TITLE: Left Behind
DISTRIBUTION STATEMENT: It's all
CLASSIFICATION: S, A
SPOILER WARNING: The Truth
SUMMARY: Leaving vs. being left behind
DISCLAIMER: Borrowed all of them and
She stirred in her sleep and felt the empty space behind her. He was up.
She slowly opened her eyes and let them adjust to the darkness. She found him at the chair near her side of the bed, barely making him out through the yellow light from the motel's signboard outside.
He probably knew she's woken up but
neither one of them attempted to speak. She watched him, watch her. Him, brooding in the dark. Her, swaddled in sheets with only her eyes and hair peeking out.
It wasn't unusual for her to find herself being the sole focus of his attention. After they escaped from the military's explosive surprise party at the Smoking Man's lair, they had no direction, no past, no sure future. Flight was the one goal as long as they had each other. And that narrows one's vision, the constant companion being an easy target for scrutiny.
Since then, she's caught him unabashedly staring at her. Watching her sleep in the middle of the night, at high noon when she prepared their lunch, taking a sinful dip in the tiny tub, cleaning her gun.
She wasn't sure it was a good thing.
At first, it was unnerving. She got used to it after the fifth staring session, when he was watching her getting ready to take a bath. She had just woken up, her hair horribly frizzy, wearing an old wrinkled shirt so faded and stretched that it reached her knees.
Most of the time, she simply ignored him such as that particular time. Sometimes she made an effort to play along and would innocently ask, "what?" The times she asked, "nothing" was his only reply.
It was the look after she spoke to him that tugged nervously at her. The second passing look of uncertainty. Regret.
So she had stopped asking him when she'd feel his eyes on her again.
A few minutes had already passed and he still had not moved. She didn't know if it's just the tense silence that slowly lowered it's heavy wings on them or the slow growth of a dangerous thought gaining force, but she now knew something was very wrong.
"How long should I have to wait until you tell me what's going on?" she finally asked as she moved up and sat against the
He still didn't move and she wondered if it was a defense strategy or maybe simply cowardice. She felt an argument coming and she readied herself for any intense emotional and verbal combat.
"I contacted Skinner." She heard him clear his throat and she knew his next words would be dreadful.
"They found a secret military base. In Alaska." He watched her intently as he dropped each detail. "Near Mt. Mckinley."
North. Kersh did say they had to go north. She stared at her lap, tracing the awful pattern of the blanket made somewhat
bearable through the dark. "So what's your plan?"
He wasn't sure if she was upset already or just about to be. He hesitated before he answered, "I'll be meeting Skinner the day after tomorrow."
Two days. She had two days left with him. The bastard wasn't even flinching.
"Why not now? Why not first thing
That stung deep and he flinched at her words. Thankfully, it was dark enough for her not to notice.
"You want me to leave now?" His face, even mostly hidden in the dark, seemed to finally uncover itself from the blackness. From what she could tell, his expression remained inscrutable, like he was simply asking; curious, but not overly concerned.
He watched her draw a tired breath and rub too pale hands over weary blue eyes. She had lost weight and worry lines were
prominent even in the dark. Not that she was less beautiful. She just looked tired. An exhausted angel who didn't know how to mend her broken wings.
Her brows knitted together, processing his stabbing news. She thought she was up for fighting but found she was suddenly bone weary. Suddenly tired of it all. Of this. Whatever limbo they were on.
"Do whatever you want." she muttered
climbing out of the bed by moving to the opposite side, the farthest side from him and padded heavily to the tiny bathroom. She was small and slight but she felt she had to drag her body all the way to the sink.
She was angry all right, and all she wanted to do right now was to not think of anything. Not think of him.
The water felt cool to her skin and she concentrated on its soothing caress,
pretending that it can temporarily wash away the prickling thoughts.
She knew he was now guarding the
doorway, already aware that he's watching her again. 'Watch all you want,' she thought bitterly. 'Go grab a bucket of popcorn and beer and have a marathon for all I care.'
He stood motionless, a foot away sans the popcorn and beer, noting that she had kept splashing her face even after the soap had washed away. "Talk to me."
She snorted softly with a slight shake of her head before she grabbed his towel and tried not to inhale his scent lingering on it. After drying, she waited for him to move aside for her to come out of the bathroom. It was probably too much to hope for that he'd let her pass.
"You're upset." he stated, not caring if she was annoyed that he had her trapped in the bathroom.
She stood right beneath his nose, not
backing down. Her standard professional persona in place - her arms folded, eyes unwaveringly meeting his, and her right eyebrow arching higher than humanly
"I'm fine." was her reply, raising walls of steel that had always kept him from reaching her. It pissed the hell out of him because he had thought they were way past that.
"Why doesn't that pacify me?"
Her eyes narrowed, irritation suddenly flaring. He almost ducked at the dagger he could've sworn she had thrown at him. For her, that was so obnoxious coming from him. It wasn't her 24/7 obligation to 'pacify' him, goddamit. To be honest, she felt SHE was supposed to be the one being pacified at the moment. Well, that was mature.
"I didn't think you needed to be 'pacified'." she said evenly, her voice dangerously cold that raised the hair at the back of his neck. He winced at her emphasis of the word, mentally kicking himself for having blurted it.
"You know what I mean." he exhaled, still unable to apologize properly. He wasn't sure if she'd accept it if he did. He wasn't too eager to know how deep in trouble he was.
"Scully, talk." he asked again when she didn't respond. She answered in angry silence, looking at him with an expression that he meant bulls#*t.
"You don't think I'd listen? Then why do I keep asking?" He was starting to get
furious. He'd do whatever she wanted if she only told him what the hell it was. He was at a loss. Well, he had an idea what's upsetting her, but he still wasn't entirely sure. After having been on the run for a month now, his mind has not recovered from having it shaken, beaten and drowned with fear and paranoia. Scully was doing a fair share of pounding his barely functioning head, sometimes even harder than he can tolerate.
"Fine. If that's what you think, then at least give it a try. Maybe I'm not that big an a-- hole."
Her eyes flicked past his shoulder, her eyebrow still arched stubbornly high,
pointedly telling him to move out of her way. He thought of steeling his body and not moving an inch, but he saw no point of upsetting her even more. Locking horns has always been part of their partnership. That was who they were. It served them best professionally, but personally, it has been proven to be fatally damaging. And
sometimes, one slight wrong move is
enough to shatter. He didn't want to know how little he only had to do to make things irrepairable, so he moved aside.
He tracked her as she walked past him, smelling a whiff of soap, cheap shampoo and her - a smell that was like brownies with a hint of vanilla. It's no wonder he always ended up devouring her when they were in bed.
She stood staring at the wrinkled sheets at the foot of the bed, her fingers rubbing the end of her long shirt, her teeth worrying her lower lip. He wanted to go to her, to take her hand and unlatch her teeth from her lip by pressing his own. But he stopped himself when he saw her fingers curl into a fist. She might not be happy if he tried anything.
"I really wonder, Mulder. If what I say makes a difference, or you've trained
yourself to keep silent for a while and pretended to listen."
"That's unfair Scully. You know I value what you say or else you wouldn't have lasted with me this long."
She looked at him rather oddly and
contemplated on his words. "Why is it you have to go?" she suddenly asked, swerving finally to the point.
'Was that it?' He thought they had settled this.
"I thought you understood. You know we have to keep searching or else we won't be able to stop Them."
"That's funny. For a minute there I thought you said 'we'." She shook her head and looked directly at him.
She waited for his argument but it didn't come. They stood there unmoving for half a minute. After that, she turned away, not wanting him to see how much it hurt for him not to deny her accusation.
After she's composed herself enough that she didn't feel her eyes stinging, she started for the bed, wanting to bury herself in layers of ugly sheets.
"Scully - "
"Don't Mulder." she cut him off without looking at him. She wasn't that composed yet.
"Damnit Scully, I can't risk losing you again. Can't you give me that at least? Let me protect you." he spat out angrily. She has got to be kidding if she meant to sleep peacefully without finishing this.
She whirled around, her hair creating a halo as it made an arc of red. She was livid and her eyes flashed dangerously. "Don't you dare give me that tired reason. That doesn't justify leaving me."
"And what am I supposed to do if I lost you there, huh??? What if I can't get you back again?" He stalked her, stopping right in front of her, towering over her.
"So it's okay if you run off like a loose cannon and risk your life without anyone watching your back?" Did he even
remember the last time he was in Alaska? She had to tilt her head all the way up but she met him toe to toe. No way in hell was she backing down. If he still didn't get it, then at least she'd say everything she needed to.
"It's better that you risk being taken again? Risk endangering yourself, being found severely battered or dead, or coming back with no one to come back to?"
He reared back as if she just broke his nose without warning. Did she just say what he thought she said? He ignored that. She couldn't have meant that.
"Do you think it's easy for me to leave?" he managed to ask after dismissing the
"Maybe not. But it never stopped you, did it?"
"Don't think I don't know how you feel. I do. So don't be a hypocrite and tell me you've never left because you thought it's for the best that you did it alone." He's running out of arguments and that was one very loose straw he grabbed at.
"F**k you. I'm not going to be lured into an immature contest of who left whom the
most. NOT that I'm going to lose." She couldn't believe he even tried that. She bit her inner cheek because she needed a cover for why her lips started to quiver.
She faced the bed again defeated. She couldn't think of anything else to say. She was sure there were a lot more, but it just seemed futile. And she couldn't spare the little strength she had for what she'd decided to do.
"You're still leaving." she stated, not asked. Just confirming.
"I have to." he said after a heartbreaking beat.
"And where will I be?"
He eyed her warily. He braved tucking a lock of red behind her right ear with care. "Agent Reyes will be taking you somewhere safe. Skinner and Doggett will go to Puerto Rico with me." he whispered softly. She nodded and moved away, leaving his hand still up in the air.
She crawled back under the sheets in silent resignation, facing her side of the bed. His chest throbbed seeing her so closed off. He followed her there, carefully lying beside her. Her back seemed such a thick barrier so he rubbed them gently, trying to soften it by soothing the hurt. His and hers. His was spreading rapidly all over his body so he spooned up behind her as his cure for all illnesses, aches and pains.
He squeezed her to him, not caring anymore if she was still upset. Amazingly enough, he felt her hand caress his arm that he had around her waist so he buried his face in her hair. "I'm sorry." he whispered at her crown. "Skinner and Doggett will be there with me, see? Two men will be watching my back."
She continued stroking the arm that all but crushed her to him, not saying anything in response.
He wasn't sure when he finally slept during the night. He was surprised that he even did. Today would be the last day he'd spend it with Scully before they had to separate and he wanted to make the most out of it. He dreaded how she'd be after their fight last night but she at least forgave him in the end, letting him warm himself through her.
God, of course he didn't want to leave her. Why would he want to leave fair skin that smelled like brownies, hair that framed a face that made him crash on walls for
staring, an incredible mind that brutally challenged him and a heart that always made him cry in gratitude for finally allowing him in? Who wouldn't want to be home?
If only humans were left alone...
But that wasn't the life he was dealt with. All the 'ifs' in the world wouldn't amount to anything and he had to make do with the one and only pleasure he had. Even that wasn't an indulgence.
He reached out for her and squeezed the sheets in earnest.
His eyes flew open and found her side of the bed empty. Blood was too slow to catch up when he jumped off the bed and he stumbled towards the bathroom to check if she was there. She wasn't.
Something in him turned ice cold and he went directly to their shared closet. Rusted hinges squeaked as he pulled the cheap, wooden doors wide open. He stood still, his pulse weakening and finally stopping for a few seconds. His eyes swam as lungs
refused to take in the humid air.
Her half of the closet space was empty.
Half of him went hollow with it.
I'm not a perfect person
I never meant to do those things to you And so I hate to say before I go
The key slid into the rusty keyhole, and it took her a minute of jiggling before she was able to let herself in. Breakfast was only coffee and she even left the cup half empty.
She hurt all over. Physically, mentally, emotionally. The sight of him alone on the bed when she chanced one last look, almost made her drop her bags and tuck herself back in there with him. But if it hurt leaving him, it hurt more staying with him. So she left.
That was eleven hours ago.
He should be in Utah or Nevada by now. She didn't have the strength to compute travel time and time zones. The thought made her chest hurt and she made a futile attempt to think of something else.
Before she was able to close the door, something made the hair at the back of her neck rise suddenly.
"For someone who all but said she can't live without me, you sure have an interesting way of showing it."
She almost screamed bloody murder at the voice and dropped her key. She stared wide eyed at him, shocked at his presence.
Terrified was more like it.
He watched her standing stock-still at the door, looking at him like he was one of the monsters they have chased have come back for her. He wasn't far from that, he sadly mused. Of course he wasn't expecting her to be delighted to see him. Nevertheless, it stabbed him to see that she really didn't want to see him. It proved that she did leave him by choice.
"What are you doing here?" she asked
painfully as her heart tried to punch its way out. She pushed slightly at the door to close but didn't pick up the key near her left foot.
"What the f* do you think?" He stood up then, ready to pummel her with every
furious and frightening thought he had to deal with the moment he found out she was gone.
She moved sideways to maintain distance, not wanting to get too near him, especially when he looked like he was about to attack her. He paused, an odd look passing over his fury.
"Aren't you supposed to be with Skinner by now?" she asked, watching his move as if counting the steps it would take for him to reach her.
"I should be. But then I woke up and found that part of the plan was MISSING."
If it was cold this early evening. The look he gave him turned the room to Antartica. "I'm sorry, but I wouldn't call 'getting the hell out of your way' a plan." she responded, still maintaining distance. "And what's the difference, Mulder? That was the plan right? You chase the aliens while I hide somewhere. I've done what you wanted. Go chase."
She stood straighter. More rigid than ever. "I'll stay far away." The unspoken words were crystal clear. If he left the room, she won't be there when he comes back.
Mulder looked like he wanted to break
something. Maybe her. "So was this just one elaborate scheme to prove a point?" he asked incredulously, his hand sweeping for emphasis.
He waited for her to answer. He had to wait for quite a while. "No." was all she
managed, her lips barely moving.
And for a minute, no one breathed. Then, he exploded.
"Damnit Scully!" He turned away, taking a few steps toward the door. He pinched the bridge of his nose trying to calm himself. The other hand was gripping his hip to steady.
He looked tired. His clothes were worn, dirty, and smelled of hours of sweat and dust. He also had yet to notice his day old stubble.
She took this all in, guilt and pity easily sneaking through her. But it still didn't mean she wanted him there.
"Mulder-" She paused as she saw him
wince at the sound of her voice.
"Mulder, go back to where you're supposed to be."
In an instant, he had whirled around and was charging towards her. Too stunned to react, she stood frozen when he was practically on top of her.
"Where the f* do you think I am???" he yelled to her face.
He was frighteningly livid, making him seem large and almost monstrous. He was daring her to object further, to spit the angry words back at him.
She tried. She had a very good reason.
Her mind scrambled back at how all this started. He won't leave her alone now but as soon as they see Skinner, he would be
escorting her to a separate ride going the opposite direction. How f***ing sick was that?
But she sidestepped away from him
knowing she couldn't match his fury. She shook her head to clear the still ringing voice in her ears.
He watched her put her hands on her head, fingers kneading her scalp, shadowing her shut eyes. Upset was an understatement. At the moment, he didn't care. As long as he's in the same room with her, he didn't quite give a damn if it hurt her seeing him there.
"How the hell did you find me?" she
It didn't come out as a real question. It was a statement spoken out of weariness. But then she looked up and caught his panic face.
Something was very wrong. Suddenly
alarmed, she slowly dropped her hands from her head and kept watching his face.
"How. Did. You. Find. Me?" she asked more forcefully, ignoring the throb that accompanied putting warning in every word. Her body felt like a pinball machine, her heart slamming all over. She waited for his answer and saw his eyes flick down her body. Her brows met slowly as she watched him walk towards her.
It took him a couple of seconds before he realized he had moved his feet. He only saw her eyes pulling him to her, watching him with suspicion. When she blinked, the spell was broken and it occurred to him that he was close enough to smell her. His eyes made a slow travel from her eyes, to her Roman nose, her breastbone peeking out of her shirt, and lower still to her waist. He lifted his hand but stopped when she tried to avoid it from touching her. It was barely a move but it gave him enough reason to
pause and look up at her face. Without tearing his eyes from her, he brought his hand down to her waist and pulled out the gun she had tucked in her pants' waistband. He released the magazine and tapped the handle on his palm.
She wasn't sure what it was at first. It was like falling back to her old naive, green, free from paranoia self during the early years of their partnership. She wondered why in the world there was a chip in her Glock.
Mulder shifted uncomfortably and looked somewhere at his right.
A very small, very well-made tracking
Numbing ice touched the base of her spine, spreading slowly to the rest of her body.
It didn't matter how well she covered her tracks. She stupidly thought she really had. She was a competent FBI agent who had a decade worth of paranoia that should make her damn good at disappearing without a trace.
All that was useless. Absolutely useless. She felt like a f***ing fool.
Something touched her backside and she found herself sitting on the bed.
Mulder twitched and shifted without
breathing, not knowing what to say.
"Scully -" he started, squatting slowly in front of her. He thought that if he made any abrupt movements, she'd either break down or break his nose. His hands nervously fluttered everywhere without landing
anywhere. He was kneeling now, settling his hands on the bed, one hand on each side of her hips. "I just- I can't-"
He was level to her face but she kept staring at his chest.
"Scully, I have to know you're safe. I know it was wrong not telling you but it was a precaution I couldn't pass up. If I...If I lost you-"
He cleared his throat and tried once more, his voice so low yet seemed too loud in the motel room.
"If I lose you, God knows how fast I'll lose myself." he said in an anguished whisper.
His hands scratched the bed sheets, itching to touch her. He was desperate enough to say something pathetic but it was the only truth he could come up at the moment. Feelings were profound. Translating them to the right words was always the problem. It didn't help that he was exhausted,
terrified, and the woman in front of him wouldn't let him touch her when that was the only thing he's been dying to do since he found her.
He almost jumped when she moved. She
rubbed the back of her neck as her eyes slowly moved up to meet his. Their
blueness was blinding in the dark and he wanted to turn away from the brightness. He willed himself to keep his eyes open.
Her brows met at a sad peek as her face struggled to keep her expression neutral.
Mulder had memorized every look she'd
given him. Every smile. Every huff. Every twitch. He prided himself for knowing almost exactly what she felt just by
watching her face. Well, at least before they were separated, found each other and ran for their life. For the past month, he's been refamiliarizing himself with her, testing himself if he could still read her as
thoroughly as before. He would stare at her so intently at times that he'd follow her confused as to why she's moving away, only to realize he hadn't answered when she had spoken to him.
She had this one look that cut him so deep, he never felt so hurt yet loved her so hard at the same time.
"You know...the gun is not the best way to hide it. Wouldn't it have been more
effective if you implanted in in me? I could lose my gun and you wouldn't - "
The rest of her words were lost somewhere in his dirty shirt as his chest slammed against her mouth when he suddenly pulled her to him. He trembled, shaking both of them as he kept repeating 'I'm sorry' to her hair. He felt her stiffen in his embrace. She sneaked her hands between them and tried to push away. A pointless attempt as he was holding her suffocatingly tight.
After a few moments of struggle, she gave up and became limp, her hands still crushed between them.
He squeezed her gently then pulled slowly back. He moved up his hands from behind her back to her face.
"Please Scully..." His voice broke as a tear passed its way to his lips. He leaned his forehead to hers, showing rather than saying his plead to understand. To forgive. To hold him back.
Please, please hold him back.
For every second of stillness, the harder Mulder shook with fear and the more his chest tightened as he failed to breathe.
Soft warmth brushed the wet path on his left cheek. He gasped and pulled away to make sure it was real. A warm thumb caressed the parallel wet streak on his right. She was still wearing that devastating look. Except now, she was willingly touching him back.
With a soft whimper, his mouth swooped down to take hers and pushed her flat back on the bed.
Night was blessedly cool as days were
sweltering hot. It should be a time to relish and just be. A time to savor, to throw the past at the next gust of wind and let it all go. But then, that's just beautiful cowardice.
She watched the stars wishing if she could just stop time and let her heal until every wound had dried. But time never did and she wondered if her scars would ever heal.
She flinched when she heard a gasp and a frantic voice call out "Scully?"
She turned to see him halfway up, prepared to jump off the bed. "I'm here." she
The man was terrified. He must've went through hell looking for her. It seemed only fair that she go to him, so she did. If only it didn't feel like the floor was covered with broken glass.
She laid on her side, facing the window and away from him. He immediately curled to her back, slipping his right arm under and around her waist. His other arm went
around her shoulders and chest.
"I'm sorry." she whispered in the dark.
"It's okay." he mumbled to her neck.
It was a lie which she could tell by the fast pounding in his chest, feeling it slamming on her back. She hoped it would slow so he could go back to sleep. At least one of them could rest.
"Talk to me."
But of course, it's too much to ask for a little space. Just a yard's distance for a few minutes. She shut her eyes hard for an instant, wanting to block his voice.
He knew she was awake. He could almost hear her mind drone heavily on. The only response he got was a slight stiffening and absentmindedly caressing his arm.
"Scully?" He peeked over her face to find her watching the lone window. Her hand paused.
He wasn't stupid. Just because she had let him hold her now meant that everything was all right. He just hoped they were not worse. Talking may not be the wisest move but he was really, really scared.
When silence kept answering for her, he moved over her body, gently pushing her left shoulder until she was flat on her back.
She was too quiet and his still punching heart needed slowing after thinking she had left again. He settled between her legs before she could possibly sneak a knee.
He was cornering her. A very tight-rope daring move. He knew it would just be too cruel if she ignored him completely like this. But when her eyes met his, it took every ounce of spare willpower to match them. He almost didn't want to know why they seemed so sad.
"Talk to me, Scully." he whispered. His heart was starting to slow but it was still pounding too heavily.
She knew she was scaring him. But she'd rather keep silent than unburden as she caught her breath through tears. The
thought of voicing out what she felt at that moment was already choking her.
She watched him as he read her face. Then he closed his eyes while his face descended. She held her breath until she felt his face settling beside hers, his nose touching her ear. "Don't Scully. Stop that. Please." was his anguished whisper, blowing warm breath against her ear and neck.
"Stop what?" she asked quietly.
He turned his head more to watch her
profile. His finger traced her left cheek. "That."
As if she knew what he meant, her face smoothed to blank. Neutral. Distant.
He swallowed hard. "Do you still want to leave?"
Her eyebrow twitched but she remained
silent. He watched her until the silence became too painful. He buried his face in her hair to hide, unconsciously squeezing her tight. He felt her hands glide lightly on his back and he wasn't sure if she did it out of pity.
"Mulder, what happened when you found
out I was gone?" she asked.
He lifted his head and stared down at her. "You know what happened. I went looking for you." She nodded slightly, her eyes fixed on the space behind him.
"What are you really asking?"
She hesitated, her eyes darting to his shoulder, not his face. "I guess, I'm asking what you felt the moment you found out I wasn't right there beside you."
He didn't know exactly how to answer. The question overwhelmed him. She was asking him to rehash something that scared him more than any nightmare. "What did you feel?" she repeated when he hadn't
He remembered...felt his chest constricting, pounding in his ears, empty sheets, empty bathroom, half-empty closet. Can't
His lips tried to form the words but didn't come close. Too much. It was too much.
All he could do was fall back at his hiding place at the crook of her neck and trembled. A gentle hand smoothed his hair as another soothed his back to calm him.
With a broken whisper, she turned her head to speak directly to his ear. "I know exactly how you feel."
Finally letting go that painful confession, she let the tears escape her eyes, blessing his hair. And he kissed them away, lingering as long as his desperation allowed him.
Maybe tomorrow he would not wake up
with his heart at his throat.
I found a reason for me
To change how I used to be
A reason to start over new
And the reason is you
Hmm...I initially had an entirely different second part. I ended with this. Do tell me what you think at
If you enjoyed this story, please send feedback to ScamBeliever
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