Oh, you creep up like the clouds. 
	And you set my soul to ease. 
	Then you let your love abound. 
	And you bring me to my knees. 
	~~~Fiona Apple, "Shadowboxer" 

After almost an hour of waiting with heavy lidded eyes he 
had succumbed to his fatigue, leaning back onto the mounded 
cushions and drifting off into the realm of sleep. 

His struggle to stay awake showed in his hands which were 
doubled up into fists on either side of him, twisted tight in the 
sheet rucked low across his hips. 

He'd been thinking of her, and his thinking had turned into 

He wept as he dreamt, tears leaking pale silver past his temples, 
his face upturned to the faint light that streamed through the 
apartment's windows. 

Patterns, both pale and deep cast by the pas-de-deux of city 
lights and dark night clustered around his long, palely gleaming
body.  Many-layered shadows draped across the length of him, 
drifting tighter and tighter around his sleeping form, which shone 
palely where illuminated by reflected city lights. 

(I know it's purple, but if you knew how I struggled to get that
exact shade! )

In his dream she walked towards him as she did so often in her 
waking hours, long after the sun had set and her day's business 
done, shadows flickering like ocean waves across her face and 
body, and his dream-self smiled, for his day's business had 
bruised his heart, and strength would come through her laughing 
eyes and eloquent hands. Only, in his dream, she came ever 
towards him, forever out of reach: and the darkness, rather than 
bearing her safely to the island that was their bed, reared up 
between them and swallowed them both.  Sadness engulfed 
him, and not long after he tumbled into the deepest part of 
slumber the front door to his flat opened, and a tall women let 
herself into the room. 

She made her way to where he lay with sure and graceful 
movements, thinking grave thoughts as she pondered how 
best to approach him. She had no reason for lateness that he 
would care to hear, and she did not believe in excuses. 

Her long skirt swished quietly as she sank to her knees 
beside him. 

The dried traces of his tears stood out like scars on his face. 

She sighed. 

He cried so easily. 

He thought everything was his fault. 


Even her failures. 

So, so tenderhearted, you are, she thought of him to herself, 
grinning a little as she brought up a cupped hand to brush off 
a tangle of hair from his forehead. Her privilege and delight 
came in wiping those tears away and replacing them with the 
smiling knowledge of his importance to her (she slipped out 
of her jacket and blouse) and in her. 

She untied the waist of her wrap around skirt, and allowed the 
nubby material to slide past her hips to the floor as she examined. 

His eyes were puffy, she noticed with more than a little 
satisfaction. He must have cried for a very long time before 

His day might have been as bad as hers, and this realization 
made her reconsider her impulse to dip her finger into his 
heart and swirl. 

It would take no effort to eradicate all traces of her latest 

But he sighed and turned in his sleep, his grief worn face, 
softening into child like contentedness. She knew he felt her 
near, and she drew closer, entranced by the change in emotion 
of his face and the play of light and dark against his features. 

"I'll never leave you, Fox. Never." she said quietly. 

Her warm hands stole out into the darkness and found the 
sleep-cool contours and planes of him with easy familiarity.  
They traced the foremost line of his shoulders and the limits 
of his hips with languorous movements. She bent her head to 
his throat and kissed him savoring the feel of his pulse beneath 
her lips. 

She called him her foxhole in more whimsical moments, naming 
his importance to her truer than she knew. 

The hands that caressed him moved with some desperation and 
the kisses she rained on his throat had a bitter aftertaste. Even if 
her conscious mind failed to understand her need, her tired heart 
and body did. 

The scent of her hair stole through his nostrils and into his dreams 
and he stirred under her touch. 

In his dreams he saw his waker's ember dark hair, soft-lipped 
mouth and glorious eyes. His dream-self hesitated before 
embracing her because her gorgeous aroma bore a foreign tang. 

Her mouthed touch his in reality and he moaned her name, as 
she caught his dreaming self and brought him into the dim light 
of night. 

Heartened by her familiar touch his arms rose up beside her, his 
eyes still shut. 

Automatically, he shifted away from her and she flowed onto the 
bed and over him. 

"Phoebe," breathed the man, coming awake beneath her hands. 
His eyes opened, soft and welcoming to her. The sheets parted 
between them with a loud rasp. 

To his sleepy eyes she seemed a glowing thing, the divine breaker 
of a shadowy wave. 

"Shh," she whispered, and quieted him, stroking his lips with the 
curve of her cheek and reveling in the soft sensation of his mouth, 
tender and sleep swollen against her face. Moving on him, above 
him and around him she brought him into full wakefulness, 
annihilating his sorrow with her flowing embrace. 

Afterwards he caged her face with his hands and palmed past the 
curtain of her hair bringing her face into view. "Where have you 
been?" he asked. "I looked all over for you. I waited up.  Where 
were you?" 

"Out. And about," she replied gracing his mouth with hers. 

"Phoebe," Mulder sighed in protest, "You should at least . . . 
I worry." 

She ignored his words and with mouth and hands followed his 
breath to its source. 

He succumbed to her onslaught and banished his doubts into the 
outer darkness surrounding their bed. 

*	*	*

When she could breathe again, and his soft cries were a sweet 
memory lighting her face, she laced her fingers through his sweat 
damp hair, and stroked her fingertips down his cheeks as if to ask, 
'What happened?' 

He shrugged, remembering the cause of his earlier sorrow. It 
seemed a long time removed from their pleasant now. 

"There was this old man, at the clinic today," he began, his chin
pressed into the crease where arm met breast, "Sweetest old man 
I ever met. Kinda had this glow to him . . . "Really neat 
old guy. Cops ---"

"How long have you been in England, Mulder?"

"Bobbies brought him in cause they'd dragged him out of a gas 
fire.  He was covered in soot. Smelled a little like you do now. 
Wanted us to make sure he was all right upstairs before they 
questioned him.  Turns out his daughter had set the fire because 
she'd found out he'd been raping her kids.  It'd been going on for 

"That's a terrible story." 

Mulder sighed, "Yeah."

Phoebe kneaded his nearest shoulder.  

Disappointed, he continued, "well, there are a million worse. I 
don't even know why I give a damn. It's not like something like 
it's not gonna happen again. Isn't happening right now." 

"Mulder," she began then stopped, unsure of where to begin. 
"They'll most likely recover. It's not a killing blow.  Children 
are very resilient." 

"But will they ever be happy?" 

"...American construct," Phoebe muttered in dismissal. 

Mulder slid off her and placed his hand flat on her stomach, 
pulling her close to his side.  "I don't make you happy?" 

"That's not the point." 

"Why can't you just admit it?" 

"That you give me great pleasure?" 

He groaned. 

"Especially," she said, reaching between them, "with this particular 
American construct?" 

He groaned differently, "Not again." 

"And why not?" 

"You had your chance when I was 18.  It's your own damn fault 
I'm too old now." 

She laughed. 

"See," he said poking her with a lazy finger, "I do make you 

Hugging him, she laughed harder. 

"And those poor kids, if they'll ever let another man near them ---" 

"There's much to be said for old wives' tales.  Suffering builds 
character.  And they're most likely too young for that old lecher 
to have had a profound impact on their development." 

"You really think so?" he asked, his voice troubled.

She rubbed his back, smoothing the unhappiness out of his 
body.  "I do.  All cocaine addicts' psychological theories aside, 
childhood doesn't determine everything.  You of all people don't
need to be convinced of that." 

"Suffering builds character, hunh?" 


"Explains why you're a degenerate," he said around a yawn. 

"Promise, Mulder.  They'll more than cope."

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