Chapter 1: Whisper Only They Can Hear
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.
Chapter 2: Cramps Aren't Fun
On some months, the physical pain is even worse than the emotional.
Periods :) I was projecting when I wrote this. Another one of those wrote at 3am. With a water bottle on my stomach and my laptop resting against it.
Every period stings. A monthly reminder of something she’ll never have. A futile chore. A subscription she has no reason to have anymore.
But sometimes, the physical pain can be worse than the emotional.
On these days, she has no time to think about babies she’ll never bear.
On these days, Mulder lingers by the edges. Disappears when he’s told to, doesn’t argue and does things first time. And he never ever touches her.
Pain brings irritation. Irritation brings restlessness. And it all accumulates into snappiness.
She’ll shift in her seat, attempt to create some sort of pressure onto your abdomen, even debates lying on her stomach to ease the pain.
It’s worse at night. When the cramps come then she’ll throw herself around next to him; tossing from her back to her stomach to her side. Huffs and puffs as she gives up, frustration seeping in. All she wants to do is sleep.
It’s these nights that’ll Mulder will help out. She doesn’t ask. She’ll never ask. His Scully fights her battles alone, a belief that it’s hers alone to deal with, and hers only.
But he doesn’t miss the curious look in her eyes as he climbs out of the bed wordlessly and disappears off towards the kitchen. The first night cramps had crept up on her in their early bed-sharing days, she thought he was moving to sleep somewhere else like so many before her had done. She felt guilty for that, like she should’ve just taken some pain relief and that be that. But sometimes pills aren’t enough to dull the pain.
That curious look quickly changed to relief when he returned, a water bottle in his hand. She didn’t even know he kept one but wherever he found it she didn’t care, it was warm and it was enough.
So he climbs back into bed as she gets settled, mindful to keep the distance between them because so god help him if he dares touch her, a saviour with a water bottle or no.
The only part of him that can have any contact with her is his hand to her hair. Whether she be ill or bleeding, sore or hurt, his fingers in her hair is the only constant. But it has to be light. Barely there but enough to lull her to sleep so it doesn’t irritate her. Menstruating Scully comes with a lot of rules and you don’t want to break them.
Chapter 3: Want vs. Need
Set during Trustno1- The angst is not relieved and is arguably worse actually.
I didn't say I helped these things
A chilly breeze blows but she barely feels it against her. She shivers as an afterthought, something that she should be doing, but her mind is too preoccupied to worry about the weather.
In the shadows, Doggett and Reyes stand on guard watching out for the man on the phone or just any man, Scully doesn’t know. Like the wind, they’re not really there.
Her eyes stay focused on the track in the distance, the first bloom of the hopeful headlights of a train, the expectant sound approaching nearer with each roll of the wheels.
There are no times on the station, no sign to indicate whether the train be arriving on time or late. Scully lost count of how long she’s been standing here for; it could have been hours or simply just minutes. The only number she can occupy right now is 12. Midnight. That’s when the trains here. That’s when she’ll get to see him finally.
It’s a constant flick of her wrist, eyes falling down to check the time. It moves slowly when you’re expecting something, every second passes agonising slow, you feel it then- how slow it really is.
When her watch tells her it’s one minute past twelve, the rational mind jumps in. Logical explanations as to why the train isn’t here rush through her mind: It’s just delayed, trains are always delayed…Any second it’ll be coming round the corner right now.
When the watch falls to ten past twelve she has less and less hope.
Behind her, Doggett and Reyes have grown restless too, fidgeting in the corner, weary from the long day it’s turned out to be. She looks towards them, perhaps seeing them for the first time since they got here, and wills them to stay, to wait. He’ll be here, she silently promises them. I need him to be.
And maybe that’s where she’s always gone wrong.
Turning her head towards the empty darkness, defeat and realisation setting in, she’s always needed. Mulder would want. I want to believe. It was never ‘I need to believe’ or ‘I believe’ no, that’s too simple, too straight forward. Wanting something gives it balance, room to fall one way or the other. Need is persistent, the right-answer-or-no-answer-at-all, there’s no room for other possibilities.
It’s them, really. Or at least in the early days it was.
She needed to be right.
He wanted to be.
Makes sense it’ll always be like that.
Reyes’ touch startles her slightly, the other woman’s hand patting her arm. Scully knows what she’s going to say, can see it written across her face the pity and the apologies though she has nothing to apologise for.
“He’s not coming,” Scully says. It’s a fact rather than a question and she doesn’t bother to look down at her watch for the time. Trains are never this late.
Reyes softly shakes her head.
Scully nods, willing herself to accept the fact. She breathes in and exhales deeply, forcing herself to not look out to the tracks, to not hope that the train is just delayed.
Chapter 4: Kiss Away The Pain
Prompt by Frangipanidownunder: "First Kiss" from the Kiss Prompts. Six year old Scully falls off her bike but Mulder is there to make it better...kind of...Let's be honest, the cookie makes it better.
Perhaps not what was intended when I was sent this but I wanted to do something a bit different then the standard kiss first ideas and this is what I came up with.
He peddles faster, hearing Scully not too far behind him, her shadow and outline of her own bike right next to him.
Mulder frowns in concentration, legs pushing harder as he tries to gain more speed. He won’t be beaten by a stupid girl, he tells himself. He wants the cookie.
They had agreed to race around the park after they found the last cookie in the box. They both had had two each already so Mulder had suggested that they race. Three laps around the park and the first first one to finish at the picnic table won the cookie.
He wanted that cookie.
Mulder turns the bike sharply at the corner. He was nearly there, that cookie was his.
Until he heard something skid and a crash behind him followed by an extremely loud cry.
Mulder slams on his breaks. He turns to see Scully on the floor, the front wheel of her bike stuck in the black railed fence and tears falling down her face.
She had fallen at the corner.
Worry running through him, he abandons his own bike, letting it fall onto the gravel and runs towards his friend.
He kneels before her and looks down to her knee, the reason for her tears. His eyes widen at the sight of the big hole there, and all the blood that covers it.
“It’s okay, Scully,” he reassures. He checks his pockets- Mommy always made him carry band aids with him because he was always falling over and hurting himself, but when he checks his pockets, he finds them empty.
Scully sniffs, wiping the snot from around her nose with her hand. “It hurts,” she tells him and Mulder pouts, unsure what to do.
He thinks for a moment, scrunching his face in a way that usually makes Scully laugh. It works, a little giggle falling out of her mouth as an idea hits him.
He puts a hand near Scully’s knee and she flinches a little.
“It’s okay,” he says. “This will make it better, promise.”
Scully relaxes a little, frowning as she watches Mulder bring his face towards her knee.
His lips touch the skin just below the cut. He brings his face away, a big smile plastered on his face as he reviews his work- a sloppy dollop of salvia sits on her knee.
“Better?” he asks, looking at Scully.
Scully frowns, shaking her head, more tears falling from her eyes.
“No!” she cries. “I want a band aid.”
Mulder shrugs, he tried.
“You can have the last cookie,” Mulder suggests in a way to make up for not having a band aid on him.
Scully’s eyes widen as she nods her head furiously. Mulder smiles, grabbing her arm and helping her up.
“Only cause you can’t ride a bike, though.” He feels a light thud against his arm at that and he laughs, going to pick up Scully’s bike from where it’s still wedged in the railing.
Chapter 5: Stay
Post Ep Existence. Canon divergence. Mulder decides to stay rather than going into hiding.
I am a ball of creative juice this week apparently.
The heat from the fire warms him. The room cast in an orange glow from the lamps and candles soothes him. The smell that undoubtedly belongs to Scully calms him.
And the weighty bundle in his arms fills him with nothing but love.
Finally, everything can stop, slow down, and he can just bask in this; bask in this stillness.
Scully pads back into the living room, her bare feet barely making any noise against the floorboards as she walks towards the couch. Mulder knows he’ll have to give the baby back to her soon but he just can’t find it within himself to hand him to her.
“I don’t want to put him down,” he says aloud, his eyes glued on William’s sleeping face.
He had settled down not soon after Mulder had first held him, snuggled in the blanket in Mulder’s arms against Mulder’s chest. It had made him so happy, so completely overfilled with joy to know that little baby Will seemed to trust him enough to fall asleep against him.
Scully sits down on the seat beside him. “You can’t hog him all night, your arms will get tired.”
He takes his gaze away from William then to look at Scully and finds her also staring down at Will, a smile- not unlike the one she had been wearing when he first saw her- plastered across her face.
She notices him looking and looks towards him. He smiles and she smiles back.
They hold each other’s gaze until Will starts squirming in his arms, his little face bunching up, mouth opening and closing.
“He’s hungry,” he hears Scully saying. She reaches over, taking William out of his arms and suddenly Mulder feels lost, the weight he’d been holding for so long suddenly gone from him.
So he watches Scully and when Will has latched on and everyone’s comfortable, he replaces the missing William weight with Scully’s weight, cradling them both against him.
As he watches, he’s overcome with a tremendous amount of guilt. He almost lost both of them and through some miraculous stroke of luck everything had gone to plan but still, the guilt gnawed at him.
“I’m sorry,” he whispers atop of her head.
Instantly, Scully is shifting, turning in his arms, trying not to jostle Will.
“What are you sorry for?” she asks.
Mulder shrugs, unable to find the words to use. “For everything,” he says as a poor substitute.
She moves, facing away from him again.
“You’ve got nothing to be sorry for,” she says. “We’re safe, all of us.”
And maybe in this orange-glowing apartment they could kid themselves that they were, at least for this one moment.
Silence falls between them, the only sound Will’s contented suckling and Scully’s sighs as she relaxes more into Mulder.
And now, Mulder’s made up his mind, perhaps he’d even made it up before this moment but it’s this moment alone, this contented feeling, this little family in his arms that becomes the deciding factor.
“I’m not leaving,” he says. He feels Scully stiffen, knows she’s already began thinking of the repercussions his staying will have.
“But we said—”
He cuts her off with a firm, “I don’t care what we said. I don’t want to miss any more moments.” He grips the two of them tighter, a physical statement to his words. “I’ve already missed too much.”