I'm naked.
The water from the showerhead runs across my shoulders and down my back. I can feel it on my neck, feel it plastering my hair to my scalp. Its numbing sensation helps me think, to sort through the events of the past few hours, the utterly confusing events.
I think back to the pounding on the door. It was as if someone was going to die if they didn't get into my apartment. But I was wrong. The person who knocked on the door was coming to die. She wanted me to kill her. I wasn't sure why, but in that instant, I knew that her death was the only thing that made any sense. It's still the only thing that makes sense, her dying. I have no idea why Diana burst through my door in full biohazard gear. I have no idea why I'm standing here, letting water run over my body while the world's fate depends on the life - or rather death, of one old woman. I have no idea about anything.
But when have I ever really known anything anyhow? All those years spent searching, spent scrounging, spent digging, digging with my bare hands at times, for the truth, and it all boils down to a single woman whose own son has labeled a crank. There it is, fate seems to have said, a kooky old lady with an egotistical son who's out to fry your ass. Pure irony. I spent the past five years of my life looking for the truth in the highest circles of power. The truth that I've sought is inside Cassandra Spender, just a heartbeat away.
I want to laugh, but I'm too tired. Too tired from thinking, too tired from trying to understand, too tired from looking. I don't even think about what this has done to my partner.
I turn then, and there she is. Just across a glass wall, as naked and defenseless as I am. But I doubt that Scully can ever be truly helpless. She's too strong, physically, emotionally. After all, she's put up with me for six years. Diana left me years ago. She couldn't take it.
Scully. She's been with me through it all, and more. I have to say that she's my best friend, my only friend. Sometimes, I even think she's more than a friend. And as much as she's worked me, aggravated me, frustrated me, she has never hurt me. Scully has never, ever truly caused me pain. She's only healed my pain, made everything better.
I watch her now, the water running over the tops of her breasts, turning her hair the color of rust. There is an unidentifiable emotion in her eyes. I know that she's thinking many things right now, just like I am, and like me, the one thought first and foremost in her mind is Cassandra. However, knowing Scully, I know it's for completely different reasons.
I try to read the expression in her eyes, but it eludes me. Typical Scully; ice-cold, emotionless. I wonder what it would have been like if it hadn't been Scully at my side all those years, but Diana. Scully tilts her head and the water cascades over her face, blurring it. I make-believe that it is Diana on the other side of the wall, but then I realize that she was the one who put us in here.
What if it had been Diana? I think of the many times that Scully turned a deaf ear to my theories. The times that she simply refused to see things my way, the times she spouted conventional scientific explanations at me, the times she tried to rationalize the irrational. Diana would never have done that. She and I are alike, two peas in a pod. Scully's more of a carrot.
If I had never met Scully, a lot of things would never have happened to her. She'd have a cushy job teaching at Quantico. Or a nice field assignment with the Violent Crimes Section. Or something like that. Her sister wouldn't have been killed. She would never have been abducted. She would never have had to watch her child die. Life would have been a whole lot easier for her.
And what about me? I think about all the times Scully's saved my life. I look at the beads of water running off her neck, thinking about how she's never left me behind, how she's never let me down, how she's always been there for me, chasing me like a droplet of water follows another droplet. Without her, I might be dead.
I don't know what I feel about Scully. Before Diana came back, I was almost sure I was in love with her. Or something masquerading as love.
Then Diana came back, and everything came at me full blast. Now that I think about it, perhaps I'd already know the truth if Diana had been my partner. I would never have to prove anything to anybody, I wouldn't have to toe some invisible line, or make my theories answerable to science.
But then I remember why Diana isn't my partner. She did this to me once before. She left me standing naked with thoughts swirling through my head and too many questions. I learned to be wary of people because of her. I never let anyone see me naked, with my defenses down.
But I realize now it isn't Diana standing naked on the other side of the wall. It's Scully. She's completely stripped of everything, but she's here with me. She's always here with me. She's my partner. And while I'm not sure if I love her, I do know that she makes a huge difference in my life.
I'm glad she's seeing me naked.