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You used to sprawl regally across the mattress, your tiny frame
miraculously expanded in sleep. Perhaps the only forces holding you to
that compact shape in daylight were the sheer energy and force of will
knitting your bones and coiling your joints in perpetual readiness to
spring. Unconscious, you loosened and unravelled, half-tangled in the
sweat-soaked sheets, limp fingers dangling off either side of the bed.
And my bemused six feet of hard-edged torso and gangly limb made room for
you, content with the narrow space between the floor and your heart.

Now you keep mercilessly to your own side, to your own corner in fact,
with all the spirit gone out of your sparring. Somehow you have become
impossibly small, curled protectively around yourself as if a touch would
shatter you. Scully, your back is leaded glass; it shields you even as it
mocks me with a damning reflection of my own cowardice. "Why didn't you
tell me?" I close my eyes against the image of molten green whose secret
endurance gnaws the lining of my stomach like a canker. There was never a
time to tell you. I did not dare disturb the universe again when a new
star had collapsed in on itself so unexpectedly and nearly sucked you into
oblivion along with it.

These are my thoughts as I lie with you, sinking into your fluffy down
comforter, its luxurious folds belying the stark ridge of your spine.
I try to enfold your rigidity, to soften those wax-pale arms into
something more malleable, but it is a useless gesture. Worse than
useless, since what warmth I have to offer seeps into your cold
marble and disappears without a trace, leaving me chilled to my marrow and
you untouched, unyielding. My inviolate obdurate darling, your elbow
sharp as an icicle in my ribs and your feet like frostbite.

Strands of your tarnished hair catch on my nails as I stroke your hollow
cheek, then snap and curl violently away when I try to disentangle them.
You don't actually flinch, but I can see the faint tightening between your
eyes. Encouraged by this reaction, however slight, I slide my hand down
to your breast, which sags cool and inert beneath my questing fingertips.
My cock twitches despite your deadness. Intellectually I'm aware that
this is sick, that this is not the way to reach you, but words have failed
us and I am reduced to this - this perverse groping for some tenuous
connection via your unresponsive flesh.

I stroke your inner thighs, cool and slippery as afternoon ice cream, and
then reach up to pull your clammy hands to my flushed face. Your slender
fingers curl like claws, their nails bitten and torn, their knuckles raw.
The salt at your wrists tastes of iron on silk. Your mouth has gone
bitter and powdery as ash. You do not fight me, even when I press into
those cracked lips so insistently that they begin to bleed. The harsh
metallic undertone tingles on my tongue as I thrust into you, each labored
breath a silent scream for your awakening.

Your eyes open, but they are so blank and blue, so devoid of either
passion or recrimination, that I fall into them as if plunging into icy
water, and am instantly lost in a boundless sea. My call to you is
as despairing and meaningless as the cry of a gull, and lost as
easily in the shout of spray and crash of foam. I am pulled up and
down, in and out, in a sickening rhythm that threatens to sunder my
last feeble grasp on identity and purpose. Your name is my only link
to coherence and order, Scully, my Scully, and abruptly between
one gasp and the next I feel myself lifted to a dizzying height and then
smashed against the rocky shore, my arms empty and my eyes stinging with
salt and sand. For a moment I can only lie there, panting, half-draped
over you, the dull roar of the waves still in my ear. Then the acridity
of recollection floods back and I drag myself unsteadily upright,
realizing just how utterly I have failed you.

There isn't a flaw in that cool porcelain face, but twin trickles of
moisture meander serenely down from eyes like the sea after a storm.
I bend to touch swollen lips to your wet cheek, my gorge already rising in
violent self-disgust. But all I can do is to murmur an inadequate apology
to those clouded azure eyes and stumble from the room, a sticky hand
clamped over my mouth. I plunge down in front of your toilet hard enough
to bruise my knees and clutch its cold sides for comfort as the guilt I've
swallowed rushes back up, flooding my throat with bile. It takes forever
for my resentful stomach to empty itself, until I am left slumping weakly
against the bathtub, my face dripping with mingled tears, perspiration,
and sour saliva.

But not everything has emerged from my corroded depths into the
unforgiving glare of the fluorescent lights. My secret is still there,
worming its way through my gut like a red-hot poker. If anything, my
spasms have driven it deeper as it seeks a peaceful pocket to curl and
brood. Now it dozes, tucked securely away in my tender flesh; now you
sigh in your sleep, oblivious to my unsuccessful purge in the next room.