Subtext: Beyond the Sea

Title: Subtext 03: Beyond Repair
Author: Trixie
Archive: Go for it! :)
Spoilers: Beyond the Sea
Rating: PG-13
Classification: MulderAngst, V
Summary: Post-ep for "Beyond the Sea"
Feedback: Feed me Seymour.
Disclaimer: <insert disclaimer that attempts to be slightly witty and
amusing here>


Subtext 03: Beyond Repair


I'm being driven slowly and systematically insane.

I can't really blame my partner for what she's doing; after all, it isn't
her fault I find every word that comes out of her mouth maddening. She's just trying to help me. And God knows I need the help.

It's just something about having her in my apartment; having her touch my things and fix me food once a day is starting to grate on my nerves. The entire situation, her making sure I'm comfortable, pillows arranged behind my back, Knicks' game on TV is far too . . . domestic for either my peace of mind, or my emotional well-being.

The kicker is, I can't even tell her to leave me alone. Losing her father has effected her to a degree I can't even begin to fathom. He was very important to her, I know. From what she's told me, I gather she was very much Daddy's little girl. Boggs' ability to fuck with her mind as easily as he did proves how desperately she wanted a connection with the man she called Ahab.

Scully's emotions have been raw and near the surface since her father died. She tried being brave; tried burying herself so deeply in our work that the pain and the grief wouldn't touch her. My attempts at sympathy were shrugged off almost before I'd had a chance to offer them. I didn't know how to react in the situation; I still don't, if I'm honest with myself. I don't deal well with loss; my search for Samantha is proof positive of that. As an Oxford educated psychologist, however, I =do= have somewhat of a grasp on how to help others deal with loss.

Of course, in order to help her deal with it, that would infer that Scully would have to speak to me about anything that didn't have to do with work or whether my leg was hurting too bad.

God knows that can't happen; we might - =gasp= - connect on an emotional level.

I rub a hand over my face, scrubbing the weariness away as best I can. It isn't fair of me to put this all on her shoulders. I was right there when she was laying out her cool, calm, rational reasons why we couldn't be more than partners. It isn't that I object to just being her partner, either. It's a relationship that works incredibly well the way it is. I'd just like to be more of a friend to her. Hell, we were more like friends our first case than we have been recently.

I don't necessarily want to have sex with her; I don't even want to classify the one night stand we had after the hell we endured in Icy Cape to be considered anything but a careless mistake.

I'd just like to be able to =talk= to her about it. It's become this huge elephant in the room we both studiously ignore all day long. We have to stand up to talk to each other because we can't see over it sitting down, and there are times when I can't even stand the smell in the room; Big elephant equals big piles of elephant shit.

I don't want our relationship - whatever shape it may take - to deteriorate into big piles of shit.

Keys jingle and scrape against my door. Forcing a sigh down, I flip open the bottle of prescription pain killers on the table and close my eyes, feigning a drug-induced sleep. Perhaps I won't have to see her, to talk to her, to stare into those fathomless blue eyes today if she thinks I'm asleep.

I hate myself for doing this to her. These little visits are made solely under the guise that I need someone to heat some soup for me; freeze a lasagna so I can heat it up when I hobble into the kitchen on one crutch. Replenish my kitchen of its orange juice and iced tea I've sucked down entire cartons of because the meds make me thirsty and I don't bother with glasses, carrying the cartons back to my couch with me so I don't have to get up again.

She passes through the living room and I can't help but inhale the scent I can't put name to, but instantly recognize as Scully. The guilt washes over me anew as I feel her pause; she's staring at what she perceives to be my sleeping form. I can tell. I can feel her fucking eyes piercing my heart. Not moving a muscle, not so much as twitching I keep my breathing slow and even until I hear her poking in the kitchen.

Under the pretense of caring for her poor, bullet-ridden partner, Scully unburdens herself when she comes to see me. I have heard four different stories about her childhood in the last few days; stories she'd all but given up sharing with me since Icy Cape. It was exhilarating at first. I was hopeful that maybe our partnership, our budding friendship hadn't suffered irreparable damage by our libidos.

That theory was shot to shit when she told me a particular heart-wrenching story about leaving behind her dog, Spunky, when her father was transferred. To offer my sympathy, I'd tried to touch her cheek, much the same way I had in our office what seems like forever ago, but in reality has been but a week. She hadn't quite flinched at my touch; but I could tell she didn't welcome it, either. She pulled back politely, asking if I needed anything before she drove home.

I - equally politely - declined and she was off. I stared at the ceiling
until the pain got too bad. I popped a pill and was out in a matter of minutes. Ever since that day, however, I haven't been comfortable facing her. It's something I know I'm going to have to get over. And I think I will - just as soon as I'm back to work and we can bury every not-so-below-the-surface nuance in the files, like we have been for weeks.

After all, if it ain't broke, don't fix it, right?

I feel her enter the room again. She's done her penance, made sure I won't be found starved to death in my little hole. She can leave with a clear conscience. It takes all my considerable discipline not to startle when her palm lands on my forehead. She's just checking for signs of fever, I assure myself. She's a Doctor; that's what she does. Her hand lingers just a little too long for me to believe myself.

If only we weren't so God damn broken.



TITLE: Subtext 03: Damage Control
SPOILER STATEMENT: "Beyond the Sea"; small ones for "Ice" and "Fire"
CONTENT STATEMENT: Language. ScullyAngst
SUMMARY: Post-ep for "Beyond the Sea"
Thanks: To Brynna and Sharon, for the reality check. :)

Subtext 03: Damage Control

by Brandon D. Ray

Mulder is pretending to be asleep again.

I don't know why he does it, but about half the time when I've come over here to check on him the last couple of weeks, he's pretended to be asleep.

I also don't know who he thinks he's kidding. I grew up in a household with two brothers and a sister, and I got to be pretty good at figuring out when one of them was playing possum for one reason for another. If Melissa couldn't fool me when I was ten, I don't know why Mulder thinks he can fool me now.

Not that it really matters. I'm just over here to make sure he has everything he needs, after all. If he wants to avoid any social contact, or if he's embarrassed by needing someone to take care of him, I guess that's his problem. Although if he really doesn't want me here I wish he'd just say so -- then he could just hire a fucking visiting nurse and I could have my evenings after work to myself again.

Hmmm. Seems to be a little anger in there, Dana. Wonder where that came from?

Nor does *that* really matter, either. It isn't very rational for me to be angry at Mulder; he never asked me to come over and do these things for him, after all. But I could see that he'd need some help after he got out of the hospital, and so without ever really discussing it with him, I've been trying to do what I could. Doing the partner thing, I guess.

I've also been trying to repair a little of the damage that was caused by what happened after our trip to Icy Cape. At the time I was pretty angry, both with myself and with him -- but again, I've come to realize that this wasn't very rational. Sleeping with him after that trip was just one of those things that happens. It was a mistake, but now it's behind us, and it's time to move on. I know I didn't handle the situation very well the next morning, but it's been nearly two months, for heaven's sake. It's time and way past time to put all that behind us.

So I've been doing what I could to try and set things right. I came to realize after the L'Ively case -- and our encounter with Phoebe Green -- just how screwed up Mulder really is, and just how much he needs someone to take care of him and keep him on the straight and narrow. And while there are definite limits to how far I'm willing to go in that department, I can't just stand by and watch while my partner self-destructs. If I can't make things better for him -- and I know in my heart that I can't -- at least I can try to prevent things from getting any worse.

Ahab would call it damage control.

No. I am not going to think about my father -- and I am not going to think about Luther Lee Boggs, either. These are yet more feelings which it is not rational to be having. Ahab is dead, and Boggs was nothing but a common criminal who got the punishment he so richly deserved. I would have gained nothing by attending his execution. Nothing.

I quickly thrust away thoughts of my father, and I realize I've been standing here staring at Mulder while he pretends to be asleep for several minutes. I'm sure it's starting to be a bit of a strain on him; and besides, I really did come here for a reason. And so I turn away and head into the kitchen.

Which is a mess, as usual. I don't understand how one man, living alone and spending most of his time on the sofa trying to recover from a gunshot wound, can cause so much havoc in here in only 24 hours. But Mulder seems to have a gift for it, and so I sigh softly and get down to work.

For a few minutes I simply let my thoughts drift as I work on cleaning the kitchen. And before long I find myself thinking about Mulder again.

He really is a very unhappy person. I've known that for awhile, since our first case together, actually, when he told me about what happened -- or what he thinks happened -- to his sister. But there's so much more going on than just that, and since I've been spending so much social time around him the last couple of weeks I've been discovering ... things.

First and foremost, he doesn't seem to have any friends. At least, I don't think anyone but me has come to visit him since he got out of the hospital. I never find any extra cups or glasses sitting out, and the furniture and so forth is always just the way I left it. Mulder seems to be living on his sofa, just making short forays to the bathroom and the kitchen, and if anyone else is in this apartment between my visits, they're being extraordinarily careful to leave no sign of themselves.

Another thing is that he doesn't seem to have any interests other than work -- and his sister, of course, but his search for Samantha is so entangled with his work on the X-Files that the two issues are really one and the same.

When he was first home from the hospital I tried bringing him things -- paperbacks and magazines and such -- and he was always very polite about my offerings. But I quickly came to realize that he wasn't really interested, and so after a few days I stopped trying.

The only entertainment he ever seems to want is the television, which is *always* on whenever I get here, although he usually turns it off pretty quickly when I arrive. And there was one time when he actually was asleep when I came in, and the movie he had been watching -- well, let's just say that my coursework in human anatomy had led me to believe that what I saw on that screen before I turned the TV off was impossible.

I've also tried engaging him in conversation, but that didn't get anywhere, either. He seemed interested at first, but before long I realized that I was making him uncomfortable (although I still don't understand why), and so I gave up on that, too.

So I'm really just about out of ideas. I've been trying to reach out to Mulder, just a little bit, in an effort to put us back on the track we were on before Icy Cape, but nothing seems to work. I either can't reach him, or he doesn't want me to reach him, and at this point I'm not quite sure which it is. Either way, I'm getting more than a little frustrated. He has to do *some* of the work, after all, or this relationship just is not going to work.

Oh, God. I did *not* just use that word, did I? Let's just say "partnership" instead, shall we, Dana?

The kitchen's clean now, and I really need to be going, because -- well, because I do, that's all. I've been feeling intermittently uncomfortable in Mulder's apartment for several days now, and tonight is the worst yet.

And so I dry my hands on the dishtowel and hang it neatly from the hook by the sink, and I turn and walk back out into the living room. Mulder is still lying on the sofa, pretending to be asleep. In fact, I don't think he's moved a muscle, which is one sure sign that he's not really sleeping. *Nobody* holds that still without making a conscious effort.

For a moment I'm tempted just to leave. But I did come over here to check on him, and my conscience won't let me just walk out. So I move over to the sofa and bend down and lay my hand on his forehead, to make sure he isn't feverish. His skin seems cool and dry -- in other words, normal. I allow my hand to linger for just a moment -- and suddenly I'm having a vivid flashback of touching his skin when it was hot and sweaty with desire --

And I calmly and rationally push the memory away, lift my hand from my partner's forehead, and put on my coat and turn to leave.

I shut the door quietly on my way out.