RATING: R implied slash
CATEGORY: Scully Angst, Byers Angst, M/Sk, MS UST
SUMMARY: Scully's actions in "Sanctuary" have their inevitable consequences
AUTHORS NOTE: This is a follow up to Janet's story "Sanctuary," written with her permission. It follows "Better Left Unsaid" and "Safe Words."
It wasn't more than half an hour after Scully left that Langly came to my door.
I tried to ignore him, but he knocked again, louder this time.
"Byers... c'mon John, open up."
"Why?" I asked. I didn't really see much of a reason to let him in. I figured he'd only come to further humiliate me. It's the sort of thing he does when he needs amusement. I didn't need much help with that, considering what had already happened tonight, and I wasn't in the mood to play the straight man, or to be skewered by what passes for his wit.
"C'mon man, just let me in. I wanna talk to you."
It appeared he wasn't going to give up. Might as well get it over with quickly, I thought. I got up and let him in. Instead of spiking me with some obnoxious comment, as usual, he had a serious look on his face. He sat on my chair, where she'd been sitting not two hours before.
"What the hell happened with you two?" he asked quietly. I heard concern in his voice, which I will admit surprised me a bit. Maybe this wasn't going to go like I thought.
"I... she... it was..." Oh, God, don't do this to me, Ringo. Don't make me say it.
"I know you two were... ah... but, I mean, really, man, something bad happened. Please tell me."
Langly locked eyes with me, and I had to look away. He was right. Something bad *had* happened. I was afraid to come to the worst conclusion, but I had to say something. I considered for a moment before answering. "Scully... pushed me somewhere I didn't really want to go. She... um... she used me." As the words left my mouth, I felt queasy.
Langly nodded. "Kinda thought so," he said. "It didn't look too good when she was on her way out the door. That smile you were wearing didn't look very real."
"I let her use me." Queasy was rapidly becoming nauseous.
"Byers, man, you're too soft on the chicks for your own good sometimes. Did you tell her you weren't into being her temporary boy toy?" Langly has never been one to pull his punches.
"I don't know. I'm not even sure anymore what was going on in my head. She was hurting, and I wanted to make it stop." He looked at me and nodded.
"I know, man. So would anybody. But how do you feel about it now? You look wrecked."
"Awful. I should never have let her talk me into it. I knew it was wrong when she suggested it. I had a really bad feeling about it, and I kept asking if that was what she really wanted. I couldn't imagine that she would honestly want me, of all people." Of course she wouldn't. I was never in her league.
"And she didn't back off then?"
"No." The nausea was raising a lump in my throat, and it was getting difficult to talk, or even breathe.
"I take it something is way wrong between her and Mulder."
"You might say that. She caught him and Skinner in the big guy's office, and Mulder was... they were..." I couldn't even bring myself to repeat the scene she'd encountered.
"Mulder? With Skinner? Doing the nasty?" Langly's astonishment was as clear as my own had been. All I could do was nod. "Ouch, that's gotta hurt." He looked at me. "So she came over here why? Just to jump your bones?"
I must have blushed, because Langly apologized. "Sorry, man. It's just... she's... well, we all know she's never been interested in anybody but her G-man." He put a hand on my shoulder. "You know, dude, you're gonna have to talk to her about this sometime soon, or it's gonna eat you up. I've known you too long. This is just gonna mess you over bad."
"She came over to trace some of Mulder's calls. The info's still on my computer. You can look at it yourself if you want. I think that she'd already made up her mind what she was going to do before she walked in the door."
"So that was what you guys were doing when I talked to you. Oh, man. She's killer. If that's all true, I mean, about Mulder and... you never stood a chance."
I looked away from him, completely embarrassed. "I tried to talk her out of it..."
He laughed; a short, sharp, humorless laugh. "You know, if Frohike had said that, I'd tell him he was a lying sack of shit, but you're just too much of a boy scout, John. I honestly believe you did that."
"I feel like the scum of the earth, Ringo."
He looked me in the eyes with those intensely blue eyes he hides behind his thick glasses. I guess I never really noticed before, but I was trying hard to distract myself from the conversation. "You're not, dude. You're one of the good ones."
A rueful snort escaped me before I could stop it. "Yeah. That's what Scully said." And it had soothed me into thinking, just for a few minutes, that the situation might have turned out okay. What had happened to my usually faithful paranoia?
Langly leaned back. "Well, at least she was right about that part. John, you may be a sucker for a sob story, but you're definitely not scum. You really are going to have to go and talk to her about this. Even Scully can't treat you like that. She can't just use you to get back at Mulder for playing both sides of the fence that way. That's just way ugly. Like, if somebody did that to her, used her like that, she'd be the first one to kick ass and take names. She'd probably shoot the bastard who tried it."
The implications were still sinking in about that when my guilt instinct took over. "But I let her..."
Scully wasn't the type to do something like this to a friend. I've always cared about her; we all have. Surely I had to have brought this one on myself, one way or another. I'd wanted her, after all, even though I knew that it hadn't been right. Or at least I thought I did until we actually got started. By then, though, it was a little too late. She was so beautiful, and I had been alone for so long. I had just tried to give her what she said she'd wanted, what she seemed to need. Langly was right, though. If the situation had been reversed, Scully would have smacked some sense into me, or Mulder would simply have killed me where I stood. I should have tried harder to convince her that it wasn't right. Then again, I think she already knew that.
"Yeah, I'm sure. Like, did you ever feel like you had any choice?"
I thought about it, feeling worse with each passing moment. "No, I didn't. Not really."
"So what are you gonna do about it -- confront her? And... do you want me to go with you?"
That was something I hadn't considered. But this was too personal. I couldn't talk to Scully with Langly there. "I'm not sure yet. But thanks... you don't have to back me up on this. I'll do it myself."
Frohike stuck his head in the door. "Byers, phone for you. It's Scully."
Oh great. What was she going to say? Had she told Mulder? What would he say, and for that matter, what would he do to me when he found out? Had she called to blame me for what had happened here? My nausea was getting to an acute level, and I started feeling dizzy.
Langly pointed at the door. "Here's your chance, man. Tell her."
That was all it took. "Frohike, to ask her to wait just a..." I ran for the bathroom.
LATE THAT NIGHT
I walked up to the door, wondering if I should really ring the bell and go in, or if I should just turn and run for the van. I was afraid I'd left her with the impression I'd stay the night with her after our brief phone conversation, but that wasn't possible. Just standing there was tearing me apart.
She opened the door as I raised my hand to knock.
"Come in, John." She looked relieved at my arrival. I walked into her apartment, and she closed the door behind me. She was dressed in a robe and warm slippers.
"They left about twenty minutes ago," she said, "just after I called you." She sounded despondent. Stepping over to me, she put her arms around me, and I held her loosely. She'd put on some kind of perfume since I'd seen her last; warm, a little spicy. I felt none of the arousal I had when I held her earlier in the evening. No arousal, but pity, anger and frustration. "Let me take your coat," she offered.
"I'm sorry Dana, but I'm not staying. I need to talk to you, and I couldn't do this over the phone."
She looked puzzled and rather upset. "You're not staying?"
"I can't. Not after what you did to me, when all I wanted to do was help." My voice sounded colder in my ears than I'd intended.
"Did to you? John, I need you to stay with me tonight. What do you mean 'what I did to you'?"
"Coming on to me like you did. Asking me to make love to you when you knew you didn't really want me; when you knew how much I care about you and wanted to help you. Using me to get back at Mulder. Using me as a fantasy of him. You lied to me when you said that you needed me. You didn't need me. You don't need me now. You needed him. And you needed to punish him for what he'd done. Well, you ended up punishing me, too." I was as shocked by my own words as she was. But they had started, and now it seemed that nothing, not even my own shame, would keep them from coming. "Do you know how much that hurt? Do you know how I felt when you were moaning his name, asking for him inside you? Do you have any idea how I feel right now, standing here, trying to explain this to you?" Like shit. I felt like shit. I wanted to bury myself under a large, heavy rock and never come up for air again.
She paled and turned her face toward the floor. "I'm sorry, John. I... I wasn't thinking then. I just... I..."
"You had that all planned, didn't you? From the time you showed up at our door. You knew what you were going to do. You knew that I wouldn't refuse you if you insisted, no matter how I felt about the situation. Dana, you used me in the worst possible way -- a way that you would *never* let anyone use you. And now I have to live with that for the rest of my life."
"No, John, I... it wasn't..." She slumped onto her couch and looked at me for a moment, her mouth open in a little 'o' of astonishment. A look of realization crossed her face an instant before her eyes sank to the floor. She buried her face in her hands and began to cry. I felt awful, like some perverse Dutch boy with his finger in a dyke that was leaking oceans of cruel words from a thousand places. In that moment, I knew I was hurting her, but I couldn't stop myself; I wanted her to hurt as I was hurting.
Maybe I should have taken Langly with me after all, maybe he would have been able to keep me from digging myself in any deeper, from lashing out like that. It wasn't like she wasn't already suffering enough with the situation. But there I was, shouting at her, feeling awful, and unable to stand against the tide of my own anger.
"I would have done anything for you, Dana. All you ever had to do was ask. And what did you do? You fucked me over. You left me feeling like a used cat box. I know you're hurt about Mulder, but you're going to have to work that out with him somehow. I'm not playing this game anymore. I can't trust you anymore. Why did you do that to me?" I could feel my own tears running down my face as I shouted. I didn't want to hurt her. She was a friend, and a good one. It shouldn't have happened, not like that. I'd been planning to try to have a rational conversation with her, not explode in her face when I walked through the door. I stumbled to a stop, and picked up the phone from the table beside her couch.
She looked at me, and I handed it to her. She stared at it, unseeing. I lowered my voice from a shout to something shaky, but approaching a normal tone. I couldn't help the continuing tinge of bitterness and anger, though. "You're going to have to work this out on your own. I can't help you. I've given you all I could, and more than you had any right to ask, and right now, I'm all used up. You may not care about me, but it's obvious you care about him. If it matters to you that much, find a way to fix it, but don't put me in the middle."
Dana looked at the phone. Then she looked up at me, her eyes red and puffy. "I can't... he's with..."
I shook my head at her. "I don't care. This is something that only you and Mulder can work through. Don't call me about this again. Don't come and see me about it. You want to talk about it, talk to Langly or Frohike. They'll help if you really want them to, but not like I tried to... they know better. Me? I'm just an idiot who has never had a clue. Langly's right. I've always been too much of a sucker for a good sob story." I barely had the energy to remain standing. This hurt too much. I had to leave, but part of me still hoped we might someday repair the damage we'd done to each other. "You know you can always call if you need help with other things, but not this. Never this. You've abused my trust too much, Dana. You've violated my integrity, and I don't know if I can forgive that. At least, not now."
Exhausted, I looked down at her, and it seemed she didn't dare look up. She held the phone in both hands like a box of questionable origin. She was crying again, and spoke quietly. "I'm sorry John. I didn't mean to hurt you. I never wanted to hurt you. I was so angry with Mulder that I never thought what it might do to you, and that was unforgivable -- it was never about you at all, it was about Mulder. Hell, everything in my life is about Mulder. I'm so sorry. I felt so alone. And you have always been such a kind and gentle man. You're right. I knew you would never say no if I insisted. It was the wrong thing to do, and done for all the wrong reasons." She looked up at me; ravaged, cautious, tentative. "Maybe... maybe someday you'll find it in your heart to forgive me for that."
I turned my back and walked to the door, letting myself out. Looking back at her as I left, I said, "Maybe someday."
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