The door to his office swung open as he removed the key from the lock. It was well after normal human work hours but Mulder couldn't bring himself to go home. The tube light above him flickered a little, making the dust particles before him dance like a thousand bits of glitter in the air. Fumbling for the light switch, he entered the room; everything exactly as he'd left it earlier. The sudden brightness bit at his red rimmed eyes and he blinked furiously to try and ease their sting.
He walked over to his desk and picked up the name plate; contemplating how pretentious it seemed. He knew who he was and so did everyone else, so why did he need a placard on his desk announcing it to the world? it was the stupidest thing to be upset about right now, considering everything else that was going on. He tossed the plate down onto the desk, its surface clattering across it before coming to a stop amid loose pencils and photographs.
Leaning back against the front of the desk, Mulder felt the tiredness in his bones begin to leech wholly into his soul. He rubbed at his eyes again, and at his face trying to force himself to keep it together like somehow he was wiping it all away. He looked around the room at the culmination of his life’s work; files, photographs and reports all seemed meaningless at that moment when he thought about all that had been lost and all he'd come so close to losing.
His attention shifted to the row of filing cabinets to the side of his desk, the ones that housed the X-Files. A heavy guilt bit at his heart, its rhythm thudding painfully against its boney cage. He took tentative steps towards one of the cabinets and slid it open; its tracks screaming its resistance. His fingers danced across the top of the numerous files crammed into the draw; his touch slowing down as the file he was looking for came within reach. It’s edges weren't worn like some of the other ones, its lettering clear and crisp; the name printed on its tab poking out at him accusatorially - Scully, Dana Katherine.
Swallowing thickly, he grasped the file and lifted it from its position in the draw, its belly swollen with evidence and personal affects. He rested the file on top of the open draw, laying it open, its contents in view for inspection; Scully’s glasses and FBI credentials bearing witness to the eye upon them begining to crumble. Mulder rested his palms on the cabinets on either side of the open one in front of him and closed his eyes trying to force breath into his lungs. He hadn't thought it possible but every part of him seemed to ache; his lungs unwilling to bear the burden of his breaths, his heart constricting, eyes burning, mind a screaming vortex of fear, self condemnation and anger.
Did he have a right to be angry? Yes, he thought His anger was for himself and for the people that had taken her from him. It was his fault. He wasn't smart enough to stop it from happening in the first place.
His grip on the cabinets tightened, his anger burning in the tips of his bone white fingers. It spilled over as he shoved them violently, their tower like bodies rocking every which way, sending papers, maps and other items clattering to the floor. He shoved them again and again, loud volcanic like booms echoing around him until one fell over, sending its contents rocketing across the floor. The carnage of it seemed to spur him on as heavy sobs wracked his chest; anything he could touch was a target, pencils, files, posters, even his computer wasn't safe. Everything coming to rest in a different spot to where it had started.
It was like a tornado had struck and out of breath, Mulder stumbled backwards into the cabinet still standing next to the open one, tears burning his eyes, spit on his lips and chin as his breaths came thick and hard. He grabbed Scully’s file and its contents, his knees buckling beneath him, a whimper guiding him down, legs coming to rest out in front of him; tears now unable to be contained fell from a tortured look, blotting the cover of a file that he wished didn’t exist.
He wished for a lot of things lately. He may want to believe in aliens and conspiracies and paranormal activity but Mulder wasn't a praying man or a man that held his hopes in miracles. It wasn't until Scully had come into his life that he'd even entertained the idea that any of those things could be possible; she had brought to life a side of him that had lain dormant since before he could remember. And so he wished he could have been smarter, have been quicker, been more aware of those around him and he'd prayed that she would be okay and that she would be brought back to him.
He felt selfish and cowardly and unworthy of any of the things he wanted, and as he sat in the destruction of his office he knew there was only one thing he could ever want again, Scully. By some divine intervention she had been returned to him, and she appeared to be okay physically but he knew that this would take a toll on her, that her spirit had been fractured and her soul marked by something he hadn't given her substantial warning of. She had come into his universe, science and logic and skill in hand, ready to take on the world but she didnt truly know what that world would hold for her. Mulder had with held a lot from her, kept his cards close to his chest, trying to give up as little as possible to this woman that had been sent to discredit him.
He chuckled as his tears continued to the fall at the thought that his work needed discrediting. Hell, he'd pretty much done that himself. He didnt need anyone to tell him he was no closer to the truth than the day his sister was taken. He was chasing monsters in the dark without a flash light, wanting to believe in the impossible to give him some sort of purpose; to smother himself in something that wouldnt allow him to feel the pain in his heart, or to deal with the trauma he'd suffered.
Raising his knees to his chest, Mulder traced the delicate outline of Scully’s glasses; their thin gold frames smooth under his touch. Like himself, she wore them ever so often when they been working late and her eyes had become tired, and the need to focus begged her to put them on. A fresh wave of tears had begun to fall, his face a mess of their tracks and tiredness. He clutched the glasses and her ID to his chest, willing whatever strength he had left in him into the items. When his phone had rung, he'd not spared a second thought to going to the hospital and seeing her. He was angry and relieved and unsure what he was going to find when he got there and seeing her lying on that bed, hooked up to machines and taken by unconsciousness, had broken the levy of his emotions and he'd lost it.
But why? No, that was a stupid question. He knew. He had know since the very beginning that this partnership was different. That she was different and he was better with her. He wanted to be so much more than he had been and he was. She had given him so much in the short time they'd been working together and while he'd never want to put her in a position that would compromise her, he couldn't deny that his heart skipped a beat when she touched him, that his mind would think of her over the smallest things and that he could not go a day without her and when she wasn't there he was lost, adrift, untethered to anything concrete.
After a while, he'd cried himself dry; bloodshot eyes the only indicator of them remaining. He still sat on the floor amid his pain, sadness and selfish need for her. His mind was a cloudy haze of emotional drain and he didn’t flinch or even acknowledge the figure timidly step through the door. He just sat there, eyes ahead, file on his lap, Scully’s things in his hands, like if he let them go she would go with them.
The voice was soft and like the pray of an angel and he'd looked up then.
Scully stood before him, wrapped in an oversized coat and jeans. He felt his eyes begin to well again, his lip trembling slightly at the sight of her. She closed the draw of the cabinet beside him and slid down to sit next to him, noting the file on his lap. She took it from him and tossed it out before them into the mix of other discarded papers. As she placed a hand on his thigh, she felt him shift to cover it with his own; warm skin melding together, his grip tight but comforting.
“I’m here Mulder… and I’m not going anywhere.”
The flood gates opened then and he collapsed into her, head in her lap, hands gripping onto her for dear life. She stroked his hair and tried to soothe him.
He wasn't a praying man but he'd been delivered a miracle and she was right there holding it all together, even though she had been the one who'd just gone through this. He wanted to be strong for her, wanted to be the one to make her okay again. But he'd already gotten what he'd wanted. She was brought back to him.
When he awoke, his body ached and his head was a mess of pain and emotional fuzziness. He was laying on his side on the floor of his office, surrounded by the carnage from his earlier outburst. He wasn’t sure how long he'd been there but knew it was morning once again as he could hear the air conditioning unit down the hall supplying the rest of the building with refreshing air. Sitting up, he contemplated his lonely state; his hair was a mess and his clothes were crumpled. He blew a heavy breath out of pursed lips and looked at the items he was still clutching in his hands and felt a sad smile pull at his lips.
He was the one trying to deliver strength to Scully but ultimately it had been her, even from her hospital bed, that had given him his moment of dissolution, had held him in spirit as he let everything out and it was all he could have wanted from her.
He’d never want for anything again, except he did.
He wanted her; in his mind, in his soul, and selfishly, in his arms.