Scully lay motionless on the floor, her skin stained with blood.
This is also for the anon who requested a teaser. This is what I wrote Tuesday, before deciding that a complete re-write of S6 better suited my purposes. This scene is likely to change.
Scully lies motionless on the floor, her skin stained with blood, and for the space of a heartbeat, Mulder stands frozen in the doorway of his apartment as the world falls away around him. He steadies himself against the doorframe as lightheadedness overcomes him, the edges of his vision actually darkening… and then he’s flying across the room to her side.
She is white, so white, her already-pale skin nearly translucent, and the blood, God, there is so much blood, can she possibly be alive? Her chest isn’t moving, and in the face of the enormity of it, the very idea of her loss, like this, after everything, now….
He suddenly remembers the way he’s acted today, the things he’s insinuated about her. He’d never said that he was sorry for not trusting her, and it’s insane to be thinking about that now, to be lamenting that he’d never apologized for doubting her, as though his apology would make her any less-
No. His mind refuses to even permit the word. Not in relation to Scully.
All of this flashes through his mind in the breath of time between him arriving at her side, and his knees hitting the floor by her ribs. Dimly, he feels the blood, her blood, soaking into the knees of his jeans, as he reaches out for her.
With a shudder and a gasp, her eyes open.
For a moment, she doesn’t seem to recognize him, and she jerks her arms back against his hold, her eyes full of panic and terror, but he keeps a firm grip on her until she sees that it’s only him. She doesn’t calm, though; instead, she dissolves into the most violent sobs he’s ever heard from her, worse than when she’d been saved from Pfaster’s clutches, worse than when her mind had been tricked into thinking he had betrayed her, worse, even, than after Emily’s funeral, when she’d cried into his suit jacket outside of the church for nearly a half hour.
Mulder bends down as far as he can, even though the angle is excruciating for his back and knees, mindful of the fact that she could be gravely injured, and slides his arms carefully around her, helping her to sit up. She clutches at him with a desperation that nearly breaks his heart. Her hands scrabble at the back of his shirt, move higher, past his collar, and he suddenly feels a sharp sting as her nails dig into his neck and scalp, hard enough to draw blood.
He doesn’t care.
He thinks, dimly, of the defensive wounds murder victims leave on their killers, and it seems appropriate that she’s marking him in much the same way, because isn’t it his fault, as always, that she’s here? He had torn off to the basement without a second thought, knowing full well that Padgett’s accomplice had still been at large, that the writer’s attention had been focused tightly on Scully, that she could be at risk. He could have waited long enough for her to pull on her boots and follow him to the basement, but no, he had run on ahead, without a second thought for her. Just like always.
Scully is, at last, beginning to calm in his arms, her uncontrolled sobs subsiding into sniffles and hiccups, but she’s trembling violently, shaking against his chest, and with most of the feeling having gone from his legs and his lower back screaming, Mulder can’t remain in this position any longer. Without stopping to worry that Scully will be angry at his presumption, keeping one arm at her back, he slides the other under her knees and stands, cradling her carefully against his chest. She keeps her arms locked behind his neck and doesn’t protest. He briefly contemplates where to put her while he calls for an ambulance; the couch is closer, but she’ll be more comfortable on his bed.
She shivers violently in his arms, and he opts for comfort.
For once, Mulder is glad that he’s careless about the state of his bedroom, because the unmade bed makes things much easier, allowing him to set Scully down without first turning down the covers. He sits her on the edge of the mattress and gives the comforter a sharp yank, pulling it around her shoulders, keeping her warm while he surveys the damage. He looks, hesitantly, up at her face, and she meets his gaze.
“We need to see what he did to you,” he says, and after a moment’s hesitation, Scully nods. She reaches for the buttons at the front of her blouse, and the comforter, freed from her grasp, begins to slide back down to the bed. Mulder catches it and pulls it back up. “Let me,” he says, and Scully nods, returning her hands to anchor the blanket around her shoulders. Mulder carefully frees each button from its mooring, bracing himself for what he’ll find underneath the blood-soaked cloth… but the skin of her chest, under her ruined bra, is unbroken.
It’s far from unmarked, though. A livid bruise, at least eight inches in diameter, has bloomed on the left side of her chest, directly over her heart. Mulder sucks in his breath at the sight of it, and Scully glances down.
“I felt it happening,” she whispers. “I felt my skin tearing, I could feel my ribs separating, my heart being squeezed.” She shudders, tears threatening again, and pulls the blanket tighter. “I’ve never felt pain like that, Mulder. Never. Not even during the worst of my cancer.” She takes a deep breath, steadying herself. “Why didn’t he finish the job?” she asks. “Why am I still alive? Where did Padgett go?”
“He’s in the basement,” Mulder says, and the thought of Padgett, standing in front of the incinerator with his manuscript, is enough to remind Mulder of what he still has to do. Reluctantly, he stands.
“Where are you going?” Scully asks, trying valiantly to keep the panic from her voice. Mulder can’t blame her; there had been no sign of Naciamento anywhere in the apartment, and it’s quite possible he’s still on the prowl.
“Padgett is still in the basement,” Mulder says. “He as good as told me you were going to be the next victim, Scully. I want him back in custody again before he has the chance to do any more harm.” Bending down, he takes his backup weapon from his ankle holster and hands it to her, but she shakes her head.
“Mulder, I shot at Naciamento. I emptied my magazine straight into his chest and it didn’t even slow him down.” She pushes his gun back at him. “That’s going to do you far more good in arresting Padgett than it will protecting me right now.” She’s right, of course; Mulder had heard the gunshots. Scully doesn’t miss shots at a hundred paces. There’s no possible way she could have missed her target at point-blank range. He bites his lip, weighing both courses of action: go after Padgett and leave Scully unprotected, or stay with her until the ambulance arrives, potentially letting a killer slip through his fingers?
He only has to look at Scully, really, to decide.
Mulder digs his cell phone out of his pocket and dials nine-one-one. Scully groans when she hears him requesting an ambulance, but he continues on, undeterred. He calls in for backup and to report an agent down, suspect still at large. That done, he tucks his phone away and sits on the bed beside Scully.
“The paramedics are unnecessary, Mulder,” she says. “I’m fine.”
“If that’s true, they’ll be able to tell us when they get here,” he replies.
“And what are we going to tell them?” Scully asks. “That the ghost of a psychic surgeon attempted to remove my heart from my chest and was somehow interrupted?”
“We tell them that you’ve been attacked,” says Mulder simply.
“They’re probably going to want me to go to the hospital,” she protests. “We could be there for hours, easily. Possibly even overnight.”
“Scully,” says Mulder, his voice gentle, “you need to let them check you out. You know you do. Especially now.” His gaze bores into her, and finally, with a sigh, she nods. “And if they keep you overnight, I’ll stay with you, I promise. You won’t be alone. Not for a second.”
“They won’t let you,” Scully says. “If I’m admitted, they’ll send you home, I’m sure.”
“Just let them try,” Mulder says fiercely. He wraps his arms tightly around her, and together, they wait for the paramedics to arrive.