A Soul Unbound cover art by Deslea

A Soul, Unbound *PG13*

Deslea R. Judd
Copyright 1998

DISCLAIMER: This work is based on The X Files, a creation of Chris Carter owned by him, Twentieth Century Fox, and Ten-Thirteen Productions. Fox Mulder, Dana Scully, Maggie, Bill, Tara, Matthew, and Melissa Scully, Roberta, Marshall, and Emily Sim, Duane Barry, and Sarah Chalmers remain the intellectual property of those parties and are used without their consent and without commercial gain. The text of the prologue is a verbatim extract from the episode Emily and is also the property of those parties.
ARCHIVE: Yes, just keep my name on it.
RATING: PG13 for adult concepts.
SPOILERS: Ascension, Christmas Carol/Emily.
CATEGORY/KEYWORDS: Angst, vignette.
SUMMARY: Dream sequence in which Scully makes her peace with Emily. Missing scene from Emily.
MORE FIC: http://fiction.deslea.com
FEEDBACK: Love the stuff. deslea@deslea.com
AWARDS/ELIGIBILITY: Spooky 1998 Eligible.

//It begins where it ends...in nothingness.//

//A nightmare born from deepest fears coming to the unguarded, whispering images unlocked from time and distance. A soul, unbound, touched by others, but never held; on a course charted by some unseen hand. The future ahead promising no more than my future reflected back at me, until at last I reach the end, facing a truth I could no longer deny....alone, as ever.//

I had a dream.

An endless, endless sea of sand dunes, the air dark and thick with frost and sand...an eternal white nothingness. Emily was there, her navy blue dress trailing behind her like errant seaweed in the water. I felt the frost sitting delicately on my eyelashes and my lips, weighing them down. I looked down at her beside me, and she smiled up at me, her body that of the child she was, her expression that of the adult she would have been. We spoke, but she spoke as a woman, not a child. And her voice was Melissa's.

"It wasn't your sister who made those calls, Momma. It was me." She trudged through the sand, her hair streaming behind her like corn-coloured silk.

I stroked her hair. "How? And how did you know, Emily?" I had toyed with the idea, when I first suspected she was Melissa's child, of changing her name...to make her mine. But it hadn't seemed fair on the child. Emily was who she had always been.

Emily shook her head. "I don't know, Momma. But I knew you were out there, and I knew that if I sent out my call to you, somehow it would find you. I loved my mom - Roberta - but I always knew there was another Momma who would care for me if ever something happened to her." She fell silent, suddenly reverting to the child I loved, the woman's voice discarded. I thought on this enigma of a child at my side, this child with the voice of an adult and the insight of a seer and the wisdom of a sage, who clung compulsively at my hand with the unabashed neediness of an unweaned infant.

"If you lived to grow up, Emily, would you be like Melissa?" I asked curiously. What was I saying? The girl was like her //now//.

Emily hesitated, then frowned. "I would look like her, Momma. And I would sound like her. But where Melissa was free, valued her freedom and that of others, I would be a slave to the forces who made me and took me from you. I would owe them my life, and my allegiance if I were to remain alive. And sooner or later, I would have to make the choice you face now - between my life and my soul." She looked up at me, held my gaze with great love and gratitude that made me feel, strangely, as though she were the mother and I, the child. "You made the right choice, Momma. If you had taken the cure Mulder offered you - and it //was// an offer - you would have merely delayed the decision. To take the burden of that choice from me and bear it yourself is the greatest gift you could ever give me." She reached out her arms to me, and I lifted this strange child- woman to my hip, kissing her hair tenderly.

"I love you, Emily," I told her softly, my cheek against hers.

Emily snuggled into me, her body moulding to mine. "I love you too, Momma." Her little, rounded fingers stroked my face clumsily.

I had to know. "Are there others, Emily?"

She gave me a compassionate, very adult smile. "There are more of us than you could count, Momma. But there will be none you will have the link with that you have with me."

I stared at her, for a moment not understanding. Why would I have a link with her that I had with no other?

And then I remembered.

I had never told anyone - not even Mulder. And aside from the occasional flashback of Duane Barry's hulking form labouring above me, I had managed to convince myself it hadn't happened. But I hadn't been infertile then. In fact, I had feared as it happened that he would impregnate me, for it had been the right time for him to do so.

It was as I had feared then. The attack I had told no-one about had had consequences. I looked upon my child with cold horror. "You were conceived inside me. When they found me, I was pregnant to Duane Barry. And they took you." I lowered my gaze, wanting to hide my pain-contorted face from her sight. I wasn't sure which hurt more - that I had conceived a child in such an evil union, or that my unborn daughter had been ripped from my body.

Emily touched my chin, making me look at her. I met her gaze with watery, pain- filled eyes. She nodded. "I was in the first hours of development - still an embryo. They found me when they did the first of many laparoscopies. They took me and they...//changed// me. That was why Colderon said I was a special case - because I am more human than the others." She looked at me, my pain, the tight little ball of disgust in the pit of my stomach at the recollection of what Duane did to me, and her face filled with sudden, childish fear. "Do you still love me, Momma?"

I looked at her, considering. I could have given her an instant //yes// and it would have meant nothing. But as I gazed into those crystal clear eyes, the bottomless eyes of my own child, I realised that that //yes// was the truth. I clasped her tightly. "I love you more, Emily. You were the unbelievable good that came from unutterable evil. You are holy in my eyes."

Emily clung to me, her eyes shut tight, and then she slid down off my hip. She gave me a beatific smile, and it seemed for a moment that her face was the sun. I shielded my eyes, and then suddenly she was gone, walking in the distance. I ran desperately after her, my feet dragging in the sand, and I called her name. But heedlessly, she walked away from me, faster and faster, and I saw her blossom into a child, an adolescent, an adult - and for many moments she appeared to me as Melissa - and then through the rigors of age. And then as she receded into the distance, her figure seemed to turn to sand, and slump, and be blown away.

For a long moment, I stopped still. And I knew that when I woke she would be dead. I choked back a heaving sob, and my throat seemed full of sand. For a long time, I stood there, my body weighed down by the burden of too many losses. Never did I feel so alone until, for a fleeting moment, I was not.

With a heavy heart I trod in her footprints, one after another, until I came to the spot where she had scattered with the wind. I bent to the sand, and I took up my cross, the cross I had given to her. And in the nothingness and the silence, I sank to my knees and wept.

When I woke, I knew.

I did not open my eyes to confirm what I knew. Her cold weight in my arms said it all. Emily was dead, and she had died in my arms as we slept...as we spoke. When, finally, I looked, I saw that her monitors were switched off and her drip removed from her arm. I looked at Mulder, sitting quietly at our side. "When?" I asked hoarsely.

"Three hours ago," he whispered. "They wanted to wake you. I didn't let them. I wanted you to have this time with her." Behind him, Bill scowled, and I was fairly sure that Bill had been among those wanting to wake me.

I thought of the dream, and wondered if I would have had it if I had been woken. I doubted it. "You did the right thing," I said softly. I sat up, still cradling my lifeless child. Through the sudden blur of tears shielding my eyes, I made out my mother and Tara, who wore a hospital gown. She seemed...thinner, somehow. She had had her child, and my irony sensors said that it had happened as my own child had died. "Has she been pronounced?" I asked dully.

Mulder shook his head, and I saw my mother clasp her hand over her mouth as she realised what I planned to do. "They couldn't do a pupil responsiveness test with you cradling her," he said gently.

I carefully rose from the bed, gently lowering Emily to rest. I took the stethoscope from the end table and listened to her silent heart, and then felt her still veins. I removed a little light from my bag and lifted one eyelid. For a long moment, I held my daughter's sightless gaze; and then I shone the light. Her pupil remained wide open. I repeated the procedure.

My heart breaking, I listened to my own dull voice ring out. "Emily Roberta Scully, time of death, 6:14 am, December 27, 1997." And then I turned my back on my family and gathered my daughter into my arms, this child I had never suckled, who had called me Momma only in my dreams. And then Mulder was there, his arms around us, and I wept.