The worst part of getting herself licensed to practice medicine (again) was the length of her shifts and the short turn-around. She’d forgotten how grueling that was when she’d been in med school; coming home at 8pm, getting a few hours sleep and then turning around and going back to work at 3am. She felt like she hardly saw Mulder at all. After the first two weeks of the schedule, she woke up one morning and stumbled into the bathroom to find a Post-It on the mirror.
After quietly getting herself ready and going downstairs to make the coffee, she went into Mulder’s office and found the pad of sticky notes on his cluttered desk. Before she left, she crept back upstairs and stuck her own note to the lamp on his side of the bed.
For the next six weeks, Post-Its and notes were traded back and forth.
She would have to admit that the little notes brightened her morning a bit. They only got a few minutes to talk each night after she got home, exhausted as she was, she mostly just wanted to go to bed. Sometimes he would lay with her as she fell asleep, and that was nice, but she missed the long talks they used to have about everything and nothing.
One morning, she didn’t find a note anywhere; not on the mirror, not on her coffee mug, not on her briefcase. She felt ridiculously disappointed by the lack of a silly little note, moping all morning until she took took her lunch break and found a baggie of Hershey’s Kisses on top of her sandwich, and a note from Mulder.
She actually welled up, tears dripping onto her tuna salad sandwich. It made her feel foolish, but the sweetness of it was overwhelming. She shoved the note into the pocket of her scrubs and unwrapped one of the Kisses and popped it into her mouth. She saved the rest for later, wanting to taste like chocolate when she got home.
The next day, her day off, they spent it in bed. He woke her from her cat naps with kisses to her face, promising more where that came from after she ate the soup he brought or the scone or the lemon chicken. They sat on the porch as the sun went down and Mulder nudged her awake when the raccoon that had been tormenting the house came ambling up the steps without hesitation.
The following morning, Scully indulged in rolling over and snuggling into Mulder’s side for the few minutes she could spare without making herself late. She finally dragged herself from the bed, stretched her pleasantly sore muscles, and grinned around her toothbrush at the note on the shower curtain.
She left a note on his running shoes, kicked over beside the door, before she left.
The next morning he taped a picture of a raccoon to the front door with a red circle around it and a line drawn diagonally across its face. She was running late already so she didn’t leave a note behind, but that night she brought him a bag of sunflower seeds she picked up at the hospital gift shop.
Eventually, her shift schedule changed and they saw more of each other for awhile, but then she got the job at Our Lady of Sorrows and it was too far to come home every night. Neither of them trusted in the privacy of text messaging, not with Mulder still in hiding, so cell phones were only supposed to be for emergencies. The sticky notes simply became reminders to pick up more eggs at the store or to do the laundry.
Suddenly, Mulder was no longer in hiding and their complicated life, which was supposed to be much easier, felt even more complicated. His freedom had come with a price and their relationship had fractured. She threw herself into the experimental treatment for Christian and tried not to think about the darkness that threatened them.
And then one afternoon, about a week after she’d left Mulder standing in the middle of the long dirt road leading to the house as he watched her drive away, she was searching her briefcase for a business card she knew she’d slipped into one of the pockets and she pulled out a crumpled slip of paper instead. She remembered it as the note Mulder had slipped into her lunch one day amongst a bag of Hershey’s Kisses, but she had no idea that she’d kept it, or for so long. He’d given it to her years ago. Her eyes pooled with tears that she wiped away and then she’d picked up the phone and told Father Ybarra she was putting in for her vacation.
The drive home was long and dark. The light was on in Mulder’s office and she stared at the pinprick shining in the distance as she sat idling at the gate. I’m not giving up, she said to herself. I won’t give up .
The house was quiet. She moved slowly, so as not to disturb the peace, shrugging out of her jacket and stepping out of her boots at the door. From her pocket, she pulled a small plastic baggie of Kisses that she’d stopped for at a gas station and tacked them to the door of his office with a note she’d already prepared.
And then she went upstairs to wait.