Self-Inflicted Wounds
by Haley

I didn't think this would happen to me when he went, although I always knew it was inevitable. Death is part of life, and no matter what we achieve in life, no matter how much we are loved or longed for, in the end we all meet the same fate.

But I just never...

It's kind of something that, rationially, was always in the back of my mind. He was the risky one, I was the sensible one. Which is why, in the end, we worked so well together. I was the Yin to Mulder's Yang. His other half.

It's easier to say it, now that he's dead. And it's not even the way he died. Although it was senseless and easily preventable, it could've been a lot worse. A bullet to the head, when death is immediate, is reletively painless. First the nerves surrounding the core tissue die, the moment the lead tears them apart, then blackness.

There was no autopsy: none needed, considering the circumstances. We found the assailiant, a middle-aged man running a kiddie-porn studio in his basement, dead a week later. Self-inflicted gunshot wound. Same as my partner.

My partner, who took the stupid risks when I could've stopped him. But didn't. I let his brilliant mind go, until I lost my grasp and he lost his life. Now his mind is a mass of rotting tissue, buried in a box six-feet-under on this cold grey earth. He died of his own devices, I've convinced myself. If he had simply backed off, taken two steps to the left: anything.

Anything to convince myself that it wasn't my fault. That it was, in essence, a self-inflicted gunshot wound that killed him instantly. That he was dead before he hit the pavement. That his deep hazel eyes didn't meet mine in a look of pain and shock, that I wasn't at his back. Where I should have been.

That I couldn't have saved him, just like he had saved me a million times over. That the comfort he gave, that I felt simply knowing he was watching, I couldn't return. Because I'm the rationial one. The one who was always trying to convince him to take more logical routes, when he was always right.

Always. And when he needed me, in that one split second I watched that burst of fire sail through the air and into his skull, I was frozen. Not at his back.

I'm being like him now, I know. Not getting past it, dwelling. And if he's still watching my back, I know he'd chide me for it. But, as I feel the weight of the cold pistol in my hand, I realize that I never thought Dana Katherine Scully would die of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

-1:02 AM, December 29, 2001