By Red - firstname.lastname@example.org
SPOILERS! All of S8, really.
DISCLAIMER: They aren't mine, cuz if they were I wouldn't be slumming it, student-style, with no money. RATING: Heck, who knows, give it a PG.
SUMMARY: Working through my season 8 trauma. Set post-TINH. BETA: Much, much love to Arcadia for being so great. ARCHIVE: Anywhere, just keep my name on it.
"This is not happening!"
Somehow I got myself out of the barn and back to the field. The wind whipped around me, tugging at my hair, stinging my skin. But all of that faded into the background as I reached him, fell to my knees and screamed his name. I cried out over and over again, clutching at his body, his hands, his face, as if my touch could bring him back to me. There was nothing else in the world but him and me and my screaming, shaking voice, for an eternity, until Agent Doggett intruded and roughly pulled me away. My head whipped around but I didn't see anything: I was blind, deaf, dumb. I fell back onto my knees, somehow crawled back to his still form and cradled it in my arms, whispering, begging him to open those eyes. I vaguely sensed the pack of agents around me fall back, and then we were alone in my personal nightmare.
When they put him into a body bag and dragged me back to the rational world, Doggett holding me still, Skinner trying to talk me into submission, I gave up fighting. Instead I went numb. Everything around me became short, sharp and stunted, yet somehow lacking clarity. I was aware of everyone around me apart from myself.
They took him away.
Skinner took me by the arm and put me into his car and drove me home. He took me out of the car, took me by the arm and led me up to my apartment. He took my keys from my pocket, unlocked the door, took me inside, sat me down. Looked at me.
"I'll get you some coffee," he said.
He went to my kitchen. Returned with coffee and a bottle of vodka. A glass. Poured a drink. Downed it. Looked down.
"I'm sorry, Scully. If there's anything I can do, anyone I can call..."
He trailed off. Sighed. Rubbed his eyes.
"You should get some rest, okay? Take some time. Deal with this."
Time passed. He took another drink.
"I should go. I'll call a cab."
He pulled out his phone and called a cab. Hung up.
"I'm gonna wait outside. Will you be okay?"
Another minute passed. He rose. "I'll call you tomorrow, see how you're doing."
He made it to the door before hesitating. He turned.
He opened the door, stepped into the hallway, closed the door behind him.
I felt myself rush back into my world again, became painfully aware that I was sitting here, I was shaking, I was tired, I had knocked over the coffee cup and the liquid heat was burning my left hand, I was alone --
I had a lump in my throat and a stabbing in my heart and shooting pains all over my body from my toes to my fingertips. I sobbed and shivered and choked on my tears until I was hit by waves of nausea. I ran to the bathroom and vomited violently. I hadn't eaten for two days, and as I stood over the toilet, head spinning, stomach lurching, walls closing in around me to blackness, I realised that I was alone.
"Scully! It's Skinner! Open the door!"
I sat up suddenly. I was on the floor of my bathroom. Why? I felt confused. My mouth was dry and I had a putrid taste in my mouth. There was a dull thumping noise keeping me from thinking clearly. I squeezed my eyes shut briefly and took a cleansing breath. I opened my eyes again and squinted against the bright sunlight streaming in through the window.
The noise continued. I shook my head and then realised what it was. Skinner. Banging on my door. Why?
I got to my feet and was surprised to find them unsteady. When the dizziness passed, I walked to my front door. It was unlocked. I pulled it open to see the Assistant Director looking harrowed.
"Sir - what's the matter?" Even as I spoke, I saw a change in his eyes, as something - possibly panic - flashed in them, and then a deep concern.
"Scully, what happened? Did you hurt yourself? What did you do?"
I look at him blankly. "I don't understand. I'm fine. Why would I have hurt myself?" As I spoke, I reached up to a slight ache on my head. When I pulled my hand away I saw blood.
I froze, staring at the blood. What the hell was going on here? Why was there blood on my head?
Skinner began to move towards me.
"Scully, let me come inside-"
"NO!" My voice came out loudly and made us both start. I took a slow step backwards and shook my head, raising my chin to look him in the eyes. "No. I don't know what you're doing here, but I know that I'm bleeding, and I know that you know something about it. And you're going to tell me what it is." I spoke slowly, evenly, this time, all the while resisting the rising sensation of panic. I had this strange feeling that I was forgetting something.
Skinner's expression had changed now. There was an odd look in his eyes. Pity. Sorrow.
I suddenly felt scared. I reached around for my gun. It wasn't there. Confused anew, I looked down at my crumpled clothes... my muddy shoes... my hands.
My hands holding his hand... his body... his face.
His dead face.
An alarm went off. It was deafening. I clamped my hands over my ears and fell to the floor, trying to get away from it as the room turned upside down. Something grabbed me and I pushed it away with all of my energy and curled up into a ball, trying to protect myself from the awful noise. Suddenly I felt a cold smack on my face, taking my breath away. Surprised, I stumbled back and fell onto cushions. I tried to call out but found I was screaming too loudly. I drew a shaky breath.
The siren stopped, and it was dark again.
I opened my eyes.
White, white everywhere. I thought maybe I was dead. Or that maybe they'd taken me away again.
I turned my head and something clicked into place. I was in a hospital bed. I was warm and comfortable. My mother was by my side, staring at me sadly. She seemed to have aged since I had last seen her, and there were dark circles under her eyes. She looked at me and I looked back.
"Dana, honey, how are you feeling?"
"Okay," I said. "My head aches a little."
She nodded. "You banged it, sweetheart."
My mother leaned forwards and brushed a strand of hair from my face. She paused.
"Do you remember, Dana? Do you remember what happened?"
I thought for a few seconds, and then it came to me - not as a hard force this time, but as a quiet acknowledgement. "I, um, was in the bathroom. I threw up and then passed out - I guess I hit my head on the toilet on my way down."
She frowned and shook her head slowly. "No... I mean, do you remember why you fainted? Do you recall what happened before you went home?"
"Yes, mom. I remember." I held her gaze briefly and then looked away, out of the window into the grey morning light.
"I'm so sorry, Dana."
I didn't respond. I could not think of a single thing to say.
She sat silently for a long time before getting to her feet. "I'm going to get some coffee. I'll be back soon, okay?"
I nodded, and she left. I saw her outside the door, talking to someone. Then she walked away and the door opened. Skinner came in.
I watched him make his way over to the chair by the bed. He sat down; drew a breath. "How are you feeling?"
I sighed. "I feel okay."
I looked at him for a moment. "Sir - why did you come back to my apartment?"
"My car was still in the parking lot."
I smiled slightly at such a mundane explanation in the face of such madness. I started to tell him that he didn't need to stay, but he stopped me.
"Scully, I knocked on your door because I was worried about you. Turns out I had a right to be."
He paused again.
"Scully, you scared the hell out of me."
I looked down and nodded slowly. "I was in shock, Sir. I was unaware of my surroundings."
This time Skinner smiled. "Well, that part must be true." He gestured to a bruise on his head. I felt a bubble of nervous laughter rise in my throat and I covered my mouth, appalled at myself. "Sir, I am so sorry."
He cut me off. "Don't worry about it, Scully. I had to throw water in your face when you started screaming. You fell and hit the couch on your way down, so I guess we're even." I touched my left elbow and found it scraped and stinging.
"You did the right thing, Sir. I didn't know what I was doing."
"And now?" he asked, studying me.
"Now... I don't know what the hell I'm going to do."
I let my mother arrange the funeral. I don't remember much of that first week at all. I know that mom asked me what I'd like him to be buried in. I know that I answered her, but I don't recall what I said.
I remember being taken to the church and talking to the people about who he was, but I don't know what I told them.
I remember standing by the hole in the ground as people took me by the hand and told me they were sorry - but I don't remember who they were.
I remember my mother taking me home and putting me to bed like a child. When she left for the journey back to her own house, I climbed out of the bed, pulled on my shoes and a coat and drove to Arlington in the darkness. I let myself into the apartment and lay in the bed and slept.
I remember empty weeks passing where nothing would happen. I remember the bad days, when I would clean, or cook, or read, and the really bad days, when I would cry and cry and stay in my bed.
My phone rang a lot. People wanted to know if I was okay.
But as more time passed, it became quiet in my world. I would wake up, pull on some clothes and sit on the sofa for hours at a time, not thinking - just sitting, my mind as empty as my life felt.
On bad days, I would resolve to clear out his things. I would write lists of what I wanted to keep, smiling at some of the articles that brought back memories. I would put boxes into the trunk of my car and drive to the apartment. But as soon as I stepped through the door and expected him to be there, all of my resolve would disintegrate. I paid his bills, assuring the landlord that I would empty the place soon.
Eventually he stopped asking.
I thought of Melissa. She would have tried to rescue me from the darkness that I was walking deeper into. He did that once, too, over me. She tried to rescue him but he wouldn't listen to her, and I know that I wouldn't either. But I still missed her and wished she were here to try.
And then one morning I woke up and everything was different.
It was as if someone had flicked a switch inside me that said "go". I got up and ate a proper breakfast. I dressed, noticing for the first time that my clothes didn't fit me properly but were too tight around the growing bump. My pyjamas had been more accommodating of my changing shape.
I called Skinner, who was surprised to hear from me. I convinced him to let me back right away. I drove to the FBI building, got into the lift and went down to the basement.
I didn't feel a thing.
And that was when it happened. Billy Miles was alive, and so a week later I found myself looking at my partner's body. It was three months since I put him in the ground, and he was alive. I buried him when he wasn't dead. I mourned him when he wasn't dead.
I tried to move on from him - but he _wasn't dead_.
As I sat quietly by his bedside, I feel terror and excitement and confusion and despair and every other emotion all bundled up into one. I was convinced that I would wake up at any moment, and then realised the irony, given the fact that ever since I held his face in my hands that was all that I had desired.
And then he opened his eyes and mumbled my name, and my heart leapt in my chest. I grasped his warm hand in mine, traced his scarred but beautiful face. He rumbled a sound deep in his throat and I shivered with joy. Tears, warm and cleansing, sprang to my eyes. I gazed at him for what seemed like an eternity -
A loud click distracted me. I looked up, furious, and met the face of John Doggett. He bristled momentarily, but upon seeing the happiness dancing in my eyes excused himself again. I barely noticed him leave.
Looking at Mulder as he awoke before me, I felt myself coming out of a reverie. Time, for me, stopped three months ago, but now the clock was ticking again and all I could think about was our future with our child.
I prayed, for the first time since I lost him, and silently thanked God for giving me back this man.
Copyright/wrong Red 2004
email@example.com . Flames gratefully accepted as I'm a poor student who can't afford luxuries such as heating.
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