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Wake Up

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The brakes on the vehicle squealed slightly as Mulder put the car into park outside Dana Scully’s Georgetown apartment. Her fingernails gripped the material of her seat and he could hear the sound of the fabric scratching. The silence in the car was overwhelming but he didn’t know what to say.

If he could have stopped anything from happening in his lifetime, he would promptly choose the event that put Scully in the hospital and cost them the last three months together. Of all the things they had to endure together, losing this time felt like it had cost them the most.

Her eyes watered as she looked out the car window at the vehicle at the red brick building she had lived in since moving to Washington after graduating from Quantico in 1992.

“Home sweet home,” she rasped after a beat.

Mulder shut the car off and unbuckled his seatbelt. “Come on. I’ll walk you inside.”

Four days ago she awoke from a three month coma, telling him there was a danger coming, that she saw it all and how it was going to happen. Scully’s doctor warned him that due to the trauma she suffered that caused her coma, her vivid dreams would seem very real to her when she awoke. Inside those missing months, she had fifteen years of a life where they progressed from partners and friends to lovers. They had a child under wild circumstances. They went on the run to protect Mulder. They found his redemption and started the search for a son she named William.

It was all too fantastic for a normal person to consider but Fox Mulder was a believer.

Things had been changing for them since last year. After she found him in that secret lab where CGB Spender had cracked open his head and took out a chunk of DNA from his brain, he was sure that the shift in their relationship was finally going to happen. The way she ran her fingers across his lips at his door had encouraged him to make a move.

Instead, on December 31, she was attacked by a zombie of all things. The bite to her neck was more severe than they anticipated and while everyone else made it out okay, she remained in hospital for three months.

It threw a large wrench in his plans. He thought about trying to kiss her at midnight. It was cliche but Mulder had a penchant for glib remarks and cliche moves that came off as corny. They usually made her blush or laugh a little. He liked to tease her that the moment she mentioned spontaneous human combustion made his heart leap from his chest but lately it had been almost everything about her. He recognized that feeling and thought she returned the sentiment, but everything was put on hold because of a fucking zombie and the Millennium group trying to raise the dead to bring on the apocalypse.

“I am the resurrection and the life,” Mark Johnson whispered quietly as he summoned the recently deceased to rise again. “He that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in me, shall never die.”

What Mulder understood about Christianity was that suicide was looked down upon from most branches of that religion. For these men to have a basis in that faith and use it to cause the end of days didn’t quite add up for Mulder.

Thankfully, he and Scully managed to stop the end of the physical world. He made it out with a dislocated shoulder. He was lucky in that regard but Scully had suffered a blunt force trauma injury that could have very well been fatal. After minor cosmetic surgery to the wound on her neck, she didn’t wake up.

The trauma from almost losing her on this case was enough to make him reconsider a lot in his line of work. What were they really doing in the FBI as monster hunting, alien chasing professional spooks? This wasn’t worth the cost of their lives. He wanted to find his sister and bring the men to justice that robbed Scully and so many other women of their unborn children and their lives.

He spent the next three months working from a desk, refusing any assignments that took him out of town and focused on debunking work from his basement office. He came by the hospital every day, sometimes twice, and pestered the nurses and doctors for any signs of progress.

A coma wasn’t something anyone could predict or decipher from the outside. The doctors and nurses checked her daily but aside from the occasional leg twitch, she slept.

All Mulder could do was sit at her bedside and ask her to wake up. He told her he was there, he talked to her about his day and ate seeds while the heart monitor beeped at its comforting pace to let him know she was still in there.

When she finally awoke, Mulder raced to the hospital from work, abandoning a report he had delayed submitting to Skinner twice already.

She was sitting in her bed with freshly washed hair and a white waffle cloth robe around her small frame. He stood impatiently in her doorway and her eyes widened when she spotted him beyond the doctors and nurses taking her vitals.

“Mulder!” she called to him and reached the hand currently hooked up to a fingertip pulse oximeter to him.

When he moved towards her, she grabbed at his arms and clutched him so fiercely. It was reminiscent to finding her alive on his apartment floor, covered in blood and lifeless. Fucking Padgett and his gross psychic heart surgery obsessions.

“You’re okay!” she said with astonishment as she pulled him down to her in the bed. Mulder kissed her forehead on instinct. “You’re… your fever? What happened?”

It took three hours of explanations to let her know that she was not in the year 2017. It wasn’t easy for her to grasp that what she lived through in her mind wasn’t real. She touched her abdomen as he explained to her they hadn’t had a child, nor had she been forced to give him up. The revelation that their child was a fantasy was too much for her to accept and he found himself dealing with a new heartbreak as she discovered again that she was childless.

“I’ve seen it!” she insisted as she cried painful tears. “I saw how it all comes together. The smoking man is planning something. Whatever is coming, Mulder, he’s going to end the world!”

Her doctor kicked him out after she made this declaration and gave Scully a sedative to calm her down. All it did was knock her out again until that night and he had to delay understanding what she saw.

It was less than ideal to be removed like a common bystander instead of the man who had been waiting 2190 hours for answers.

Normally, anyone in a coma would awake with the understanding that their dreams or visions were just that and nothing more. No one looked at a dream as though it could be a premonition for the end of days. Almost no one.

He accepted what she told him as possible visions. There was too much in her story to not have a semblance of possible truth. Maybe the chip in her neck was doing more than just curing her cancer but was giving her answers to questions she wanted to know. Maybe there were insights into what she saw and they just had to decode these dreams as though they were whispers of the their impending future.

When he returned that night with leather-bound journals and take out, he sat in the hospital with her and listened to her recount what she saw in her dreams as though they were memories of her life.

“We had a child-” she began and her voice caught in her throat. “You told me not to give up on a miracle and I believed you.”

“Scully…” he started and she took his hand. “I don’t know what to say. I believe you saw these things. I don’t doubt that for a second.”

“I can’t reconcile that the last fifteen years of what I thought was my life didn’t happen,” she said as she traced the inside of his wrist with her finger. “We… we were married, Mulder.”

He grinned a little. “Married?”

She pulled her hand back. “I’m sorry. Maybe… I should see someone. This isn’t fair to put this on you.”

Her rational and logical mind was still processing what she thought she saw and felt. He didn’t mind the tactile side of her that didn’t include assessing his physical state from a possible injury. Even the faux assessments that were more just fluffing his hair were an excuse and he loved every minute of it.

Mulder took her hand in his and he kissed the back of it. Her mouth crooked up in a grin. Her eyes told him this was a familiar thing for him to do but it hadn’t been since her cancer that he showed this kind of overt affection.

“I don’t feel put upon,” he reassured her. “So… Why William?”

The bomb she dropped about their son was bigger than the marriage part. Last year after they got back to the X-files, he told her that he had been holding on to her ova in his freezer. Aside from her reaction that he had withheld that information, she had them tested and asked him to be the father. He said yes to helping her have a baby and they lived through the heartbreak of the implantation not taking.

It had created a shift in their relationship how they saw themselves with each other and he felt the burning embers of desire begin to overwhelm him at inopportune times. All this and they had yet to have their first official kiss.

“After your father,” she explained as though it made sense. “I know you weren’t close but it made sense to me to honour the man who raised you even though you weren’t technically his…”

She shook her head self-deprecatingly and Mulder took her hand.

“What?”

“I suppose it’s better than naming our son Fox but it meant something to me at the time-” she stopped herself. “In my head when I dreamt it.”

Mulder squeezed her fingers and kissed the back of her hand again. “I believe you. I suppose it’s a nice thought. My dad never wanted my sister or I to be sacrificed as some kind of insurance policy. I think that was part of the reason he drank.”

She looked at him with grateful eyes. He missed her so much over these last three months that watching her in front of him, he was having a hard time reconciling that this was real for himself.

“I don’t like to think of the people that brought you into this world as heartless or cruel,” she mentioned.

“My mother will be happy to hear that,” he replied.

Scully’s eyes widened. “Your mother is still- that means my mother, oh my god Mulder. My mother is still alive!”

It occurred to him that of all the things she would have gained in the last fifteen years of the life she dreamt up for herself, she also had loss.

“When did you see my mother passing?” he asked her.

She opened her mouth but hesitated. “I can’t… I don’t want to say.”

“Why?” he asked.

“I think… I would rather speak to her privately about it first,” she explained.

That worried him but he didn’t push it. Mulder reached into his pocket and popped a sunflower shell into his mouth. When he looked up to her face, she was watching his mouth with intensity.

“What?” he asked as he pulled the shell from his lips.

“I’ve seen you do that so many times in my dreams…” she said and shook her head again. “It’s kind of comforting to know you still do or you actually do that.”

Mulder leaned over to her and kissed her forehead. “I want you to use those journals I brought.”

She nodded against his lips. “Okay.”

“I’ll be back in the morning before I go into work,” he said and put his hand on her knee. He squeezed her leg reassuringly and she covered his hand with her own. “I can’t sneak you out of here just yet.”

She nodded slowly and licked her lower lip. “I’ll use the journals tomorrow and try to write down what I can.”

“Anything you can remember will be useful for stopping what’s coming,” he reassured her. “The sooner we know, the sooner the wheels can be set into motion.”

Scully paused thoughtfully. “You believe it was a premonition and not a dream?”

Mulder pursed his lips as he pensively chose his words. “I think it could be both.”

She gave him a weak smile. “Thank you for believing me.”

Mulder grinned. “That’s my thing, isn’t it? I stayed a believer in your dream, didn’t I?”

She nodded. “Yes… almost to our destruction, I’m sorry to say. Maybe we were doomed from the start.”

Mulder slumped against the back of the chair and folded his arms across his torso. “Shit.”

She put her hand on his knee. “I shouldn’t keep telling you this. It’s probably-”

“If you try to hit me with some science and facts arguing against what you thought you saw-” he started.

She laughed and Mulder stopped talking. It was the first time he had heard her laugh in three months and he felt overwhelmed.

“What?” she asked.

“I’m just so glad you woke up,” he said and he put his arm around her shoulders and rubbed her back. “I missed you.”

She grinned a little. “I missed you too but… because of other things…”

A nurse came into Scully’s room and gave Mulder an annoyed look. “Mr. Mulder, please. She needs her rest.”

“She was in a coma for three months and you sedated her for a few hours but okay, sure,” he quipped.

Mulder stood up as he donned his jacket. As he adjusted his tie, he leaned over to where she was sitting and kissed her forehead again. “I’ll see you in the morning. Your mom called me from San Diego and said she’ll be on the first flight out in the morning.”

She nodded slowly as she processed it all.

“Mr. Mulder,” the nurse insisted.

Scully stood slowly and followed Mulder halfway across the private room she had been moved into since her awakening. “Good night.”

He looked down at her and felt that familiar urge when he wanted to kiss her but like all those other instances, he refrained. This wasn’t the right time and place. He wanted something like watching the ball drop with Dick Clark to be as good a reason to kiss her. He could brush it off as a gesture of holiday cheer if it went poorly and hide his feelings with a glib remark.

Scully’s mind had made that journey for them too so he knew that she wasn’t against the idea…

Four days later, they were standing at the edge of her apartment and she was looking at the space like it was a stranger’s home and not her own.

“It looks different from what I remember,” she said as she fingered the edge of the thick plastic bag that held the journals she had filled.

Mulder had changed from his suit and tie into jeans and a sweater before picking Scully up. He stepped around her to put her small go-bag near the front table and shed his leather jacket. “It’s clean. I had a service come by to do the floors and dust a few times. Bathrooms too.”

Scully nodded as she looked around the space. She ran her hand along the kitchen table as she walked towards her fridge. With a sigh, she opened the door and closed it again.

“We’ll have to go grocery shopping,” he said obviously and she nodded. “We can go now if you’re hungry.”

She looked at him and shook her head listlessly. “I don’t know. I feel too anxious to eat.”

Mulder closed her front door and grabbed one of the take-out menus from the neat stack near the phone. He held up the first menu. “Mings?”

She shook her head and he moved the folded paper to the back of the pile.

“Curry and Pie?”

Scully made a face and tucked the hair that had grown long since her hospitalization behind her ear.

“Paisano’s?” he said as he held up the next menu and she shrugged one shoulder. “That’s not a no.”

“Paisano’s,” she agreed and she wrapped her arms around her frame. Being in a coma had stripped about ten pounds from her and the clothes she arrived in months previously were baggy on her when she dressed to be discharged. “I’m just going to get changed.”

Mulder nodded and called in their usual order. Meat lovers for him and a vegetarian for her. They always shared one Caesar and a Caprese salad to balance out the carbs at Scully’s insistence. They split a bottle of wine at his recommendation that it would still be a work meeting they could write off if they had a drink like the rest of their cohorts at the FBI. Mulder wasn’t sure if the wine would happen tonight or if that would be something they would have to do differently.

When Scully returned from her bedroom, she was in a pair of black leggings and Mulder’s New York Knicks sweatshirt that he left there before she went to San Diego for Christmas. She pulled her hair into a ponytail and shivered as she entered the kitchen. He smiled at the sight of the thick socks on her feet.

“I can’t find my slippers anywhere,” she commented as she shivered again. She caught Mulder’s face at her attire and thumbed the collar of the hooded sweatshirt. “Do you mind?”

He shook his head. It was such a familiar thing, like something a girlfriend might do. In her mind, they belonged to one another and she was slowly adjusting to the idea that they had yet to cross that line. Anything that helped to assuage that disappointment didn’t bother him in the slightest.

If she truly had a premonition, their becoming a couple was inevitable. He just needed the conduit to move them from this state of limbo.

He had to admit that it was cool in her apartment and he suggested a fire to warm the space while they waited for dinner. She still had some firewood in her laundry room. When he exited the laundry room with a few logs in his arm, Scully was staring at the carpet near her couch.

“What happened?” he asked.

“I think someone dies right here,” she said quietly as she looked up at him. “Everything I experienced is starting to jumble together. I wrote down a lot but I don’t know how accurate any of what I experienced in my dream and what I can recall to being synonymous.”

Her blue eyes were wet with tears she was close to shedding and the haunting of a life she had ripped from her. On the positive side, they might be able to change the course of the future with what she saw. They might still be able to have a child and protect him from outside threats such as the conspirators and shadow men that lurked in their lives.

“Scully…” he started but he didn’t know what to say.

He wanted to comfort and hold her but would it be too intrusive?

“I just keep thinking that I’ve woken up in a nightmare,” she said as she looked at him with intensity. “All I’ve felt and discovered over the last fifteen years was a lie and I’m stuck in this life where I don’t know who we are to each other.”

“I’m still… I’m still your friend,” he vowed. “I’m not going anywhere, Scully.”

He put his hand on her shoulder and she stepped into his arms. His hands ran up her back and she pressed her body against his completely. He kissed the top of her head and she squeezed him tighter.

When she looked up at him, he thought it was the time. He wouldn’t be crossing a line because she was vulnerable. This wasn’t a dire situation that they could brush off later as a reaction to near death.

He glanced down to her mouth and her pink tongue peeked between her teeth to moisten her bottom lip. As his head neared hers, she stood up slightly on her toes. It felt as though it was moving in slow motion and he wondered if a poorly-timed bee would interrupt this moment for them also. His hand cupped the back of her head as the distance between their mouths closed together. His bottom lip hit slightly below hers and their first kiss changed quickly from something chaste and quiet to open-mouthed and full of promise.

She kissed him as though she had been kissing him all their lives. Her tongue moved against his with the pressure of a woman who understood when that made him hard. She slid her hands into his recently shorn hair and held his face to hers as he picked her up and moved her towards any surface that would get their mouths and bodies at a better alignment. Somehow they made it towards the couch and landed on it without gnashing their teeth or falling on the floor.

Mulder worried this would escalate too quickly before she could understand where they fit together. On the other hand, she was moving her hips underneath his while he pushed against her. This had heightened from a first kiss of chaste intentions to something fevered and hot. He hadn’t kissed a woman with such intensity in his lifetime.

When he pulled his mouth from hers, she looked up at him with wondering eyes and put a hand across her wet lips.

Mulder pushed himself off of her and wiped his fingers across his mouth. “Uh… that wasn’t…”

“Terrible,” she supplied as she sat up on the couch and rubbed her hand across her collarbone. Mulder looked at her questioningly. “That was terrible?”

“No!” he said quickly. “No… I was going to say that wasn’t expected when I walked you inside.”

She pulled her feet on the couch and pressed her forehead against her knees. “In my head, you’ve been more than just my best friend for longer than I can remember.”

Mulder put his hand on her back and moved closer to her. “Scully…”

“Don’t,” she said weakly and he lifted his palm off of her. “I can’t… I miss you and you’re not-”

“I thought maybe we might be getting there,” he offered and she looked up. “I don’t know how much you remember about us before… but I wanted to kiss you at midnight if we were still together.”

“When?” she asked.

“On New Year’s,” he explained and his cheeks felt hot. “I thought if anything else, it was an excuse to kiss you but if you weren’t interested in something with me-”

“I was!” she interrupted and stopped herself from saying anything else. “I just… I don’t know what to think now. I have all these memories of us together that aren’t real.”

“In bed?” he asked with a curious grin.

“Yes - I mean no -” she started and his face fell. “I mean, yes those too but just… there were moments when you were someone else to me than just my partner at the FBI.”

“I’m not just that now, am I?” he asked as he searched her eyes for answers. “Aside from our first kiss being pretty hot-”

“Mulder,” she said and nudged him on the couch with her shoulder.

They laughed together and it felt nice to break the tension with some humour.

“Wasn’t it?” he asked and she nodded. Her cheeks were pink now and he pulled her hands from around her legs to relax her a little. She put her feet on the floor and turned to him on the couch. “I want us to move forward to… what you saw without the heartbreak of us failing to keep our son safe or for my obsessions to get in the way.”

“Mulder you left after we had a child-”

“That is still wild for me to hear,” he admitted.

She fidgeted with the cuffs on the sweatshirt as she stared at her hands. “Is that not something… I mean, I guess that was off the table for you…”

“No!” he replied quickly. “Scully… no, if there is a chance… I wanted to see you have the chance to be a mother. The idea that this child could be ours in some way is…”

He shook his head as he felt the overwhelming emotions of what he never had but lost anyway and she reached out to touch his hand.

“If that’s possible for you or for us, Scully, I want you to have that,” he said and her mouth dropped open a little in shock. “Regardless of some dangers out there. They will always be there but it would make you happy. I would be remiss if I didn’t say it made me a little proud to be the man to make you happy.”

“What if these obsessions and threats interfere anyway?” she asked him. “What if what I saw is going to happen whether we plan for every outcome and we’re bound to hurt each other with our own stubbornness? What if the darkness becomes too much and finds us anywhere we run to?”

“Let it try,” Mulder said with a grin and she clenched her chin as she frowned. “I know how I feel.”

There was a knock at the door and Mulder looked down at his lap. It wasn’t quite noticeable what they were just doing but he was still semi-hard.

“I’ll get it,” she offered.

“My wallet is in my jacket,” he instructed and she nodded.

When she opened the door, the Paisano’s delivery guy held their pizzas in one hand and their salads in other.

“Haven’t seen you in a while,” he commented. “We thought you guys moved.”

Mulder grinned. “We were on a healthy eating kick.”

The territorial side of Mulder liked to make every man in her life think he was there all the time. It wasn’t entirely untrue and he liked being thought of as a permanent fixture around her. Not talking to her for three months had made him more possessive of her. He thought his clinginess would have been cured by the lack of time they had together but it only made him want her more.

Her coma also solidified his feelings for her. When she was abducted and returned, he tried to hide from how he felt from everyone including himself. All it did was make his guilt worse for putting her in a situation she could have been hurt.

When he got the call she was awake four days ago, he vowed to himself that he wouldn’t waste any more time hiding his feelings or guilt over what they went through. He could have Scully in his life romantically and still find the answers about what happened to his sister.

“Forty seven eighty five,” the pizza man prompted.

Scully pulled three twenties from Mulder’s wallet. “Just five back.”

The delivery man fished a crumpled five dollar bill from his pocket after Mulder took the pizza and salads.

“Thanks, man,” he replied.

Mulder closed the door on the young man with spiked hair before another assumptive question came up. “Pizza smells good.”

Scully nodded with closed eyes. “Different than I remember.”

“In a good way?” he asked as he set the food on the kitchen table. He caught her expression and sighed. “I don’t know if I said this enough but I’m sorry about what happened to you.”

Scully came up next to him as she hugged herself and looked at the journals on the table. “Maybe it was just a dream.”

Mulder groaned as he closed the cupboard with the plates on the counter in front of him. “Scully!”

“Well…” she began.

“Why would you say that?” he asked her as he brought the plates to the table. She shrugged and looked obviously uncomfortable. “Scully?”

She looked at him with embarrassment. “Our kiss was familiar. It felt like what… like what we had when I was…”

“Asleep?” he provided as he put a slice of pizza on to her plate while she dished out the salads. “Dreaming of a future that might end with us saving the world? I’m into that.”

“Mulder what if it’s inevitable? What if what I saw is going to happen no matter what we do?” she asked with worry. “When I asked you last year to help me have a child, it wasn’t with the intention we would toss him aside like he was nothing.”

“I don’t think that sounds like us in any version of any reality or a dream,” he said as he put two slices of pizza on her own. “Is that what happened?”

“Not at all… It wasn’t easy to come to that decision and if I could do it all over again, I would still try to do what I could to protect him first,” she answered. “I wanted a child because I thought… I stupidly thought I deserved to be a mother-”

“You do,” he insisted as he reached across the table to hold her hand.

“And I couldn’t protect the child we had from outside elements alone,” she replied as she looked at his hand on hers. “You were gone and I couldn’t keep him safe.”

“It sounds like you did what any good mother would have done-”

Scully held her other hand up. “I won’t ever reconcile that decision.”

She was dealing with something he hadn’t ever contemplated. He couldn’t see beyond answering yes to her and the disappointment of her fertilized ova not taking during the In Vitro procedure. After that, he couldn’t think about what could have been.

“The guilt is still real…” She shook her head as she pressed her palm in to her cheek. “I don’t know if any of it was possible but it was a nice idea for us to try to be a family… Even if it was just a dream.”

“Stop saying that!” he pleaded. “Stop trying to science-away what you think you know. What if your dream was a premonition and maybe it won’t all be like that in the future but the plot points are still there?”

Scully pulled her hand from his and got up from the table to retrieve them each a fork from the cutlery drawer. “What do you mean?”

“I mean… what if our child is the key to saving the world from whatever it is that smoking son of a bitch is concocting right now? We know that there has been a plan set in motion for an end of days with the select few saved from the alien invaders,” he began to theorize. “My sister was part of the insurance to prove the commitment of humanity to this future project.”

“So we should have a child to possibly save the world?” she surmised.

“It sounds like crap when you say it,” he muttered.

“Mulder…” she began tiredly.

“It’s been a long four days and I know you have a lot going on in your mind but us becoming more than friends was going to happen, right?” he asked her. “Or are we not on the same page anymore?”

“Yes…” she said slowly. “I know how I feel or how I felt.”

He wanted to understand. When he woke up from a lifetime of memories with Diana, he had some heavy guilt associated with his subconscious choosing to settle down with the woman who was working the syndicate against the people while acting as a double agent in the FBI. Eventually, he realized that the house down the street from all the people he had lost in his life with the picket fences and manicured lawns wasn’t a dream he wanted to see fulfilled if it was a life with his head in the sand.

Scully had come to him on what he thought was his deathbed and called him a coward and a quitter. It had all made sense in his mind that the only way he could see his life ending so quickly was without her in it.

As they ate their food in silence, he thought carefully about what he should say next. He knew how he felt about her. He realized how he felt about her when he made the snap judgement to save her life over knowing a sister that was another decoy to the truth. He would gladly cure her cancer than talk a minute with another version of the stranger CGB Spender introduced to her.

Even in the dream that he had without Scully, it didn’t make sense for her to be alive and well. A life wasn’t worth remembering without Scully, even with his sister in it. She was the thing that kept him alive all these years and in one afternoon he dreamt a life away. He laid on a deathbed while the world ended because he wasn’t with Scully to stop it. Nothing convinced him more that they belonged together since that vision.

“Scully… I love you,” he began and her eyes widened. “I mean… As my friend… I know I love you-”

“I love you too, Mulder,” she answered. “But I had the emotion and the turmoil of falling in love with you-”

“So we try again but this time we do it better,” he proposed.

She looked at him with hope and worry. “Aren’t you worried that if we tried to have a child, it could fail? What is different from what I saw versus what you saw when you were having that surgery?”

Mulder chewed thoughtfully on his slice of pizza and wiped his hands on the thin napkins that came with their order. “Okay… Well for one thing, we were separated in my vision and therefore the world ended in a few hours. Also, I don’t think that Deep Throat and Samantha are living in a secret neighbourhood tucked away in middle America with happy families. It was guilt I had over involving him in my quest for the truth and my parent’s picking me over Samantha.”

“You didn’t have anything to do with the choice about Samantha and Deep Throat came to you, Mulder,” she reminded him. “You carry guilt over my abduction, my cancer, being barren and Emily. You can’t carry the weight of the death of people who you didn’t kill…”

Mulder pulled her free hand towards him and stopped himself before he kissed the back of it again. “I’m sorry, I keep touching you-”

“I don’t mind…” she said and he noted her cheeks flushing. He couldn’t help but grin at her admission. “Mulder, shut up.”

Mulder laughed and playfully held up his hands in defence.

As they finished their dinner, Scully fought back yawns and rubbed her eyes. He was glad to have her all to himself after the last two days with Maggie at the hospital but overstaying his welcome was something he vowed not to do anymore.

“I should go,” Mulder said as he stood up to take their plates to the sink.

Scully looked at him with wide eyes and obvious disappointment. “Oh.”

“You’re yawning every four minutes and I’m clearly just hanging out because I missed you,” he said as he began to wash the dishes.

Scully came up to where he stood at the kitchen sink and watched as the water and soap cleansed each plate under his hands. They were both avoiding eye contact as he scrubbed each plate and rinsed them before she took the dishes from him to dry with a tea towel.

“Mulder…” she started.

When he looked down at her again, he saw the familiar look in her eye from earlier. It was want and longing but also desire. Her face was mirroring his own emotions but there was so much to wade through between them.

She was having trouble reconciling her feelings and for as much as she was able to record in the journals for him, he had barely scratched the surface of what she had been through.

“I can stay here if you want,” he offered. “Unless you want to be alone.”

She smiled slightly and glanced to his mouth again. “I’d like it if you stayed.”

“How’s your spare bedroom situation looking these days?” he asked as he shut the water off and turned to face her as he used her tea towel to dry his hands. “Last time I was here, I saw a lot of boxes in there.”

Scully thought for a moment. “That’s right. I forgot I had ordered a new bed and not set it up.”

“I can sleep on the couch,” Mulder offered.

“Only if I pull out the sofa bed for you,” she countered with a hint of something in her voice. Maybe it was disappointment. “I don’t think the couch is long enough for you.”

“Just half a foot too short to be comfortable for anything other than a nap,” he replied with a grin.

Mulder wanted to kiss her again but he also didn’t want to rush her. She put her hand on his shirt and clutched the material in her fingers. He stepped closer to her and leaned down to kiss her lips softly again. His hand remained at her waist, in an attempt to keep the action from getting too heated. He wanted her but he wanted her to want him back as the man he was now, not the one she fell in love with during a coma.

Why couldn’t they do anything like normal people?

As her fingers tightened their grip on the material of his shirt, her mouth opened slightly and he took the invitation. The kiss deepened and his hands were suddenly holding her head as he tasted her. He never knew it was possible to miss something before you had it but he couldn’t imagine not kissing her again. He longed for each and every kiss in the future, to taste her everywhere and possess her completely.

He was getting ahead of himself and as she pulled away, he ran a hand over his face.

She gulped as she regained her own composure. “I think you still have a toothbrush and change of clothes here.”

Mulder nodded. “Sure.”

She left him to get the bedding for the pull out couch while Mulder moved the coffee table to the side of the living room. As he was pulling the cushions off the couch, Scully returned with two pillows and a set of white sheets.

“I feel bad asking you to stay over,” she said as they pulled the fitted sheet over the mattress.

“I offered,” he replied.

They spread the top sheet and tucked it in at the corners. Scully handed Mulder one side of the quilt she brought out and as she worked on putting the pillows into their cases, he finished making the bed.

“It’s much faster with two people,” she noted.

“And when it’s not a waterbed,” he agreed.

Scully shook her head. “I forgot you had that thing.”

Had being the word we need to recall,” he said. “I thought about keeping the mirrored canopy-”

She scrunched her nose at it.

“But you made that face any time you saw it so I got rid of that too,” he finished.

Scully crossed the small space in the living room and Mulder pulled her into a hug. He kissed the top of her head and they held each other for a beat.

“I’m glad I woke up,” she whispered into his chest.

Mulder rubbed his palms up her back. “Me too.”

Scully looked up at him. “Are you going to be okay out here?”

He jerked his head in the direction towards the journals on the kitchen table. “I have plenty of reading material to keep me company.”

She pressed her lips together as she stepped back. “Okay… I’m going to bed then.”

“Good night,” he called after her as she walked down the hall towards her bedroom.

Mulder fetched the journals from the kitchen and set them on the side table next to the couch before he shed his jeans and sweater. He climbed into bed with just his grey tank top and boxer shorts on and the light over the couch to illuminate her words.

“I saw the end of the world as the man I love, my husband's life hung in the balance from a virus disguised as something else,” the journal began. “Lights overhead that brought me back to Ruskin Dam where faceless men set everyone on fire for coming to see a light show that would have been our own demise.”

Mulder scratched his cheek with his fingers and listened to the sound of Scully getting herself ready for bed. Her door never closed on her bedroom and he wondered if that was a gesture for him or for herself.

What I recall in the beginning was falling in love with a man who had been my protector and endangerer since the moment we met. He challenged me to be a better person, to have an open mind and to see the world with more than just the science and facts I clung to for so long as though it was the only answer. I saw with him a life that was possible. Truth in the paranormal and science to explain what we discovered on the X-Files.

We found ourselves facing old monsters, meeting old lovers and searching back to the truth in Oregon. Meanwhile, I had become pregnant somehow after more than one doctor had told me it was impossible. I found out in a dingy hotel room with Mulder. Our beginning as partners began so close by and we had another chance to start a family.

How would we know that he would have been abducted by the very aliens that were searching for abductees like myself? The pregnancy was the deciding factor to not take me again, although I still never understood why they took Mulder instead. Was it just to torture him? He endured so much through this while I carried our child to term.

Mulder continued to read through the first journal as Scully accounted for the loss and emotion she felt during her pregnancy. She worried she would lose the baby when she was spotting at twenty eight weeks after the stress of finding him dead in a field. The elation at him waking up was overwhelming and it felt completely real as she recounted every detail.

He worried by reading this, he would foresee his own demise. There had to be a clue in there how to stop some of this from happening. He got up when the apartment was quiet and wandered towards Scully’s bedroom door where she lay sleeping. He used the bathroom quietly, washed his hands and face and brushed his teeth before he found his way back to the living room.

These journals were full of everything she had gone through but part of him wanted to toss them in the fire. Maybe knowing everything wouldn’t help them and all it would do would remind him that even in a dream, he and Scully were a doomed romance.

Sleep overtook him before he could make a decision. His subconscious left him in a world where he was chasing after Scully on a long empty road. Every time he called her name, she got farther away from him and the road narrowed. It was a restless sleep but one he was accustomed to as his subconscious reminded him that while she was back, she was still out of reach.

Chapter Text

“Mulder,” a voice called through the dark.

He thought it was part of his dream. It happened since her coma that he heard her calling to him in the night, creating a restless and unsatisfying sleep for him. When he would wake, he found himself alone in his apartment and slightly more depressed than he was before he went to bed.

“Mulder?” the voice whispered loudly. “Wake up!”

“You can skip the robe business,” he said with his eyes closed. “I’ll tell you right now they’re mosquito bites.”

“I’m not wearing a robe,” she teased and Mulder chuckled as he opened his eyes. “I thought that might get your attention.”

Dressed in a familiar looking button up pyjama set, Scully looked like something from a dream. Her long hair was hanging softly around her face and her white shirt and pants caught the light from the moon shining through the living room window.

“Hi,” she said as his eyes met hers.

He felt a little bad for looking at her so openly but he had grown accustomed to being able to do so for the last three months. It was then he realized that she looked like she had been crying. He recognized the brave face she had put on immediately. It might have been a while but he could tell something was wrong. She had on that same expression that said she was fine and tried to brush off how she was feeling underneath. The joke was a tip off she was covering up something else.

“Are you okay?” he asked as he began to sit up.

“I couldn’t sleep,” she admitted and she sniffed. “I… I actually had a bad dream.”

“More of what you saw in your vision?” Mulder asked.

She nodded. “But… I was revisiting some of what happened.”

Mulder pulled the blankets down and patted the mattress next to him. “C’mere.”

Scully crawled towards him on the bed and laid down next to him in the crook of his arm. He wrapped his arm around her and rubbed up and down her back.

She sniffed again and looked up at him. “Thank you.”

She was so close to him then, he could smell the soap she used in the bath before bed. He could smell the lavender lotion and the underlying scent of her own body as it slept. At the very least, it was comforting but mostly, It was arousing.

“Any time,” he managed as he tucked his arm behind his head and stared up at the ceiling of her apartment.

He cleared his throat as she pressed herself into his side and relaxed into the feeling of their bodies beginning to breathe in unison. They were quiet for a moment as his palm smoothed up to her shoulder and squeezed.

“Do you want to talk to me about it?” he asked.

There was a quiet beat as he assumed she contemplated his offer. Mulder was about to start talking, just to fill the silence when she opened her mouth.

“I saw these lights on a bridge,” she began slowly. “It was… It was like…”

“Ruskin Dam?” he supplied.

“But a bigger scale, Mulder,” she said and he found some comfort in how she said his name. “It wasn’t just abductees on the bridge. It was bystanders and innocent people who never had to see this side of our government and the men who seek to destroy humanity.”

“No one deserves any of this,” Mulder reminded her and she hummed in agreement. “I’m sorry you’re not sleeping.”

“I slept for three months,” she countered. “I don’t think my body or my mind is tired.”

“See how you feel in the morning,” he commented.

“Probably the same as I do now,” she replied.

He contemplated that statement. She was awake and alert at the moment but he felt like these last three months had thrown them off balance. It was a confusing place from where they were heading towards romantically before she was hurt.

It was too unfair even for Mulder’s messed up life. He had endured his parents’ fucked up marriage, the loss of his sister, a life as an outsider literally everywhere and the expatriation from the FBI after he chose the paranormal over the golden boy fast track up the ladder to greatness. Nothing could have been further from what he wanted in his life.

“I missed you…” he started and Scully moved her arm from on top of his chest to around his abdomen. She squeezed him slightly. “It wasn’t like before when you were taken then returned. I saw you lying there and I couldn’t do anything to help it…”

“Mulder…” she started. “I… I don’t blame you for a… zombie coming at me and knocking me back.”

“You are actually admitting there was a zombie among the resurrected beings from Mark Johnson?” Mulder clarified and she frowned a little before nodding. “Oh my god.”

“Okay cowboy, slow down,” she admonished. “I admit something that was dead and then wasn’t was walking-”

Uhhhh!” he groaned and sat up to look at her. Scully pushed herself off the bed and sat up to study him. “Scully!”

Mulder!” she mimicked.

Mulder pushed her shoulder playfully and shook his head. “I can’t believe you are even saying that to me right now! After all you’ve seen-”

“I believe there was something I couldn’t explain with what I know of science-”

Mulder cut her off by pulling her mouth to his and kissing her fiercely. A slight moan escaped from her throat before she fell into the kiss and began to return the gesture. She somehow knew all the ways he liked his tongue stroked and how to grip his forearms to feel like he was needed. He wanted to be with her right now. He wanted to pull her into his lap and show her how his desire was taking over rational thought.

He had been able to restrain urges in the past. Countless moments through their partnership when she was literally lying on top of or underneath him and he kept himself from being anything other than a gentleman.

Scully had a similar idea to his earlier notion about his lap and was straddling him just as he was trying to maintain his composure.

He pulled away for a moment and looked at her in questioning thought. Her lips were swollen from their kisses and her hair was falling around her face to make her look even more kissable. He was having very dangerous thoughts right now.

“Are you kissing me back because of the man you fell in love with and married in your dream or because you missed me, the guy you weren’t yet sleeping in 1999?” he asked.

Scully shook her head as though she didn’t know. “I miss… the man I was married to-”

“So?” he cut her off. “What about me? I’m not the idea you have in mind for this husband figure-”

She put her hand across his mouth. “Don’t hold it against me that I wanted the best of you in our lives together.”

Mulder grinned under her palm and pulled her hand down. “Best lives? On the run and a beach wedding?”

“I mean the parts where we found ourselves an ordinary house not too far from where I could work and made a life together,” she replied and he nodded.

She removed herself from his lap and laid on the bed with a sigh. They were so close to something there and he had to ruin it with his insecurities over what part of Mulder she wanted.

Scully licked her lips. “Would you rather I chose someone else? An ex I never told you about?”

“Ouch,” he remarked as he lay down next to her. “I didn’t choose Diana… I think my subconscious picked her because it knew you wouldn’t give up on the quest and settle down without answers.”

“Seeing your sister and Deep Throat alive wasn’t enough of an answer?” she asked.

“What scientific proof would we have?” Mulder countered and she tilted her head to one side as she contemplated his question. “I feel like my brain went with what was easy, not with what was right.”

She sighed. “Okay…. but you didn’t wake up and think you were in love with Diana, did you?”

“No… I could recognize that it was a dream and not a premonition of a life I should be having,” he replied as his hand reached out for hers. He didn’t know if touching her was to comfort her or him at this moment. “That doesn’t make what you experienced less of a possibility for that to come true, especially when we’re dealing with CGB Spender. After all he’s done to both of us, I fully accept that what you envisioned in your coma could be a truth waiting to happen.”

He wished they were on the same page or that she understood why he was apprehensive to move forward. He wanted her but he didn’t want to confuse what she experienced with who he was right now.

Maybe he was making things too complicated. Maybe his apprehension to jumping into things with Scully was actually his fear of rejection. He told her he was there for her as her friend and wanted to progress their relationship. Why was he holding back now?

“Scully…” he started and she turned onto her side to face him as her arm slid out from under his grasp. Mulder did the same and they held eyes for a moment. “We keep dancing around what we really want here…”

“Mulder, I don’t expect you to feel the same way-”

“I want us to feel the same way,” he cut her off as he put his hand on hers again. “I want us to have all the good parts of what you envisioned without the crap of me losing myself to this fear of the end of the world.”

Scully frowned. “If this is our fate… I don’t think if we are going to live these lives, whether we want to or not, that I would feel such disbelief in the future, knowing what I know now…I’ve seen a future where lights descended from the sky and a sickness spread throughout the American people without help from its government to stop it… I saw it all happen and I think- I don’t think I would be as quick to dismiss it.”

“If we use that logic, I don’t think I could see myself becoming so obsessed with an impending colonization that came two years too late,” he admitted. “But that does seem to fit my character… I guess knowing it could happen, I would be more determined not to let it ruin us.”

Scully leaned across the bed and kissed him softly on his cheek before laying down on her back. “I believe you.”

Mulder laid flat on his back as he contemplated how long he had wanted to hear her say those words. He could hear her yawn and looked over at her in the bed. He was feeling the day wear on him also but his erratic sleep patterns might find the two hours he got to be enough until the early morning.

She smiled apologetically. “I guess I am tired.”

He pulled the sheet and quilt up over their bodies. Scully moved closer to him on the mattress to rest her chin on his shoulder.

“Is this okay?” she asked as she tucked the sheet up to her chin.

He nodded and kissed her forehead. “It’s fine.”

"It feels like the whole world could go to hell and we would be the only two people able to stop it," she whispered. "It's always us..."

Mulder rubbed his face along her hair and kissed the back of her head. "I wouldn't have it any other way."

“Even with the future possibly set for us Mulder, what I had in those memories of my mind weren’t all bad,” she told him sleepily. “I don’t want to miss our chance.”

With her hands under the sheet, Scully clutched his bicep and began breathing softly against his skin. Mulder laid in bed with the sheets bunched around his chest as he contemplated what he read in the journals. He had made it through two of them before he fell asleep and contemplated a life that Scully had willingly sacrificed to protect him. She was willing to dive into a life as his lover, mother to his child and protect him against a wrongful death conviction. Mulder wasn’t sure what it said about her view of him that she saw him speaking to the dead… He didn’t like to think of a life in the future that didn’t involve Langley, Byers and Frohike. Aside from Scully, they were the only social circle he had. He felt a little indifferent towards Krycek being dead in a few years but that probably had something to do with him being responsible for the death of Scully’s sister and his father.

The majority of what she wrote about was painful to accept. Would he really leave her and their child at Scully’s insistence so that he could search for the truth? They were always a stronger team together.

He looked at her sleeping soundly next to him on the bed and realized that true, deep and passionate love would allow you to give up everything for that person but it shouldn’t force you to. Mulder didn’t want to be the reason that she lost anything else.

Somehow he would need to try to convince her that no matter what the future brought them, he wouldn’t leave again. Sleep overcame him before he could internally practice what he was going to tell her when they woke up in the morning. At least they were going to be doing that together.

 

*** ***

 

Sun crept into the living room and Mulder slowly awoke to an unfamiliar setting. The bed was cold next to him and he accepted that he was alone. He wondered if he had been dreaming and Scully coming out of his coma had been something he imagined. Mulder put his feet on the floor and placed his head in his hands as he tried to reconcile that maybe he was so lonely he dreamt that Scully had returned to him. Eventually, he would be expected at work and maybe Skinner wouldn’t reprimand him for ignoring his obligations.

He looked around the quiet apartment and decided to clean up the evidence of his sleepover before he showered and drove to work. He kept a spare suit in the front hall closet and hung it on the hook on the back of the bathroom door.

It disappointed him to see the bed in Scully’s room made to the precision of which she left it three months ago. There was no sign of her being there at all but his things were strewn about the apartment. Did he dream the future Scully had told him? How desperate was he to have her back that he could have imagined the last four days?

Last night he was feeling so sure of their steps forward. He thought they could get themselves on the same page. If what he experienced was a dream, he was more sure than anything that when she did wake up they couldn’t waste any more time. Destiny, fate, chance or choices, he wanted Scully in his life. Waiting for another perfect moment could take another millennium. Scully might be immortal but he sure as hell wasn’t.

As he used the toothbrush he left there, he let the water run in the shower to get it to temperature. The room filled with steam and he slowly undressed. He considered leaving Scully’s house and showering at home but he couldn’t go back and see another empty space.

He left the bathroom in a fresh pair of boxers with a towel around his shoulders, after attempting to run the damp cloth over his hair to dry it a little. He walked through the bedroom and stared at the empty bed. Why wouldn’t he have slept there if he really missed her?

He could still smell her perfume lingering in the air and he wondered how she managed to haunt his life from a hospital bed in Bethesda, Maryland. He reconciled that he needed to leave her apartment and try to get her out of his head.

As Mulder rounded the corner of Scully’s bedroom, he nearly ran right into her.

“Jesus, Mulder!” she breathed with her hands up in front of her and a shocked expression.

She was dressed for the day in a black scoop neck sweater and pair of jeans he hadn’t seen on her since her cancer. Mulder had learned over the years that Scully had a number of different ‘wardrobes.’ Her weight never fluctuated by more than ten pounds, not that Mulder cared or had an opinion either way, because he always saw her as being fit. Nevertheless, when a woman was short, according to Scully, ten pounds made the difference between a few sizes. She was currently wearing clothes from a time that Mulder hated when the pallor in her cheeks was a sign of her fate and every nosebleed scared him.

Mulder dropped the towel to his chest and grabbed her by her upper arms. “You- you…”

“Went to get groceries for breakfast,” she finished for him. She pointed over her shoulder. “I made coffee.”

“You made the house look empty,” he said as he turned them so that he could feel her body and weight in his hands. “What… Why did you-”

“Make the bed and tidy the kitchen?” she asked as though the answer was obvious and he nodded to concede that it was. “What… Mulder, did you think you had a dream too?”

He shook his head. “I didn’t see you here and I thought for a moment I had imagined the last four days.”

She frowned slightly as she obviously came to the realization that her absence had haunted him. To say it had been difficult would be an understatement.

Scully reached to his waist and pinched his side.

“Hey!” he cried as he pulled away.

“I’m here,” she said with a grin.

Mulder pulled her to his chest and hugged her. “You scared me. I thought… I was sure you were gone but not just… You should have left a note.”

She turned her face to press her cheek against his bare chest and sighed. “Sorry.”

Mulder’s arms loosened around her and he rubbed his hands up her back. “I need to get decent.”

“I’m not stopping you,” she replied quietly as he continued to hold her.

When Mulder pulled back a little, she looked up to him and smiled softly. He suddenly caught a whiff of Scully’s signature French Roast brand that she purchased from the cafe around the corner.

“Did you say you made coffee?” he clarified.

“And bought food for breakfast,” she replied. She tilted her head towards the kitchen. “We have time before Skinner wants to see me.”

Mulder pointed to his bare chest with his finger. “I’ll put something on.”

Scully nodded as she left him in the alcove outside her bedroom door to start their breakfast. Scully wasn’t expected back at work until Monday. Mrs. Scully had claimed a monopoly on the weekend after she saw Dana in the hospital so Mulder felt grateful to have this time with her now. When he exited in his pressed dress shirt and pants, he fiddled with the tie hanging undone around his neck.

Scully looked up from the skillet where she was cooking what looked like a mix of vegetables, shredded hash browns and scrambled eggs. The smell of bacon filled the kitchen and Mulder saw a pot of water boiling on the back burner of the stove.

He was in awe as he came to stand next to her at the stove. “What…. What did you make?”

“I’m going to try to make a hash,” she started. “Without the hollandaise sauce.”

Without hollandaise sauce?” he repeated knowing full well to make that would take at least an hour because of one episode of The French Chef rerun that Scully and he watched in the hospital during her chemo. Mulder scoffed. “This restaurant is terrible.”

Scully nudged him and they laughed. She looked up at him and smiled. “I like seeing you in a suit.”

“Does this look do it for you?” Mulder teased with a leer and she shook her head in a refusal to answer his question. “I guess in your vision of the future, I wasn’t back at the FBI very long.”

“It’s still nice to see,” she commented and looked back to the skillet in front of her. “I hope you’re hungry.”

Mulder realized his hand was on her waist and he pulled back to pour himself some coffee. “I could eat.”

Scully grinned at the pan in front of her and turned the burner off before getting the eggs from the boiling water. “I remember you like poached medium or did I dream that?”

“It’s weird… I’m having deja vu right now,” he said as he took plates from the cupboards. “Like we did this before or I read about it.”

She blushed a little as she portioned out some of the hash brown mix on each plate before topping them with two eggs apiece. She set the skillet to the side and pulled the bacon from the oven.

“How do you coordinate all of this like it’s not a big deal?” he asked as they sat down at the kitchen table.

Scully handed Mulder a bottle of his favourite hot sauce and poured herself a fresh cup of coffee. “It’s just timing.”

He watched as she fixed her coffee and sat down across from him. She shrugged a little. “You’re kind of impressive in a lot of ways.”

She baulked at the compliment and stabbed her food with her fork. “Well…”

“Did the future Mulder never give you a compliment?” he asked her and she shook her head. “I did but I was bad at it?”

She chuckled into her lap and looked at him with attempted calm humour. “Mulder… It doesn’t matter what I saw or thought I saw-”

“Scully!” he condoned her.

“Mulder, I’m not going to believe that what I saw of you was actually how you-”

“You know me better than anyone else,” he cut her off. “What else could you not know about me than what is in our future? I know there are many different paths we can take but I always saw every alternative path being together.”

“What if there aren’t alternative paths? Just one?” she mused as he took a bite of his breakfast. It was good. “What if there was only one path and all the others were wrong?”

“So no matter what, we end up together, have a miracle child and save the world?” he summarized.

She made a face. “I thought you only read two of the journals.”

“I read part of the third and the end of the last one,” he said with a shrug. “I like spoilers.”

“Even for the future?” she asked him with slight disapproval.

Especially with the future,” he said adamantly. “I’m not going to roll the dice and hope for the best.”

Scully contemplated a moment as she chewed her breakfast. She sliced her knife through the yolk of the egg with precision and spread the yellow liquid through her hash browns slowly. It was meticulous and careful, just as she was in all things.

Here he was asking her to choose him and a path towards saving the future when she had seen what it got her. She had already loved and lost him once. Maybe she wasn’t up for it a second time.

“What if I promised to be better?” he asked and she looked at him hesitantly.

Mulder…” she said with a warning tone that usually asked him to slow down, to stop or to think about what he was doing.

What changed from last night? She was so certain about choosing him again and now he was trying to convince her just to try.

“I’m serious, Scully,” he started and licked his lips. “Leaving in search of the truth after you have the baby - I don’t have to do that. We can somehow find a way to keep me here and protect you both. Or we can leave together and move to California. We’ll do something normal for once in our lives-”

“You hate normal,” she reminded him. “The picket fences and the chocolate labs, you complained how boring it sounded when I mentioned it in the past.”

“Scully…” he started. “I don’t like mediocrity or boring but life with you has been anything but.”

“That’s all credited to you,” she reminded him.

“Without you, I would be dead in a ditch somewhere probably outside of Oregon after getting knocked out by Billy Miles’ dad,” he countered and she smiled. “Does it surprise you that getting involved somehow in my mind leads towards the possibility of kids?”

True, he hadn’t thought about having kids before Scully but he hadn’t wanted them before she presented the idea to him. Since that failed IVF attempt, it became a longing that he couldn’t shake. Maybe it was destiny reminding him that the future had possibilities for them both.

“It does… yes,” she managed. “You are great with children but you’ve made too many comments in the past to lead me to believe that fatherhood was on your list of life goals.”

“Or I’ve been waiting for a small, redheaded scientist to debunk every theory I’ve ever had about the paranormal and ask me to be her only chance at having a baby to realize that’s the person I should be having kids with… eventually,” he said with a grin.

Mulder…”

“Usually people don’t find their best friend in a spy, have their lives saved multiple times-” he started and she raised an eyebrow. “I meant you saving my ass and showing me what real friendship was. You made me realize my life was as valuable as all the others I’ve been so determined to save on this stupid quest. In your journals, you showed me that we realize who else could it be but each other? How fortuitous that we get along and your dream might actually be something we could have together.”

“But what about-”

“I’m not saying we have to try having a baby now,” he interjected and she looked relieved. “I just… I don’t want to lose my chance at being together because you’re scared the man I turn into in the future is more unstable than who I seem to be now.”

She shook her head. “Mulder no… That’s not why I feel apprehensive.”

“Then what?” he asked and took another healthy bite.

“I… I was so willing to let the passion for this search for your sister, for the men who abducted me and took my ova, and finding justice for what had been done to me and other women… I was happy to let this quest of yours take over my life,” she replied. “I willingly went down a path that looking back on it now… I’m scared of it. I’m scared of what it does to us down the line and how we lose ourselves. What it will do to this child that I still feel in my heart is real. I’m scared that his life is going to be destined as a sacrificial lamb and we’ll only hurt more people.”

Mulder took a sip of his orange juice and swallowed. “Do you want to leave the FBI or me?”

“No!” she said. “I’m happy trying to make a difference here. I want to search for answers and I think there are still some truths left uncovered…”

Mulder shook his head. “What are we doing then?”

She looked at him in surprise and her lips closed together while her chin ducked down to contemplate what they were doing. He knew that expression well. He used to find it passive aggressive like there was a comeback she was biting back but then he realized this was how she gathered her thoughts.

It felt like they were a snake, eating their own tails with the lack of progress they were making on this topic.

“I’m not…” Scully stopped herself and sighed as she obviously considered what she would say next. “I think knowing what the future holds can be dangerous. We learn from history so as not to repeat it. What if we learn nothing from these journals only to repeat the future and it dooms us further? What if instead of giving a baby up to good people, he’s taken by the very men we’re trying to protect him against. I still feel the love for this child in my heart and it hurts to think about not being able to keep him safe.”

“I don’t know how to argue with your fear, Scully,” he admitted. Last night you felt so certain in who we were supposed to be. I wake up and you’re gone. You went to the grocery store and thought if you and I went to bed together, worked out the kinks of being involved while working together and possibly having a child, we would doom humanity?”

She shook her head with her lips open to say she didn’t know but just a squeak of protest sounds came out.

“Isn’t repeating outlandish theories usually your thing?” he asked.

He stood up from the table and crossed the kitchen to pour himself another cup of coffee. He took a moment to gather his thoughts and realized the answer was inside of Scully. He had to tap into her rational side, not the side that could be swayed by fear and what ifs.

“Tell me what you saw,” he requested softly as he sat down at the table and pulled one of the journals towards them. “What scares you?”

“I woke up this morning and felt safe with you,” she told him as she thumbed the pages of the journal. “I felt truly safe, like I had in all my memories and I wonder if the safety I feel with you is a counterbalance to everyone else being in danger. Humanity coming to an end because we didn’t stop it.”

“Scully-” he started.

“I worry sometimes that my own happiness isn’t possible,” she replied. “Every time things start to go well in my life, I lose something or someone.”

Now he was starting to understand her fear.

“When you and I were working together and getting close to the truth, after we got the X-Files back the first time,” she started and he nodded. “Melissa was shot and killed in my apartment. They were looking for me but they got Melissa.”

“That’s not your fault,” he told her. “We - I mean you and I - we weren’t dating…”

“No,” she agreed slowly. “But our work was starting to bring out some truths that people didn’t want exposed.”

“Scully, what are you saying?” he asked her.

She took a steadying breath. “I’m saying if… I mean… I know how I feel with you, Mulder. I know you make me happy but I have to know that nothing else and no one else will be sacrificed along the way. The line has to be drawn. I need to know I won’t lose you to an abduction, that you’ll die-”

“How can any of us know that?” he interjected. “I can’t change wanting to seek the truth.”

“Mulder, I saw you die!” she cried as she stood up from the table with tears brimming in her eyes. “I buried you after whatever abducted you tossed you in a field like garbage! Our baby was growing inside of me, the thing I wanted for longer than I care to admit, but I lost you! I can’t live my life only having half of what I want! If it’s us together, you have to promise me you’re not going to run after monsters in the dark recklessly! I can’t handle going through that again!”

He could see that she was scared. She knew how she felt but she was afraid what could happen because she lived through all of this torture and loss while she slept.

“If you believe what I saw in my dreams was real, you have to understand how I’m feeling, Mulder,” she pleaded as she slammed her palms on the table. “I can’t… I can’t lose you knowing what I know now. I can accept that the darkness is going to find us but I can’t bury you again!”

Hey!” he cried out. Mulder stood up from the table and pulled her to him in an embrace. She fought against him for a moment but relaxed into his chest after a beat. “Hey…”

She was crying now and he almost panicked at the idea of her breaking apart. Aside from the panic she had when she woke up, Scully had rarely shown anything but strength. The more time went on from her awakening, she seemed to calm down and find herself again as the woman he had grown to love. She was strong, quiet and resolute in every aspect of her life. He found comfort in that strength but he couldn’t possibly believe that would abide while she accepted the last part of her life was only in her dreams.

As her cries subdued, his arms never loosened. He tried to remain strong as she had for him all the years when he needed her. With each slowing breath, her chest stopped shaking and her tears stopped falling. Mulder continued to hold her as she clutched the material of his shirt. When her cries ceased, she hiccuped and sniffled into a shoulder.

It wasn’t often he had the chance to see her scared like this. Even as she faced certain death with cancer invading her body, she tried to be strong. Maybe she had been strong enough in life, and the life she had as she slept, that fortitude might have worn thin. He couldn’t imagine the painful separations she had lived through. The very idea of losing Scully during her cancer had made him wary and weak.

“I don’t want you to feel the pain of losing me or a child ever again,” he started slowly.

She huffed as she took a tissue from the table and dried her eyes and nose. “I can’t ask you to be less reckless or someone other than you are… It’s what made me fall in love with you, the man standing in front of me now.”

His heart must have stopped beating then and there was a ringing in his ears. He could have been hallucinating or dreamt this whole moment.

“What?” he asked dumbly and immediately regretted it as he looked down to her in his arms. “I mean… you do?”

Scully smiled at him shyly but her gums began to show. That was the kind of smile that showed how truly happy she was. He needed to give her that kind of joy more.

Scully,” he whispered as his eyes glanced down at her mouth.

A beat of silence passed between them. He wanted to kiss her but was this the right time? It wasn’t midnight at the beginning of the new millennium. It wasn’t after a night together where she laughed at his jokes or even just dropping her off after a good day at work. These were the other scenarios Mulder had fantasized over that led to sexual fantasies of Scully straddling his lap on his leather couch with his tie around her neck and nothing else.

“Kiss me,” she urged him.

He wasn’t going to be told twice. He wanted to kiss her for longer than he wished he didn’t want to kiss her. In the beginning of their relationship, their hushed conversations, close proximity and constant glances down to her slightly swollen lips would make him confused and slightly aroused. It didn’t change that he respected her. It only made him realize how much more a romance would have been messy for their partnership early on.

Mulder leaned down and his lips met hers with hesitation and chaste curiosity. After a moment, her mouth opened to his and his tongue was taking over where his mind stopped working. His hormones were crying out for him to kiss her with every urgent desire he had suppressed over seven years. His mind was trying to remind him to hold back. Scully’s mind had foreseen a future where they fall into bed together and Mulder definitely fantasized about it but the reality was far different.

It was better. He didn’t have to piece together the little sounds from her throat that he hoped she might make during a first proper kiss beyond what they shared the night before. As his hands thread through her hair to hold her head, she moaned into his mouth. The reality of her kisses were so much better. Her mouth tasted sweet and soft. Her lips formed to his and she was clutching the material of his shirt with one hand and his tie with the other to ensure he wasn’t going anywhere.

They would need to breathe sometime but for now, he was accepting the shallow breaths through his nose as they continued to move their heads and adjoin their lips in an exchange of air and passion.

Mulder was aroused and he desperately needed pressure against his hardened flesh to dull the ache that began when she whispered her demand for him to kiss her.

He pushed her against the entryway of the kitchen and her legs spread as he lifted her to hold her in place. It was so natural and easy with a size difference that could have proven to be problematic. It was anything but as she wrapped her legs around his waist and he thrust up against her once.

“Oh!” she gasped as the kiss broke.

Mulder needed to taste the skin along her collarbone and the tendons were he had always suspected would be sensitive. He pushed against her again as he licked and kissed along everywhere his mouth could reach. She smelled so good, like raspberries and vanilla. She tasted even sweeter and he wanted to feel his flesh against her body immediately.

He couldn’t just assume they would go to bed after one kiss. That would be slightly more presumptuous than maybe they were both ready for. Wanting a woman and having sex with her were different stages. Even with all of their committed discussions and proof that they were meant for only each other, he couldn’t push her into something she wasn’t ready for. She had been through so much in the last week and he needed to know she was sure.

Mulder’s teeth took on a life of their own as they nipped and marked the skin as she moaned and pressed her pelvis against his harder.

“Fuck,” he whispered as he pumped his hips again.

He looked up into her eyes and she took his head in her hands to pull him in for another kiss. They were dry humping against her kitchen wall where he had argued the validity of photographic evidence of a UFO. He was kissing the woman who saved his life time and time again like these were inevitabilities that were meant to be.

They found a rhythm as partners in the FBI. How fortuitous that this passionate side to their relationship worked also.

This could be enough for him if this was all she could handle right now but they would need to slow down eventually or he would have to drive home to get a new suit.

There was only so much rubbing of Scully’s crotch against the head of his cock through two layers of clothing that he could take. Eventually, that sensitive spot at the tip would fire enough neurons through his body and he might come. Not right away, he wasn’t that trigger happy but he had maybe five more minutes with her kissing him like this.

She pulled her mouth from his and he returned his lips to her jawline and down her neck.

“Muh-” she started but the sounds were mostly just moaning he felt more than boastful about creating from the usually buttoned-down, serious scientist.

“Scully,” he whispered and pressed his lips to her ear as he caught his breath. “Scully we should-”

The phone rang to cut him off from suggesting they stop or take things to the bedroom. She sighed in frustration and pushed on his shoulders to get him to set her down.

“Mulder,” she started and he nodded against her cheek.

He set her down and they glanced at one another hesitantly before she crossed the kitchen to answer the phone.

“Hello?” she said as she pulled the phone up to her ear. “Yes, this is she….”

Scully glanced nervously at Mulder and he recognized the slightly abashed look on her face.

“I understand. I’ll be there shortly,” she replied and hung up the phone.

Mulder’s concern took over and he approached her carefully. “What’s going on?”

Scully regarded him with a pink hue on her cheeks but it wasn’t from the recent activity of their kissing. She was embarrassed.

“I’m… I’m being asked to- to- to come in to see Karen Kosseff,” she stammered. “They want me to do a psychological evaluation before my meeting with Skinner. They think that-that…”

“I didn’t tell them what you told me in the hospital,” Mulder assured her as he took her hand.

“I know,” she replied softly. “I… I told Skinner.”

When? Why would she have done that? She always tried to protect him from anyone thinking he could possibly be unwell when his theories pushed him to the edge. What would this accomplish?

Mulder shook his head in disbelief. “Why?”

“I was trying to reach you at work and I couldn’t remember your extension,” she confessed with a shake of her head. “I was patched through to Skinner and he asked me how I was doing. I don’t… When he came to see me the next day at the hospital, he saw the journals…”

“Scully…” he started with a disappointing but anguished tone.

“I didn’t think he would put me up for a psych eval,” she admitted.

He nodded. He knew what an evaluation would entail and he was confident the woman in front of him would pass with flying colours. He brought her hand up to his mouth and kissed her soft skin.

“Okay,” he said confidently. “We’ll go together.”

She gave him a sad smile and nodded.

Mulder glanced at her neck and saw the marks his mouth had left. He cleared his throat and gave her a grin. “You might want to wear a different shirt…”

Oh…” she reacted as she ran the fingers of her free hand across the collar of her shirt and smiled more genuinely. “Sure…”

Mulder pointed to the plates on the table. “I’ll clean up.”

Scully stood on her tip toes and gave Mulder a kiss on the cheek before disappearing down the hallway. When he heard the door close, he called Skinner’s office back immediately.

The secretary connected him immediately.

“Skinner,” the voice came through roughly.

“A psych evaluation?” Mulder asked acerbically.

“If you want her cleared for duty back in the basement, you’ll encourage this, Agent Mulder,” Skinner replied diplomatically. “If you don’t think she’ll pass-”

“I thought this was a preliminary meeting,” Mulder interrupted.

“The next travel requisition that comes across my desk with your names on it, you won’t want me denying it because you didn’t want your partner to get cleared for duty after a three month coma,” Skinner pointed out. “This is standard procedure.”

Scully came back into the kitchen in a high collar white blouse and black suit. She looked at Mulder with the phone to his ear. “What’s going on?”

“Just checking in with Skinner,” he half-lied. “See you later today, sir.”

Skinner huffed and hung up the phone without a goodbye.

“Ready to go?” he asked.

Scully nodded and wiped the edge of his mouth. “Little lipstick there.”

Just like that, his anxiety assuaged for the upcoming morning and he found his confidence. They were quick to clean the dishes and kitchen to a tidiness that Scully could be happy with. As he pulled his suit jacket over his shoulders, he caught the look in her eye.

“If you want my advice-” he started.

“Sure,” she agreed as she took out her keys from her purse.

“Just don’t say anything I would say,” he recommended and she laughed. “But honestly, just as a guideline.”

Scully put her hand on Mulder’s arm as she closed the door. “Thanks for the tip.”

He put his hand on her lower back as they walked down the hallway towards the stairs. “I’ve got a whole list of them if you want…”

She grinned. “I think that one is a good umbrella item to start with.”

It was the first time in three months he felt happy and he knew it was all due to the woman walking next to him.

“Suit yourself,” he said with a laugh.

 

Chapter Text

The FBI protocol during a psychological evaluation detailed explicitly that agents were to enter their appointments on their own. Mulder waited anxiously in his office, finishing his report and reading the third journal while Scully was upstairs. If he could wait in the hallway outside Karen Kosseff and Skinner’s offices, he would but it was made abundantly clear when he arrived at the Bureau for her appointments that he was to march his ass back down to the basement.

By the time Scully arrived downstairs, he had begun reading the last journal. In it she detailed how they found William with the help of some unlikely friends. He was just reading about a secret compound in Milk River when he got up to make more coffee. As he was pouring the water into the back of the machine, he heard the office door swing open.

“I’ll be fine to work on Monday,” she announced as she entered. “Where are you?”

Mulder was in the back area next to the light viewer where they kept the coffee pot. “Back here.”

“Coffee?” she asked and he nodded. “Good, I need coffee.”

Mulder watched as she sat at his desk and looked around the office. “Is the view that different from back there?”

She shrugged and he sat in the chair on the other side from her. “It’s nice not bumping my knees into this while we’re talking.”

He had a thought about getting her a desk since she had pointed it out. It wasn’t that he didn’t think she deserved one but that prior to the fire, the space in the office was already limited.

“I should get you one,” he acknowledged.

“A desk?” she clarified and he nodded. She breathed through her nose heavily. “Remember the last time we put in for a requisition for more furniture? I got a chair with one wheel missing and we got a bill to our department for three hundred dollars. That man in accounting had a fit.”

Mulder held up his hands in defence. “Okay, but since the fire down here, they did give us a bit more space. It’s not as cramped as before.”

He could see a thought brewing in her head as her mouth crooked up in a grin. “You know, if you wanted me to be a sure thing, that would do it.”

He pursed his lips. “You mean if I got you a desk three years ago, you might have slept with me-”

Scully held up her finger and he stopped himself from bringing up Jerse. It wouldn’t be helpful to either of them to bring up anyone from their past.

“At all?” he finished.

She looked off to the side. “I don’t think we were really in the place for that to happen then…”

He thought about that. Mulder was attracted to Scully longer than he could remember not being attracted to her but he knew the timing for things to start never made sense except before. Not that he wasn’t willing to try. Maybe he needed to worry about how he could lose her forever before he could appreciate that they needed each other.

Things this morning had started to go somewhere more physical than the few kisses they had shared since she woke up. The one in her kitchen was heated and passionate. It was progressing towards sex-

“Mulder?” Scully interrupted his thoughts with a raised eyebrow.

“Hmm?” he asked with feigned innocence but Scully probably knew exactly what he was thinking.

“I said, do you need to put in a full day or can you knock off early?” she repeated.

Dana Scully post-coma was a bit of a rebel or a bad influence. Either way, he liked it.

“I…” Mulder started as he looked at the few items on his desk. “I just have a report I was supposed to finish.”

“I can help,” she offered as she got up from his usual spot at the desk and walked across the office to fix them each a coffee.

“I’m just writing a profile for a case that came in,” he said as he watched her carefully move about the office.

She returned with two mugs and set them both gingerly on the desk before perching herself on the edge with her fingers wrapped around the hard surface. She was far too distracting after this morning to be of any help but he missed her enough to keep her there.

“What’s the profile?” she asked.

Mulder tilted his head to the side. “They think it’s a young man, twenty-five to thirty-five, who has been leaving anonymous notes on mailboxes before kidnapping children in Des Moines.”

“You think differently?” she asked him.

He reached beside her and took his cup to his lips. As he contemplated the unknown subject, he looked at the edge of his cup. “I think it’s a woman. Probably in her mid-forties.”

Scully’s eyebrows shot up. “Why a woman?”

“The language in the notes suggests an educated mind, someone who is eloquent and well-read but the children were taken in the middle of the day without a struggle,” Mulder replied. He shook his head. “I was just finishing my theory that it was possibly a woman at the local school or library who had access to the children. The way they were selected is odd but I’m slowly piecing it together.”

Scully nodded slowly. “It’s not out of the question for it to be a woman. Women are more easily trusted by children or anyone really for that matter.”

“Men have a longer line of violating that trust to warrant such low opinions of strangers,” Mulder agreed.

“Well…” she began and picked up her mug to take a sip. “Not all men.”

He gave her a look. “Do men in the future warrant more trust from the public or less?”

She frowned sympathetically. “I’m afraid your gender doesn’t do well in the next twenty years in that regard.”

Mulder sighed. “I knew it.”

They both chuffed in laughter and enjoyed a beat while they contemplated the gravity of Scully admitting she might have access to the future with what she dreamt.

“Have you thought about the repercussions of knowing any of this?” Mulder asked her. “How many lives we could potentially save?”

“Mulder…” she started and set her cup down. “The further away I get from my dream, the more it starts to feel hazy.”

He narrowed his eyes at her. “What do you mean?”

“When I read excerpts of the journals to Karen Kosseff, it was like the memories belonged to someone else,” she explained. “I don’t want to lose them but I’m worried I’ll wake up tomorrow and it will all be gone.”

Mulder got up from the desk and picked up one of the journals. “This is only a piece of the puzzle. You’re the key, Scully. You always have been.”

She looked embarrassed but that was the truth. There were more answers found in her over the last seven years together than in encrypted files, the sky or in the lies of a smoking son of a bitch who thought his genetic connection to Mulder made a lick of a difference. What was important to know was that a plot was unfolding in front of them and they would be able to stop it. It wasn’t going to be word for word or moment to moment.

Last year, Mulder met a woman named Pam on the side of the street he had a sense of deja vu upon looking at. Her claim was that she was stuck in a loop of a bank robbery gone wrong that ended in their deaths. Each day repeated the exact same way and it only doomed her to continue to repeat it without a hopeful end.

“I’m worried what changing certain actions could do-”

“You said it yourself, the whole world is falling apart and we’re the ones to stop it,” he reminded her as he came to stand in front of her.

“I said it feels like we are,” she corrected him as she stood up.

Mulder made a face. “Because we are.”

Scully sighed. “I just hope we can.”

Mulder took her cup from her and set it on the desk next to his. He kissed her forehead and she sighed again.

“Give me twenty minutes to type up my report and I can take you out for lunch,” he offered and she nodded.

Scully looked up at him. “I’d like that.”

Mulder gave her arms a squeeze before reclaiming his desk and opening the profile he had started for the VCU. Scully picked up one of the newspapers on the desk and thumbed the pages while he typed up his notes. As he was finishing his last thoughts on the report, he looked up from his screen to see Scully sitting with her chin in her hand and watching him expectedly.

“I’m just sending it off,” he said as he finished typing up his notes.

“I wasn’t rushing you,” she replied lightly.

He finished his coffee as he ran a spell check and sent the report up to the SAC that asked for his help. Mulder typed a few more command keys and turned off his computer for the night. Scully took their mugs over to the sink in the back area and cleaned out the coffee maker for the weekend. Mulder would have left the pot with a cup in the bottom but now that she was back, the standard of cleanliness had to be higher than the status quo.

“Where do you feel like eating?” Mulder asked her.

“Lincoln’s Waffle House?” she suggested and he raised his eyebrows at her in surprise. She caught his look and shook her head at him. “No?”

“No, I love it there,” he said.

He didn’t add that he was surprised because Scully normally rolled her eyes when he suggested diners like those when they were in town. She asked him to take her to places that had more than two salads on the menu and the napkins weren’t on a dispenser on the edge of the table.

“I know you do,” she replied as she took his hand. “Come on.”

As they walked towards the car, Mulder placed his hand on Scully’s lower back and she reached behind her to interlace her fingers with his. She gave his fingers a squeeze and sent him a look that solidified his plans for the rest of the afternoon. He was going to get Dana Scully into bed before family, another global conspiracy or his own fuck ups got in the way.

 

*** ***

 

They had barely made it through their shared lunch when Mulder had thrown two twenties on the table and pulled her out of the booth they were sitting in. He took her by the wrist and pulled her down the aisle of Lincoln’s feeling like a caveman. Scully followed quickly behind him with her heels clicking on the diner floor as she tried to keep up.

It would have been easier to control himself if she hadn’t been rubbing the top of her foot on his calf during lunch and licking her upper lip after laughing at his jokes. He hadn’t seen or talked to her in three months and in the last two days, he had finally kissed her but a man could only take so much. This would not be a slow courtship where he took her for dinners, walked her to her door and left with a polite kiss good night.

Her apartment was closer and therefore Mulder drove there first but he had plans for her and his leather couch for another day. After a long heated kiss on her street against his car, Scully whispered his name as he could see her barely holding on to her composure. His own control was hanging by a thread.

They had somehow made it inside Scully’s front door. As their bodies knocked into the front table and her keys fell to the floor, she broke the kiss.

“Go to the couch,” she suggested breathlessly.

Mulder nodded and walked towards the couch as he adjusted himself inside his suit pants. Scully stood in front of him as he slumped into the cushions and looked up at her feeling like he was on perilous ground. He wanted to rip the suit off her skin and push her into the carpet to have his way with her. The romantic side of him reminded that after all this time, she deserved better than that. She deserved at least a bed.

Scully shed her suit jacket as she put her knees on either side of his lap. She gave him an impish look as she sat her bottom on top of his thighs. “Mulder-”

“If this is how you’re planning to argue theories from now on, Scully,” he started. “I gotta say I don’t mind it.”

She shook her head. “Would it get you to shut up for a second?”

Mulder pursed his lips and nodded. They shared a small laugh before he pulled her to his face to kiss her again. It wasn’t long before she had moved forward on his lap and they had started a slow grind at her set pace while she moved across his dick.

With every movement, Scully pushed down harder and his fingers fought to stay idle on her hips. He wanted to touch her everywhere but wasn’t sure if he had the green light. Up to this point, they had been quiet about intent. Mulder knew what he wanted to do to her but he had yet to voice that out loud. What if she didn’t want all of that too?

What else did he have with her moving above him and the kisses of intent? If that wasn’t a sign to move it along, he didn’t know what was.

In a surge of bravado, much like when he grabbed her hand to pull her out of Lincoln’s, his hands slid from her hip bones to the cheeks of her ass. It felt even better now than when he was carrying her out of an alien spaceship and was forced to cop a feel for survival purposes.

“Oh,” she whispered in surprise as she pulled up a little.

“Is that okay?” he asked her tentatively and he swallowed heavily.

He started to move his palms from her backside but she took his hands in hers to place them on her breasts.

Now it was his turn.

“Oh,” he whispered in similar astonishment of the physical development.

“More than okay,” she teased.

Mulder grinned and he displaced one hand from her breast to her backside. “What about a compromise?”

They began to kiss again and Mulder found himself needing more and more. The hand cupping her breast eventually moved under her sweater to feel the smooth skin of her abdomen then up to cup her breast over her satin bra. The other hand on her backside found the small gap at the waist of her pants to hold her between her soft underwear and trousers. He was so close to the real thing but still not quite there. It was somewhat of a metaphor for his search for the truth but he was pretty sure his desire for Scully was stronger.

That said a lot.

Scully pulled her mouth from his as she reached between their bodies to undo the buckle on his belt.

“Jesus,” he whispered.

She had barely touched him yet and he felt like he was a gun ready to fire.

He needed to get his hormones under control. He needed to take care of her first, to ensure she was satisfied, before she laid a hand on him and it ended in a second.

Finishing early with a woman wasn’t an issue for Mulder in the past but he had never wanted someone the way he had desired Scully. The rush of excitement he felt while getting subpar oral service from Phoebe Greene at Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s grave didn’t match the PG-13 moment of dry humping Dana Scully in her living room at two p.m. on a Friday afternoon.

“Mulder,” Scully whispered as she skillfully opened his fly and button on his trousers. “I have to tell you something…”

His eyes, that had closed at some point as the teeth separated on his zipper, opened and he looked at her fully. “Tell me anything.”

“I want you to know… this isn’t because of what I felt in my dream,” she assured him as her hand slipped beyond the boxer shorts he had on and wrapped around his flesh. He let out a quick huff of air. “This was inevitable for us, the people who should have had a first kiss on New Year’s.”

“I hoped this kind of thing would have happened sooner than three months and four days after our first kiss…” he started but his voice drifted off and his ability to make a pithy remark was halted when she stroked him a few times. “Oh God, that’s so much better when you do it.”

“So much better than what?” she asked with a raise of her eyebrow.

Mulder kissed her neck and took a nibble along her collarbone against her shirt. “Than anything else.”

Scully pushed out her lower lip as she thought with a slight grin on her face. It was sexy and cute at the same time and he couldn’t wait to see this side of her more frequently. Every day if she would let him.

“Maybe you shouldn’t make comparative statements until the full show,” she teased before they began to kiss again.

Her tongue against his and her hand along his shaft felt too good. He felt a slight drop of pre-cum drip from his cock. It was a sensory overload moment and Mulder needed to regain some composure.

With a move he wasn’t sure would work, he flipped them to the right on the couch so she was directly underneath him. Her hands gripped his biceps and while he missed her touch, he was grateful to be in a position of control.

Mulder moved between her legs and slipped the button loose on her suit pants. Her eyes widened as he looped his fingers under the waist of her pants and began to tug them down around her hips.

“Um…” she started but her disagreement with what he had planned halted when he pulled the material roughly down her thighs, leaving her in a pair of black lace bikini panties.

“Take your shirt off, Scully,” he urged and watched as her hands went to the buttons of the crisp blouse she put on that morning. She slipped the fastenings through the small holes quickly and Mulder pulled the sleeves off her arms. He took the sweater from her and set it on the floor next to her pants. “You can have these back when I’m finished.”

She smiled a little at his mock authoritative tone and nodded.

The bra was a matching set and he appreciated the fastidious nature of Dana Scully that liked things in order and to match but he would have no less pleasure at seeing her in different coloured items. Suddenly, a dark and seedy side of him wanted to see her in every piece of lacy and satin undergarment she had. Maybe he wanted to take each piece off with his teeth but nevertheless, he wanted to see it against her smooth, alabaster skin.

“What?” she asked with a coy smile.

Mulder smoothed his hands up her legs. “I think of all the ways I’ve seen you, this is my second favourite so far.”

She furrowed her brow. “What was the first?”

“When you were on top earlier is a tie with seeing you in scrubs,” he admitted.

Scully placed her hands over his and shook her head. “You’re a pervert.”

Mulder pressed his face into her sex and kissed the material of her underwear. “You have no idea.”

Before she could retort, he was pulling the flimsy material down her thighs. The cognizant side of his mind wanted to see her in them again and stopped himself from ripping the panties off of her. Before he could remove her bra, Scully held up one finger.

“You’re overdressed, Agent Mulder,” she said softly.

His plan was to stay clothed and therefore several steps away from sex as long as he could.

Mulder slowly unfastened the buttons on his shirt and tossed it towards the other end of the couch. He stood up and as he began to pull his trousers down over his hips, Scully sat up to take over. She looked up at him slowly before looking back at what she was faced with. His erection was tenting the material and she held his gaze as she pulled his pants down his legs.

It was probably the sexiest thing that had ever happened to him in a long time and they were just getting started. As Mulder stepped out of his pants and kicked them aside, Scully reached behind her to undo her bra. As he was about to kneel down in his boxer shorts, she put a hand on his chest and stopped him. He watched as her fingers tucked into his underwear and pulled them expertly over his erection. The inches between them were zero as his cock pointed straight out to her face and before he could tell her not to, she took him in her hand and wrapped her lips around the head.

Just as she made one stroke along his shaft and swirled her tongue around the head, his voice jumped out from his throat.

“Fuck me!” he called out.

Scully’s mouth left him immediately and she shook her head and put a finger to her lips. He winced, realizing how loud he had been and she smirked.

“I have neighbours, Mulder.”

“Scully, I had a plan…” he wanted to whine but attempted to say it with some patience. “I was going to… I had a plan.”

She placed her hands in her lap and looked up at him with amused patience. “I’ll adhere to your plan, Mulder, if it’s that important to you.”

He knelt in front of her and pushed her knees carefully apart. When he looked down, he saw that her sex was swollen and ready for him. He had often wondered what her stand on personal grooming was and just like everything else about her, Dana Scully kept herself fastidiously tidy. She wasn’t bare to the skin but she had obviously been careful that morning to tidy up the hair at the apex of her thighs. She told Mulder in an offhand comment two days ago she needed to book herself a hair and nails appointment but it just now dawned on him she wasn’t talking about the hair on her head. Prior to the coma, she booked bimonthly hair and nails appointment and it wasn’t at a hair salon. Sometimes being a man was so simple he couldn’t fathom what the needs and requirements were to maintain being a woman. He finally understood that when Scully furrowed her brow as she checked her calendar when he sprung a new case on her that it meant switching a manicure and bikini wax. No wonder the woman gave him so much grief about last minute travel plans.

It felt rude to stare at her sex but he also felt like he finally had the chance to look and not be screamed at to leave the room. She was perfect with the short hair covering the lips of her sex. Not that it mattered to him either way, she could be as hairy as a Sasquatch and he would still find her attractive. Love did that to a man but he knew it wasn’t up to him either way. He was pleased that her auburn hair had been trimmed so short he could see the outline of her lips and moisture along her labia. He wondered when she had time to do that in the last four days but he didn’t want to spend too much time asking her how she had managed to groom herself so neatly before tasting her.

“I can tell you want to make a comment about my natural hair colour,” Scully noted as he moved his hands up her thighs. The arch of her eyebrow said just as much as her tone.

Mulder pushed his lower lip out and shook his head. “I saw pictures of you as a little girl when you were in a coma… both times. I knew the red was mostly natural.”

“I’ll have to call your mother next time you’re knocked out for months on end and ask her to bring your baby book,” she teased as she pushed on his shoulder. “Take off your undershirt.”

He took off the last remaining item between them and placed it next to her clothing pile. “I was a cute baby with giant ears and a nose I eventually grew into. Everybody said so.”

Scully watched his hands as they inched closer to her sex and her breath hitched when he put his thumbs against the crease of her thighs. “What…”

Her voice stopped as he lowered his head and opened her thighs to press a kiss right at the crease of her leg.

“Oh,” she sighed.

He could detect the mild disappointment in her voice as well as smell the arousal emanating off of her. His finger dipped into her folds and felt delighted that she was wet.

There were a hundred things he wanted to say to her or profess but now wasn’t the time. This was the time to put his tongue to better use. His mouth pressed against her sex and he drew one long line up each lip while a long, low moan escaped her mouth.

“Ohhhhhhh, Mulder,” she moaned.

He repeated the action up the other side and then up the centre. He pulled her hips closer to the edge of the couch and took another long taste of her before finding the bundle of nerves at her centre.

Her body jerked at first as he started a slow and gentle pace of circling her clit with his tongue. He wanted to ask if it was okay but she was getting wetter with each pass of his tongue. As her moans grew louder, Mulder inserted a finger inside her tight walls and it was her turn to shout.

“Oh god!” she cried out.

It wasn’t exactly the time to give her a quipped remark about her having neighbours but he thought about it. He was more concerned with making her come than making her laugh.

His tongue flattened out and he moved it along the folds of her sex to find her swelling and tightening around his finger. He wanted her to come and he wanted to make it good for her. If there was anything else he felt determined for, it was to give her this at least.

Of all the ways he failed her by getting her abducted and losing her chance at motherhood, he was not going to disappoint at this. He was determined to make some part of the hell she had been through since meeting him worthwhile. He knew it said a lot about how little he thought of himself as a person but the fact of the matter was, he had little in his existence to disprove to the contrary.

Scully thread her fingers into his hair and ground the wet fever between her legs against his mouth as she cried out to ride the waves of her orgasm. A small squeak escaped her throat and he pushed harder against her sex with his lips and tongue. He could taste the very essence of her and it was delicious.

Her body jerked and she shuddered before she pulled her body away quickly. She pressed her thighs together and put her hand across her sex under her knees to close herself off from him. She was panting on her back at the other end of the couch and he worried somehow he had screwed it up already.

“What?” he asked as he wiped at his chin. “Is something wrong?”

Scully kept her eyes closed as she shook her head. “No… no that was perfect.”

“Why did you stop me?” he asked as he sat next to her on the couch. “Did I hurt you?”

No,” she replied quickly as she opened her eyes and curled herself to sit up on the couch. “Not at all it was just…”

“What?” he asked as she took his hand. “Bad?”

“Mulder,” she laughed. “No. Shut up for a second.”

His heart that had sunk felt a little elated that he hadn’t actually screwed things up between them by being too determined to make her come. “Why are you laughing at me?”

She clenched her chin and reached out to wipe the edge of his mouth. “Sometimes when something is too good, you need to stop.”

That didn’t make a lick of sense and he vocalized that to her, pointing out the pun in the process.

“Maybe for men, it would be ideal to have an orgasm that lasts past the point of pain-”

“Pain?”

“It gets too sensitive that it hurts a little,” she explained. “I don’t know how else to explain it. Surely in your many years as a man of the ladies-”

“Whatever Frohike told you, is a lie,” Mulder cut her off. “I’ve had a limited experience with women.”

“How limited?” she asked him skeptically.

“Less than thirty,” he said vaguely and she laughed again. “Why are you laughing?”

“Well surely between that first one and me, you’d have had sex where it has been painful at some point,” she supplied.

Mulder thought about that. “No… but I guess maybe if there wasn’t enough lubri-”

“Okay,” she cut him off with a hand in front of her. “That’s not what I mean but we can move on from that topic.”

Mulder shrugged. “You brought it up.”

Scully opened her mouth but her eyes were drawn down to his hands when one wrapped around his member. “I-”

He grinned as he found another efflux of bravado and he stroked his member once. Scully’s chest heaved and she let out a breath between barely parted lips. He had seen that calming technique over the last seven years. A few times, she had looked at him with her hooded eyes as he cracked open a seed and slightly pursed her lips as she was now. Mulder was immediately rethinking many past moments between them when he was hoping she felt the same way.

“I forgot what we were talking about before,” she admitted as her eyes slowly, moved up his torso and to his face. A pink hue took over her cheeks and chest as she licked her bottom lip before pulling it between her teeth.

He wasn’t about to remind her. The conversation of past sexual partners could wait for another time. This was the time for action. The small respite from when he tasted her to now was over and he was feeling the need of his own arousal to find a finale.

Mulder kept his left hand on his dick while the other pulled her face to his and they kissed with the pent up passions of two people who continually risked everything for each other. He wondered if the taste of her on his mouth was off-putting to her or slightly arousing.

His tongue made another brush against hers and she whimpered. He assumed it couldn’t be all bad. The couch wasn’t his ideal place for their first coupling and he wanted to take her into the bedroom but all he could think about was getting inside of her. She must have been moving along the same lines because she was swinging her leg over his lap and pressing her chest into his as their tongues continued to slide against one another.

Regretfully, Mulder released his cock and pulled her flush to his lap. His erection was sandwiched between their bodies and he felt her arousal at the base of cock. She lifted her hips slightly as they kissed and pressed her breasts into his chest.

As her hips began to lower, Mulder reached under her to angle his cock at her entrance. Her swollen lips met the tip of his dick and her mouth broke away from his to gasp when the first inch of him pushed inside.

“Sorry, I didn’t wait for a formal invite,” he noted and immediately rebuked the quip. “I mean-”

She slid down a fraction and his voice caught in his throat. “Were you still waiting on a yes from me, Mulder?”

“You know, trying to maintain that good guy persona you wrote about,” he managed. He cleared his throat and tried to smile.

“You are,” she breathed as she tilted her hips forward and slid down the rest of the way.

Mulder let out a breath of relief as he felt her tight sex around him. This was better than he ever imagined, hoped or fantasized about. Her hands were gingerly resting on his shoulders and she smoothed her palms down his biceps before moving them back up to the top of his pecks. He felt the relaxation of her sex around his dick and he flexed his hips experimentally.

Scully grunted and gave him a look of warning. He kissed along her jaw and down towards her collarbone. Her breath hitched in her throat at several spots and he revelled at the moans as he kissed and nipped where he had previously marked her.

He vowed to make these points known in his brain and to make her emanate these sounds forever. This was just their beginning but he already knew there could be no other or an end to who they were to each other. It was a large statement for his heart to make, knowing what she told him about the future, but he was going to be better than the possible alternate reality that Scully slept through.

“Mmmm,” she hummed as his hips flexed again.

She felt like velvet around him and her body felt lithe in his arms.

“Can you come like this, Scully?” he asked her as she took a preliminary ride up and down his cock.

She shook her head as she pulled up and sank back down. “Just… how you did it before….My clit… I need stimulation… oh!”

Mulder took her right hand from his chest and put her middle in his mouth. He wet the pad with his finger and placed it between their bodies where they were joined. Scully’s eyes widened at the insinuation. If he was anyone else, maybe she would be more apprehensive at the ask but they were who they were to each other. She had spent the last fifteen years in her mind with him as her husband and lover… She didn’t need to feel shy with this version of Mulder. There was nothing left but exploration of utmost pleasures they could bring each other to.

Her lip caught between her teeth and she closed her eyes as she found her clit.

“I want to watch you,” he whispered. “Open your eyes, Scully.”

Her cheeks were no longer pink but now red with a flush of sex and possible embarrassment. She didn’t need to feel shy now after all they had seen and done with one another. This was only one more step in bringing them closer.

“I want to watch your eyes while you do that,” he urged her.

Her lids opened and she whimpered as her hand began to move across her sex.

Yessss,” he hissed as he felt her tighten immediately.

He wanted to ask her if she had thought about him while she did that before. He was curious where she had done it and how. The darkest parts of Mulder’s mind were intrusive and pushy. Delightfully, she continued to let him in.

Oh,” she whimpered as she moved her hips and finger in tandem. “Oh, this is so much better than when I do it alone.”

He grinned at her and wanted to know more but didn’t want to interrupt in case she was about to confess her personal sins of her body to him.

It wasn’t until he swallowed that he realized his jaw had dropped. Scully gave him an impish look as he felt once again that he was not worthy of this woman.

“I… I think I almost had a brain aneurysm,” he teased and she flexed her hips. “Don’t-”

Scully pressed her mouth to his as she flexed her hips and her finger began to move across her sex. She was always better at multitasking than he was. Mulder was singular goal oriented, only focusing on one thing. The feeling of her tongue on his as they shared the taste of her and his cock inside was an overload. He needed to be in control of the pace if he was going to stave of his orgasm but there was no way to do that from where he was sitting. Maybe if he could get her over to her bed and got on top of her, he could set a rhythm of fucking to allow her to come as many times as she could stand until she told him she had enough. That would be the goal, to get her so satisfied she couldn’t beg for more.

He didn’t know how to make this plan come to fruition. He could jump onto a moving train and pray to get inside a singular car but lifting them up and moving towards the bedroom was an entirely different scenario. This was more complicated and maybe more risky. The first problem was he didn’t want to leave her body. She felt warm, wet and a little like what heaven might feel like if he was ever granted access.

As her hips pulled up once sharply, she cried out and he could feel her having a spontaneous orgasm that neither of them had anticipated. She ground her hips against his as her fingers continued to work the bundle of nerves and her eyes closed as her pleasure took over. She pulsed around him and he felt himself close to the verge of his own orgasm but with every ounce of control, he somehow managed to stave off losing himself to the deep abyss that his release would plunge him into.

She dropped her head to his chest and panted heavily. Mulder’s hands wrapped around her arms as she shuddered and he kissed the side of her head.

He thought he might finally have a moment to move them to the bed. He had envisioned sex with her a hundred different ways but the first time usually enlisted a bed. Admittedly, he dreamt of a tense moment breaking between them in the office. It included taking her on the desk with sunflower seeds and reports scattered around the floor while he ploughed into her but those were fantasies that he knew had to be placated until he could possess her the first time, properly and how she deserved.

Before she could move, Mulder pulled her body from his lap and he felt the cool air sting against his cock.

“What-” she started but Mulder cut her off by picking her up before she could say differently.

He put her abdomen on his shoulder with her bare ass up in the air while she cried out his name in protest.

“Mulder, what the hell?”

“We’re having sex on a bed, Scully,” he argued gently as he maneuvered them into the bedroom. It was not surprisingly easier to walk through her apartment carrying her in this fashion than up a ladder with an alien spawn chasing them. He chose not to mention that now. “I’m going to do one thing right with you and it’s going to start in a bed.”

“I wasn’t minding the-” she began but he pulled her off of his shoulder and she landed on the mattress with a grunt. “As I said, I didn’t mind-”

“What about me?” he interrupted her as he climbed on top of her naked body. She was pink everywhere and her skin was warm. She smelled like her sweet sweat and the arousal from her thighs. He sat between her legs and pulled her down the mattress towards him. “What if I wanted this?”

She opened her mouth to argue with a raised eyebrow and then closed it.

“I’m not asking you to make an honest man out of me before we go to bed together,” he cajoled as he leaned on his elbows above her. He reached between them to position himself at her entrance and kissed the side of her head. “I just don’t need to do everything unconventionally.”

Scully looked down between them as he entered her and she closed her eyes when the tip of his cock reached her cervix. He had to close his eyes too. A differing angle made her feel different. She was tight from her previous orgasm but flexible from her arousal. She was soft and lithe underneath him as he pulled her left leg from around his waist to push her knee into the mattress.

He flexed his hips and if it was possible, he pushed in deeper.

Fuck!” she swore.

Mulder pulled his hips back slightly and thrust in. He seconded her announcement and cursed as well.

“Not terrible for conventional,” he affirmed and thrust again.

Scully’s breath hitched in her throat and she clutched one hand around his back. The other hand was gripping the bedding as he began a strong and steady rhythm, pumping his hips that made them both moan in unison.

Underneath him, her breasts were bouncing at each push of his hips against hers and she dug her nails into his back as he fucked her ferociously. There would be time later for something gentle and soft. In the future, he could spend hours worshipping each area of her body and kiss her in every place that had been hidden by silk nylons, stiff suits and sharp lines of a tailored jacket.

He was getting close and he could feel himself tiring. Scully let go of the skin on his back to touch herself again and she tightened around him further. She was slowly massaging his dick with her narrow walls and his orgasm was burgeoning for him if he could just-

Fuck!” he bellowed and suddenly he felt the tightening in his stomach.

Mulder began pumping erratically and faster as he felt himself let go of everything he had been holding back. As he pushed one final time, he felt the air leave his lungs and he shook as he tried not to crush Scully underneath him.

Her hands soothed the skin up his back and he pressed his lips to the side of her head. She held her palms down to pull him closer to him and he relaxed on top of her.

“Wow,” he said finally into the curve of her neck.

He couldn’t lay like this forever. Eventually, he would shrink and slip out of her while making the mess that normally followed after sex. Right now he felt the short pangs of dread that followed because he always had to ask himself, what now?

With every other woman, after sex there was discussions of where their relationship was taking them. What did they do now? Scully had the answers to the future in journals but what did that really mean for them? Were they victims to fate or did they have any control to stop what was coming?

“I can feel you thinking,” she commented as he pushed up onto his elbows.

“I’m…”

“If you say regret-”

“No!” he cut her off. “Never.”

Her eyes relaxed and she gave him a grin. “Then why the long face?”

“Scully, what do we do now?” he asked her. “Do we wait for these events to unfold while we are helpless to stop what you saw?”

“No,” she protested assuredly. “We do our work. The truth to everything still lies in the X-Files. I’m more certain of it now than I have ever been.”

He didn’t know whether to laugh or cry at her proclamation. Instead, he felt his dick stir inside of her.

Mulder,” she rejoined.

He grinned. “It doesn’t know I’m done but that response is pretty typical.”

“So that line about your heart leaping about Spontaneous Human Combustion-”

“Oh I was totally into it,” he replied with a laugh.

She glanced over to the bedside table and Mulder followed her gaze to grab the box of tissues.

“Thanks,” she said awkwardly. As they cleaned themselves off, she caught the look he was giving her. “What?”

He didn’t know whether it was the time or place to make any grand declarations. Usually, with other women, he was looking for reasons to spend less time with them. Sex created a flight response in men to flee after planting their seed. He didn’t understand the biology of it.

“I want to help you,” he vowed. “I want to help you become a mother, and in turn, have a chance, a real solid actual chance at being a father…”

She was blushing and not because she was angry… she felt embarrassed? He was having a hard time discerning her mood.

“I want to do better than my father. I want to be more present than yours. I want us to have a chance at something corny and ordinary that we feel sick just talking about it because, holy shit, Scully, we deserve it,” Mulder promised. “Why does that sound so wrong?”

She was quiet as she got off the bed to use the bathroom. When she returned, she agreed, “It’s not wrong.”

“What?”

“It’s not wrong,” she repeated. “It’s just… usually people fall in love, eventually marry and have kids.”

Her eyes regarded him skeptically and he could feel a confession in his chest but he tried to push it down.

“You know I love you,” he implored and she nodded. “I’m sure you love me, this version of me.”

Scully slowly nodded as she was seeing right through his motivations. “I see…”

“What?” he questioned.

She tucked her chin down as she looked off to the right in an attempt to figure out if what she was assuming about him was correct. “Are you jealous of yourself - the man I had a relationship within the vision?”

He opened his mouth to object but none was forthcoming. Admittedly, he was jealous but he wasn’t planning to ever tell her that.

“Mulder!” she chided him with a giggle and his face fell. “I had a relationship with you… those journals were all about us!”

Now it was his turn to be embarrassed. “Yeah but-”

She put her hand across his mouth. “No. This isn’t up for discussion. Your emotions are your own and I don’t want to diminish how you feel-”

“That’s remarkably aware of you,” Mulder interrupted.

“But believe me when I tell you that you are being an ass,” she finished and he pursed his lips into a frown. “I mean it. You and the man I had a future with, I know they’re the same. That goodness is inside of you. The selfishness you sometimes have when obsessing over the conspiracies and the lies we have been told is out of a place of caring. I see you wanting to fix things almost out of pure stubbornness. If that’s not someone worthy of everything I have to give, I don’t know what is.”

“Scully…” he started and he swallowed heavily. “I… I don’t know what to say. I mean… you’re more than worthy… I can’t even believe you would say that.”

“I just want you to know that you’re not someone who doesn’t deserve a future,” she affirmed as she took his hand in hers. “You want to give me happiness but know that I want to give that to you too.”

His chest was beating as loud as a drum and he felt himself smiling like an idiot. The big questions about the future, what to do about what she saw in her visions and the possible end to humanity was still pending.

“What are we supposed to do? Where do we go from here?” he asked. “Do we just wait for the future to unfold as you’ve seen it? Do we do nothing?”

She squeezed his fingers. “No. We do our work, Mulder. The truth still lies in The X-files. Our answers are there.”

That was as good of a promise as he could hope for. He didn’t know if it meant she would be more easily convinced of what science had yet to explain or if his theories would be more readily accepted by her. He would be up for the challenge at the least.

Mulder kissed her with an open mouth and pulled her towards him to feel her body flush against his. They held each other on the bed until sleep took over.

 

*** *** ***

 

Sun broke through the clouds as the highway straightened out into a long stretch of open road. Abandoned cars littered the edge of the deep red road and Mulder turned the AC on to combat the warm air that was quickly filling the cabin.

Scully stirred next to him in the passenger seat and opened her eyes slowly as the sun stung their faces. They pulled down the visors simultaneously and there was a scoff from the back seat.

“What’s funny?” Mulder asked as he looked over his shoulder to the green eyes that mirrored his own. “Will?”

The sixteen-year-old boy with auburn hair and a sketchbook on his lap sighed. “You two are just so in sync sometimes it’s spooky.”

Now it was Scully’s turn to scoff. “Spooky, hey?”

She gave Mulder a grin and he reached over to her and gave her fingers a squeeze. Mulder shook his head and repeated the phrase that had been hurled at him so many times. He didn’t mind it coming from their son.

“Spooky,” he muttered. “So I gotta ask, Scully-”

Yes?” she said with a drawn out leer that reminded him of the first time he vocally told her in plain English that he loved her. She scoffed at him then, too.

“Any regrets?” he questioned.

Scully looked over her shoulder to William in the backseat of the SUV they had driven from Great Falls, Montana, through Idaho and eventually into Utah.

Even after all they had tried to prevent, to push back against and to prevail, what they had continued to find was the truth in each other. And again with William, a boy who grew up with different parents and eventually would know them.

“I wouldn’t change a day,” she said with a grin.

Mulder could accept that.