the Edge of the Moor A Gothic
Victorian Werewolf Soulmate AU by @shu-of-the-wind and yours truly
is 1891, and everywhere Others are shunned from society, hunted, given no
rights and no voice. A werewolf with a soulmark escapes legal prosecution in
the US by fleeing to England, where, unknowingly, a huntress who bears his name
on her wrist awaits.
With shaky hands Mulder
adjusts his sunglasses. The dark shades provide him with a sense of deceptive
safety as he steps inside the coffee shop. A small bell over the door announces
his entrance but no one seems to notice or care. Straightening his back, Mulder
makes his way over to the counter.
“Hi, how can I help
you?“ The barista’s smile is sweet, her voice is sugar. Mulder
blinks, realizes she can’t even see his eyes.
"Tall coffee,” he
mumbles, “black, please.” Four words he practiced on his way here.
They roll off his tongue uneasily as if they were a strange language he doesn’t
“Here you go,
Sir.” The young barista hands him his coffee and Mulder thanks her with a
small nod of his head. The coffee is deliciously hot as he takes a sip, sitting
down. It’s quiet here in this small town, but for someone who has been by
himself, holed up in an unremarkable house in the middle of nowhere, it sounds
like New York City during rush hour.
“The sun doesn’t shine
in here, you know.” Mulder turns towards the voice. A woman, hips on her
hands, tells him, her voice a challenge.
“My eyes.” Mulder
croaks out, his voice still warming up.
“What’s wrong with
them?" She sits down at his table, uninvited, cradling her own
"Are you an eye
specialist?” When she laughs Mulder is reminded of bells; not like the one
over the door. A soft sound, melodic and smooth.
“No. I’m a school
teacher. I always tell my students not to be rude. Wearing sunglasses inside is
considered rude.” She takes a sip of her coffee and eyes him over the rim
of her cup. Mulder feels the weight of the glasses on his nose. His hands still
shaking, he takes them off. The light hits him in the face and he squints,
grimaces. A moment later he opens his eyes, sees the woman still sitting there,
grinning at him.
“See? You’ve got nice
eyes, Mr. Sunglasses. I’ve never seen you here before. Are you new in town
or just visiting?" Years ago, when Scully took him out of the house
for the first time in years, she told him to squeeze his hand whenever he felt
uncomfortable. ‘I’m with you, Mulder’, she’d told him, ‘always remember that’.
The muscles in his hand remember now, make him squeeze his coffee tightly. It’s
been years since he’s been out, with Scully or by himself. She always asked
him, up until the very end, and he shook his head, not looking at her, telling
her to leave him there by himself. Have fun without him. He doesn’t know if she
ever did have fun.
"I’m Elise,” the
woman, either worse at reading social cues than he is, or simply not caring,
goes on, “I moved here a couple of months ago from Chicago. You looked
like someone who might understand.”
“Fox.” He says
and her eyebrows shoot up. This woman looks nothing like Scully with her tall
height, her long blond hair and dark eyes, but Mulder can’t help but think of
all the times her eyebrows did the same in their regular 'you can’t be serious,
Mulder’ manner. “That’s my name. Fox.”
“Your parents must
have an interesting sense of humor, Fox.” She laughs again, the same
gentle sound as earlier. Mulder has no idea who she is, this Elise, but for the
first time in months he feels like the invisible hands around his throat loosen
up. He feels like he can breathe, think. Mulder stares into this woman’s eyes
and finds he doesn’t want to flee after all.
“It could have been
worse” he says taking a sip from his own coffee, the taste deep and dark,
calling him back to life, “they could have named me Kevin.” Elise
laughs again, loud and free. Mulder flinches, recovers quickly. Amazed, he
watches her, listens to the sounds she makes. For the next five minutes he
doesn’t think about Scully, doesn’t think about darkness.
They meet again. And again
and again. Mulder goes to bed at night, his heart fluttering just a tiny bit
stronger, knowing that the next morning he gets to see Elise. These days he has
a strict schedule. There is a time to get up, have breakfast, take his meds, go
to the coffee shop. Scully would be proud of him. She is. She left a message on
his machine yesterday; they’re always missing each other these days, their
schedules no longer in sync. Her words quick, the sound of the hospital echoing
behind her, she told him that she’s happy he’s working on getting better.
Mulder smiled all through her message, imaging her in her oversized scrubs in
between patients, thinking of him. He erased the message, no longer clinging to
fleeting moments, went to bed and dreamed about Elise.
Once their conversations
turn darker, turn to lost sisters, forgotten children and love doomed, they
move on. Move outside to take walks. Move further away to her home.
“Come inside, Fox.
Come on.” Elise, Mulder has noticed, smiles a lot. She is younger than he
is, even younger than Scully, but not by much. Yet she is the opposite of the
both of them. Smiling with the sun, sometimes even brighter, laughing whenever
she can. When Mulder is around her, he feels the cloak of despair lift off him,
even if just for a moment, as she sprinkles him with her warmth, wraps him in
it. She pours him a tea and the scent of hot peppermint fills her small living
“Coffee is not good
this time of day, Fox,” she tells him, dropping a cube of sugar in her own
cup, “so how about a movie tonight?” He drinks his tea as instructed,
He keeps a diary because
his therapist suggested it. His daily writing becomes as much of a routine as
his coffees with Elise. Tonight, though, there are no words. His pen is poised
on the paper leaving a big, black dot. There is nothing on his mind except the
message Scully left him earlier. He came in whistling, and wouldn’t Scully have
found that just adorable?, when his machine blinked at him. A smile on his face
already, a leftover from another day with Elise, he pressed the button as he
untied his shoes. 'Mulder hi,’ there was a pause, a loud rustling, 'just wanted
to tell you that I’ll be gone over the weekend in case you,’ another pause,
'wanted to call. I’ll be in Florida with a… a friend. Take care, Mulder. I’ll
call you when I get back… bye.’ Mulder, one shoe still on his foot, listened
to the message 62 times. That’s when the band snapped, erasing it for forever.
He doesn’t sleep that
night. When the sun comes up in the morning, he is still wearing one shoe. He
doesn’t shower but manages to swallow his pill with a glass of milk. His eyes
burn as he gets on the bus to meet Elise. Her smile fades as soon as she sees
him, but Mulder barely registers. His mind is elsewhere, on its way to Florida,
to the past. Anywhere but here.
“You all right?”
She asks him.
“I’m fine.” He
answers and grimaces. Scully, he thinks. Fine like Scully. “Let’s get
coffee. Find us a table.” Easy sentences for when he’s overwhelmed. No
complications, no commas or dashes.
Elise eyes him carefully,
and he realizes he doesn’t know her well enough to read her expression. He
hands her the coffee and she takes a sip, groans.
“What is this, Fox?”
“Your coffee.” He
answers simply, drinking his own. Hot, black and bitter. Perfect.
“That’s not my coffee.
Did they get your order wrong? Here try it. I’m getting a new one.” Mulder
watches her approach the counter and sips her coffee. The taste on his tongue
is familiar; he ordered Scully’s favorite coffee. Elise comes back, mishap
forgotten and smiling, and Mulder thinks he is going to be sick.
He lets Elise take him home
with her. She asks if he wants a tea, but he declines. He is restless. He wants
to fly to Florida, find Scully, talk to her. Meet her friend. Friend. What does
she call Mulder these days, he wonders. Her ex. Ex what? Her friend might ask.
Ex-partner, ex-friend, ex-lover. Just an ex.
“You’re quiet today,
Fox.” Elise touches his arm and it feels gentle, comforting. Mulder
restrains himself from pushing her away.
“Nothing to say.”
“Did anything happen?
I’m here if you want to talk.”
“You’re not my fucking
therapist.” His voice is even, almost indifferent. Elise jumps off the
couch as if he’s just hit her. “I’m sorry, Elise.” He says loudly
into the empty room. She returns a moment later, her eyes red-rimmed.
trying to be your friend, Fox. I don’t want to be your therapist.” She
kneels in front of him and takes his face into her hands. Her breath tickles
his lips, his nose before her face moves closer and her lips open before she is
even there. Friend, it blinks in his mind.
Mulder closes his eyes as
his mind replays Scully’s message. Gone away. With a friend. A friend, a
friend, a friend. Elise’s lips land on his, don’t fit right and she moves
against him trying to make them fit. Scully, he thinks, squeezing his eyes
shut. He can’t do this. He can’t have a friend, a girlfriend, a lover or a
meaningless fuck. If he can’t have Scully, he doesn’t want anything else.
'I need you to get better
for yourself, Mulder. Not for me. Not out of some misguided sense of guilt. For
you.’ Her words, said right before she left him all this time ago, override her
answering machine message in his mind.
“Elise, I can’t.”
Mulder gently pushes her away. He licks his lips, tastes her, and wishes she
were someone else.
“I thought… I
thought this, us, was leading somewhere."
"Don’t even start,
Fox. I get it.”
“No, I don’t think you
do. Please listen to me, Elise. I can’t give you this because I am in love with
someone else. She is the love of my life. She is everything. She is the reason
I forced myself to get out of the house one morning because she told me I had
to get better. And you know what, Elise? That’s when I met you. I
have been better ever since I’ve met you. I see it now and it’s because of you.
You showed me that there is still light in this world filtering through the dark
clouds. Last night I spiraled. She called me to tell me she was going on a trip
with a friend. I freaked out. I haven’t freaked out in months, Elise. I didn’t
have the strength. I didn’t care. I do now. I care.” She sniffs, gives a
short laugh, and Mulder chimes in. His own laughter sounds strange, almost
hollow in his ears. As they both erupt in even more giggles and laughter, his
laugh finds a melody. It doesn’t quite rhyme with hers, but it’s not supposed
to, and it works.
you, Elise. For bringing the light back into my life.” She doesn’t say a
word, but touches his lips; a farewell.
Guess who finally came in the mail after ordering him a month ago? This adorable little straw boy! He was definitely worth the wait, even though he’s a bit tinier than I expected. Still, I’m happy to add him to my collection!
For those curious, I ordered him from this ebay user. As far as I can tell, they’re the cheapest option and you don’t have to mess with blind bags.
I love K2SO. He’s probably my favorite droid in the whole franchise. The Ultimate Sass Bot.
Of course, Jyn Erso is forever my favorite, only just winning out over Cassian Andor, but that’s okay, he’s probably be fine with that. Who can resist this hardcore sweetheart?
Cassian is actually really hard to make funny in these comics, btw. Too many sad/angry/resigned/horrified pictures, not a lot of happy moments to pull from (and almost no happy pictures that don’t have Jyn in them).
Not that he’s alone in that.
OK, bring it back to funny, me, let’s not get depressed here.