Travelling

by Marcia Elena


Title: Travelling

Author: Marcia Elena

Email: marciaelena@hegalplace.com

Keywords: M/K, slash, post-colonization. Mulder's POV.

Summary: Mulder remembers Alex.

Written for the 14th Lyric Wheel, the 'Poetry Wheel', November 24, 2003.

Rating: R

Warning: Dark, angsty fic ahead. Or maybe just sad.

Spoilers: Not really.

Disclaimer: Not mine -- only each other's, forever.

Author's Notes: Yet another post-col story from me. Sorry if you're tired of these -- I think some part of me lives there. Thank you to Valoise for the amazing poem. I realize my interpretation of it might be twisted, but hey, that's the shape of my mind.

A million apologies for posting so late again... sigh. Birthing this story was a difficult process.

For Maeson. For Logan. For Mulder and Alex -- all of the Mulders and Alexes, in whatever worlds they might inhabit. May they all come together soon.


Travelling
by Marcia Elena

Dawn is only a faint promise in the sky by the time we finally reach shelter, the high canyon walls keeping us wrapped in shadows and hidden from enemy sight. The air outside is still cool at this hour, making the heat that greets me as I climb down into the small enclosed space of this bunker feel all the more stifling. The smell of so many bodies packed close together, unwashed and bristling with fear and exhaustion, is enough to make me dizzy, and for a moment the impulse to turn around and brave the desert and all its dangers is strong in me.

Bone tired, I help the others stack the supplies we're carrying into a pile before making my way to an unoccupied corner, sliding heavily to the ground. Rest, I pray. Yet the very thought is nothing more than another momentary impulse, and carries no real expectation; struggling for survival on a constant basis has distilled everything into simpler shades. There is no middle ground anymore; it's either yes or no, Them or us. Alive, or dead. I will rest, or I won't.

More often than not these days, rest eludes me. More often than not, wishing for anything is foolish -- hope is an illusory thing at best, and cruel at worst. We have all learned the utter futility of prayers.

A flask is passed around, and I take a long draught of it before passing it on, wincing as the harsh liquid burns its way down my throat. The night's skirmish left a number of us dead and broken by the side of the road, and we all need the images to be dulled. There are long hours ahead to be spent here in the dark, away from the sun, keeping as silent as possible, and the lack of stimulus has a way of making each memory more vivid; but there's not sufficient liquor to make us numb enough to forget, and we could not indulge even if there was. We need to stay alert, have our senses sharp when we walk out of here tonight to make the next leg of our journey toward Home. We're bringing back much needed food and medical supplies, and there might be more fighting ahead. We know They're looking for us.

I force myself to partake in a quick meal with the others, for once glad that our rations are so meager. And then I close my eyes, trying to relax. The only sounds around are those of breathing, of bodies shifting against the hard-packed earth in search of more comfortable positions. Once or twice I hear muffled sobs, but as my consciousness sinks into the cracks between wakefulness and sleep, even those are drowned out by the white noise of remembrance.

The ghosts of the dead rise to haunt me. They parade behind my eyelids, some accusing, most of them indifferent. I shy away from them all, strangers and loved ones alike, refusing to let them hold any power over me.

Their faces blur, their voices fade; limbs and mouths and eyes all coalesce into one, until it's your countenance I see, the color of your eyes the unattainable green I know so well.

Alex. Inevitable that I would think of you.

All my roads have always led to you.

For most of your life, I denied you. In your death, I cannot.

I miss you. Your departure carved a hole in me; through it, you flow into me when the tide of grief is high, receding with the ebb, though never completely. The remembered rush of your blood pulses in me, a latent presence, unceasing.

I wonder sometimes if death is the vast dark country I've always imagined it to be. If it is, I know that where you stand waiting for me a light shines -- having its bright source not on any star or lamp, but on your very soul. Showing me the way back to you. Your beacon is a fixed point in the darkness, constant, enduring. As you are the fixed point in my heart.

In the short time we had together, there was so much we managed to do. In the long years before, there was so much we missed experiencing.

We never went skinny dipping. We never watched a baseball game. We never slept in a comfortable bed together.

But you held me in the night when my nightmares came; we held each other. You kissed me and whispered tender words in my ear, you fought by my side and watched my back, and you offered me freely that which you never allowed anyone else to glimpse: yourself. All of you, the truths and the lies and all the glorious nuances in between. Not even They could rob you of your complexity. You were beautiful until the end.

It's not surprising then that you are the only one that can keep the memory of love alive in me. The piece of me that is you is the only thing that still gives me the strength to keep fighting.

Through the haze of heat and half sleep I sense movement near me, and I open my eyes. Two of our band rise to their feet and, falling into each other's arms, start to sway together. It takes me a minute to understand what they're doing.

Dancing.

The sight is incongruous, disorienting. We're in a stinking hole in the ground, with no lights and no music and hardly enough air, the enemy on our heels -- it's pathetic.

It's heartbreaking.

I close my eyes again, unable to stop the sting behind my lids from translating into moisture. Slick and hot as it rolls down my face.

I let it.

We never danced, Alex.


Someone shakes me, pulling me back from that indistinct land of unrealized dreams. "Time to go."

"Yeah," I rasp, dragging myself up, stretching painfully. I walk to the supplies' pile and heft my share of the load, climbing out of shelter with the others, sighing in relief as the clean night air fills my lungs and strokes my skin. And for a second only, I allow myself to believe it's the touch of your hand on my face, the breath of your life sustaining my own.

I look up at the starry sky; framed by the canyon walls, it reminds me of a river. All of us here standing on the wrong side, waiting for our turn to cross.

But no.

My soul is already halfway across the Styx; in the darkest hours of day, I can hear Charon rowing, the coins of the dead whispering to the murky waters as they jingle in his pockets.

Soon, I feel, I will make landfall. Soon you will welcome me back into your arms, and in our combined melodies there will be such harmony that the shores of every world will resound with it.

Soon.

For now, I fall into pace with the others, aware that in this part of the voyage there is still a little distance left ahead to be travelled.


I WENT INTO THE MAVERICK BAR
by Gary Snyder

I went into the Maverick Bar
In Farmington, New Mexico.
And drank double shots of bourbon
backed with beer.
My long hair was tucked up under a cap I'd left the earring in the car.

Two cowboys did horseplay
by the pool tables,
A waitress asked us
where are you from?
a country-and-western band began to play "We don't smoke Marijuana in Muskokie" And with the next song,
a couple began to dance.

They held each other like in High School dances in the fifties;
I recalled when I worked in the woods
and the bars of Madras, Oregon.
That short-haired joy and roughness-
America-your stupidity.
I could almost love you again.

We left - onto the freeway shoulders-
under the tough old stars-
In the shadow of bluffs
I came back to myself,
to the real work, to
"What is to be done."
 

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