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Acceptance

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A knock on the door woke Mulder from an uneasy doze where he lay, fully clothed on his unmade bed. He sat up slowly, the pizza he’d eaten earlier weighing guiltily on his stomach. He could’ve gone to visit his mother for thanksgiving but he hadn’t been feeling particularly thankful.

“S’open.” He called, and made a half-hearted attempt at moving his scattered psych textbooks from the floor so they wouldn’t get damaged. They’d cost enough.

“Mulder?” He looked up to see Scully standing uncertainly in the doorway, the light from the hallway illuminating her with a golden glow, dwarfed by her jacket and her eyes rimmed red. He squinted against the glare. She clasped her hands in front of her uncomfortably.

“Scully?” He asked. “What’s happened? I thought you went to your parent’s.”

She shed her spikes, the jacket dropping to the floor with a quiet clatter and her combat boots landing on a pile of Mulder’s discarded shirts. She sat heavily on the bed.

“I did.” Her voice was not quite steady. “I left early.”

He placed his textbooks on the bedside table, flicked on the lamp and sat down next to her. She leaned into him, small and soft against his arm but for the sharp press of her earring, a reminder of her occasionally severe demeanour. They sat in silence, and the moment stretched under the weight of their combined thinking.

“I told them.” she said, finally. “I came out to my family.”

She allowed herself a melancholy smile as he took in the information.

“What - how?” he asked with an expression of mild awe.

“They were going ‘round the table saying what they were thankful for, and I couldn’t keep it in any more. I said ‘I have something to tell you all’ - I think they thought I was pregnant - Dad said ‘What is it, Dana?’ in his awful calm voice, and then -” she swallowed. “Then I said ‘I’m bisexual’. None of them knew what to say. Bill looked like he wanted to stab something with the carving knife.”

She let out a hollow chuckle, and Mulder wondered whether he should put his arm around her, should try to ease her pain, or whether she wanted space. She pressed her lips together tightly and blinked rapidly. Mulder pulled her into his side, rubbed soothing circles into her shoulder.

“It was awful.” she repeated, slipping her small hand around his waist in return. “Then Charlie came out with some rubbish about choosing to only date men or something so I - I told them about Jack.”

Mulder released a long breath and closed his eyes briefly, pulling her closer. He had met Scully after her relationship with her professor had ended, but he had heard enough about it to know that it had affected her deeply.

“I told them about my affair with her, and how much it hurt not to be able to talk to them about it.” she pressed her face into his shoulder. “Mom softened, I think, but Dad looked like someone had shot him in the gut.”

“How did your sister take it?”

“Missy cornered me before I left and asked me why I didn’t tell her sooner.” Scully gave a watery smile. Mulder smiled with her. He liked Melissa, although he had met her only briefly on Scully’s birthday. He hadn’t been certain she’d liked him. “I didn’t answer her, but I’ve been thinking. The reason I didn’t tell her - or any of them - is that I didn’t want her to think badly of me.”

She lapsed into quiet sobs against his shoulder, and his heart twisted for her.

“Scully-”

“I don’t feel like I’ve sinned, Mulder,” she said, clutching the side of his shirt. “I don’t want them to think of me as a sinner.”

He pressed his face into the top of her head, holding back sympathetic tears. Her hair was smooth and smelled faintly of mint.

“Well if it makes you feel any better, Scully,” He said lightly, his tone impressively strong. “if you do go to hell, I’ll be down there with you.”

She pulled away from him slightly so that she could see his face.

“Don’t be a jerk, Mulder.” She tried to scowl, but couldn’t quite control the smile that pulled at the corners of her mouth.

“We can hang out.” he continued. She punched his shoulder lightly. “Hell is probably very punk rock, anyway.”

She let out a snort, then a choked chuckle, and he laughed at her laughter, and then they were clutching each other weakly and giggling helplessly, more over the sudden release of tension than Mulder’s terrible attempt at joking.

Scully lay back with a flop and sprawled herself over Mulder’s bed.

“so, what’cha wanna do?” Mulder asked with a hesitant smile. “I’ve borrowed Space Odyssey from Frohike, and I haven’t had a chance to watch it.”

He retrieved the battered cassette from under a pile of clothes and waved it enticingly in the air.

“Another crappy sci-fi movie, Mulder?” she pulled a face

“Not a crappy sci-fi movie.” he corrected as he leaned precariously off the bed to turn on the VCR. “This one has critical acclaim.”

“Sure.” she said, and sat back against the wall next to him. “Like Star Wars has critical acclaim.”

“I don’t even like Star Wars.” he smiled as the opening music played, her head on his shoulder and her face only slightly reddened from tears. “This is very philosophical. You might even like it.”