He could feel her hands on him, offering him comfort. Did she realize that she was also holding him together? He just stood there in shock. This was worse than a death, this was more like genocide. Everything was gone. The arsonist had opened the damned files to ensure their destruction. He couldn’t speak, he wasn’t sure he could feel anything, except of course her hands.
His arms weren’t around her. Someday he’d have to explain that to her. For now he stood like a tree, one with its roots severed. Only this tether, this Scully tether, held him here.
Only she could hazard a guess at what he was feeling and even she couldn’t fully understand that it was his life that had been torched.
He was aware of activity around him, of water dripping, of the sting of heat and ash in his nose.
Scully needed comfort too. She was part of the X-Files now, as much or more a part than he was, but he couldn’t give it. It was too much. Would she ever understand that?
“Mulder, you need to get out of here.” Skinner? Was that him?
“He’s right, Mulder. Come on. We can’t do anything here tonight.” Scully, her voice was soothing, but even she couldn’t take away this pain. “Mulder? Please.”
He didn’t resist. She was tugging him away. “Let’s go.” There wasn’t anything he could do; at least for tonight.
He followed her silently, not looking to the right or left; focused exclusively on her back. No one spoke to them; in fact, giving them a wide berth. Good, a ‘Spooky’ comment and he’d probably commit murder. Better to just concentrate on her.
He was startled when she stopped in front of him and realized they were in the garage. She opened the passenger door for him. What about his car? He looked in that direction, but again her hand rested on his arm. He looked down at her, then took a seat without protest.
She waited until he reached for the seatbelt, then closed the door. She walked to the rear of the car and stopped. She leaned lightly against the bumper and just looked at the back of his head.
He was completely devastated. She had felt his protective shields slam shut around him. Had he even felt her trying to comfort him? Yes, on some level he knew she was here. He had to know she was with him - always with him. Not like anyone from his past, she was here now and for as long as he would let her stay. He needed her; could he understand that she needed him as well?
She saw his head turn toward his window, then toward the driver’s side. He was looking for her. Her shoulders relaxed.
He buckled the seatbelt and sat starting straight ahead. He was grateful, on some level, that she had taken over. Just one more example of how much stronger she was than him. He couldn’t survive this without her. He might not anyway, but he had a better chance with her at his side.
The numbness seemed to be lifting slightly, but behind the numb was the pain; the pain of a loss he didn’t know how to face. She would know, she would get him through. Scully? He glanced out his window. She wasn’t standing there watching him. He looked over at her side, but she wasn’t there either. Scully? He started to turn, his need to see her overwhelming suddenly.
Immediately the driver’s door opened and she slipped in. She looked over at him as she buckled her seatbelt. “Let’s go to your apartment, okay?”
‘Let’s,’ she was coming with him. He managed to nod. She pulled out of the garage and into traffic, then reached for his hand. She placed it on her thigh and squeezed it, then returned her hand to the steering wheel, leaving his resting there.
His internal trembling eased. That was exactly what he had needed. They were silent the entire way to his place. She parked and got out, then stood at the front of the car waiting for him. He took a deep breath and opened his door.
She held out her hand and he took it. After an instant he managed to loosen his grip from painful, but kept hold of her as they walked to his apartment together. Not everything had gone up in flames.
Links to other sites on the Web
Mulder, Scully, the Lone Gunman and Skinner all belong to Chris Carter, 10-13 and Fox. No infringement intended.