, just as frail and vulnerable as mine in the path of a 9-millimeter slug. The trigger finger tightens again, almost spasmodically, involuntarily.

"Mulder, step away from Krycek."

"Yes, please, darling, do," I say to Mulder softly.

He shakes his head, shoots a look of hate at Skinner. "No! I won't let you hurt Alex!" Alex. And I'd thought I was forevermore "Krycek" to him. Well, no time to muse on that. He maneuvers himself so that his back is pressed firmly against my chest, my abdomen, my.Why am I thinking of this in the middle of the most dire emergency of my fairly young life? Mulder turns his head slightly, and I can feel his nascently stubbly cheek rub pleasantly against mine. "Sweet," he says, "he won't hurt you."

"Mulder, back off!" says Skinner loudly, spreads his muscular legs and crouches in the shooter's stance.

"NO!" Mulder shouts defiantly. Skinner, incredibly, fires on him; Mulder falls to the concrete floor and clutches at his left leg. He is wounded; blood wells up between his fingers. "You shot me!" he says incredulously, and looks at Skinner with a face full of rage. Skinner takes aim at me and I close my eyes. Please, I think, make it quick.

Then several things happen at once, and so quickly that I can barely gather my wits sufficiently to make sense of them. Mulder brushes against me; I open my eyes and see that despite the leg wound, which looks serious, he has regained his feet and is standing in front of me again. Only for a moment, though, because Skinner fires again, and the bullet, meant for me, finds its bloody home in Mulder's gut. He falls flat on the hard floor, groaning. I drop to my knees and gather him in my arms. He is bleeding; his face is very white. "God, Mulder," I say, stupidly and unnecessarily, stroking his damp golden brown hair, his pale contorted face, the hazel eyes roaming and grasping and not finding purchase in the dimming, shadowy world.

Skinner runs up. "Mulder!" he shouts. "I didn't mean to shoot you! Oh, my God!"

I turn to him, my anger blazing like a bonfire. "Asshole," I say in low tones, "murderer! Low-life scumbag! Snake! Son of a whore!" I use all the pejoratives that have been employed against me over the years. They fit him well.

"I'm so sorry!" he says, over and over again, looking at Mulder in horror, agony evident in his voice. He pulls out his cell phone and calls 911, and pretty soon I can hear sirens meshing in an eerie wail.

"Mulder!" I say, "hang on, OK?" The wandering eyes fix on mine; the pale lips move; he is trying to talk. I duck my head down, place my ear to his mouth.

"I love you," he says, the voice faint and raspy, "but it's time for me to go."

"No!" I cry. "You can't! Hold on!" There is a slight, almost imperceptible movement of his head; he is shaking it, no.

When the ambulance arrives I am still holding him, although the life has drained out of his body and the beautiful eyes gaze at nothing. I close them; and then I feel the pistol in my back.

END

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Archived: June 03, 2001