“But… lately, when I think of having a baby, it only ever looks like you.”
He had watched her face closely as he’d said it, knowing it was the biggest, worst, best thing that could have come from his mouth. He’d been a coward for almost a decade, stuck in a loveless marriage because he hadn’t had the guts to end it. It had taken him too damn long to realize that Scully was the one for him, that he was the one for her.
Her blue eyes went wide and color shot to her cheeks.
“Mulder,” she said in a tremulous voice, her face wearing a small smile, tears brimming in her eyes, her gaze on her hands.
“Scully, I--” right then, the captain came over the loudspeaker, announcing that they were beginning their descent, went on to announce the local time and weather, then passed it off to a flight attendant, who announced a long list of connecting gate information. The cabin lights brightened and the passengers around them started raising seat backs, lifting and locking their tray tables. The moment, the spell, such as it was, was broken.
When he looked at her again, her face was set, she would not look at him.
He saw her eyes dart to the wedding ring still on his finger.
She avoided him during the case, staying in the morgue, the lab. They were seated in different rows on their return flight and when he got into the office the next day, he was informed--by Skinner of all people--that she’d taken a week off.
On day two of a Scully-less office, he had decided that come hell or high water, he was asking Lauren for a divorce.
When he finally worked up the nerve, Lauren threw things. A decorative bowl they used to keep keys and loose change, a baseball signed by Sparky Anderson, an antique brass compass Scully had gotten him for Christmas after the third year of their partnership.
The first, which had just been handy, shattered as it hit the wall behind him. The second, which she’d chosen because it meant something to him, and which she’d pulled from a bookshelf next to her, hit the mantle on the fireplace and dropped to the floor -- the signature half scuffed off. The third, which she’d thrown with a victorious glint in her eye, hit a wingback chair, bounced onto the floor and slid under the couch.
He ignored the first, winced at the second, and with the third, he casually walked to the couch, slid an arm under it until he found it, and stood, pocketed the compass, then marched directly out the door.
He didn’t stop to examine the compass until he’d gotten in the elevator--he didn’t want to give Lauren the satisfaction--and found that it was perfectly intact.
Relieved, he thunked his head against the elevator wall and called the Gunmen, asked if he could crash with them.
Two weeks later, while Lauren was at work, they helped him move his things into a storage unit out on Fort Hunt Road.
When he got into the office the day after he’d announced his divorce to Scully, she was already there, sitting at her desk. Waiting for him on his, was a still-hot cup of coffee from his favorite coffee shop three blocks from the Hoover and a small rectangular package wrapped in butcher paper.
He cut his eyes to his partner as he sat down and it picked up.
“Steak for dinner?” he said, holding it up.
“They don’t sell ‘Happy Divorce’ wrapping paper at Papyrus,” she said, “sorry.”
He grinned and tore it open. It was an old, first edition copy of The Decline and Fall of Practically Everybody .
She leaned back in her chair and gave him a warm smile.
“You’re in good company,” she said.
He laughed, delighted.
“When did you get a cat?” he asked.
He was at her door with a skinny latte and an almond croissant that she always said she didn’t want but inevitably ate anyway.
They had a local case for once, and they were expected at the morgue in 45 minutes.
She stopped what she was doing in the kitchen and leveled a look at him. It was the same unblinking judgmental look the cat was giving him -- sitting on top of her kitchen counter, swishing its tail back and forth.
“About a year ago,” she finally said.
“In Japanese culture, black cats are considered good luck,” he said, hoping to get out of the doghouse.
She finally sighed, smiled.
“I guess she finally worked,” she said.
Of all the scenarios he’d ever dreamt about ridding himself of his wedding ring, none of them felt right. He had a vague daydream where he had it melted down and cast as a bullet that he could fire into his past, in a kind of walk-ten-paces-turn-and-fire scenario, but it felt a little too on the nose, and besides that, it was probably illegal.
Instead, he walked to the National Mall, sat on the bench he and Scully used to meet at back when they’d been reassigned, and sat looking at the reflecting pool.
He took off his ring, set it on the bench next to him, and walked away. He caught a cab on 17th street and rode to Georgetown.
When she opened the door, he did not hesitate. He took her face in both hands and kissed her. Hard.
After a quick inhale of surprise, she kissed him back, and then it was quickly all tongues and teeth, his name from her lips whispered into his ear over and over.
He hoisted her up and carried her--her legs wrapped around his waist--into her bedroom. They wasted no time undressing each other, hot and impatient.
One word ran through his head when he was deep in the bundle of her pelvis: finally, finally, finally .
Scully, in his head always saint-like and virtuous, had seemed immune to sin, but in bed she was downright peccable, giving in to her baser instincts; her skin was a home to lust, her lips to gluttony, her hands to greed.
He pumped into her with the desperation of a thousand nights worth of wanting, of regret. Finally, she shuddered under him, and he followed her home.
He thought it was probably questionable judgement to give her a jewelry box on her birthday when they had only been together for such a short amount of time, but the look on her face was one of intrigue rather than trepidation and when she opened the small box, her face softened.
“Regifting, Mulder?” she said, looking down at the antique compass.
“Turn it over,” he said.
She lifted it out of the box and palmed it, brushing a thumb over the glass of its face before she flipped it over.
To finding our way… the inscription read. She smiled and looked up at him.
“... to each other?” she asked.
He smiled, nodded.
“I told Skinner,” he said, then.
Her eyebrows went up.
“We could have done it together,” she said, reaching up and rubbing her thumb over the rasp of his jaw, “I would have gone with you.”
“Felt like I needed to,” he said.
“And?” she said.
“He said ‘about time,’ and then told me to get my ass back down to the basement and help my partner with the expense report he wanted two days ago.”
Scully laughed and then leaned over, planting a soft, chaste kiss on his waiting lips.
He gave her a small smile when she pulled back.
“World didn’t end,” he said.
She smiled back.
“No, it didn’t.”
They had just gotten back from Bellefleur, Oregon the night before. He had slept at Scully’s, as he did most nights.
He was still in bed, trying to snooze for a few more minutes before the second alarm went off and he had to drag himself into the shower. He had just cracked an eye to look at the time when Scully breezed in from the bathroom, wearing a silk robe over her pajamas and a queer look. She held something in her hand.
“Scully?” he said, only letting a hint of concern into his voice. He pushed up until he was sitting against the headboard and Scully sat down on the edge of the mattress next to him.
In answer, she handed him a small plastic wand.
A pregnancy test. With two blue lines.
He whipped his eyes up to Scully who was wearing a shaky smile.
“Is this…?” he said, and she nodded at him, bit her lip.
“Holy shit!” he practically laughed, and grabbed her face in both hands. He kissed her for dear life.
Later, when he was stepping out of the shower, Scully stood in the doorway of the bathroom holding the phone to her ear, a look of concern on her face.
What is it? He mouthed at her.
She lowered the phone.
“It’s Skinner. He has Covarubias with him,” she said, and her expression became more grave, “and Krycek. He wants us to come in.”
Mulder felt his stomach drop and then a sense of resolve wash over him.
“Tell Skinner that he can handle it. That I trust his judgement. But we’re not coming in.”
Scully nodded slowly then raised the phone to her ear.
Mulder could hear a dull barking from the receiver. After a moment, Scully ended the call and walked into his embrace.
He looked at their reflection in the dewy mirror, the air thick with the scent of lavender and Scully’s expensive shampoo. He knew it was too early to see, but there was a gravid lushness about her, a softness that had settled onto the bones of her face. She was a mother, now.
He tightened his grip on her and called his soul home.