Title: Youíre Not There
Author: XScout
Rating: PG-13
Classification: VA
Keywords: Character Death - but donít let that put you off
Spoilers: None
Summary:Scullyís thoughts on the man lying next to her in her bed. But something is terribly wrong with this picture.

Disclaimer: No one is explicitly mentioned so no infringement is committed. But since we all know I am alluding to Mulder and Scully, I might as well say that the characters alluded to belong to CC and 10-13. They canít sue me, so they wonít.

Authorís Notes: Iím not really big on character deaths but lately the idea appeals to me. I must be getting maudlin in my old age. If it appeals to you too, let me know. If you hated it but have some helpful comments, let me know. XScout@hotmail.com

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Youíre Not There

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I wake with a start, not sure what woke me. A quick glance at the clock tells me it is well before dawn. I stare at the red numbers and become absorbed by the color. Red. There is something about it I should remember, something.... My pulse is racing now, my thoughts jumbled as I anxiously search my memory for a reason that the color should seem significant.

Then I hear you breathing beside me, a calming lullaby to my panicked thoughts. My muscles relax slightly and I burrow my head deeper in the pillow, breathing deeply of your aftershave. It reassures me. It has always amazed me how easily your presence can do that, even the faint scent of you has the power to make me feel safe and secure.

I smile into the feathery softness of my pillow and marvel at the wonderousness of you being in my bed. It all happened so fast, I never knew what hit me.

***************

A few nights ago you showed up on my doorstep, looking for all the world like a lost child. I brought you in and sat you down on this bed, hoping that I could persuade you to rest. I didn't need to ask why you were here, I knew. It was a bad one wasn't it? A nightmare so horrifying that you bypassed calling me and instead drove straight over. Drove with shaking hands and tear filled eyes.

When you were done telling me about it, it was my hands that were shaking. No wonder you came over. I wrapped a blanket around you and pushed you back on the bed, getting up to prepare coffee. You wouldn't let me. Wouldn't let go of me, begged me to stay with those beautiful hazel eyes. How could I say no? So I laid down next to you, careful to give you some personal space.

You didn't feel the need to reciprocate the gesture. You pulled me against you, my back pressed to your chest, my head cradled beneath your chin. You draped an arm across my body and held me close, as though you wanted to meld my flesh with yours. Then you whispered in my ear. You told me you loved me. I squeezed your hand tightly and told you the truth - that I already knew. I could feel you smile against my hair, your hand returning the squeeze.

We fell asleep together, our bodies interlocked like puzzle pieces finding their mates, a perfect fit. And we awoke together, the sun filtering through the window to caress our faces with its warmth. You looked at me like you were scared, afraid that you had somehow destroyed our bond with your confession. I smiled indulgently and gently but firmly told you that it in no way affected how I felt about you. I returned your love and even though we had just admitted it to each other, we had known for a long time before then.

As I laid in your arms, we decided to take it slow, to get a feel for this new facet of our relationship before diving in unprepared. We were already as close as two people could get without ever becoming physically intimate, and we were content to leave it like that until we were both ready.

Then we took on that case.

Cases like that left little time for anything other than sleeping or eating. Not that either of us did much of that anyway. You did it as a favor for one of your old colleagues from the VCS, a review of a case file that had paranormal overtones. In other words, the killer was able to sneak up on the victims undetected, neither heard nor seen. You thought he might have the ability to shroud himself in the cloak of his surroundings, a human chameleon. I disagreed.

But when we cornered him in that warehouse, I never heard him come up behind me, never heard him pull out a gun and point it at me. But you did. I heard you yell at me to 'get down' and I immediately dropped to the ground, trusting you implicitly. I heard twin gunshots, the thuds of two bodies hitting the floor. It took no less then a few seconds for me to realize what happened.

I didn't bother with the suspect, I knew without looking behind me that he was dead. Every fiber of my being was focused on you, on the ragged wet sound of your breath, the red liquid spilling out from the hole in your chest. Red.

************

Oh God. Red. Clock numbers. Blood. Your blood. I can't breathe, my vision clouds over as the memory invades my mind.

Then I feel the warmth of your body next to me. You're safe, here with me. I'm safe, here with you. My heart begins to beat again and I can breathe. But I can still see the memories.

************

I called for the paramedics, my mind and body numb as I tried to keep you alive, piling jackets on top of you to prevent you from going any deeper into shock. The medics arrived and they loaded you into the ambulance, me bulldozing my way behind them. When you went into cardiac arrest I thought my own heart would explode and I furiously shouted at the EMTs, directing them with my doctor's knowledge.

It was all automatic. Though I ordered the medicine dosages and was sending electricity through your body with a machine, it was all automatic. I was on auto pilot, all my emotions ignoring my medical side and directed at you. We managed to bring you back after two tries with the defibrillator. I felt your hand envelop mine and I leaned down to your bloody lips.

You repeated your late night confession to me, this time with such power that the tears I was holding back burst forth. I told you I loved you and that nothing would separate us. I kissed you then, a reminder that you had everything to live for, and you smiled.

We pulled into the ambulance bay and a flurry of activity marked your transfer to the trauma room. My last glimpse of you was your red stained hand in mine just before the doctors took over. I sat in the waiting room, every nerve in my body concentrating on your recovery. So intent was I on this task that I did not see one of the doctors emerge from trauma.

He came over and knelt in front of me, laying a hand on my knee so as not to startle me. I looked up into his eyes and watched his lips move. What did he say? I can't remember now.

**************

I gasp as I try to recall what the doctor had said but I cannot remember. I close my eyes against the blaring red numbers and listen to your breathing. I need you now, I need to feel safe. I turn over to find comfort in your embrace.

Youíre not there.

Then I remember. And my world shatters.

**********
END