'Shared Pain' by phyre

NC-17 (well, *barely* but better to be safe than sorry)

M/K

Angst. Lots o' angst. I was pretty blue when I wrote it.

Spoilers: "Tunguska"

Summary: A bad dream and some hard questions.

Distribution: ArchiveX. All others please ask.

Feedback: If you have something to say I'd love to hear it so please sendit to phyre@prodigy.net

Disclaimers: They aren't mine. CC & Co. own them and the rights to them.I'm just playing with them. I'll put them back where I found them when I'mdone.

This is a birthday snippet for my chat buddy Ratgirl. It could turn intosomething more if I tend to it and water it a bit. I know she would likethat.

Author's notes: Is there any one of us who has not felt a loved one's painand felt helpless at the same time? This is for all who are hurting andthe loved ones who strive, sometimes in vain, to help.

Special thanks go to my hubbish. He gives me his strength when I have noneleft.

Not beta'd. I accept blame for every typo and mistake.

----------------------------
'Shared Pain' by phyre
----------------------------

"Alex." Strangled and whisper soft ... your name nearly dies unspokenin my throat.

Your body wakes before your eyes open. It coils spring-tight next to me,every muscle tense and ready to jump. Piercing green eyes flash to lifeunder those impossibly long lashes. Anyone else would wake slowly, but notyou, no ... you hate surprises, especially at night. You've lived this longby expecting the unexpected.

"What's wrong?"

That sleep-roughened voice is the balm I need to soothe away this godawfulnightmare. Talk to me Alex ... say something ... anything ... just let mehear the sound of your voice to take away the sound of your screams.

"Nothing. Why do you always think there's something wrong?" Ishould be ashamed. We both know it's a lie and a piss-poor one at that.

Scrubbing my face with my hands, I try to ease away the fear and buy someprecious time to pull myself together. So what if it's the middle of thenight ... please keep talking and erase this whole thing. It's Tunguskaall over again and this time they didn't just take your arm.

"Because usually there is. You look like shit, by the way."

Moonlight through the open shades paints the room a cool silver white. Nicecolor on the walls ... bad color on me.

Your eyes carelessly roam to the bedside table and steal a glance at theclock. Tactfully you do not mention that it's after 3 in the morning orthat I'm sweating and shaking so badly I can hardly breathe. For this andother small gestures alike, I love you.

The bed shifts as you move to sit upright against the headboard. A softhiss of discomfort hangs in the air when your bare back comes in contactwith the cold worn wood.

Strong, deft fingers find my right shoulder and work to loosen the knottedmuscles. I want to bite back that groan in my throat, but I can't. A satisfiedsnicker tickles my ear.

"You want to talk about it?"

"No." A slight shrug of my shoulders ... feigned indifference.Don't make me talk ... please ... not now, not yet. You wouldn't want tohear it anyway. Been there and found that out.

"Lean back." Not quite a request but not an order either.

Settled up against your chest, I hear your heartbeat. The nightmare is stillfresh in my mind and a chill cuts through me when I realize just how closeI was to never hearing that steady rhythm again.

Your hand works lazy circles over my chest and warm fingers worry a sensitivenipple. Another groan from my lips, this one tempered by need and desire.This is one of your favorite tactics; you know I won't talk so you offerme a distraction. Heal now; talk later. Maybe.

"Shh ... shhh, stay still." Soft warm breaths tickle my shoulderand your wet open mouth kisses my neck. A hand dips lower to hold my halfhard cock, gently running your thumb over the tip again and again untilI have to chew my lip and grind my ass against your hipbone to keep frombegging.

"Jesus, I can't Alex."

"Can't what? Keep quiet or stay still?"

A sharp although not entirely unpleasant pain skims my earlobe. What bigteeth you have. A wolf in sheep's clothing.

A quick flash memory of faceless men and campfire light. Damn. It catchesme off guard and I can't suppress the shiver this time. Fucking dreams,they get me even when I'm awake.

Do you see them in your sleep? Do the memories haunt you? You tell me you'reokay but I know you aren't.

Your warm hand falls away.

"Look at me."

I can't. I remember everything you told me, every word of pain quietly spokenin a husked whisper slurred by too much vodka and too little sleep.

"Mulder, look at me."

Anger has crept into your voice. It's hiding in-between the words so ratherthan hear it again I turn and look into your eyes.

"It wasn't real. It didn't happen. It was a dream. I'm right here infront of you. I'm fine. Look at me Fox, I'm fine. I'm still breathing andcan still fuck you silly any day of the week and twice on Sundays."

I take in the sight before me. You're here but you're not fine ... and youwon't let me help you. Why is that? Is it trust? Is it pride?

By their own will my eyes travel across your collarbone and down the slopeof your left shoulder; they close when they reach the angry scarred flesh.I can almost hear your screams punctuating the night air all those monthsago.

"Does it make me any less in your eyes Mulder? Does it matter thatmuch?"

Your voice is so quiet. The anger is gone now, replaced by pain ... painand fear.

"No ... of course not Alex, why would you even ask me that?"

Ghostly pale skin gleams in the moonlight but it's your eyes, not your face,that scare me. They're so dark they've turned black. I want to turn awaybut I can't hurt you like that so I dig deep for courage and keep still.

"Because I never wanted your pity and if that's what this has turnedinto ... "

I shut my eyes and hold my breath. Please don't say it. Please don't say'I'll leave'.

You're a scared hurt animal backed into a corner. Your instincts tell youto fight and mine tell me to love you just the same.

"Mulder?"

"It's not pity, Alex. That's not what it's about. You're right ...it was just a bad dream. It's over now." I'll tell him what he wantsto hear. I'll back off. He does it for me. I can do it for him. Or can I?

"It's not over, Mulder ... not for you. I lived through it once; youre-live it every time you look at me."

True. Not entirely but in part. You re-live it as well. You just do it betterthan I do. Or do you?

So how do I tell you that your pain is mine and make you believe it? Howdo I tell you that when you hurt, and you do hurt, that I want so badlyto ease it and feel so damned helpless because I can't? It's not pity Alexbut how do I tell you?

One painful word at a time, that's how.

"Alex, we need to talk ..."


the end.