Welcome To The Harem
Lingering by Megan Reilly
Summary: Ringfic from a different perspective. Mulder/Phoebe.
Summary: Ringfic from a different perspective.
Spoilers: maybe. Take a chance, as CSM's novel would
advise. I've said too much already. Song fragment is from
Del Amitri. :) Comments are better than ice cream - be
by Megan Reilly
July 30, 1998
*By three o'clock they'll both be sitting on that plane
Hopelessly honeymoon bound
And I hope no one asks you to kiss this bride
Or tie tin cans to the car
And if friends and relations mingle outside
You can linger at the bar*
He was getting married. She consulted her watch in a
grand gesture. With the time difference, he was probably
already hitched, the deed done - or in the process of doing,
Marriages weren't all irreversible. This she knew. A
man had left his wife for her once, but she hadn't wanted him
after that. Not because it was despicable or because she
worried he'd do the same to her. She just hadn't wanted him
The thrill of the chase. Had she said it aloud? She
looked around, but it didn't matter if she had. No one would
care if she was talking to herself. No one cared that she was
He wasn't even worth it. She didn't know why she was
doing this. Why should she even care? She didn't do this
when her other old boyfriends marched up the aisle to be
evermore shackled to a woman, a house, a car and the
prospect of screaming, sticky brats.
In his case, she knew it really would be forever. Which
was probably why she was drinking, and also the reason she'd
never gotten over him.
That, and the fact that he was the only man who'd ever
Men left. She knew this. she didn't want it to happen
to her. So she did it first.
She didn't like to let people get too close. That's why
she usually stuck to married men. Safer, really, and guilt
makes a person so much easier to manipulate. Wives would
do well to realize this, she thought.
Occasionally, they tried to mumble an excuse and
slink back to their wives. Usually, this didn't happen until she
was already excruciatingly bored and pursuing a new
conquest. But when they tried to go was when the real fun
Not like "Fatal Attraction" - that was a story of
desperation. She was more like a cat toying with mice. They
especially couldn't resist her when they were trying to break it
off, and the guilt was so thick she could taste it. That livened
things up for a week or two.
Not that she devoted a lot of time or energy to her
married men. She had a career, other things to do. Being
married limited their time anyway. Sometimes she went
months without, and that was fine too.
She'd tried other sorts of men. Divorced were the
worst. They clung and usually had mental problems owed to
their ex-wives. Men who'd never been married were either
desperate or deeply entrenched into bachelorhood or their
mothers. Only the rare ones...and it took too much effort to
find a rare one.
Mulder had been a rare one.
He'd had the guilt, but was trying to get over it.
Besides, it wasn't guilt over their relationship, just a mild
general leaning towards "It's my fault." It was there in his
She closed hers. They were itchy and swollen and she
felt like allowing the tears to flow because it would feel so
good. Tears were such a release, which must be why people
fought against them so much.
What happened with Mulder had been her fault. She'd
even said the words - a first, she thought, because she didn't
usually make mistakes - but she'd lost him anyway.
He was getting married.
She wondered to whom.
She wondered if the woman would break his heart. He
didn't need his heart broken. She'd seen how much she had
Mulder was a forever kind of guy. You could see that
in his eyes, too. Maybe it was tied to the guilt - she didn't
know because she'd never met a man where it worked that
way, but she'd never met a man like him. He had principles.
Truth and love and honor. They weren't just words to him. He
feared abandonment, but he didn't cling. He was willing to
She still loved him. Oh, shit. She hadn't meant for
that to happen.
She hadn't meant to lose him, either. It had been such
a mundane scenario. What a shame, literally. She could still
feel her face burning when he opened the door. The risk had
made it exciting, but it hadn't been worth it.
She'd learned. Only take risks if they're worth losing.
He was the only one who hadn't been. The excitement
that made the blood ruse through her body - we shouldn't be
here - was the only thing that attracted her to him - we
shouldn't be doing this - her little fling.
Sometimes she dreamed about it. Mulder, frozen in
the doorway with his hand still on the knob. A forced grin
transformed by horror into a wince, a grimace, a cringe. he
looked so ugly when he made that face, when he smiled and it
wasn't real. His face was a dead shade of white and dark
streaks haunted his glassy eyes. After those interminable
moments, he'd lurched back and a second later, the sound of
his vomiting was terribly audible.
She told her "lover" to get out. He went without a
Mulder still didn't return. She found him slumped on
the bathroom floor, paler than before. He pretended he wasn't'
crying and she pretended not to notice. When she reached out
to touch him, he jerked back, his eyes angrily red and swollen
before he looked away.
"I've got the flu," he groaned. "That's why I came
home." He put his head back down on his arms. She saw his
throat working and she could only stand there. Wanting to
touch him. Wanting to fix this.
He looked at her again. "I think you'd best go."
A tense nod took the place of a plea for forgiveness.
That would come later. He didn't peek out of the bathroom in
the time it took her to clear out of the apartment. Her things
were few and it was best not to linger.
She knew it was over. She'd disappointed him, and
there was no higher crime. His standards were resolute. If
he'd been willing to make an excuse for her, he wouldn't have
been the man she loved.
The booze was starting to wear down and physical
pangs joined her emotional ones. She didn't want any more.
He'd drunk, after that. She'd seen him and heard the
tales. Worried after him, all to no end. It was probably only a
month before he straightened up again.
Seeing him when their paths crossed was unbearable.
She was ashamed of herself. It was a relief when he left the
And now he was marrying someone else.
Who was the bitch?
*Was* she a bitch?
For his sake, she hoped she was wrong.
A thousand scenarios were dancing through her head;
she'd never know for sure. Tomorrow she'd wake with a
headache, wondering why she'd been such a fool over a man
she'd lost years before.
Phoebe Green slid off the stool and headed out of the