Walk This Earth Alone
By Anna Otto
Email: annaotto1@aol.com
Rating: PG-13
Category: VA
Spoilers: Biogenesis
Disclaimer: Not mine
Summary: Want to know how to destroy someone's content life without lifting a finger?

Everyone I meet lately has a hidden agenda. I suppose that's one of the perks of my job - it's never boring. Others may find satisfaction from dressing into poorly sewn suits, shaking hands with the management, and sitting all day long, shuffling papers around or punching numbers into computers. Their lives may be safe, and their consciences may be clean, but ask any one of them and they will tell you that they will never be content. Not as long as they live on this godforsaken planet. Not as long as they stare at the walls surrounding them.

My life is a carefully created network of enemies kept in check and colleagues who owe me favors. It's not always easy to deal with them, but I draw comfort from the familiarity of danger. My few short-lived affairs - one-night stands, as I should call them in all honesty, are based on mutual but temporary need. They disappear into oblivion the morning after, and we're even. In a way, it's an easy life - and I've never known any other options, nor will I ever come by them in the future.

I'm content in my choices. I'm content even though my arm is missing, my friends are absent, and my name is beaten into dirt -in certain circles. I cannot change the past, and I accepted that I must live with its consequences.

When my feet halt beside a fallen form of my former partner, they do so of their own volition. I need to keep going - I have a meeting to attend, and a new friend to make, and I have no time for someone who never needed anything from me. Fox Mulder, an unnamable quantity, an exasperating, ever-changing man who can so carelessly destroy my peace of mind, without even opening his eyes to acknowledge my presence.

I try to make a step. A few inches off the ground, one stair in a small staircase, it shouldn't be that hard.

I haven't seen him in a year. Hey, ex-partner, how has it been? Are you surprised that I know something about the reason why you're spilt on the floor? Do you know how little I should care that you're in pain?

I don't, you know. I don't care, even though right now all you are is agony personified. I can step on you - accidentally - and you probably won't even notice. It could make us even, Mulder, for all the times you've beaten the crap out of me. You are very quick with your hands for such a supposedly peaceful creature.

I walk over him, instead, as a man either too careful or too cowardly to take the necessary step. He is not my problem.

My lines slip off my tongue with the ease of a professional killer and actor. The package I carry changes owners, and my mission is accomplished. The good professor leaves the scene of the crime, and I should follow in his footsteps and clear the area, but instead I step closer to the edge of the roof and breathe in the chilly evening air. I wonder if people moving below have content lives.

You should go, a voice that could shock me even out of amnesia mocks me. You have no reason to stay.

I wonder if Mulder knows how much I hate hearing him in my head. If Scully has the same problem, I honestly pity her. I wish I could tell him to shut up, but I tried it before and it never worked. Yes, I reply tiredly, I know that I should be leaving. Maybe I like it here.

Alone, on the roof, in the cold dark night. I can see your point.

If so, go away, I tell him. I haven't invited you here.

No, Mulder replies. You just left me to squirm on the staircase.

I've followed you to the Gulag. I've tried to help you numerous times, against my better judgment. I've almost lost my life for you, for a dubiously comforting knowledge that you might walk this world and occasionally direct your gun at my head when our paths cross.

Weren't you just telling me that you don't care?

Such an insidious insult in his voice. I *don't* care, Mulder, not anymore.

Then why don't you come back and step over me another time?

I run downstairs. Do you know what will and strength it took to not think about you, Mulder? A year, an entire year of content life, during which your voice almost faded away, and you were not in my dreams, in my water, in my drugs. Do you know how much I hate you for slithering back?

Do you know how little I still care, Mulder?

I stand, looking down at the cause of my headache. Maybe our pains match, ex-partner. Why aren't you replying now?

His eyes open, and I wait for an old candle of hatred, of recognition. Come on, it's me, your enemy. You remember me, don't you?

I wait in vain.

And then I crush down on my knees next to him, and search his pockets for a cell phone. Number one, send. Scully, where the hell are you today? Number two, and Skinner will ask too many questions. Number three, what does the mystery door hold for me? Diana Fowley, and I have no time to wonder about his phone preferences - just give her the coordinates and the brief update on the situation. She seems to understand, she knows the clock and dagger routine. If she doesn't come by to pick him up, I will find her and hurt her.

On the other hand, she might enjoy that too much.

Why am I still talking to you like you can hear me, Mulder? Old habits are so easily resurrected.

And every content life is a lie.

I would embrace you, just to make sure that you're still breathing, but it would be a lie too. I want you to remember me, the true me, every blow and every insult. I want your days to be as haunted as mine are.

I want you to be the one to say: "I don't care." What would it take, Mulder?

What would it take?

I leave him behind, and walk out alone. The doors swing open, and I hear his voice in the gust of wind that gets caught between the glass panes. The street lamps flicker and alter the shadows so that his silhouette is painted on the ground before me. And if any one of the dark-haired men walking in front of me turns around, I'm convinced that I will see his face, contorted into a grimace of unbearable torment.

This world bears his presence. If I were blind and deaf, I would probably still stumble across him in a lightless void.

But I don't care anymore, Mulder. I haven't stayed, and I haven't personally dragged you into a hospital. I haven't betrayed my presence. Maybe I've won.

And every day, as I have for the past year, I'm walking away from you, from the past that never had a future.

I walk this earth alone.

The End.

But I walk this earth alone,
And all I've ever known
Is you're right beside me.
If I love you for a day,
Then blow my life away,
Can I leave you behind me?

Lauren Christy, "Walk This Earth Alone"

Author's Notes: Another addition to the pool of post-Biogenesis exercises, simply because I had to absolve Krycek of his sins of omission. Thanks go to Ash for inspiration, and Rachel and Leigh for beta-reading.