A post-ep for *Existence - headers at bottom of page
What if the garage scene had gone on just
At first there's only haze--hissing whiteness--and then a choking that wrenches me. Colors start to filter in front of my eyes. Gray--an expanse of gray. Slowly it shapes itself into ribs, now filling in with depth, now with shadow. Cement. A ceiling.
I'm cold, or at least... I should be, but I don't feel a thing--not clearly, anyway--and it's hardly going to matter in the end. Not going to be here that long. There's a sound, close and raspy. Me. Or what's left of me.
Three shots. I remember the bullets.
I wonder what I'm doing here now, what this moment's for.
It filters back in--the parking garage, the car. Smashing in Mulder's window and what followed. But it's faded, like the colors on a weathered billboard. Doesn't matter anymore. What comes more clearly is sitting at a desk next to Mulder on that first assignment, watching him go through computer files, searching for information that would lead us to Augustus Cole. The enthusiasm on that face of his. It wasn't so bad once we'd passed the crappy introduction part, after he ditched me. It was starting to work, the two of us on that case.
Crazy thing to remember, out of all of it.
I look at the cement supports above me. So they left me, got rid of the trash and walked away. Drove away. Whatever.
I never hit you, Mulder. Not once.
Place is deserted. I wonder what time it is. Like it matters.
Just me and... the rats, probably. There are always rats. I stare at the gray beam above me. There's a sign painted off to one side but it's out of focus, white letters that dissolve and then almost come back together again. My raspy noise goes on and out of the corner of one eye I can see my chest sink, then swell again, the exaggerated movement of a body that doesn't know how to give up.
Not long now.
I've seen it so many times.
There's something--shadow and movement--and then the sound hits me, late, like an afterthought. Back end of a car--black car. Coming closer; maybe it'll hit me. My chest swells and sinks. Each time it seems to go higher, a junkie going through oxygen withdrawal. It's too late. All of it's too late.
Above me the gray goes hazy and then gradually turns into something. Someone.
Scully's waiting, Mulder. What are you doing here? Nothing comes out of my mouth. I don't even know if it moves.
He leans in closer but says nothing. Not with his mouth, anyway. What do you want me to show you, Mulder? I've tried already; I've tried so many times. You never listen.
I can see my body pull, though I can't feel it. The world rolls and I'm on my side, curling up. Curling in. Mulder watches, big-eyed; I can't be a pretty sight. His brow wrinkles and the corners of his mouth start to pull up, a look you could mistake for a smile if not for what's in his eyes. There's something different there. The man with these eyes lost a sister. This is the twelve-year-old boy who woke up one morning to find his kid sister'd disappeared. And he never stopped looking, never stopped hoping.
Noise shakes me, a loud groan I vomit out. I've moved again. My gun's in front of me, close on the floor. I move my eyes to Mulder; he's leaning in, unsure what to do, whether to touch me, call 9ll, walk away from what he's watching. Can't be fun. Can't be easy. He must be wondering why he bothered to come back.
The gun, Mulder. Pick it up. I catch him with a gaze, let my eyes travel to the pistol on the cement and back to him. He looks lost. He doesn't want to understand. I force my eyes to make the trip again--to the gun, to his face. He swallows.
Pick it up, for godsake, Mulder. Can't you see what I'm going through?
He reaches toward me, his hand headed for my shoulder but I fix him--shake him--with my gaze and glance toward the gun again, pause, and return my eyes to him. Last thing I need is to have him go mushy on me. If he touches me, he'll never be able to go through with it.
We're staring at each other, saying nothing and saying everything. Anybody watching would think we were crazy... or that we look the way he and Scully look when they have whole conversations without ever opening their mouths. Retinal shorthand.
Mulder's forehead wrinkles; his jaw locks. He looks at me--into me--maybe for the first time.
Just do this one thing for me, Mulder...
I feel sick.
Slowly Mulder reaches for the gun. His fingers go around it unwillingly, as if he's holding something that might explode in his hand. He grits his teeth. Funny--here I am, down to the wire and yet my mind doesn't reach out to the past, no kind of review; I'm just locked into this moment, watching Mulder struggle. I know it hurts, Mulder.
He stands up, looks at the gun and back at me. I'm breaking him--he's telling me that--and what can I say? I'm sorry. Can't be helped. Maybe he's mad. No. His lips come together, press into a thin line. He's asking me again.
Suddenly my focus clears. I can see the sweat on his upper lip and now my insides feel like liquid fire. Just do it, Mulder.
He pulls the pistol up, aims, hesitates.
Do it, Mulder. For once in your life, just do the hard thing that needs to be done. You're going to need to be able to do that if you're going to have any chance at all against what's coming.
I won't be here to do it for you.
We lock eyes. I apologize for messing up his neat little world.
He takes aim again, mouth taut. The barrel wavers ever so slightly, but his finger starts to pull. Finally he understands.
It's all I ask.
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