It’s been two months since he’s been dead, and she hasn’t had the strength to go over his things just yet. Her mother has offered to help. The Gunmen have offered to help. Even Skinner and Doggett. But she won’t have any of them. She doesn’t want to break in front of anybody. This is something she has to do by herself.
Scully enters the empty apartment for the umpteenth time and walks directly to the fish tank. She should move it to her place, she has planned to. But not yet. She doesn’t want it there to remind her, each waking moment, that Mulder is not coming back. She feels that well-known itch at the tip of her nose and forced herself to breathe calmly.
‘This too shall pass’, she thinks about her sister, how she’d give the best advice, the perfect words to keep her calm. But she isn't there either, she never will. And a thought that was supposedly going to help her go through that hard moment sends her spiraling down to an ugly cry on Mulder’s bed.
Scully wakes up a while later, a little better after letting her feelings overwhelm her. She cleans her face in the bathroom and decides to start at the lowest part of his closet. That’s probably the easiest part. Shoes shouldn't have too many memories attached to them.
It’s surprisingly easy, she finds. After putting most of his shoes in a bag to give to charity (only saving his basketball sneakers, something for the kid to remember him), she finds a thin square gift-wrapped box. She wonders if it might have been for her. Mulder hadn’t forgotten about her birthday that year —though the video game-inspired sunglasses he gave to her were not the best gift she had ever gotten. Maybe it was for one of the Gunmen… when were their birthdays, anyway? She should try and find out now. She opens it in an attempt to discern who the gift might have been for. And she regrets it immediately. Sobs start again and she leaves the apartment in a mess. She’s definitely not ready to do the cleaning yet.
Mulder has started feeling himself again. It's been a week and things between him and Scully have started to calm down. She's come today bearing gifts: pizza and beer, just like old times. Only she's taking decaf iced tea. He's offered to drink that too, to lessen her craving, but she insists that she doesn't care.
Scully comes in from the kitchen handling a piece of clothing he hasn’t seen in quite a while.
“Uhm, Mulder, what is this?”
He clearly remembers the exact day he bought it, about a year ago.
It was 5 pm and he gathered his things to leave.
Scully raised her eyes from her desk by the door in surprise.
“You leaving already?” she checked her watch. It was quite early for him. “Have you finished your report?”
He had been stalling at the last case report, more than usual, that was. The death of Karin had affected him more than he wanted to admit, and it was making it difficult to write a report that did her justice.
“I’ll finish it during the weekend,” he said, showing her how he introduced the files into his bag so that she’d believe him. He most probably wouldn’t, and he’d be writing it on Monday morning when she arrived, but at least he would make an effort… or not. “I have that doctor’s appointment—”
“Aw, that’s right,” her face lit up. He still wasn’t so sure about the whole IVF thing, though he tried his best not to show. Just seeing her so happy was reason enough for him to get involved. "Maybe you wanna come and give me a hand?"
He knew it was way out of line but, lately, they had been dancing around the limits of their flirting. And apparently thinking about having a child together stretched that line a little further. He wouldn’t be one to complain.
“Sure!” she quickly replied and got up, and Mulder was instantly scared that she was going to grab him there and then. He released his breath when she moved past him and to the back wall. Grabbing a stool she jumped up, reaching for the top shelf below the ceiling window. Ha, he thought, you are so wrong…
He turned around, looking at her with such a contented look.
“Hmpf,” she mumbled, trying to find what she was aiming for. But that something wasn't there anymore. “Looks like you finally found who those tapes that weren’t yours belonged to after all?”
“Yep, Alvin was so happy to get them back, he said he wouldn’t be biting my neck for at least a week.”
He hoped she got the hint that they hadn’t been there for a long while. After she had found the tapes the first time, he changed his storage point. And kept changing them afterward whenever she found them. It was one of the games they played. “Mulder, I found your tapes again”, she would triumphantly say every time. She hadn’t told him she had found them up there. It had been the last place he had stored them before finally giving them away to Frohike when he realized he wasn't using them anymore.
“Well, then I guess I can’t be of any help,” she added with a smirk going back to work.
Oh, you will, Scully, you will, he thought as he was leaving.
Ready to give his sample away in that small donating room, Mulder didn’t need any of the multimedia offered to get going. Just thinking about Scully did the trick so quickly. He’d been “saving energy” for a couple of days, doctor’s orders. It had felt neverending but also satisfying. In a way, he felt relieved to be able to do this while thinking about her without feeling guilty. Even if he was thinking about her in ways he shouldn’t, at least this time she had asked him to. Somehow he hoped that by thinking about her while he released his soldiers they would be more focused on the prize… That was getting too weird. He chuckled as he removed the thought from his mind while he closed the lid on the jar. He wished it would be enough. He’d do it again and again if need be.
“This is for Miss Scully,” he cleared his throat at the reception desk.
“Thanks, Mr. Scully. We’ll let you know when we are ready for your wife to come in.”
“Thank you,” he smiled at the desk clerk lady. No need to correct her. That common mistake never got old, and Scully wasn’t there to frown upon it.
It was a nice evening, so he decided to walk home. It wasn’t that far away and he was so happy, feeling complete with a job well done. If only everything could be as easy as putting his seed in a plastic jar…
His thoughts were paused when an item in a store window caught his attention. He came to a dead stop, not believing what his eyes were seeing. Might this be a sign?
He didn’t think twice and entered the shop to get that piece of clothing.
“Well, it is a Yankees onesie,” he answers her nonchalantly.
“Yes, I can see that, Mulder,” she sits by his side on the couch, leaving the white striped onesie on his lap. “What I mean is… why did you have this?”
When has she found it? Even though she doesn’t say, he knows she found it while he was away. For fuck’s sake, why can’t they talk like normal people? Why do they have to dance around every issue?
“I just saw it and, well, I thought a kid of mine must have it… But, well, that’ll never happen, so…” He grabs it sadly to put it away, but she takes it back.
“I think it’ll look wonderful on him… or her,” she adds placing the garment over her swollen belly.
Does that mean…? He looks at her, frowning his brow. When will they talk about it? Surely, never. The Gunmen are sure the baby is his, but he is too afraid to ask her. And she doesn’t seem eager to have ‘the talk’ either. Maybe this little sign is her way of reassuring him. He doesn't care, actually. He would love that kid no matter whose it was from.