Aubade - carleton97

A nightmare had awakened her, a terrified cry echoing in the darkness of the motel room. But it wasn't her nightmare.

Without thought, she left the haven of her bed and crossed to the door connecting their rooms. Dressed for bed, she seemed much younger than her years. She wore a tank top and athletic shorts, her hair a tousled red cloud around her face. The knob turned easily under her hand, proof of their unspoken rituals of concern. The first thing they did upon entering a motel room was to unlock that door. It was not opened casually, but remained forever unlocked, a testament to their fears. And their trust.

Silent as a wraith, she slipped into his room, taking a moment to close the door behind her and get her bearings. Trapped in the colorless prison of moonlight and tangled bedding, he tossed restlessly, his agonized whimpers tormenting her. She moved to the bed and laid a hand on his cheek. Almost immediately he began to relax. With gentle hands she untangled the blankets, smoothing them up around his shoulders. Once the bed was in order, she stepped away to return to her room. The moment she turned from the bed, though, he resumed his unsettled movements. She paused for a moment before returning to his side almost reluctantly. Moving slowly, she lifted the covers and slid beneath them. Even before she was fully settled, he turned and pulled her into his arms. His instinctive reaction to her presence didn't startle her as it initially did. Now it fulfilled her, defined her.

As she had a handful of times in the past, she would remain with him the rest of the night, fighting against the allure of sleep, content to hold him, to offer the only solace she could - herself. And when he began to stir, she would steal back to her cold bed, salvaging whatever she could of the night before the day was upon her.

And with the dawning of the day, she would go back to pretending her feelings were limited to the boundaries of partnership and affection. She would re-bundle her feelings and nestle them close to her heart. She told herself she kept this secret because of what 'They' might do, but she was more afraid of what he might do. She knew his feelings of guilt and duty could drive him to a decision neither of them could live with.

He stirred in her arms, but it was only natural restlessness, not the return of any nocturnal terrors. She smiled. Even in sleep he was chasing shadows, searching for...something. She ran her fingers through his hair to quiet him and, because it soothed her too, she repeated the caress once, twice more. Awed by the opportunity to touch him with impunity, she continued stroking his head, his face. When a giant yawn caught her off guard, she realized the danger of her actions.

She didn't stop though.

There was so little pleasure in their lives, she couldn't bear to deny either of them this small indulgence. Even though he wasn't consciously aware of these interludes, they both needed them, depended on them. There were times when the echoes of moments like these were the only thing holding all the pieces together. Somehow, holding him had become a fundamental for her, as vital to her as breathing. She couldn't imagine her life without these stolen moments of peace.

So she kept stroking his thick hair, creating a catalogue of details to carry with her; the hitch in his breath, the nearly unnoticeable sprinkling of gray near his temples, the weight of his hand at her waist. With each pass of her hand and each tick of the clock, her eyelids drooped a little more. Soon, an eternity later, without her knowledge and without her consent, her consciousness gave up the fight and she dropped off to sleep, her fingers still moving in his hair.

Her eyes snapped open, aware something was wrong. It took her a moment, but she finally realized her pillow was breathing. Through the cheap motel curtains, she could see the first pink fingers of dawn beginning to show on the horizon. Slowly, almost reluctantly, she raised her eyes to him. A nearly audible sigh of relief escaped her lips when she saw he was still sleeping peacefully, the encroaching morning gilding him with the appearance of ancient statuary. With practiced grace, she extricated herself from his embrace. She stood by the side of the bed, and, unable to resist, ran her fingers through his hair a final time.

"Love..." Though she had barely breathed the word, its very existence frightened her, so she turned and ran to the sanctuary of her own room.

As the door clicked shut behind her, his chameleon eyes slowly opened. With a slight smile he ran his hand over the spot next to him, still warm from her body, "Love..."


Disclaimer: Fox Mulder, Dana Scully, and all things X-Files are the property of Chris Carter, 1013 productions, and 20th Century Fox et al.

Created and maintained by carleton97.

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