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Too Long A Time

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"We can't fall asleep out here." Her eyes were droopy.

"No? Why not? It’s our house, we can do what we want." He sat across from her, just as lethargic. She doesn’t miss his emphasis on the word ‘our’.

Each had one arm outstretched, meeting in the middle of the table placed between them where they played with each other’s fingers lazily.

"Mulder, I know your body is used to sleeping on sofas but you're pushing 60.”

“What does that mean?”

“What does that mean?” she parroted back. The classic Scully eyebrow of skepticism was raised. “It means that I think every animal in these woods heard your joints crack when you got up this morning.” She paused before continuing. "And I'll admit I'm not faring that much better."

It’s easy to recall the stiffness of this morning, in part because it’s becoming a feature of every morning.

"You may have a point," he admits.

“Yeah.”

Neither moves, staring off into the landscape beyond the porch. It’s summertime and the crickets are chirping in tempo with the treefrogs croaking, a soundtrack that is doing nothing to help with their sleepiness. Both barefoot, the warmth of the wood boards beneath their feet grounds them in place and heats them from the bottom up. He slips his fingers all the way into hers, clasping her palm against his own.

"Pancakes for breakfast?" she asks and chuckles when he tosses his head her way, suddenly more awake.

"With banana chunks?"

"I know what you like.” His lips curl in delight.

She mirrors his smile. As much as she knows he’s excited about banana pancakes, she knows that really, he’s happy she’s going to stay over another night.

“Haven’t had those in a long time.” He looks over at her. “Too long a time.”

She raises their joined hands to her mouth, brushes her lips across his knuckles.

“Too long a time.”