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When you peel back layers, you see the insides and there’s no hiding. It may be firm and unmarked, but there could be softness, bruising, a rot that will creep through to the surface, if it isn’t cut out. Scully slumped against him and wept, gently at first, then louder, until her sobs came so fast, she barely took breaths between. He pulled her to the motel bed, where he held her until the shuddering stopped, replaced by a silent rocking.

“I don’t blame you, Scully.”

“Our son, Mulder.”

The bruise on his heart pressed against the scar tissue, spreading.