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04 January 2014 @ 05:30 pm
Gift for: Bluesamutra  
Title: Of Holes and Monkey Ghosts
Author: Elis@ aka Eleryra / elis_xf
Rating: PG13
Warnings: None
Summary: There was a human-shaped shadow of absence on the sheets this morning, still vaguely warm.
Category: MSR. Vignette
Spoilers: Post-All Things vignette
Disclaimer: mine only in my head.
Note: This was written for xf_santa, as a gift to bluesamutra. Hope you enjoy it! Best wishes for a smashing 2014! A big thank you and a year worth of good karma coupons for estella_c for excellent beta work! That said, any mistakes here are my own.
Email: eleryra AT gmail DOT com

There’s a bullet hole in the plaster of one of the walls in his apartment. It had torn through layers of paint and boards of wood in the junction between the wall and the ceiling.

He spots her sitting on a concrete bench by the WWII memorial, face turned towards the reflective pool. She’s holding a cup of coffee to her lips. It is as windy as it was the night before, and the trees by the pool are shedding leaves easily, consigning them to the zephyr.

He stuffs his hands in his pockets as he approaches her.

“You went a long way, for coffee. I have a perfectly good coffee maker at home,” he says.
He stands by the bench, his coat flapping around his legs in frantic motions.

“You don’t have a twelve-foot statue of Lincoln in your living room.”

“That’s on the list for my next Pottery Barn run.”

She hasn’t turned her head around yet, mesmerised as she seems by the ghostly reflection of the Lincoln memorial on the undisturbed surface of the pool.

There was a human-shaped shadow of absence on the sheets this morning, still vaguely warm.

“Help me out, here, Scully. I’m suddenly painfully aware that coming here might come across as a little desperate. I’m not even holding a casual cup of coffee.” He shuffles forward to catch the expression on her face before rocking back on his heels.

“Of all the times I imagined this, I never thought you’d be the one panicking.”

“You've thought about this?”

She turns to him for the first time, smiling a tight-lipped smile. He thinks he must look particularly amusing. He is hiding his hands in his pockets though it's not that cold. His grip conceals the shakes, coming to meet her in this place, hours after she left his apartment, in the same clothes he’s worn (or not worn, for a brief but blissful interlude the previous night) since coming back from England.

There's a hole in his pocket, too. He plays with it absent-mindedly, to placate his nerves, as he does with everything that's missing or broken or burnt through in his life.

“There was an interesting article on the latest issue of CryptoZoo, this week.”

She smiles, “Yes, I know. You left a copy not so casually on my desk.”

“Oh, you saw that.”

“And another, on the projector.” She feigns annoyance.

He rocks back and forth on his heels.

“Ghost monkeys, Mulder? Haven't you had enough of imaginary beasts?”

“Scully, are you suggesting monkeys don't have souls?”

“The ones that waste my time definitely don't.”

He smiles. This woman, who scares hundred year old hibernating monsters, petrifies seasoned serial killers. She wouldn't believe in a ghost even if it brought her breakfast but is willing to follow a man who believes mostly in things he can't see. This woman who speaks in soft half-sentences, who came into his room last night asking for nothing and offering everything. Now she kept him guessing. And terrified.

“Mulder, stop panicking. I just needed some time alone. Everything is fine.”

“Mind if I sit?” he asks, ignoring her request.

“Only if you don't mention paranormal apes.”

“I can’t promise that.”

There’s a bullet hole in his shoulder. The bullet seared his flesh and muscle lodging itself somewhere in the brick wall behind the building. The hole sits somewhere in the junction between his collarbone and his armpit.

She scoots over to give him some space.

He sits quietly next to her, shielding her from the gusts of wind.
He wants to lean over and brush her hair away from her face, wants to see her thoughtful expression dissipate.

“I’m not sure what to say, Scully.”

“You don’t have to say anything, Mulder.”

“I know that’s what you think, but this worries me. This…this complicates things for you, I know.”
“It doesn’t for you?”

He opens his mouth to talk, forms the beginning of an “I”, closes his lips. Unsure where speech would lead him. There are countless holes in his life. The hole in his family where his sister should have been, the hole in his trust cut by countless friends turned foes, the hole in his confidence battered by years of defeat. The hole in the basement. The gold-rimmed hole of the wedding ring Diana left on his dresser the day she left. The hole in his gut the day he ran into the ICU to see Scully attached to machines, white as first snow.

There's a hole in her womb. One he desperately wishes to be able to fill for her. A hole in her life he has been responsible for. He has done this to her. He has turned the bright doctor who walked into his basement cave into into this silent woman, who sits in federal parks, sadly counting the losses in her life as she counts the black stars on war memorials.

“I didn’t think it would be this difficult,” she says.

He reaches for her hand lying limply on her knee. He closes his eyes briefly as he thinks of naked skin. He has butterflies in his stomach and a monumental headache. There's a hole in the delicate tissue of his brain. One which he cannot fix, one which he hopes not to have to ever tell her about. But he his selfish, and there's a hole in his heart, too.

“I worry we're not on the same page, here. I'm not sure we ever were. And it took me seven years, a dead bee and one serious case of frost bite where the sun doesn't shine to realise that.”

He wonders how long he's known about the Scully-shaped hole in his heart.

She turns to him, with grief in her eyes. He is reminded of a moment in a hallway, years before. He is fired by the same need to make her stay. She opens her mouth but he closes his eyes and shakes his head.

The wind is strong and his coat sides are still flapping around, hitting her legs.

“I have followed the unknown for most of my life, but this, this, scares me. I look at you, and you scare me. No one has ever had such influence over my decisions. No one.”

“Samantha does,” she says and he senses resentment and jealousy, perhaps. He is too ashamed to hope, but too vain not to.

He shakes his head. The Samantha-shaped hole in his life has been bleeding continuously. It has stained hers, too.

He had once given up the woman he had thought was his sister in exchange for his colleague, his partner. He thinks about the pact he was about to make with that chain-smoking vulture as she lay on her death bed. He thinks about the snow burning his skin as he ran across the endless white, looking for her, praying to a God he hadn’t believed in. 

How could she not know?

“I still don’t know what your epiphany meant," he says. “Where I fit.”

She smiles at him, “I thought my actions clarified your role in this.”

“Yeah, well. I wish for once you would spell it out.”

“You didn’t give me much chance to speak last night.” He thinks she has managed to make him blush. Him, nearly forty. A grown man with a sizeable triple X collection.

“Mulder,” She grabs his hand and he is assaulted by fear. This, he thinks, this is why we never talk. If we do, one of us could destroy everything.

But she grins at him and his heartbeat slows down.
“You know, of all the reported sightings of the ghost of Abraham Lincoln in D.C., the Lincoln Memorial is never mentioned.”

“So we’re staking out the place 'cause you’re hoping to be the first to spot him?”

She looks down at their entwined hands and squeezes gently.
“There’s nowhere else I’d rather be.”

For a moment he is breathless. The Scully-sized hole in his heart burns bright, sucking his universe in like a black hole. He think if he could explain it to her like this maybe she'd get it, finally. Better than a key-chain, or a stoned bedside confession.

“How about ghost-hunting with a brilliant, albeit slightly neurotic man?” he says, wrapping an arm around her shoulders.
She looks up at him, bright-eyed and possibly love-struck.

“Monkey-ghosts, Mulder?” And it hits him. How could he not know? He will never question her feelings again. Her shoulder burns him through layers of clothing. Her presence is possibly the biggest thing that could occupy all the holes in his life, until there's nothing left but her.

He wiggles his eyebrows.
“Hovering, red-eyed, fire-spitting monkey-ghosts, Scully.”
pat_cordy69: MS Caringcordy69 on January 12th, 2014 06:09 pm (UTC)
I love the location, took great photos there, and their difficulty to share a meaningful conversation works so well with the actual location: superb work!

I really liked the meandering of the discussion and his feelings and thanks for making it a great ending!
elis_xfelis_xf on January 12th, 2014 09:34 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much for the feedback! I'm really happy you liked it! And I think the ending was the first part I wrote!