Archive - freely. Let me know where so I can visit!

Rating - G-ish

Classification - V

Disclaimers - You know the drill.

Spoilers - The Gift, Within/Without Keywords - Mulder/Scully Romance,

Summary - The Gift post-episode.

Thanks - To Amanda for ordering me to write this and for Beta and a bottomless sense of humor! Soundtrack: Orb Live '93

My apartment door swings open.

My feet don't want to move.

Closing the door behind me, I put my keys and my bag on the table. My hand lifts instinctively, reaching for the light switch, but I have to stop.

I have to stop.

I cannot bear the light.

I press my back against the door and slide slowly to the tile below me. Silence rushes through my apartment like a brook, smooth and shallow.

I listen to my heartbeat. I breathe, keeping time.

My front hall is the same hall that always greets me when I come home.

But it's different now.

We're different now.

My home is gone.

I can't believe you didn't tell me.

A long time ago, I told you I had cancer. Your response was a denial, but your eyes and voice were heavy with grief. You tried to hide your panic, but I felt it wash over me like an unexpected wind.

Your fear was a solace to me, Mulder. I knew I was not alone.

Every time my nose bled or there was a message from my oncologist, I felt your fear and it comforted me.

We were terrified together. That connection gave me hope.

I can't believe you went to Pennsylvania alone.

I read your medical files back in May and I did not want to believe what they told me. Given all we have seen it was easy to think they had been planted, that they could not be authentic.

I knew it was all a lie because *I knew you*, Mulder.

I knew that if it were true, you would have shared your fear with me.

I don't know you now.

I came in to the office this evening to pick up some files and found John Doggett staring at a blank computer screen with tears in his eyes. He's a hard man, Mulder, but his seams were showing.

He'd been looking for you. He had to tell me what he'd found.

Doggett knows you now, Mulder.

But I don't know you.

I remember the night we found each other, Mulder; that night when I came to your apartment to drink tea and cry on your shoulder.

You knew then.

And I didn't know.

When I woke up on your couch, and got up to leave, and found you leaning in your bedroom door, you knew.

Your eyes, that night, the way you looked at me like you were starving - I don't know now if what I saw burning there was love or fear.

Because you knew.

You kissed me so hungrily and whispered my name with such intensity. Were you thinking of your death then?

I don't want to believe you would face it without me.

My front hall is the same hall that always greets me in the evening.

But it's different now.

My home is gone.


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