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Flower Petals Pressed Beneath my Skin



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What if I woke up one morning and he was still there?

What if I could pretend that it was all a lie, and that he never left me
behind at all?

Normalcy was never anything we might have anticipated when we got married.

But I never expected him to just disappear like that one day.

No words, no confirmations, no familiar lanky bodies dragged out of the
Potomac.

Just... gone.

I suppose it's best to just start at the beginning.

I was in love with him before I even realized what was going on. He came
around to it sometime or another, but me, I always loved him from the start.

Maybe he would have stayed if he felt the same way.

We worked together for six years with barely a word, living on backwards
glances and a touch of the hand alone. Then, one night he just came to my
apartment. I was cooking dinner and slicing vegetables in the kitchen, and
didn't notice when he let himself in. I was so alone. I was so alone but he
came and pressed himself very softly against me and left a soft kiss on the
back of my neck. He took my hands, rubbed the very edge of his thumb into my
palms. The knife clattered to floor forgotten and I swear that it shattered
into a thousand broken butterfly wings when it did. I turned around and
collapsed into him. We didn't utter a single word. I just pressed myself
into him, pressing him and the hunger of his lips all over my throat and
mouth and body into my skin. We got married three hours later, in a quiet
ceremony in front of a judge. No family members, no friends present, just
softly uttered vows and hands joined together for what we thought would be
forever. On the way back to my apartment, we passed a rose bush, and he
stopped. He picked a warm white blossom, stabbing himself in the process. He
ignored my protests to get home and apply antiseptic and held the rose out
to me. I didn't take it, arguing that if he didn't let me care for the
wound, he'd end up getting infected. So he just grabbed me by the waist and
pulled me towards him, and he kissed me again. When we came apart, he placed
the rose between us. Then he took it away, and broke a single petal from the
flower. He placed it against my skin, smoothing it along my cheek, and
pressed a kiss into it. This he did to each petal until the flower was gone.
I still have one of the petals from that rose, snow white against a drop of
blood from his heart.


It wasn't exactly the wedding my (angry) mother would have dreamed of, but
all the same, we had a time together when nothing else existed. We left the
FBI, bought a house, slept in on Sundays and made love every night. He
became a respected professor and I became the local pediatrician. He used to
come during his lunch break to hold me after caring for children and babies
that would never be mine. Somewhere in the reaches of bureaucracy we're
still in a long waiting list to adopt a baby. He used to hold me and kiss me
through my hair and make everything beautiful.

And I was happy. I was so so so happy.

It was always the little things. I'd be making dinner and he'd just sneak in
behind me and press up against me like he did that night, let his hands go
everywhere, and kiss the back of my neck. We'd watch grainy old black and
white movies together and he'd pay more attention to me then the movie. And
I could put my arms around him whenever I wanted to, never be afraid of his
touch or letting him in. We always kept flowers in the house, and eventually
it became a ritual for him to press flower petals beneath my skin with his
kisses.

It was so beautiful to be loved so completely.

We should have known that it couldn't have stayed that way forever.

The first attempt on my life wasn't what we would have expected. It had been
rigged to look like an accident, and at the time, we believed it was. A car
went wild in the middle of the street and slammed directly into me on a
sidewalk. We were told that it was a drunk driver, and I spent 3 weeks in
the hospital with a broken leg, having just barely escaped paralysis. We
didn't think much of it then. Mulder ended up carrying me all the way home
afterwards and letting me know just how much he missed having me there in
his own brand of communication...

The second time we should have started catching on. We were too blind in our
stolen happiness together to notice then. A fire broke out in the hospital I
worked in and nearly burnt it to the ground. All I can remember is smoke and
screaming children and falling embers and sparks. I managed to get the
children to safety, but because of where I was, I got trapped inside.
Luckily, I ended up in the hospital with only rough second degree burns all
over my body and blisters on my hands.

There wasn't even a third time, fourth time, or any clearly defined attempt.
I can't even remember anymore. Just one 'accident' after another. Objects
came crashing from the sky as if carelessly out of windows when I walked
down the street. I was getting a check paid when there was a 'bank robbery'
and I ended up getting shot in the shoulder. My car was rigged, the brakes
cut. Oh, God, I can't even remember everything They tried anymore- at least,
not until the night I nearly ended up getting raped.

One night my car key jammed and I was approached by a man who tried to rape
me in some alley. I suppose that was Their mistake. They sent Krycek. He had
a knife and I ended up with a gash down my cheek and another on my thigh. He
ended up much worse after I was done with him. He ended up dead after my
husband found out what he tried to do to me. His body is currently at the
bottom of the Potomac and looks to stay that way. The good thing about being
a former FBI agent is that you realize how you can hide evidence and cover
up any that emerges.

More 'accidents' continued after that. In my mind, there only remain a
succession of glass images frozen in time, hospital beds, flower petals, and
Mulder nuzzling my neck in our bed at home.

What I do remember was what they discovered the seventh or eighth time I was
in the hospital.

The cancer was back, and growing faster then it ever had before.

I can still remember waking up the morning after they made the diagnosis, to
discover that he wasn't there. He'd taken a few clothes, some money and a
sandwich.

He left behind the stem of a rose, its petals around my face, still pressed
beneath my skin when I woke up.

The cancer went into remission when my husband left me. I sold our house and
moved in with my mother for awhile. I went back to the FBI in hopes of using
them to find him. The Lone Gunmen searched for months. I even tried tracking
down the smoking man.

But he was gone. Just... gone.

Sometimes, when I'm cooking alone in my apartment, I still expect him to
come sneaking into the kitchen to kiss the back of my neck and tell me how
much he loves me.

One night I found a rose on my doorstep. I searched the town, the roads,
even questioned everyone in the vicinity I could get my hands on. I must
have seemed crazy to them- a woman shattered and drowned in tears, clutching
a fading rose so tightly in her hands that she began to bleed.

I never saw him again.

And I still wonder.

What if Mulder never came to me that night?

What if he never pressed himself beneath my skin like that?

Would he still be here?


Would I?




.finis.___________________________________

a thank you to the AAS mailing list for looking this over for me, and esp to
Asrana for doing the grammer run through! :)

a thank you, as always, to the reader for getting down here :)