Author's note

Original posting date: 4/19/99

Spoilers: Milagro

Category: Vignette

Summary: The rest of the scene.

Archiving: Anywhere. It's nice if you ask, but really, would I say no?

Disclaimer. Hey, if I owned 'em, I'd...well, whatever.

Trembling

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The door flew open and Mulder ducked inside, swinging first to his left, then center. His mouth fell open as his brain processed the scene before him. Blood. Body. No Padgett. Body. Scully. OH-MY-GOD-SCULLY!

Moving forward, his mouth worked, unable to find the breath to form her name. SCULLY! His mind screamed.

He knelt at her side, trembling in fear. His frightened gaze swept her body, taking in the blood, the telltale marks of Padgett's other victims. Even in his fear his mind screamed instructions, Ambulance. Police. Skinner, while his hands fumbled toward her neck. Pulse, there has to be a pulse. Please, pleasepleaseplease–

Feeling something brush her neck, Scully started, determined to give this bastard the fight of his life. Or hers. Her hands came up, ready to gouge his eyes, before her paralyzed brain identified the face before her.

Get away you...Mulder! MULDER!!" It's MulderMulderMulderMulderMulder! The shock and relief crashing through her broke the tattered remains of her carefully constructed walls. She gave in, finally, to the need for support.

Who reached for whom they'd never know, and never cared to ask. They came together, each clutching the other in blind relief.

Sobbing and shaking, Scully pulled Mulder closer, tighter against her. She needed him, needed to feel the warmth of his body against hers, the strength of his arms around her, the safety and surety of his love. She was safe here, with him. Safe and whole.

Mulder turned his face into Scully's hair as he knelt beside her, holding her to his chest with every ounce of strength within him. He couldn't tell who was trembling more, her or him. Her wracking sobs served as a cover for his quieter ones. God, to find her here, in his place, her blood on the floor, was almost too much for him. He tightened his arms, then, afraid he'd hurt her, loosened them again.

Scully's small sound of protest brought fresh tears to his eyes as he tightened his hold once again, briefly. Hurt, Scully was hurt. Oh God, what was he thinking? Easing his grip, he shook his head at her soft protest.

"Scully, wait, shhhh, I have to see–" Mulder swallowed hard, gently stroking her cheek with his thumb, looking into her beautiful, dazed blue eyes. "I need to see if you're okay." Easing her back onto his left arm, he slid his right to first her neck, then gently down along the crimson-stained buttons of her ruined blouse.

Her eyes losing some of their glaze, Scully watched his face as he gently pulled the soaked fabric away from her skin. Both took an involuntary breath in as his hand brushed the tender skin of her stomach. Nothing else. No gaping wound, no cuts, nothing. Mulder looked closer, not believing his eyes. Forgetting himself, he ran his fingers lightly over her skin, believing with touch what his eyes were telling him. She was okay.

Scully watched his face as Mulder searched for an injury she knew should be there and wasn't. She had felt Padgett's hand enter her, felt the skin tear, felt the tearing and rending of precious organs. That man's hand had been inside of her. She closed her eyes to shut out the image and suddenly couldn't control her trembling any longer. A small sound slipped past her lips as the floodgates opened once again.

Oblivious to the sounds of the arriving police and medical personnel around him, Mulder pulled her close again. He stroked her hair and whispered in her ear, "Shh, it's okay, it's okay, shh. I'm here, Scully, you're okay, I'm here, I'm always here, shh." Mulder eased himself to his knees, pulling her with him. Scully's sobs faded a bit as exhaustion began to set in. The after-reaction of the adrenaline rush of anger, terror, relief and crying.

"Sir," one of the EMT's began, "Please don't move–" Her voice trailed off at the fierce look on Mulder's face. Mulder took a look around at the sudden crowd filling his apartment and shook his head. He couldn't have this, not now. She'd hate it. He hated it.

"Shhh, Scully, it's okay." Glancing around, he caught the eye of an officer he recognized. "Get everyone out, I'll give you a statement later."

With one look at the still-trembling Scully, the officer nodded and began to clear the apartment.

"C-c-c-can't get w-w-warm. M-m-mul–" She stopped, silenced by his finger against her lips.

"Just a minute. I'm going to let you go, for just a minute, okay?" He waited for her nod before getting to his feet. Scully sat there, arms limp at her sides and too dazed to move. Before her tired brain could tell her she was alone, he was suddenly before her again, his hands and arms hidden behind the softest-looking quilt she'd ever seen.

Mulder leaned down and gathered her into his arms again, somehow getting both of them settled onto the couch with a minimum of effort. Scully found herself cocooned in the quilt, Mulder's arms holding her and it securely in place, one hand gently stroking her hair.

She trembled again, as the blood-dampened collar of her shirt brushed her cheek. Mulder's arms tightened in response to her trembling and Scully let her head fall to his chest, finally giving in to the need for comfort, for strength, from someone else.