Written for @leiascully xf writing challenge: forgiveness
Set after “The Truth”
It rains the first night they’re on the road. The raindrops pelt angrily against the windshield and the wipers do their best to give Mulder a clear view of what’s ahead. Their scratchy movement contributes to the peculiar symphony they’re listening to; their silence, however, is the loudest participant.
Things they want to talk about, really should talk about now after all this time, they’re swallowed in kisses, in moans instead. Here in the car, though, the distance between them seems inexpugnable. Mulder considers taking her hand in his, the need to feel her soft skin against his is almost painful. But he doesn’t reach over. Despite their desperate love making last night, he is not sure where they stand. Their bodies remember each other flawlessly, as if never having been apart. The distant look in her eyes, emotions playing on her face he’s never seen before, they remind him that she lived through a hell he did not walk through himself. Just like his hell is his very own. They’re both burned, but their wounds no longer match.
And Mulder’s secret, he fears, will make it only worse. Cause newer, rawer pain.
His eyes wander over to her small body, slumped in her seat, her head leaning the window. She’s fast asleep, still trusting him enough to know he’ll get them there, wherever, safely.
“Forgive me, Scully,” he mumbles, “I am so sorry.”
The words come easy now knowing she can’t hear them.
“Where are we?” Scully wakes up with the sun, her voice as warm and gentle as the weather.
“We just passed Tucson.” Mulder adjusts his sunglasses, preparing himself for her next question.
“Where are we going, Mulder? Mexico?”
“No.” She waits for him to elaborate, tell her, and he just can’t find the words.
“I’m sorry, Scully. It’s just- let’s just drive, all right?”
She doesn’t answer; she leans her head against the window again, her eyes trained on the bleak landscape surrounding them.
“Don’t be sorry, Mulder. We’re in this together, remember?”
He nods. But she doesn’t know. She just doesn’t know.
They eat at a shabby road side diner, just like in old times. Mulder grins at her remembering mornings and afternoons spent together discussing cases. He misses it. Scully smiles at him softly, nodding to herself as if she, too, wishes they were still these people.
A few miles later Scully tells him to stop.
“You need sleep, Mulder.” She doesn’t offer to drive and he knows she’s right. They check in as Mr. and Mrs. Hale paying in cash with crumpled up bills. The room is clean enough, he figures. Silently he strips down to his boxers as Scully shuts the blinds.
She watches him get comfortable in bed.
“You’re not joining me?”
“You should sleep, Mulder. I’ll be fine.”
“You know, I can behave myself. Come to bed, Scully. I’ll be a gentleman.” She takes off her jacket, her blouse and finally her skirt. Mulder keeps his eyes on her face, determined. His cock betrays him, throbbing gently, tightening his shorts.
“But who says I can behave myself?” She whispers and Mulder lets go, lets her take the reign for the moment. When he comes, her walls clamping down on him, guilt surges through him, reminding him that he doesn’t deserve this. When she kisses him after with a smile on her face, he tastes bitterness.
Her eyes begin to flutter and her breath evens out.
“I love you,” Mulder whispers into the room where the air conditioner gently hums, almost like a lullaby, “I love you so much, Scully.”
There is no answer and he is glad.
“Forgive me, Scully. Forgive me.” And he, too, sleeps.
When Mulder changes the direction north, Scully shoots him a look but stays quiet.
What did they used to talk about on these drives? Mulder doesn’t remember. In his memory, they’re always talking, quarreling. Cases, theories, ideas but nothing he could pinpoint. It was a time before his death, his resurrection. Before there were new partners assigned to find him, to have her back. A time when there was no baby boy; no regrets on either side why he isn’t with them now.
“We could stop in Las Vegas, make it official.”
It’s supposed to be a joke, but Scully’s silence and her somber face tell him it was the wrong thing to say. He doesn’t apologize. Not for this.
As the scenery changes, the mood in the car remains the same.
“I really am sorry, Scully. For all of this.” When she doesn’t answer, he believes she’s asleep again. He doesn’t question her exhaustion, doesn’t ask why.
“Stop apologizing, Mulder. There’s nothing to be sorry for, nothing to forgive.”
“You heard me.”
“I did. It’s just- I sent you away, Mulder. To keep you safe and to… if there’s anyone who should be sorry it should be-“
“No, Scully. Don’t. Just… don’t.”
Silence takes over after this and Mulder feels it deep inside himself; the guilt manifesting itself inside, striking roots. You don’t know, Scully. You don’t know.
She’ll find out soon and then… and then.
They arrive with the sunrise. Orange flames lick at the sky as Mulder steers the car onto the graveled path.
“Where are we?” Scully’s voice is still thick with sleep. She runs her hands through her hair automatically.
“Mulder, where are we?” He stops the car, the house still small there in the distance. Mulder turns to Scully, who stares intently at him. There have been moments like this before in their long partnership; Mulder running off, leaving her with merely a sliver of the truth. Once she did it to him, too. This, he knows, is a different betrayal. One she might not forgive him.
“We’re in Wyoming.” There’s no reaction on her face. She has no idea.
“Scully, I couldn’t, I-…” Mulder trails off; he can’t do this. He starts the car again, Scully’s blue eyes burning into him, never once looking anywhere but his face. It takes maybe another 20 seconds, 30 tops, before the house comes into focus. Scully’s eyes leave him someone walked out the door. Mulder slows down the car and it finally stops in clear sight.
“Mulder…” He doesn’t recognize the emotion in Scully’s voice. He listens to the click of her seat belt, the soft close of the car door as she steps out. The woman on the porch holds her baby tightly, fastening her grip involuntarily.
Mulder takes a deep breath. He couldn’t have told her. He doesn’t have the words for it. Opening the car door, soft air hits him, reminds him of a place somewhere, of something he can’t put his fingers on. The baby kicks gently, like happy children do when they’re excited, and Mulder looks at his son for the first time in over a year.
“Mulder, why…” Scully’s voice breaks.
“Forgive me, Scully.” He pleads.
He needs her to forgive him because he can’t let go, can’t forgive himself and partly her, for giving up. For giving up their son.