His heart beats slowly in his chest, against her ear, the sound reverberating in her brain like the steady beat of a familiar song. It calms her, as it always has, despite the problems she’s faced today- the problems she must face again tomorrow. Her stomach lurches at the thought and she closes her eyes tightly, her hand squeezing the material of his t-shirt in silent anguish.
“It’s okay,” he murmurs- even though it’s not. “I’m here.”
That’s true. He’s here. For the first time in a long time, he’s here. But she can’t fault him for the length of time they’ve spent apart; heaven knows he’d tried to be there for her before, and she’d pushed him away. Why had she done that? It all seems so trivial now.
“Why do I wreck everything?” she whispers, voice slightly muffled by his shirt, “No matter what I do, everything always falls apart. And it’s always my fault.”
“No,” he says it firmly, with finality, but she knows he has more to say; he always does whenever she’s too hard on herself, “It’s not your fault.”
She tilts her head up and presses her nose to his jugular, breathes in the familiar scent of his aftershave- he’s never changed brands in the twenty plus years she’s known him. Her hand comes up to touch his cheek, soft and warm. When her eyes open, he’s peering down at her with that same old look; the “i’m very worried about you but I don’t want to overstep” look that he must have given her over fifty times in the past 24 hours alone.
“I know,” she says softly, thumb stroking over the apple of his cheek. “But it feels that way. Every single time.”
He maneuvers himself downwards on the bed so they’re more level, so he can place his hand at the back of her head and gently pull her face closer to his, eyes piercing hers with sincere intensity.
“I love you,” he says, for the first time in two years, “That’s the only thing you’ve ever been at fault for, Scully.” he combs his fingers through her hair and watches her face with soft tenderness, “And I thank my lucky stars every damn day.”
Her fingers shake, warm tears welling in her eyes as her hand travels into his hair and finds its familiar home beneath his brown locks.
“Kiss me.” she whispers, and it’s like she never left.