Dreams melt as snows do
Laid bare under the eye of day.
Slowly and lacking grace,
They mist, bright color turning grey.
Though the rough light may be blind
To the magic of such wonder,
The mute dreamer knows no time
Inside that snow-like slumber.
The early bluish-grey light slanted in through the curtains of the bedroom window. It must have snowed again. The whole world was muffled and still, like time had stopped.
Dana Scully woke up slowly, forgetting as she left her sleep. Her alarm had not yet rung. She was stealing extra moments from the day, waking before being called to wake. But even as she stole from her day, her night was being taken from her.
She wanted to keep her nights. They were filled with wonderful dreams, dreams to rival any book of fairy tale princes or castles. She wished she could live inside these sheets, with these dreams, but they melted to ice water upon waking.
There was no way to hold these dreams. No way she could place her thumb between the pages while she woke to take on the day. No way to save her place while she battled the cold rush of reality.
Nightly, things were given then taken away again come morning. Every morning took things from her that she was unwilling to give.
This morning treated her no differently. It took her dreams, leaving her in a bed that was much too cold.
This coldness didn't foster sleep like the snow. It offered only a bare wakefulness. It reminded her that she had to get out of bed. She had to go to work. She had to shed her dreams.
It was like a tomb in this room; the only dreams within it were stretched out dead on cold marble sheets.
If she could only have one more minute of sleep. In sleep there would be that man next to her. The one that lies close to her at night, who cradles her in his arms and sleeps with his face buried in her neck.
Those second nights that she spends inside herself fade. They are no more tangible than the dawn and can be scared off with a muffled noise or dim light. These nights are less permanent than the snows that bleach the world pure again.
Some mornings she could still feel the touch of his hand on her cheek, a few warm fingerprints on her skin as the dream retreated back into the winter of her mind.
Some mornings all she felt was the cold.
She resented always having to leave her lover in her bed, in her nights, in her mind. But he didn't travel well. He lost something in the translation.
She knew she didn't need him, but until there was someone sharing her days and her nights, he was all she had...his gentle touch that made waking all the more a punishment.
She left her empty bed and prepared herself to face the snow.
Scully's alarm cracked open the morning with its gravelly buzz. She sat up straight in bed. She felt too cold, but the room was too warm.
Outside, cars plowed through the slush of dirty grey snow. It was loud even inside her bedroom. Reality was intruding on her sleep --an unwelcome bedfellow.
Scully could hear the crunch of tires on snow, the clank of chains on concrete, the splat of slush balls as they were thrown up by the traffic.
The world was awake, and it was yelling for her to join it.
Scully's eyes burned from the hot room. Her dreams had burned as well.
Indiscriminate chasing. Some man with foul breath kissing the back of her neck. A car that wouldn't start. A coupon for cheddar cheese. Something unpleasant about Mulder's fish.
The sort of things that make you want to wake up. The sort of things that can follow you into the day.
These dreams were not melting...they were stalking. Scully threw off the covers and ran from her bed. She didn't look back as she jumped into the shower to wash away the sleep.
The light from the window was incredibly bright, even through window shades and eyelids. The occasional car moved past, its tires humming against the dry asphalt. A bird perched on the eaves sang in moderated tones. The steady pace of a jogger innocently invaded the quiet.
Scully had had that same dream again, the one that was real until she woke up to dread reality. She had learned to keep her eyes closed upon waking, just to retain what little warmth she would.
And she was warm, pleasantly warm. She could almost allow herself to slip back to sleep. It was Sunday, she didn't have anywhere she needed to go -- no things to do, no people to see.
She could just go back to sleep and reclaim her dream.
She could still feel his touch upon her cheek, his breath on her neck. She could hear the pumping of his heart -- strong, steady, reassuring.
She opened her eyes to find Fox Mulder lying next to her, one of his hands next to her cheek on the pillow. His knuckles lightly brushed her skin. Her beautiful Mulder in her bed.
Just how cruel could sleep be?
Should she wake the second time and just ignore the way his hair spiked and the way his eyelashes touched his cheeks? Wake and never let herself dream again?
"Has the snow melted?" she asked her new Mulder. "I thought it would never go," she said wistfully.
"The snow's got to melt sometime," he answered her, his eyes still closed.
Scared, she reached out and pinched him on the arm.
"Don't worry. I'm not dreaming," he said. "At least not this time." He stretched. His clever green eyes opened to look at her. He smiled.
Why hadn't she ever noticed that he had green eyes? Why hadn't she ever noticed the way he looked at her? Why had this taken so long? Why had she let it?
Because she had subsisted on dreams, and they were insubstantial meals. Empty calories. A starving woman's dinner.
Here, she had the real thing.
"Mulder," she whispered, trying out his name, seeing how it would sound against her pillowcase.
"Scully," Mulder responded, playing along with her game, staring at her sideways, a grin decorating his lips.
"I don't want to sleep anymore, Mulder. I've spent half of my life sleeping. I want the dreams to melt."
"Like the snow?" He traced some ancient rune on her forehead.
"Yes, Mulder, like the snow. It's spring."