Trauma (PG-13)

He glanced over at her as she stood by the door



He glanced over at her as she stood by the door.  Her posture was straight, probably no one passing could see how traumatized she was.  Even during the debriefing she had handled herself.  Her voice has been calm and steady, her answers succinct.  Only he had been in a position to see that her hands were trembling slightly.  He would have spared her that if it had been possible.  Now he needed to get her out of here.


“Are we through?” he turned to the District Chief.


The older man ran his hand through his thinning hair.  “Yeah, I don’t know what more damage we can do tonight.  Keep your cell on.”


Mulder saw the quickly disguised wince on Scully’s face, but only nodded to the Chief.  He was already moving toward her.


She seemed aware of him, but she didn’t speak.  His hand, instead of being lightly placed on her back now held her arm firmly, guiding but also supporting her as they headed toward their rental car.


She didn’t speak, so he didn’t disturb the quiet.  He opened her door for her and seated her.  She wasn’t looking at him and his concern grew.  He reached across and fastened her seatbelt when she made no move to do so, then shut her door and rounded the car to the driver’s side.  He glanced at her again and dismissed the idea of getting a bite to eat.  What she needed was a brandy, but he doubted she’d agree.  He’d check the mini-bar when they got there.


He parked at the hotel and turned, opening his mouth to question her, then shut it again.  ‘Fine’ would only aggravate him and if she was actually honest he wasn’t sure he could take it.


Again he rounded the car, unbuckling her and then squatting beside her.  “Scully, let’s go inside.”


She seemed to nod so he took her hand.  It was like moving a large doll and he ached for her.  A hand on her arm didn’t feel adequate now, so his arm went around her, guiding her inside and to the elevators.


Another couple was also waiting for the next car.  Mulder saw the woman glance at Scully.  Her lips opened, he knew to ask if she was okay, but then she just looked at Scully with sympathy.  What had she picked up?  Had she seen the trauma with one glance?  Her husband seemed oblivious.  Mulder didn’t acknowledge them, but as they were exiting the car on the third floor Mulder could swear the woman’s hand had twitched to take hold of Scully’s hand for a supportive squeeze.  Damn, he had to be projecting, but as the doors closed he and the woman exchanged glances.  Her look of sympathy nearly undid him.


He and Scully continued up two floors and exited the elevator.  She was walking but not completely on her own.  His arm was firm around her as he led her to his room and opened the door.  She made no protest, allowing him to lead her inside.  He yanked down the covers to the bed and seated her on the side.  He started to straighten up but her hand grasped his suit coat at the wrist.


“I’m not going anywhere, Scully,” he said softly.


She wouldn’t look at him and her grip did not lessen.  “Scully?  You know I’m here with you?”  When there was no response he tilted her head up to him.  She closed her eyes then and his concern rose.


“Lie down, Scully.  You need to relax.”  He helped her recline against the pillows, then removed her shoes with his free hand.  He toed of his own shoes then and murmuring comforting comments to her, removed his suit coat.  Her hand immediately reclamped on his shirt sleeve but she still made no sound.


He slipped onto the bed beside her and took her into his arms.  He felt her hands fist into the fabric of his shirt as though he were trying to escape her.


What had she seen?  It had been over before he had gotten there.  There had been three officers with her, two were dead, one in intensive care and it didn’t look good.  He knew she had ordered the officers not to fire, and to run.  They had obeyed neither.  Their guns had been empty.  She had fired one shot.  She’d given the facts, but not what had happened.  He had seen the green goo on the floor, caught a whiff of the fumes that had filled the room earlier.  He had thought she’d tell him when they were alone with no one around to laugh at their alien theory.  He hadn’t expected this.


He’d seen her traumatized after Donna Pfaster had taken her the first time, less so after Schnauz.  When Pfaster had attacked her the second time, she’d been upset but she’d defended herself, escaped from his trap and shot him in self defense.  He’d reported it as such.  This was so totally beyond any of those previous traumas he wasn’t sure what to do.  Was it because of the alien connection?  She’d seen the shape shifters before.  He knew she wasn’t comfortable admitting it, but not this.


She wasn’t asleep but she wasn’t awake either.  She seemed trapped in that gray area between; an area he had learned to hate nearly thirty years ago.  Occasionally she would jerk or moan.  He was at a loss, but he refused to release her.  She seemed cold, burrowing into his chest for security or warmth or something.  He only wished he could give her what she needed.


Then she stiffened, fighting him.  “No! No, please, no!”  He’d been expecting it, the nightmare, yet it still caught him off guard.  His arms around her tightened, to protect her, and hopefully let her feel his presence. 


His lips were at her ear, speaking in a low voice, but continuous.  “I’m here Scully, it’s me, Mulder.  I have you.  It’s okay.”  Over and over he repeated some version of what he hoped was comforting words.


He realized eventually that his words were now interspersed with small kisses to her ear, her jaw, her cheek.  He wasn’t sure when he’d begun that, but she was calming down, no longer fighting or moaning, so he continued.  Had she moved or had he when he found his lips on hers.  It was chaste; his first kiss back in 6th grade had probably been steamier, but this was more important.  She relaxed even more, returning his kisses, her arms now around his neck and eventually he found that he had kissed her to sleep.  No words had been spoken, he wasn’t completely sure she was aware it was him, but it didn’t matter.


It was real sleep this time, her body soothed and cuddled into his.  The thought of undressing her to make her more comfortable flitted through his mind, but she seemed to be comfortable enough just being held, so they lay there that way, missing only their shoes.  He still felt no hint of sleepiness on his part so he lay there holding her.  He was aware when she dreamed but no nightmare reoccurred.


He could sense light more than see it through the sheers at the window.  He’d never gotten up and closed any curtains last night.  He hadn’t left her for an instant.


Her eyes opened to an expanse of white with a garish red pattern cutting through at an angle.  Her first thought was it was bad enough to be one of Mulder’s ties, then it hit her, it was one of Mulder’s ties.  She was clasping him to her as he held her in his arms.


He leaned back just a little and brushed her hair back, hooking it behind her ear.  “How do you feel?”


Memory flooded her and her arms tightened around him.  He reciprocated and again murmured into her hair.   “I’m right here.  Nothing’s going to hurt you.”


She sagged in his arms and rubbed her cheek against his dress shirt, listening to the steady thump of his heart in his chest.


After a few more minutes, though he was loath to disturb this quietness between them he let his hand rub her back lightly.  “Scully, you need to eat something.”


“I’m fi-“ she stopped herself and he felt her face press against his chest again.


“I know, Baby.  Let it out.”  To his surprise she did, at first weeping quietly but he could feel it building.  Then she was sobbing, crying like he had never been privilege to witness before.  She trusted him.


Eventually the sobs diminished, changing to hiccupping breaths and finally deeper cleansing breaths.  When she started to pull away, he instinctively pulled her closer, then caught himself and allowed it.  “I’ll be right back,” she whispered and headed for the bathroom.  Not a bad idea he realized and exchanged places with her when she emerged, face washed and hair hand-combed back.


He squeezed her hand as he passed her and she watched his back disappear into the bathroom, then sat on the side of the bed.


She was fully dressed, but obviously she had slept here, with him, in his arms all night.  She jumped slightly when the door opened and he joined her.  He’d seen that and took his seat beside her.  “Tell me what you need, Scully.”


Tears formed in her eyes again, but none fell this time.  She started to shake her head, but he touched her chin, bringing her eyes up to him again.  “Talk to me, please.  You can’t keep this inside any longer.”


Again she turned away, not speaking.


“Scully, you’ve seen these aliens before.  You’ve fought them before.  What happened this time?”


She stared down at her hands now and he gave her time.  “I, I had to shoot.  One officer was already down.  They hadn’t listened, they wouldn’t believe . . . I had to kill . . . “


Yes, her shot had obviously been accurate, striking the alien in the throat.  Only piercing the neck could cause them to melt like he had seen.  Seen . . . Oh shit, who had she seen as she pulled the trigger?  Her father?  Bill?  Melissa?  That’s what this trauma was about.  Why hadn’t he realized? 


“Scully, you know it was an alien.  You weren’t shooting at someone you know.”  The shudder through her body showed him he was correct.  “Who was it, Scully?  I can get them on the phone for you - “


“Y-you,” it was all she said. 


He sat there dumbfounded for an instant.  All this trauma, because of him?  “M-me?”


“Oh god,” she was shaking then and he pulled her into his lap.  “I shot you, I killed you.  You fell to the floor, your hands at your throat - “


“It wasn’t me.  Scully, I’m right here.”


“I can’t get it out of my head.”


That he understood.  He still had nightmares of her in that warehouse, when Modell’s sister had . . .   He realized she’d been watching him when her hand came up and cupped his cheek.  He covered it with his own hand, then moved it to his lips and kissed her palm.  “I’m sorry, Scully.”


“You’re making it better,” she said softly.





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Mulder, Scully, the Lone Gunman and Skinner all belong to Chris Carter, 10-13 and Fox. No infringement intended.