2/11/15 MSR for the angsty list....I know....I am an ass.... (but really!!!!! Please write that!!!!)
2 - I don’t need you. I don’t need any of you.
11 - You can’t keep hurting me and then demand I apologize instead.
15 - You betrayed me.
Author’s Notes: Okay, this one hurts. Like a kick to the groin kind of hurt. I almost feel bad. It is high angst & will probably piss some of you off. If you proceed – you were warned. Post IWTB.
Two Weeks, Too Cold
It’s been two full weeks since she’s seen him.
She can’t remember the last time she went more than a day without hearing his voice – What’s up, Doc? – watching him as he watched her, or felt his broad chest against her back as he spooned her to sleep.
I won’t be coming home, she had said. Don’t do this, he had begged.
Scully keeps telling herself that she made a mistake by letting him kiss her as she stood in their front yard with tears rolling down her face, by entertaining the notion that they could ever hide from the darkness. It was cruel, she thinks, because even then she knew that she wouldn’t be coming back home.
Which isn’t exactly true, because she did come home, briefly, to gather a bag or two of her belongings. Her chest aches at the memory – of the desperate tears and of his voice breaking on each I’m sorry and please don’t leave me.
That was two weeks ago. Two weeks that have been filled with work, because if she can’t help the man she loves then at least she can help a child breathe. Two weeks filled with too much coffee, because her fingers feel ice cold without his own interlaced with them. Too little sleep, because her skin trembles and aches without his hands there to gentle away the nightmares.
Two weeks, she has decided, is long enough.
I just want to see him, she tells herself as she guides her car onto the long gravel drive that leads to their shared home. The house is modest, but cozy. Most of all, it’s theirs. The few tangible things they’ve shared in the past have been wrenched away from them – but not their home. No blood to scrub out of the carpet, no taped X in the window to summon life-threatening information. It’s just home, and it’s theirs.
She steps out of her car into the crisp air of early morning to pull open the gate, and she smiles to herself. The ritual of it is comforting. Countless mornings and evenings have began and ended with opening this gate, letting herself back into the beautiful, private world she shares with Mulder.
Pulling into her spot in front of the house, she sees a strange car. She frowns curiously. Did he go out and buy a car after I left? She wouldn’t put it past him, except that it would require his actually leaving the house (and nothing short of a psychic priest has convinced him to do so thus far).
On her walk to the front door, her heart begins to hammer against her ribs at the thought of seeing him again. It’s only been two weeks, she chides herself. Still, she expects that he may be angry. When he’s hurt, he tends to deflect – in his case, that means petulant withdrawal and an abundance of sarcasm.
She draws in a deep breath and unlocks the door. He may still be asleep, she realizes as she steps into quiet darkness. It’s just after five o’clock in the morning. Just because she hasn’t been able to rest doesn’t mean he can’t.
But oh, she’s finally home. She closes her eyes, relishing the smell of Mulder’s aftershave mingled with the scent of the roses he had delivered to her office just a week before those goddamned agents showed up at the hospital. She remembers bringing them home, carefully tucking them into a vase of water. They’re beautiful, she had told him. Not as beautiful as you, he had replied, his hand tucked against the small of her back.
“Who are you?”
Scully starts at the sound of an unfamiliar voice, opening her eyes to see a woman standing at the threshold where kitchen becomes living room.
Tall. Brunette. Holding a glass of water. Wearing only a t-shirt and a confused expression.
“This is my house,” Scully says, the words scraping past a throat that has gone as dry as desert sand. “Who are you?”
The woman stares back, tugging at the hem of her t-shirt uncomfortably.
No, not her t-shirt. Mulder’s t-shirt. Scully’s favorite shirt that Mulder owns, because it’s soft and worn and somehow still smells like the cologne he wore the first time she slept in his arms, even after all these years.
I’m going to be sick, this is not happening, oh Mulder what is going on…
The woman finally speaks, clearing her throat. “He – he said he lived alone.”
I’ve wandered into the wrong house, Scully thinks numbly. That’s the only explanation that makes sense.
But no. That’s Mulder’s shirt, and that’s the drinking glass my mother gave to me when we moved here. That’s the couch where Mulder and I made love less than a month ago.
This can’t be the wrong house, because that’s Mulder. He’s standing in front of her, and he’s not wearing my favorite shirt, he’s not wearing a shirt at all, and he looks terrified, and oh God I’m going to be sick…
“Mulder?” Her voice sounds tiny. Her hands are still freezing, but now her palms are sweating as her stomach churns. Please explain this, Mulder, she begs silently. Please please please please.
“Who is she?” When the other woman speaks again, Scully wants to scream at her. She has no right to ask that. Scully is the one who should be demanding an explanation. She’s the one who deserves an answer. Not this stranger, with her morning-after hair and her long smooth legs brushing the hem of Mulder’s shirt.
I’m going to be sick.
“Mulder?” This time, her voice is louder, sharper, less please tell me this isn’t what it looks like and more how fucking could you.
He doesn’t acknowledge the other woman’s inquiry, instead stepping toward Scully with his hand outstretched. “Scully,” he begins, and her name on his lips tells her all she needs to know. She’s heard him speak her names countless times – calling to her for help, playfully teasing her, comforting her in times of distress, moaning in ecstasy as she coaxes him to climax, even shouting in anger during a particularly intense argument.
Never – never – has he said her name with this desperate, helpless tone threaded through it.
The woman has disappeared, and Scully can hear her in the bedroom – our bedroom – gathering her things, probably eager to get away from this house – our house – and whatever is about to happen between them.
Mulder moves forward, and she sees panic etched into the lines of his face.
She squeezes her eyes shut, shaking her head as the full realization of what’s happening settles over her. “No,” she chokes, swallowing against a throatful of stomach acid. “No, no, no.”
“I’m sorry, Scully, please let me explain.”
Her eyes fly open, and she wraps her arms around herself. “Explain?” Her voice catches on a sob. “What is there to explain?” She stares at his face, his beautiful face, and it’s more than she can take, his eyes full of regret. She backs away, grappling for the doorknob.
“Scully, don’t leave. Please.”
“Two weeks, Mulder!” Her stomach aches, her head pounds, and I need to get out of here, this is not happening. “I was gone two fucking weeks!”
She is hot and cold at the same time, her clammy palms sliding against the doorknob as her fingers shake uncontrollably. She feels the heat of his body behind her, and oh God, she wants to lean into him, just to warm her hands, but nonononono, she has to leave, she cannot stay another minute in this house.
When he places a hand against her shoulder, her entire body recoils. “Get the hell away from me,” she gasps, her breaths coming in shorter spurts now, her lungs burning.
The doorknob finally relents, and she shoves against the door, stumbling outside where it’s still so cold, it’s not home, and she can’t breathe, and fuck you Mulder how dare you how fucking dare you.
He follows her across the yard. “Scully, please.”
She doesn’t break stride or respond. She’s almost to her car when she feels his hand catch the arm of her coat. She jerks free, but his grasp is lighter than she expected, and the heel of her boot slides against a leftover patch of ice.
Under any other circumstance, she would have caught herself. The reflexes instilled in her all those years ago in FBI field training never failed her before, but she can’t even catch her breath so how is supposed to support her full weight?
Maybe she doesn’t even want to.
Her knee meets the ground with a sharp crunch, and she hisses in pain.
Immediately, Mulder is at her side. “Oh God,” he says, and reaches for her again. She slaps his hand away, and finally the tears she’s been fighting break through, streaming hot against her chilled face.
“In our bed, Mulder,” she says bitterly, leaning back against the tire of her car. “I was gone two weeks, and you fucked someone in my bed.” She tries to suck in a lungful of air, but is met with resistance when the breath halts on a sob. So this is what suffocation feels like.
“I was drunk,” he whispers miserably.
“When are you not?”
He flinches, but continues. “I don’t know what happened. Scully, I don’t even know her.”
“Where did you meet her, Mulder?” She glares through her tears. “All this time, while I’ve been working, have you just been out meeting women to bring back to our home? Our bed?”
“Of course not,” he breathes, staring at her in horror. “Never. You know me better than that.”
“I thought I did,” she whispers brokenly. “I never believed you would do this. Not in a million years, Mulder.”
“Neither did I.“ His voice is pitiful and sincere.
She swallows thickly. “You betrayed me.”
He sinks all the way down beside her. “I know,” he says quietly. “I know, and I’m so sorry.” There is a heavy silence between them for a moment before he adds, “Scully, you left me.”
Scully shifts to face him, and grits her teeth against the pain that the motion sends shooting through her knee. “You’re unbelievable,” she spits venomously. “You screw another woman in my bed, on the sheets you bought for me on my last birthday, and you’re making this my fault?” She fumbles with the top of the tire, trying to pull herself to her feet.
“Scully, stop,” Mulder pleads. “You’re hurt – your leg.”
“You’re damn right I’m hurt,” she snaps. “And it has nothing to do with my leg.”
She gives up on standing for the moment. “You never answered my question,” she tells him, her eyes burning hot into his.
“Where did you meet her? I’ve never known you to socialize, but clearly, there are a few parts of your character I somehow missed in all our years together.”
He stares at his hands for a moment before meeting her gaze. “I went on a walk and ended up at a bar. It’s a couple miles down the road. I had more than I planned, and she – she offered to drive me home.”
Scully folds her arms tightly around her midsection. The tire is wreaking havoc on her back, but she barely notices.
“Classy, Mulder.” She closes her eyes again, but the tears fall anyway.
He sighs. “You left, Scully. You just left, and you wouldn’t return my calls. I didn’t know if you were ever coming back.”
Scully tenses as another wave of nausea washes over her. “I left because you wouldn’t leave the house unless it was to spiral back into your fucking paranoid obsessions!”
She covers her face with both hands. “You can’t keep doing this,” she sobs. “You can’t keep hurting me, and then demand that I apologize instead.”
“When have I done that?” His voice is laced with disbelief. “When have I ever done that, Scully?”
Fuck you Mulder fuck you fuck you fuck you –
“Fuck you,” she cries, gripping the edge of the tire again and heaving herself to her feet. “I don’t need you.”
She ignores the throbbing in her knee when she puts weight on it. “I don’t need anyone,” she says, her voice breaking. “I think we both know I’ve survived greater losses.” She wrestles with her purse, digging for her keys. “But it’s fine. I don’t need any of you.”
Mulder touches her shoulder, and she shrugs him away again. “Don’t touch me.” She yanks her car door open. “I told you to get away from me.”
“Scully, I’m sorry,” he says weakly. “You may not need me, but I need you. I always have.”
“You didn’t need me last night,” she tosses back viciously as she forces key into ignition. “I can’t take care of you anymore, Mulder. Figure it out.”
He positions his body so that she is blocked from closing the door. “Scully,” he tries again, his voice echoing with despair. “I’m begging you. Please. You came back for a reason. Please don’t leave again.”
Her chin trembles as she answers him in a voice as brittle as dry ice. “I left for a reason, too.”
She grasps the door handle in her hand despite the remaining tremors. “Move.”
He slowly backs away, and at last she sees tears shining in his eyes. It’s too late, it’s too much this time, I can’t.
The sound of her slamming door causes him to jump. The pressure she places on her gas pedal makes her moan with pain as her knee protests the movement.
When she glances in her rearview mirror, she sees a tear-blurred image of her entire world, standing with his arms hanging helplessly at his sides.
He’s still not wearing a shirt, she realizes.
Go back inside, Mulder. It’s too cold out here.
I would know.
Before you ask, yes, there will almost certainly be a follow-up.