Title:  Ardet Evanescit

Author:  CeilidhO

Summary:  What kind of man would leave her?  Mulder drives away at the beginning of Season 9.  (Songfic).

Disclaimer:  Everything belongs to Chris Carter, 1013, Fox, etc.  I am making no money, no copyright infringement intended.  As well, the song "What Is This Love" is belongs to Blue Rodeo.

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Mulder slammed the car door as he got in, almost catching the tail of his jacket, sliding onto the plush seat with his heart fluttering so hard he couldn't breathe.  He sat in front of the steering wheel for a long time, staring fixedly at the bumper of the car in front of him.  His hands gripped the wheel, his knuckles white and strained, his eyes glazed.  When their burning became too much, he shut them, squeezing them closed so tightly that spots exploded on the liquid darkness that was all that he could see. 

            He opened his eyes slowly, the world outside tinged blue from the extremity of his self-imposed blindness.  It looked as unreal as he felt, floating and shifting like a tyrannical nightmare.  He was trapped, and yet it was he who had shut the trap on his own leg, leaving him to howl his silent anguish to a deafened world. 

Against his every instinct, this gaze dragged up towards the window set high in the wall of the apartment building that towered above him.  It seemed deliberately, rudely darkened, its quiet serenity an affront to the reality of the emotions he knew raged inside. 

He forced himself to look away.  What would he do if he saw her, watching from her window?  How could he not leap out of the car and surrender to his passionate desire to stay?  Suddenly another thought occurred to him: How could he even survive if he heard William cry?

He could imagine it now, the thin wail piercing the early morning stillness, his plaintive scream hooked into Mulder's heart, the sound that he knew could summon him from anywhere, at once his greatest strength and his greatest weakness.  He knew with a desperate certainty that he must not hear William cry.  It would render him powerless, strip him of his ability to carry out the decision he was certain was right.

With a wrenching finality, Mulder lunged forward and turned the key in the ignition, jerked the car in reverse, and sped out onto the street.  It had to be all in one motion, the only way he could complete each action without dying, choking on the thick grief that was rapidly filling his mouth.  As the building was lost to sight, Mulder felt himself stop breathing.

Somehow, he survived until the turnpike onto the interstate, where he finally sucked in great heaving breaths of air, feeling them shake in his chest, feeling them push the tears unbidden from his eyes. 

He suddenly needed another sound to fill the pressing silence, and he twisted the dial for the radio, uncaring what voice would stretch into the void.  He only knew that he couldn't feel this alone and not break apart into a million pieces.

The radio switched on.

What is this love
That I leave behind…

            Mulder stared out the windshield, frantically willing the raw heartsickness he felt to be eased somehow. 

How can I turn
From the tears in your eyes?

            He could still see the tears that had glistened on her cheeks.  How could he have walked away?  Why did he let her just close the door?  Why hadn't he said something?

What is this world
Where we always pretend
That it's worth it
Worth it in the end?

            What the hell kind of mixed-up, fucked-up, backwards world had he talked himself into?  What else was there that was worth anything near what he was leaving behind?  Anger began to fill him, goad him, stimulate his senses.

What is this life we share
That I just throw away…

            Remorse pricked at his anger, deflating it.  The road stretched in front of the car, virtually empty.  He knew that was what he was heading for.  What kind of person chose loneliness over love?  A person with a sacrifice, he told himself.  It's for their own good; they're better off without me.  I'll only bring them danger and death.  Look what I've already done to Scully…

Is this love
That causes so much pain?

            He knew he loved her desperately, passionately, but he had to be strong.  He had to keep his foot on the gas pedal, his eyes on the road, his heart locked away.  For her, and for William.  They deserved the answers only he could find.

What is the promise
That I leave behind
Why can't I
Just lie beside you again?

            He could still feel her, strong and warm and living, pulsing with life, her quiet body cradled in his arms.  He heard in his mind the feverish promises he had whispered in her ear, the promises of his return, of the necessity of what he was doing now, of his love for her, the words still tasting fresh on his tongue.  He still saw the promise etched in his mind's eye, a tiny sleeping form silhouetted against the pillow, a living emblem of his devotion.  His arms ached for the warmth of another.

What's going on
How'd it get so wrong? 

            When had that all changed?  When had this crippling self-doubt slipped into his body?  When had he realised that he was going to rip their lives apart?  That moment, whenever it had been, had changed everything, turned it sour.  It left a bad taste in his mouth.

What is this dream
That I'll never find?
What is this prayer
That's stealing my mind?

            He had felt the fevers of martyrdom creep into his consciousness, appropriating his thoughts, the ardour of his long quest desperate for any resolution.  He had always been a slave to it, even as he had always known that the truth was impossible to find.  He knew his quest was a helpless prayer shot out into an uncaring world, but it was a prayer all the same: fervent and unquenchable, a subconscious grasping for a friendly hand in the dark.  He could not deny it.

What is this deal
That I've made with fate?
And I wonder
If I have left it too late?

            He had made his deal, made his choice, but now he was unsure.  What slavering beast of a quest should tempt him away from the love that was consuming him, the two burning desires raging in his gut.  Cold reason could not extinguish them, and they refused to be controlled.  He felt as if he would burn up from inside, melting away into ash, drifting away in the wind.  Maybe then he would know some kind of peace.

What's going on

How'd it get so wrong?

He'd never know what had started the fire. 

What's going on

How'd it get so wrong?

As it was, it was all he could do to keep his eyes on the road.

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A/N:  Well, that was something new for me.  I hope you liked it, and please review.  Constructive critisicm is always welcome. 

                                                                        ~ Ceilidh

PS:  If anyone was interested, the title is a very rough Latin phrase which sort of means 'he burns up and vanishes'.  Bit of trivia for y'all.