She counts the ceiling tiles and pretends he’s beside her. If she’s quiet enough, her breathing even, she can almost pretend that her heartbeat is his. She presses her hand against her chest and feels the frantic thumping of her anxious heart. He’ll be back soon.
Sixty seven; there are sixty seven ceiling tiles in their little motel room. It’s one of the smallest she’s ever been in, and she can feel the walls all around her like they’re their own sentient beings, seemingly moving closer and closer to her the longer she lays dormant on the bed. The longer she waits, the more her air supply seems to disappear, her fingers anxiously toying at her crucifix.
She looks at the clock. It’s been twenty minutes. He said he’d be back in fifteen.
Their first night on the run and she’s already terrified that it’s the last.
Breathe, Dana; she hears it in his voice, pretends he’s a few inches away, under the weathered motel sheets with his hands gripped around her waist, his lips to her ear, Everything’s going to be fine.
She closes her eyes and tries to tell herself that the world isn’t ending, even though it feels like it is. The hard tick of the clock on the wall is agonizing. How is he not back yet? Where is he?
The thought of him being detained by police somewhere, at this moment, while she sits idly by in the motel room waiting for him to come back… it’s horrific. It makes her think of William, where he could be right now, if he needs her. If he’s waiting for her.
She can’t lose both of them.
Thirty minutes now. She slides off the bed and creeps to the window, pulling back the curtain slightly and peering out into the heavy rain, hoping for some sign of him. The gas station is only ten minutes from here. He should be back by now.
Her hands are shaking, and she feels tears stinging her eyes as she moves away from the window and sits on the edge of the bed, heart in her throat.They found him. They found him, and they took him. It’s the only thing she can think of, the only thing that makes sense in this moment.
I’ll never see him again.
The knock on the door sounds like a gunshot. She jumps from the bed, pressing herself against the wall and bringing her hand to her mouth, the tears streaming steadily now. They’re here, they found me. They found me. They found me.
“Scully?” she hears, voice muffled behind the door.
A sob wracks through her body as she rushes to the door, frantically unlocking both locks and then flinging her arms around him, arms wrapped so tightly she wouldn’t be surprised if it’s hurting him. But she doesn’t care, not right now.
“Hey, it’s okay.” he says softly, hand coming up into her hair, “It’s okay, I’m back.”
She doesn’t let go, but lets him lead them into the room, listens to him lock the locks again and then wrap both of his own arms around her, his nose in her neck. “I’m sorry I took so long.” he murmurs, his hand coming up to stroke the back of her neck, “Someone was playing scratch cards for like ten minutes, he kept buying new ones when he didn’t win. You would’ve given him a piece of your mind.”
She laughs shakily into his shoulder, tears soaking the material of his jacket, “I was so scared.” she whispers, sniffling. “I thought I’d lost you again.”
He pulls back to place his hands on both of her cheeks, peering down into her eyes with heavy concern, “I’m right here.” he says, thumbs stroking her skin. He leans in to press a small kiss to her forehead. “Come here.”
He puts down the bag of gas station food and leads her to the bed. She immediately climbs into his embrace, head on his chest as he puts his arms around her and pulls her in. They lay quietly for a few minutes, Scully’s tears drying on her cheeks, her fingers pressed against his collarbone.
“You okay?” he murmurs, rubbing her back gently.
“Yeah,” she replies, tilting her head to look up and smiling when she sees that he’s looking down at her. “I’m sorry.”
“There is absolutely nothing for you to be sorry for.” he chuckles, and leans down to kiss her softly, his lips dry but just as soft as they always are. She kisses him back and reaches up to card her fingers through his hair.
“I love you.” she murmurs against his lips, like it’s a secret. Because that’s what their lives are now.
He pulls back and she knows he’s thinking the same thing, his eyes shining with tears as the grip of his hands on her waist tightens.
“I love you too.” he whispers, leaning forward again to press his forehead against hers. “And I’m not going anywhere.”