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After You
By Raietta

"And everything emptying into white" --Cat Stevens

And, in the end, was it enough? Holding out now for the inevitable scenes, the ones we all know are coming but wish to ignore, I look down at your face and wonder, wonder, wonder.

You cannot speak anymore. Red wine has smeared itself across your silken canvas face. This is not a blush, your red face. It is not war paint.

Red bubbles froth from the corners of your mouth, and I watch you drown on dry land.

Our fingers entwine.

And, in the end, was it enough? To let it happen, to let your dark shadowed moon enter my midnight sky and shine, for a while? Was it enough, letting this twilit existence bloom for a brief time, between us?

"Breathe," I whisper to you, bringing my own breath, which is stale with sunflower seeds and ravioli, my earlier lunch, down to your lovely, red mouth. Our fingers tighten, and your eyes, which are a shade of green so perfect it hurts to know I'll never see their true color, not really, gaze up at me and try to smile.

You are whispering something to me, but you have no breath to speak with.

Your heart flutters weakly in its cage of meat and bone, trying to break free.

Later, of course, we will laugh at this, at your dying in an alleyway, at me holding your hand as if I was a husband holding the hand of a wife giving birth, only your own birth was a flood of red, you birthed death, you opened up and let the emptiness out.

Later, of course, we will forget that your eyes lost their shine and opened the door at Death's knock, that you looked that old woman in the eye, and took her hand. For a while.

We will forget that my tears tried to water you like the grave of a mother, as if my tears would make a tree grow, like in the fairy tale, which never ends properly.

We will forget that I asked myself if it was enough--

and was it?

Was it enough to love you, and then let you leave me, so soon, was it enough to feel something so great it burst me open and burnt me to ash, and you to ash, and the sun, which burns, washed our cinders?

"Mulder," you say without letting out a sound, and one hand reaches up to touch my face, which is as wet as your own, but not red.

"Live," I whisper to you, my fingers now around your wrist, which has a pulse that shudders painfully.

All the world it seems has been bent on cutting pieces from you until there's nothing left. First they cut your family from you, a slice at your psyche, then they chopped at your trust, your warmth, your childhood. Now they are proceeding to your actual body. First your arm, and now they've cut a small hole in your side, which is letting your life out in a red tide.

They mean to cut you right from the cloth of existence, they mean to cut you free.

Don't let them.


Above us, the moon, which is a woman crying, weeps down on us. I copy her actions and weep down on you.

Here, in this night city, it is unbearably hot. Hot death. Somewhere, I know, it is snowing, it is frozen, it is cold. Somewhere there is a land so white and vast it bewilders the eye, blinds it, and here the dead ones roam, silent.

Out into this vast whiteness you recede from me even as I kneel above you, my knees in your red pool, and I can only watch as you go on without me into the deep snow.

You are leaving me behind, and I can only chant charms to chase after you through that blind white eye into that blind white land where no breath is needed and no memory is held, and I chase ever slower, ever hotter, as you grow cold.

Death blooms upon you as a red kiss.

Even the true red of your death escapes me, is lost to me; I cannot have even that.

Was it enough to hold you so briefly against the emptiness, that will eventually inherit us all?

Was it enough?

Was it enough, this brief letting go of old fears and old hatreds and old pains, was it enough that we let down our gates and merged, for a time, into oneness, an assassin and an agent so resolute in our irresolutions that the unavoidable was, for a time, forgotten?

Was it enough, our time swifter than a bird's wing flitting against the bright white sky, which cares for no one?

You recede from me, you bastard. You leave me once again.

Your eyes, which have always held me captive, hold me still, at this last juncture. Always you have held me captive, even when your shadow was a continent away from mine.

We will laugh at this, some day.

Your heart flutters and gives up, dies in its cage, flies away.

"Fox," you say without breath, your teeth coated with red, and I lean down and give you all that I have to give of myself, my mouth to yours, trying to follow you into that strange white, and you are already leaving me behind.

"I love you," I think you are saying, and for a moment I am so full of an agony so great it does not hurt that I cannot breathe, either, and all of our missed chances, all our lost moments, overwhelm me.

"I'll find you," I tell you, and you smile. I will come after you into the cold and with these arms warm you, and we will build our own fires, in the snow.

We will laugh at these interruptions.

My hand holds yours, and the red pool stills.

Your green tides empty into white.

Your shores silence.

Alone, I sit with your absence, your door left hanging open.

"It was enough," the moon tells me, and my sweat drips onto your still face as a reminder, a wax seal, and out here the city still continues to grow and decay, still rolls forward, and I begin the long slow chase into another sort of whiteness, after you.