She tried forcing herself to mutter the words they desperately needed to hear, but no sound escaped. They shouldn’t be difficult to say but he was being so dismissive and distant. It wasn’t fair. None of this was fair. He could barely look her in the eye and when he managed to glance in her direction, his gaze dropped to her stomach, then quickly darted away. Her throat clogged with unshed tears.
“I’m sorry. I don’t mean to be cold or ungrateful. I just… I have no idea where I fit in right now.”
“I just, uh, I’m having a little trouble processing… everything.”
They were at a stalemate. Mulder continued to stare at the floor, chewing on the inside of his cheek, while she waged an inner battle with herself—unable to stand the silence but incapable of speech. The baby was kicking wildly, sensing her struggle. She fought the urge to rub her belly like she usually did to calm him. Knowing he wouldn’t be the one to make the first move, she found the strength to approach.
He noticed her subtle movement but contorted his body away from her, staring out the broken blinds. He swallowed nervously, discomfort oozing from every pore.
It’s yours. It’s yours. It’s yours. It’s yours.
She repeated her new mantra and took slow steps towards him. The urge to collapse in his arms almost unbearable.
“Mulder,” she whispered again. He didn’t respond. She cleared her throat and found her voice. “Mulder.”
Standing at his feet, she took his hand and threaded her small, chilled fingers through his long, warm ones and squeezed. To her surprise, he tightened their hold, solidifying the connection. But he still refused to make eye contact. She had missed those soulful hazel eyes more than she realized. With her free hand, she cupped his jaw slightly, hoping he would understand what she needed.
Eye contact. Once he truly saw her, he would know.
She untangled their fingers and pried his knees apart, forcing him to turn. Before he had time to deflect, her arms wound around his neck as close as she could manage. Given their awkward position, it was uncomfortable. She played with the short hair at the nape of his neck until he shivered. Other than the slight tremor, he was motionless; his arms hung limply at his sides.
“It’s yours,” she declared, lips nuzzling his ear. “It’s yours, Mulder.”
He sucked in a breath. She could feel his chest trembling and she reluctantly moved away. Cupping his jaw with her palms, she forced his chin up. His eyes opened. They were glistening with moisture and wide with hope. He shook his head.
She nodded in response to his disbelief, stroking the small scars lining his cheeks. They were beginning to fade. It was remarkable. He was here.
“Please say something…,” she begged him for understanding, pleaded for acknowledgment.
Giving him a smile, her fingers roamed over his lips, exploring another part of him she had missed so much. “It’s a miracle, Mulder.”
The grin he gave her was brighter than the sun. “We… we did this? It’s mine?”
“Right here in this apartment, on this couch, after someone took a short trip to England.” That earned her a rumbling laugh. He remembered. “Of course he’s yours, Mulder. How could you think I would replace you?”
“Oh, Scully…,” he breathed, enveloping her into a bear hug. “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.”
“You fit in right here, Mulder. I never gave up.” She kissed his throat, then nuzzled under his chin. “I knew you’d come back to us.”
“I should have been here. I should have never gone to-”
She interrupted. She had managed to set aside any resentment she was harboring since his disappearance. It was his turn to let go. “It’s over. We can’t change the past but we can change what happens next; you’re here now and I’m glad we get to share some of this journey together.”
He clutched her tighter. When she jumped in surprise, he gasped and pulled away. “I’m sorry… did I hurt you?”
“No… no, Mulder. You startled me, that’s all.”
Quiet settled over them as they clung to each other, savoring the simple pleasures of contact after a long absence. She allowed herself to melt into his chest, the sweet scent of his natural musk and leather from his jacket was soothing in its familiarity.
“How far along are you?” He inquired, softly kissing the top of her head.
“Seven months. I was two months along when I got sick in Oregon. The nausea and dizziness were pregnancy symptoms.”
“I still love you, Scully. I may have been an asshole but I never stopped loving you.”
“I love you, too, Mulder.” She smiled, relief flooding her limbs. When he leaned forward, she didn’t stop him.
The slow and sweet kisses he gave her made her heart soar with happiness. They haven’t kissed since the day he left for Oregon. She had walked him to her front door and kissed him goodbye, promising to see him soon.
“I missed this,” he admitted and wiped away some of the moisture on her lips from their kisses with the pad of his thumb.
“Come here,” she echoed her earlier words and lead him to his couch. Without a word, he followed her like a lost puppy and assisted her into a sitting position. He didn’t join her.
“Pregnancy isn’t contagious, you know,” she joked with a reassuring grin, hand stroking her belly for emphasis.
“I-I know, Scully… I’m just nervous,” he blushed, a light pink flush spreading across his cheeks. He was too cute when he blushed.
She could only sigh before the tumbling in her belly resumed, an ecstatic foot poking at her palm.
“Sit down and come here .” His adorable trepidation was becoming exhausting. When would this man finally understand?
He sat, unsure of how to approach. She made the decision for him. “Feel.”
She gently guided his trembling hand to the spot where their child kicked along, unaware of his father’s unease. His eyes widened in wonder and moisture lined his thick lashes. Almost instantaneously, they received a series of sharp kicks to their linked hands. Mulder gasped, a few tears managed to fall, escaping down his cheeks. God, this was precious.
“I’ve told him all about you. I talked to him every night since the doctors told me I was pregnant. It became my lifeline—a necessity. I would lay in bed and tell him all about how we met, our silliest cases and how much his daddy loved him.” He looked up from the swell of her belly, eyes locking with her own. “I also played some of the voice messages from my answering machine and the speeches you made at Quantico. I wanted our baby to know your voice because I knew you’d find your way back to us.”
“Thank you, Scully. Thank you so much.” The claustrophobic tension washed away with his acceptance. Finally comfortable with her, his touch became more daring, exploring her rounded belly with the curiosity of a little boy.
“Maybe you could take over for me? I’m sure he’d love to hear your voice,” she suggested, praying for the answer she needed.
“I would like that, Scully.” He swallowed audibly and continued his ministrations. “Him?”
“The baby. It’s a boy?”
She shook her head in the negative. “I don’t know the gender. I held out hope you would be here so we could find out together. I didn’t want to call the baby ‘it’ and I have a feeling.”
They smiled at each other like two idiots for several minutes before she broke the silence.
“Pack a few bags, then we can head over to my apartment. I’ll order some food and we can have dinner.”
He gave her belly another longing glance before he kissed her lightly and dragged her along into his bedroom.
“How many bags are we taking?” He asked timidly, scratching his head.
“As many as it takes. I was hoping… I would like you to stay with me,” she said shyly.
She wanted him to move in. Since the dawn of their intimate relationship, she secretly hoped they would eventually live together and maybe find an apartment of their own in the future. Now was as good a time as any. A hearty kick told her their child agreed.
“Jesus.” He pulled me into another right embrace and stroked my hair. “I wouldn’t have it any other way.”