A/N: I thought it might be fun to challenge myself with something different. I'm not much of a romance writer – sometimes I'm not even sure I really "get" Mulder and Scully all that well. I hope the overused/unimaginative metaphors don't spoil it. This is a one-off and came from a moment of pure rebellion. \Take that, stupid* WIP!/ I'm still trying to decide if it's a bit naff, but for once I've written something short :)

It ain't a songfic but I had Florence + the Machine's Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up) on high rotation when I wrote it.

Warning: Contains an over-supply of fragment sentences which may make it sound breathless and dreamy – or really pretentious.
Spoilers: All Things
Rating: T
Disclaimer: Chris Carter, 1013 and Fox own these characters. I'm using them without permission (or for financial gain).

* Just kidding X]

Cursum Perficio

By Lamia

She starts.

The droning tone of the fan in his fridge kicks in. Soft pops plop from the fish tank. Night sounds in a mechanical natural world.

There's the clock, regular and endless. And a tap somewhere dripping. Slowly.

The blanket is coarse against her cheek, catching her hot breath, dampening and scratching her skin. She pushes the cover back and stands.

Street sounds are comforting and distant: the velcro peel of rubber creeping over asphalt – a car rolling to a stop. Then come the door-slams – one, two – and a peal of laughter and running feet.

Then night hushes the outside world, and the tap echos again.

Patchwork light and shadows fall on the floor and walls. She can see well enough.

He's gone.

She rolls her arms, stretching them back. She works out the knots in her shoulders and back muscles. The cushions on his couch are thin, a smear of foam over wooden ribs. She felt every bone in the damn thing digging into her flesh.

Her flesh crawls; she's had these clothes on all day. She feels caked in them, cemented by sweat and daily grime. Her skin wants to breathe, but she resists: breathing might force more skin against more fabric. Thinking makes her legs sting with the chafing of her pantyhose. She wants to be free, but this is hardly the place.

Water on her wrists might help. And she can fix that faucet. It must be annoying, each droplet slapping and bursting and trickling on the porcelain sink. Not that it probably bothers him. But he shouldn't leave it dripping: a routine incomplete.

Its echo guides her through his apartment. She knows where it's taking her. In the doorway she stops, a half-smile on her lips. He knows more peace in his sleep these days. He found that himself when he found his sister; broke a hard habit of restlessness and refusal to accept; set himself free; surrendered.

She shivers, jealous and flushed.

He goes to sleep with answers these days. Who knows the weight of that burden lifted?

The wind picks up, brushing a branch against the window in his room. The long line of his leg shifts; the sheet covering him slips, exposing his ankle, his calf.

He doesn't look vulnerable – nothing like it. He is strong.

She gazes at his face. It's been tempered: by age; by experience; by fire and folly. It is both hardened and soft, all at once.

She can't contain the curl of her mouth. It's late and her thoughts are foolish.

She ghosts through his room. She is careful not to disturb anything that might topple and startle him. But she does not risk closing the bathroom door, and at the splatter of flowing water she winces and glances over her shoulder.

The bedding does not rustle. He does not move.

Relieved, she works the soap into her hands. It isn't enough. She pushes back her sleeves as far as they'll go and runs water across the length of her arms. Then she leans over the sink and cups her hands, splashing water over her face.

Looking up, she is surprised by how familiar her face is. After today it should be different ... changed.

She's not who she was. Not anymore. Not after today.

They're her own eyes; the angles and lines of her face – they're the same contours she thinks she's always known. She stares hard. With a snap she realizes: looking into this woman's eyes, she can see every stop and start on a circular ride she got on years ago. A journey of predictable highs and lows; a cycle of almost there-almost not. I look into you, you look into me ...

Round and round she goes; back and forth from silver nitrate reflection to carbon flesh and back. Only ... it's time to dismount the freak show fairground carousel, time to break the ceaseless circle of rising and falling. And when her eyes draw away from the vision of herself she knows this is exactly what she's going to do. Knows what she can do to set herself free.

She looks away.

He is the first thing she sees.

He is standing in the doorway.

He does not move. He is gazing at her.

She opens her mouth but nothing comes out. Oh god, her heart has stopped.

He studies her, but she can not speak. Defeated, his head drops. He mumbles something as he steps into the tiny bathroom.

She squeezes against the wall, the towel rail digging into her back, opening an ocean between them.

He runs his hands through the water, then shakes them. Rubs his face.

Her breath held, she is mute and frozen, pressed into the rail. Her head is bowed to the side.

She hears nothing but the gushing water: an action incomplete. She is overcome. End this, the newer younger older woman commands.

She looks up. Into his silver nitrate eyes.

He reaches for a towel; she reaches to the faucet. Somewhere in an ocean they meet; that soft, sensitive flesh on her wrist grazing the soft, sensitive flesh on his wrist.

And she is shocked cold; electricity surges through her.

A violent Heaven is unleashed on earth. Every threatening storm breaks, every firework explodes, every garden bursts into life in that tiny space. In the blood pounding in her head, in his hot mouth on hers, in the pain of his fingers digging into her arms, the burn of his flesh on hips, they dance and kiss in a fever that consumes everything and he unwraps her hesitation, her sensibilities, her control.

Exchanges are muted, unnecessary. They never did need words, she wants to laugh. And they fall, giddy, on the bed – on rumpled sheets – and she loves the weight on him on her, wishes they could be closer. She will be in pain until they are. Until she knows they will be. And then she is uncontainable.

She wants to scream when he stops.

He can't keep the worry from his voice. "Are you sure?"

Disappointment is written on his expression until she answers him, taking his clenched fist and pressing her lips against tensed knuckles.

Buoyed, boy-like, he stretches across her to a bedside table, opens a drawer, reaches in. And knows true horror.

His hand is empty.

She understands.

It's instinct. This was never meant to be easy. She knows the drawer is empty. Understands he has lost his winning ticket, arrived with no passport.

She is fearless when she wraps a hand round his head; pulls him to her.

Against his ear, her breath tickles as she whispers three little words. "I trust you."

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