She shimmered with half spun elegance, hollow soggy windchime
melodies, sparkling plastic translucency, hazy smoke, echoing
nightmares, and unopened doors. He'd see her when he turned
corners. Alice in Wonderland, and he was the White Rabbit. Or
Chesire Cat, she hadn't decided which yet. The layers piled
endlessly, dreamily, sharp teeth and nails linking together with
the intricate precision of a silver chain, the one that went around
his neck, the one she held him by. Her shimmer was too strong. The
lamp she was carrying, the stub of a wax candle that should have
burned out within ten seconds, burned hotter than anything he'd ever
But God she was beautiful. When she moved the entire shell of the
room moved with her, slipping, sliding, falling, and then
disappearing with her when she left, leaving nothing but an empty
paper cup for him to scream into. And he did scream, yes. The
demons weren't always at his neck but they were always in his throat.
She looked up, her eyes whispering, shadows of Don Quixotic windmills
and spinning stars glowered at him.
"Mulder? Is anything wrong?" she asked.
Yes, he wanted to say. The curtain fell back, bruising his shoulder,
sprawling velvet and unladylike, though it couldn't block her light.
Yes, he wanted to say, I'm wrong and your shimmer is killing me.
Don't kill me with your shimmer, Scully. Sleep, or lack thereof, ripped
at the holes in his soul, or his windbreaker. Probably his soul,
because looking down, he realized he wasn't wearing a windbreaker.
Instead, he said nothing, stared at her. Tried to match shimmer for
shimmer, until he realized that he didn't have a shimmer. Maybe just
a glimmer. It rhymed, but didn't come close enough.
She tugged at the chain, and he fell at her feet, waiting, watching,
looking for a route of escape.
So she shrugged and looked back down at the lab report she'd been
studying and rose, leaving the room. He watched everything pull away
with her, including the desk and chair at which he sat. She stuck her
head back in and they reappeared, just for a moment, before he was
knocked back down onto the ground.
"I love you," she said, and he thought that maybe he saw tears in
those eyes, thought he saw her pulling from his tiny glimmer, and he
shivered. The room spun, and he clung to the edge of the desk before
it disappeared again with her.
She returned, holding another pile of paper in her hands, the room
along with her. He could only watch her, watch her fingers dance
across the bridge towards him. Her shimmer rose and it fell, then
fled away when he recoiled from her touch, though he wanted more. She
bit her lip, and he imagined kissing them and biting them so hard that
they bled the way he did. Finally, he found his voice.
"You're killing me."
It surprised her. He saw her almost recoil the way he had, and it
threatened to chase away everything in the room again. Determined, he
pinned her down, rising from his chair, pushing her against the wall,
gently to keep her glow from escaping. He inhaled it deeply and
kissed her, though he drew no blood. He couldn't hurt her, even if he
"Why," she asked. It was too much. Her voice, her touch, too
intoxicating, and he feared he would drown. He pushed her away,
or more, appropriately, pushed himself away. Though she stood upright
where he left her, he could see her collapse like a sack of wet mortar
on the ground beside him.
"You're killing me with your light," he whispered, and thought,
the buzz, the unconscious hatred and need would disappear with the
words. They didn't, and chose to stay on, chasing him about with iron
spiked bats. Her eyes flashed, and he thought, it's all over.
She forced him to the ground, placed her head over his heart.
"Why do you love it in the dark, Mulder? Why can't you let me set
His arms went around her. It's all over, he thought, her shimmer's
won again. It's tearing me down with every word that she says.
"Because... I.. don't.. want..to.." he said, not sure of the words,
and she knew it.
"Yes you do," she held him close, absorbed his sullen warmth,
thought, this must be what it feels like when angels fall from grace.
But she wasn't an angel, and she was so far down she didn't know how
to how she could fall any farther. To herself she was a tattered shroud
, hidden from the world. To him, she was his angel of salvation, his
angel of death, the blinking eyes on her wings killed, or at least took.
They blinded him with the light, stripping him naked so there was
nowhere to hide, nowhere to hide from himself. Her shimmer took away his
mask, made him see himself clearer than he ever had before, and he hated
what he saw, though he loved the light that reflected that ugliness back
to him. She shimmered, and he absorbed. Fed off her so hungrily that
sometimes she nearly died. He tried to cut himself off from that light,
but how could he cut away a part of himself? He could cut off his arm,
his ear, and they would be gone forever, but never Scully. She would
shimmer like the angel she was.
Shimmer shake. That's what it's all about, isn't it? If you pass
your finger fast enough through a flame, it can't burn. But if you let it
linger, it will burn a hole through your hand. He'd expected that to
happen, but he hadn't expected to begin to crave that pain.
Scully sighed, still holding him. Neither said a word. Sometime
during the night, the light bulb went out, and they blinked together
in the darkness.
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