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How He Asked

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The words rush headlong out of his mouth before they’ve even fully formed in his brain.

“Scully, will you be my wife?”

His hand grips hers tighter against the scratchy hospital sheet and her sunken eyes widen. “Mul--”. His name is a half-whisper half out of her mouth so he just keeps going.

“You are my wife, you’re my...” he chokes back the lump in his throat, “in every way that matters.” He pauses, searching her face. “I don’t want you to go without...”.

Now he’s the one who can’t finish, he can barely look at her through his tears, but he holds her gaze. The tears in her own eyes brim over and she nods a slow yes, her hair pooling in a sweaty mess against the pillow. Her other hand reaches to lace between the tangle of hands and fingers that are gripping one another as if he is keeping her from slipping over the edge of a cliff. He couldn’t be holding hers tighter if they were.

This is their cliff, and they’re jumping.

“Yes,” Scully croaks hoarsely, her cracked lips turning up in a weak smile. “I will.”

It registers faintly that he has asked the exactly right question. He didn’t ask, “will you marry me Scully.” No. There will not be a wedding, there will not be a marriage. They won’t slap a white robe over her dingy gown and parade together down to the chapel like the climactic scene of a rom-com. There won’t be a grocery store cake, or a family gathered to watch in her room as they weep their ways through some vows.

But he has asked her the question she can, at this utter endpoint, say yes to. “Yes, Mulder, I will be your wife.” They’ll sign some papers, her mother can witness their signatures, and somehow they’ll get them filed before the ink dries on her death certificate and he heads to jail.

This she can do, this is right. She is his wife, he’s her husband. It will help make his grief real once she’s gone, she can give him that. She wants to give him that now, more than anything.