fic; the rain peasants
standalone; pg-13; fluff; msr ust; missing scene/one bed for the rain king; Mulder and Scully discuss what it’d be like to control the weather.
A/N: My one bed fic! I Can’t Believe It’s Not PWP
“Do you mind the T.V.? I can turn it off.”
“No, I don’t mind. Just keep the volume low, please.”
“You got it.”
Whatever is playing, it’s benign, popular and impersonal – funny, aluminum isn’t his style. Maybe it’s for her benefit? Can’t really share a bed with your coworker and take the edge off with pornography, can you. But maybe Mulder likes sit-coms. Maybe he needs to be told when to laugh. His sense of humor is… growing on her. After six years. But who doesn’t need a little help now and then? Oh, christ. That’s pathetic. He huffs out a laugh beside her, perfectly in time with the tin-can-track, and she knows that at least she isn’t alone.
“Mulder?” she asks quietly. He goes completely still, and it’s obvious why – there you go again, Scully, getting me alone in cramped quarters and asking me obscenely difficult questions. She does like catching him off guard. There’s something in the way he looks at her when she goes a little nuts – like an x-file, like a mind-melting, course-of-history-changing x-file, and there is something in being that adored. And feared. She enjoys the fear just as much.
However, this is different. This case bothers her, and it ain’t got nothing to do with hicks or being confused for Mulder’s little wife.
“What’s up, Mrs. Mulder?” Tight and nervous. Scully smiles into her pillow. He’s so rarely nervous.
“I’ve been thinking about the case.”
“It’s about time you took your work seriously.”
“Shut up, Mulder.” She gives him a moment to stop the next asinine comment before it arrives and he manages, just barely. “Let’s say, for the sake of conversation, it is possible for one man to dictate the state of the atmosphere in his little corner of the world.”
“Okay, Scully. I’ll say that.”
“What if it were you?” she asks. There’s no missing the sincerity in her voice. Mulder may deflect – maybe he’ll make a joke, make some kind of pass, make some kind of obscure reference to a man who really did control the weather, hundreds of years ago, a man who swapped rain for mead and sleet for wool – but it won’t be without guilt. She’s okay with letting him make that choice. “What would the weather be like if your emotions were controlling it?”
A beat passes: he’s considering. The bed sharing makes it more dangerous, but regardless of his response they will wake up spooning in the morning. That’s the way it always happens, and he always freaks out more than her. Had he offered to take the floor this time, though? No. Every other time, yes. But not tonight.
“Right now?” he asks lowly. “Right now, or in general?”
He’s taking her seriously. It smarts that she’s so pleased.
“Right now, first,” she decides. She needs to know how much he’s willing to share before she goes all in.
“Right now… it’d be raining pizza,” he snickers to himself, and Scully loses a sliver of confidence in the both of them.
“Well,” she replies easily, masking the hurt with her own brand of indifference. “I told you to eat before we got back to the court.”
“We’ve evolved to stay up past eight p.m., Scully. Nocturnal, diurnal, it all means nothing in our little corner of the world. You forget people live like this.” Silence. “Scully?” She doesn’t reply.
She’s putting all of her effort into finding some semblance of sleep – you purposefully withheld information from me about this case and now I’m going to have to defend it’s necessity to Kersh without mentioning you actually fucking believe people can make it rain with their mind – when his hand covers her shoulder, a cautious, piddling touch. They really are different in bed. He snatches it back like he’s been burned, but then he replaces it with purpose.
“I’ll tell you both, Scully.” He tugs on her shoulder when she doesn’t respond. “Roll over. C’mon, Scully.”
She’s pissed that he’s now somehow made this all seem like his idea, like he’s the one taking the leaps. She rolls over just to glare at him and his face melts into a soft smile at her withering look.
“I sure am glad you’re not in control of the weather right now.” He pets her nose and lets his body relax in a position mirroring hers, while she fights the urge to bite him. They’re both slightly uncomfortable with the situation, noticeably so, and their hunched backs make them look like parentheses.
“I’m not sure the cattle industry could take such a devastating financial hit,” she says caustically. His smile widens. It’s sleepy in the light of the television, and easy. Another rare version of Mulder. Sleepy and easy are never words she’d typically use to describe him.
“Go on, then.”
“Well, I wasn’t exactly lying about the pizza. I’m starving. I have tears in my eyes.”
“I have some granola bars,” she offers kindly. A shadow falls over his face.
“The ones with the flax seeds? God, no.” Relaxing again, his voice turns contemplative, both dreamy and a little dismal. “But in general? I can’t really tell you, Scully. I’d assume it’d be very much like the rest of me.”
“You could say that,” he says dryly, looking away from her. A moment of silence, then: “Sometimes I could probably upend whole towns.”
I don’t think you have it in you, Scully thinks. Her face remains impassive when he grows theatrical, too loud and too convinced of his own hilarity in the middle of the night.
“I could lift roads from the ground, Scully. Municipal buildings would crumble – I’d have to work up to the state legislature. There would be ice, there would be rain …” he pauses. “Maybe not fire.”
Gently, “Because of your fear?”
“No, not that.” He shakes his head. “I’m just not very good at rebuilding from scratch.” Perhaps that was too personal, because he flippantly amends: “But who among us is? I don’t think we’re made for it.”
People create life every day – they have babies, build houses, tear down governments, hoist them back up. It’s a never-ending cycle of starting anew; controlled burns are a way of life. But Scully recognizes that might be too literal an answer to what he’s suggesting.
He shoots a look at her, but she’s shifted on her back to stare at the television. The middle-aged white male lead is drinking a beer.
“But who knows how long that would last? Years, maybe minutes.” He turns and watches with her. A woman yells at her husband. Ha!Ha!Ha!
He continues while watching. “I guess that’s the frightening part. Most of us can just feel without inserting too much meaning into it all. But Holman Hardt spends each day in a hellish atmospheric vacuum of his own creation, cowering under the force of his own fragile emotional state.”
“While other people are suffering,” Scully adds. “And he can’t do a thing to stop it.”
Mulder lets out an amused rush of air. “We should become motivational life coaches. I’m feeling the power.”
“You aren’t like that all the time,” Scully says, a little fiercely. He’s okay sometimes. He doesn’t hurt all the time. “You’re not always so… tumultuous. You’re fine right now.”
They both turn to look at each other. “No,” he says. “I’m not like that all the time.”
She’s quiet. He prods, “Okay, Scully, spill. What about you?”
“Right now, or in general?”
He repeats her words back to her. “Right now, first.”
“I’m not sure my answers would be all that different,” she admits. This is what scares her. It’s not possible for one man to control the weather – and how very lucky they are that this is so – but if it were her… “Right now, or in general.”
What little impact she’d have on the world. The realization depresses the hell out of her. What Mulder described: heart shaped ice cubes? Rose petals? Cows catapulting through court windows? Men cannot control the weather – human bodies cannot even withstand certain atmospheric pressures, let alone bend them to their will – but… where’s her creativity? When did she start feeling this way: not at all?
“That… does not seem right,” Mulder says. He’s itching to prove her wrong already.
“There have been some–” Scully pauses to choose her words carefully. “Difficult. There have been some difficult moments in the last few years of my life.” Mulder snorts derisively, more at himself than at her. “In all of the years of my life, Mulder, just like anyone else.”
She wonders what he imagines her like, dictating the weather with her moods. There are probably more cows. What kind of storm encapsulates the strength of her eye rolling? Damn, is it easy to make herself annoyed with Mulder when she tries. How could you think of me like that?
“What would it be like?” he asks softly, eyeing her with genuine interest. She’s almost embarrassed to tell him. In the face of Fox Mulder’s lifelong battle against emotional terrorism, she feels positively virginal. She stares at his nose pressed into his inner elbow.
“It would be pleasant,” she says to it. She doesn’t feel the need for elaboration, but his lips twitch.
“You always this good at small talk? How about this weather we’re having.” His joke is teasingly sweet. It’s different from before, somehow.
“It’d be pleasant because I don’t think I could let it be anything else.”
They’re quiet for a bit. Neither of them know what the weather’s like outside. It’s chilly in their room, in the way all motel rooms are chilly.
“If anyone had the ability to control the weather, Scully,” he says to the television, “and I mean really, really control it, so that humanity would be better off for having it… it’d be you.”
In the bed in the dark in the light of the T.V. in the hick town where everyone sleeps at eight p.m. where it hasn’t rained in forever where no one has luck in love, Mulder moves a little closer to her. So that their shoulders touch, so that their backs are ramrod straight, so that Scully’s assertion at not being nervous about this becomes a bold-faced lie.