The X-iles


Sweeney Todd Review
NonEssential and NonExistent's NonsEnse
Push's Pad
Xtreme Unction's Labor of Love
Sacred Heart's Ambry
Satchie's "On the Safe Side"
Site Correspondence
Aye, There's the Rum


By Xtreme Unction

RATING: R for profanity and adult themes.

DISCLAIMER: This work was for love, not for profit. It is intended as an homage, not an infringement.

SUMMARY: MSR, but with a twist. Readers who are uncomfortable with jealousy expressed with raw honesty from the male POV may want to skip this one. Hell hath no fury..., and all that jazz.

Author's note of explanation at the end.

"She's mine.  Back the fuck off."

How many times in the last two months has he thought about saying this? 

Of course, he'd never say something so brutishly possessive.  It's bad enough that he knows he is being a jealous asshole, there's no need to let anyone else know.  But damned if he doesn't feel like he must say something before it is too late.  He can't just stand idly by as someone else sweeps his beloved off her feet. 

Normally, he doesn't mind this sort of thing.  In fact, he is usually amused when he notices other guys, even her fellow agents, checking her out, admiring all her obvious superficial attributes.  He is in love with a beautiful, brilliant woman who happens to work in a very male-dominated field.  Of course other men were bound to covet her.  He has always been a good sport about it. 

But this asshole is admiring her less-than-obvious attributes as well.  He is being charming in a way that even a jealous lover must grudgingly applaud. 

And she's responding to it. 

She is responding to his interest like she responded to his own shy efforts years ago, back when he differentiated himself from the rest with his sense of humor and capacity for meaningful conversation.  She is giving this schmuck that full-wattage smile that makes his throat tight.  And she is looking into the guy's eyes with that enraptured expression on her face usually reserved for him.   

In the two years they have been seeing each other, this is the first twinge of real jealousy he has ever felt.  But who does he think he's kidding?  This is no little twinge.  More like a debilitating muscle spasm.  He hates the fucker with a passion so pure that you could build microchips with it.  Bring this emotion into a room and watch it purify the air.  That's how much he despises him.   He wants to tear this interloper apart as he howls in frustration at the ignominy of it all.

The irony is that he doesn't even think they are aware of what is building between them.  Yet he, an unwilling observer of this little tableau, can see it plain as day.  And so can everyone else, he is sure, as he looks furtively around the crowded room full of agents and Washington regulars, embarrassed for her.  The two of them are so wrapped up in the delicious sense of shared discovery that they can't see past the haze of pheromones surrounding their budding new so-called partnership. 

Everyone else can see that guy is worthless as a partner.  He isn't looking after her best interests.  He's guiding her through doorways with his hand on her lower back for everyone to see, in a parody of the gentlemanly gesture of olden days.  But a real gentleman -- one who cares about her well-being, her reputation, her dignity, and her peace of mind -- would walk away at the first sign of sexual chemistry with a colleague he respects, especially if she is unavailable.  A gentleman would spare a woman in a committed relationship that kind of heartache.  If he genuinely wants her partnership, and not just an affair, he should tread carefully until this passes.  Hell, I've done it enough times, he murmurs into his scotch. 

If walking away is impossible, then they should at least back off until the initial wave of interest subsides.  This kind of thing is natural between two attractive people working in close proximity.  It's the biggest fucking cliché in every profession!  And it is especially prevalent in law enforcement, where partners are required to develop strong relationships and trust each other with their lives.  Most grown-ups know how to handle it.  You acknowledge it, you rationalize it, and then you carefully move on.  She, of all people, should know better.  She is the epitome of professionalism, damn it.  Why is she doing this?

Workplace romances always end badly when indulged.  Always, someone gets hurt.  And it's usually the woman who bears the brunt of the negative repercussions.  Often, wounds inflicted upon the heart and the reputation never heal. 

God, what the hell can a man do when the woman he loves is behaving this way?  What can anyone do?  Is it even possible to hold on to a loved one that no longer seems interested?  It would be like grasping at starlight -- sad, desperate and utterly pointless.  For the first time in his life, he can comprehend the rationale behind those archaic laws against stealing a spouse.  "Alienation of affection."  "Criminal conversation."  Pathetic attempts to legislate the vicissitudes of love.   

What did he use to do in these situations, when he was younger and oh-so-much-wiser?  Back when he knew how to remain detached in relationships, nothing could pierce the smooth veneer of his force field of coolness. 

In the past, if he saw some guy moving in on his girlfriend, he would be the first one to back away with a promise of no hard feelings if she was interested.  All he wanted was the truth; in return he promised there would be no negative consequences.  Never one to hold on to a woman by any means but mutual attraction, he was a firm believer in "Set it free, and if it returns it was meant to be." 

But things have changed since then. 

She came into his life. 

Now, he has someone he would go to the ends of the earth to keep.  This is the woman with whom he wants to raise a family, spend a lifetime, and kiss on his deathbed at a ripe old age.  "Set it free" suddenly sounds like a line of bullshit from the sixties.

They don't spend every waking hour with each other -- far from it, because they are both busy professionals, separated by the powers that be in this world.  Ever since she started working with that jerk, they see each other less and less, but they share an emotional bond that obviates the need for constant physical closeness.  Or so he thought. 

Lately, he is starting to doubt that bond.  She is doing things like canceling vacations they had planned for months, working through weekends they both scheduled to have off, and bringing her partner along on their dates.  Doesn't that just take the cake?  Were it anyone else, he would call it unmitigated gall.  But since it is her, he is inclined to believe the best. 

He wants to believe. 

Ostensibly, her new partner came along to meet him, since the bar is so close to the office and they're working late.  Again.  She wants them to get to know each other, she said.  In actuality, he fears she brought him along tonight because they could not bear to be apart, even for an hour.

He wonders idly if he's just being paranoid.  A sliver of hope rises in his heart, by force of habit, but falls quickly.  "Just because I'm paranoid," he quips, "doesn't mean she's not falling in love with her new partner."

It is painful for him to look at them together, conversing animatedly at the bar, waiting for him to appear.  He feels like an interloper, sitting in a dark corner, observing them.  The clink of glasses, the unobtrusive music, the low hum of polite chatter -- all of it is deafening to him.  He wishes there was some way to block out all five of his senses and numb his heart. 

He knows she would never intentionally hurt him or dishonor their relationship.  The depth of her character was always the overarching theme in how he perceived her.  And the knowledge of her innate goodness was his unrelenting source of trust.  But this is a different situation altogether.  She probably believes, in all clueless honesty, that she and her new partner have a strictly platonic relationship.  She can't see what he is seeing, and he doesn't think she'd appreciate him telling her about it.  In fact, she will probably think he is being irrational and unfair, or say he's imagining things that aren't there.  It's the kind of realization one has to arrive at on one's own. 

But to hell with that!  He is so hurt by this that the pain is exploding out his chest as he sits here, tears welling in his eyes.  If she leaves him, he resolves to confront her with everything he's got -- no matter how hypocritical it sounds coming from him.  He's going to rip those stupid blinders off her eyes and make her look at what she refuses to see.  He is going to call her a cheap slut and a traitor to every hardworking female law enforcement officer that's ever tried to fend off sexual advances on the job.  He'll tell her that if she hooks up with her new partner, she'll be letting down every female agent that ever looked up to her, especially her former students.  And this'll really get her, he thinks: He'll tell her she's sending a message out to every male cop that it's okay to hit on your female partner, because you just might get lucky.  Sometimes even paragons of virtue and professionalism will fuck their partners -- look at her!   He is going to shame her into putting the brakes on whatever is developing between her and that asshole partner of hers, such that she'll think twice -- no, two hundred times! -- before ever allowing a relationship to develop between them.  He is going to guilt her into freezing the guy out of her heart.  He knows all the right buttons to push.  After all those years of waiting for her to notice him, and then of loving her faithfully, he damn well should.  Hell hath no fury like a faithful man scorned. 

He laughs bitterly at the end of his imaginary tirade, dropping his head into both hands.  It's a nice fantasy.  Of course, he could never speak to her so harshly, no matter how much pain he is in.  Not his style.  No matter how badly she treats him, intentionally or not, he cannot allow this experience to change who he is: a good man and a decent person.  No heartache, no infidelity, no couple sitting at the bar breaking his heart, will turn him into anything less.   

He would fight for her if he thought it would do him any good right now, but he knows it won't.  It would only make things worse.  All he can do is wait, trying to maintain his dignity as he seethes in a vat of jealous anxiety, hoping she'll come to her senses before she does anything that they will both regret. 

She is simply not that kind of woman, he tells himself. 

She will stop before this gets out of hand. 

She will stop before she breaks my heart, he tries to convince himself.  But it isn't working. 

And so, with a heavy heart, he drains his scotch, throws some money on the table, and walks out.  Of the bar, of their relationship, and of the life he dreamed they would someday share. 

She sees him and calls out, "Ethan!" 

But he is already gone.

* * *



Author's Notes:  Ethan Minette is the man with whom Dana Scully was in a relationship prior to joining the X-files.  All scenes involving his character, and all references to his existence, were deleted from the Pilot episode in a sound exercise of Chris Carter's artistic judgement.  The UST had enough elements as it existed without Ethan in the mix, in my opinion.  But what if...?  Isn't that what fanfic is all about -- the what ifs?  *g*

For more information on the back story, check out the deleted scenes and other DVD extras for The X-Files Season One.