He gives up his ability to stretch out across the seats, instead jumping across the aisle to sit next to her.
They say nothing.
She’d been a wreck all morning; tired and grouchy. Fumbling with the zips and locks on her bags. Mulder never thought he’d see the day he’d be ready to head off before her. Twice they had to venture back to the motel because she’d forgotten one thing or another. He didn’t complain. Wordlessly, he turned the car around and drove back, silently marvelling to himself at how unscullylike it all was.
But he knew the reason.
She was too preoccupied with the events of last night. She wasn’t here, wasn’t in this car; she was at that house. Like she’d been all night.
She remained quiet at the airport, too. They barely spoke aside from the brief question of whether she wanted coffee or not when it turned out they’re flight had been slightly delayed.
I just want to go home, is all she’d said in reply.
The guilt gnaws at him.
It’s useless and futile, and he fights to bat it away. It’s not his fault, no matter how much the chemicals inside him tell him it is. It happened. It’s something they- Scully- has to live with and move on from. But while she’ll be right as rain in a few days, Mulder knows he won’t be as grand.
He glances over to her now, turned away from him, from everyone, head resting against the plastic surrounding the window, and stares.
It’s so different. So unscully. she’d normally be there, typing away at her reports, distracting herself from that fact that she was currently sitting on a plane.
But even she knows she’ll just get distracted during the distraction.
His eyes fall down to the seat, to where her hand sits limply against it, fingernails slightly picking at the skin around her nail.
He knows the thought that’s just entered his head will most likely get him thrown off the plane but that wild side wants to chance it. It’s for her comfort, after all, to show that he’s here and he knows.
Trust me, he wills her to hear.
With one last nervous glance upwards, he slips his hand into hers, holding his breath and watching.
She reacts. He sees a million different thoughts enter and pass through, each one being given consideration, debating the pros and cons of each.
And Mulder prays to whoever that she doesn’t push him away, doesn’t close herself off.
And she doesn’t. She relaxes, her hand tightening around his.
They don’t vocally acknowledge what is happening. You can’t even see their hands embraced. It’s just a little thing between them. A whisper only they can hear.
They don’t let go for the entire journey back.
And later, when her head has fallen against his shoulder in sleep, her grip is still as tight.
He gives up his ability to stretch out across the seats, to marvel at how unscullylike she is.