the original had a typo. oops

the atlas vertebrae

for @how-i-met-your-mulder ’s prompt: things you said when no one else was around & “I love you and I am terrified.” // the truth, post-verdict 

a/n: i’m a dumbass who broke the read more link by deleting the original ask post after fixing typos oops

i)

Newton tells her that her hand should break. It’s simple physics. When she hits the wall, full with the flat brunt force of her knuckles, it should shatter the delicate bone. Equal and opposite forces. She hits the exposed brick in the corner of the nursery, where they’d had to tear away the plaster after she’d fired her gun in her son’s room. In her son’s room. She hits it hard enough for the wall to break. For it to shred away like paper. For her wrist to snap and her body to go slack with the end of it all. 

Doggett says, “Stop, Scully. Stop!”

Equal and opposite forces. He spins her around and she doesn’t mean to hit him. It’s just simple physics. She’s so sick of how sorry they all are. He doesn’t seem surprised. 

He rubs at his jaw. “Just stop, Dana. It’s not worth,” he catches himself. “Just stop. We’ll figure this out.”

She nods, swipes her hand across her cheeks and lips. Wonders if he’d meant to say: He’s not worth it. She wants to laugh, but only because she wouldn’t know what else to do.

“I’m sorry, John,” she says. She means for the punch to the jaw and the next thing that’s going to come out of her mouth. “I’m going to see him. They have to let me see him.”

It was never a question of worth. It was of what deals you were willing to make, how many times you could afford to go all in. Maybe she should have stopped trading after Melissa, after the cancer, after William. After it all. But she couldn’t seem to stop bleeding and showing her cards.

ii

All the army guards have seen their fair share of widows. At least, she thinks, that’s why they handle her so gently, like she’s already in black. Mulder holds his hands out to her, his back against the wall. His knuckles are bruised. He’s changed her in ways she doesn’t want to think about.

He says, “Too bad you’re the immortal one, huh?”

She says, “Mulder, shut up,” and brushes her lips over his knuckles, lets him pull her down to the gray floor and against him.

He says, “Sorry, sorry. I’m so sorry.”

She says, gently, like she would to a child or an annoying puppy or a man on death row with bruised knuckles who she loves in a way that made physics work against her, “Shut up.”

The guards leave the two of them alone in darkness. It is the most familiar thing she’s felt in years.

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