Love is a quiet voice 2/4
It doesn’t take me long to close up the office for the day, it’s a skill born from years of practise, when having to rush away suddenly in pursuit of God knows what, necessitated a rapid mental checklist that I could run through in my sleep. It’s only mid afternoon but I already know I won’t be coming back today because whether Scully wants it or not, whatever arguments or rapier sharp glances she throws my way, just for once I refuse to let her be alone.
Tomorrow she can retreat back as far as she likes behind those damn walls. But today, just for today, she’s mine. I need to at least attempt to re-connect with her because I know that somewhere along the way, the fear and the hurt and the uncertainty has driven a giant wedge between us and right now, we are about as separate as we’ve ever been. And I’m not stupid, I’m a profiler for Gods sake and although I try not project that ability too much on her, there are times when I just can’t help it; just as I can’t help turning it inwards on myself. Someone once told me that I think too much and with hindsight they were probably right because all the thinking in the world doesn’t adequately translate in to action and these last few months I’ve probably thought a hell of a lot more than I’ve actually done.
The fact that it’s unknown territory isn’t an excuse any more and the time for cowardly procrastination is long gone. Because I’ve tried to give her space, tried to give her opportunity to let me know what she needs, how I can be there for her just as we always have been in the past. But there’s been nothing, or at least nothing but tiny snippets on her terms that catch me by surprise and just add to my confusion and ineffectiveness; where instead of picking up on her verbal cues I have just allowed my frustration of this whole situation to cloud my every judgement and response.
Just a few days ago I stood and dismissed her attempts to open up to me, to share her fears as we wrapped up the whole Harold Spueller mess, listened to her forcing out the admission that she had seen something only afforded to the dying, eyes downcast, shimmering with unshed tears that she always tries so hard to keep private. And did I offer her comfort? Did I even attempt to allay her fears or answer that burning need within me to just grab her right there and then and crush her against me so that she might gain the release she needed?
Did I fuck.
I just stood there, so angry that she could even stand there before me and admit to sharing a vision of the dead in the same way as one who was himself dying, that my denial kicked in full force and I just dismissed her. Maybe if I’d had some warning I could have processed it but she had spent the last few weeks assuring me she was fine – always fucking fine – even when blood was pouring from her nose or her pupils were dilating from the sheer agonising misery she felt when in the grip of a headache whilst she waited for the pills she would try to furtively slip in to her mouth when she thought I was looking elsewhere. to finally kick in. And so that one moment where her walls had crumbled before me, when she finally admitted that in fact, she wasn’t fine at all, I just didn’t know what to do with it other than to throw it right back at her with meaningless, baseless accusations; making it all about me as usual because it was just so much less painful than acknowledging the meaning behind her words.
And as she walked away from me that night, I knew that finally, she had reconciled herself to the fact that actually, it was far less painful to just say nothing; to carry on going it alone.
I’m not proud of myself. In fact that night I think I sank about as low as I was going to go and even though I vowed to make amends to her the next day, when it came right down to it, I didn’t. We just pretended it hadn’t happened; in the same way we always do when we think it’s something that might actually elicit some semblance of actual emotional affirmation towards one another, emotion we have become adept over the years at locking tightly within ourselves. Never to be spoken of or acknowledged for fear of the repercussions that might come crashing down upon us; as though any potential backlash could ever be any worse than what we have now.
Because since leaving the office, Scully hasn’t said one fucking word to me, hasn’t looked in my direction other than to briefly and curtly shake her head when I asked her if she wanted to stop for anything on the way home; if she needed anything. But of course she’s Dana Scully and she never needs anything right? I know she is angry with me, just as I know she is even angrier at herself over the brief moments of weakness she allowed me to elicit from her back at the office; in fact I truly believe, as I glance across at her profile, rigid and uncompromising as she stares fixedly through the windscreen at the traffic ahead of us, that right now she probably hates me.
Well that’s fine. Because deep down, if I’m completely honest with myself, there’s just a tiny part of me that hates her too; hates the fact that after everything we’ve been through she doesn’t trust me enough to let me in. The flipside to that of course is the fact that I love this woman with every cell in my body and the thought of losing her – when I allow myself to think of it of course – absolutely fucking paralysis me on levels I didn’t think were even possible. It steals my breath, numbs my body and chips away at my soul. Because she is a part of me now, and like oxygen I need her to survive; how will I even carry on when she’s not here?
Losses have been a prominent feature in my life but I realised a long time ago that compared to losing her, they have been relatively easy to bear. Because she has somehow become entwined within me; a light to guide me home through the darkest days when I feel like everything is hopeless, and I just can’t lose her, most especially while she is actually still right here with me.
Right now though, as I gently coast the car to a halt in front of the building my partner calls home, you could quite literally cut the atmosphere with a knife. Because sick or not, weakened or not, there isn’t a woman on this planet who can project just how pissed off she is without even needing to open her mouth as she can and even though I know it’s a response born of fear, it doesn’t make it any easier to take. Nor does the fact that she cranks it up a notch as, instead of killing the engine I glance over my shoulder, put it in to reverse and park in one of the empty spaces; it’s an action that elicits a tired sigh from her that doesn’t quite fit with her carefully maintained annoyance.
“I think I can make it from here Mulder…”
Of course I ignore her; because I’m just so sick of this shit.
Instead I exit the car and when she makes no move to follow me, I simply turn and start heading for the wide double doors that lead to her apartment; a course of action which, as I knew it would, immediately causes her to wrench the car door open and follow me. I slow my pace just enough to allow her to catch up with me but I don’t stop until I reach the pristine white door that I have stood in front of a thousand times since I have known her and on a couple of memorable occasions, kicked my way right through it to get to her. I’m fully prepared to do exactly the same today, albeit without the actual splintering wood part of the deal; I don’t wait for an invitation. I have my key already out and still ignoring her, I fit it in to the lock, giving it a savage twist and pushing the door inwards. I allow her to enter first; my only concession so far of the afternoon, before following right behind and as expected she attempts to face me down, her blue eyes flashing as she crosses her arms over her breasts, an action that couldn’t block me out any more effectively that if she started stacking bricks and mortar right there on the polished hardwood floor between us.
“I don’t remember inviting you in Mulder”
“You didn’t” I respond, throwing my keys on to the small table that resides just to the left of the doorframe and watching as they slide across the smooth surface, teetering on the edge but not quite falling. The parallel between those keys and our relationship at this moment doesn’t escape me.
“Well, I think I’d like to be alone so if you don’t mind…”
I don’t let her finish though and I know I’m probably overstepping the mark with her by several feet. But I just don’t care anymore; I don’t care how pissed off she gets with me because we have reached such an impasse that if we don’t at least attempt to get past it, we may as well just give the hell up on each other; and I’m not ready to do that.
So I step towards her and rest my hand on her shoulder, gently stroking my way down her upper arm before allowing my hand to fall away, trying desperately to let her know that it’s okay; even if she thinks it isn’t.
Because I do mind. I mind more than she could ever know.
continued chapter 3