Wherever You Take Me
Reposting because college AUs seem to be the go at the moment and sometimes being in the future means missing out on the peaks. Sorry if you’ve read this already.
This was written as a 60 minute word vomit over the weekend inspired by a chat over on @lepus-arcticus blog about what music Mulder and Scully might have listened to when they were younger. It’s set in Glastonbury in 1984. It’s total AU fluff. But it took me back to my youth and to my country of birth.
She sunk down behind the tee-pee and scraped the crust off the bottom of her sandals. Joan Baez was singing Diamonds and Rust and she knew Missy would be swaying along.
“I don’t know about you, but I’m waiting for Billy Bragg.”
She turned towards him. “I saw two shooting stars last night, I wished on them but they were only satellites.”
He sat in front of her, long feet sticking out from under his ripped denim hems. He chewed on a blade of grass. “I don’t want to change the world, I’m not looking for a new England.”
The first drops of rain fell from the brooding sky. “What are you looking for?” She felt the breath hitch in her chest, a symptom of her startling boldness. Missy would be grinning so hard if she could see her little sister exchanging song lyrics and bad pick-up lines with a dark and moody fellow American.
“Someone to wash the mud out of my clothes and work out what the hell I was thinking when I agreed to come to a field in the middle of Somerset to camp and eat out of cans. They don’t even do S’mores. It’s practically prehistoric here.”
“I’ve got Graham crackers in my tent and there’s plenty of chocolate,” she said. “If you can find some marshmallows, perhaps we can have a real American campfire.”
“Don’t you have plans…I don’t know your name.”
She lifted her arm towards the stage behind her. “My sister’s fallen in love for the third time in two days. She won’t remember that she promised to cook dinner tonight. I’m Dana.”
He took her hand in his and squeezed it. “Mulder.” Energy fizzed through her veins. His smile was a memory-maker. His fringe flopped into his eyes and dark stubble defined his strong jaw. Those lips, the unreadable eyes, she felt herself blushing as he held her gaze. “My on-again, off-again girlfriend is off-again, on-again with her other boyfriend. So, I would be honoured to share my tin of Heinz baked beans with you. I even have cheese – real West Country cheddar to melt on the top. If you like that kind of thing.”
She thought she might.
“Do you like the Smiths, Dana?”
“I don’t think I’ve heard anything they’ve sung.”
“If you want something to do after baked beans, they’re on. We can go wherever we please and everything depends on how near you stand to me.” His voice was golden-gravel.
“Sorry?” she whispered.
“And if the people stare, then the people stare, Oh, I really don’t know and I really don’t care. Lyrics from hand in glove. Johnny Marr and Morrissey are poets. Their words really resonate with me, you know?” He bumped his fist against his heart and looked away to the rolling clouds. “England is a paradox, isn’t it?”
“How do you mean?”
“Polite and clever, proud but humble, clever but contained, pretty in a way like no other, she’s the ideal woman; but she’s surrounded by a bitter sea and constantly battling the demons of tradition. She is both a queen and a princess. She’s history and charm and hope and hell.”
“Are you talking about your girlfriend or this country?”
He twisted the blade of grass in his fingers and laughed. “Sometimes, I’m not sure but I am certain that you’ll love the Smiths so I’d be honoured if you’d join me. Your sister might fall out of love and be in need of some poetic metaphor to mourn to tonight.”
She put her sandals back on and stood up, feeling small in his presence. “My sister won’t spend too much time mourning. She bounces back pretty quickly.”
“Resilience is a great quality.” He put a hand on the small of her back. “What do you do, Dana?”
“I’m at medical school, what about you?”
“I’m at Oxford, psychology.”
“And yet you don’t know why you’re here?”
His face softened. “I think I’m escaping.”
A couple wandered past, entwined and giggling. They stumbled into a tent a few spots down. The canvas shuddered. Then they scrambled out, laughing even louder. “I think that’s what most people here are doing. The aroma is always…somewhat…escapist.”
He laughed again. “I think there is a natural tendency for dreaming and fantasising about a way of life that is totally different to our own, don’t you think? I mean, when I look at the stars I wonder what’s out there. Who’s out there.”
“I think about energy requirements and asteroids and black holes.”
His mouth curved. “You don’t believe?”
“Life outside of earth?”
She shook her head. “Life on this planet is hard enough to cope with, don’t you think?”
Turning, he crawled into his tent and from the darkened inside, beckoned to her. “I’d like to show you something.”
Missy would have cackled at that one, but his face seemed so genuine, his eyes held such intelligence, that she got up and walked after him. He was rifling through a bag and she looked around the tent, luggage spilling out clothes, books piled high. He turned around and showed her a photo. In it, a boy and girl were smiling to the camera.
“Me and my sister. She was taken, when she was eight and I was twelve.”
“Taken?” Her heart pounded and she ran a finger over the image. A grainy shot of a girl who was no longer in his life. A child, disappeared. But here, in this photo, always smiling. Always reminding him of her existence. Kept in perfect innocence by a chain-reaction of chemicals on paper.
“You asked me earlier why I was here, why I’m escaping? She’s why.”
He offered her a beer and she took it. They listened to the muffled music as he cooked her beans with West Country cheddar. He chatted about his sister, the fateful night, the emotional fall-out, his parents’ relationship. She talked about her sister and brothers, wanting to make her father proud, her hopes and dreams.
The beer was warm but making her ears tingle and her skin buzz. He lit up a joint and they shared it. “Marriage and babies and a white picket fences? That surprises me, Dana.”
“You seem cut out of a different cloth. I don’t know,” he rubbed his face and inhaled. “This is going to sound all wrong, but I think you are here to do something extraordinary in the world.”
She let out a surprised giggle. “Like what?”
He leant in and she could smell his cologne, the weed, his maleness. Turning, their lips caught and he tasted the same, of musk and possibilities. When he pulled back he had a strange smile on his face. “Like you’re going to mean something to someone, like you’re going to be the one soul that will help this person to truly live, like you’re going to be powerful in an unexpected way.”
Their lips joined again and he pulled her hard towards him. The music was lifting outside and voices rumbled by, singing, laughing, shouting. He pulled her to the sleeping mat, covered in a blue sleeping bag.
She bit her lip. “What about your girlfriend?”
“What about the Smiths?”
“I predict that 1984 is just the start of their journey. We’ll see more of them.”
His hands were already tugging at her top and she sighed out, giving in to the pure joy of her heightened state.
“Where are you going, Mulder? On your journey?”
His hands grazed her nipples and his teeth brushed her neck. She didn’t really want to hear his answer. She wanted to experience it. After a while, he pulled back and grinned.
“Wherever you take me, Dana.”