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Descent

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Mulder wakes up restless, unsettled. A turbulent feeling clouding his mind. 

It takes him a while to realize where he is. His bed. His crowded bedroom. Why isn’t he on the couch? 

Suddenly, he feels the burning of the cold metal on his chest and everything comes back to him. Scully's kidnapping. The tram. The three-day-long insomnia. The sleeping pills on his nightstand. 

In an attempt to finally catch some sleep, he had retreated to his unbearable bed. Now he realizes it had been the worst idea. The last thing he needs is more miserable feelings attached to that piece of furniture.

Mulder gets up, feeling dizzy. Grabbing the blanket he moves to the living room. The pills had worked for a while, but he can't take another one now. It is still early in the morning, the sun hasn't risen yet. He decides to turn to his usual lullaby. Soon, the moaning and the pumping fills the room and he closes his eyes. Just a couple more hours , he begs. 

He needs his mind to be rested and on alert.  Scully has to be found. He has to find her, his promise to her mother has to be honored. He can’t fail her too.

A weird sound on TV makes him open his eyes. A redhead had entered the scene and he is suddenly disgusted with himself. This is not right. Mulder hits the power button on the remote with such anger that he’s probably broken it. Dropping the control on the floor he grabs Scully's cross that was resting on his chest. 

He didn’t burn when he put it on —Mulder chuckles at the thought— but he can feel the piece of metal scorching his skin at the touch. He has to find her, give it back to her. He has to have her back. It has taken this awful event to make him realize how much he needs her. How much he… loves her, dare he say? Maybe that is a little too much. He had promised himself he'd never love again. And he is one to keep his promises. 

He has to find her. She is his partner, his friend. She was tangled in this mess because of him. He owes it to her. 

In the silence of his living room, Mulder tries to have some rest. Everything he can see whenever he closes his eyes is her frightened gagged face. That vision will haunt him to the end of days. 

The ends of the golden cross poke through his palm as his grasp on it becomes fiercer. Mulder welcomes the pain. It is the only thing he deserves: to be punished. It should’ve been him. He shouldn’t have let her get so close. Anybody close to him ends badly. He should know better.