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They’re in the yard, building…something. She’s not sure what, but so far it’s got four legs and a kind of platform so could be a table, but for really tall, really thin people. Stick figures, like the ones she used to imagine William would draw at kinder. A shiver slices up her spine. She drops sliced lemons into the jug and adds crushed ice at the very moment Mulder wipes his brow on the back of his arm and over the gust of wind that snaps into the kitchen window she sees them share some joke which sets Jackson off laughing and dancing, hips swinging wildly. Mulder stands back, propping the saw on its blade end and watching. She’s struck by the easiness of them. Their camaraderie. A mateship. She can’t…she hasn’t got the same…what would Jackson say? Vibe? Mood? Whatever, she tips her chin to her chest and carries the tray outside into the sucking heat.

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She’s spent a lifetime listening to the note of caution in the voice of her inner self. On the occasions she hasn’t, she’s endured its lengthy, shaming monologues. Daddy. Daniel. Jack. But one stormy night, she ignored the warning and pulled on her red robe to dash through the rain to the next motel room. That he treated her so tenderly didn’t switch off the voice entirely. Instead, she made a bargain. And tonight, as she slips out of the shadows of his bedroom and into the crinkled sheets, she’s cashing in her chips and taking the gamble.

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Unlike Shrodinger’s cat, if you put Dana Scully in the same bed as Fox Mulder you absolutely know what they’re going to be doing. Until that eternal slide into her, Fox Mulder had considered himself alive. It was only when he dared breathe, dared move again, that he realised he’d been dead all these years.

She kissed his scar, the one she’d given him, and he knew without the need for a scientific explanation, that it was entirely possible to be in a combination of all possible states at one given moment.

She was real but she wasn’t. He was here but he wasn’t. This was happening. But it couldn’t be.

Love, he decided, was as elusive and as plain as the truth. As sentimental and as practical as a heart. As foolish and wise as any man.

And he wanted to remain in this moment forever, yet emerge from it with the memory to clutch close, the knowledge of her body, her desires, her needs to learn from and put into practice. He wanted to go back to before, to the delicious anticipation. To circle back to the beginning to relish once more the warmth and tightness of her, yet to reach the climax over and over and over.

“What are you thinking?” she murmured against the rush of his pulse.

He chuffed. Thought of the cat in the box, dead and alive. Of his heart in its cage, beating yet still. “Nothing. And everything.”

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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.