27 Nov 1997

Trinity, After Midnight (formerly Totally Untitled post-Redux II)
SUMMARY: M/Sk, PG-13. Takes place immediately after Redux II.
DISCLAIMERS: Characters and universe belong to Chris Carter and 1013 Productions. On another note, let me just say that I wrote this scene in two hours, one draft, three o'clock in the morning, with neither plan nor destination. Whether or not there is a sequel is entirely up in the air, and may well depend on what kind of feedback I get for this one. I cannot come up with a good title for this for love or money tonight; suggestions?
FEEDBACK: hth29@hotmail.com
ARCHIVE: Yes, anywhere

Trinity, After Midnight
by HTH

There is nothing here that we haven't seen before. Another busy D.C. hospital, another breathless brush with death, another bullet dodged, one more rabbit-from-hat chance at the future. I watch him pour packet after packet of sugar into a paper cup full of coffee, and I know that today, this hospital, this new lease on life, will be different. I'm going to say something to him; it's what I came here to do. I think.

"Agent Mulder." I sit down across from him with my tapioca pudding, and he looks up. It's an intimate, inquisitive look, his cynicism momentarily shelved in the face of sudden heartbreak and unspeakable joy. I have to touch him. I have to. I don't care if he puts a bullet in my chest.

He is the bullet in my chest. Fuck; this has gone too far. Much too far. I put my hand on his forearm. That's good; a manly, soldier-on, supportive gesture, AD to agent. He doesn't blink or look down; for all I know, he hasn't noticed. My hand is falling to smoke and ashes.

And it's as though I suddenly become another man entirely, one who feels nothing but outrage and loss. My fingers clench, seeking the bone. He notices now; his eyes widen, and he tenses, but his arm is passive in my grip. He's worried. Good. "You guessed. You *guessed*? Are you psychotic? What if you'd been wrong?"

He smiles, nervously. "I was pretty sure. Walter, shit, you're hurting me."

Who the hell am I all of a sudden, that his meekness, his vulnerable honesty is making me hot and ravenous, filled with a predatory need to-- to what? No, no, I don't want this. I am not this.

I am thunder and jungle. I want to eat his brains and paint myself with his blood. To fuck him until he is lost and docile, no longer a threat to my orderly life. *Who have I become?*

My voice is low and steady, and I meet his eyes squarely, without seeing him. "What if it hadn't been your lucky day, Agent Mulder? Would you have accused me instead of him?"

"No. No, Blevins wanted me to, Blevins and S-- I wasn't going to do it, though."

"Fuck you, Mulder! You gambled on me. You *wanted* to believe, but you weren't sure. We were nose-to-nose, and I *saw* it. You didn't know whether or not to trust me." Nose-to-nose, holding tightly to each other, afraid we were being used, afraid to let each other out of our sight, enacting a kind of erotic suicide pact. Dying to destroy him, dying to love him, meaning so much more than ever words could express, but needing to give it a voice. *Don't make me do this!* Your fault, *you've* done this to my life. Seeing it all in him, too; a perfect, deadly reflection.

He smiles crookedly, trying to pull us both back to the surface. "Didn't the Bureau shrink tell you I was paranoid?"

"Yeah, because you find it hard to trust anybody. Fuck you, Mulder. It doesn't take you too long to forget everything I've done for you, does it?"

Ah, so this is who I am now: my wife. It was a scene like this, at the heart if not in the particulars, that ended our marriage. Only it was me -- the old me, a Walter or two back -- pushed to the wall, lashing out. *Is this all you have to say to me anymore? Is this how it's going to be? I don't love you enough, I haven't done enough for you? Well, I can't spend the rest of my *life* like this, Sharon!* I wait for Mulder's anger, the anger I saw in that hospital room.

Only I don't get it. He looks down, ashamed. I remember that less than an hour ago I found him crying. When did my love for him turn me into a selfish, sadistic bastard?

I do love him, don't I? Even while I dream gory dreams of his helplessness and grieve for what I've never been to him, for a friendship that never could've taken root in the barren soil of Fox Mulder's solitude and suspicion. Don't I? Or am I too full of my own anger, too embattled and abandoned, to be anything more than a resource? I came here to comfort him, and now look at us. How can I blame all this on as fuzzy and benevolent an emotion as love?

"I tried to trust you. You don't know how much I wanted to."

And I don't care. I don't. I am a mutilated thing I do not even recognize, murdered on the razor-blade of my own yearning, my corpse defiled between the savage jaws of his wary indifference. Dying to blame him, dying to forgive him. Changing into something monstrous and vengeful. Growing toward him like something green and gentle toward the beautiful, uncaring sun. "Better luck next time," I say, and stand up to leave.

"Skinner." I walk away. "Wait -- Skinner." No, Mulder, I'm sorry; it was the wrong second chance. I brought you a gift, red with blood. Nothing more I can do today. "Walter!"

I jab the elevator button, over and over. Get me the hell out of here. What does he want to do, dance on my grave? Force me to strangle him bare-handed? *Don't make me do this.* God, oh God. The scent of his nearness almost undid me there and then. *Don't make me arrest you. Don't make me love you like I already do.*

Ever the king of last-ditch heroics, he wedges through the doors as they close, shutting us into the elevator. "Oh, for--" Words fail me, and I pound the button that will take us to the parking garage, where I can get my car and get out of here.

"It's not that I'm not grateful--"

"Oh, shut *up.* I don't give a shit. Whose life do you think gets difficult if you don't trust me? Not mine, Mulder; yours. It's your problem now." I turn away from him, brace my elbows on the back wall of the elevator. Lace my fingers together and hold them to the base of my skull.

And, like a crazed poet on an opium high, he rewrites me yet again, changing my plan, pouring a new vocabulary into me. He puts an arm around my ribs.

Oh, God, Mulder. The only mercy you've allowed me is that I'm not looking at you.

He slides his other arm under mine, hooking it, laying his hand on my shoulder. Easing closer, and I am waiting with my heart in my mouth for his body to come up flat against mine. When it does, I go to smoke and ashes. All of me, this time. I wonder who I'll be when he's done with me.

His breath heats my ear. "I want...."

"What?" Goddamit, Mulder, at least have the decency to finish your sentences.

"Don't know. A fucking *life.*"

I turn around in his arms -- *in his arms.* I am no longer thunder; I am finite and tangible, existing only here, in a body, in his arms. I run my fingers through his thick hair. Dying to punish him, dying to hold him.

His lips meet mine, and I am embarrassingly eager, opening my mouth for his silver tongue, now milk and honey instead. He tastes like bad coffee and barbeque potato chips. Mulder puts his palms on either side of my head and drinks deeply, God knows what, from my mouth. I notice myself gripping his tie at the knot, foolishly. I cannot move, though, not so much as my hand. For whatever inscrutable reason, Mulder's lips are moving on mine, and the taste of him will always be in my mouth from now on. I *cannot* move. I never will.

At the ding of the bell, he steps away. Mulder gets off the elevator, and two parents with their surly teenaged son get on. After a disoriented moment, I recognize my level of the parking garage. Your floor, Walt.

I watch his back as he walks to the stairs and puts his foot on the lower step. What the fuck is happening here? "Mulder." I make it an order. He pauses. I fumble for a manly, authoritative way to say *what the fuck is happening here?* I give up, sigh. "Fuck it. Just -- tell me it wasn't pity."

"No. No, it wasn't." One step. Two, three. Sturdy, well-polished, G-man shoes, plenty of traction, good for chasing bad guys. Four steps. Dying to stop you, Mulder. Dying to turn around and leave you. Dying for you, you, no one but you.

"You're a crazy son of a bitch, Mulder, you know that?"

"See you on Monday."

And fucked if I can remember where I parked, either. Add this one to the rogue's gallery of botched second chances. Maybe next time.