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one petal falls free
by wen

author's ramblings- i was asked for a mulder pov after 'flower petals pressed beneath my skin', and later, when i asked if anyone would like to read one, i was happily obliged :) the reason it took so long was that i was trying to write a companion piece. it didn't really work out, so i gave up on that, but this is what happened when I let go and just wrote. consider both as double sided siamese twins, joined lightly at the waist by a skein of thread. consider this an alternate reality- as in- what if mulder came back?


end notes and dedications will follow at the end, but first, a special little inner dedication to that lucky, darling, celebrity limo keying chicklet *per-mel* and her very own special 'mulder'- things'll work out, sweetie :)

summary- sometimes, love goes deeper than everything and anything _________________________________________________________________________

I remember.

Her eyes flutter shut, and she remembers too, a cacophony of light pouring through her veins and into the ground below her, suffused with light and empty of thought.

One petal falls free.

I remember.

And so does she.

The wound across her heart was still there, and she was careful to wash around it, to not to touch it, and to stay out of its way. Other times she dug her fingers, her nails deep into it, until the blood started running again, just to remember what I felt like those days when I was gone.

Those days when she was gone.

My wound was still there, intangible beneath the surface, but I had never let it show, weak as I may have been. But hers remained, light scars all over her hands, pinpricks left by rose thorns, thin lines to trace in the darkness. I still touched them, still tried to make them go away, but the memory lingered, spent and weary, longing for release.

Five years after I left her, five years after the cancer returned and they tried to take her away from me, I showed up on her doorstep again, torn down the middle in so many more ways then one.

I had just tortured a man: burnt him through and through with his own cigarettes, and put a bullet through his head for her. She only saw a man no better than him on her doorstep, drowned in the rain, a man who had abandoned her. And she slapped me, straight down the face so that I could feel the force of the wedding ring that I was almost surprised that she still wore.

Then she began to cry.

I remember.

And so does she.

Back then, it was easy to love without thought, to love without darkness. In the early days, when we first got married, there was a soft practice I'd taken up with her. I'd kiss flower petals into her skin, one by one, until the rose was gone and only we remained, fingers running down arms running down hands, joined at the center, stroked and warmer than all roses.

But when I first returned she couldn't see me so clearly anymore. We still loved, we still held each other; and I still tried to kiss the petals deep into her skin, kiss myself into her skin. But it all came apart at the edges, because when we were done she held onto me so tightly that I could have broken in her arms, and sometimes I did.

And when I tried to slip in on her, tried to put my arms around her from the back, slipped my arms around her waist to hold her warmth, she pulled away.

A chasm grew within her, and a wind whispered through it, whispered as hollow as she thought we'd become. My wife closed within herself; folding the corners smaller and smaller, tucking herself inside, and I wanted to unfold her, smooth out each fold and kiss it dry. Sometimes I tried to, but ended up ripping those fragile folds she'd built, and she ended up crying on the other side of the bed.

Old images haunted in shades of gray and white, tumbling around the eyes, and I could remember the way she smiled, I could remember the way she laughed. I could remember the way she touched me then. But then I felt her hands in the darkness, desperate and filled with angry need. Every time we made love she cried when we were done, and I didn't know if it was because she loved me or hated me.

I love you, I could say to her, again and again and again, but the words were hollow for her, she took them in her hands and turned them about, peering from every corner, every side, and when she found them empty of the meaning they once had, she tossed them away.

And it continued this way, neither saying a word about the time between us when we had been apart. I didn't tell her about the five years I'd spent tracking down the smoking man and the others who'd tried to take her away from me. I didn't even tell her that I'd killed them for her. She said nothing of why she'd quit her job as a pediatrician, why she'd sold our house, and why I couldn't find our honeymoon pictures anymore. Why I couldn't find my wife

My wife searches for the truth in a way that only she can- no one can give it to her, hand it to her on a plate. To regain her trust in me she had to search within herself. Until then, I could only wait, could only offer myself to her in every way, could only try to press myself beneath her skin again.

But then, one day,

the petals fell free.

She came home one day and didn't say a word. She just held out one rose to me, and just that brush of her finger against my palm was all it took. And then she took my face in her hands, and ran her forehead lightly against my lips, her fingers stroking along the jaw line, making sensation and beauty run along my surface until I had to strain not to touch her. I could only wait for her to touch me, to forgive me, to make me whole again. And she kissed me, very slowly, tentatively, lips barely touching then only grazing softly, unfolding gently, unfurling herself to me, gentle flower after a long, long cold. I made her warm again. She made me warm again. Everything about her made me want to hold her like this forever, pressed close against the skin and breathing her in, feeling each heartbeat against me. Feeling each heartbeat slowly match mine again.

The rose dropped to the floor in shades of autumn adagio, falling slowly, dropping forgotten petals, and I picked her up, spinning her dizzy, holding tightly, laughing against the light, against her skin, until I wanted to hold onto her like that forever, and stopped spinning. And I held my wife against me as tight as I could, hands tracing old familiar lines, rushing and almost frantically spun with passion, breathing becoming soft and uneven, stroking every strand of hair, every inch of skin that I could, and falling apart with fluttering kisses along her throat. I could feel how warm she'd become, could feel each and every soft breathing that she took, uneven and labored as mine.

Yet the touch was



We stayed that way. I can't remember for how long, but oh, god, I never wanted to let her go again. I never wanted to let her go. We began to heal that afternoon, in the soft embrace of sun in our living room, with just one touch, just one brief whirl in a quiet stain of light.

Because, sometimes, love goes deeper and sweeter than anything and everything.

I kissed her again, gentle fast along the surface, then nuzzled almost intangibly along the side of her face, aching to give in to myself, to rush with blind passion into her.

But then she whispered, just once, for the first time, even since we'd been married, "I love you."

And that made me break in two again, made me break apart in her arms. Only this time, she was there to catch the pieces, there to put me back together again.

"I love you," she said. "I love you I love you I love you I love you."

And she murmured like that to me, words like softly fluttering doves, cool breezes of sweetness against my face, until we sank to the floor, sank unbidden into each other, and until I fell asleep with my head in her lap, arms curled into her waist, the back of my hand tracing warm tingling circles and soft lines up and down against her breathing.

It was so beautiful to love, to be loved as completely as that. And that was the way it became- healing wounds by turning corners, turning faces, turning folds inside out. Our wounds are closing in on themselves, leaving scars from clutching rose thorns, but scars that we bear together, petals intact.

And one petal falls free.

I remember.

And so does she.

Only this time, she smiles when she does: a soft and bittersweet smile that I can taste within her kiss. She runs her hands along mine, lets me pull her against me, lets me kiss the warm/cool skin between her ear and her neck, and gently releases herself to the night before falling into a quiet sleep, curled against me.



end notes-

I didn't go for the all-out angstfest this time- is it ok to play on this side of the fence? you see, the thing is, towards the end of this fic, romantic!wen and angst!wen had a treacherous fight to the finish, and angst!wen is currently bound and tied up somewhere in the dark recesses of my mind trying to throw things at the window to attract help. if it isn't ok for me to play on this side of the fence (I'll admit that I liked it though), let me know, and I'll chain romantic!wen into her own little corner watching perpetual reruns of favorite movies like 'The English Patient' and 'Life is Beautiful' to keep her busy ;) Besides, I've only seen the first 6 eps of season 6 so haven't been very affected by the 'kill mulder!' syndrome that's been driftin' 'round lately.

ok, so this wasn't very realistic. A situation like this could take years to heal, and that's only if you're lucky... but you know what I think? Screw reality, baby :)

*WARNING*! The author is undergoing a brief period of infatuation/delirium/happiness also a state often referred to as 'falling head over heels in love'. Blame the guy. <g> Wonderful, sweet, funny, gorgeous, and darling darling guy that he is. In any case, you will be returned to your regularly scheduled angst program soon.

Now... to the thank-yous!

this fic is dedicated to the following wonderful wonderful people (in no particular order!)- Juliettt, Asrana, Louise Marin, Lynne, mylan, rachel o'conner, ee, pepper, Lisa, Maureen, Alicia, Aria, medusa, ship and ropobop

why? 'cause I love ya, that's why ;)

a thank you to the reader for even getting down here! oh, i love you all :)

i'm on spring break. that's probably why i'm so chipper ;)

alarmed confusion at this sudden change of pace taken happily at :)