Title: Another chance
Category: X-Files
Summary: Pre-revival

Rating: NC-17 – some sexual situations
Spoilers: I think you should know up to the series end

Disclaimer: I don't own these characters. I don't know if that's good or bad.

I started this long ago as we learned more about the revival – probably shortly after they finished filming and we got a bit of info here and there. Now we know a lot more, but I still wanted to get this out before the episode aired and this was all proven wrong

It's messy, it hasn't been edited by me or anyone else. It's not that great, but here it is! Happy X-Files revival day, everyone! Even if this episode isn't the best, let's just celebrate that our fav duo is back!

For a long time after she left he sat in his small office, staring at all the clippings and print-outs tacked to the wall. He didn't shower for days at a time, his beard grew unruly, and he ate only enough to keep from passing out. Nothing made sense anymore. His whole life, her whole life… everything she gave up, her family, her career, their *son*. For god's sake, she gave up her own child for this, all based on his word, all based on his assertion that there was something bigger than them out there. He told her they were going to save the world, and she believed him.

He felt impotent while a fugitive, but once he was exonerated the drive came back, the need to find out more, to expose the truth to the world and to end this once and for all, to finally be vindicated – no he was not a crackpot, his warnings of UFOs and aliens were all true and here, here is proof undeniable and here is how I saved you and I gave up everything, my wife gave up *everything*, we gave it all up so our son would have a chance to live and now so do you.

2012 was a bad year. Scully was growing frustrated at his absence. When he traveled, his reasons for leaving were sometimes so weak he would withhold information from her; they fought constantly about the limited notice he would give her before going off to god knows where for weeks at a time, often with no contact information and spotty cellular service.

"I can't have any wireless phone, let alone a satellite phone, Scully, they'll trace me with anything I use. It's better this way."

"Who will trace you, Mulder? For all we know, everyone is dead."

He couldn't believe she wouldn't support him on this. Why else did she leave with him then? Why else did she give up William? He almost asked her, he wanted to, but for once, bit his tongue before he could do more damage to their relationship.

He was stubborn and though she said she fell in love with that, it seemed she could also fall out of love with it. She hated the darkness, but since the age of eleven the darkness never left him. Once upon a time they fought it together. Once upon a time she brought some light into his life.

"You're always running after shadows, Mulder. You constantly led here and there, but where do you end up? Right where you started, chasing invisible monsters that are always three steps ahead," she said to him once, just before he rushed out of the house carrying a small duffel after being holed up in his office all week.

December 20th he arrived back home with William's address in his pocket, fully prepared to go with Scully to get their son should the worst happen. Scully was in bed at six PM, and he woke her with fervent kisses. If the world was to end tomorrow, the last thing he wanted to remember was the taste of her skin.

"I love you, Scully," he said, "I hope you know that."

"I know," she said, and they held each other all night. But December 21st came and went, as uneventful as the day before and the day before that. He was confused and angry, and he saw the look in Scully's eyes when she left for work on the 22nd. He knew if he'd lost her faith he'd lost it all.

The truth was he believed a lie and he lost his chance at life. He lost his wife and son, a stable government job with a pension, a three bedroom townhouse in Georgetown with a decent yard where he and William could have played catch and he could have endured tense conversation with Scully's brother over BBQ on hot July 4th weekends and they could have considered moving because Scully was - surprise! - pregnant again. It was the beginning of his downward spiral into severe depression.

"Mulder, talk to me. You're always in this room, this… homage to the basement in the Hoover building. It's worse than when you were a fugitive, Mulder, please. Just… come out. Talk to me."

"Mulder, have you even eaten anything all day? I think you're losing weight."

"Mulder, you haven't slept in the bed in days now, weeks maybe."

"Mulder, you have to talk to someone. If you feel you can't talk to me, please, talk to someone."

"Mulder, I'm worried about you. I don't think we can live like this anymore. When was the last time you went outside?"

"Where are you going?" she asked as she walked into their bedroom almost two years later. They had barely slept together in that room for months, but his clothes were still in the closet, and he pulled them out, stuffing them into a small carryon bag.

"I've gotten reliable evidence that there may be something happening in Cherkasy. There was a recent train derailment, a very routine route, but there are some top secret documentation that it might not have been oil in the cars and the fires may have been deliberate."

"The Ukraine?" she said. "Mulder, I don't think I have to tell you that it is not safe to go there right now, you know what's been happening with – "

"Scully, Cherkasy is safe. I have to go, this might be the slip up I've been waiting for."

"Mulder! It's been almost two years. Two years since the less than climactic 'end of the world.' I think you can let it go now."

"You want me to give up? Scully, this might be it. There is a reason things didn't go as planned in 2012. I am going to find that reason."

"How? With what? Just yourself and these internet 'informants?' Do you even know who they are? You spend day and night locked up in that tiny room. You don't have the protection of the government behind you anymore, Mulder. You'll be out there, alone, and look what happened last time. You almost died, Mulder. What makes you think you can get answers now? Nine years with the X-Files and at the end the truth was more elusive than ever before. Mulder, you're a psychologist. You must recognize the symptoms. You need help."

"This is about more than the X-Files! We have a SON out there, Scully! Or have you forgotten? I'm doing this for HIM! I'm doing this for YOU! I don't need help, Scully. When was the last time you spoke about William?"

He knew he fucked up as soon as he brought William into the conversation. He was the elephant in the room that for twelve years they almost never mentioned.

"How dare you, Mulder. You're doing this for you."

She cried and he cried, she screamed and he screamed louder, she threatened to leave and he waited for her to come around. But she never did. That was 13 months ago.

He never did find answers in the Ukraine. He never found them in trips to Russia, Nepal, Turkey, Uzbekistan, Bosnia or the UK, though he was able to get detained at the airport and questioned as to exactly what his purpose of traveling to these countries was and could he provide hotel documentation? No, he couldn't, because very rarely did he stay in hotels, and particularly never under his own name. It took name dropping Skinner to help him stay out of suspicion and off the no-fly list.

After a stern chewing out from Skinner that he only half listened to, he came back to his empty house. He didn't sleep in the bedroom after she'd left and has only been in there a few times since. She came back once while he was out to take all her clothes and a few books, some pictures, random things like the handmade keychain that used to hang on a nail by the front door that said "Guadeloupe" in red beads. Perhaps it wasn't so random: he gave it to her the day they got married, the last day of their vacation away from the darkness.

"It's a wedding gift," he said as he held her close on the beach. "I can't afford much else after that ring." He grinned at her and she smiled back, looking like she was still in college with her hair in a high ponytail and freckles all across her nose. They'd forgotten in their few days on the island that they were really and truly two broken and beaten down individuals, clinging to each other because their love was all they had left. Instead they felt like young lovers with a whole lifetime of happiness ahead of them.

"I love it," she said at the time, the diamond on her left hand sparkling in the moonlight as she raised her arm to wrap around his neck, pulling him down for a deep kiss. It was the first time he'd ever made love out in the open, and except for sand in a few awkward places, it was perfect. Those few days were perfect. How did it all go to hell?

He knew how it went to hell, and all the blame could be put squarely on his shoulders, adding to the weight of all the other things that were his fault. He didn't even notice her clothes were missing until probably three days after she'd taken them, such was his single minded focus. No wonder she left him. He disgusted himself.

The longer she was gone, the further he sank into depression. He spoke to no one while at home, days went by sometimes without him using his voice. He was on the internet constantly, every now and then saying a scratchy "how much again?" to the pizza delivery guy and that was it. He slept on the couch only when he had to, sometimes falling asleep on his keyboard. He waited until he passed out from exhaustion because sleep brought out the worst thoughts, memories of Sam and the words in her diary, his parents, of Scully's innocent face when he first met her and her gaunt look during her cancer treatment, the way she sobbed when she lost Emily and her absolute heart crushing cries for William when she thought he was asleep. He thought of Mrs. Scully's look of conflicting emotions when they visited her as a newlywed couple, how she took him aside and told him that as long as she lived she would never forgive herself for giving up her daughter for dead so many years ago when he never did, and that she prayed everyday for the ability to forgive him for leaving her daughter and grandson shortly after his birth when they needed him most. Scully hadn't told him anything about Mrs. Scully's relationship with William, but he knew she loved him as she loved all her grandchildren, but she had also been witness to some terrifying events in the young boys life. Did she agree William was safer away from Mulder?

Scully was right, he was a psychologist and he knew the signs of clinical depression. He knew them even before the thoughts of suicide entered his mind. He kept tabs on his wife – she'd surprisingly enough never filed for divorce – and he knew where she lived, her new office, her phone numbers, the new SUV she drove. He knew she took off her diamond a few months after she'd moved out, but she identified as married on all paperwork, shrugging when someone commented on her lack of ring. She spent many evenings in, and he'd seen her name on a number of articles written for JAMA, NEJM and even CMAJ and BMJ. She been given awards and commendations, she was offered prestigious positions in world renowned hospitals, but she stayed in the area and so did her mother. He found out about one man who entered her life briefly and the caveman part of himself emerged and he'd trashed the kitchen, breaking dishes and even smashing the microwave onto the hard floor, furious that she may have broken their vows of fidelity. He'd never even thought of another woman, had never watched a single pornographic video. Only images of her got him hard anyway. He had a fifteen second video that was burned into his memory, but that he kept encrypted on his laptop and viewed every so often, with reverence. It was a blurry, bouncy, low-res video taken with his cell phone on their first anniversary when they were still happy. After dinner and a lot of wine under the stars on their property, she pulled him inside, leaving a mess for the woodland animals on a blanket in their backyard, tearing off her clothes as she made her way upstairs, with him hot on her heels. They fell into bed and his naked body covered hers and he wanted to do a lot of good things to her before they got down to it, but she was impatient and when he dipped his hand to between her legs, he found her dripping for him.

"Come on, Mulder," she said, licking at his neck and grabbing his cock. He gave up and sunk in, both of them groaning at the feeling. Their coupling was raw and urgent, and sat back on his heels while she lay on the bed, grabbing her hips and pumping into her. She was gorgeous, her beautiful body stretched out before him, her firm breasts bouncing with every thrust. Her lips were parted and her eyes hooded, her hair tousled and her arms reaching up and bracing against the headboard. He looked down and watched himself disappear inside her and he had to distract himself because he was too close. He spotted his phone on the side table and grabbed it.

"Scully," he said, not slowing, but flipping through his phone for the camera. "Scully, you're so beautiful… I'm going to take a picture. Scully."

"Wha -?" she said, breathless, "Mulder, what are you doing?"

"I never want to forget this, Scully. You're so beautiful."

She grinned up at him, her cheeks flush with ardor and alcohol, and he pressed the button for the camera, but instead of being on photo setting it was on video.

"How about we record a replay for later?" he said, a long standing fantasy coming true even though the image on the screen was shaking and losing focus as he thrust into her. His concentration shifted and he slowed a bit.

"Mulder, put that down and come here," she said, pushing the phone out of the way as she pulled him back down to her, rolling them over so that she was on top. He dropped the phone and grabbed her hips, pulling her down onto him hard. She yelped, and somehow after that his phone stopped recording.

He hated himself every single time he jerked off to it, rewinding the video again and again until he could get off. Recently he'd begun watching it without touching himself, looking carefully for her facial expressions, trying to remember what it felt like, why his voice had that warm quality to it, trying to remember what it felt like to put that look on her face, and how it felt to have her arms wrap around him and pull him close. He closed his eyes and listed to her voice, "Mulder, put that down and come here." He missed her. It wasn't just the sex, and it wasn't just the company. On his travels he was hit on by a few women. He'd never wanted to take off his band, but sometimes it was safer not to wear anything of value and early on he spent one plane ride talking to the fairly attractive woman next to him about Mayan belief systems and even though it was easy conversation and she believed in the same things he did, it made him miss Scully even more.

The February after she'd left he called her on her birthday and got her machine. He left a message, but she never called back. In October, on his birthday, she called him and he cried, begging her to come back to him, apologizing and blubbering, and explaining what he'd discovered but that he couldn't piece it together without her.

He heard her sniff and she was quiet for some time before sighing long and deep. "Oh, Mulder," she said, shakily. "Take care of yourself, please." He cried for an hour after she'd hung up, banging his head on the coffee table to numb the pain from her voice.

The day before Walter Skinner called him and changed his life once again, he drove to Scully's new condo in the city and waited until she got home. He watched her park her ridiculously large car and carry a bag of groceries through the door of her building. He watched for the light to go on in her apartment, seeing her shadow move across the window periodically. He stayed until it was dark and the lights in her apartment went out, then started his car for the long drive to his house. He felt pathetic and when he got home hot tears blurred his vision as he tried to check some reliable sites for any activity across the globe. He gave up, pulled out a dusty bottle of tequila from the back of a cupboard in the kitchen that he had yet to fix, and drank himself into a stooper.

The phone jarred him from his spot on the floor. The tequila bottle had tipped over and alcohol soaked his shirt. He coughed, sitting up and grabbing for the phone.

"Yeah, Mulder," he croaked, feeling as if he may vomit any moment.

"Mulder, it's Walter Skinner."