i. A neat trickle of dark wine from swollen lips, the clink of handcuffs on a radiator and eyes glazed and fixed to a dead man who wasn’t who he looked like: that was how he found her. Storming in, finding this little body that had in such a short amount of time become such a big figure in his life, huddled in a corner, shell-shocked, hair mussed.
He’d seen her battered and bruised before, scuffed up from scraping around in ventilation shafts, but then she had still been free. She had held her gun and trusted him implicitly when he asked her to.
He’d seen her sick. He’d seen her scared.
For some reason, this little trickle – discrete, the only sign of injury other than a bruise below her eye – stood out against the pallor of her skin and turned his stomach.
He’d gone to her and she’d called another man’s name, a man she had known longer than him. A man she gave an engraved watch to for his birthday. He’d unlocked the cuffs, pressed a handkerchief to her chin, asked if she wanted a doctor as he helped her up, accepted when she shook her head, her gaze still on the man she had once maybe loved.
He didn’t ask her though. Didn’t ask her if she’d ever been in love. Now wasn’t the time.
ii. They shouldn’t have even been on the case, really. It wasn’t an X file – not truly. There were no aliens. No demons. Just a man. Maybe that’s all there ever is.
But he had tickets for the game and he’d figured it would be an easy case. They needed one of them; hadn’t had one since he’d gotten her back.
Maybe he should have prepped her before they initial crime scene, though he’d assumed, being someone who sliced and diced on a regular basis, who could contemplate dinner plans over stomach contents, she wouldn’t be particularly phased.
Maybe it was recent events. Or maybe it was just that what she did was done with respect. Either way, it had affected her more than he would have expected.
He should have told her to stay in DC when she wanted to come back. Told her it wasn’t necessary. They had plenty of people working on it; would be more advantageous to have her in the lab.
But he didn’t. And now she was clinging to him, lips raw from the lace gag, abrasions on her chin and forehead weeping, his shirt soaking up her white blood cells.
He could feel the knots on the back of her head from where she’d tumbled down the stairs, feel her tremble against him, uncontrollable sobs wracking her body as he ushered her away from the crowds of FBI and local PD shoaling around them.
They shouldn’t have even been on the case. It wasn’t an X file. There were no aliens. No demons. Just a man. Maybe that’s all there ever is.
iii. Four years and he was certain he’d never be used to the cardinal bloom of her blood. Not the stark contrast of it falling to a document or the sudden river it cut as it streamed from her nose.
Her talk of doctors monitoring her and purely precautions didn’t calm him in any way. He’d noted the increase in nosebleeds. Watched as each time her skin seemed paler, the blood redder. Observed as she lost weight, a bundle of cells eating away at her. He was certain that one day she would fade away into the sheets she was so increasingly frequently incarcerated in amongst tangles of wires and beeping machines.
He felt every drop; each one a minute of her life being taken from him.
He thought about burgundy rose petals fallen on blinding snow. He wondered if he’d be able to follow her, use her blood-soaked trail of breadcrumbs to lead him to her truth.
iv. She was shifting on her feet, hesitant to re-enter the room, biting her lip and fiddling with her fingers. They weren’t in a great place. Their basement office was theirs again, but it felt like their partnership was not.
‘Mulder?’ He’d looked up, small smile trying and failing to mask concern. ‘I, uh, I need you to drive me to my doctor’s practice.’
He was up in a second, by her side in two. Hand on shoulder, fingers on chin, questioning gaze scanning her face. ‘They’re expecting me, I just called them. I just need someone to drive me. I can get a cab-‘
‘No, no, I’ve got you. What’s wrong?’
‘Uh…I’m just bleeding a little. They just want to check it out is all.’
A little was an understatement. All the doctors knew what they would find. One of the doctors would cry as he drove her home, would slip out of his reaching grasp and behind her closed door, taking a moment to grieve before schooling her features and turning to her planner.
She’d try again.
v. She was sweat-soaked and exhausted, haloed by lambent candlelight, rose flush painting her pale cheeks. She glowed with life, radiated esse.
They were alive, the pair of them.
A brutal, bloody fight into the world, little limbs kicking and screaming until calmed by a mother’s touch, held by a mother’s arms, soothed by a mother’s teat.
Reality hadn’t hit, wouldn’t until he reached the soft light of a soft bedroom, soft arms and soft blankets swaddling his family.
Right now, there was a loss of blood, a fading consciousness and a helicopter pilot who was hesitant to fly them to a hospital without guaranteed payment and a medical doctor in back, little did he know. Right now there was a cooing bundle of his DNA in arms across from him as he held love in his. Right now there were shouts at pilots to fly faster and more blood than he had ever seen from her blossoming on white sheets around her.
And then there were hospitals and doctors and little wristbands saying Baby Boy Scully, and he was wondering whether she would marry him if he proposed. Wondering whether he could find the perfect ring in the perfect jewellery store before she was discharged. He kissed a pale cheek and rose-petal lips and blood red hair, kissed baby soft cheeks and flailing hands padded in chubbiness.
He asked a nurse where the best jeweller in town was.
His truth was before him.