ARCHIVE: If you like.

SPOILERS: Up to and including 2F/1S.

RATING: PG13. Slashy.

SUMMARY: Companion vignette to "Beyond the Pale." Sepnder's thoughts sometime during "One Son."

NOTE ONE: "Beyond the Pale," a K/Sp, is at my site:

NOTE TWO: I was feeling rather blue and wanted to write something nice to cheer myself up. This isn't nice, but it seems to have helped.

DISCLAIMER: Chris Carter, 1013, and Fox own the X-Files, not me.

March 1999


Every time I turn around, I catch the smell of death. Winding around me, wafting on every breeze, entering me with every breath.

Sometimes it's a puff of cigarettes, stale and insulting. And old. Come on, nobody smokes any more.

Sometimes it's a tendril of perfume, understated and feminine. Smelling it day after day, it begins to cloy.

Sometimes it's the sour yeast of unkept rooms and unwashed bodies. Of sweetly rotting food and unopened windows.

But mostly it's you. Mostly it's your sweat and my fear, your leather and your skin and the arid tang of a dissolving body. Mostly it's your heat and your chill and the feel of our bodies moving together. Your hooded eyes. Your terrible truths. Mostly it's you.

Everything has gone to hell and I can't get out of the damn hand basket. My mother is gone. My work is gone. My faith in what can and cannot be is gone.

I'm walking through the valley of the shadow of death and sometimes it's my own hand on the gun and sometimes it's fire from the heavens, but mostly it's you. You walking silently behind me. You waiting for me to turn around and step into your arms. You kissing me, warming me with your breath, and me touching your face, your back. You putting your knife between my ribs, sliding it in with one swift stroke, and then sinking with me to the ground. Us lying there, a little cold from the damp earth, and you holding me close and stroking my hair until I die. You wiping my blood from your blade onto the wet grass before you go.

I always thought my decisions were real, that I had choices, even if I made the wrong ones. But suddenly I'm a Calvinist and the only escape is death. It's strangely calming. No more responsibility, just waiting for the inevitable.

Every time I turn around, I see a flash of death, darting just beyond my peripheral vision. Lurking around ever corner, hiding in every shadow. Stalking me.

Sometimes it's a thing not of this earth, its face pulling away like clay in my hands as my breath is trapped inside my body.

Sometimes it's the dream my mother gave me. The nightmare that I now fear may be real.

But mostly it's you. I hope it's you. It's all I have to give you.

The Lord have mercy on my soul.


It was short. What did you think?