And She Cried

Spoiler: "Milagro"

Summary: Every now and then an ep will inspire me to do a sort of "finish-the-scene" thing, which is what I did with this episode. This picks up right when we last saw Mulder and Scully in his apartment.

Author's Note: This was written the night "Milagro" first aired: April 18, 1999. It has been archived at Gossamer all this time; I'm just moving it to this website to give it fresh life.

This picks up right when we last saw Mulder and Scully in his apartment...

And she cried.

He had never heard her cry, not like this. Her tears had always been silent. When she'd had cancer, when Emily had died, when Melissa had died...never before had she given voice to her pain, to the anguish he both felt and heard from her now. As he held her in his arms, her blood staining him even as it dried, he felt a familiar ache within himself and wondered if his own heart were being torn from his chest. Not as literally as these recent murders, to be sure, but the ripping out of one's heart figuratively can be as painful, if not more painful, than what those unfortunate souls had experienced.

To see her like this, to hear her sobs, to feel her arms wrap fiercely around his neck, her fingernails digging into his flesh as though holding to him for life itself, to feel her body as it shook uncontrollably, her fright pouring out of her as readily as her tears...his world had never seen equal. They had been to hell and back together. To death and back. To the ends of the earth and back. He had seen her naked, he had seen her in physical pain, he had seen her dead, he had seen her laugh and smile, he had seen her angry and annoyed.

But he had never, never seen her lose control. Until now.

Her screams of terror had prompted several of his fourth floor neighbors to call the police. The locals knew the man in Number 42 was a federal agent, and immediately notified the FBI. As Walter Skinner strode into the open apartment door, several agents on his heels, guns all drawn, he couldn't believe what he was hearing, or what he was seeing. There, on the floor in Agent Fox Mulder's apartment, lay Agent Dana Scully, covered in blood, clinging to Agent Mulder and emitting gut-wrenching sobs which brought tears to even the staunch Assistant Director's hard eyes.

Scully herself could not think. She could only feel. Everything Padgett had said, everything he had written about her had been so on target. And then when he'd said she was already in love...yet still his words regarding her all seemed so contradictory. How could she be in love and yet so very lonely? And now, that man tackling her, throwing her to the floor. She could feel his fingers as they pierced her flesh, she could, even now, feel his hand enter her, feel him grasp her heart, she could still feel it all.

It terrified her. She thought this was certainly to be her end. She had never believed in this sort of phenomena, yet it would ultimately be her undoing. How fitting, she'd thought, that she should die on the floor of the one man who did believe. That she should die in a manner which he and he alone would comprehend. The pain was intense, the fright overwhelming. Everything she had ever experienced, all the years of scares and unknowns had not prepared her for this occurrence.

And at that very moment of death, as her heart was almost completely detached from the arteries and veins which brought her life, a bright flash forced her eyes open and she screamed once more in absolute terror as the man who held her heart vaporized in a pillar of flame right before her. She next did a most un-Scully-like thing. She fainted.

When next she'd opened her eyes, she'd expected to see that horrid man above her once more, believing the whole thing to be some unforgiving nightmare, yet just as certain it was real, that his hand was in her chest, stealing her heart, taking her life before her time was yet over. She jumped and gasped before realizing that the man who knelt next to her now was not the heart-stealer at all, but her own Mulder.

Unexplainable waves of relief swept over and through her; so much so that she thought she might vomit at the sensation. He was there with her. Protecting her, like always. She was safe. Safe. Safe. Safe. Alive. I'm alive. I'm alive. All she could do in her haze of semi-consciousness, of half-reality, was to grab him, silently begging him for comfort she could not ask for with words.

Unable to control the great, wracking sobs which ripped from the depths of her very soul. Everything was coming out, everything she'd a volcano almost. The cork holding back the stinging, hot flow of hate, anger, fear and sadness had blown in that instant she realized she lived still. And it all came erupting from within her, too strong to be squelched.

Skinner came up behind Scully and mouthed to Mulder, asking if she were okay. Mulder nodded almost imperceptibly. Skinner knew damn well when to leave them alone. So he ordered everyone out of the apartment and began a systematic search of the building and surrounding area. What on God's green Earth could have resulted in the scene which he'd just witnessed? What is it that could bring Agent Dana K. Scully to her knees like that?

He wasn't sure he wanted to know.

In the now-empty apartment, Mulder could do nothing but hold her. If what had happened to her was this terrible, she needed to get it out. He had never been comfortable with emotional displays, but he was a psychology major after all, he did understand most human behavior. Her hold on him never lessened in its urgency, her sobs continued for what felt like hours. Slowly he eased himself onto his backside to give his aching knees a rest, still cradling her body close to his. He could feel his neck and shoulder become soaking wet as she cried for so very long.

He couldn't help but whisper into her ear, "What happened to you?"

But she just shook her head and buried her face further into him. She couldn't put anything into words right now. She just needed him to hold her. He knew that. So he did.

And she cried.

Many hours passed, Skinner and the agents came and went with the local police. They would sweep Mulder's apartment tomorrow, after the drama being played out within had ended. One of the younger agents, relatively new to the Bureau, had discovered Padgett in the basement lying next to the incinerator, a still-beating heart in his hand. Padgett was dead, the coroner was called. Evidence was gathered, and Skinner's orders for them all to leave, although not understood by anyone else, were followed.

By now, Scully had managed to stop crying, but she couldn't help the heaving of her lungs that happens when one cries so hard for so long a time. Sharp intakes of breath were the only sound in the darkness of the room, where Mulder still sat holding his Scully. Her arms around him had loosened only a fraction...still she held him very tightly. She was partially in shock, but her years of training and experience were able to push that to the side enough for some form of coherent thought to exist within her mind.

And right now, that coherent thought could do nothing but silently pray for Mulder never to leave her. Don't leave me. Don't leave me. Don't leave me.

"Don't leave me."

He was surprised to hear words come from her mouth, but the words she said forced him to squeeze her body in a sort of hug. "We need to get you cleaned up. And we can't stay here," he whispered.

She sighed and nodded, unable to look him in the eye just yet. He rose to his feet, pulling her up with him. She was unsteady at best, but he would not let her fall. He was right there, and remained her crutch for the entire walk down his hall, onto the elevator, off onto the first floor, out the front door, and to his car. He put her in the passenger seat, buckled her seatbelt, and closed her door. Then he got into the driver's seat and started the car. He glanced at her, but she sat stone-faced, staring straight ahead. He knew where she needed to be. Where they needed to be.

Mulder drove them to her apartment.

He helped her into her building, using his own copy of her key to let them in. He closed and locked the door behind them. "Scully, you should shower."

She nodded, but didn't move. Her jumbled thoughts, though each separately was coherent, were racing around her mind in such a manner as to make no room for thought of more basic functions such as walking, undressing herself, and running her own shower.

Mulder therefore did it for her. He undressed her slowly, carefully, expecting at any moment to receive a stinging slap on his cheek. But none was forthcoming. He decided a bath would be better than a shower given her lack of motor capabilities, so she filled her tub, helped her step into it, helped her sit down. Yes, he had seen her naked before...this was not the first time. But seeing the blood...her blood...splattered everywhere on her creamy white skin made his stomach lurch. She was vulnerable right now, and all he could think of was her emotional state. He was truly worried. As worried as he had been when she'd been taken to the alien vessel. That same fear had gripped his soul when he'd first entered his apartment and thought she was dead. The relief that flooded through him when she jolted awake had been indescribable.

But he had never seen her break down so completely before. How would she handle this? Would she push him away because he'd seen a part of her that she never let anyone see? Whatever she'd seen, whatever had happened to her, could she put it behind her? Could she heal?

Mulder left her alone in the tub, leaving the bathroom door open a fraction, just in case. He'd taken her robe and a clean towel and left them on the toilet seat. He made tea, which he knew she liked to drink to calm herself and relax. Then he found a CD he knew she listened to in the same instances, one which was the sounds of rain surrounded by soft music. Mulder put that CD into her player and turned it on. As the soft sounds drifted through the apartment, Mulder seated himself on her sofa and became lost in thought, mulling over all which had happened, over all possibilities and questions...and over what his aching chest was telling him.

Dammit, he'd almost lost her. Again. For the millionth time. Damn.

He didn't hear her emerge from the bathroom, didn't hear her padding down the carpeted hall, and didn't know she was there until she came to stand in front of him. He jumped to his feet, glad she'd at least had the presence of mind to put her robe on. There was only so much naked, vulnerable Scully he could take.

They simply looked into one another's eyes for a time, asking, answering, and speaking with their silent communication as so oft they did. She needed him tonight. And he needed her. He needed that reassurance that she was alive, that reassurance that would come by seeing her move, hearing her talk; feeling the warmth which said still she lived. She knew he would stay for her. He always would.

Slowly she walked into his waiting arms. She would talk about it...about everything. She would tell him every thought, every occurrence...but not tonight. Tonight she needed only his touch, his love. Needed him to surround her with peace and safety, with the assurance that she was safe and well, and that he was there for her.

He pulled her down onto the couch, and they leaned back into its soft cushions in one another's arms. As she drifted off to sleep, he lightly kissed the top of her head. Her emotions still very near the surface, that one small gesture spoke volumes to her, and she snuggled more deeply into him. Padgett had been right. She was already in love. Realizing this, perhaps not for the first time, but only just now admitting it, she couldn't contain both the joy and the pain it brought her. He would know. Perhaps he already knew. She was in love.

With him.

And she cried.