Title: Comfort by the Sea
Author: X-Phylia (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Disclaimer: they belong to CC and the Fox Network. (and to us,
Category: MS friendship, angst.
Archive: Sure, just let me know.
Spoilers: Fill-in for "Drive". If you didn't see it, the story won't
make much sense. There are also minor ones for "The End", "Fight the
Future" and "The Beginning"
Summary: Mulder's thoughts after Crump's death.
"COMFORT BY THE SEA"
When Crump's head blew up with a sick, blunt noise behind me,
something in my own head snapped as well.
Once again, I was too late.
It's almost the story of my life. I should have it written in my will
that when I die, my coffin shows up a half-hour late and says on the
side, "Sorry, I'm late."
I can see my partner in the distance, getting the crew ready for
nothing. The man is dead because I screwed up again, as usual. What do
I tell her and the people waiting? That Crump died because I couldn't
move my sorry ass any faster?
Scully gauges the stain of blood on the glass panel and doesn't need
to ask anything. Except that I can tell by her expression that she
would like to ask me if I'm okay.
Which, of course, I'm not.
And I'm not in the mood to do any talking right now either, I just
want to stretch my legs and breathe some fresh air. I feel my
partner's worry as she looks at me; but, to her credit, she doesn't
attempt to stop me as I get out of that foul-smelling car. I
instinctively walk towards the rocky shore and let the magnificence of
the ocean soothe my soul, as I put away my tie and fold it in my
My legs are starting to shake and I'm afraid they might give away any
second, so I sit down and rest my back against the smoothest rock I
can find. I lose myself in the timeless rhythm of the waves. Unlike
most people, I don't usually find the sea that attractive, maybe
because I grew up in places where the sea was something you took for
granted, it just was there.
I realize now that it has been a while since the last time I've seen
the ocean from a place like this, sitting near the shore, and that I
missed it. When I was younger, I used to go to the beach to escape
from my own thoughts. My mind wasn't a nice place when I was a
teenager. I guess it still isn't.
Although I haven't turned around, I know that Scully is still up
there, watching me. I bless her for having the good sense of letting
me be and yet making me feel like I'm not all alone.
It's late afternoon and the sun will soon sink down the horizon. Too
bad it's so cloudy, it could have been a perfect sunset over the sea,
now that I'm in the right coast to see one. As time passes, the
temperature drops, and my body starts to shiver from the cold. That
must have been Scully's cue, because I hear, rather than see, her
footsteps getting closer. She's carrying a blanket and gently places
it over my shoulders.
I'm not ready to talk to her yet and she notices it, but this time she
doesn't go away. Instead she sits down beside me and strokes my back
and neck, which are stiff after so many hours on the road. Always
determined to do a good job, my diligent partner finds herself a flat
rock and sits so that she can reach my neck more comfortably. Her
gentle massage feels great and although a minute ago I wanted to be
alone, now I drop my chin to my chest to give her better access.
I don't understand why she tries so hard to comfort me. I mean, what
did I do to deserve it anyway? It makes me feel more guilty than I
already feel, if that's possible. But, God forgive me, I need this.
Her fingers are surprisingly skilled, they're doing a great job
disentangling the mass of knotted muscles in my neck. Or maybe it's
just her touch, so soft and delicate, that makes me relax. I think,
however, that what moves me most is the fact that she is doing it
silently. I *know* she wants to question me and try to understand why
the death of a complete stranger affects me so much. Only you already
know, don't you, Scully?
You know that it's not this or that, but the combined rush of events
bestowed upon us lately. I believe, then I don't believe, then I
believe again. Our hard work turned to ashes, the X-Files being run by
one arrogant little bastard and that. that. I don't know what to think
about Diana. I know you're jealous of her, Scully. You'd kill me if
you knew how good that makes me feel, but you shouldn't be. She
belongs in the past. I don't trust her any more, I doubt I ever did.
Not the way I trust you, that's for sure, not by chance.
She tightens the blanket around me so lovingly that it moves me to the
verge of tears. I don't want to cry, not here, not in front of her. I
inhale deeply, letting the cool air invade my lungs, and slowly turn
to her side. I look at her for the first time and see only compassion
and love in her blue eyes. I don't dare guess what she sees in mine.
She pulls me towards her, but since she's sitting a little higher, my
face lands between her breasts.
Talk about being in the right place.
I pass my arms around her waist and lean against her. With utmost
effort I suppress a sob that threatens to get past my throat. Our
closeness, however, won't let it go unnoticed.
"Oh Mulder," she whispers, kissing my forehead.
My breathing levels after a few minutes. One of her hands keeps
caressing my the back of my neck, the other goes up and down my spine,
"It's not your fault, Mulder. You did your best, I know you did."
I tighten my embrace in response. I'm not sure I'm able to talk right
now. If I open my mouth I might start crying and I'm determined not to
do so. I can let her comfort me as her partner, her friend. but I'm a
guy, and guys don't cry. well, at least not in public.
The dim light, the sounds of the sea, Scully's soft rocking and my own
exhaustion are adding up to lull me. If I were in a more comfortable
position (that goes *only* for my rear and legs), I'd probably be
"I'm so tired," I muse, and my voice sounds weak and raspy.
"I know. So am I. We should go and find ourselves a place to crash. A
*nice* one, if possible," she smirks.
Scully's right, of course, but I'd stay like this forever, wrapped in
this same warmth that not so long ago kept me alive while I lay
unconscious on the ice in Antarctica.
As if reading my thoughts, her fingers brush the spot where that
bullet grazed my temple.
I nuzzle against her breasts and smile for the first time in two days.
Thanks for reading.