‘The answers are there, and you’re always there to find them,’ he said. ‘I just point a flashlight in every direction and hope you know where you’re supposed to look.’
- I am exactly where I need to be.
Scully pursed her lips as she took in the sight before her. Mulder looked at her, innocently, with those big puppy eyes she could hardly resist. What am I doing, she thought, and an internal sigh caused her eyes to roll in the manner he’d come to expect from her. ‘You know, Scully, when I called you you seemed to be working on that case,’ Mulder continued his meddling. ‘I’ve been thinking. Talking dolls and witchcraft could be connected.’ She raised her eyebrows in exasperation. ‘Like I said, no case. I was on holiday. You know, relaxing. You should try it sometimes.’ She let her eyes wander from his cringing face upwards to the ceiling and back to him again before widening her eyes to stress her point before turning away from him. ‘I’m going home.’
‘But you just got here,’ he hurriedly jumped to his feet. ‘And I have something to show you.’ Scully turned around. Mulder scrambled to find a folder that was hidden under some unnecessary paperwork, flipping through it to look for something. ‘Mulder,’ Scully sighed, ‘I’m tired and I just came in to see if there was a case. If there’s not I’d like to go home and unpack.’ ‘You’re supposed to be well-rested,’ he insisted. ‘Scully….’ She sighed. Guess I can stay a while, she thought, and immediately thought back to the book she was reading. Or trying to read, when she wasn’t too busy working. Or whatever it was that she was getting paid to do. ‘All right,’ she conceded. ‘I’m going to get a coffee.’
Mulder relaxed back in his chair, amused, and content with himself for making her stay. ‘A holiday,’ he pondered, looking at the mess his office had become while she was away. It felt good to have her back with him, even though they’d called he’d missed having her in his space, he’d missed her attention on him, he’d missed the way she made him feel seen.
The phone startled him while he was on this rampant journey through the section of his brain named Dana Scully.
He hit his knee on his desk, almost fell backwards with his chair and just saved himself by catching the edge of his desk. A pile of paperwork fell off to the floor as he caught on to the side and reached for the obnoxiously screaming device. ‘Mulder,’ he answered, trying to sound slightly professional.
‘Oh hi, this is Jack Bonsaint, Chief of Police in Ammas Beach,’ a voice said. Jack, Mulder thought. Some guy named Jack. Chief of Police Jack. ‘How… How can I help you, Jack?’ he replied dryly. ‘I was looking for Dana Scully,’ Jack answered. ‘I wanted to ask her some things to wrap up the case.’ ‘Case, what case?’ Mulder asked, raising his voice a little as he noticed Scully walking back in the door. ‘Agent Scully was on holiday, I know nothing about a case,’ he stressed. Scully widened her eyes and motioned for him to hand her the phone. ‘Give that to me,’ she hissed. Mulder raised his eyebrows at her, moved out of reach and smiled wickedly at her. ‘Really. Well, no,’ he said into the phone. Scully sighed, a rush of heat running through her body and ending up on her cheeks. ‘Dammit, Mulder,’ she cursed lightly, trying to reach for the phone again. Mulder reached out his hand and Scully automatically handed a coffee to him, chastising herself for the movement as soon as she’d handed him the drink.
He was in her head. In her every move, there was something of him. Something for him. Her entire life revolved with him, around him and sometimes for him – the past few days had proven that to her. Even if she’d wanted to escape from him, she had found a case that hadn’t only needed her, it had needed him. And he? Well, like always, he seemed to just assume she needed him. But things didn’t work that way. She didn’t need him, did she? She didn’t want her life to revolve around him, did she? She felt her body react to her brain, because maybe she was slowly to answer all of those questions whether she wanted to or not. He was there in every moment of her life. And she liked it. She missed him when he wasn’t there, she needed him when he needed her and everything was all right as long as they were somehow together.
While this train of thought was running wild on the track through Scully’s brain Mulder was still in conversation with Jack, vigorously trying to annoy her while holding a conversation together with the unsuspecting man on the other end of the line. ‘Agent Scully’s not here,’ she heard him say. ‘I think she went shopping. Oh? I’ll ask her about that. Yes. Yeah, okay.’ He wiggled his eyebrows at Scully and she sighed, turning away and trying to decide what to do. ‘Agent Scully didn’t mention it, no,’ Mulder continued. ‘Uh-uh. I’ll ask her. No. Well, I wouldn’t say ‘experience’ per see.’ Scully rolled her eyes. Mulder just continued. ‘Talking doll, huh,’ she heard Mulder emphasize, and something inside of her stirred coldly. Dammit, he wasn’t supposed to know. Why not? Her inner voice asked her. Shut up, she told it. I can solve cases without him intervening, another, quieter voice whispered to her. I am capable of doing things without him. Am I?
‘Screw you,’ she mouthed at Mulder as she turned back around to get her stuff. Mulder shrugged and continued to talk, but Scully zoned out and got a few folders from the floor, trying to organize the mess he’d made in her absence. ‘Yeah, sure, Jack,’ she heard Mulder wrap up the conversation. ‘I’ll tell her. You do that. Yes. Bye now.’ He hung up the phone and sighed. ‘That was Jack,’ he said, mentioning towards the phone. ‘He uhh… He sends his regards.’ Scully sighed, not wanting to ask him. But she knew he was going to make her. He was going to make her either guess or ask him what that was about and she hated him for it, but she also knew it was one of the many things about him that kept her coming back for more. Their relentless teasing over the phone during the past few days had actually been the reason she’d wanted to see him today – but she would never tell him that. Ever. So she sighed dutifully and threw in the optional ‘hand on hip’ before opening her mouth and satisfying him with the question he’d hoped she’d come up with. ‘What was that about?’
‘Case with a talking doll, but I told him you knew nothing about that. You were on holiday. No case, no talking doll, remember?’ Scully pursed her lips and raised her eyebrows at him. Two could play this game, she thought. He knew this and still he invited her for a match, every single time, and she’d continue trying to win every time because she had never backed down from a challenge, especially one set by Fox Mulder. So she didn’t say a word, she just shrugged and hoped Jack hadn’t said anything embarrassing. It’s all she could do to keep herself from spilling all her secrets, telling him the whole story, but that would prove him right about everything he’d been guessing at from miles and miles away, and if there was one thing she didn’t want it was to see that smug, satisfied grin of Fox Mulder being proved right. Not today. No, today she wanted to do some paperwork, tease her partner a bit, get fed up with him and drive home before repeating it all over again. Because that’s what her life was. And it was strange, disturbing and dangerous. But it was also strangely satisfying,disturbingly fulfilling and dangerously addictive. And it was her entire life, but somehow she found nothing wrong with that.
Mulder looked at her, grinned, and boyishly tucked his chin as he tried to hide his giddiness from her. She reached for one of his pencils, inspected the tip and sharpened it before reaching for a chair to pull up to his desk.
‘I’m glad you’re back, Scully,’ he said out of the blue.
She looked at him and the smile that curled around her lips was hardly an invited guest. She’d wanted to play tough for a while, keep him guessing, hold out on him, but his charm and his happiness at them being in the same room again was contagious and it made her skin tingle. Mulder shifted in his seat and pulled it aside to make room for her at his desk. He reached for her chair and pulled it towards him. ‘Here you go, G-woman,’ he said softly. ‘Right where you belong.’
- Rather than being discouraged by how far I have left to go, I am grateful for how far I have already come.
After a few hours of catching up on absolutely nothing at all Mulder sighed deeply and bent down to retrieve yet another pencil that had fallen from the ceiling. Slowly, one by one they were dropping into his lap, onto his shoulder or landing in a thud on his skull and it felt therapeutic, almost, but this one that landed a few feet away from him made him yearn for a cold beer. Rather than getting them all down he was allowing them to set a disjointed rhythm to their dance, their slow dance of unnecessary eye contact and a few poorly hidden smiles. After meeting Scully’s slightly judging eyes for the fifth time he pursed his lips and threw the pencil on the desk. ‘Well, I guess I’m going home.’
‘And leave me with this? No way, Mulder,’ Scully said, motioning to the stack of disorganized paperwork that they had just started to put back into order after it had fallen to the floor earlier. Mulder shrugged. ‘You’re well rested,’ he said. Scully sighed. ‘I’m not doing this today,’ she said to herself. ‘I’m not doing this all by myself. You can help me tomorrow,’ she directed at Mulder. He shrugged again and nodded vaguely. ‘Wanna order takeout at my place?’ Scully shook her head. ‘I want to go to my apartment, Mulder. I wanna put my feet up and watch stupid TV for a few hours.’ Mulder grabbed his things and waited by the door for her, apparently already expecting Scully to leave with him. She sighed and also gathered her things. ‘What, you driving me home?’ ‘Maybe,’ Mulder said. ‘You still want to check out that head shop?’ Scully cocked her head to the side. ‘Yeah, sure, you could show me where it is. But I do want to go home, so just drive past it, I’ll go back and have a look later. You don’t want us to be seen in there.’ ‘What, worry you’ll tarnish my street cred?’ he winked at her. ‘Worried we’ll catch an STD just from walking in there,’ she deadpanned as she walked past him towards the exit. ‘Turn off the light,’ she called back and smiled to herself as she watched from the corner of her eye how he recoiled a few steps and to hit the switch.
He drove her home quietly, only detouring to show her the shop. Scully made a mental note of its location and thanked him as he drove on and took her home. Soon they were at her apartment and she gathered her things from his car. ‘Thanks,’ she said. ‘Wanna come in for a beer?’ ‘You’re tired,’ he said. ‘Yeah, I’m going to crash on the couch but there’s room for you if you want to,’ she said, nodding towards the door. ‘Have a beer, I mean.’ Mulder nodded. ‘All right.’ He got out and offered to carry some of her things, which she found crazy. ‘I don’t need you to carry my things, Mulder,’ she pointed out. ‘I got it.’ He took a bag from her anyway and waited patiently for her to open the door.
It took them mere seconds to kick off their shoes and fall onto her couch with a cold beer in hand. Mulder sighed and Scully leaned her head on the back of the couch. ‘I’m exhausted.’
‘I’m beginning to think you’re not telling me things,’ Mulder observed as he leaned in a little. ‘Like the case of the talking doll,’ his voice whispered close to her ear. She felt the hairs on her arms stand on end at the sound of his voice and the memories it brought along – this case wasn’t something she wanted to be reminded of. ‘There’s nothing to tell,’ she shrugged. ‘I solved it.’ ‘Without me,’ Mulder said, slight disappointment running through his voice. ‘And I thought there was no case.’ ‘All right,’ she caved. ‘There was a case. I helped the local PD to solve it. It took up most of my vacation.’ ‘See!?’ Mulder exclaimed. ‘I knew there was something. What was it? An Edison talking doll? Possessed?’ Scully looked at him, her eyes wide. ‘I honestly have no idea. The family was associated with witchcraft in the past. It was a tragic story, really.’ ‘You should have called me,’ Mulder said, his enthusiasm peeking right along with his disappointment at having missed it. ‘I did,’ Scully reminded him. ‘Right,’ he said, leaning back down against the sofa.
Scully drank her beer and relaxed on her couch. She needed a holiday. A real one, she thought, one where there were no talking dolls that had to be set on fire and no supermarkets full of people clawing their eyes out. She huffed at the memory – how was this her life? Mulder looked at her, turning his head, his eyes tracing the muscles in her face. ‘What?’
‘Everything I’ve done in my life,’ Scully pondered, ‘Everything I’ve worked for. And here I am, telling you about a little girl and her dolly that I had to incinerate while I was on holiday in Maine.’ ‘You incinerated the girl?’ Mulder raised his eyebrows jokingly but Scully was oblivious. ‘Just the doll,’ she sighed. He nodded, feeling how his joke fell flat between them. She obviously had a tough job out there. ‘Well,’ Mulder said as he put his feet up on her coffee table, ‘I’m sure all your accomplishments up until now made you the perfect person to deal with the situation up there. Jack was impressed, and so am I, Scully.’
Scully sighed again and rolled her face towards Mulder’s. They were close, but the tension between them felt good and comfortable. She searched his eyes for a few seconds finding nothing but truth and support. ‘We may never know the truth,’ she said quietly, ‘But I know I found my truth with your help. You helped me to look beyond the science, and even though I didn’t readily believe you I know you helped me open up to incredible possibilities.’ He took another sip of the bottle stuck between his long fingers. ‘The answers are there, and you’re always there to find them,’ he said. ‘I just point a flashlight in every direction and hope you know where you’re supposed to look.’
An hour later she stood in the shower, pointing her face into the relentless downpour that fell upon her skin. She tried to relax into the hot stream, tried to expel the memories that would keep her from falling asleep, tried to clear her mind from anything that would impede her much needed rest. She succeeded fairly well and later, as she pulled one of Mulder’s old T-shirts over her head to get into bed she involuntarily smiled at the rightness of the situation. He was right.
Of course he was right. They had no idea where their story would end, or how far they had yet to travel on their separate roads that always seemed to intertwine, but they were still here, and they were still on a path. That had to count for something.
She pulled her blanket close to her body and closed her eyes. Her days would not be organized, they wouldn’t be predictable and they most certainly would not be ordinary or safe. But wasn’t that what she’d always wanted? Everything that had happened had happened for a reason and thinking back, lying here in her bed after a bizarre few months, Scully knew that she was fairly safe, and that she was fairly healthy and that’s all that mattered at this moment. She’d been on the edge of death recently and it had caused her internal clock to tick louder and louder every day. But not today. Today she decided to take a breath. Take a second to see what was right in front of her – and in front of her, or beside her in every sense but the physical, was Fox Mulder.
- I trust my own wisdom and intuition.
Two days later Scully came home from running errands. She methodically went about putting her groceries in place, putting everything on their proper shelves, storing everything away. As she put away the last things she looked around, satisfied with the looks of her apartment – everything looked in order, clean and well-stocked. Slowly, bit by bit her life was returning to normal, as far as anyone would call it ‘normal’ anyway. She still hadn’t told Mulder much about the case and she wasn’t planning on telling him more, he could read her report if he wanted to, but she was fairly sure he just wanted to make sure she was okay without telling her as much. She loved him for it, really loved him for it and it was something that she’d come to appreciate more and more about their relationship. It was a culmination of a million little things that made up whatever it was that they had, but it was invaluable, especially in times like these where she was trying to come back to herself a bit more. She felt like she’d lost touch with herself a little, life had gotten in the way as they said, and she wasn’t used to it so she was happy to feel like she was getting everything back under control.
Across town Mulder was in his basement waiting for Scully to get into the office. He had come across a story and wanted to show it to her – somewhere in Maine a boat had caught fire in the middle of the sea and a man had drowned. A doll had been found, a burned one, and when Jack had called again to ask if Scully was in he’d just put two and two together and now he was bursting out of his skin to tell her, to prove he was right, or maybe just to see her. He missed seeing her. They were spending more time together recently and he had never felt closer to her but he’d also never missed her like he missed her these days when she wasn’t around. To be close to Scully meant to always want to be close to her, and he was quickly finding out that his mind and body needed her in the same room every second of every day. Only he couldn’t. Not at this time, when she was still hurting, healing and trying to find her path beside him again. He knew that would take time and even though he’d always make sure he was there he wanted her to come to him when she was ready. So when she didn’t show up to work he didn’t call her. But when she called *him* later that day and invited him for dinner he didn’t refuse.
When he showed up to her house later that evening he found her with files all around her coffee table. ‘I thought you took the day off,’ he said, slightly more serious and concerned than he’d meant. She just shrugged. ‘I was behind.’ He raised his chin in acknowledgment. ‘Oh,’ he said, faking a surfacing memory, ‘Jack called again. Seemed eager to talk to you.’ ‘Oh?’ Scully tried to look uninterested. 'What did he want?’ Mulder shrugged. ‘No idea. Something about a boat catching fire and a doll being found up there.’ ‘Still on about the doll case, huh,’ she teased him, pushing him out of the way as he blocked her entrance to the kitchen. ‘I’m not going to tell you what happened. You’ll just have to guess.’ ‘Oh, don’t worry,’ he straightened his spine. ‘Me and Jack are exchanging all kinds of information. Soon I’ll know where you slept and what you had for dinner.’ ‘Pizza,’ she said. ‘What?’ Mulder said, his brain still one step behind. ‘I had mostly pizza,’ Scully repeated, ‘so that’s one thing you can scratch off that little list of yours.’ ‘Who says I have a list?’ he tried to sound offended. ‘I’m fine, Mulder,’ she changed the subject unexpectedly and he immediately felt the weight of her statement between them. Her blue eyes jumped from his back down to the floor. ‘I know,’ he assured her. ‘I know.’
She made him dinner and he watched as they kept their conversation mostly light-hearted, although their looks and small touches told a different story. Mulder teased her about the state of her apartment and questioned whether she’d been time-traveling to get it all done while she asked him if he’d done anything more thought-provoking than sharpening and launching pencils at his ceiling, which he still said wasn’t all he did while she was away. His eyes told her I was bored out of my mind without you here to meddle and disagree with my work, I need your annoyingly rational brain to keep me in the realm of the possible. Her hand tenderly on his arm as she reached past him to get a spoon told him I called you because I missed your voice. I didn’t want to miss your voice, but I did. It grounds me, and your irrational and out-there theories keep my brain open and wild and I need it. I need you.
They understood each other like they always had. Their language was slowly becoming more elaborate, better-rounded with sighs and gestures as well as words and looks but the vocabulary was still the same. They only ever needed three words. They just had an infinite number of ways to show each other, and the more time they spent together or apart the more detailed and intricate their expressions became. Scully felt it happen and she’d tried to resist, but somewhere during this wildly unrelated case she’d discovered that she didn’t want to care anymore. Her instincts were often right. She needed to learn to trust them again. If he trusted her, if he trusted her enough to let her go after everything that had happened between them and with them recently, then she should learn to trust herself like he never seemed to have any trouble doing. Fully and completely, confident in her wisdom and rooted in her instinct like he seemed to be. Glued to her heart, like a puppy to its favorite stuffed animal – gathering strength, comfort and courage from it even though it possibly possessed none of the above to begin with.
Soon dinner was ready and he took his place on the couch, forgoing any pretense of eating at the actual dinner table. They never did. Not anymore.
The couch was their place now, the cushions supportive and always listening even if one of them wasn’t completely present. Tonight, however, they were both fully aware of each other as they ate their pasta and Mulder took pity on Scully and told her about the story Jack had called about.
‘So that doll you burned came back to burn one last time,’ he finished as he put the last bite of pasta into his mouth. ‘Good thing you weren’t around anymore.’ ‘Sorry?’ Scully pretended not to hear him with his mouth full. ‘I said, that thing could have taken revenge on you if you were still working that case you didn’t work on.’ ‘Ah,’ she nodded. ‘Well, I’m sure I would have been fine. It’s just a doll.’ ‘Hmm,’ Mulder hummed before he swallowed his chewed up food. ‘A doll that speaks and makes people put a knife or hammer through their face.’ She looked at him as he put his plate down. ‘You really do know the case.’ ‘I know what I read,’ he shrugged. ‘You read the report?’ She questioned him. He met her eyes and they smiled at him, touched by his attention to detail and the effort he’d put in for her. ‘Why does that surprise you, Agent Scully?’ he asked. She shook her head lightly, turning her attention back to her pasta. ‘It doesn’t. I just thought you’d have more important things to do with your time than read my half-assed report about a half-assed case I worked on while I was on holiday.’
‘One that you repeatedly interrupted my day with by calling me for much-needed advice,’ he pointed out with a finger in the air. She caught his wrist and pulled his hand down. ‘Shut up,’ she laughed. ‘Don’t pretend you weren’t waiting by the phone.’ He pulled his hand free and threw his arm across the back of the couch, his fingers casually touching the top of her shoulder. ‘What if I was? I know you too well, Scully. I knew you’d get yourself into some case you’d need my help with. So I just kept myself available, you know, should you need me.’ ‘Right,’ she said, a frown between her brows. ‘Cause you always have all the answers.’ ‘No,’ he shook his head lightly. ‘You do. You just don’t trust the evidence sometimes.’ ‘Scientific evidence is the foundation of my work, Mulder,’ she argued. ‘Circumstantial, anecdotal evidence is more like a guessing game.’ He turned his face to look at her again. Searching her eyes for a few seconds he found nothing but Dana in them, comfortable, relaxed, slightly guarded but open and he committed her look in that moment to memory to cherish forever. ‘I’d trust your guessing game over anything scientific any time,’ he said quietly and watched how she tried in vain to hide the shy smile that played across her muscles.
- I take responsibility for my own happiness today.
After dinner Scully watched as Mulder pulled out E.T. and put it in the VHS player. ‘Really?’ she questioned him, her brow shooting higher than he’d thought it possible. ‘Yeah,’ he said as he went to put down the box on her side table.
As he put down the box he noticed a book lying on the armrest of her comfortable chair. ‘What are you reading?’ he asked as he picked it up.
‘Nothing really,’ Scully said, instantly feeling it was too late to stop him from seeing. ‘Just trying to get out of my head for a while.’ She watched as his eyes played across the title and cover before turning it to read the back. ‘Yeah, you said that,’ he said softly as he read the words on the back. ‘You know you can talk to me about this, don’t you Scully?’ he said as he looked at her, gesturing towards her with the book. ‘It’s a self-care book, Mulder, I’m pretty sure I’m supposed to talk to myself about it,’ she said but the look in her eyes told him something else. Something she was unsure of how to tell him. ‘Still,’ he said, ‘I don’t want you to feel like I’m not listening. I’m always listening.’ She smiled a thin smile. ‘Yeah.’ He sighed and put it down. ‘You know, I’m pretty good at affirmations too,’ he said, wiggling his eyebrows at her. She smiled a crooked smile, glad he was trying to dissolve the tension she’d put between them. ‘Really,’ she questioned. ‘Oh yeah,’ he boasted, dropping down on the sofa beside her. ‘I could say something like… Wow, Scully, you look exceedingly smart and well-rested today.’ ‘I’m pretty sure that’s just a guy’s way of giving a well-meant compliment and not an affirmation,’ she shook her head at him, ‘but I appreciate the effort.’
He grinned at her and pressed play.
Truth was, she knew him and his affirmations. She didn’t need him to prove it. It was in everything he did for her or with her. He’d proven it time and time again, counting on her, relying on her, living for her like she was living for him. Like she continued to save him every day, like he did her, and it was a vicious circle that would inevitably lead to the two of them colliding. They both knew it wasn’t far off. They both knew the other would be ready. Nothing would change, everything would be the same. They’d still need each other like they did now. Only one thing would fall away, that thinning veil that lived between them now would dissipate into nothingness and they’d finally see each other clearly, all of them, everything would be out in the open and all of their hard work would be rewarded with the love that would free itself from between their looks and touches where it had been growing and biding its time. But for now it was safer there, in the space between his fingers and her shoulder, in the air between his lips and her ear. In the beep that sounded as she disconnected the call before he said goodbye. It would live in the pencil that was stuck in his basement office ceiling waiting for someone to rescue it. And that time would come. She would walk into that office soon and not be able to deal with those pencils, and she’d get a chair, take matters into her own hands and take them out one by one. That would be the day he would sweep her off her feet and finally tell her in words what they’d been telling each other louder and louder every day since they met.
But for now she leaned back into the couch, looking for his touch and finding it in the pressure of his arm into the cushions of her couch. She hadn’t needed affirmations for a while so to come to this book now, at this stage in her life was somewhat of an unexpected path. However if it had taught her one thing, it was that happiness was something she could create for herself. There was no better time than now and being away on this case had taught her that everything was exactly as it was supposed to be.
He knew all about insecurities. He knew she didn’t feel comfortable sharing her struggle with him because she was afraid of hurting him, especially after her recent illness. He felt it daily as he searched for her attention, trying to hold himself back but desperately needing her to know he was there and he cared for her without ever being able to tell her. He felt her hold back as well, torn between giving her all and holding everything back and it was hard for him to see. It was hard to see her leave for a few days, saying she needed her owns pace. Every time she’d called he’d been on the verge of asking her to come back to him. Every time she’d shut him down he had wanted more desperately to have her back.
But she had come back. And she was here, now, and as he watched her watch the movie he knew that if this book gave her the positivity and grounded confidence she needed to make this work then he’d buy her a thousand copies. Just to make sure.
Halfway through the movie Scully paused the movie to go get a beer. He stopped her and stood up instead, pulling the kitchen door closed a little as he went. As she sat back on the couch she watched the door close and a shiver ran down her spine.
Behind the door was the poster she’d bought at a head shop on M street earlier that day. Four pieces of tape were doing a mediocre job of holding it up, but it was there, mysterious forest and UFO and all. She’d bought it and put it up there as a reminder. Of what, she hadn’t known. But now, with Mulder in her kitchen she realized what exactly she had intended for that poster to do – it was there as an affirmation. I want to believe – that everything will be all right. That everything is working out exactly as it’s supposed to. That I am worthy, and that he is worthy, and that together we will make it. And by wanting to believe it, and by working hard on it, I can and will make it happen.
When Mulder walked back through the door he pushed the poster out of view again. As his eyes crossed Scully’s he was met with a teary smile, and as he handed her the beer he settled a little closer next to her. No words were needed as she pushed herself down a little to lay her head on his shoulder. He pressed play again and felt a deep sigh escape the woman beside him. Smiling, he allowed his heart to reach out to hers and do that wordless thing they did. He knew she felt it when he felt her chin push into his shoulder a little. His hand fell to her thigh and her palm softly landed on his. Their skin connected and so did their souls, again, for the millionth time since they knew each other – it was just clearer to her today than any other day before.
Yes, she thought.
Today, I want to believe.
The movie stretched on and somewhere along the line his hand fell back onto his beer bottle, but Scully felt his heart right there beside her. She didn’t need his affirmations to be said out loud, she realized. They were always right there, in every little thing she didn’t notice enough about him. An annoying phone call in the middle of the night or two hours into her holiday, a silent but desperate scream into the nothingness of a hospital room or a relentless, well-meant insult – Fox Mulder had his ways of showing her how much he cared, and she heard them all.
Hours later Mulder decided he wasn’t too drunk to drive home and he wouldn’t be stopped by a slightly worried Scully. She finally gave in, throwing her hands up in the air as she dropped the pillow she’d taken out for him onto the couch. ‘I’ll be fine, Scully, I promise,’ he pouted at her. ‘I’ll call when I get home.’ She rolled her eyes. ‘Please don’t, you’re not twelve and I’m not your mom.’ He shrugged. ‘All right. Good night.’ She nodded and followed him as he gathered his coat and keys and watched wordlessly as he touched his hand to her elbow and dropped a quiet kiss into her hair before turning the corner into the hallway.
Times like these did more for her head and soul than any amount of time away from him ever could. But he didn’t need to know that, she thought. He couldn’t, not yet. Soon, though. So she pursed her lips and looked at him as he turned his head one last time and a small gesture that was meant as a wave sent him on his way again.