Mulder felt cool air blowing his face, and he blinked his eyes open. A full moon was in the sky, its silver light bathing the hardwood floor. For a moment, he didn't know where he was. He was sleeping on a couch like he usually did, but it wasn't his couch. It was Scully's.
Scully. He sat up, looked around. Where was she? Was she all right? She had just received the news that the IV hadn't worked, that she couldn't have children. She had cried in his arms for a few minutes, then he'd told her she needed to get some sleep but that he'd stay if she needed him to. She'd nodded and then retreated to her bedroom, while he sat on the couch, tears welling in his eyes, feeling broken and beaten down, the world a gray haze around him.
He couldn't even muster up the willpower to feel guilty about it anymore. For a long time, he had felt directly responsible for everything that had happened to Scully, and part of him still did and probably always would. But now, he felt so wrapped up in her life, so wrapped up in her, that whenever Scully was faced with another injustice, another cruelty thrown her way, he felt it too, like a sword struck through his gut. He felt a painful emptiness inside, one that was placed squarely within a fullness—a fullness only Scully gave him.
He wondered if he'd overstayed his welcome. He told her he would stay as long as she wanted, but how long was that? If she was asleep, maybe he could slip out the door. Would she wonder where he went the next morning? Would she want him there?
He shook his head. Scully would want him to go home. I'll just check in on her, he thought to himself, make sure she's all right. He walked very quietly past the window filled with the moon, to the darkened bedroom.
The door to Scully's room was slightly ajar. Silently, he nudged it open just wide enough for him to step through, and tiptoed to her bedside. He looked down at her face. The moon was also shining through the bedroom window. It cast a soft silver blanket over Scully's pale face, a face filled with distress, even in sleep. It was a face he'd been looking at for over six years now, but one that never ceased to amaze him with its intelligence, insight, beauty, trust. Scully. His friend. His partner. Scully. Suddenly, he felt an uncontrollable wave of grief. Tears spilled from his eyes and he messily wiped them away. She didn't deserve any of this. She needed so much more.
She stirred and he froze, afraid that he'd woken her. She flipped to the other side, facing away from him, and he couldn't tell if she was asleep or not.
Then he heard her voice, muffled by the blanket. "Are you leaving, Mulder?"
"Only if you want me to," he said. "I just came in to make sure you were okay."
"Please don't leave," she said flatly. This worried him. Not her request that he stay, but rather her flat tone. He hoped she wasn't lapsing into depression. Only one of them needed to be depressed.
"I won't," he said, his voice cracking. "I'll stay as long as you need me to." Silence passed between them, whole conversations, whole worlds of conversations, and then Scully sat up.
"Mulder," she said. "I'm tired of feeling alone and sad. I don't want to feel that way anymore."
"How long have—how long have you been feeling that way?" He didn't really want to know the answer, but he asked anyway. Taking a deep breath, he sat down on the very end of the bed.
"Well I—I don't feel that way at work. Not with you. But when I come home, sometimes it's too much for me to handle. I can't—I feel like something's missing. I don't know, I just wish I could pinpoint what it is. I thought I needed a child. I don't know what I need now."
Mulder turned his head slightly. "You don't want a child anymore?"
"I don't know what I want, Mulder." He studied her closely. The moonlight was illuminating her clear blue eyes, turning them glassy and pale. She was beautiful. Mulder felt a pang as he saw her eyes were welling with tears. "Scully..."
"Please, Mulder," she said, and took his hand. "Please don't—please don't feel guilty. You know how much I rely on you. How much I draw on your strength."
"I'm not feeling very strong right now, Scully."
"I know you're not. I'm not either. But we can get through this, together. Like we always have."
Mulder placed his hand over hers. "Scully...I've been wondering...why did you ask me to be the father?"
She studied him. "Who else could I have asked?"
The look on her face was incredible. In her eyes, he saw something he'd seen before, but right now it was different, it was intensified, it was magical. It was every emotion she'd ever expressed to him and some she hadn't, every word that had passed unspoken between them, the core of some deep internal light that only he could see. It was passionate, it was intense, it was full of respect and love. Mulder didn't know it, but the same look was on his face, so that when they gazed at one another, it was like looking in a mirror.
Without saying a word, Mulder scooted closer and put his arms around her. He put one hand on the back of her head and she buried her face in his chest. She wasn't crying—he wasn't sure if she had the strength left to cry—but she lay there still for a few moments, listening to his heart beating.
She turned her head to look up at him, and he took her face in his hands. They had done this simple gesture many times before, but tonight was different. Tonight they were both tired, tired of all the pain, all the running, all the losing and heartbreak. Mulder especially was tired of the grayness. He didn't want it in his life, and he wanted to keep it away from Scully's as much as he could.
The back of his hand brushed her face, stroked her cheek. She was so soft, so gorgeous. He had never felt so deeply in love. He leaned in and kissed her, softly, slowly, almost chastely. When he broke away, he was surprised to see not a look of shock or horror on Scully's face, but instead a strange mixture of determination and contentment, as if his kiss had awakened within her a desire to take a new step in her life but had at the same time settled, or perhaps confirmed, a feeling she had shared for a long time.
Suddenly they were kissing, and this time it was harder, hungrier, aching with need. Scully's arms went around Mulder's neck and they stayed that way for minutes, years, eternities, locked in each other's embrace. With every kiss, Mulder felt his love for Scully deepen. She kissed his mouth, his cheek, his chin. His mouth went to her neck and she sighed, her breathing quickening. They broke apart, both breathing heavily, as if they'd been chased. They knew where this was going.
Time then seemed to turn into liquid: formless, slippery, smooth. Outside, the last clouds of the night moved past the moon and a beam of moonlight illuminated them, turning the whole room silver. Mulder felt like he was living his entire life over again as he lowered himself next to Scully and felt smooth, pale skin instead of silk underneath his fingers. He ran his hands over her body, now completely exposed to him. His hands lightly brushed places he'd touched her before: her arms, back, shoulders, face, hips. His fingers trembled slightly as he touched her in places he hadn't: breasts, stomach, thighs.
Soon they were clinging onto one another as if it were the last day on earth. Neither of them really knew what to make of anything, and neither of them wanted to try. All they knew is that they were feeling for each other, reaching, kissing, falling deeper and deeper in love, drowning in it. And when they had at last found that moment of ecstasy that had been shaping into form for seven years, they both cried out, and they saw suns, moons, comets, planets, all swirling around them in a sort of cosmic dance. And when they collapsed next to each other, panting and sweaty, there was a silence so great and so profound that it seemed the world around them had stopped, and the universe was holding its breath.
Outside, the moon shone, the stars burned, defying the usually overpowering city lights, a soundless breeze ruffled tree leaves and the streets were silent, not a car or a person to be seen.
Lying there in the still quiet, Mulder suddenly wondered if any of it had been enough. He had to be enough for her. She had to know how much he wanted and needed her. Mulder lifted his head off the mattress slightly. "Scully, I—"
She placed a hand over his mouth, then lay her head in the crook of his shoulder. He nodded, and held her close. They knew. They didn't need to say a word.