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for the rest of their lives.

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That night, she asked : « Mulder, do you think of me as old ? »

 

Then he joked,

so she gave up.

 

The next night, she said : « I mean, sooner or later we're gonna retire... »

 

He doesn't want to think about that.

 

« and... are we gonna spend time together ? »

 

He tried to joke, again.

Because he doesn't want to think about an end.

The X-Files's end,

and, eventually,

the end of them.

 

She's reflecting. And he doesn't know what to do with that.

 

So for now and for her and her only, he makes a promise that he will always be here, right here, for as long as there is still work to argue over.

 

But really, what he means is : he'll be here, whatever she needs.

 

As if she sensed his worry, she made the same promise of her own.

 

Why, yes, indeed, he always needed her by his side to accomplish the work,

for he doesn't know how to do that alone anymore.

 

For he doesn't know how to live alone anymore.

 

But he heard her.

 

Sooner or later we're gonna retire and... are we gonna spend time together ?

 

He knows that right now, just for this night, she wants to think about a world,

 

the rest of her life,

 

with him but without the work.

 

He wants to make her dream. He really does.

 

But he also thinks : I can't go back to the way I was when I was out of work.

What kind of man I am without the X-files ? Too needy, that's all I am.

 

And yet, he still asks.

 

He asks her what's her dream. « What do you mean ? »

 

A beat.

 

He doesn't see it. He doesn't see us, she thinks.

 

He wants another baby. He wants someone who can have kids.

 

So I really am that old for him, because soon, I won't be able to, she concedes.

 

So,

she gives an answer,

 

anything,

 

but really, she doesn't believe a word she's saying.

 

« What if you meet someone... what if you meet someone younger who wants to have kids ? »

 

He slightly shaked himself up.

He sighed.

He frowned.

 

I am not her dream.

 

« Oh, that's what you mean. » His heart aches.

 

His heart physically aches.

 

But he only wants what's best for her.

He always does.

 

That's why he states : « Well... you could do the same. You could meet someone and... have kids. »

 

But his voice still cracks. Of course it does.

 

And she chuckles, ever so sadly.

 

She also notices that he didn't really answer her question.

 

He redirected it to her.

 

He doesn't have any idea what he wants or he just doesn't want to upset me ?

 

« Do you want to have more kids ? » I would give them to you. I would give you everything.

 

And just with that, she feels hopeful again.

 

Because he's not talking about an imaginary boyfriend.

And she's not talking about an imaginary girlfriend.

 

They are talking about kids.

In general.

 

The same way they did when she asked him for William.

 

So, she answers,

out loud and truthfully,

hoping that maybe the powers that be can hear her,

 

just like they did back then.

 

« At the risk of sounding insensitive, what's stopping you ? »

 

Oh.

Oh my god.

 

What's this question ?

 

He knows what's stopping her.

 

But maybe what he really wants to know is this : « And besides the fact that I don't have anyone to have one with even if I could ? »

 

« You're a woman of science. »

 

And I want you.

 

And if I can, I want your kids.

 

I want you, you, you.

 

All of you.

 

She also thinks that for tonight, this conversation is a dead end.

 

So she gives up on her dream and goes back on chatting about something that feels safe : work.

 

But just for now. Because she has hope.

 

« What if we lose our jobs ? »

« Yeah. Then what would we do ? »

« We'll think of something. »

 

He never let her down.

 

It sounds naive, but to her eyes, he never will.

 

And she believes in him, oh, how she believes in him.

 

*

 

He lies awake.

 

And she's lying next him,

all wrapped up under the covers,

 

like a safe heaven.

 

She kissed him. And she got on top of him. And then she took off her shirt. And she kissed him again, right before telling him that all she wanted,

 

right here,

right now,

 

was to make love to him.

 

It was nice. It was fulfilling. She was amazing.

 

But now he can't help it.

He can't help but blame himself.

 

I made her feel bad, I know I did.

 

Of course she knows he will always be around to talk to her into one of his latest theories. Of course he knows she will always be by his side to prove him wrong.

 

They've already been proving this to each other for the past twenty years.

 

No, what she really wanted was for him to reflect, too.

 

On himself.

On them.

On their past.

 

About anything and everything.

 

And what to do next.

 

But in the heat of the moment, he couldn't think about anything else to say other than showing her, once again, his professional loyalty.

 

He panicked.

 

Although,

he knows they're past that now.

 

He knows there's no reason to panick and prove loyalties anymore.

 

It's been 25 years.

 

For the first 10 years, she followed,

and helped,

and prayed,

and sacrificed,

 

and loved him, all the way long.

 

On the only faith that she believed in him.

 

Then, they ran off,

and they hid,

and he suffered,

and she kept her distances,

 

but stayed,

nonetheless,

 

never too far away,

 

for she accepted that there will never be another one like him.

 

I grew old with that woman.

 

In the midst of everything, she chose to grow old with him.

 

Even tho, from time to time, this may not have been the best decision she could have made for her well-being.

 

But now, he wants her to feel free and safe.

 

Feel free to hug him, and kiss him, and mess up with his hair and kiss him again, for as long as she wants to.

 

She cannot have done all she did for nothing. She deserves an end. She must not have regrets for all that happened.

 

He's all hers, for he has taken her for granted for too long.

 

They've lived through everything.

What's the point now of pushing each other away ?

 

He found Samantha. He found the closure he's been looking for ever since he became the man that he is today.

 

And the X-files ? He knows,

 

yes,

 

he knows that they were already here before him and will always be there after them.

There's no stopping the paranormal.

 

In the meantime, he's done everything he could so the legacy could live on. He knows he did.

 

What he needs now is to do his best with her, so they can live on together.

 

Because the end is near, yes it is.

 

This is what reflection looks like ?

So he will go on and reflect.

 

But right now, he needs to use the bathroom.

 

*

 

The case is (finally) over. He does not usually champions for a case to be wrapping up quickly but for this one, he did.

 

Because Scully got into his head.

 

She reached for him and he messed up.

 

Not on purpose. But he still did.

 

Although, he's gonna make it up to her, no problem.

 

And now, right outside of their suite, he's nervous.

Nervous because he wants, needs, to ask her something,

 

He closes his eyes.

 

I love her, I love her, I love her.

 

He opens the door.

 

*

 

 

« So I was thinking maybe we could get a couple hours in before checkout time ? »

 

She's giving him that look.

 

Hmm.

 

« I'm just talking about getting some shut-eye. »

« I'm glad to hear that Mulder. »

 

Well.

I'm screwed.

That's not gonna happen tonight.

 

Maybe if he asks ? « But if you need anything, you just, uh, call me. » Say you want me to stay, please, please, say it.

 

« I can't imagine that I will. » Of course she won't, after the nonsense I just told her hours ago.

 

He turns around, heading for his room.

 

No. She needs me. She needs me.

 

« Scully, can you uh – can I talk to you, just for a few minutes ? »

« Sure. » Her voice, warm and friendly.

 

She puts him immediatly at ease.

 

They both sit in her bed and they gaze, just for a moment.

 

Then,

he speaks. « I wanted to apologize, for what I said earlier.. »

« About what ? »

« Our conversation. »

 

She looks at him, confused. « Mulder, there's nothing to apologize for. If there's someone who needs to apologize, it's me, for waking you up in the middle of the night. »

« You weren't feeling ok. »

She looks down at her hands. « No, I wasn't. »

« And I wasn't straightforward with you. »

 

Right in front of her, he gets on one knee.

 

« I'm also sorry for joking when you wanted to talk about your age. I-I never have to think about that so I didn't really know what to say. But I'm sorry if I hurt you. »

 

She looks down at her legs.

 

« It's okay Mulder, it's just... Judy said something that got under my skin and... it's nothing, really. »

 

He nods, slowly. She knows she's not really convicing.

 

She doesn't want to be.

 

She looks up again. He says : « Okay, well... I just wanted to mention it because you talked to me about something similar tonight, so... I figured... »

 

She gives him a smile. A weak one. But a smile of appreciation, nonetheless. « I appreciate that. Thanks. »

 

They stare, just a for a moment.

 

She doesn't know what he wants.

He doesn't know what to say.

 

So he goes back on sitting in the bed, a bit closer to her than he was a minute ago.

He looks at her and gives her a warm smile. The one that reaches his eyes.

 

She doesn't know really know what to do with that, except giving it back but blushing ever so slighlty in the process, and once again, looking down.

 

«You know, you're right Scully. »

 

She raises her head to look back at him again. « About what ? »

 

«About being conscious of your age. It's true, you're old. »

 

Her mouth opens to object but he doesn't let her.

 

« And there's nothing wrong with that. It's... it's the circle of life, you know ? » He puts the palm of his hand on his chest. « I'm old too...». He releases it. «...and I honestly think being old brings us some kind of sagesse, you know ? We could use some of that. »

 

She looks at him.

Once again, she gives him a smile.

 

He's trying.

 

But. « I know that Mulder, but.. that's not what I meant when I asked you that. I just... I don't know what we are and then Judy came and told me this... » He frowns. «... and then, for a minute there, I tought I was the reason why we weren't together so that's why... »

 

He cuts her off.

 

« What did she tell you ? Judy. What did she say to you ? And don't say nothing because you mentioned her twice now so it's clearly bothering you. »

 

She looks right back at him.

But her smile faded away.

 

« She said... »

 

She does that thing again. She licks the top of her lips.

 

« She asked me what you see in me. » A beat. « She said that I'm 'half a woman' because I'm past my forties, because...I would have a hard time bearing children from now on. »

 

He frowns. She has something more to say but she looks down, again.

 

« I'm not bothered by that. I know that I can't have children. I know that... »

 

Her eyes shine from the need to cry,

just a little bit.

 

She rests her eyes on his again.

 

« I know that our baby was our only miracle. But her words made me worry that I don't know what you want. I don't know if loosing him made you feel want to have more children or if you have already crossed that idea off your mind a long time ago now. »

 

He whispers. « You think I would want to be with you only if I could have kids again ? »

 

He sounds hurt. He looks hurt.

 

He is hurt.

 

She shakes her head and soflty, she answers : « For the longest time, I never thought you did, Mulder. But now, we seem to be in this... » A pause. « …grey area and I don't know what to do about us. So, yeah. I doubted myself when she asked what you see in me. Because I don't know that myself. »

 

He looks straight at her eyes but the gaze is so heavy,

she can't hold it any longer .

 

« I'm sorry I led you to think that. » They stay silent. « I'm so sorry. I messed up, big time. »

 

She chuckles, but doesn't meet his eyes.

 

« I - » He pauses immediatly.

 

For he doesn't know what to tell her now.

 

So he will just say this : « I love you. » He hopes she knows how much. « I told you once that you're never 'just' anything to me, Scully. And I meant it. »

 

He looks down a second.

 

« But yeah, I'd understand if you didn't believe me back at the time. Because words mean nothing if they're not followed by something. People can talk. » He puts the emphasis on him. « I can talk. A lot. »

« Mulder, you're not like that. »

« Yes I am. » He needs to take responsability. He wants to take responsability. « I am, Scully. And that's not what I want you to think of me. I want you to feel proud. Of me. And of us. »

 

She doesn't say anything.

She knows he's right.

 

He gets up and offers her his hand. « Come with me. » He tilts his head in direction of the bathroom.

 

She takes it, no questions asked.

 

He leads her inside but once in front of the mirror, he lets her go in front and when he's behind her, rests his hands on each side of her waist.

 

He leans in, his chin on her shoulder, his face buried in her hair and without any warning, places a kiss, right there, in the crook of her neck.

 

Her eyes are closed. She's taking it all in.

 

Now, his arms are embracing her stomach,

and holding her.

 

She opens her eyes.

 

They are looking at each other through the mirror.

 

« Look at you, Scully. You're beautiful. How do you do it ? ». She chuckles. « See, that's what I mean when I say being old is not bad at all. »

 

« Oh I thought you meant spiritually ? » She's playing with him.

 

« Oh yes - yes, that too. I've actually been doing a lot of thinking lately.

 

She chuckles again. « Oh, really ? »

 

How happy she is, just being held like that.

 

« Yeah. » A pause. « And that's why I wanna ask you if...you want to be my wife. »

 

Oh my god.

 

Oh wow.

 

What did he just say ?

 

Wow. I did it.

 

She turns around.

 

Now they are facing each other,

no mirror needed.

 

But just before that, he had time to see her reaction.

She didn't say anything. She didn't even move.

She just stared at him.

Well.

At his reflection.

 

She froze.

 

She still is.

 

He knew she didn't understand where he was coming from. So he tried to explain himself :

 

« That's not what you may think Scully. I-I'm not asking because the last 25 years meant nothing. That's not what I'm doing, I'm not erasing anything, I swear. On the contrary. »

 

Somehow, she succeeds in finding words to say : « What are you saying ? »

 

« I'm saying that it's our past that made us who we are today. And I'm so proud of us. Actually, if-if you think about it, we've already been married. »

 

She frowns.

 

He's getting all excited.

And he's talking fast.

 

She knows that face.

 

He's all excited like he has found the answer to yet another mystery and he couldn't get it out of his mouth faster.

 

Oh, how she knows that face.

 

So she lets him talk.

 

« I-I know that we weren't really but no, we were. In sickness and in health, until death do us part, right ? We did that, that's exactly what we've been doing. »

 

A beat.

 

« Scully, I've always loved you and that's why I don't want us to get married to prove something, that's not what this is about for me. It's just – it's actually a way, I think for us both, to acknowledge what we've been through for the last twenty years, you know ? It's like a milestone and nothing, nothing else from our past has to be forgotten, ever. »

 

There is tension. So much tension.

She needs to defuse it.

 

So she looks straight at his eyes and hers soften.

 

With the sweetest smile, she says a thing,

anything.

 

« We do have to live under the same roof. »

« We did that. »

 

« And talk with each other. A lot more. »

« We can do that. »

 

He holds her face in his hands and whispers. « I want this bond of ours to live for ever and beyond. But we need something material. Some solid evidence. » He smiles. « Nothing but a piece of paper can do that.»

 

Finally,

 

at last,

 

some evidence.

 

Just as she was about to speak again, and maybe, give him an answer,

he talked again.

 

He went all in. He really did.

 

I love him, I love him so much.

 

« I-I know I wasn't perfect in the past. But I wouldn't change a day. Because my life has never been better ever since you came into it. I-I promise you that I'll do my best to let you love me, so you will never have regrets, so you will never think that you wasted your life on me. »

 

Now he's done.

 

She chuckles. « Mulder, if alternate universes existed, you would have been my soulmate in every single one of them, don't you even worry about it. »

 

She doesn't ask about the X-files in all this.

Somehow, she knows he meant everything he just said.

 

Because he acknowledged their history.

And now, he wants to do something nice about it.

 

For the rest of their lives.

 

He smiles. « So... » He pauses. « What do you say ?  »

 

Yes, Mulder.

 

I say yes.

 

Because once again, he did not let her down.