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Mr Spooky and Ms Starbuck

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TV Shows » X-Files » Mr Spooky and Ms Starbuck
Author: pearlydewdrop »
Rated: T - English - Romance/Humor - Reviews: 92 - Published: 06-08-16 - Updated: 12-27-16 id:11988179
Mr Spooky and Ms Starbuck

Prologue

...

Woodrow Wilson High School

Washington DC

8.02am

...

The air was thick with anticipation and she was excited because this was going to be a good year; she could just feel it already.

She had her class lists memorised ever since they had been given to her by Vice Principal Skinner and she has her lesson plans in a neat orderly stack for the week. Dana Scully was always the kind of person who preferred order in her life where possible and her first day as a Science teacher in Washington High was certainly no exception.

The crisp autumn air was still a twinge warm as she gets out of her car, gathers her few teaching essentials and heads toward the doors of the large ash coloured building that is Washington's largest public high school.

She arrived early and the hallways were pretty much empty as she made her way through the building and down the stairs toward the science labs.

Washington High is about average size for a public American high school; the classrooms are large and the corridors are long and winding, each room assigned to a different teacher with a different subject.

Scully's classroom was quite a bit away from the rest and the corridor was, for now, nearly silent.

She unlocked her door and walked inside, immediately hit by the smell of paper and disinfectants, barely masking the telltale smells of the chemicals and Bunsen burners.

The sight and smell of the high school laboratory brought her back to when she first realized her love of the subject. Even then she appreciated how science organised one's curiosity and hunger for rational answers. Even then she had believed that science helps people to understand more so they can fear less.

Just then Scully heard a crashing of books and a jumble of choice curse words from the class room adjacent to hers. It appeared that she wasn't the only teacher to turn up ridiculously early that morning.

She made her way toward the other classroom, the door covered in a poster of the human brain (a diagram about which thoughts emit from where) and for some random reason, blurry UFO knocked even though the door was already half opened.

A deep voice called out from the inside, the same she had heard cursing earlier. "Nobody in here but Washington High's most unwanted."

Scully wasn't sure from this side of the door whether the guy was joking or not but enters anyway.

The man looked up from the mess that had become of his desk. The papers he had dropped a jumble on the floor, covered in ink from the photocopier.

On his desk was a large pile of sunflower seeds out of the packet and in the corner, a TV was on mute, displaying some documentary about insect swarms.

She could tell even from him sitting down that he was very tall. He had dark brown hair, hazel eyes, wore a cream shirt and a ridiculous tie (patterned with aliens) probably worn more for the amusement of his students than for anything else.

All in all was easy on the eyes for certain but she didn't do co-workers or colleagues. It was just too messy, complicated and painful, something she had learned the hard way.

His classroom was only slightly smaller than hers, and in its current state of disarray, it seemed even smaller. One wall was covered in what seemed to be a notice board, and over his desk hung a large poster with the slogan 'I want to believe' written in block letters across the bottom.

"Hi, I'm Dana Scully. I work across the hall from you.", she said formally, offering her hand for him to shake.

He grinned slightly and shook her hand. "So you must be the new science teacher."

She nodded. "That's right. What do you teach..." she asked, trailing off as she didn't know his name.

"Mulder. Fox Mulder. I teach Psychology. Been here for the last two years," he said before changing the subject back to her."So what made you want to teach science, Scully?"

"Well", she said thoughtfully,considering his question. "I've always been interested in the hard sciences ever since early high school. I guess it was just natural to become a teacher."

"I've never been one for those branches of science. I have a slightly different outlook on world around us, you might say," Mulder said with a grin, knowing it wouldn't take long for her to pick up what he's insinuating.

"Are you religious or something?" she asked as she herself had a strict catholic upbringing thanks to her mother who had rounded up the Scully children every Sunday and marched them to their local catholic church.

Mulder chuckled, thinking of his own faith. He pretty much believed in everything but a higher power but If the crucifix around her neck was anything to go by, she did believe in a higher power in spite of her scientific background.

"Not quite. I much prefer to turn to the fantastic as plausibility.", he replied with a smirk.

Scully looked at him slightly confused before the poster on the wall finally made sense. Even though she didn't really want to start a debate with a colleague on the first day, something about him made her lose the etiquette she usually had in these situations.

Well, to be honest, I find it hard to believe that any answers exist outside the realm of science. The truth is there. You just have to know where to look, Fox.

Mulder shook his head at the name that was more of an infliction given to him to by his parents than anything else. It had been a real pain when he was younger but in his teenage years, he insisted on being called by his last name, and it had been the same way ever since.

"Even my parents call me Mulder,"

He gestured towards the poster on his wall, returning to the subject at hand. "Do you believe in the existence of extraterrestrials?"

She frowned, deciding that he was being perfectly serious now.

"There's no hard evidence that there is extraterrestrial life and, personally, I see it as impossible."

He looked at her in disbelief. "Scully, I know you're a scientist but plenty of people in your line of thinking believe that it's possible. There have been hundreds of documented cases where people say they've been abducted and god knows what the government is hiding down in Area 51. The universe is so vast, Scully. Surely there has to be some intelligent life out there apart from ourselves."

"Exactly Mulder, the universe is huge. Therefore if these aliens had the technology to travel to Earth why would they just use it to abduct unsuspecting humans for testing rather than take over the whole damn planet? If they are a civilization so advanced that they can build spacecrafts of that standard, what can they possibly learn from us?. And as for Area 51, it's supposed to be just a military base. They're probably just testing new stealth planes or something. If the government wants to keep their projects under wraps from the public, they have a right to do that."

Mulder smiled despite himself. Could a person be more skeptical? Either way, he had already decided that he liked her. A simple conversation between them had turned into an educated battle of wits. He liked how she challenged him. She kept him on his toes.

They both fell silent. He stared at her and she stared back, both silently challenging the other to speak first.

The room seemed to be surging with energy from their interaction. Their eyes never left each other's. The natural electricty between them crackling and sparkling.

It was then that they realised the hustle and bustle of the school day was commencing. Their conversation must have gone on much longer than it felt.

At the sound, they tore their eyes from the other's to face the door. Scully stepped away to head back towards her classroom as she still had a lot to organise before her first class of the day.

"I better go, Mulder."

"I'll see you around, Scully."

He chuckled as he settled back into sorting his test papers, smiling slightly. This was definitely going to be an interesting working relationship.

She rolled her eyes before taking one last glance at her colleague and heading for the door.

'He seems like a good guy,' she thought. 'A little strange, a little eccentric, but good.'

She wouldn't admit it to herself then but she liked him; she liked the electricity of their conversations. She liked the side of herself that talking and arguing with him brought out. They were total opposites.

And she liked it.

...

I have fire in my fingers and I want to believe in this,

In me, in you and the way your eyes burn when they look at me

And remember why the world spins and the atoms collide

Because of Fate.

~ Anonymous

...

A/N PLEASE LEAVE A REVIEW. THAT WOULD MEAN THE WORLD TO ME :)

THANKS SO MUCH TO UNTAPPEDTREASURE AND WHIRDARF. YOU'RE BOTH AWESOME!

Chapter Text

TV Shows » X-Files » Mr Spooky and Ms Starbuck
Author: pearlydewdrop « »
Rated: T - English - Romance/Humor - Reviews: 92 - Published: 06-08-16 - Updated: 12-27-16 id:11988179
Mr Spooky and Ms Starbuck ch 2

...

You can't go the distance
With too much resistance
I know you have doubts
But for god's sake don't shut me out

~A Matter of Trust, Billy Joel

...

Woodrow Wilson High School

Washington DC

9.05am

One Year Later

"All right everyone settle down". Scully shouted from the top of the science lab to her class of sophomores who were supposed to be in the midst of preparing for their usual end of the week exam.

Some of the more dedicated students in the first few rows were grumbling quietly about the noise in the room next door while the rest of the class was being infected by the laughter and boisterousness emitting from the psychology classroom across the hall.

Scully sighed, taking up her pen and tried to call the role all the while attempting to ignore the shenanigans of her students not to mention the laughter and jeering from the class adjacent to hers.

She was well aware that it wasn't just the students fault; Mulder was just as much a culprit as any of the teenagers that either of them taught.

"Mulder". She yelled more than loud enough to be heard from the class next door. "Could you and your class please keep it down in there or do I have to come over there and do it myself".

The kids in front of her snickered because this was pretty run of the mill stuff. Scully always threatened to go over to straighten out Mulder and his class (even though she never did) while Mulder always came over to the lab for the most random of reasons during class time. (Which he did most days).

Their teachers were always bickering with each other although one was hardly ever seen without the other. So surely they must (at the very least) enjoy each other's company.

Half of the student body thought that they were dating; the other half knew it was just a matter of time. Some (the more imaginative ones) even went as far as believing the rumour that the two teachers were secretly married and would promptly try to convince anyone who told them otherwise.

The laughing subsided slightly in the psychology room. Mulder chuckled at his friend's outburst from the laboratory across the hall and signaled for his class to settle down.

"You got it G-Woman". He yelled back.

Mulder's class burst out laughing at the nickname given to their strict but fair science teacher by their easy-going, good-humoured, alien-loving psychology teacher who was more than a little spooky.

He grinned as he imagined Scully's face across the hall, and mixture of frustration, disapproval, embarrassment and even though she would never admit it to him, amusement.

"All right guys, settle down or I'll be in the doghouse later".

This caused most of his class to smirk.

So married...

Mulder raised his voice again so the the next thing he would say could be heard through the wall by Scully.

"Sorry".

The response was blunt. "Sure. Fine. Whatever."

Both class grinned as they tucked back into their work, opening their textbooks. Could Mr. Mulder and Ms. Scully be any more obvious?

XXXXXXXXXXXX

Two hours later when it came to lunchtime Mulder,as usual dismissed his class and made his way across the hall into Scully's lab.

He grinned softly, spotting her across the room where she was elbow-deep in a bunch of test papers and her glasses perched at the end of her watched for a minute or so ,not gazing (or so he told himself) before letting her know he was there.

"Hey Scully. You wanna come over this evening?".

Sighing in frustration ,Scully tossed the papers aside. Her students were bright on average even though some refused to do the work or put in the down, she hated having to fail students but she reassured herself that she had offered them extra help and they had turned her down.

She looked up taking in the sight of her colleague and closest friend, the man known to all the students as 'Mr. Spooky'.

His tie was slightly looser than it had been that morning and he had rolled the sleeves of his shirt up to his elbows. She looked away to recollect her thoughts. She had been staring a bit too long at Mulder, something that has been happening quite a lot as of late.

She couldn't be attracted to him? Could she?

"Sure, What's on the agenda?", Scully asked, putting her previous thoughts quickly into the back of her mind.

" ,a six pack of beer and Silence of the Lambs".

"As long as it's not Plan 9 From Outer Space again", she replied teasingly.

Scully got up from her desk, putting away her glasses and joined Mulder by the door.

Unconsciously his hand found the small of her back and together they made their way down the hall, up the stairs and toward the direction of the teacher's lounge for break.

"That really is a terrible movie", Mulder agreed.

"Says the guy who's watched it over forty times".

"Forty nine, actually but only because watching it helps the reasoning part of my brain to function better. I can think and watch Plan 9 at the same time and I don't have to give it much of my attention thus it becomes like a background track to my thoughts that lets my mind wander elsewhere ".

"Should I be worried about you, Mulder?", Scully asked jokingly, feigning concern.

"You worry about me anyway, Scully". He joked as she nudged him in the side, rolling her eyes at his ridiculousness.

"Dream on, Buddy".

XXXXXXXXXXXX

They entered the teacher's lounge, sitting down in their regular spot a little bit away from the rest of the staff. Sometimes they were joined by Washington High's three most eccentric and paranoid computer studies teachers but usually Frohike, Langly and Byers were too engrossed in their devices and too glued to their crazy blog on international government conspiracies to come next door near the place.

"You bring in lunch again today, Scully". Mulder asked gesturing towards the plastic lunch box between them on the table. He had noticed that she had started doing so a few weeks ago rather than eating the school's food but he hadn't thought to bring it up until now.

"Yeah. It's a lot healthier than that school canteen trash". She said eyeing his lunch across from hers.

"And that's supposed to be the healthy option?". He questioned, gesturing toward the six ounce pot of yoghurt that she was stirring something from a separate container into.

"It's bee balm. It's actually very good for you and has plenty of health benefits".

"You're a scientist,Scully. I thought you should know better than to believe that". He joked.

She rolled her eyes."Suit yourself, Mulder".

He grinned deviously making a face at her food before playfully stretching across the few remaining inches between them and stealing the yogurt off the spoon before it got as far as her mouth.

"Hey". She protested halfheartedly, hitting him on top of the nose with her spoon. "Eat your own food".

"The air inside my mouth tastes better than that crap". Mulder told her disgusted before asking. "Why on earth would you inflict something like that on yourself".

She shrugged. "I'm trying a new diet. My sister Melissa recommended it, it's actually quite good".

"And revolting too. A diet like that just keeps on ticking all the boxes", Mulder added,amused.

She sighed and groaned, resting her head on her palm, setting her food aside for now. Admittedly, Mulder did have a point; the stuff tasted like crap.

"Quit bugging me,Mulder. I'm tired!", Scully said irritably.

He smiled affectionately. "I plan on bugging you every single day for the foreseeable future,G-Woman".

Scully smiled despite herself. "I figured"

"Hey Scully, I was gonna go see if I could stake out The Gunmen. You know, see what they're up to. Wanna come?".

"I have extra homework to grade for my seniors next period".

"But you're my partner in crime". He pouted.

She chuckled patting him on the shoulder. 'God, he almost has me convinced and he hasn't even really tried yet'. She thought to herself, getting up from her seat to head back to her classroom.

"No can do, Mulder. I'll see you later, though".

"What should I order for us this evening: Pizza or Chinese?". Mulder asked.

She considered it for a second. "Pizza"

He laughed teasingly . "Someone's rebelling from her diet" before asking, "The usual right?; half meat and half vegetarian?".

"Sounds good to me".

She walked out the door. He watched her go.

XXXXXXXXXXXX

Several minutes later

Twenty minutes in and Scully was halfway through her stack of copies given to her by her senior physics students. The classroom was silent, save for the buzzing of the running projector at the back of the room and the distant chatter of the students outside.

Suddenly she heard the sound of footsteps nearing her door, it was probably Mulder back from the computer rooms upstairs. After all, she was expecting him back any minute now.

Scully looked up to see if her suspicions were correct and was met with the sight of her father.

"Hey Ahab, I wasn't expecting you" . She greeted cheerfully, not used to seeing her father show up her workplace.

William Scully just stared unflinchingly at his youngest daughter, not saying a word. His face was pale and sombre as if he had seen a ghost. He looked over Scully's left shoulder, mouth moving as though he was trying to speak to her but no words were coming out. His hands were joined lowly in front of him in an almost prayer-like fashion.

Scully got up off of her seat to move towards her father. "Dad, are you okay?", she asked concerned for his wellbeing.

That was when her phone rang. She looked down to check the caller ID. It was Washington General Hospital.

"Sorry Dad". She said. "I might have to take this"

"Hello. This is Dana Scully", she answered in her usual formal tone of voice, faltearing immediately when she heard the voice at the other end.

She could only hear hysterical weeping from the other end. "Mom?". She asked uncertainly. Her mother managed to gain composure long enough to choke out a few breathless and disjointed words. "Dana. It's. Your Father. He's gone". Scully looked up in disbelief to find herself alone.

"Mom. What happened?". She asked, desperately trying to hold back tears of her own.

"He had a heart attack and died almost instantly".

"I'll be there as soon as I can, Mom". She said before bidding Margaret Scully goodbye and hanging up, still choking back her own grief.

Just then she heard another set of footsteps approaching the door. Scully looked up from the phone only to find Mulder looking down at her with a mixture of worry and concern.

"What's the matter". He asked gently as he approached her.

" It's my dad. He's dead". She felt tears well up in her eyes as the reality truly hit her. Her father, Captain Ahab was gone. She felt her body begin to shake slightly at the effort of trying not to crying in front of Mulder.

Scully felt her eyes burn and her legs begin to wobble slightly as the first solitary tear slipped from her eyes. Ahab was gone.

She felt herself unconsciously gravitate towards Mulder until they were less than a foot apart.

"I'm so sorry, Dana". Mulder said, using her first name. It was the first time he had ever seen Scully cry. He wrapped his arms around her waist and pulled her close, hoping that he could even attempt to slightly ease her pain.

Even though they were supposed to be just friends Mulder held her like he was freezing and she was fire.

Even though they were supposed to just be friends Scully laid her head on his chest, as his heart began to beat out a tune that soothed her soul.

...

Some love is just a lie of the heart
The cold remains of what began with a passionate start
And they may not want it to end
But it will it's just a question of when
I've lived long enough to have learned
The closer you get to the fire the more you get burned
But that won't happen to us
Cause it's always been a matter of trust

~ A Matter of Trust, Billy Joel.

...

Chapter Text

TV Shows » X-Files » Mr Spooky and Ms Starbuck
Author: pearlydewdrop « »
Rated: T - English - Romance/Humor - Reviews: 92 - Published: 06-08-16 - Updated: 12-27-16 id:11988179
Mr Spooky and Ms Starbuck

Chapter 3: The Natural Law of Inertia.

...

Blessed are those who mourn,

For they will be comforted

~ Matthew 5:4

...

Woodrow Wilson High School

Washington DC

5.05pm

...

Newton's first law states that an object in motion continues in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force. It is the natural tendency of objects to keep on doing what they are doing.

All objects resist changes in their state of motion. In the absence of an unbalanced force, an object in motion will maintain its state of motion. Inertia is the reason that people in cars need to wear seat belts. A moving car has inertia, and so do the riders inside it. When the driver applies the brakes, an unbalanced force is applied to the car.

Normally, the bottom of the seat applies an unbalanced force—friction—which slows the riders down as the car slows. If the driver stops the car suddenly, however, this force is not exerted over enough time to stop the motion of the riders. Instead, the riders continue moving forward with most of their original speed because of their inertia.

XXXXXXXXXXXX

The car park outside Washington High was emptying as one by one the teacher's left for the day. The sky was clear and the biting chill of the September breeze was giving away for what would be a colder winter.

Mulder was busying himself by tossing a few things from his office aside to take home with him, not that he was going to get much done anyway.

Scully was coming over for their usual movie and beer night and Mulder was more than delighted to have an excuse not to tucker into a mountain of Psychology essays from his students.

Tossing a habdful of sunflower seeds into his mouth, He turned around to face a certain redhead who he knew without looking was standing in the doorway.

Mulder decided to have some fun with her because hell, life's too short and correcting homework and watching porn after work was always second choice when there was Scully around to mess with, his partner in crime.

"I smelled you coming Clarice", he said creepily, imaging the voice of the famous murderer, Hannibal Lecter.

Scully rolled her eyes, sitting down next to him. She was totally sombre. Her eyes were like a clouded sky and her hin was held up high and proud like that of an Egyptian sphinx.

Serious?

Definitely...

Mulder stopped his joking to listen, genuinely concerned for the wellbeing of his best friend. She had been through a lot lately and he had tried his best to be there for her when she allowed it.

He could hear a hint of regret in her voice when she spoke up.

"Mulder, I can't come over after work today. My mom invited me to dinner and you know how things have been lately".

He put a comforting arm around her in a way he tried to convince himself was strictly 'best buddy style'.

He knew how hard things had been for her and for Mrs Scully for the past few weeks. He had tried to convince her to take some time off of work, something she point blank refused to do no matter how much he or even Skinner had persisted.

That however was one of the many things he admired about her (not that he would ever tell her that). Ever since Mulder first met her, he was blown away by her strength, one of the things he found most beautiful about her.

Scully smiled slightly. She really was touched by how Mulder had acted recently and tried to convince herself almost daily that this wave of affection that often swelled inside her when he was around or the electric warmth she felt in the pit of her stomach when he held her was due to the fact that she had never let someone who wasn't family this close to her before.

He's her best friend and it's best that it stays that way, no matter how much her heart pleaded with her mind to throw caution to the wind.

The risk that would have to be taken was far too great. It could jeopardise their deep rooted friendship, companionship and may break the trust between them. There was just far too much on the line.

She wanted to take the leap of faith though. More than anything.

She only feared that he didn't feel the same.

Perhaps he only saw her as a friend, someone to talk to and joke around with. Perhaps he didn't feel the same magnetism between them, pulling them to each other like oppositely charged poles.

Opposites attract each other in magnetism and in life. Scully had known this for years but she also knew that he was her polar opposite and the force between them was at a constart war to pull them together.

However, when it comes to the cases of matter and antimatter; two opposite charges can explode on contact, rendering themselves and their surrounds to tatters

That was what Scully feared. That giving into the tempting pull of magnetism may only lead to the imminent destruction of both herself, Mulder and the friendship and trust they have grown between them over the last two years through thick and thin.

Both magnetism and matter were scientific truth. The question was; what was her and Mulder's truth.

Suddenly, Mulder pulled her from her train of thoughts with a vague smile as though he knew where her mind had wandered off to.

Almost like telepathy.

"I'll see you tomorrow then,Scully", he said dully.

Scully sighed slightly, fully out of her brief daze and now back to business. "Depends what time I finish up at Mom's. We can meet up tonight after I leave. I'll give you a call if it's a decent hour", she said quickly and casually as though her previous thoughts had not even existed.

Forgotten. For now.

Mulder pouted slightly before throwing in a suggestion. "I'll meet you halfway?", he offered referencing the bar that they usually meet in when they don't feel like a night in.

"Why not. I'll see you around nine", she said, passing him out and heading in the direction of the door.

"You're buying" Mulder exclaimed teasingly, his mood picking up.

"In your dreams". Scully laughed over her shoulder before leaving the room, bracing herself for one of the first time she has seen her mother since her father's one month anniversary mass.

Mulder shook his head slightly as he got ready to finish up for the day and head home too..

XXXXXXXXXXXX

Scully tossed her books and papers for correction into the back seat of her car. Margaret Scully had called a few hours earlier and asked her two daughters who lived nearby around for dinner, something she had been doing quite a lot since the death of her husband. Scully knew her mother was lonely, another testament to the price of love; the pain when it's lost.

The family were beginning to repair, little by little after the death of a man who was a great father and husband. Melissa was always consulting the energies around her to assure herself and any others who would listen that William Scully was indeed at peace. Charlie had only just gone back to Atlantic City where he was working as an engineer. Bill also had a lot on his plate too as work in the navy was very busy and his wife Tara was due to give birth soon.

Scully was already thirty minutes late for dinner with her mother and was beginning to get a little reached behind her after putting the keys in the ignition and grabbing her belt.

'Crap' she muttered quietly, it wouldn't budge.

The belt was fine that morning when she driven to work. She tugged at it again, cursing under her breath. Nothing seemed to work. She'd just have to get it mended later. It's not like her mother's house was a million miles away anyway.

But suddenly there was a flash of large headlamps and the inevitable crash of two solids colliding when in motion.

She didn't see it until it was too late to do anything. Helpless.

The collision was the loudest and most unexpected part. The impact was instant. Nothing could be done.

It wasn't as if Scully was speeding when it happened, quite the contrary. But when a four ton pick up truck spins hazardously across your path and rams forcefully into your side door, you feel it. The impact of the truck on the smaller car was huge, cracking the side door opening like an egg bound for scrambling.

The car quickly became eviscerated as the collision with the larger vehicle sent it spiralling of the road, tires screeching, chassis flipping and engine guttering all leading up to a burial in a nearby wall. The ear-splitting percussion of the crash was nothing in comparison to the piercing sound of silence thereafter.

Scully's senses quickly went into overdrive as she tried desperately to remain conscious. The pain is what registered first, horrible pain in her head, her abdomen and back. She didn't open her eyes but she could smell the coolant of the cracked radiator, fire, the smoke, the gasoline and her own blood. A fearful stench. Their faces flashed before her eyes, her family and friends.

Then nothing.

Could this be the end?.

The Natural Law of Inertia could not be denied.

XXXXXXXXXXXX

Mulder's Apartment

No.42

Washington

6.50 pm

Mulder rolled the collection of freshly pared pencils across his desk, examining each of them in their various levels of sharpness.

He contemplated how much force it would take for a flying pencil to end up sticking into the plaster on his roof. 'Well'. He thought as he put a bunch of essays written by his class of juniors aside, 'This is cause for a bit of an experiment,huh'.

He chuckled softly as the pencil soared from his makeshift elastic band catapult and embedded itself in the ceiling. "Bull's eye!". He whooped, fist bumping the air. "Who's the man?".

That was when the phone rang. Mulder reached over to grab the phone, dropping his pencil missiles and opened packet of sunflower-seeds on to the desk with a clatter.

"Mulder". He answered, waiting for the person on the other end to speak.

A fear-stricken voice spoke up from the other end.

A tone Mulder hadn't heard since the topic of Samantha was last brought up to his mother.

"Fox". The voice said. Mulder knew straight away who was on the eyes other end. The only person in the world who insists on calling him by his first name.

"Mrs Scully. What's wrong". He asked cautiously not sure he wanted to hear the answer.

He could already feel something inside him crumble as all air escaped his lungs on hearing the silence at the other end. His throat felt tight. He knew what the tone of voice meant, the voice of someone who feared that they had lost a child. He was hanging on Mrs Scully's every tearful word because something was wrong with Scully, why else would her mother call him in such a state.

"It's Dana. She was hit by a drunk driver. She came into Washington General two hours ago and she hasn't woken up. Fox...". She paused, her breathing ragged and her distress for her daughter's welfare evident. "Things aren't looking good for her...", her voice trailed off as she dissolved into wracking sobs.

Mulder didn't say a word. He couldn't. What could he say to Mrs Scully? What reassurance could he give her without lying to himself. He would be lying to both of them.

"I've already called Bill, Melissa and Charlie. I thought you should know too".

"I'm on my way, Mrs Scully", he said evenly, willing his voice not to crack.

It's amazing how your world can change...

...

Where are you and I'm so sorry
I cannot sleep I cannot dream tonight
I need somebody and always
This sick strange darkness
Comes creeping on so haunting every time

~Blink 182, Miss You

Chapter Text

TV Shows » X-Files » Mr Spooky and Ms Starbuck
Author: pearlydewdrop « »
Rated: T - English - Romance/Angst - Reviews: 103 - Published: 06-08-16 - Updated: 02-02-17 id:11988179
Mr Spooky and Ms Starbuck Chapter 4: Duane Barry

...

indecision to call you
And hear your voice of treason
Will you come home and stop the pain tonight
Stop this pain tonight

Don't waste your time on me you're already
The voice inside my head (I miss you miss you)

~Blink 182, Miss You

...

Our Lady of Perpetual Help's Funeral Home

Washington DC

2.45pm

...

Mulder's eyes darted around the room and out the window on to the street outside, half trying to avoid the helpless gaze of the older woman standing next to him. The sky was grey and the pavement was wet. Overcast and gloomy were the words that immediately come to mind. That was alright though, it suited his mood.

Being here in this catholic funeral home with Mrs Scully felt wrong, like something out of a hazy nightmare that he couldn't quite pull himself from matter how hard he tried. He felt trapped in a reality that didn't feel real.

He couldn't quite believe this was happening. He had lost a lot of people close to him in life so far, the most painful of those being Samantha. He would never forget the day the cops showed up at his house and told his parents that they had recovered Sam's corpse in a nearby forest.

Mulder remembered as plain as day when he had gone with both of his parents to the morgue in Boston to identify the disfigured body of his little sister. His chest still contracted in grief at the memory. The pain of their loss tore the family apart. They were distant from each other now as if they reminded each other a little too much of the family they had lost. When he lost Samantha he had lost them all in a way.

It never really occurred to him though that he would or even could loose Scully in such a way. The woman who was his best friend. His constant. His confidant. His touchstone. There was much he should have told her when he had the chance, when it seemed like they had all the time in the world. The thought that she might not be there in a matter of days or even hours was too sinister a reality to face.

Lost in thought, Mulder looked back across the counter not really wanting to see what the attendant would soon show him and Mrs Scully. It would just make this nightmare a reality, a reality too real for him to bear. Something Mulder was still struggling against.

The dark haired woman next to him began to speak quietly as they waited for the attendant to come out from the back room.

Maggie Scully told him about how Dana had been out shooting with her brothers as a little girl. She told him that her husband had told the kids to only shoot at the cans they had set up as target. But children being children; Bill, Dana and Charlie began to shoot at a snake that they had spotted.

Maggie told Mulder of the guilt her daughter had felt once she had realised what she and her brothers had done how she had taken away something that wasn't her's to take, she told him how Dana had held the snake as if sheer human will could bring back life into its limp body.

Mulder immediately caught on to the message behind Mrs Scully's story even though he didn't see the situation that way. He wouldn't allow himself to. He needed to believe that Scully wouldn't want them to accept her condition at face value. She wouldn't want them to give up now, would she?. Wouldn't she expect them to have faith in her recovery?

"It's too soon Mrs Scully. It's only been a week. We can't give up."

She looked down at her lap in dismay before noticing as the tall and dark haired attendant walked into the room carrying a box covered in a pale coloured gauze.

"Fox." She said. "That day in the woods I felt for my daughter but at this moment I know how my daughter felt."

Mrs Scully got up and moved towards the counter, Mulder followed immediately even though his every instinct was screaming at him not to. He couldn't believe how well Mrs Scully was holding it together in the wake of all this. He supposed that this is where Scully had inherited her strength and level-headedness from. Mrs Scully ran her hand along the surface of the box before lifting the wax coloured gauze from the face of the grey coloured marble slab.

Mulder looked down at the counter top as Mrs Scully brushed her fingers across the gravestone that bared the name of her youngest daughter. Tears welled up at the corners of her eyes but they didn't fall.

Here lies the body of:

Dana Katherine Scully,

Loving Daughter and Friend,

Mulder felt the air leave his lungs as if he had been punched in the gut. Here on this counter was a tangible reminder of Scully's more then probable fate. Mulder felt his mind go into overdrive as a huge case of 'what if's' whizzed around his head, burning like acid. He turned and left the funeral home walking out into the rain in a desperate attempt to quench his acidic thoughts. He told himself that it was best if he waited for Mrs Scully there. The rain came down heavier. Mulder didn't care.

Back inside the funeral home the raven haired attendant left to return to the rear office before offering his condolences to Mrs Scully. As soon as she was sure that both men were out of earshot Maggie let her tears fall. The crystalline drops covering her daughter's name.

She wept for her the grown woman she had raised, her baby girl who still had so much of her life ahead of her. Mrs Scully wept because she had never thought that she would experience the death of a child, the most painful of losses and the greatest fear that all mothers dread even the thought of having to face. Maggie wanted to have faith in this moment to say this is all some part in God's greater plan but she couldn't believe that a tragedy like this could be the work of God.

Meanwhile Mulder just waited outside in the rain hoping that the weather would mask his own grief, the grief of possibly losing his best friend. It loomed over him, a monster that he did not want to face.

...

I searched the moon
I lost my head
I even looked under the bed
I punched the walls
I hit the street
I'm down in the pavement lookin'

~Green Day, Missing You

...

XXXXXXXXXXXX

Six Days Earlier

...

Washington General Hospital.

...

Mulder could hardly recall anything that happened between the time he hung up the phone after hearing the news of Scully's condition from Mrs Scully and his arrival at Washington General.

The hospital was alive with doctors, nurses, patients and trolleys bustling around in a frenzy that he barely acknowledged. He felt numb and a part of him doubted that this was even reality.

Mulder heard doctors calling out for him to stop as he wasn't allowed in there without clearance but Mrs Scully had told him that Dana had been admitted to the intensive care unit so that's where he was going doctors bedamned.

He rounded the last corner and pushed open the glass door. He spotted her red hair straight away at the end of the ward. He made his way to the bed in at handful of strides, bending over until his elbows touched the mattress, brushing off of the clammy hand of his best friend. Mulder nodded to Mrs Scully who stared helplessly at her daughter, unflinching as though she might vanish before her eyes.

There were more wires attached to Scully than he could be bothered to count right now and she was hooked up to a various array of machines, one breathing for her and the monitoring her heart beat. He felt the colour drain from his face as he took in the sight of her, his heart pounding so loudly that he could hear it in his ears. Mulder felt as though a building had collapsed on him. He felt torn, anguished and numb with pain. But one emotion stood out among them all, he felt angry.

It started in his chest and spread like wildfire. He needed to hit something. Now.

Mulder stood up suddenly, startling Mrs Scully enough to look away from Dana. He flew at one of the doctors, grabbing him by the lapel of his white lab coat.

"Who did this to her." Mulder demanded.

The doctor regarded him impatiently, his face flushed with stress. "Sir, your girlfriend was in a car accident". Mulder didn't bother to correct him. Most people assume he and Scully were more than friends anyway. The doctor didn't even squirm in Mulder's still firm grasp as he continued evenly, trying to reason with him. "Nobody else was hurt badly in the accident. The driver that hit her was heavily intoxicated and will be charged by the police department for drunk driving on his day of discharge. Now if you'll just...". Mulder didn't hear the rest, he was already half way out the door and on his way to the drying out facility in the opposite side of the hospital.

The wing smelled strongly of a mixture of vodka and antibacterial wash. Mulder entered the ward, still fuming. The names of each patient was scrawled on a black board above their beds, along with the date and time they were admitted. He glanced at each of the boards in turn, looking for someone who had been brought in around the same time as Scully. He found one.

Patient Name: Duane Barry

Time of admission: 5:30pm

Mulder looked down from the board to the man in the bed below it. He was a small dark haired man, probably in his mid forties and was sporting a slightly crazed look and a dirty looking basketball jersey that smelled of sweat, tequila, stale urine and day old beer.

He seemed perfectly alright despite the slight gash on his head and was busy watching some boxing match that was playing on the TV in the corner of his room, seemingly without a care in the world. Just the sight of the man and his carefree demeanour made Mulder's blood boil at a whole new height of temperatures.

Mulder switched off the TV, eyeing the other man vehemently. Duane spluttered in protest at the intrusion.

"What the hell d'you do that for. Duane Barry was watching that?". He exclaimed from his trolley bed.

"You're Duane Barry?". Mulder asked, his eyes narrowed.

"Yeah". Duane said shifting in his bed, uncertainly.

That's all it took for Mulder's fist to connect viciously with the other man's jaw, sending him back against the wall, spiralling on to his pillows.

"What the fuckin' hell was that for?". Duane said looking up at Mulder, half dazed from the impact of the punch.

"You hurt her!". Mulder accused.

"What?". Duane questioned.

"You son of a bitch, you were drunk driving and you hit my...best friend, because of you she is lying in intensive care and you better hope to whatever god there is that she makes it out alive".

The expression on Duane Barry's face changed in an instant.

"Someone got hurt?". He asked breathlessly before repeating for clarification. "Duane Barry hurt someone?".

Mulder just glared in response as Duane's face fell in some strange mixture of guilt, regret, pity and shock.

"I'm so sorry".

Mulder's frown didn't soften but his anger slightly dissipated, for now.

Duane looked down at his own hands in search of answers that he could never find. Answers for his alcoholism. The loss of his family, his job, his life and now he may have a death on his conscience too.

"I hope she's not hurting too bad".

Mulder felt his rage flaring up again as he charged at the other man.

Just then a nurse popped her head inside the door. She looked from Duane to Mulder.

"Is something going on in here? Are you alright Mr Barry?".

Duane nodded and the nurse turned to Mulder.

"You're disrupting my patients. I'll have to ask you to leave the ward before I call security".

Mulder shook his head, returning to his senses. He had to get back to Scully. He couldn't get himself thrown out, for her sake. He wouldn't forgive himself for that.

"You don't need to tell me twice".

...

I'm missing you
I'm missing you
You're not around
And I'm a complete disaster!
I'm missing you

~Green Day, Missing You

...

XXXXXXXXXXXX

It was early morning and after a whole night of cold coffee and sitting by Scully's bedside waiting for something to happen Mulder found himself in a consultation room with Scully's doctor (the doctor who he had kind of harassed earlier) and Mrs Scully.

Doctor Daly looked through Scully's medical history file pointing out certain things to Mulder and Mrs Scully. His face was serious as he ran through Scully's prognosis. It didn't look too good.

"Currently we have Dana listed as a patient in critical condition. She is presently showing all symptoms of having gone into a coma including depressed brainstem reflexes, pupils not responding to light, irregular breathing and she is unresponsive to painful stimuli to her limbs save for reflexive movements ".

He paused to gauge their reaction only to be met by silence, Daly continued. "The impact of the crash resulted in a significant traumatic injury to the head. When her head hit the windshield of the car she experienced Subarachnoid hemorrhaging. This is bleeding in the area between the brain and the thin tissues that cover the brain. hemorrhaging usually occurs in car crashes where, a bump, blow or jolt to the head or body can causes the head and brain to move quickly back and forth. Even if the skull isn't fractured, which it isn't in Dana's case, the brain can bang against the inside of the skull and become bruised. Dana has also experienced a Diaphragmatic rupture as a result of penetrating trauma. For this she needs laparotomy surgery to repair the damage. However, this isn't our main concern and the damage to her muscles would be far easier to treat if she were in a better condition".

Daly turned the page on Scully's file to show them a copy of the brain scan that they carried out on her just fifteen minutes prior. "If we are to be optimistic we would have to have had some brain activity that would suggest near consioisness recorded in the last few hours...but we haven't. On most cases when patients are in a coma it takes up to a month and often more for them to wake up but Dana is entirely dependent on life support and we're not sure what else to do for her now but wait".

"We can do Nothing?". Mrs Scully asked quietly her eyes showing more fear than her voice let on.

The doctor shook his head. "I'm sorry, but the chances of your daughter waking from such a coma are slim at best and I also must inform you that she has a will to live as of six months ago and we are liable for respecting the terms on which she wishes to continue living".

Margaret Scully looked at the doctor in alarm. "What?" she asked in shock. "To my knowledge no one in the family was aware of Dana having a living will. Doesn't a family member have to sign as witness to something like that?"

Mulder turned to her. "Mrs Scully, she doesn't want to live in this condition".

She looked at him, slightly startled that he knew something no one but Dana and whatever legal or medical person had been present at the time the living will was drawn up.

Maggie was shocked that Fox had been privy to such knowledge. She knew the friendship between had been was rooted deep, just not so deep that they had discussed topic of such a nature at great length, a topic she believed in only being approached with a family member or life partner rather than a best friend. Perhaps there was more to the relationship between her daughter and Fox Mulder than she had previously thought.

Doctor Daly looked across the desk at Mulder. "You signed as her witness". He stated checking the file.

Mulder nodded vacantly, trying desperately to keep himself in control. "I just never thought that it would come to this".

XXXXXXXXXXXX

I didn't take much longer for Doctor Daly to call an end to the meeting and he and the other consultants left the room leaving Mulder and Mrs Scully to return to Dana.

As soon as they were outside the room Margaret Scully turned in the direction opposite to that of her daughter's room, muttering something to Mulder about needing some air and some time to think. She nodded slightly to him.

'Fox, my daughter has always had very strong opinions and a strong will to match, something she no doubt inherited from her father". The older woman paused uncertainly not sure if she should continue but doing so anyway she added. "You know I won't hold the fact that you signed as her witness against you. You really did mean the world to her".

Mulder nodded numbly, grimacing slightly at Scully being spoken about in the past tense as if she was already dead. There was still hope, wasn't there?.

"Thanks Mrs Scully". He said before asking concernedly, "You sure you'll be alright?".

The older woman nodded, heading towards the side exit. Margaret Scully knew that she had to hide her tears from anyone who might see. Her other children would be on their way soon and she had to be strong for their sakes as well as Dana's. 'It's what William would have wanted' she told herself.

'If God was ever going to grant a miracle now would be a good time' she thought to herself bitterly even though she still had faith that He would and Dana would somehow be alright.

Mulder rounded the corner just about to re-enter Scully's room when his phone went off, barely audible in the busy hospital corridor. He looked down, checking caller ID to judge whether the call was worth taking right now.

'Incoming call from; Monica Reyes'.

He sighed in exhaustion not really wanting to talk about Scully's condition to Monica despite the fact that she and her husband John Doggett were close friends of his and of Scully's. The couple had been calling repeatedly for the past few hours but Mulder never felt ready to tell them.

As soon as he pressed 'accept' the other side of the phone exploded in what is best to be described as angry concern. Mulder wasn't sure whether to scratch her reaction down to a result of Monica's concern for him and Scully or her raging pregnancy hormones but right then he didn't really mind.

"Mulder! What the hell is going on? I haven't been able to reach you or Dana for the last few hours. Is everything alright. John and I are on the way to the hospital".

Mulder listened, confused as to how she and John had found out about Scully so soon. " How did you guys find out".

"Find out about what? John and I are on the way to the hospital for the twins second ultrasound. Is everything okay?".

Mulder sighed "No It's not" and explained about the car accident and Scully's situation, trying to keep the immense pain and desperation out of his voice even though Monica, who was very good at reading the emotions of others heard it anyway. Mulder heard her whisper a few things across to John who was apparently driving.

"We'll be there really soon, Mulder".

"I'll see you later then".

"Take care of yourself now, Fox-face".

Mulder half smiled despite himself at his friend's use of the stupid nickname she had given him when she and John had first met him and Scully at one of those ridiculous courses that are supposed to keep teachers up to date on the newest and daftest methods of teaching kids.

"Will try, Whale-Song" he answered.

Mulder turned and walked the rest of the way to Scully's room, immediately noticing he would not be alone by his best friend's bedside. There was another red haired woman standing over Scully. She was about the same height as Dana, if not a little taller and her clothes were almost fortune-telleresque.

He knew exactly who she was as they had briefly met at William Scully's funeral. It was Melissa, Scully's sister.

Just then Mulder felt a relatively large body brush past him and into the room. The man was tall enough and quite burly, sporting a frown that seemed permanent.

"What the hell are you doing here?". He said, turning on Mulder."This is a matter for family only".

Bill Scully in the flesh.

...

Well she's my bud
Well she's my soul
I get so lost out in the cold
Feels so far
Like this lone star
It gets so hard
When I'm missing you

~ Green Day, Missing You

...

Chapter Text

Chapter Five: Signs
.............
Weeping may endure for a night,
But joy cometh in the morning
                                  ~ Psalms 30:5
............
Washington General Hospital
8.45 am
..........
Mulder felt Bill’s gaze burning into him as if the man wanted to drill a hole in his head with just a single glance. He could almost feel the distaste radiating off of the oldest of Scully’s siblings like heat. 

Mulder never really understood why Bill hated him so much, sure he might not be the most normal kind of company for someone to be pleased about their younger sister keeping.

Even though Mulder didn’t quite comprehend the origin of Bill’s borderline hatred it didn’t bother him in the slightest. He and Scully weren’t children. As long as she wanted him around Bill’s opinion didn’t count for a thing because to Mulder Dana Scully is the Scully that matters most. 

Bill looked Mulder up and down, a vicious breed of anger and resentment building up inside of him. Bill’s fists balled up inside the pockets of his tan coloured jacket. He was trying not to lash out and punch Mulder for making himself a part of something that has little or nothing to do with him.

 As far as Bill could see, here was a man who his little sister stuck by no matter how much of a loser other people saw him as, here was a man who it only took one phone call from to have Dana leave the Christmas dinner table to talk to. As far as Bill was concerned here was a man who signed Dana’s living will, something that should have been done by a family member. Bill saw Mulder as an intruder, nothing more. 

“What do you think you’re doing here?”. Bill asked his navy eyes flashing dangerously and his face reddening so a point where it rivalled the hair of the rest of his family. 

 A deathly silence followed. Melissa looked from one man to the other trying to figure how best to get them to tolerate each other. The only thing one could hear was the soft beeping of the machines monitoring Scully’s steadily declining health. Not the most comforting sound for any of them. In truth it put them all more than slightly on edge. 

However Mulder answered calmly. He knew this was a tough time for Scully’s family. He owed it to her not to start a brawl with her oldest brother. “I’m here just like you guys are, waiting for Scu...., I mean Dana to wake up”. 

Bill scowled at Mulder’s words. Not because he didn’t have the same hope but because of how improbable  (or so Dana’s doctors had just told him) a truth it was. Dana was going to die. He was going to loose his little sister and there was nothing he could do about it. Bill ached for his mother, for Charlie, for Melissa but he wouldn’t ache for Fox Mulder. He wouldn’t let this sorry son of a bitch give their family false hope only for Dana to perish before their very eyes. 

The doctors had came in just before Mulder and after Bill and Melissa had introduced themselves, the doctors had explained to them the extent of Scully’s condition and the contents of her living will as well as who had signed as her witness, much to the outrage of Bill.
“You signed Dana’s living will?”. Bill said, pointing an accusatory finger at Mulder. 

“Yes but her wishes were her own. She only entrusted me with the contents”. 

“That’s more than she told us. Something so delicate should have been a matter for the family to attend to”. 

“It was her decision”. Mulder told him flatly. Mulder knew that Bill was just processing this in his own way. He supposed that he would just have to tolerate Bill’s crap about not being family and still having signed in witness if it meant staying at his best friend’s side through all of this. He respected Scully’s choices as did Mrs Scully. Why couldn’t Bill?

“What the hell put thoughts of comas and death into my sisters head then if it wasn’t you,huh? Because last I checked High School teaching is a safe job and you’re not advised by your superiors to have a living will if all you do every day is teach a couple of kids”. 

Mulder sighed tiredly recalling the long and painful conversation he had with Scully after Monica ended up in a coma for nearly a month resulting in her organs almost being put up for donation.

  He and Scully had spent hours upon hours sitting with John in the intensive care unit and in  the cafeteria down the hallway when they thought that they should give their newlywed friends some privacy. 

They spent every hour that they weren’t teaching in the hospital  waiting for something to happen. Their friends had needed them by their sides with both John and Monica’s families living in New York and New Orleans respectively.

Mulder and Scully had spoke at lengths about it in the days afterwards, affected by how the impact of the almost tragedy had changed both John and Monica. Their friends had decided that life was too short and it had shown all four of them how quickly your world can easily turned upside down. 

Scully decided that night that she would have a very specific living will drawn up should anything ever happen. Mulder who had agreed with her after some contemplation and much discussion also had a will drawn up and they signed as each other’s witness, promising not to speak about it again unless something should happen to either of them. 

Mulder wasn’t going to tell this story to Bill though, not now. It was best kept private not just for John and Monica’s sakes but also for Scully’s. He gave him a short and edited version of events. 

“A friend of mine and your sister’s almost died in a coma six months ago. She woke up thankfully and Scu...Dana had living will drawn up afterwards”. 

Mulder looked between a very quiet Melissa and a still angry looking Bill. “I believe she’s going to be okay though. She is the strongest person. I know her...she’s not ready to go yet”.

Bill’s expression quickly turns from anger the repulsion. “You think you know my sister, after what, a year and a half? You haven’t got a clue! And as for your so called beliefs?”.
 
Bill’s voice got higher as if he was going to start a rant that Mulder knew wouldn’t finish anytime soon once he started going. 

“ I’ve asked around about you, you know? Kids say that you believe in paranormal crap. Their parents say that you must have had some 
childhood experience that drove you loony. Your beliefs mean nothing! I don’t even know why you’re hear right now, you’re not family!. Let my sister die with dignity”. 

Mulder looked at the other man, startled and angry. He always preferred when people were honest about their beliefs and opinions because it made it clearer to decipher who was to be trusted, he knew deep down that any of them giving up on Scully now would regret it later. Mulder wanted to believe that she would prove the doctors wrong, he had to.
 
“I care about your sister a lot, Bill”. ‘Hell, I think I’m actually in love with her”. Mulder thought to himself, not wanting to say it out loud. The first person to hear it from him would have to be Scully herself not her brother. “And I know if anyone can survive this it’s her”. 

Bill almost snarled. “Care about her, do you? You have a funny way of showing it, making a scene at her bedside. She’s dying and there’s nothing any of us can do, unlike what happened with your sister”. 

Mulder clenched his fists at his sides, wanting to punch Bill into next week, half for giving up on Scully, half for bringing up Samantha.

Thoughts of his little sister made him vulnerable and turned him back into the gangly twelve years old he had been when she was killed. 

Thoughts of Scully made him invincible, he wasn’t going to loose his best friend no matter what it cost him. She was the only person that truly understands him now, his one in five billion.

Acceptance of her possible impending death wasn’t an option. He kept his fists to himself for Dana and for Mrs Scully. That didn’t stop his anger though. Mulder opened his mouth to respond in anger to Bill when the door opened behind him. 

The two men looked as if one was going to floor the other when Mrs Scully re-entered the room, she looked between the furious pair and over to Melissa. 

“Hello Melissa, dear. I’m glad you could come”
“of course, Mom”. She answered with a sad smile. 

Mrs Scully then addressed Mulder and her son, seeing the death glares and sensing the tension. “Fox,” she said “Bill. Is everything alright?” 

Mulder looked from Melissa to Bill to Mrs Scully. He could see a little bit of his best friend in each of the three of them. She was like them, yes but then again she was so different. It both comforted and killed Mulder at the same time. He need to get some air. He turned to Bill before leaving the room through the  door Mrs Scully had just walked through.

“She’s not gonna die, Bill”

The glass door closed with a soft rattle behind him, his tall frame disappearing around the corner. Mrs Scully rested her hand on her son’s shoulder to stop him from pursuing Mulder in his anger. 

“It’s alright Bill. Leave him be”. 

Bill opened his mouth in protest but quickly stopped at the stern glance his mother gave him. 

“Sorry Mom”. He muttered and took a seat next to Dana’s bed, picking up her medical charts to read them for himself. It wasn’t as though he understood it so well. It was just comforting to think he could do something to help his little sister, no matter how small it was. 

Mrs Scully nodded approvingly at her son before turning to her daughter who was standing over Dana, her hands outstretched.
“She’s choosing, Mom”.
“Choosing what, Missy?”.
“Whether to remain or to move on”. 

Mrs Scully sighed tiredly. As much as she loved her eldest daughter and she truly did. She found it hard to understand her ways sometimes. 

She and Bill had raised their kids to be good Catholic people, who understood right from wrong, prayed at night, went for confession every six months or so and went to church every Sunday. When Melissa first came home and started telling her mother and father about energies and auras Maggie had thought it would be a passing phase. That was nearly twelve years ago. 

“Why don’t you go get some coffee, Sweetie. You’ll be here for quite a while and the cafeteria should be opening soon”.

 Maggie informed her oldest daughter softly.
Melissa nodded in agreement. 

“I should probably say something to Fox while I’m there. He seems to be in a very dark place”.
“Thanks, Missy”. Maggie said before motioning to her son and adding quietly. 

“And I’ll try to talk some sense into your grouchy brother”. 

Bill grunted slightly and looked up from Dana’s charts. “I’m right here, Mom”. 

XXXXXXXXXXXX 

It felt like floating. She didn’t know where she was but it was peaceful and relaxing. She could hear the soft bubble of water and her body was swaying with the tide, feeling as though she would be dragged out to sea before vanishing into the unknown. 

Without opening her eyes Scully knew she was on a boat. She felt the gentle swaying underneath her and she could smell the air that was thick with sea salt. It reminded her of when she was a little girl and her father had taken her and her two brothers out sailing on the family boat. 

Scully opened her eyes and looked out at what was before her. She was in a small wooden boat, facing the horizon. The sky was a soft orange and the sun was slipping down across the slippery slopes that were tightrope clouds and the sea reflected back the sky’s delicate grace in a more fierce and dangerous way. 

Her father had always told her to respect nature because it will never respect you, one was never to be a fool around the sea. It was dangerous and unforgiving but still beautiful.
Scully turned in her seat to see if she could identify the shoreline to give her some indication of where she was.

 There was none. The sea stretched out for miles upon miles at either side, the shoreline a bare spec in the far distance. Scully felt the boat drift out further and further, the shore vanishing into the abyss and the horizon seeming closer than ever before.  

Scully was lost and slowly fading. She was lost at sea where the shoreline was no longer in sight. She was floating into the unknown without an anchor.

 

XXXXXXXXXXXX
.....
Washington General
.......
Mulder slumped in a chair by the vending machine and coffee maker in the hospital canteen. He found himself praying for the first time since he was a child. He wasn’t sure he even believed in God or a life after death but if praying to some almighty bearded guy up in the clouds made some impact on Scully’s current situation, he would happily be proven wrong on the existence of God. He believed she was more than worth being proven wrong.
 
Mulder fiddled with the lid covering the top of his half finished coffee, only looking up when he realised someone had taken the seat opposite him. It was Melissa. 

“You know Fox.....”. Mulder’s expression changed to one of distaste at being reminded of the ridiculousness that was his first name. Melissa quickly corrected herself. 

“Sorry... Mulder”. She stopped for a second before continuing. “Thinking all the deep thoughts in the world won’t bring her back”.

Mulder scowled slightly,  he was sick and tired of everyone acting as though Scully was dead. She was going to be fine, he knew it. 

“She has nowhere to be brought back from. She’s still alive, she’s still breathing and her heart is still beating”. 

 

“Mulder, you know those machines are only prolonging a life that should end. My sister is dying that’s perfectly natural. You need to accept that as we have if you’re going to be okay after this is over. I love my sister, but I don’t want her to be stuck living when she needs to move on”. 

Mulder sighed exhaustedly. “I’m not giving up on her. She wouldn’t give up on me if our places were reversed”. 

Melissa observed the man across from her. It was crystal clear to her that he was deeply rooted in a very dark place, much dark than the one Dana was in.

 He was broken, crumbling to pieces in front of her. Love lost will do that to a person. The truth is you’re going to loose people in your life and no matter how much you told them that you care about them, appreciate them and love them when they’re gone you’ll never feel like you told them enough.

She knew right from when she had first met Mulder that he and her sister would be great together, after all their auras complimented each other perfectly .

“You’re in love with my sister, aren’t you”. Melissa asked him quietly not really as a question but more of a statement.

Mulder snorted softly, looking up at her from his now empty coffee cup. “You think?”. 

“What are you doing sitting here miserable and drinking coffee with me then, you need to tell her how you feel right now”. Melissa told him. 

“I’d rather tell her when she’s conscious, thanks”. Mulder said with a sarcastic smile, he didn’t want to go into this topic right now with Scully’s older sister of all people. 

“If you don’t tell her now you might never get the opportunity again. You’ll regret it for the rest of your life”. Melissa warned. 

“I’ll take my chances”. He deadpanned.

Melissa looked at him angrily.  She never thought she would ever meet someone even half as stubborn as her little sister, but her he was: Fox Mulder, every bit as mule-headed. 

“My sister spoke about you to me several times, Mulder. I don’t know you very well but I can tell that you sometimes find yourself walking willingly into dark places but only by looking to the light....”. 

He cut her off because it hurt too much to her this from her, from anybody. He had studied Psychology in Oxford for crying out loud, he understood human emotions.

“Enough with this harmonic crap. I’m going to go home and change. Tell your mom that I’ll be back in a few hours”. He knew Monica and John would be arriving soon and that he should stay and introduce them to the Scullys but for some reason he needed to be away from here, for now. “I’ll see you later”. 

Melissa’s frown deepened and her voice grew considerably louder. “You know just because it’s positive and good  doesn’t make it meaningless”. She broke off, finished defending her own beliefs and moved back to her younger sister. “How come it’s so much easier for you to sit around in your darkness and negativity than to just express to her how you feel, huh?. I expect more from you after all my sister told me about you. Dana expects more!”. 

Melissa glared vehemently at Mulder, her voice resonating in the room and lingering in the tension laced air.  Melissa turned, huffing loudly and started to make her way back to her sister’s hospital room. Mulder, in turn stalked out the back door that lead into the foyer, her words hanging over him and making him feel like lead.

XXXXXXXXXXXX

After four hours, a quick shower and shave, a pile of essays which he barely read (resulting in the entire class either failing or getting an A, Mulder wasn’t even sure) and a lengthy conversation with The Lone Gunmen, Mulder found himself back inside Washington General.

He walked back in the direction of Scully’s ward, this time without any protests from the hospital staff. Bill and Melissa were further down the hall on the chairs left out for waiting visitors.  It seemed that John and Monica have come and gone, Mulder made a mental note to call them later if he could. It wasn’t as if he could blame them for leaving, if Bill Scully had tried to hunt him away from the hospital, he certainly would have a go at John and Monica. 

Mulder opened the door only to see a tearful Maggie Scully sitting by her daughter’s bed, her face steely and masking any and every emotion. It was her eyes that gave her away, two bottomless pits of despair. 

“Mrs Scully, Is everything okay?”. 

“The doctor’s think that it’s time that we turn off life support. Dana has made our decision”.
Mulder stared blankly, momentarily forgetting how to speak. “Mrs Scully, we can’t give up on Scu..., I mean Dana”. 

“Fox”. She warned quietly. “I know you respected my daughter and so do I. I lost my husband this year and I sure as hell don’t want to loose my baby girl. The doctors say she still may wake up after they take the life support away”. She didn’t tell him the rest of what the doctors had said. She didn’t tell him how it was most likely that Dana’s body would begin to weaken and she would slowly slip from the their grasp, little by little. 

“What’s the chances of that, Mrs Scully?”. 

“You really believe that she’s going to wake up don’t you, Fox”. 

His silence answered for him. 

Mrs Scully watched as his expressions changed from one to the next on his face. Sadness, Pain, Grief, Loss and finally Regret. She felt inside her coat pocket for the bag of personal items, pulling out the golden cross and chain that she had given to Dana on her fifteenth birthday.  She reached out and gave Mulder the chain. He shook his head in refusal but the older woman was adamant. 

“I want you to give this to her when she wakes up”. 

She had said ‘when’ not ‘if’. This little gesture comforted Mulder more than was imaginable. 

“Of course, Mrs Scully”. 

Maggie sighed and pocketed the rest of the bag’s contents once again. Even though Fox wasn’t family she believed that if fate had been kinder and had given Dana more time that he would have been.

Her heart ached at the thought of the happiness that Dana and Fox could have had. Even if check had misjudged them, and she didn’t think that she did. Their friendship and mutual respect ran as deep as anything. She watched the last few hours as Fox stuck by Dana, at the end of all things his devotion was still there.

They weren’t even in a relationship, let alone married and they had already covered ‘in sickness and in health’. Even though he wasn’t family Maggie felt that she had to make this offer, for her daughter’s sake. 

“Fox, we are having the life support turned off in twour hours. This is a time for the family but you are welcome to join us”.
Mulder shook his head, not trusting himself to speak. He wanted to be there for Scully, but he couldn’t.
.......
The greater the love
The greater the tragedy
when it’s over.
                       ~Nicholas Sparks.
..........
XXXXXXXXXXXX
Scully felt herself awake slowly. She was lying in the clearing of the forest near her childhood home where her father had taken her, Bill and Charlie to as children.

 At first it had been insisted that camping trips were for bonding between fathers and sons but after much debate, Scully had insisted on going with her father and brothers anyway. 

She hadn’t been out here since she was a teenager but it was exactly as she remembered, the fire, the tents, the skyscraper sized pine trees and the sky, it was little up with an infinity of stars, burning like celestial candles in the night. 

The familiar ruffling sound of a tent opening was enough for Scully to tear her eyes from the sky and towards the little campsite. Her father stepped out of the larger of the two tents, his eyes widening and filling with tears at the sight of his youngest daughter. 

Astonished, Scully barrelled towards her father as she would have as a child, wrapping her arms tightly around him.  She pulled away, stepping back from him but the shock had yet to wear off. 

“Ahab, I thought you were dead”. 

William Scully nodded sadly. “I am dead, Starbuck”. He continued after a moment. “But I’m still in here”,  he  said pointing to her head, “And in here” He finished pointing to her heart.
Scully felt her eyes fill up with tears. “I miss you, Dad”. 

He smiled looking down at his youngest daughter with pride, his face full of emotion.
“I know you do, Starbuck. You know, people would say to me that life’s short- kids, they grow up fast, before you know it, it’s over, I never listened. To me life went at a proper pace. That was until I knew that I would never see you again. My little girl. Then my life felt as if it had been the length of one breathing,  one heartbeat. I never knew just how much I loved my daughter until I could never tell her again. At that moment I would have traded every reward, every medal and commendation for just one more second with you”. 

“But Dad...”. Scully said not entirely sure how to respond. 

“I love you, Dana. Go live your life to the fullest”. 

Scully shook her head slightly in disbelief. “Dad, if I’m here with you am I not dead too?”. 

“No, Starbuck. You’re not. You’re just here visiting. Tell your mother, Missy and your brothers that I love them”. He said, releasing her from their embrace. “We’ll all be together again, Starbuck. But not now. Soon”. 

“And tell your mother to stop crying at night, I’m at peace and am watching over all of you everyday”. He asked seriously. 

“I will, Dad”, she said quietly thinking of her mother. “I promise”. 

He smiled and reached over to ruffle his daughter’s red hair, something he hadn’t done since she was a small child. “You’re got your old man’s hair, Starbuck”. He said with a chuckle. 

Scully laughed slightly through her sadness. “Before you went bald anyway”. When she was younger this had been the usual banter between them, that and lively debates about the characters from their favourite book: Moby Dick by Hermann Melvel. 

Scully choked back the last of her tears and smiled up at her father for what would be the last time for a long while. “I love you, Ahab”.
William Scully smiled gruffly, kissing his daughter on the top of her head. “I love you too, Starbuck”. 

The last thing Scully smelt was the familiar whiff of her father’s tobacco and the smoke from the campfire before she found herself once again drifting in the sea of unknown. Not dead but not quite in the land of the living either. Lost without an anchor or safe harbour in sight. 

XXXXXXXXXXXX 

Mulder sat in the chair just outside the glass door of Scully’s ward. He felt as though his whole body was under water plunging deeper and deeper until he suffocated from the lack of oxygen, from the lack of Scully. Without his best friend he was drowning, drowning with no chance of coming up for air. The sounds of those around him were faint as if he was in another world to them and the truth is, he half wished that he was. 

Mrs Scully, Melissa and Bill had left only a few minutes before hand after spending a great deal of time inside the ward after the doctors had turned off Dana’s life support. Mulder had said that he wanted to stay. Only getting a nod of understanding from Mrs Scully and Melissa and a parting glare from Bill. 

He didn’t want to go into her room right now. He had to deal with the reality of all 9 this before he spoke to her. He didn’t even know what to say, where to begin.

Suddenly he felt a clap on his left shoulder and looked sideways, only to face John Doggett.
 “Hey John. How are you?”. 

John shook his head sitting down next to Mulder. “I don’t really know. I can’t believe this to be honest”. 

Mulder grimaced slightly. “And you’re telling me”. 

“You okay, Pal?”. John asked, concerned for his friend before mentally scolding himself. He should know better, Monica had been in a coma only six months ago, of course Mulder wasn’t okay with Scully lying in there dead to the world. 

Mulder sighed, trying to decipher exactly how he felt. “To be honest, John. I’m not sure how I feel”. 

“I know, Mulder”. 

Companionable silence took over for a few minutes, yes they had both been in this position. Mulder broke the pause after noticing Monica wasn’t with John. 

“Where’s Reyes”. 

John gestured over his shoulder. “She’s still inside with Scully. I was in myself earlier”. 

Mulder turned around in his seat to look in the glass door and sure enough there was Monica sitting next to Scully. Her eyes shone with tears but somehow managing to keep up a conversation that wouldn’t be out of place if she and Scully had gone out together for coffee and girl talk. 

“You know, Mulder”. John said wondering how best to approach this topic with his friend before deciding to wing it. “You can go in there and not say goodbye if the fear of saying goodbye is what’s keeping you out here in corridor”. 

Mulder shook his head. “Naah,John. That’s not it”. 

“Then what is?”. 

Mulder sighed, wondering how best to put this into words. “It’s just......there’s a lot I want to tell her but saying it out loud will only make it real and make this whole thing a hell of a lot more fucked up and complicated”. 

John sighed patting his friend on the back. It was just as he and Monica had thought. Honestly the two of them had known for ages all you had to do was be around Mulder and Scully to see how much they care about one another. He wanted them to be happy, as did Monica. Their friends were just to blind, stubborn and  caught up in their own reality where they acted like they were ‘just best friends’. The truth was, pretty much everyone knew apart from the two who it was supposed to dawn on first. 

“If you tell her it might give her the something she needs to fight for”. 

Mulder looked at him slightly confused, his friend looked perfectly serious. 

“You think”.

John nodded. “I know”. 

 

XXXXXXXXXXXX
..........
And we are all searching for signs.
Whether we look towards the sky,
Or curse behind our eyes and rationalise. 
                               ~Ron Pope, Signs.
..............
After John and Monica left Mulder decided to brave the inside of Scully’s hospital ward. It was much quieter in there without the extra machines, now there was just one that monitored there heartbeat. This was no comfort however. The silence put Mulder on edge. 

He sat down next to her on the bed, avoiding the few wires that were still attached to her and took her hand. It was paler than usual but still covered in little freckles matching those on her face. It comforted him, this normality. Freckles like little stars. A whole constellation that only he saw the patterns in. 

“I believe” He said tasting the words as they left his mouth. “That you believe that you’re not ready to go and you’ve always had the strength of your beliefs”. His head wasn’t sure of the words leaving the lips but his mouth and heart were now going into overdrive drive, to hell with his brain and deep thoughts for once. “I don’t know if my being here will help bring you back but I’m here”. 

Mulder squeezed her hand gently, hoping beyond hope that somehow she would squeeze back and reassure him that all was not yet lost.

She didn’t.

“Maybe it’s selfish, not wanting you to go. Maybe your brother is right. Maybe I am a self centred son of a bitch who doesn’t deserve you.  But you’re my one in five billion, Scully. My constant. My touchstone. You’re the one person I trust above all others, my best friend”. 

He let go of her hand and brushed some of the red hair that had fallen into her face behind her ear. 

He sighed, falling silent. There was so much more that needed to have been said, that should have been said ages ago when it seemed that they had nothing but time on their side. 

He knew that he had had so many opportunities over the last few months to share his feeling but that doesn’t matter now that their time left together could be limited. He had said everything Scully needs to know for now. Anything else would just tear them to pieces. Either way he was drowning, drowning without oxygen, drowning without Scully. 

XXXXXXXXXXXX 

Scully was floating, drifting in the sea. The horizon stretching out in the distance, a laser like string of orange. The sun was coming up in the east and sea was beginning to warm and come to life with marine life. The water was crystal clear and if you were looking you could see right down to the seabed which was studded with limpets and starry with sea urchins. 

She wasn’t paying any heed to these things though, land was in sight. 

It started out like a white stripes in the distance, a far off hope but as she drew closer it became much clearer. On the shore stood her mother, Bill, Charlie and  Melissa. 

They looked out into the sea hopefully. 

She could see the grief in their eyes, it was powerful and painful. Her mother looked weary as if she was cursing God for being so unfair. 

Bill looked angry as per usual but the sadness and concern for his little sister who he spent years trying to defend from bullies when they were children even though he knew perfectly well that Scully could look after herself. 

Melissa’s looked out calmly and knowingly as if she knew something the rest didn’t as if she could sense this new change in her sister from the energies in the room. She heard her mother’s voice praying to God to look after her youngest daughter, to give her the strength to return to them. 

Scully realised then that it wasn’t a harbour she was looking for. She didn’t need a harbour to find shelter. Shelter came when you found your way home and her home was with her family. 

Suddenly a voice broke the silence, a voice she thought she might never hear again. It was Mulder. 

“I believe that you believe that you’re not ready to go and you’ve always had the strength of your beliefs. I don’t know if my being here will help bring you back, but I’m here”. 

Her family may be her safe harbour but Mulder is her anchor right now. She wasn’t quite sure when it happened, when she fell for him, but it didn’t seem to matter that was just how it was. It felt as natural as breathing, as dependable as science. Somehow she was in love with her best friend. The man who was her perfect opposite in every possible way, two puzzle pieces so different but still one of the same. 

It was certain that it would be one hell of a fight to get back but she would be damned if she didn’t try her hardest. She might not be able to see Mulder but his voice was enough to reach out for. Her soul was reaching for his and his for her’s. Scully wasn’t sure of much right now but she was damaged well sure that she was not going to let go. 

......
Whatever we divine, well I hope that you and I
realise that what we’ve found it could survive.
So if you reach out your hand I’ll give you mine.
                                     ~ Ron Pope, Signs.
.......
XXXXXXXXXXXX
..........
Woodrow Wilson High School
Washington DC
7.25am
Psychology Classroom
............
By Monday morning Mulder found himself back behind his usual desk, half concentrating as he sorted through a bunch of papers handed up the previous Friday by his sophomores. 

He never had a class to teach for first period on Monday mornings this year which was usually nice. He would often go over to the Science Lab while Scully was teaching to amuse himself, the kids and although Scully wouldn’t never admit it (She often went as far as scolding him for being disruptive) her too. 

This morning would be different however, he was supervising Scully’s class. Not that actually minded watching Scully’s class when she was away. They always had each other’s backs anyway. He was just worried about far away she was right now, how she was lost, how his best friend was fading. 

He hadn’t eaten since the previous day and hadn’t properly slept since the previous Thursday not that this mattered much, he was a severe insomniac at the best of times. 
Mulder was functioning and that was the best he could hope for, for the time being. His own health wasn’t his biggest concern anyway.

Mulder looked up upon hearing a knock to the door. He scowled slightly before looking up, unexpected visitors were not how he wanted to start his day and the only people aside from himself who would be here this early would be a handful of other teachers. 

“I don’t want to see you if you don’t have good news”. 

Skinner shook his head slightly from where he stood at the door. He entered the room and sat down across from Mulder. “Whether my news is good or bad is irrelevant. I’m here to talk to you”. 

Mulder looked up before answering, his disinterest evident. “Sure Skin Man. What’s up”. 

Skinner rolled his eyes. “Sometimes I think you’re the reason I have so little hair, Mulder”. 

Mulder snorted. “Well that’s not fair. You were bald the day that I first met you”. He paused for a second, trailing off bur still wanting to get to the point. “But I guess that’s not why you’re here”. 

Skinner nodded, “I just wanted to ask you how Ms Scully was?”.

Mulder shook his head, eyes averting downwards. “Not good. Her family turned off her life support last night”. 

“You know, Mulder”. Skinner said. “There’s nothing a person can’t fully come back”. 

 

Mulder snorted, not caring about the tactlessness of his actions. “What would you know. You have no idea what Scully is going through”. 

Skinner looked at him seriously, almost daring him to take his protestations further. 

“Mulder when I was eighteen I enlisted in the marine corps, I thought it was the right thing to do, for my country, for myself. Maybe I still do. I, uh..I went to Vietnam. Three months into my tour a young Vietnamese boy walked into our camp, covered in grenades. I blew his head clean off of his shoulders from a distance of ten yards. I lost my faith not just in my country or in myself but in everything”.
Skinner sighed, gauging Mulder’s reaction of slight shock. “One night we were on patrol and we were....caught. Everyone fell”. 

Skinner trailed off slightly as if lost in the pain of his memories, the demonstration of his own mind. “I looked down at my body from the outside. I didn’t recognise myself at first. I watched the VC strip my uniform and take my weapon. He put me in a body bag but I stood there watching in the jungle, it was peaceful”. He paused again before coming to the end of his story. “They must have found a pulse or something because I woke up in hospital two weeks later. I survived, Mulder. Have faith that Scully will too”. 

“I don’t doubt her for a second”. 

“Good”. 

Skinner nodded again and headed towards the door. 

“You know you’re supervising Scully’s class, right?”. 

“I knew you came for another reason other than to give me a pep talk”. 

Mulder said with what was his first chuckle in days. 

Skinner chuckled. “Of course”.
XXXXXXXXXXXX
Class was due to start in nearly ten minutes so Mulder headed over to Scully’s lab, situating himself at the top of the room behind her desk.

 He sighed, dropping the workload that she had left for her sophomores if she ever missed a day of work hazardously across the desk and his laptop bag on to her chair. 

He paced the top of the classroom, running his hands through his hair only turning around at the sound of approaching footsteps. 

Mulder spun around, coming face to face with one of the seniors. A medium heighten, over enthusiastic blonde girl who seemed extremely bubbly. He had never taught her but knew she was involved in writing the school newspaper. Layla or something Harrison. Scully had mentioned her once or twice. 

“Hi Mr Sp...., I mean Mr Mulder. I’m Layla Harrison. I’m a student of Ms Scully’s and noticed she wasn’t in today and I saw you yesterday at Washington General when I was visiting my grandmother and I know how close the two of you are so I put two and two together and wanted to congratulate you two..........”. 

Mulder raised his hand slightly, cutting her off. “On what?”, he asked her, bemused. 

Layla looked at him surprised at his confused reaction. “You guys a expecting, right?”. 

Mulder’s eyebrows raised further. “Expecting what?”. 

“And baby of course”. Layla said incredulously before it began finally to dawn on her that the rumours that she had heard that morning might not be exactly accurate. She ducked behind her hand. 

Mulder shook his head sadly. “Ms Scully isn’t well. We’re not sure when she’ll be back”. ‘If she’ll be back’, he thought, not voicing the statement. He couldn’t. 

Layla’s eyes widened in shock, her voice picking up and reaching it’s usual speed minus the bubblyness. “I’m so sorry, Mr Mulder. I had no idea, I swear”. 

Mulder sighed tiredly, sorting a pile of Scully’s worksheets to distract himself more than anything else. “It’s alright, Layla. You couldn’t have known”.

Layla nodded but retreated towards the door, embarrassed. “I hope she gets better soon, Mr Mulder”. 

Mulder nodded. “Me too”. 

 

XXXXXXXXXXXX 

As soon as school ended for the day Mulder got packed up and ready to leave for the hospital, bringing a sizeable stack of Psychology essays from his own class of Seniors for correction. 

More than a few students had asked about the whereabouts of Scully as she had rarely ever missed a day in the past. Each time he answered the question he had kept his answers brief and to the point, he couldn’t and wouldn’t loose control in front of their students. 

A group of Juniors had even gone as far as signing a ‘Get Well Soon’ card which they promptly gave to him to take to the hospital at the end of the day.

He dropped the cardboard box into the back seat, joining the rest of the trash that was accumulating there for god knows how long. He sat into the front seat, tossing out the plastic travel cup of cold coffee that had been left there sitting since the previous Saturday.
Suddenly Mulder’s phone rang in his pocket making him leave aside his mess for the time being. He wasn’t sure of the number but answered anyway. He hit accept and answered. 

“Hi Mulder. It’s Charlie Scullly. I'm Dana’s brother”.
Mulder felt his chest tighten. It wasn’t as if a phone call from any of the Scullys meant good news as of late. He wasn’t sure he wanted to hear the news but for some reason Charlie’s tone of voiced assured him otherwise. He had never met the man in his life but he could still sense his relief. Perhaps it wouldn’t be bad news after all. 

“Dana has woken up”. 

Upon hearing those words Mulder felt as if he had just taken his first breath of oxygen in days. Scully was alive. He felt his head breaking the surface, coming up for air. She was alive, his best friend was alive. He could breathe again and was no longer drowning. 

XXXXXXXXXXXX
Two weeks later Mulder found himself back in his usual classroom, pouring over The Gunmen’s latest take on America’s current political agenda. He shook his head slightly, the given topic sparking his interest before he heard the door across the hall being unlocked. He smiled to himself before making his way over to the door of his own classroom, meeting her in the middle. 

“Knew you couldn’t stay away for that long, Scully”. 

She was discharged from hospital the previous week and Mrs Scully had come over to her house to help her out for a few day. Needless to say their time alone had been brief and these moments were far between  since the accident. 

He had gone over quite a bit bringing random movies along to watch with her. He had met Charlie also who had stayed at Scully’s apartment for a few days after she had been discgarged. Turns out that he and Charlie got on quite well seeing as how the youngest Scully was the polar opposite of the oldest. 

Although Scully had never mentioned that she would be coming back so early. Really he should have expected it.

She looked up from her keys, chuckling despite herself. “You have me all figured out don’t you”. 

Mulder smiled, stepping a little closer to her until they were only a little apart. “I would never flatter myself that much but considering you were the one who said it.....”. He said, eyebrows wiggling suggestively.  

Scully laughed, patting him on the arm. “You’re such a kid sometimes, you know that Mulder”. 

He grinned widely. “Yep”. He said, popping the ‘P’. “But you love it”. 

She rolled her eyes. ‘Funny how close you are to the truth sometimes’, she thought to herself.

 She hadn’t told him yet even though she had promised herself that she would soon after her eyes had opened. Now she wasn’t even sure if she was going to tell him at all.
Their relationship was just to precious to put it on the line for a few unneeded physical and emotional additions to what they already had, no matter how good it would feel to come out in the open with these things. She assured herself that they didn’t need theses things, their friendship was already enough. 

Then there was the matter of him not feeling the same way. She knew he loved her and he knew she loved him, this she was sure of. Scully just wasn’t sure that his feeling were the same as her own. She looked over her shoulder, their eyes meeting. His smile was prominent but she couldn’t miss the sadness in his eyes. She wanted more than anything to tell him everything right there and then. Tell him now because they might not have tomorrow. 

Scully wanted to pull him closer by the lapels of his shirt and feel his arms around her. He meant everything to her. She just wasn’t sure if she wanted him to know that. She wasn't even sure if he wanted that. As far as Scully knew he wanted their relationship to remain platonic and that might just have to be enough.

“Among other things”. She said absentmindly, more to herself then to him. She was almost certain he hadn’t heard, even though his discreet smile told her otherwise. 

Mulder dug his hand into his pocket, coming up with the chain Mrs Scully had given him while Scully was in hospital. “I thought you would want this back”. 

Scully looked down at the necklace. “Thanks Mulder.  I thought that I had lost that in the accident”. 

“No. You didn’t”. Mulder said his face growing serious.

 He thought about how easy it would be to reach over the few remaining inches and merge their lips together, he tried not to think about what it would feel like to kiss her in the school corridor as if they were two hormonal teenagers.

 He knew he couldn’t though, she might not want that, how could she? He valued their relationship too much to take the risk. He could take the leap of faith and end up firmly by her side or he could take the leap of faith and fall flat on his ass. 

Mulder didn’t think he could stand her rejection, she meant too much to him. She meant everything. 

He reached over, arms coming around her and resting on her back in a way he assured himself was acceptable for best friends. “I’m glad that you’re okay”. 

She smiled against his chest. “Me too”. Scully reached up, standing on tip toes, Mulder bending over slightly and kissed his forehead. She tried to convince herself that it was perfectly okay to kiss your best friend as long as you stayed clear of their lips. 
 
Mulder smiled. “I don’t know what I would have done if you weren’t”. 

Scully felt her heart ached for him. She felt his pain as if it was her own. “I had the strength of your beliefs”. 

In that moment it was if a silent understanding had fallen between the pair. 

That at even though they might not be ready for a romantic relationship at the present time, that it was on the cards. If not in a month or a year or ten if they had to wait that long. She was his oxygen and he was her anchor. He was hers and she was his nothing else would ever really be an option. He released her at the same moment she sought to pull out from his embrace. They disentangled themselves from one another, half heartedly but neither of them wanting to push the other too far. Scully grinned, stepping into the lab. "Someone's feeling affectionate today", she teased, elbowing him lightly. Mulder smiled back, his grin stretching out on his face and reaching his eyes for the first time since he realised that he may loose her. Mulder pretended to be insulted, shaking his head. "Hey, I thought you were the one who was being all affectionate". Scully laughed and mirrored his actions by shaking her head. "Oh, you wish buddy!" which was accompanied with a soft punch on the arm. Mulder laughed, happy that she was happy and threw his arm around her neck as they both headed into her classroom for coffee and a full fat cream cheese bagel each. Yes, normalcy sure did feel good. ... Trust your heart if the seas catch fire, Live by love though the stars walk backward. ~ E.E Cummings ...

Chapter Text

Chapter 6

The Lone Gunmen's Residence

Saturday

2.55pm

...

A miracle is just a shift in perception

from fear to love

~Marianna Williams

...

"Hey Mulder. Do you want to come over tonight, We're nitpicking earth's inaccuracies". Langly offered looking over the tip of his large black glasses, past his computer and towards his dark haired friend who was sitting at the other side of the table.

Mulder chuckled slightly and shook his head. "I'm doing my laundry".

Byers looked up from a series of printed emails from a correspondence called 'The Thinker' and caught Mulder's eye with a smirk, obviously amused. Byers had been sitting with Mulder and Scully at the time when the vice principle had ambushed them. Skinner had asked the pair to chaperone on behalf of the teachers at the annual High School prom. He had also extended the offer to The Gunmen but Byers had managed to wiggle out of Skinner's proposal.

Scully had agreed with minimal haggling and Mulder didn't give in until Skinner reminded him of exactly how much time he had taken off when Scully was sick.

Mulder knew that Skinner understood him taking off time when Scully was in a coma even though he was sure that the older man would goodnaturedly hang it over his head for quite a while.

Besides, they hadn't that much to do really aside from representing the teaching staff of Woodrow Wilson considering most of the students were all over eighteen and responsible for themselves.

Byers had initially found the idea of Mulder and Scully attending a high school prom utterly bizarre but was quick to lay off the teasing after promising not to tell Frohike and Langly who would far less obliging if they found out.

Frohike emerged from the kitchen wearing and apron and mittens, carrying something that looked suspiciously like burnt rocks. Frohike's baking skills were on the low side of terrible but the cheesy enchiladas he often prided himself in making were for sure his speciality aside from the fact they had a grotesque amount of cheese and cooking oil.

He set the tray down on the table before turning to Mulder.

"Hey Mulder. Where's Scully?", he asked looking over the taller man's shoulder, expecting to see his usual redheaded companion.

Mulder chuckled. "She couldn't come because she's afraid to confess her undying love for you, Frohike", his voice dripping in sarcasm. He knew Scully was out of town today until the evening time when they were expected to supervise the senior prom.

He had called her earlier in the morning asking if she would like to take a spin down to Area 51 with to see if they could spot anything unusual, promising that they would be back on time so as not to miss what he had jokingly called "their unpaid night of adult labour". Scully had turned him down as she had already plans made with her older sister.

Frohike smiled mischievously at Mulder's previous comment as his jokes were sexual more often then not, especially when in the company of women. "She'll come around some day".

Mulder rolled his eyes before quickly changing the subject. "You guys hear anything strange startling or vaguely amusing lately? "

The three men simultaneously looked at him as if to ask him if he was crazy. It was as if Mulder had expected them to have done or seen something that was anything but strange, startling or vaguely amusing. Their newspaper and blog were evidence enough of that.

"I was more under the impression that you were ditching us for Scully's company at the prom tonight and besides we all know you never do your laundry, all you need to do is smell the inside of your apartment to know that". Frohike said jokingly.

Mulder burst out laughing, "We're not a bit old to go to prom, no?", he asked before adding. "And for your information I always do my laundry", before throwing Byers a slightly dirty looking across the table.

It wasn't as though he was embarrassed about chaperoning at the senior prom, more that he didn't want The Gunmen to know the extent of Scully's influence on him, what she could talk him into.

Byers threw his hands up in surrender. "The guys got it out of me. Sorry, Pal". Mulder rolled his eyes, glancing over at Langly who was looking very proud of himself. Byers frowned slightly at the long haired man as if he was planning ways to cut off Langly's lengthy blonde locks as he slept.

Frohike cackled, throwing himself unceremoniously on to a chair. "Oh, so you're not going to prom. You're just going for the spiked punch and the extracurricular activities behind the bleachers, smart move".

Mulder waved his hand dismissively. "Scully and I are just friends and that's the end of it", he told them finally, trying to steer his mind clear of what Frohike was insinuating. He already had to work hard to keep himself in check around Scully as things were without someone else pointing out what had become obvious in recent times to himself.

Langly snorted. "Mulder, you guys will still be saying that when you're married with a dog and two and a half kids".

Mulder rolled his eyes. "I'm serious, guys. Nothing is going on with us".

His mind drifted briefly to Langly's statement, thinking for what was not the first time what a life would be like with Scully as his life partner as opposed to just his friend.

He would be lying to himself if he said it was not something he wanted but as far as he was concerned, Scully deserved a lot more.

This is what kept him from opening his mouth just about everyday to tell her how much he loves her, how much he would always love her. Mulder mentally berated himself for dipping into these fantasies, reminding himself that he shouldn't be thinking about his best friend and co-worker like that no matter how he felt deep down.

Frohike chuckled before wiggling his eyebrows in suggestion. "Then I guess you wouldn't mind sharing her phone number then. Surely you'd be delighted to see two of your best friends hooking up".

Mulder shook his head in defeat. "You give us perverts a bad name, Fro".

The smaller man gave his friend a toothy smile, "My pleasure", he said, stressing the second word to prove Mulder's point.

Frohike was a total pervert by most people's standards and a lady's man in his own opinion despite the fact he hadn't been on a date in over a decade.

It wasn't as though the rest of them cared much either, they were perverts too, just in their own individual way.

Langly laughed, moving over from his desk to sit opposite Mulder. He eyed the burnt offerings that Frohike had left on the table before showing them to Byers for inspection.

"All in favour of pizza instead of this inedible crap say 'Aye'",Langly asked the group of men, tearing his eyes from the food to his friends to the take out menu resting on the counter.

Mulder, Langly and Byers all spoke up in agreement, nodding their heads vigorously, none of them wanting to taste the fruits of Frohike's abominable culinary skills.

Frohike stared them all down vehemently. "Traitors", he mumbled under his breath as Langly reached for the cordless phone to call the local Pizza establishment for dinner.

...

There is no fear in love,

Only perfect love casteth out fear

~ John 4:18

...

XXXXXXXXXXXX

Scully's Apartment

Saturday

7.35pm

...

Reaching for something in the distance,

So close you can almost taste it

Release your inhibitions.

~ Natasha Bedingfield, Unwritten.

...

Scully tossed her purse onto her dressing table. She had made a mental not earlier to sort through it not wanting to have too much stuff to keep an eye on.

She looked herself up and down in the mirror, straighten the spaghetti straps on her black dress, trying not to think too much about Mulder's reaction or opinion.

Scully quickly reminded herself that she shouldn't care what her best friend thought, should she? She shouldn't be out to impress him, right?.

She tried to convince herself that her thoughts were just a side effect of the long day she had had, nothing a glass of wine won't cure. Scully pushed away her ridiculousness before heading off in pursuit of a drink.

She headed towards the kitchen area, pulling an already open bottle of wine from the fridge and poured herself a small glass.

It wasn't as if she and Mulder could drink at the prom anyway, it was their job to supervise once they were at the hotel. The event was practically work for all intents and purposes.

Scully picked up a stack of essays completed by her Junior students for the science fair that was being held in just over two weeks.

Their work had only been handed in today and the students wouldn't expect nor want their grade back for a good while yet but Scully decided to bring a few along with her anyway. She may as well get something productive done while she was spending her Saturday night with Mulder and a whole bunch of teenagers.

Checking that she had everything that she might possibly need, Scully zipped up her bag, threw on her jacket and headed for the door of her apartment. Mulder had said that he would meet her at the her apartment at half past seven, he was already late so Scully opted to meet him downstairs instead.

As soon as she was outside her door, Scully heard the familiar sound of bells to inform her that the elevator was ascending to her floor.

She turned to see the metallic doors opening to reveal a slightly flustered looking, tuxedo clad Mulder. Scully gave him the once over trying not to notice how the white fabric of his dress shirt clung to his firm chest in all the right places. 'How the hell did he manage to pull off that?', she asked herself incredulously as he started to approach her.

Scully smiled unconsciously before internally berating herself, it was totally inappropriate to be checking out your best friend no matter how good he looked. She cast her thoughts aside, blaming it on the wine she had drank earlier.

"Sorry I'm late, Scully", Mulder said, panting slightly as he emerged from the elevator before giving her a friendly peck on the cheek. He tried to keep his own eyes locked on her face as he didn't trust himself to act appropriately if he looked downward at his best friend's short black dress that unfortunately for him had a neckline too plunging for him to be sure he would act rationally.

Mulder grinned foolishly, feeling more like the tall awkward teenager he had once been then the grown man he now was. Scully pulled him in for a quick hug, trying to ignore the stronger than usual musk of his cologne and how the smell that was so obviously Mulder, set her on fire.

Mulder held on to her tightly, forcing his hands to remain on her waist even though they were itching to climb lower.

They separated slightly awkwardly before anything happened, both feeling slightly dizzy and wanting to lock away the feelings, it was dangerous to think and feel like this, not to mention highly inappropriate.

"We should get going", Scully offered with a smile.

Mulder couldn't help but reciprocate her expression and grinned too. "Yeah, we should. Before the seniors go to hell and Skin-man decides to give us hell".

Scully rolled her eyes, "They're more mature then you most of the time, Mulder", she told him teasingly. "And Skinner loves you".

Mulder clutched at his check, feigning insult. "You wound me, Scully", he said before adding quickly. "And Skinner hates me, it's you he loves".

"Well he respects you anyway", Scully reasoned

"And I think he might actually have a little crush on you", Mulder joked, nudging Scully's shoulder lightly with his own.

"I think you might be right", she answered, feigning seriousness.

"Well, what're you gonna do about it", he asked.

Scully rolled her eyes before answering, her sarcasm barely concealed. "I confess that I'm in love with Vice Principle Skinner".

Mulder laughed before replying in the same sarcastic but playful tone. "He's one lucky guy".

"Hey", Scully protested, swatting her friend on the shoulder. "Not nice, Mulder".

The pair chuckled slightly and tried to convince themselves that their original actions had been totally friendly and had been overlooked by the other after their typical playful banter.

Together they walk towards the elevator and hit the ground floor button. Both had previously decided not to say anything for fear of ruining the relationship they already have. It was far too precious to both of them and not something they wanted to put on the line. Physical attractions are common, but a real mental connection is rare. If you find it, hold on to it.

They had both separately decided leave their feelings locked away in the very core of their beings for the time being but somehow the night seemed full of opportunities.

XXXXXXXXXXXX

Throughout life you will meet one person who is unlike any other.

You could talk to this person for hours and never get bored,

You could tell them things and they won't judge you.

This person is your soul mate, your best friend.

Don't ever let them go.

~Anonymous

XXXXXXXXXXXX

Mulder and Scully sat in the front of the car in companionable silence as they made their way to the hotel that was hosting the prom. They only really had to show up for a few hours, it wasn't as if the kids needed teacher supervision or anything, they were adults in their own right and Mulder and Scully would treat them as such.

"Hey, Scully", Mulder said. "What do you think of prom?".

Scully considered it for a second. "I think it's over-rated to be honest". Mulder raised looked at her questioningly before she continued.

"You know, it's just an excuse for a party where you're expected to drink and have sex for the first time". Scully ducked her head slightly, remembering her own prom and almost expecting her friend's next question.

Mulder chuckled slightly as he looked over at her for a second, observing her reaction. "I take it your own prom wasn't the typical American teenage girl's dream".

Scully rolled her eyes. "It's was terrible to be honest. And as for new experiences, I had already lost my virginity two weeks before and had already had my first beer nearly a year before that".

Mulder looked over at her slightly shocked that the very together women that was his best friend had once been such a wild character . "So", he said obviously amused. "Dana Scully was a rebel in her teenage years".

Scully chuckled slightly, embarrassed by the memory of her younger self. "A punk actually".

At this Mulder burst out laughing. "Scully the Punk", he announced imagining his best friend in heavy eyeliner and leather. He stashed this newfound piece of knowledge away for later teasing.

"So", he said. "What happened at your prom".

Scully shook her head. "My boyfriend at the time, Ethan Davis, called me two days before and told me he cheated on me".

Mulder looked at her sideways, feeling sorry for little Scully. He could just about imagine a younger version of his best friend after her first heart break, something all teens unfortunately had to go through. He knew from experience and from the fact that he worked with teens and their usual issues everyday.

"Bet that was fun".

"Well, I yelled at him for a while and then Ethan told me that he cheated on me with other guy. I really cared about him so I thought I could win him over again. I wanted to make it work".

Mulder chuckled but couldn't hide the fact that the idea of Scully, even little teenaged 'Dana The Punk Scully' hurting, hurt him. "I take it that you went with him anyway".

Scully nodded. "A huge mistake on my part considering that I spent the whole night sitting in the corner with a bottle of tequila while he drunkenly tried to give the captain of the school's football team a lapdance. Ethan also told the whole school that sex with a guy was way better than sex with a girl which was pretty crappy for me considering that most of our year knew or assumed that I was the only girl he had slept with at the time".

"So you lost your virginity to him", Mulder asked, trying not to think too much about Scully with another man even if that man was gay and out of the picture for the last ten years or so.

"Yep, I snuck him into my bedroom a few times while my parents were out. Ahab would have murdered Ethan if he had found out. I was kind of going through a rebellious stage during my teen years. It all started when I was about thirteen and I started stealing my Mom's cigarettes".

Mulder's eyebrows shot up in surprise. "I think teenaged 'Dana The Rebel Scully' would have ruined me if we had met about twelve years earlier then we did".

Scully chuckled, patting him on the leg. She was amused by his reaction and the thought of them having met as teens.

Even though she knew he was trying to mask it, Scully she knew him well enough to see the jealousy in his eyes. The thought of making him feel jealous made her feel kind of proud in a way that she couldn't quite put a finger on.

Mulder's eyes were alight and she could read his emotion as clearly as though they were her own. He was jealous and this was why she felt a sense of warmth pool up in her stomach, electric.

Now that she had told him more about her younger self she wanted to hear more about him. What was he like as a teenager?.

"What was your prom like, Mulder".

Mulder chuckled slightly after recalling the memory. "I went with a friend of mine's girlfriend's twin sister. She ditched me before we even got to the prom".

Scully laughed slightly, trying you imagine a little Fox Mulder being turned down. She found the thought quite endearing even though she still felt bad for him. "What did you do?", she joked.

"I kind of ran over two rabbits with my car on the way there".

Scully looked at him in surprise before bursting out laughing as soon as she caught his eye. He was actually being serious!

"What happened, Mulder?".

"Well the first one jumped out in to the middle of the road. To this day I'll swear that rabbit had suicidal tendencies ".

Scully rolled her eyes. "Rabbits can't be suicidal, you know that".

Mulder looked totally unconvinced so he continued to defend his honour. "Later, while she was yelling at me for 'murdering' the rabbit a second one ran out on the road and well...thump", he finished, gesturing wildly with his hand that wasn't on the steering wheel.

"She called a friend of hers to pick her up after telling me that I was rabbit serial killer. I never went to prom".

"You didn't go at all", Scully asked.

Mulder shook his head but decided to have a bit of fun with her by telling her what happened afterwards. "Nope", he said. "But I went drinking afterwards and ending up losing my V-card anyway".

Scully looked across at him, trying to determine what he was thinking about while his eyes had returned firmly to the road. She wasn't sure if she wanted to hear the rest of the story but asked anyway. "What happened?".

Mulder took his eyes off of the road long enough to glance at her, wondering why she'd be so interested anyway.

He decided that he would have a bit of fun with their situation, all things considered. "It was great aside from the fact that she actually drew blood when she bit me. Her name was Kristen Kilar, a one night stand. A hell of a lot more experienced than me. I had to get three stitches the following morning before I went home. Never saw her again".

Scully looked down at her hands noticing that the nail polish on one of her nail was smudged. One part of her found the idea of teenaged Mulder leaving his prom and ending up losing his virginity to some tougher and more experienced woman almost endearing, as if her usually confident around women best friend had once been a lost little puppy.

The other part of her was well aware of her own jealousy building up inside like some green eyed beast.

Mulder is first and foremost her best friend but she can't help think about what it would be like to really be with him.

Scully wasn't sure if she liked the fact he could illicit such feelings from her, it was payback time. "Sounds like a guy I met one night in college", she said vaguely.

Mulder turned to face her again, his eyes widening. "You gonna tell me more, Scully?".

This time he couldn't keep the envy out of his voice if he tried. Mulder knew from her tone that this guy was no gay eighteen year old and somehow he knew Scully heard his jealousy too.

She smirked, knowing her plan had worked. "Eyes on the road, Mulder", she warned playfully before continuing. "His name was Ed Jerse. I met him in a tattoo parlour. We slept together twice. He was hot and mysterious".

She left out psychotic as she hadn't found out that until the morning after and telling Mulder that would ruin the point of her whole plan to make him uncomfortable.

"Why were you in a tattoo parlour", Mulder asked trying to distract himself from the thought of Scully and this Ed Jerse guy. He could tell that she knew he was still curious about the guy but was uncomfortable asking her as he didn't want any more details.

Scully rolled her eyes at his expression. "Why do you think? I was getting a tattoo".

Mulder looked at her in shock. "You have a tattoo? Of what?". There were times when he thought he knew his best friend completely as he hoped she knew him. Then there were other times when she would reveal something about herself that would leave him stumped.

She shrugged. "Ouroboros".

Mulder looked at her confused. He understood what the symbol meant, just not why Scully would have it permanently inked on her body. "You mean the snake?", he asked "Why?".

"It represents cyclisation, a series of events repeating themselves. I had just gotten out of my relationship with Daniel and didn't want a repeat of what had already been", she told him sadly.

It wasn't easy after she had left Daniel. Scully had genuinely thought that she loved him, had imagined spending the rest of her life with him. At the time it didn't even bother her that there was a twenty year age gap between them. That was until she found out that he wasn't only married but had a daughter the same age as herself at the time.

It made one thing clear though: that even though we may fall in love with the wrong people and cry when we finally realise that we have to walk away. One thing is for sure. Mistakes help us find the right person and every time you think that you're being rejected from something good, perhaps you're being redirected to something far better. She only hoped that someday she would have the guts to tell Mulder, no matter what his response will be.

Mulder looked at her as if he expected to hear more. Scully continued, "Up to that point in my life I had always gotten into relationships with men that I idolised, men whose expectations I just wanted to exceed despite my own hopes and desires . I guess it probably came from my relationship with my father, I worshiped the sea he sailed upon until the day he died but I didn't want any more romantic relationship like that, it was unhealthy. I needed someone who was my equal, a person who thought as much of me as I do of them",

It was only then it struck Scully how her little attempt at messing around with Mulder had backfired and they had ending up delving into more serious emotions. Mulder already knew about Daniel, she had told him a long time ago. It was around the same time that he had first told her about Diana Fowley, a woman that Scully despised even though she has never even met her. Diana hurt Mulder, even if it was in the past and that was enough for Scully.

"Can I see it?", Mulder asked jokingly as an attempt to lighten her mood, gesturing towards her body because he wasn't sure where the tattoo was actually situated.

Scully chuckled not sure if he was serious or not. "Maybe someday".

Mulder smiled goofily. "It's not on your butt or something, Scully?", he joked.

She rolled her eyes. "I was just upset the time I got it and I needed to vent my emotions. I don't regret it though, everything I did that night was spontaneous and unlike myself but it was something I needed to do".

Mulder smiled sadly, he glanced over at her for a second. He wanted to comfort her, to pull over and wrap his arms around her body. Instead he settled for slipping his hand into her's. "Are you okay, Scully?". He knew she didn't like talking about Daniel much, no more then he liked to talk about Diana Fowley.

Scully nodded, smiling slightly at their hands entwined over the handbrake. She revelled in the feeling of his warm palm wrapped tightly around her's, a forbidden comfort. They were best friends after all, it was best if their interaction remained lacked as much intimacy as possible, even if being close to him felt like the most natural thing in the world. It was true that they spent most of their days in close proximity to each other, often forgetting all notions of personal space. It was unconscious, instinctive. Knowingly reaching out to one another was a different story all together.

Silence fell between them for the last few minutes of the journey before they pulled in the hotel car park, surrounded by a bunch of fixer upper student cars and the odd few limousines. The hotel had several Chinese lanterns hung on the trees outside and Mulder and Scully's students were making their way into the event dressed in formal evening clothes.

"Hey Scully", Mulder said, swaying their entwined hands to and fro as soon as they got out of the car and started making their way to the hotel entrance.

"Yeah", Scully answered within a smile, still not quite over their conversation.

"Since we both had shitty proms. Do you want to take two and try the whole thing again", Mulder asked, half jokingly. It was a desperate attempt to cheer his best friend up and he still wasn't quite sure if she'd go with it or be insulted.

Scully wasn't sure whether he was kidding or not but decided to play along anyway. She let go of his hand and linked their arms. "Sure, Mulder. I'll go to the prom with you".

Mulder chuckled, unlinking their arms and throwing his arm around her neck. "Let show those kids how to party".

Scully shook her head at her friend's antics. At the rate he was going he was going to put most of the eighteen year old boys in there to shame if she didn't get him to calm down. "We're supposed to be the grown ups, Mulder. Remember that? "she asked him sarcastically.

Mulder grinned widely, his hazel eyes practically lit up with amusement. "You're grown up and sensible enough for both of us, Scully".

Scully elbowed him in the ribs. "And for good reason too".

The continued to walk in the direction of the hotel chatting aimlessly about whatever came to mind. Suddenly a thought popped into Mulder's head. He didn't properly return the favour for when she had brought up Ed Jerse.

"You know I might not have gone to prom but I went to quite a few balls in Oxford".

Scully looked across at hi from under his arm. "Really? And did you have trouble getting a date from the girls who didn't think you were a rabbit serial killer".

Mulder smirked slightly. "No actually. I had filled out a quite a bit more by then and the women in Oxford seemed to like my American accent".

Scully rolled her eyes, trying not to think of a bunch of British women pawing her best friend. "Any of these stick out in your memory or were they just flings".

He smiled. "All apart from Phoebe Green. She was a terrible influence on me to be honest. I did things on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's grave that I'd rather not talk about".

Scully looked at him slightly surprised and pulled out from under his arm, walking ahead of him. She knew perfectly well what he meant and almost regretted bringing up Ed Jerse earlier on. "I'm going inside, Mulder", she said dismissively trying to ignore how much the thoughts of Phoebe Green bothered her.

...

When the past calls,

Let it go to voicemail.

~anonymous

...

XXXXXXXXXXXX

...

Sheraton Pentagon City Hotel

Washington DC

9.30pm

...

Two hours later Mulder and Scully found themselves sitting in the corner of the dance hall where the dance floor was crammed with a bunch of teenaged couples grinding on each other to the music. The other half of the seniors were busy chatting, sitting around the circular tables that were placed at the edges of the dance floor. The room was relatively dim aside from the colourful lights projected onto the dance floor from above. There was a faint smell of cigarette smoke wafting in from outside and the room was deafeningly loud due to the chatter of the prom goers and the music being played for those dancing the night away.

Mulder looked up from the latest addition of The Gunmen's newspaper having just finished the article on Langly's take on the reasons behind JFK's assassination, something to do with classified documents from Area 51. He watched Scully for a few minutes as she corrected a bunch of Chemistry essays and started writing school reports, considering the year was coming to an end. She had been ignoring him since the conversation about Phoebe Green.

'I probably shouldn't have brought her up', Mulder berated himself internally. He genuinely hadn't expect Scully to react this badly but he quickly realised otherwise as soon as he put himself in her shoes.

'How would I have felt if she had given me more details about her time with Ed Jerse'. Mulder pushed these thoughts aside, scolding himself for entertaining the notion that Scully cared for him in the same way he cared for her.

Mulder reached across, tucking a strand of red hair behind Scully's left ear. She didn't look up from her work but responded grumpily, still annoyed at him about the whole Phoebe Green scenario for some reason she couldn't quite decipher. Scully tried to convince herself that she couldn't care less about Mulder's past indiscretions and she almost did, sort of.

She knew he had been looking up from The Gunmen's newspaper every few minutes to watch her. She had felt his gaze. Scully was still pissed with him but decided to let it go because he's her best friend and she couldn't go much longer without talking to him anyway. She assured herself it was nothing to do with the way she felt her heart speed up when his gazed lingered on her for longer than would be considered friendly. It wasn't as if she had never been caught staring at him either anyway. There were times when she would catch his gaze wandering out of the window of his classroom door in school in school and in her's only to be caught in the act by a few giggling students. If she was being honest with herself she would admit that there had been a few occasions where the same had happened to her.

"A picture would last longer, Mulder".

He chuckled and slowly moved his hand away from her cheek. "I thought you said that you would go to prom with me", he said, pouting melodramatically as he tried to get a response from her.

Scully smiled despite herself, looking up from the reports. "Do the boys have any interesting tall tales cooked up this week?", she asked while gesturing towards Mulder's reading material.

Mulder smirked. "Don't change the subject", he watched as her expression gave her away, showing undeniable evidence of her previous attempts at distracting him. He knew she didn't have much interest in government conspiracies much less take them seriously.

Scully rolled her eyes at his ability to read her, chuckling quietly. Deciding to finally let their previous argument go. "What the hell! We're alive and relatively young. Let's go", she dropped her pen on to the table next to her half finished reports.

Mulder grinned, taking her hand and pulling her upwards. "I'll lead the way, partner".

"That's generally how waltzing goes, Mulder".

He laughed, pulling her close and placing one hand on her waist. She relaxed against him and put the hand that wasn't holding his on his shoulder. They held on to each other as they swayed to Cher's voice playing over the loudspeakers. It was strange how well the two best friends fit together, like two jigsaw pieces bound for unity. Even though they had never danced together before it felt very natural, as if their bodies had been moving in sync for years, perhaps in some way they had. Becoming a unit was an inevitable occurrence all you had to do was wait for the two being to collide in unison, if this was something that would ever happen.

Mulder looked down at his petite red-headed best friend. He could admit without a doubt in mind to himself how much he loved the feeling of having her in his arms. He lost himself in her sparkling blue eyes. They were electric, as if they could pull him back from anything with a single glance.

"You know, Scully. You'd expect that you would be a really positive person".

Scully looked up at him, eyebrows raised as she looked into his brown eyes. She could see that he was teasingly her but she could also see the kindness, like melting caramel and something else that she couldn't quite put her finger on but it burned brighter than the sun.

"And why's that?", she asked having a feeling that she was about to be the butt of one of Mulder's goodnatured jokes.

Mulder chuckled, resting his head on top of her's. "Because you're always looking up".

Scully scowled, her head now firmily on his chest. She was well used to people poking fun at her height ever since she was a kid due to the fact she had grown up with two brothers who were nearly a foot taller than her once they had both grown. Hell, Charlie still called her his "littlet sister" even now despite the fact Scully is eighteen months older than him.

Scully looked up at Mulder indignatly. "God only lets things grow until they're perfect. Some of us didn't take as long as others".

Mulder smiled and added teasingly not sure if she would feel about the words that were on the tip of his to tongue if he didn't pretend to be goofing around.

"Well, I guess He got that right, huh".

Scully rolled her eyes and laid her head back on his chest. Somehow they had ditched their formal waltz for the embarrassing middle school style swaying to the music. It wasn't until then they notices the crowd around them. At the beginning it was only a few of the students who turned to watch the interaction between the teachers they had long expected to get together but didn't in their time at Woodrow Wilson. It wasn't long until the chanting started.

"Kiss! Kiss! Kiss!".

Mulder laughed good-naturedly while Scully motioned for their students to settle down, pulling out of her friend's embrace. The students continued to chant until Mulder leaned across and pecked Scully on the cheek, not wanting to push her any further in front of their students for fear of embarrassing her. When or if anything ever happened between them it would be just the two of them together, on their own terms.

The crowd around them exploded in a deafening roar, whooping excitedly.

"Mulder!", she scolded playfully as she swatted him on the arm. He chuckled, placing his hand on the small of her back as they left the dancing to the kids once again, Scully's cheek and Mulder's lips still tingling pleasantly from the painfully brief contact.

...

I was walking in Memphis,

I was walking with my feet rent feet off of Beale,

Walking in Memphis

But do I really feel the way I feel.

~Cher, Walking in Memphis.

...

XXXXXXXXXXXX

It was well past three in the morning when Mulder and Scully ended up back in the car heading in the direction of Mulder's apartment building. The streets were pretty rowdy and the street lamps were like huge oranges, their light being grated, gathered and scattered on to the pavements below.

Most of the seniors had left for the after parties that were taking place in the city when the main event was over, so after a personally bidding goodbye to a few of the eighteen year olds who wanted to thank them Mulder and Scully decided to call it a night.

"Do you want to go for drinks", Mulder asked when they were only a few short minutes from his home. He being an insomniac wasn't in the least bit tired in anyway and hardly needed sleep in any event, usually only resting for a few hours at night.

Mulder didn't push it when his red headed companion didn't answer. He glanced sideways to find her dozing with her heading leaning against the window. Mulder sighed, smiling to himself and turned his eyes back on the road before pulling up outside his own building.

He leaned across, brushing Scully lightly on the cheek. "We're here", he whispered, chuckling quietly at her moment of panic when she awoke and didn't immediately recognise her surroundings.

They silently got out of the car and headed for the main door of Mulder's apartment building, nodding in greeting to the few of his neighbours who were still awake for one reason or another. The elevator was still in the process of being repaired so they unenthusiastically headed for the stairs.

"Hey Scully. Do you want to stay at mine tonight?", Mulder asked looking over his shoulder before waiting a few seconds for her to catch up with him.

"It's okay", Scully protested from behind him as they reached his floor and began to make their way down the hall towards Mulder's apartment. "I'll call a cab when I get inside".

Mulder shook his head at her stubbornness. He knew this wasn't going to be an easy battle to fight but two could play at that game. "You take the bed. I'll take the couch. You look exhausted anyway, Scully".

She groaned, knowing him well enough to know he wasn't going to drop this being just as stubborn and headstrong as herself. "Mulder, at least let me take the couch. I don't want to kick you out of your own bed".

"Scully we both know I sleep on the couch as often as I do my bed anyway. And besides", he said with a smirk, "My mother raised a gentleman".

Scully rolled her eyes, reaching up to swat the back of his head which only caused Mulder to chuckle and elbow her playfully in the shoulder.

"Fine but only if we can share the bed", she reasoned seriously.

"Are you getting ideas, Scully?", Mulder asked, winking at her suggestively. He knew perfectly well what she meant even though a small part of him that he often had to wrestle to keep in control of was hoping that perhaps he statement had another meaning. He wanted more then anything to tell her right there and then just how much he loves her. The little beast inside of him that seemed to control that minority of his thoughts roared at him to do so but he pushed it aside to be ignored for now.

The rest of him, the percentage that usually had over ninety percent control was only concerned for his best friend's well being. She looked exhausted and the least he could do was put her up for the night considering how much she means to him.

Scully shoved Mulder in the back, causing him to stumble up the last few steps to his floor. It was fairly quiet and most of Mulder's neighbours seemed to be asleep save for one who had the television turned up so loud that it could be heard from the hallway.

Scully pushed away thoughts of what he was insinuating aside. Mulder is and always will be her best friend before all else. A more emotional and physical relationship would only complicate things and put the trust they worked so hard to build over the past year and a half at risk. She told herself it was a risk she couldn't take no matter how much she loved him and wanted nothing more then to pin him up against the wall outside his apartment and kiss him passionately, all fears forgotten.

'God', she thought to herself putting her internal conflict to rest for the time being. 'It's far too late for this'.

Scully tossed her thoughts aside before masking her emotions so they wouldn't be easily deciphered by Mulder. He had a knack for doing so mostrich of the time anyway, no matter how much he would deny it saying it was her who saw through him. Perhaps it was both, a window open at both ends. It could be just the psychologist in Mulder though, or that they spent so much time together and knew each other so well.

Mulder smiled down at her from the top of the stairs, laughing at her exasperated expression.

Scully rolled her eyes, irked by her friend's antics, unamused.

"Mulder, you and I both know that I was suggesting that we share a bed like two sensible and mature adults who just want to sleep", she told him sternly as if she was addressing her class on a particular rowdy day.

He feigned shock, clutching his chest. "Of course that's what I was thinking. What did you think I was suggesting we do?", Mulder said with a grin obviously tickled by her answer.

"Screw you, Mulder", Scully deadpanned, turning on her tail and walking ahead of him before letting herself into his apartment. She was tired and not amused for she had to be in a certain mood for Mulder's sense of humour.

"You've got a dirty mind, Scully" , Mulder called after her loudly, totally forgetting about his sleeping neighbours before following her into his home, his smile wide with mirth at Scully's annoyance.

'Nice work, Casanova', he mused to himself.

...

When you meet the person who changes the way your heart beats,

Dance with them to that rhythm for as long as the song lasts.

~Kirk Diedrich

...

Chapter Text

Chapter 7: As Long As You Love Me.

Mulder's Apartment

2nd of July '94.

...

How you got me blind is still a mystery. I can't get you out of my head.

Don't care what is written in your history. As long as you're here with me

Don't care who you are or where you're from or what you did,

As long as you love me.

~ Sleeping At Last, As Long As You Love Me

...

Scully awoke slowly, her eyes adjusting to the bright morning sunlight streaming in through the curtains, illuminating Mulder's bedroom with pale light. She turned on her side, immediately noticing the strong arm that had wrapped tightly around her. Mulder must have reached out for her in his sleep, for some reason though this thought doesn't seem particularly strange or scary, just natural as if it was just another simple fact of the universe.

It wasn't until after this had registered that Scully noticed something else odd about Mulder. A certain appendage of his seemed to have hardened in sleep and rose to meet her at the back of her thigh. His steely member rested against her upper thigh, near her rear end. She shifted slightly, feeling a little awkward about this new development despite the fact that her body felt like a coiled spring, desire reaching from the top of her head to the tips of her toes. She wanted Mulder but she knew she mustn't do anything about that. He might not feel as she does, it would possibly be the end of their friendship.

She moved just enough so she wasn't leaning against him in the same way as before when his errection was poking her firmly. It felt extremely wrong to be feeling these things for Mulder while he wasn't even conscious. Scully tried to put any thought of Mulder's erected body part out of mind, to focus on something else. Her lust was not something to be paid attention to right now no matter how tempting it was.

She took in the sight of her friend who seemed to be sleeping soundly beside her, his soft snores breaking the early morning silence. 'That's weird', she thought to herself, 'Mulder always said he wasn't a sound sleeper'. She took in the morning sight of Mulder from his tossed looking brown hair and his wrinkled Oxford basketball shirt. He looked so much more peaceful in sleep, as if his face was free of the pain that he usually carried in his hazel eyes when he was awake. He looked so much more vulnerable, lacking all of the walls he usually put up by masking his true feelings with humour and sarcasm. She reach out and gently brushed his hair out of his eyes, soft enough not to wake him.

He's a handsome man, yes. Scully had always known this, from the moment she first laid eyes on him she had certainly found him attractive but what she was now feeling was emotions of a whole different scale.

His large frame wrapped around her, making his body feel twice as large as usual and making her feel twice as small as usual. Somehow she didn't feel uncomfortable about this though, it felt nice to feel vulnerable every so often, so long as you knew the other person wouldn't take advantage of you for it and Scully trusted Mulder implacably. Relationships were complicated enough as it is, the person being your friend and colleague just makes it worse.

Scully tried to convince herself that she was remaining in Mulder's embrace so she wouldn't wake him, which was true but there also was that warm pool of comfort building up inside of her and it was all because of the man sleep soundly beside her. It had been a while since Scully had woken up in the arms of a man and usually it had been because she had slept with him the night before. But never had she woken up in the arms of someone she loved as much as she loves Fox Mulder. In that moment she realised she never had or never would have that feeling with anyone other than him.

They may have only shared the bed (as promised) last night but the act in itself still felt intimate and it scared the hell out of her. He may be her best friend but in this moment Scully truly realises that she loves him in every sense of the word. She knew that it was highly inappropriate to feel this way about a man who was her closest friend and colleague let alone the fact he might never feel the same way.

Scully thought carefully about what Mulder's type of romantic partner usually was. From what he had described all the women he had dated in the past were tall bitchy brunettes, none of which Scully was. She thought about his reaction to her suggesting they share the bed last night. Had she seen lust in his eyes or was that just wishful thinking. She knew last night that she wanted him. Hell, she has known for moths that she wanted him and it wasn't just lust either. She wanted him to make love to her and to make love to him in return.

Scully tried to assure herself that she was quite happy just being friends with Mulder. She was quick to decide that she wouldn't sort out any of her issues right now while she was lying in Mulder's bed in one of his Knicks baseball shirts.

Scully turned in his arms, careful not to wake him before reading the time from the alarm clock on the bedside table. The neon green figures shone brightly from the clock face. '5.45', it read. Scully sighed, dropping her head back on to the pillow. 'I may as well get another hour or so', she mused taking one last look at her surroundings from the sleeping face of her best friend to the bright looking morning out side the window and back again before the tempting tendrils of sleep pulled her under once again.

The last thing she remembered was the feeling of his warm breath on her neck that made her skin tingle pleasantly, making her body come to life and the musky smell of Mulder's cologne which had become considerably less powerful then the night before, in fact she liked it better that way.

XXXXXXXXXXXX

Some time later Mulder woke up, he quickly glanced around the room, his eyes falling from Scully's neatly piled clothes on his dressing table to his red headed best friend who was sleep beside him. He looked down at how their bodies were positioned, his body spooning around her's, their arms wrapped around each other. It was intimate, it was spontaneous, it was unconscious, it was instinctive and to Mulder it was perfect. He wondered vaguely what Scully would think of this situation or if she would think of it at all. Would she be repulsed if she found their bodies had somehow become entangled during sleep. Would she be embarrassed? He was almost certain she would be.

It wasn't until then that Mulder stopped focusing on Scully and realised something about his own body. He looked downwards, noticing the tent pitched in his boxer shorts. 'Fuck', he mumbled in frustration. He managed to keep his voice low though, so as not to wake Scully up. He thanked whatever God there was that he had woken up before her.

Mulder didn't want her finding out he had feelings for her in this way. He wanted her to know that he truly wanted her, all of her and it wasn't just a bodily reaction or a primal instinct to them sleeping in such a close proximity. Mulder tried to put all thought of Scully out of his mind and focus on something unpleasant, that just might be enough to stop the blood rushing to 'little Mulder'.

Mulder looked out the window, forcing all thought of Scully out of his mind by imagining a naked Skinner followed by a naked Frohike. He looked downwards, relieved that his errection was now calming down. He sighed, relaxing back into the mattress after about twenty minutes of his thought process.

Mulder took in the sight of his sleeping companion, watching how her chest rose and fell in accordance with her even breathing. She seemed relaxed, at peace even. He smiled slightly, realising he had just described Scully as being relaxed. Being relaxed meant that a person was comfortable and at home somewhere, something Mulder doubted Scully felt in his bed. He watched her, willing his photographic memory to memorise every little detail about her petite sleeping form. To Mulder she was perfect, from her stubbornness, to her fierceness to her flaming red hair.

He knows now without a shadow of doubt that he loves her with all of his being. He knows that he has never found this kind of relationship depth with anyone but her. She's the strongest person he knows and he would do anything for her.

For the first time since Mulder had met her he realised that Scully could look vulnerable and she looked so in sleep. For the first time he saw his usually fiercely independent best friend as something breakable and his every instinct was to protect her with his life even though he knew even entertaining the notion was the height of folly. If anyone could look after themselves it was Dana Scully. He respected that and knew that even though Scully may not feel for him romantically as he did for her, she was just as protective of his well being.

The sight of her sleeping by his side made Mulder realise how much he wanted this, how much he wanted her and a life together where they could sleep in together every Sunday morning and it would be perfectly normal. A life where he could act on impulse and kiss her when ever he wished and she could do the same without ever having to worry if it would destroy their relationship. A life where she would want him to kiss her and to make love to her each night and it would be natural, like the world going around, like the sun rising in the east and setting in the west.

Mulder tucked his head back into her shoulder, breathing in the scent of her shampoo from her hair. He didn't mind that her red hair got everywhere, in fact he liked it better that way.

...

Every little thing that you've said and done

Feels like it's deep within me. Doesn't really matter if

We're on the run seems like we're meant to be

I don't care who you are or where you're from or what you did

As long as you love me

~Sleeping At Last, As Long As You Love Me

...

XXXXXXXXXXXX

The sun was high in the sky and his bedroom was now full of light when Mulder awoke for the second time. He looked over at the clock on his bedside locker, briefly disentangling himself from Scully to see over his own shoulder. '9.20am', it read, the neon light coming from it looking back at him almost shamefully. "Shit", he mumbled quietly to himself. Mulder never usually slept in this late and from what he knew neither did Scully. He looked downward making sure he was presentable enough to face Scully without any kind of awkwardness and sure enough 'little Mulder' had decided to behave himself. Mulder breathed a sigh of relief.

He rolled back over on his side, facing Scully once again and gently brushed her cheek with his palm. He watched her for a second, his efforts not having worked. 'Strange', he thought to himself. 'That usually does the trick'. Mulder shook her shoulder causing her to wake up immediately.

Scully groaned and turned away from him and the light that was streaming in the window. "Mulder, what time is it". Mulder chuckled slightly, pulling the duvet off of her. "9.20, sleepy head".

Scully looked up at him grumpily. "You were asleep too".

Mulder smiled, enjoying grouchy morning Scully. "Guilty as charged".

Scully smiled despite herself, she liked this side of Mulder. A Mulder who was cheerful in the mornings when she wasn't. She glanced downward to his boxer shorts quickly, glad that they wouldn't have an awkward moment where they both couldn't help but notice 'little Mulder' standing in salute. She hoped he didn't notice he glanced downwards, that would be hard to explain with embarrassing both of them.

"Mulder, I thought you said that you never needed sleep".

Mulder shook his head. "I don't but that isn't to say I'm not in a better mood when I do", he paused for a second they both were now looking around the room, slightly uncomfortable as to what should happen from here.

"Crap", Scully muttered, sitting up in bed and slapping her head as she remembered. Mulder looked over, concerned for his friend. "What's up, Scully?".

"I'm supposed to meet my mom for lunch after morning mass".

"What time did you say you would meet her", Mulder asked, knowing mass couldn't have been on so early that Scully would have missed the meeting with her mother despite not having gone to any kind of religious event since Samantha's funeral when he was twelve.

"At noon. Mulder, I better get going if I going to be home to shower and change before going to meet Mom".

"You can shower here", Mulder offered, nodding towards the bathroom just off of his bedroom. "I'll make breakfast".

She shook her head slightly. "I've intruded enough already. You have your own life".

Mulder smiled to himself. "You're my best friend, Scully and my guest. I'm cooking you breakfast", he said finally, watching as her face softened slightly before she put back on the 'I'm Dana Scully and I take no prisoners' facade.

Scully looked at him sceptically. "You can cook, Mulder?".

He shrugged. "I may live a bachelor's life style but I know how to feed myself", he told her and it was true, to a point. He did know how to cook he just never exercised his ability. It was far easier to just pick up the phone or grab a coffee on the way to work.

"And here was I thinking you ate cold Chinese food from the night before for breakfast", she said with a smile, watching how he responded to the accusation she knew was very damn accurate.

Mulder smirked, knowing how close she was to the truth. "Jeeze Scully, have a little faith that I can make pancakes and cold Chinese food gives a man character".

"I'll have to see it before I believe it, Mulder", Scully told him with a matching smirk in his direction as she headed for the bathroom, shaking her about his comment on men and Chinese food.

"You're on, Scully", Mulder said with a short laugh because how hard can making a couple of pancakes be.

"Oh and Mulder..", Scully said from the bathroom door as she picked up a towel from the rack beside the bath. "Thanks for everything", she said retreating into the bathroom before shutting the door.

Mulder smiled goofily. "Anytime, Scully", he called out to her through the door before pulling on some pants and heading to the kitchen. A bet was a bet and Mulder really hated losing against Scully. Mulder tried to focus his mind on pancakes but his thoughts kept drifting away to lands that he knew were not exactly foreign but they were secret, the one true secret he kept from Scully.

He thought back to how he had woken up earlier on, spooning Scully with 'his little friend' pressing against her quite noticeably. He hope she hadn't noticed it or woken up before he did. Mulder had dreamt of her the night before as he often did but waking up next to her with proof that he had been having errotic dreams was another story all together. Mulder wanted to follow her into the bathroom, sweep her off her feet and carry her into the bedroom to show her just how passionate a lover he could be. He wouldn't though, doing such a thing would loose him Scully's friendship and trust and that meant more to Mulder than anything. It wasn't worth the risk. This is what he told himself so often it had become a mantra.

Meanwhile Scully turned on the shower. She waited as the water warmed up, her minding drifting back to when she had woken up at 6.45. She felt herself shiver slightly and it had nothing to do with the cold tiles on the bathroom floor and much more to do with the pang of desire that rocketed through her, making her ache for the man who was always just going to be her best friend.

Scully had told herself this over and over again but something in her always gave these thought oxygen, perhaps it was the part of her that would follow Mulder to the ends of the earth and back again, perhaps it was the fact they spent most days in each others company. Perhaps it was the fact she knew that he eyes linger on him longer than was friendly. Perhaps it was the fact she often found him doing the same when he thought she wasn't looking or perhaps it was the fact she woke up in his arms that morning , finding herself being spooned by him with his morning errection pressing against her thigh and the whole situation felt like the most natural thing in the world, as if they had just woken up from a night of love making. Only they hadn't.

She to fight the irrational part of herself that wanted noting more than to open the damn bathroom door and invite Mulder to share the shower with her. She tossed the thought away as irrational and probably an act that would have her loose her best friend.

...

Though I've tried before to tell her

Of the feelings I have for her in my heart

Every time that I come near her I just lose my nerve

As I've done from the start

Every little thing she does is magic

Everything she do just turns me on

Even though my life before was tragic

Now I know my love for her goes on

~ Sleeping At Last, Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic

...

XXXXXXXXXXXX

"This is actually not that bad. Mulder, I'm impressed", Scully said with a smile as she looked down at her empty plate that previous had a stack of pancakes and maple syrup.

"Piece of cake", Mulder said smugly, not having let her anywhere near the dustbin where there was a half batch of raw and burnt pancakes that had either been flipped too early or too late. "And you didn't have any faith in me", he told her dramatically.

"Don't be such a drama queen, Hamlet. And yes, Now I'm very proud of you and your cooking skills", she said jokingly, taking a sip of her coffee. Mulder grinned, downing the rest of his own morning caffeine fix as the sound of the morning radio filled the kitchen air that already smelled of coffee, pancakes, Nutella and maple syrup.

The usual news reporter was currently p rattling on about all of the crappy unfortunate happenings that had taken place in the area over the past few days not to mention the current political state of America, such pressing thoughts for so early in the morning. The reporter went on to remind people about the dangers of illegal firework displays and safety regulations for barbecues that would surely be taking place due to the annual American holiday that was coming up early the following week.

"What are you doing on the Fourth of July, Mulder?", Scully asked casually. He mother had called her earlier in the week to get her to invite Mulder to the annual Scully Family barbecue that seemed to attract the whole rather large family along with quite a sizeable group of family friends.

Mulder chuckled, not having much interest in the holiday, the day being like most other non-working days for him. "You asking me out, Scully?", he asked jokingly, wondering why she would ask him such a question, she knew he didn't celebrate national holidays let alone any other type of holidays.

Scully rolled her eyes, well used to his innuendos. "Not this time, Mulder", she told him sarcastically before continuing. "My mom asked me to invite you to the annual Scully barbecue".

"The Annual Scully Barbecue, wow what a title", Mulder mused with a chuckle before the thought of Bill Scully with a whole lot of fireworks and a very large chip on his shoulder. "Sounds dangerous", he said as an afterthought that was accompanied by a chuckle.

Scully looked at him, unamused. "You don't have to come if you don't want to, Mulder. I'm just offering".

Mulder considered it for a second before glancing across the table, feigning seriousness. "Scully, I don't think it would be physically safe for me to go anywhere near your childhood home on The Fourth of July".

"Why's that?", she asked, trying to cover up her amusement at his expression.

"It's the thought of your brother. With fireworks. A deathly weapon", he said with a half laugh, imagining a murderous Bill Scully armed with fireworks.

Scully rolled her eyes, unamused. "You're going, Mulder", she said tiredly. "My mother wants you there and...", she trailed off for a second wondering if should finish the sentence. "And so do I, besides..", she said with a snort. "I'll protect you".

He smiled, touched by her confession although he decided it to get best if he acted indifferently as it would give away less. "Scully, Independence Day is about celebrating our independence. And here was I thinking I lived in the land of the free".

Scully rolled her eyes, finishing her coffee. "Fine, Mulder. I was just offering", she picked up her handbag from under the table and her coat from the back of the chair, making her way to the door. "I'll see you later, Mulder. Thanks again for putting me up for the night".

Mulder followed her to the door, slightly ashamed he hadn't meant to hurt her feelings by refusing. He actually didn't mind the thought of going with Scully to one of the events her mother organised. It would certainly beat his last national holiday where he spent the day watching reruns of the ruder versions of Blackadder with The Gunmen.

"Hey Scully. I was just goofing around, of course I'll be there", he told her sincerely.

Scully shook her head. "Honestly, Mulder. You don't have to. I just thought I would make the offer if you're free".

"And I'm taking you up on the offer", Mulder said with a grin.

"Alright", she conceded. "I'll see you at my mother's house on Tuesday. Don't be late".

He chuckled softly. "Course not, Scully".

She was halfway down the hall when Mulder called out to her. "Fun sleepover, huh?".

Scully rolled her eyes at her friend's display of childishness. "A sleepover?, what are you six?".

Mulder laughed good-naturedly. "Six and a half actually, Scully".

...

I've tried to hide it so that no one knows

But I guess it shows

When you look in to my eyes

What you did and where you're coming from

I don't care, as long as you love me, baby

~ Sleeping At Last, As Long As You Love Me

...

On Tuesday morning excitement, freedom and the smell of barbecued meat as well as the promise of a pissed off Bill Scully was fresh in the air as Mulder drove his car down through the neighbourhood where Scully had spent her teenage years after the family settled down after spending years travelling from one naval Base to the next. It on the outskirts of town and there was a long line of nearly identical two storey houses on either side of the street.

As Mulder neared Mrs Scully's house he would have how be blind you notice all the cars outside the house. 'Must be one big family', he mused, parking in behind a navy coloured car he knew belonged to Charlie. Scully had told him the previous day that her mother had enlisted her help to prepare food for all the guests and would have arrived much sooner.

It wasn't long before Mulder had walked up the short drive and was outside the front door. He had been here before for one reason or another. Sometimes having dropped in with Scully to see Mrs Scully on the way to or back from somewhere else. He had always gotten on with Scully's mother very well and respected her a great deal especially after being with her as they both had to deal with Scully being in a coma after her car accident.

Mulder knocked on the door, feeling a bit awkward standing outside carrying a bottle of wine that he had picked up on the way. He waited until a familiar face came to the door, letting him inside.

Melissa opened the door dressed in her usual long and flowing fortunetelleresque clothing that was in royal blue and scarlet to celebrate the occasion. "Hey Fo..., I mean Mulder", she said, relieving him of the bottle of wine.

"Hey Melissa", Mulder greeted. They made small talk for a few minutes, their conversation ranging from work to reincarnation and other types of unexplained phenomena. The hallways was jam packed with people, the Scully's being very easy to pick out from the crowd due to their red hair. The rest of the guests were a mixture of neighbours and family friends. 'Seems like Mrs Scully has taken it upon herself to feed half of DC', Mulder muses, not voicing this out loud to Melissa.

"Mulder, when do you plan on telling Dana?", Melissa asks bluntly.

He had been wondering when the oldest Scully daughter would bring the topic up after having scolded him over four months ago for not telling Scully he loved her before he almost lost her to death. "I was wondering when you'd bring that up", Mulder said, deciding it was best not to play dumb. "You Scully women really don't beat about the bush. I'll give you that".

Melissa looked at him seriously, not amused. She did like Mulder, she really did. He seemed a lot better than the other guys that Dana had dated in the past. Melissa was concerned for her younger sister and on some level she was concerned for Mulder too. Melissa didn't want either of them to loose sight of the moon while counting the stars, life was too short for that kind of ignorance, too short to throw away a relationship with someone whose aura complements your own so perfectly.

Melissa had never personally experienced that kind of synchrony with anyone in her life yet. She hadn't seen anything quite like Dana and Fox's relationship since she first recognised the complimenting aura her parents had. Melissa almost envied Mulder and her sister for that. She knew her sister deserved it though the same way their parents did.

Melissa saw how saddened her mother's spirit had become after the death of her father. She knew that if you found a person like that in your life, a person that completes you in every possible way that that person is your soul mate, something that she be held on to for as long as you possibly have and to be never taken lightly. Melissa knew that she just had to give them a shove in the right direction. A gentle nudge of encouragement is all that it would take. Melissa had tried to give her sister that nudge of encouragement but Dana being Dana was too much of a sceptic to even listen, perhaps Mulder would.

"Mulder I mean it. You can't keep on bottling up emotions like this. It's not good for you or for Dana", Melissa told him seriously.

Mulder sighed. "To be honest with you, Melissa. My friendship with your sister means more to me than anything else and I wouldn't want to do anything to jeopardise that".

Melissa shook her head, knowing she had overstepped the line and it was best not to interfere anymore. "Just keep it in mind, Mulder".

He nodded, trying to hide the fact that such topics were always on his mind where Scully was concerned. "Sure". Melissa nodded with a tone of finality before heading over to catch up with one of her cousins in the far off corner.

"I'll see you later", she said.

"See you, Melissa", he agreed watching her walk away for a second before looking around the room in search of his favourite of the Scullys.

Just then Charlie walked over, after having seen Mulder with his oldest sister. The youngest Scully propped daughter up on his hip and headed over to see his sister's friend. The little girl squeaked slightly in protest but soon settled back into her father's arms.

"Hey Mulder. How are you?", he said grasping Mulder's shoulder in greeting. "I see Danes invited you over".

Mulder nodded. "Yeah she did", he said with a slight smile that didn't go unnoticed to the youngest Scully.

Charlie shook his head covertly. 'Damn, this guy has it bad', he mused, deciding not to pursue the subject. He wasn't going to interfere in his older sister's love life, admittedly he did this Mulder was a good guy and he did like him a lot better than Jack, Ethan and Daniel. Charlie was the only one of the Scully's who had met Daniel and he knew his sister was playing with fire at the time. He just regretted not having said anything to Dana before the shit hit the fan.

"How's work?", Charlie asked tossing him a beer when they got to the cooler.

"I'm off from school at the moment but I'm starting back teaching at the university next week. What about you?".

Charlie shook his head. "Same old, same old. A navy life for me".

Mulder nodded and motioned to the child in Charlie's arms. "This your kid, Charlie?".

He nodded smiling at his daughter. "This is Mary Margaret. She's called after mom".

The child looked up at Mulder with the signature electric blue Scully eyes. She had inherited her grandmother's dark hair though or perhaps her mother's. Mulder wasn't sure as he hadn't met Charlie's wife yet. "Hey kiddo", Mulder offered ruffling the little girl's light head of hair that was more like fluff. Mary Margaret giggled slightly before snuggling back into her father.

Mulder looked up to face Charlie once again. "Have you seen Scully around?". The fact that Mulder used Dana's last name didn't faze the youngest of Scully's brothers in the slightest as he had spent a bit of time with them the last time he was in DC to visit his family.

Charlie nodded, hiding his smirk and knowing look as he watched Mulder looked around for Scully in the crowded room. "I think she's with mom and Tara in the kitchen".

The two headed in the direction of the kitchen. "Make sure you get you're hands on some of mom's apple pie. It's the best", Charlie said as they entered the kitchen and sure enough Mrs Scully, Dana and Tara were inside putting the final touches on the food or more like Mrs Scully was giving her daughter and daughter-in-law the run down on Fourth of July meals.

Scully looked up from the oven, smirking at her brother. "Are you telling me, Charlie that you came in here for the food rather than to help us?".

Charlie rolled his eyes, looking from his sister to Mary Margaret who was growing steadily more impatient at the lack of attention. "No, Danes. I'm on baby duty", he said smiling down at his daughter. "And I brought you Mulder so I think that makes me your favourite brother either way", he laughed slightly at his sisters annoyed expression.

Scully looked over her brother's shoulder, sharing a smile with Mulder before turning back to an amused Charlie. Tara and Mrs Scully watched the two siblings banter with matching grins.

"Keep laughing Chuckles", Scully said, using Charlie's childhood nickname threateningly as telling people about the nickname was something she often held over Charlie's head ever since they were kids.

"You wouldn't", Charlie asked seriously.

"I would", Scully.

The two youngest Scully's continued their playful exchange as Mrs Scully went over to greet Mulder. The older woman smiled at him kindly. "How have you been, Fox", she asked with a kind of motherly concern Mulder wasn't exactly used to.

Mulder smiled. "I'm good. Thanks, Mrs Scully".

Charlie retreated after a few minutes, excusing himself as his wife was probably looking for him and Mary Margaret. He left the room Leaving Mulder with the Scully women.

Mulder made his way across the kitchen to Scully. "Hey", he said with a smile, tucking the hair that had fallen into her face earlier on behind her ear, he watched as her blue eyes crackled with electricity.

Scully smiled, glad that he had shown up. "Hey", she felt his hazel eyes pulling her in inwards like too endless pools that were so easy to drown in the depths of, drowning but free. They pulled out of their trance quickly enough before Mulder offered to help her with whatever she was doing, both hoping their moment had gone unnoticed by the others.

Mrs Scully beamed slightly, watching the pair. She knew it wouldn't be long now before one of them would pluck up the courage, if they hadn't already. She found that it was always better not to press her youngest daughter about things, that Dana was a stubborn woman and would tell her what was going on in her own time. Tara looked over at her mother in law asking an unspoken question. She genuinely wanted her sister in law to be happy even though her husband, Bill wasn't exactly Mulder's biggest fan. Tara looked outside the kitchen door to her husband who was deep in conversation with some distant relative.

...

"Thanks for coming", Scully said quietly to Mulder as they made their way out into the dining room after everything that had to be done was taken care of.

Mulder smiled, pulling her into a half hug. "Anytime, Scully", he replied watching her intently. She looked up, catching him in the act and their eyes locked, making them feel as separate from the rest of the room as though they were on another planet. Scully knew how easy it would be to reach up and capture his lips with her own, she wanted it more than anything else. He looked so laid back and relaxed, the whole moment seemed so perfect and domestic Scully was almost certain that it was a moment that could only belong to someone else. Mulder smiled sheepishly as his mind went into overdrive, he knew she was deep in thought and right now he just want her to share these thought with him, for her to show him how she felt. He wanted to share his own feelings with her so badly but Mulder didn't want to push her away.

She was the first to turn away, she pushed her thoughts back in line and faced her best friend once again. "Well, these parties usually end with in arguments by the time the nights up but I guess that's just how us Scully's are".

Mulder smiled, "I'm not surprised, you guys are an opinionated lot". It was true, Mulder could only imagine the arguments that must have gone on between Scully and Bill as kids and as angsty teens. Mulder knew perfectly well what it was like to be in Bill's bad books and knew from experience that Scully was a person who did not like her toes to be tread on.

"Hey". Scully said, joustling him slightly with a laugh. "You're opinionated too".

Mulder looked at her incredulously. "Am I?", he questioned playfully.

Scully nodded. "Yeah you are, remember that sub down at the middle school a few weeks back, what was his name...Mr Harwell".

He snorted slightly at the memory of the teacher who had sub who had briefly covered for Monica when she got sick during the mid stages of her pregnancy. Mulder didn't like him much. He knew right from when he met him that there was something crafty about him, clearly due to the fact he had buck teeth and a southern drawl that Mulder didn't trust rather than the fact that the guy clearly had a thing for Scully. "You mean Mr Bucky?", he asked playfully.

"He did not have buck teeth, Mulder", Scully told him for what seem like the tenth time.

"That guy clearly needed braces as a kid", Mulder said, certain.

"What's wrong with braces, huh?, I had them until the tenth grade".

Mulder shrugged. "Nothing", before smirking teasingly. "You got a picture of that, Scully?", he asked with a mischievous grin.

"I burnt them all", she deadpanned before a companionable silence fell, resting comfortably on their shoulders. It wasn't awkward in fact it was something peaceful. The whole room was alive with laughter and chatting but the pair felt as it they were alone. In a world all of their own.

"What the hell is he doing here?", a loud male voice declared loudly. Mulder and Scully turned to face whomever was addressing him, breaking the spell.

Bill Scully made his way across the crowded sitting room. His face was red and his eyes equally as fiery in appearance. It wasn't long before he was right beside Mulder, his anger breath hot on his face. His jaw was clenched, unrelenting. His fist collided with Mulder's stomach, to unexpected for Mulder to see the punch coming.

Scully looked at her brother, outraged. "He's here because I want him here and mom invited him". Her brother might be a thick, ignorant prick from time to time but the signature Scully temper was something they had both inherited from their father.

Mulder tried to ignore the pain in his abdomen as he spoke up, slightly breathless. "I don't want any trouble with you, Bill. I'm here for the party just like you" and he didn't, not really anyway.

Mulder understood Bill's protectiveness of Scully on some level. Mulder did have a younger sister for the first twelve years of his life after all and he did recall kicking a few bullies butts when he and Sam were kids. But those kids were pushing Samantha around, he was just being there for Scully as a good friend would. Yes, Mulder didn't understand Bill Scully even if it was on a very small level. He knew that they both cared deep for Scully and she for them, that might be the only thing that they have entirely in common.

On the other hand, what the hell was the guy thinking! You don't just come up and punch someone no matter how much of a chip on you shoulder you have. Mulder wouldn't stoop that low, nor did he want to start an argument with Bill or any of the Scullys. Even with a selective few vouching for his he would still be hopelessly outnumbered. Mulder may be called crazy due to some of his slightly eccentric beliefs but he wasn't completely insane.

Bill grimaced, still seething with anger at the man before him. He wasn't going to after him again though, not while Dana was standing between them. Bill couldn't believe she would stand up for Fox Mulder. A man who didn't give a damn about her, Bill was certain of this. A man who thought little enough of this family to go ranting about what Dana's wishes would be to her mother and siblings when she was in a coma. A man who had gotten deeply involved in personal family matters that concerned life or death.

Bill had take his concerns up with his mother, who told him off for wishing to poke around in his sister's personal life. Maggie had told him that Dana and Fox Mulder share a very special kind of friendship and that their relationship was a unique one. It seemed as though his mother actually liked the man, the idea repulsed Bill. It seemed to him that he was the only one who could see through Mulder's phoney 'Nobody likes me but I'm such a good guy' act.

Bill's suspicions of this were confirmed when he had asked Charlie and Melissa on their thoughts on Dana's choice of friends, both seemed to like Mulder quite a lot. Melissa had even gone as far to say that the two would be good as life partners. This made Bill feel even worse, the thought of such a man as a brother in law. He chalked it down as rubbish, it would never happen. When he asked Charlie his opinion the youngest Scully just shrugged saying that it wasn't really any of their business even if Mulder and Dana seem a bit on the close side for best friends. He had also said that he wouldn't be against Mulder and Dana being together, commenting that Mulder was contrary to Bill's beliefs, a nice guy.

Now today Bill had spotted his sister and Fox Mulder across the room chatting playfully. He didn't miss how close they stood to one another until they were entirely invading each other's personal spaces. He didn't miss how they casually touched one another while talking. Bill didn't like it. A small part of him feared that his sister had fallen in love with Fox Mulder, the rest of him pushed this thought aside as ridiculousness. He knew Dana was sensible, but when it came to Mulder it seemed to Bill as though his sister just plainly refused to see the truth. Damn that signature Scully family stubbornness.

Scully looked between Mulder and Bill with a mixture of concern and anger plastered of her face. The emotion respectively for each of the men. Just then Tara came rushing out of the kitchen, knowing her husband well enough to know that if their was to be an argument that he would be in the eye of the storm.

"Bill,darling. Maggie and I told you early on not to start anything with any of Dana's work friends", she said with a nod towards Mulder. Bill softened at the sight of his wife, looking between her and his sister. He wanted to saw more, to really take his argument to the moon and back, but he wouldn't at least for now. He threw Mulder one final dirty look before making his way over to his wife, who handed him their now six mother old son Matthew. "Look after Matt for a few minutes. Will you, Bill", she requested with a smile. He nodded gathering up the gurgling baby from his wife's arms. "Course, Sweetie".

Scully rolled her eyes at the changed demeanour of her oldest brother. "Typical", she muttered soft enough do only Mulder can hear. He chuckled quietly but regretted as soon as the excess breath it took to muster the laughter left his body. The spot on his stomach hurt quite a bit where Bill had clobbered him. Mulder grimaced slightly.

Scully looked at him, the concern evident in her expression. She didn't like to see him hurt no matter what. "Mom should have something for that in the bathroom upstairs", she told him.

Mulder tried to brush it off. Bill didn't get him too bad after all, he had gotten worse not that hadn't eventually gotten payback for that once he had grown into his body a little more, his long limbs becoming less awkward. He wasn't sure if that was the best thing to tell Scully right now though. They could delve into the adventures of fifteen year old Fox Mulder another time.

"It's fine, Scully. I'll live".

"Mulder, I insist. You'll end up with a nasty bruise tomorrow otherwise", she took him by the arm, leading him up the stairs. Mulder looked around curiously as they reached the top, never having been upstairs in Scully's childhood home before. He liked it, it suited her and what he knew of her family.

XXXXXXXXXXXX

...

Every little thing she does is magic

Everything she does just turns me on

Even though my life before her was tragic

Now I know my love for her goes on

~ Sleeping At Last, Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic

...

Mulder stood awkwardly by the bathtub as Scully rooted around in the burnished white bathroom cabinet in search of cooling spray for his stomach. He watched as frustration took root on her face as she shovelled various bottles around in pursuit of the right one.

"Got it", she said triumphantly after a few minutes of searching. She held the bright blue spray can up to Mulder, he could sense her seriousness but could not help smirking when she spoke up.

"Mulder, take your shirt off", she asked concerned, without a hint of light-heartedness.

He smirked, coming close to her, almost dangerously close if they weren't so used to being in such close proximity. "Are you asking me to undress, Scully?", he asked, his voice dropping lower than usual. She tried to ignore what his voice fiddled to her when it was low like that, now wasn't the time. Mulder's injured.

"Only partially, don't get excited just yet", she told him dryly.

Mulder smirked, their bodies almost touching now. He ignored her previous comment. It was just too much fun. "And in your mother's house too, Scully..", he feigned shock. "Am I bringing out the teenage rebel in you, G-Woman".

Scully looked up at him scornfully but she couldn't help the fact blood was pounding in her ears, making it difficult to concentrate on Mulder's injured body rather than the prospect of his shirtless body. The atmosphere seemed to crackle unrelentlessly with suppressed electricity, the energy binding them together like a force much more powerful then magnetism but so similar. They were polar opposites but a perfect fit for one another. She wanted him now more than ever She thought she masked it relatively well because her seriousness seemed to beginning to rub off on him.

"You're demanding", he stated pouting slightly, his teasing smile fading. He lifts his hazel eyes, darker than usual to her's. Mulder grabs the hem of his white t-shirt. In one swift motion he pulls it over his head. They're close enough for Scully to almost feel the shirt coming off herself, she quickly adverts her gaze down to his chest, not trusting herself to looking into his eyes much longer without doing something irrational.

Mulder's eyebrows pull to the centre of his forehead, slightly confused by her reaction. He knew she didn't feel as he did but why would she react like that if she didn't. Mulder had noticed certain things about how she looked and acted around him as it of late. It was generally the same as always but there was something more intimate, more heated about her gaze when it lingered on him. Usually he just chalked it down it wishful thinking but what was happening now was too blatant to be a fantasy, right?

Scully's fingers brush over the angry red skin on his abdomen. She trusted Mulder with everything, everything she was, is and will be. This was a fact, something so true she could comprehend it perfectly. She grabbed at the spray tighter, pressing down on the defuser. The cooling mist lodged on his skin, Mulder hissed slightly at the sensation. He watched her, watched her expression. He tried to decipher her thoughts but he came back with nothing he could let himself believe in right now. He watched her and that only made him love her more. He saw something in her eyes as flicker that set him alight, giving him hope. He loves her.

Scully knew she wanted to prolonging touching him, but she was afraid of his bareness; afraid of how easy it would be to let herself become bare too. So bare in fact that there would no longer be a layer between them, nothing holding them back not the fear of losing their friendship or anything else. So bare that she would forget that he was another person, it would feel as if one was just another part of the other. It would no longer matter where one ended and the other began.

Scully mentally scolded herself, she wasn't some hormonal teenager who let her emotions run wild or who wasn't experienced enough to be confident of her own actions around a man she cared so completely about. Scully runs her hands over his broad, firm chest exposing the skin as if it was her own.

Mulder reached out the few final millimetres of barrier being ferociously pressed against until the bubble pooped leaving the pair free to roam. She reached up on tip toes, kissing him, she threaded her fingers through his soft brown hair as he cupped her face gently.

He sighed into her mouth, mumbling her name softly. Mulder picked her up off of the ground until their faces were level. They parted for a few seconds, breathing deeply, revelling in this new found pleasure. Scully drank in the sight of him bare chested, hazel eyed and brown hair slightly fluffy from her fingers. She loved him so much it hurt. Mulder smiled, one hand brushing lightly through her scarlet locks, the other stroking her chin. He loved how real and how right this felt now that it had finally happened between them.

He pressed his palms to her face, his index finger sliding behind her ears. Mulder merged their mouths once again. Scully heard herself moaning softly as she felt his tongue stroke her upper lip, pleading for entrance which she gave gladly. He tasted of beer, sunflower-seeds and something else entirely Mulder. He groaned quietly at the feeling of their tongues battling for dominance, they were both as stubborn as hell and neither would have an easy time winning that one.

Mulder moves his lips from Scully's, trailing kisses on the skin beneath her jaw. He was bending over quite a bit at this point but it didn't really matter. He tugs her closer if that was in any way possible. His touch is light, sensitive. A heavy warm feeling like spilling honey, fills Scully's body, slowing her thoughts. Mulder smiled goofily at her expression pulling back.

"You've no idea how long I've wanted to do that", he said with a smile so large it's splitting his face, his eyes alight with mischief, love and lust.

Scully grinned , hardly able to contain her own elation. "If you say a year and half, we're just as stubborn, pathetic and in sync as I think we are".

Mulder smiled down at her, lovingly. "You got it in one, honey".

She looked up, amused at the nickname. "Honey?", she questioned, teasingly.

He shrugged sheepishly, their bodies still entwined. "I was just trying it out for size".

Scully smiled, she always loved Mulder's sheepish half smiles. "I like it, baby", the words tumbled off easily, she hadn't even really planned them but she loved how it made his hazel eyes light up and deepen all at the same time.

Mulder chuckled, nuzzling her temple. He had never loved the cheesy nickname so much as he did when it rolled effortlessly off of her tongue. "Now I love the sound of that".

"Me too", she agreed, standing on tiptoes to seek out his lips once more. Mulder instinctively wrapped his arms around her waist to lift Scully upwards the few final but vital inches. She pulled him down slightly to gain better access to his mouth, his tongue gently grazing over her's before the kiss gradually became more ardent and demanding. Hands clung to clothing and dragged across exposed skin.

Mulder's hands roamed under her shirt. Scully felt tiny Sparks of electricity, crackling across her body like fireworks. She ran her hands along the waistband ofor his jeans, fumbling for Mulder's zipper.

Their temperatures soared in unison, every layer between them quickly becoming a barrier too much to be bared. Mulder ignore the jabbing pain in his abdomen as he pulled Scully's body tightly against his. This moment meant far too much to sacrifice it over a little pain, he wasn't going to let Bill Scully have that.

He fumbled slightly with the buttons of her shirt. Scully helped him with this without question. They both knew what they needed. He eased the material off of her shoulders letting it drop on the floor. Their bare upper bodies now firmly pressed together, skin on skin. They were one.

"You're so beautiful, you know that", Mulder said, taking her in his arms, watching her closely as they both panted due to their deprivation of oxygen. He looked down finding himself mesmerised as though Scully had put him in a trance, he always had been under her spell anyway. He belonged to her for longer than even he knew.

Scully smiled, tracing patterns on his chest, enjoying how his skin tingled unconsciously and little goosebumps popped up in the wake of her finger. She glanced across at his tastefully tanned body. Mulder was quite built, nicely so and his arms wrapped around her so completely, she knew this was where she belonged, in his arms, their bodies comfortably pressed together. "You're not so bad yourself".

Mulder smirked teasingly, his bravado firmly back in business. "So I've been told".

She rolled her eyes playfully as he chuckled softly at her expression, merging their lips once more. They were drunk on each other and they weren't sure if enough would ever be enough. All inhibitions released, they were totally honest not in words yet that would come later but in deed.

Their lips colliding, sliding over one another in perfect synchronisation, handing roaming over the other's bare torso. It felt right, it felt so damn good. How lucky they were to find their best friend and soul mate as the one person. Just then Mulder's phone decided it would be a perfect time to go off. The ring-tone echoing loudly in the bathroom, the guests chattering still audible down stairs, Mulder and Scully's breathing ragged but still in sync.

Mulder cursed against Scully's lips trying to ignore the tell tale ringing of the cell phone in his jeans pocket, it wasn't stopping or getting any quieter. Seriously, if that was one of The Gunmen Mulder vowed he would kill them later. Scully sighed against his lips pulling back. "You should take that, Mulder. It might be important".

He sighed, knowing she was right. "You were always the responsible one, Scully".

She shrugged. "We can't take it any further in here anyway. We are as you said earlier, in my mother's house", she pointed at the cell phone in his pocket that was now going berserk. "You better get that".

Mulder groaned softly, pulling out the phone. He didn't immediately recognise the caller ID or the voice. Scully picked her shirt up off of the ground, pulling it around her shoulders and doing up the buttons, the bathroom was starting to show how cold it truly was, the fact having been either ignore or irrelevant when her and Mulder were so close only moments before.

Mulder sat down on the edge of the bathtub, listening intently to whomever was speaking at the other end. 'Definitely not one of The Gunmen', Scully mused taking a seat next to him.

"Is this Fox William Mulder?", the voice asked from the other side. Mulder told him it was, "Who's this?", he asked. The voice seemed to have an air of command, something told Mulder that whatever this woman was going to tell him, he wasn't going to like it.

"Mr Mulder. I am Doctor Shanahan, I'm treating your mother in Greenwich General Hospital. We need her next of kin here immediately and you are the only one she has listed", the woman said all of this seriously, telling Mulder that anything she was going to say wouldn't be taken lightly.

"Is she okay?", Mulder asked, panic beginning to swell up in his chest. He picked up his t-shirt off of the floor, pulling it over his head.

"I'm afraid not, Mr Mulder. Your mother has just had quite a severe stroke and has been diagnosed with a serious terminal disease that we will tell you more about when he see you".

Mulder looked down at his watch, internally debating when the next flight out of Washington would be. "That won't be for at least a few more hour. I live in Washington, you see", his head was now pounding. His mother had a terminal disease. She was going to die. He couldn't comprehend this right now, he couldn't give up on his mother. Teen may not have been the best mother imaginable but she was his own, that meant something. They may not have gotten on too well, never really seeing eye to eye after Samantha was killed but she still needed him now.

"We'll tell you more when we see you", she finished, it was obvious from her time that the conversation was over. Mulder ended the call without saying another word to the doctor. He didn't know what he could say, he wasn't sure he could say anything at all. He buried his face in his hand, not crying but not wanting to see Scully's expression of pity. He felt her small arms wrapped around his body, pulling him tightly to her. Scully ran her hands soothingly through Mulder's hair.

She hadn't heard the conversation between him and the doctor but she didn't need to know the specifics right now. She could tell that whatever was happening to Teena Mulder, it wasn't good. That the woman may not have long to live. Scully felt tears sting her eyes. She did not know the woman or the sky above her but she loves her son. Mulder was hurting and this killed Scully. When he was weak she had to be his rock, his confidant, the same as he would be for her, the same as he had been for her when Ahab died and when she had been in a coma . She had to be the strong one now, for him.

Mulder returned her embrace, leaning on her for support. Mulder was falling to pieces, crumbling and Scully was the tie that binds him together, keeping him whole, keeping him sane. He was hers and she was his, anything contrary to that was inconceivable. He laid his head on her chest, wrapping his arms around her back. Scully couldn't tell if he was crying or if he was just shaking with shock, possibly a mixture of both. She placed a kiss on his forehead, trying to calm him.

Mulder gently lifted his head from her should but stayed in her embrace. "It's not like we even got on very well. My parents and I...drifted apart after Samantha died. I haven't seen my mother in nearly a year ".

Scully rolled them both slightly, even though Mulder was nearly twice he sized she fought against physics and tried to hold him up. "She's your mom, Mulder. Of course you're upset".

Mulder sighed, wrapping his arms around, readjusting their position so he was not leaning on her as much, rather ingredients them to be leaning against each other.

"I have to go, Scully", he said kissing her temple lightly like a feather passing over her skin.

He watched her, looking down slightly. How did he get so lucky to have her here like this with him? What did he do to earn some much love and support. He watched sadly, noticing how her eyes were rimmed with unshed tears. He loves her so much, she's his constant, his touchstone, his one in five billion. He vows to tell her that someday.

She looked up at him seriously, stroking his cheek and tracing her fingers along the outlines of his lips. Her heart broke at the sight of his puffy eyes. Those hazel orbs that were glistening with raw emotion. She loves him, she loves him so damn much it hurts. He's her perfect other, her perfect opposite. She will not let him go through this or anything else alone when she can be firmly by his side.

She had always thought that once you found the person you love, once you've chosen them, the two of you forever become entwined, landing where you land. Now she realises that she was wrong. You stay with them because you choose to, not by default. You stay despite the fact there will be bad days when you hold each other and weep, days when you fight and days when you won't want to talk to each other. You stay together because you choose to. Because you choose each other over and over again. He chooses her. She choose him. There will be good days to come, days to laugh, days to talk for hours over a cheap bottle of wine. There will be days to kiss and make love. Today was the day when she would stand by him.

"I'm going with you, Mulder ".

...

Do I have to tell the story

Of a thousand rainy days since we first met

It's a big enough umbrella

But it's always me who end up getting wet.

~ Sleeping At Last, Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic

...

A/N: I hope you guys don't think their getting together is a bit premature. There will definitely be waaay more angst to come (we're just getting started really). Please leave a review. Your support and opinion means the world to me :)

Chapter Text

Chapter 8- My True North, My Sweetheart.

Arlington, Virginia.

Residence of Margaret Scully

Bathroom

4th July '94

4.45pm

...

We were all hopped up on kerosene or something else that burned, it seemed

That we would never put the fire out. I got down on my knees to pray

Forgot the words I used to say, When I was young, each night 'fore I laid down.

~Ron Pope, Southern Cross

...

"Fox", the voice of Mrs Scully could be heard clearly from the other side of the door, she continued in the same tone. "Dana", she said, addressing her daughter. "Are you alright, dears".

She stood out side the door, trying not to listen to the mumbling conversation going on in the bathroom. Mrs Scully hoped she hadn't interrupted anything. After all she had been hoping and praying that at some point the pair of them would wake up and see the light.

Inside the bathroom Mulder and Scully sat at the edge of the bathtub, loosely embracing, Mulder's head still resting against Scully's chest. He looked up at her, the shock of the phone call beginning to wear off despite the fact his hazel eyes were still rimmed with an angry red tinge, the result of unshed tears.

Scully stroked his jaw tenderly in an attempt to show him without words that there was no need to hide anything from her, whether he told her of his feelings out loud or not didn't matter, they were highly adapt at reading each other. If it was anybody else dear to her this would be the moment where Scully would ask them if they were okay. There was no point in doing that with Mulder, she knew better. She knew him better.

Scully herself had hated that period of time after her father had died when any family friend or distant relative would ask her how she was feeling or if she was 'okay' or the infamous 'I'm so sorry'.

That's all good and fine when you don't really know the person very well and Scully did know that the people who said such things were only trying to be supportive at a difficult time but it didn't always help, having others try to relate you your pain. Mulder had never asked her such questions, he just knew.

"I better go put Mom out of her misery",Scully told him gently as she disentangled his body from her's, immediately feeling the harsh coldness at the absence of where Mulder had been. "She's probably worried as to why we've been gone so long".

Mulder smiled faintly, pecking her on the temple. He wasn't entirely sure what to say after what had just happened. Everything had gone from one extreme to the other in a space of minutes. He could still feel a burning sensation on his lips and throat where Scully had made her presence known. He could still feel tears of shock building up in the back of his eyes at the news of his mother's state of wellbeing.

"Thank you, Scully", he mumbled softly against her hair. She could feel his warm and exhausted breath against her ear and down her neck. They both stood up from the tub.

Scully motioned towards Mulder's slightly bruised stomach. "There's should be some more stuff under the sink if you need anything". Her mother had stocked up on a lot of first aid stuff over the year consider her brothers and their Scully family tempers had often come home battered and bruised in their childhood and teen years.

Mulder nodded before chuckling softly. "You didn't get much done. Did you Doctor Scully?", he said for a feeble attempt at a joke that awarded him with a half smile from Scully as she headed for the door.

"I'll be out in a few minutes", Mulder said before his mind wandered to his father, Bill Mulder. His parents had split the year after Samantha had been killed. Staying together had just been too painful. At the time Mulder couldn't wait to leave for college and had chosen the university furthest away from both of his parents. "I should probably let my dad know that mom is sick", he told Scully, looking down at his phone that was left by the sink.

Scully nodded, squeezing their entwined fingers before letting go to open the door. She wasn't sure what to say to him. Anything that came to mind just didn't fit. It was probably best to say noting at all. That's how they have always communicated best. Not with words but with actions.

"You don't have to come with me, Scully", Mulder said quietly, stroking her cheek. He needed her, that he knew but he also knew his family and how messed up their relationship was. It was selfish to want her with him, wasn't it?

Scully smiled softly, running her thumb across his knuckles. "No, Mulder. I don't have to. But I want to be there for you if you need me to". Scully didn't need an answer. She could see it in his eyes. Scully knew him well enough to see the silent plea, to read him as he could her.

Mulder may think he can face whatever was waiting for him in Connecticut and she was certain that he could. He didn't have to though she wanted to be there for him as she knew without a doubt he would be for her of their situations were reversed. Mulder may not have given her an answer to her question out loud but he didn't need to.

Scully nodded reassuringly as she head towards the door, leaving Mulder dialling his father's phone number and coming face to face with her mother who had been waiting outside the door for some sign from the pair that everything was alright. Maggie mother opened slightly to ask some question about Mulder's welfare but Scully cut her off with a quick shake of the head.

She shut the door quietly behind her and motioned towards her worried looking mother to follow her a little further down the hallway. It they were any closer to the bathroom they would have been able to hear every word of Mulder and his father's conversation. Scully knew her need some privacy for such a thing as even though their relationship with Teena Mulder was complicated but Mulder and Bill did love the woman in their own way.

"Is Fox alright, Dana?", Maggie asked her eyes filled with concern. Her eyes trailed to the bathroom door where Mulder's voice emitted inaudibly from.

"Mulder", Scully corrected gently, she had gone over this time and time again with her mother without avail.

"It's his given name, Dana. It's only right that he be called by it", Maggie answered, stubbornly.

Scully sighed deeply. "Mulder's mother had a stroke earlier on today and has been diagnosed with a terminal illness. A doctor called Mulder just now, they don't think she has long left to live".

Maggie's eyes widened slightly. "Fox must be devastated".

Scully nodded. "He is", she said before dropping her voice slightly, she wasn't going to give her mother the whole story, she didn't even know that for herself. It was best to give the older woman a clearer picture though even if some details were omitted. "They were never very close. I think Mulder regrets that now even though it wasn't his fault that they drifted apart".

"When is he leaving for Connecticut", Maggie asked.

"Now. It's quite a long drive", Scully said, her eyes drifting back to the bathroom door where the conversation between Mulder and his father had not yet concluded.

Maggie took in her daughter's expressions, well used to reading her. The love That Dana felt for Fox Mulder was obvious to Maggie, the concern for each others well being and the unquestionable loyalty between the two would take someone blind, deaf and senseless to miss.

"Are you going with him?", Maggie stated softly, she knew for her daughter's expression what the answer would be, it wasn't a question, more so a statement.

Scully turned to face her mother once again. She nodded, a kind of devotion evident on her face that could only be matched by the devotion Maggie had seen in Fox when Dana had been in a coma.

The kind of devotion that she had seen everyday on her husband's face in their thirty eight years of marriage. The kind of devotion she had seen in herself reflected back in his eyes. She was glad that her youngest daughter had found love like that, a best friend, a soul mate, a life long companion.

Maggie smiled slightly, taking in the sight of her daughter's slightly ruffled hair and clothes. It didn't take a genius to know that something had shifted between her daughter and the man she already consider as a son. "You better button up your shirt the rest of the way before you and Fox come downstairs to say goodbye to the family".

Scully looked down in horror, he face turning crimson as though she was a teenager being caught red handed by her parents. 'Crap'.

She looked back up at her mother as she hastily did up the last few buttons, a deer caught in the headlight. Maggie looked on amused. 'Oh to be young again', she thought.

"You love him, don't you", Maggie asked, already knowing the answer.

Scully looked downwards, finding it hard for some reason to meet her mother's eye. "I do, mom", she replied. It was true, perhaps it always had been. Scully had thought she had been in love in the past, all of the relationships ending in ruins. Even though things were still in a new-born stage with Mulder it felt as though they had been together for a lot longer, maybe they always had been in love and the only people they were fooling were themselves and each other.

Maggie smiled, hearing every word that Scully hadn't said. "That's all I needed to know".

Silence fell for a moment, comfortably resting between the two women until the bathroom door opened with a slight crash revealing a much more put together Mulder. He pocketed his cell phone, coming to meet Scully and her mother. He could sense that they had had a fairly serious conversation if their matched demeanours were anything to go by.

"I'm so sorry Mrs Scully. I have to go now", he told the older woman sombrely. He didn't want her to think that he was leaving just because he felt like it but wasn't sure if he wanted to go over the while scenario once again.

Maggie sighed, patting him lightly on the shoulder as a sign of her understanding. "That's quite alright, Fox. Dana explained about your mother. I'm so sorry to hear that she's unwell". She glanced between them noting how they automatically drifted to be nearer to one another, something Maggie had noticed was a habit of theirs ever since Dana had first introduced her to Fox.

Mulder sighed tiredly. "Thanks, Mrs Scully". He smiled feebly looking between the two women, the concern evident in both of them. His gazed lingered on Scully, wondering what the hell he had done right in life to end up with her by his side. A great tide of love rose up within him, all for her. Everything he had felt in the past paled in comparison.

"I'll call you later, Mom", Scully said as she hugged her mother quickly.

Mrs Scully smiled, hugging her daughter back before turning to Mulder who she embraced as well. Mulder didn't respond right away, slightly confused by the older woman's display of affection but quickly hugged Maggie back. He found it slightly strange that Scully's family were so affection towards one another, quite the opposite of his own family relationship let alone so affection with him.

"You two look after each other now", she told them with a single stern but good-natured look.

Scully rolled her eyes. "we always do, Mom".

Mulder smirked, despite his worry about his own mother he couldn't help pick up on an unintended double meaning to that. Scully glared, elbowing him lightly in the ribs as the followed Mrs Scully downstairs.

XXXXXXXXXXXX

After hastily bidding goodbye to the rest of the Scully clan. Mulder and Scully made their way outside into the busy neighbourhoods alive with the laughter of children and adults alike, the smell of fresh fourth of July barbecued food. Each house was buzzing with life, the sun shinning down on to the patios where the residents of the estate were busy enjoy beer and good old fashioned freedom.

The walked quietly, hands brushing, knees and shoulders touching as the made their way towards Scully's car. Mulder stopped in his tracks, taking her hand. He didn't want to pull her away from the holiday with her family just because he had to fly to somewhere several hours away to talk to some doctor about his mother's welfare.

"Scully", he said, "Are you sure that you want to come with me?". He watched her expression as they defended the steps outside the house, heading towards the familiar vehicle at the opposite side of the street. Scully was quite for a moment, regarding him. Of course she would be there for him no matter what as she was certain he would be for her if their situations were reversed. Scully didn't want to think about that, she had just lost her father and couldn't imagine what would happen if she lost her mother. 'The family would probably fall apart', she mused.

Scully gave him a determined smile. "I'm in this with you, no matter what". It was true and there was no other way of going about saying it, whether they were friends or whatever the hell they were to each other now she was standing by him, there was no other option and she wouldn't want it any other way.

He watched her silently, eyes wide as a result of her determination to be there for him. "Why, Scully?", Mulder asked. He knew that he would do anything for her but wasn't entirely convinced that he deserved the same. Hell, he was certain up to a few moments ago that she loved him as nothing more than a friend. Either way though, he knew that he never loved her more.

"Because I know that you would do the same for me", Scully told him simply. They simultaneously tore there eyes from the street ahead of them, facing each other with the same raw emotion that they had expressed in the bathroom. The answer she gave him was simple, uncomplicated. Life and love was a complicated and twisted thing for most but the loyalty and devotion they have for one another was a different story all together. Most couples spend years trying to build a relationship on trust, loyalty and devotion. They have not even spoke about whatever it is that has shifted between them in the last half hour but those values were unquestionable, a way of the world. Scully knew Mulder's answer long before the words left his lips.

"In a heartbeat", he mumbled softly. His eyes alight with emotion so pronounced that it made Scully's heart break and soar all at the same time. For the first time in two years he bent down and she reached up, both knowing all they truly needed was each other. Their lips came together once again, far more gently than the passionate exchange that had occurred in the bathroom as a result of two years of pent up sexual frustration. This was pure and undeniable love. Lips merged together with the taste of salty tears and exhaustion being shared between the pair , pointing each other in the right direction like a compass directs a lost souls to refuge. They were each other's true north, each other's refuge. Lips, souls, minds, hearts and soon bodies merged by water, salt and two years of friendship and loyalty.

...

And when I'm lost you are my true north.

Carry the weight of my southern cross

And though it burns you don't feel the hurt

You born from the dust, you were raised in the dirt.

~ Ron Pope, Southern Cross.

XXXXXXXXXXXX

Several hours later they found themselves on the highway, heading in the direction of Connecticut. The sky was a pale pink, the sun setting into the distance. The radio playing softly in the front of the car, the music radiating in the small space. The street lamps of passing towns and cities, flickered like Roman candles, celestial like electronic stars, unquenchable.

XXXXXXXXXXXX

So show me family,

All the blood that I will bleed

I don't know where I went wrong

I don't know where I belong,

But I can write a song.

~The Luimneers, Ho Hey.

...

Greenwich General Hospital

Connecticut

11.10pm

...

Night had fallen by the time they ended up walking down the corridors of Greenwich General Hospital. The halls were narrow and winding, little by florescent lights overhead, giving the white tiled floors a blueish tinge. They had been told where Teena was when they arrived through the main entrance. The receptionist who had eventually looked up at them from her computer after several minutes of ignoring the pair.

Mulder sighed tiredly as he and Scully fell into matching strides (well as much as they could due to their height difference) as they made their way to Teena's private hospital room, a result of the elusive Mulder family result, an accumulation of the money between Teena's own wealthy family as well as the equally privileged family that her ex-husband had come from.

"You should have let me drive for a while", Scully remarked, concerned. Mulder's eyes were had slightly bags underneath them and they sparkle was missing from his hazel orbs. He had insisted that he drive for the while six hours they had spent on the road. Both of them being equally as stubborn as each other it had ended in a slight argument where Scully had relented when he had told her he just wanted to keep his mind off of everything that was happening.

Mulder smiled half heartedly. "Scully, it's bad enough that I was selfish enough to bring you here with me without having you drive me across the country". He shook his head at the idea, regarding Scully's expression of worry when he glanced sideways at her.

Scully sighed deeply. She hated to see him like this, a man should was usually so strong willed and passionate. She reached across the small distance between their arms that were already brushing against one another, taking his hand. Their cold fingers entwined and a silent glanced passed between them, a conversation of sorts. A promise not to let go.

They journeyed through the rest of the hospital in silence, stopping only as they reached the room that had been indicated to them by the receptionist at the front desk. Mulder sighed, looking in through the window into the room inside. The pale blue curtains were pulled back revealing the patient in question.

Teena Mulder was sitting up straight in the bed just as dignified as Mulder remembered from when he saw her last year. She had been stronger looking then, seeming more like the woman who had raised him. The difference now was that she had gotten a lot thinner, far more gaunt. It was obvious the woman was unwell, her body resembling a fleshy bag of failing organs and bending bones, unrecognisable.

Mulder blinked in disbelief, turning to face a sympathetic looking Scully. She squeezed his hand, their fingers still entwined.

He tore his eyes from his mother, briefly noticing the man who sat outside her hospital ward. He was relatively tall, grey haired and had a face lined from a life time of smoking. He looked oddly familiar. Mulder tore his eyes away from him, the man's cold grey eyes that radiated power lost making him feel a mixture of anger and unease. He ignored it, tossing his uncomfortable thoughts aside, excusing them as his own concern for his mother making thing seems unclear.

"Mulder, are you alright", Scully asked shaking their joined hands, her expression full of worry.

He shrugged slightly. "I'm fine", Mulder answered giving her a pale attempt at a reassuring smile even though he knew her well enough to know that she wouldn't be easily convinced.

"You can tell me anything, you know that, right?", Scully offered. She watched him unblinkingly, trying to decipher his mood. She needed him to know that whatever would happen in both the near and the far future that as long as she was his friend she would be there for him.

Mulder gave her a genuine smile, a though he had read her mind. "Thanks, Scully", he said, squeezing her fingers. He hoped she knew that he would tell her if there was something wrong. Ever since they had met she had become his number one confidant and he hoped that she felt the same way about him.

"You must be Fox Mulder", a voice said dragging the pair of them out of their own thoughts. They turned to face the doctor who had brought them here. She was tall with long light brown hair, the typical white coat and scrubs and a face prone to scowling. She reached out her hand to shake both of theirs.

"I'm Doctor Shanahan. I spoke with you on the phone earlier on", she added to Mulder before continuing in a serious tone of voice."We have stabilised your mother but unfortunately some other complications have come to light since she came into us".

Scully looked at her carefully, eyeing the medical charts in front of her. "What sort of complications?", she asked.

"It seems Teena Mulder is dying from a rare terminal disease called Padgett's Carcinoma. Teena has apparently been aware of this for several months as she told us on arrival and we thought it best to inform you and your husband of this". She turned from Scully and added to Mulder. "Since you are her next of kin on her medical records". Neither of them corrected her on their relationship status, it was too damn complicated and Scully doubted that she would be allowed to stay in the hospital with Mulder without being mistaken for Teena's daughter in law.

Mulder nodded to what the doctor had said for he had expected as much. He knew that he and his mother weren't exactly close, the was a known fact. If there was anything wrong with him his mother would not be the first one he would call so he didn't expect much more from her. It was sad but true.

"How long has she left", he asked numbly. Scully glanced at him slightly shocked that he had asked for the truth so bluntly but suspected it was due to his complicated relationship with his mother.

The doctor regarded the two of them sadly. "About five months give or take. I'm very sorry for your loss". At this she turned on her heel and was gone in a handful of strides.

Mulder sat down on the chair outside the window, the smoking man now long gone. Scully took the seat next to him, not entirely sure what to say. She took his hand once again while he stared forward blankly.

"I haven't gone to see her in a year,Scully", he said finally. "I haven't gone to see her in a year and she was dying". Mulder cursed himself internally, knowing her should have made a bit more of a effort with his relationship with Teena. She was his mother after all.

Scully released his hand, wrapping her arms around him. As if by sheer will she could hold him together. He felt her small frame wrapped around his, grounding him. His constant, his touchstone, always.

"Everyone's relationship with their parents is different. You can't blame yourself", she told him firmly.

He shook his head. "It's not like that", he paused for a moment, his eyes pleading with her to understand. "Do you want to know why I decided to go to college in England?", he started quietly.

Scully nodded limply, still not releasing her hold on him. He needed to feel her presence right now. He needed her support. Mulder may not say it in words but Scully can read his mind as if it is her own. They are two parts of the same engine. She may not know Teena Mulder or the sky above her but she loves her son, unconditionally. Mulder is like an integral part of herself that she just so happened room carry outside of her body and for that reason alone is she worried for Teena. Mulder is worried so she is too.

Mulder tasted the words in his mouth before spitting them out. "I left home when I was eighteen because I couldn't stand either of them anymore. The day Samantha's remains were returned to us our family changed forever. We all missed her so much and at the time I thought a part of them wished that I was the one who was killed. Hell, I even wished that for a while", Mulder laughed humourlessly before continuing. "We hardly spoke and we totally drifted apart until we hardly knew each other at all. My parents, they argued constantly up until the day that they divorced and Mom moved away from Martha's Vineyard to Connecticut. To be honest, looking back on it I don't think that they loved each other at any point".

Scully watched him, heartbroken that he had to go through such a thing when he was younger. She knew that there wasn't much that she could say to make things in anyway better right now. She stood up solemnly and reached out her hand to pull him to his feet.

"I will come with you when you're going in there if you need the moral support", Scully offered as he took her hand, coming to his feet.

Mulder regarded her for a moment, noting how her large blue eyes were filled with worry. He hated that he was the one who put it there. He wanted to tell her he loved her with his whole heart and soul, that he always would but decided that it wasn't the right time. Knowing Scully she would probably think that his words were a result of his own distress and state of mind if he said them right now. Mulder wanted her to know without a doubt what she means to him, even though he knows that she knows he wants to put it into words. Just not now. Instead a different sentence tumbles from him.

"Are you sure that you want to?", he said as he stood up beside her.

"I'm certain", she replied, releasing him from her embrace. Mulder nodded numbly, placing a peck on her temple before Scully responded by reaching up and kissing his forehead.

They shared a weak smile as together they headed for the glass door to talk to Teena.

...

One step closer, closer to the light.

No matter where we're going,

I'll be by your side. And everything we used to know,

Crashes into the great unknown. One step closer

We're gonna be alright.

~ Eric Arjes, Find My Way Back To You

...

"Mom, this is Dana Scully", Mulder said, nodding between Scully and his mother. Teena took Scully's outstretched hand, shaking it in greeting. "And Scully, this is my Mom", he finished, observing both women reactions the on another.

"It's nice to meet you, Mrs Mulder", Scully said, standing at the receiving end of Teena Mulder's x-ray-like gaze.

Teena nodded distractedly, having wanted to talk to her son alone in light of recent events.

They chatted aimlessly for several minutes about Mulder and Scully's time off work, teaching in general and Teena's country club friends who Mulder barely remembered.

Teena asked Scully a handful of questions about herself, her career and her family, never saying anything to any of Scully's answers. Mulder wasn't entirely sure if Teena was trying to be polite and was just ending up sounding noisy or if she was just playing games with them. With his mother he could never tell, psychologist or not.

Scully who was usually a very good judge of character wasn't quite sure what to make of Teena Mulder, a woman from what she knew didn't seem like a very good mother since Mulder had told her as much outside in the corridor.

The way Scully saw it, No mother should condemn her own son over a family tragedy. Scully couldn't imagine her life if she didn't have as close a relationship with her mother as she did. Maggie Scully had always been a great source of support for her daughter.

On the other hand this was the woman who had raised Mulder and helped make him the person he is through the things he experienced. He became himself and that was the person that Scully loves.

Teena observed Scully carefully, trying to come to a conclusion on the woman who was joined at the hip with her son. They seemed to be similar in some respects and direct opposite in others. They were both intelligent, stubborn, headstrong and due to the fact that Mulder had come to Connecticut after everything that happened in the past and Scully had come with him, Teena could tell that they were both loyal.

She noticed how their eyes softened when they unknowingly gazed at one another and how they were never really more than centimetres apart from one another. 'Love', she mused. 'Little more than a weakness'.

She was becoming impatient with what was going on and needed to speak with Fox immediately whether she sounded rude or not.

"Would you mind if I talked to my son alone", Teena asked addressing Scully.

Mulder eyed his mother. "Surely that won't be necessary, Mom", he said.

Scully laid her hand on Mulder's shoulder, settling him. "It's alright, Mulder. Your mother probably has a lot to talk with you about", she assured him with a half smile. "You'll know where I'll be", she stated, motioning to the chairs outside.

Mulder squeezed her hand lightly. "Thanks you".

Scully smiled slightly, standing up and briefly nodding to Teena. "I should probably call my Mom anyway to let her know we got here safely" and with that she was gone. Mulder watched her leave.

After a split second too long than appropriate, Mulder looked back at his mother, not a clue what to say. Teena didn't speak up immediately as he thought she would, to tell him what she had asked Scully to leave for, what she had to discuss with him that was so urgent and confidential that the woman Teena knew was her son's best friend could not be privy to.

After a few awkward minutes of silence there seemed to be only one more thing left to address, the elephant in the room, given away by Teena's fragile state, a bunch of medical charts and a heart monitor. After all pretty much everything else had been covered while Scully was with them.

"You don't have long left, do you, Mom?", Mulder asked quietly, not exactly ready to hear the answer. It was one thing hearing the truth from some doctor but to hear it from the woman herself was a different story all together.

"That's what they tell me, Fox", she answered indifferently. She looked away from him and out the door, noticing that Scully is still waiting outside. She hadn't been sure what the red headed woman would do after recalling leaving the ward. Teena was kind of surprised that her son had gotten his head out of the sand long enough to find someone in the first place, let alone fall in love as was evident by looking at the pair of them.

"She came with you,huh?", Teena asked. She was glad that her son had someone due to the fact the entire family was always distant to the point of almost being cold to one another. Mulder nodded. "She did".

Teena smiled slightly settling in to the bed and regarding her son's blank expression with a critical eye. "I'm sorry, Fox.", she offered finally, taking her son's hand. She could finally see now what she had been blind to for the last twenty one years. She regretted losing sight of her relationship with Fox after Samantha had died even though it was painful. Fox reminded her so much of her daughter who had been robbed of her right to grow up. They had the same eyes, the same nose and the same colour hair.

Mulder shrugged nonchalantly. "It's okay, Mom". She didn't need to elaborate when she apologised, he knew what she meant and regretted the same things.

Teena shook her head. It most certainly wasn't okay. "No it's not, Fox and you know that". She sighed deeply, swallowing her pride and her emotions. Vexed that it had taken the shock of being diagnosed with a terminal disease to see the truth. "Despite what happened between Bill Mulder and I. Our family shouldn't have entirely crumbled apart".

Mulder nodded sombrely. He had suspected the same thing going many many time over the last ten years or so. They would have healed better had they stuck know together rather than trying to deal with their grief alone. "I know. We shouldn't have but we did".

Teena nodded sadly. There was so much more she had to explain to him, to tell him. Things she should have told him years ago but didn't because of her own foolish pride. His parentage was one of those things. Now that she was dying, Teena could see that her son deserved the truth.

"Bill Mulder isn't your father", she said finally after several moments of silence where they were million get the thoughts around in their minds.

Mulder stared at her blankly, the only sound audible was the soft beeping of Teena's heart monitor beside the edge and the chatter of patients and doctors alike outside. He could hear Scully outside the door on the phone to her mother, letting her know that they had arrived safely. His eyes didn't leave his mother. He felt anger rise up in him like a hot red bubble. A monster coming alive deep in the pit of his chest. He couldn't believe that he had spent the last thirty three years being lied to.

"He's not", Mulder asked quietly. He may not have been very close with either of his parents but if he was being honest he did visit Bill a lot more tan he did Teena. They had similar interests, they always did and had mended their relationship about ten years after Samantha was killed. Does Bill know?. Has he always known?

Teena nodded quietly, taking in her son's expression before continuing. "No, Fox", she replied firmly.

Mulder frowned, trying to keep his anger, shock and sense of betrayal at bay. "If Dad isn't, who is?", he asked, his voice barely kept even.

She sighed deeply the memory coming to mind. She didn't regret her affair with Spender, it had resulted in Fox after all. She would never regret having her son no matter how difficult their relationship haddock been. "I was young, newlywed and foolish, Fox. My marriage to Bill had been more of a union of convenience than anything else. Our families were similar. They were both wealthy with quite a bit of political influence. We never actually loved each other".

Mulder gulped slightly. He had always expected as much ever since his late teens. He had come to realise that what his parents had wasn't what he wanted later in life. Even though he had accepted all of that quite a long time ago, he had never suspected his parents had cheated on one another.

"So you cheated on Dad", he asked bluntly.

Teena's eyes narrowed as her own anger begin to come out of its shell. She berated herself for expecting a different reaction from her son. He had always been strong willed and stubborn even as a child and more so as a teenager. "We're not all lucky enough to run into the right person in our life. I was unsettled after I married your father and Spender was there".

"And was it love with this Spender guy then", Mulder spitted out, the shock of Bill not being his father now wearing off. He wasn't interested in Spender, whoever the hell he is. Mulder may not have much of a connection to either of his parents but Bill Mulder did raise him and would always be the man he considers as his father no matter who sired him.

Teena shook her head, tutting loudly at her son's short sightedness. "Of course not. It was a youthful act of defiance, nothing more". She stopped suddenly, pondering whether she should continue and tell him more about his biological father. "He came here today", she admitted.

Mulder thought back to the grey haired smoking man he had noticed on arrival at the hospital, remembered how something about the man seemed unsettling. It was because certain elements of the man's face resembled his own. Mulder shoved these thoughts aside, deciding that he wanted nothing to do with the man.

"Does he know too?", Mulder asked finally, standing up. He wasn't able to stand here listening to his mother any longer. He couldn't take this any longer. He hated that so much had been kept from him for so long. He hated that she was the one who had done it. Teena shook her head, her eyes still flashing with anger.

Mulder stood up and started towards the door. "I can't believe that you did that to Dad and you lied to me about it for years. Why didn't you tell me?".

Teena scowled, nothing soft or motherly about her expression any longer. "Don't you dare judge me, Fox", she exclaimed, vehemently.

Mulder opened the door calmly and set his shoulders straight, meeting Scully's eye for where she sat outside. Scully looked over questioningly. He shrugged and turned once again to face Teena.

"I need to go, Mom", he said finally. Glancing at his mother, the anger still pumping in his ears. He hated being lied to.

Teena glared over at him, her eyes flashing dangerously. "Don't bother coming back until my funeral then, Fox".

He didn't hear her parting words. Mulder had already shut the door behind him, leaving his mother's sentence hanging in the air like dust.

...

I've been trying to do it right

I've been living a lonely life

I've been sleeping here instead

I've been sleeping in my bed.

~The Luimneers, Ho Hey.

...

" I know you're not okay, Mulder. Stop telling me that you are", Scully said eyeing Mulder irritably as the entered the hotel they had booked reservations before heading for the hospital. Mulder shook his head, his ears still pounding.

"I'm fine, Scully. Trust me", he replied, heading for the bar at the far end of the lobby. He was a good bit ahead of her and Scully had to hurry to keep up. She reached out, pulling him backwards by the arm.

"Mulder, I know you. I know when something isn't right. You practically stormed out of your mother's room, what happened?".

Mulder sighed deeply and continued walking. "She told me a truth that I never wanted to know". He made a beeline for the bar, sitting down on one of the stools, motioning to the bartender for two drinks. Scully sat down next to him, ordering a beer.

They were silent for a moment each processing their own thoughts, ignoring the drinks put in front of them for now. Scully reached over and took Mulder's hand. "You can confide in me, Mulder", she told him reassuringly. "I hate seeing you like this".

Mulder took a deep breath, knocking back his drink, giving her an appreciating smile. As far as he was concerned, Scully is the one person he can trust, the one person he truly considers as his family. "My father apparently isn't my father. The old guy who was outside when we arrived is", he started. "My mother has been letting me live a lie for the last thirty years. She's kept this from me when she could have told me a hundred god-damned times".

Scully watched him quietly, her shock not remaining too long as his rant started in full swing. She knew he needed to get it out, it would poison him from the inside out if he didn't. Scully couldn't believe that Teena had kept such a thing from Mulder for so long, no mother should do that.

"And then she turns around and tells me that she's sorry that our family drifted so far apart. How could she expect anything else when we keep secrets like that from one another. Some family, huh?", his breath had evened at this point and he seemed to be returning to his senses.

"It's not about her though, Is it Mulder?", Scully asked gently. "This is about your Dad. You're worried that your whole relationship with him has been built on a lie because he's not biologically your father".

Mulder nodded numbly with a half smiles. "Sometimes I wonder which one of us is really the psychologist", even after two years together he was still surprised by how well Scully truly understood him. The amount of people like that in his life could be counted on one finger. Just her.

Scully smiled slightly. "Family isn't always blood, Mulder. It's the people who want you in their lives, accept you for who you are and love you no matter what", she watched him for a moment, realising he picked up on her message by the sudden brightness in his eyes. "The fact the Bill isn't your biological father shouldn't change a thing".

Mulder grinned softly, wrapping his arms around her smaller frame in a tight hug. A great tide of affection didn't even begin to describe what he was feeling right now. An immense tsunami of love seemed to fit the bill a lot better in his mind. The words tumbled out so naturally and feel between them landing somewhere between their lips and touching knees.

"I love you, Scully", he said gently, the words dripping into her left ear like warm honey, pooling in the put of her stomach. He grinned widely, pulling back after placing a lingering kiss on her earlobe.

Scully observed his expression carefully, not wanting to respond with the truth that they both knew if she wasn't entirely that he truly meant what he was saying. After all they were having quite a pressing day, all things considered. After his mother had been diagnosed with a terminal illness before dropping quite a huge bombshell on him, Scully couldn't blame Mulder for seeking a little extra comfort. She didn't think that was the case though, his hazel eyes seemed to be a kaleidoscope of colours. They didn't lie but Scully by nature never believed anything without concrete evidence.

"Are you sure that you mean that, Mulder?".

Mulder smiled brightly. She wouldn't be his Scully if she didn't ask for more information. He knew that she was worried about him, worried that he had just said he loves her as a result of the pain and betrayal he was feeling. Mulder knew he had to prove her otherwise.

"I love you so damn much, Scully. You're my best friend and my partner in crime in every sense of the word. I love everything about you. I love your frustrating need for things to be rationalised, your fierceness, your stubbornness, your strength. I know that you can look after yourself but I still feel the need to protect you even though I know that you're just as capable and probably more so than I am", Mulder hummed slightly at this thought before continuing.

" I know you only believe things when they are out rightly explained by science or math but what I feel for you is unexplainable. I love you, Dana Scully. You're the only family that I need. You're my constant, My touchstone. You are the only one I trust".

Scully watched him pour his heart out through tear rimmed eyes. She couldn't take her eyes off of him. He was captivating, his words soothing and boiling all at he same time. She had been waiting far longer than she would admit to hear those three little words from him and was surprised that for some reason hearing those words from the man she knew and loved beyond reason somehow didn't make the world turn 180 degrees in the opposite direction. It felt more like something inevitable, blazing, burning and unquenchable. It felt as warm and soothing as plunging into a war bath. It felt like fate even though she had never believed in such things before she couldn't shake the feel that their coming together was meant to be.

Mulder smiled slightly. "It's okay if you don't feel the same way, Scully. I just needed you to know", he stated simply, placing a single kiss on her forehead.

That was enough to pull Scully from her thoughts. She answered a lot sharper then she meant to. "Don't be ridiculous, Mulder. Of course I love you".

Mulder grinned down at her goofily. His heart soaring. She loves him!

"You do?", he asked, masking his uncertainty with a teasing tone.

Scully rolled her eyes, seeing right through him. "Yes, Mulder. If soul mates are real, you're mine." was her reply. She wasn't sure what else there was to say, actions always speak louder than words after all.

Mulder smiled, his eyes shining in disbelief. 'I am one lucky bastard', he mused, bending down and nuzzling his nose with her's, testing the waters. Boiling, he could almost feel the steam and wasn't sure which one of them it came from, it didn't really matter. It was theirs

Scully stood up on tip toes, pulling him down to her size, the passion between them not having to come to a crescendo like it had in the bathroom earlier on, the ardent love and lust they shared had been simmering all day.

It was a fraction of a second before Scully felt Mulder's soft, pliable lips against her mouth. It felt almost better than it had in the bathroom if that was humanly possible. It felt so much better because they both knew without a shadow of doubt how deep their feelings ran for one another. An unexplained part of themselves, waiting to be discovered. This was the kiss that ignited the fire that burned between them, bonding them eternally in the heat of need. She tangled her hands further into his hair, knowing that it wouldn't be long before they had to take their activities somewhere more private. She could hear him groan as she dragged her lips across his, nipping lightly on his bottom lip. The sound was electric, a pulse of energy that resounded throughout her body. It was no secret that they were both ready to try and discover each other, expose the truths that they had long anticipated and yearned for for so long.

Mulder smiled into her mouth, revelling in the feeling of their tongues battling for dominance as their lips glided around each other in a dance so intricate that no one else would ever understand. He could hear her moaning softly and realised that there was few things that made him feel so lightheaded and anchored at the same time. There was no need to be afraid of what they feel for one another. There was no need to fear the prospect of a more physical and emotional relationship ruining the friendship that they already have. With their lips colliding in some random hotel bar in Connecticut that this finally became apparent, as much a fact as the world is round. She was his and he was hers, anything else is unthinkable.

They pulled back several moments later, panting due to the lack of oxygen, the unfortunate basic human need. Scully looked up, drinking in the sight of Mulder's eyes that had darkened considerably with lust. Mulder reached out, touching her face. He was amazed with how flushed she had become, the male ego in him proud that had such an effect on her.

"I think we should go upstairs", Scully offered with a grin, she felt drunk and she only wanted more of him. She wondered how quickly she could get him upstairs without seeming overly enthusiastic. A few days ago she would have scolded herself for thinking about Mulder in this way. Have scolded herself for letting her mind wander off on it's own accord. Now these thoughts seemed perfectly topical with gaze lingering on her as it was.

Mulder gave her his signature lopsided smile. His eyes flashing. Mulder wondered how quickly he could unbuttoned her shirt this time, if he could beat the record he had set this afternoon in the bathroom. Mulder wondered if she would prefer they took their time or if they should let rip, letting two years worth of pent up sexual energy and the memory of lonely night where all they could think about was the one person who was off limits, their best friend. Mulder set these thoughts aside, they'd soon find out for themselves. They'd find out together.

"Let's get it on, Honey".

...

Love we need it now. Let's hope for some.

Cos, oh, we're bleeding out.

I belong with you, You belong with me.

You're my sweetheart

~ The Luimneers, Ho Hey

...

It was as easy as falling asleep, as natural as breathing. Few things felt this right in life and one of them was their inevitable union. They knew each other so completely that this felt like just another step along that path, the path they would always have gone down no matter the reality.

They giggled slightly glancing at each other, their limbs like jello and their bodies coated in sweat, sticking them to each other like Velcro and to the bed sheets lying around them in a tossed lump. Their entirely naked bodies were tangled together, inseparable until they didn't even know themselves where he ended and she began or vice versa. After spending so long together there was no need to be anyone but themselves, all inhibitions released. It was hard to imagine that they had ever be lived themselves to be in love with anyone else before tissue moment. All other emotions and experiences paled in comparison.

Scully laid her head on his chest, admiring his firm, muscular body. She allowed her free hand to roam his body in patterns no one else would understand. She marvelled at how someone's body could be so soft and so hard at the same time. Scully listened to his heartbeat as it thudded loudly in his chest, to same beat as her's. Mulder smiled softly, placing a kiss on her sweaty forehead as he brushed her flaming hair out of her eyes. Scully chuckled lightly, tracing patterns on his chest, the memory of him coming apart above her fresh in mind. "We did well, huh", it wasn't a question. It was a statement.

He grinned mischievously. "We sure did, partner", he agreed anyway. His hand roaming from being wrapped around her waist to roaming her back, gradually getting lower and lower until he reached her backside. His touch was feather-light and ticklish. Scully squealed slightly, swatting Mulder on the chest, rolling a few centimetres away from him, just far enough to escape his grasp.

"You hit me", he exclaimed playfully, feigning seriousness.

Scully chuckled lightly. "I don't like being tickled", she said in her own defence.

Mulder continued to grumble teasingly. "Here we are basking in the afterglow of our hot getting-together sex and you're already getting abusive", his jaw was squared even though she could see that he was struggling to suppress a smile. His eyes twinkled in merriment. "Not cool, Scully", he comment, the smile breaking through.

She rolled her eyes. "You're so dramatic, Scully stated stubbornly, lying back down next to him, her head returning to his chest, her arms crossed, feigning seriousness.

Mulder grinned down at her deviously, turning on his back. In an instant he was hovering above Scully, pressing her into the mattress. He ran his fingers up and down her sides, tickling all the exposed flesh he could reach.

"Mulder", Scully half moaned, half panted between laughter as she struggled against his playful touch. He wasn't giving up that easy.

Mulder's smile almost split his face as he watched her recovery, chuckling loudly. Scully eyed him half disapproving and half amused like she always had when he said or did something that made one of their classes get out of hand.

"You're ticklish", he exclaimed gleefully. His eyes alight with an almost childlike excitement, far different from the man who had smiled sinfully up at her from between her legs not twenty minutes before.

"That isn't funny, Mulder", she said seriously, pushing him back on to the mattress and straddling his waist to repay him for his childish actions.

Mulder grinned, his hands stroking her bare sides. "Believe me, Scully. Tickle torture is a deadly serious thing", he sat up in the bed, merging their lips together. Scully chuckled, pushing him back on to the mattress.

"I love you, Mulder".

"I love you too, honey".

After that they were focused on each other. The only words exchanged were those of love and pleasure over sweaty limbs, love bitten skin and swollen lips. They were as they were supposed to be, together and unbreakable.

There was very few places Mulder truly felt as ease and this he realised, glanced up at her now that his vision was finally returning to normal after they had together reached an orgasm, this one was without a doubt his favourite and it was all because of her, his best friend.

Lying next to her in bed, their previous activities vivid in mind not to mention his newfound knowledge on Scully being ticklish. Mulder felt like he almost believed in God. Some unexplained force might just about start to explain all of the incredible pleasures they had experienced together in the last hour or more, he wasn't quite sure. Time seemed to stop when they were together in that way.

"Do you believe in fate", Scully asked, rolling off of him.

Mulder wrapped his arms around her once again. "You do realise that you're asking a man who believes in aliens, vampires, werewolves, ghosts and international government conspiracies", he asked jokingly.

Scully threw him her signature 'I'm being serious, can you please be too' looks. "I know who I'm asking, Mulder", she stated, settling against him.

Mulder sighed, pondering it for a moment as he ran his fingers across her hair and down her back, counting the vertebrae. "How many lives would we be leading if we made different choices, we don't know".

They were silent for a moment, listening to each other breath. Scully considered what he said. She thought about how many different lives she could have lead if she had gone to a different college, not become a teacher or stayed longer with any of her previous lovers. Would she have even met Mulder? She doubted it "What if there was only one choice and the rest of them were wrong and there was signs along the way to pay attention to".

Mulder hummed quietly. It was a beautiful idea really, that everything that had happened in their lives led them to each other. "And then all of the choices would lead to this moment and any alternative and we wouldn't be lying here together, that says a lot, that says a lot a lot. Probably more than we should be getting into at this late hour".

He looked down to find Scully sleeping soundly, tucked into his side. Mulder smiled softly, not sure whether the fact that she fell asleep should insult him because she found his theory on fate or if it should make his male ego swell with pride because he had managed to tucker out the fierce Dana Scully. Mulder decided on the latter rather than the former as he proferred idea.

He reached over to the end of the bed, picking up the duvet that had tumbled away on to the floor in a moment of passion. He pulled it over Scully's sleeping form and his own body before relaxing into the pillows. Mulder sighed happily, tucking away a strand of scarlet hair that fallen into her eyes earlier on. "Night, Scully", he mumbled softly so as not to wake her up. Mulder placed a single kiss on her temple before closing his own eyes. Despite his insomnia, sleep came easy that night.

...

I belong with you, You belong with me,

You're my sweetheart.

I belong with you, You belong with me,

You're my sweetheart.

Ho Hey!

~ The Luimneers, Ho Hey.

...

The sunrise spread in the metallic blinds of their hotel room, a pinkish glow settling on the carpet where their clothes had been unceremoniously scattered hours before in the heat of the moment. Outside the clouds were tinted with a soft shade of yellow, colours spreading across the wide open sky announcing the new day, oranges and reds painted across the cloud as if by a celestial hand.

Mulder's eyes flickered opened, taking in the sight of their messy hotel room, clothes, underwear and shoes were in a jumble on the floor. He watched her as she slept, her flaming red hair sticky against his bare chest. They were still covered in the blankets that he had placed over their naked bodies earlier.

Mulder smiled goofily, kissing her forehead. He tried not to shuffle too much under the blankets, not wanting to wake her up just yet.

Scully knew it was morning without opening her eyes. The fresh summer air coming in the window was more than a tell tale sign. Mulder hadn't moved yet but she could still tell he was awake, she could feel his eyes watching her sixth sense.

"I can feel you watching me, Mulder", she pointed out dryly, so to mask her amusement.

Mulder grinned, seeing right through her. "Like I caught you watching me through the glass window of my door the week before school ended", he mentioned teasingly.

She shut he eyes in embarrasment at the memory Everything had been fine and unnoticed by the kids until he waved at her from the top of the classroom, letting the whole year group of student in on what he had discovered their usually no nonsense science teacher up to. Scully groaned slightly at the memory.

She opened her eyes before turning on her side, finding his hazel eyes less than a foot from her own blue ones. His hair was a tangled mess of brown as a result of sleep and of her fingers. Scully threw her typical 'don't-you-dare-mess-with-me' looks, propping herself up with her elbows.

"Says the man who walks into my classroom for no reason when he has a free period other than to disrupt me and my class", she teased, nudging him in the ribs.

"You know you love it, Scully", he said with a laugh. Mulder rolled over on his until he was hovering over her once again. He smiled affectionately, running his fingertips down her sides.

Scully rolled her eyes, stroking his forearms, lovingly. "You're very sure of yourself". She couldn't help but smile as his eyes darkened when his gaze briefly wandered from her eyes downwards. Mulder's eyes which were usually hazel, seemed to turn a whole selection of colours with browny hues.

Mulder chuckled softly, bringing his eyes back to rest on her face. He had always thought her blue eyes crackled with electricity now he knows that it isn't just her eyes that crackle with powerful energy, Scully herself did this. He lay down gently, careful not to put too much weight on her, coming to rest between her legs.

"I love you, Honeybunch", he told her sincerely, stroking her upper thigh. Mulder's eyes were alight, teasingly but he knew that she knew that he meant every word despite the silly nickname.

Scully laughed, her head dropping on to his shoulder and her shoulders shaking with the ridiculousness that was the nickname he had just bestowed upon her. She let her hands wander down his warm back, feeling the strength of each muscle she came across until she reached his backside.

"I love you too, Poopyhead".

Mulder smiled peacefully. The memories of knowing looks that had been given to them by numerous different people who had seen him and Scully together. Everybody from mutual friends to Scully's family to their students to fellow teachers. It seems everyone had known the truth best regards he and Scully had truly accepted it.

"Do you think everyone knew before we did, Scully?", he asked with a chuckle.

Scully smiled think of her mother, Charlie, Melissa, Monica, John and all of the student that both of them taught. She wondered if many of their fellow staff members at Woodrow Wilson would win money in the office pool. "I think so. I sure as hell would be glad right now if I had money in the office pool".

Mulder looked at her half shocked and half amused. "That was a real thing! I thought The Gunmen were just pulling my leg". Frohike, Langly and Byers had mentioned something to him about an office pool that some of the more gossip loving teachers had started as to when "Mr and Mrs Spooky" would officially get together. Mulder had brushed it off at the time. "I wonder if Skin-man put a few bucks on us".

"Knowing how observant Skinner is. I would say so".

They grinned foolishly at each other for a few seconds before Mulder spoke up, smirking. "Hey, Scully. Since you know about this office pool thing. Did you put money on us?".

She chuckled, blushing slightly. Mulder had rarely seen her blush before, his stroked her cheek at the sight. "I might have put a few dollars on us as a joke".

Mulder looked at her ,astounded before laughing loudly, his chest vibrating against her's. He had entertained the idea of either of them putting money in such a pool ever since The Gunmen had brought it up." I hope you take me out to dinner with our winnings", he said teasingly.

Scully rolled her eyes, pushing him lightly but not hard enough to push him off of her. She liked the feeling of having him there. "Our winnings?", she questioned teasingly. "We're not even married yet and you're already calling my money ours". Scully nudged his hips with her, driving his body further on top of her.

"Is that a proposition, Scully", Mulder asked, wiggling his eyebrows in suggestion. He may have seemed amused and confident on the outside but inside his chest was swelling in hope at the idea of marrying Scully. He had never really entertained the idea of marriage much in the past but if he was going to spend the rest of his life with someone it would be her.

Scully smirked, poking him in the stomach. "If that's your idea of a proposal. I shouldn't be getting my hopes up for a nice meal with my best friend going down on one knee, should I". She felt a sense of hope and excitement sweeping up under her breastbone at the look on his face. God, she loved him. Scully could hardly understanding how she had gone so long without telling him that now.

Mulder smirked, his eyes wide, a hopeful expression on his face. "Should we call it a pre-posal then?". He said, chuckling softly at his own pun. Mulder leaned over, putting his weight on his left arm so he could stroke her face from cheekbone to throat with his index finger.

Scully smiled softly, running her thumbs across his full lips. "I could live with that", she said with a laugh before patting him lightly on thee back. "Can you get off me for a few minutes now. I think I need a shower".

Mulder rolled off of her but kept his arms around her waist. He grinned deviously as she tried to pull out of his embrace. "You smell great, Scully", he said, pulling her flush against him and burying his nose in her neck, leaving a trail of kisses from her earlobe to the top of her chest.

Scully moaned slightly, half in pleasure, half in frustration. "I smell like sex, Mulder", she told him finally, making another attempt to get out of bed. No such look, Mulder was still holding on tightly.

She squirmed against his arms, now scolding himself. "Mulder, It's twelve thirty. My mother called a high school friend of mine who lives here in Connecticut and told her that we might stop by. It's one thing to show up at an old friends house covered in hickeys but it's another to actually smell like you've been having sex all night. Mulder, these people have young children, one of which I'm actually a godmother to".

Mulder chuckled, feigning shock. "Who's the lucky guy that you spent all night having sex with?". He asked continuing to kiss and suck on the skin on her neck. "Should I be jealous?", Mulder asked his voice deep. He winked at her before placing a heated kiss on her lips. "Is he a fine specimen of a man going by your scientific opinion?", he asked, his voice deep with suggestion.

Scully rolled her eyes. 'God, it would talk a large truck and a herd of elephants to damage this man's ego', she thought to herself.

"I was actually going to invite this fine specimen of a man to join me in for a shower but considering he won't let me get out of bed...", Scully trailed off, the beginning of her sentence dripping with sarcasm.

Mulder immediately released her, with one final chaste peck on the lips. "I'll get the towels", he said getting out of bed and moving in the direction of the bathroom that was adjoining the bedroom. Scully dropped her head back on to the pillows and with one final eye roll, followed him into the bathroom to where the shower was already warming up.

...

Cause even underneath the waves I'll be holding on to you

And even if you slip away. I'll be there to fall into the dark, to chase your heart

No distance could ever tear us apart, no.

There's nothing that I wouldn't do,

I'll find my way back to you

~ Eric Arjes, Find My Way Back To You.

...

Nearly half an hour later Mulder and Scully emerged from the bathroom in hotel bathrobes, dripping wet but grinning from ear from the shower, totally at peace and sated for now. The hotel seemed quiet, most of the people staying either having checked out or gone sight seeing for the day. Scully kissed Mulder soundly on the lips after he helped her out of the robe, letting it drop on to the carpet.

Mulder grinned, foolishly. "I think we get better every time we get it on, Honey", he said, dropping a kiss on her neck as he rid himself of his own robe, pulling on a pair a clean underwear.

Scully smiled despite herself, clasping the hitch on her bra behind her back. "We always knew that we made a great team".

She watched him lovingly out of the corner of her eyes as he finished getting dressed, buttoning up his usual white shirt. He wasn't kidding when he said he was a fine specimen of a man. She just wouldn't tell him that right now, she didn't think his ego would be able to take it.

Scully watched his perfect chest disappear beneath a series of buttons and looked back up to his face. His expression was relaxed. She loved all these things about him and more. Hell, she even loves fighting with him. She loves the debates they have where they challenge every belief of the others. She marvels at how their relationship has grown, how they earned each others acceptance, trust and love before settling into a relationship that was more emotional and physical than the friendship built on understanding, trust and dependence that they had before. She should never have worried about losing their friendship, from what she could see now this new side of their relationship only made their bond stronger than before.

Mulder smiled at her from where he stood at the opposite side of the bed. He knew she was watching him and looked up himself to watch her dress when he was sure that she had looked away from him. He had always found her beautiful ever since the day they first met when she walked into his classroom, introduced herself as his new colleague and challenged his every belief. He found her beautiful then. Now he finds her stunning, she makes him breathless. He loves everything about her. He loves even the things about her that annoy him.

That was when his phone decided to start beeping loudly, his ring-tone once again filling the air. 'Jeeze', he thought. 'This phone has an amazing sense of timing'. He picked up the phone, recognising the caller ID as Greenwich General Hospital's phone number from when they called him the day before. Scully looked up from the buttons of her blouse. "Is everything okay, Mulder?", she asked.

Mulder shrugged. "It's the hospital". He hit the answer button and brought the device up to his heartbeat. "This is Fox Mulder", he answered evenly.

The same doctor from the previous day's voice was easily recognisable from the other side of the phone due to her accent, it wasn't American. "Sorry to bother you again, Mr Mulder but a few things have come to light about your mother's disease in the last few hour".

Mulder frowned slightly. Scully watched him, concerned as she couldn't hear both sides of the conversation. "What sort of things", he asked.

"It would be best if you could get down here immediately. Did you stay in Connecticut?", she answered, her voice void of emotion as most doctors usually are when speaking to the family of patients.

"Yeah, I did but I don't think that my mother wants to see me today so if that's part of the situation. I may have to decline for now".

Doctor Shanahan ' s voice picked up as if she was rushing this conversation to it's end. "This isn't about your mother. It's about the disease that she has and how it may effect the rest of your family".

"What do you mean", Mulder answered cautiously.

"I can't tell you any more over the phone. You have an appointment with myself and the rest of your mother's team here at Greenwich General in half an hour".

Mulder nodded numbly still not entirely sure what the hell this was about. "Alright. I'll be there soon", he ended the call and turned to Scully.

"That doesn't sound good", she commented, placing a hand on his arm. "Are you okay, Mulder?", Scully asked, seeing his pale complexion. "Is everything alright with your Mom".

Mulder nodded numbly, shaking off his worries. There was more than likely nothing to be fretting over, the doctors in Greenwich General probably just wanted to talk to him about his mother even though they did say it concerns the whole family. Whatever Teena has couldn't be inherited, right?

Mulder pushed these notions aside, not voicing them as he didn't want to worry Scully when there may be nothing to worry about. The doctors may have a completely different scenario for him, right? Surely he had nothing to worry about. Surely he was just being irrational.

He hitched a grin on his face, hoping beyond hope that Scully wouldn't see through his facade. "I'm fine, Honey", he said gently, pressing his lips against her's. "They just want me down there for a quick meeting with mom's doctors". Mulder knew that she knew something was up as she pulled back. He wasn't surprised, Scully is the most intelligent person he knows, there was no way his acting had fooled her.

Scully looked up at him unconvinced, just as he expected. "Alright then, I'll come with you", she told him, crossing her arms stubbornly. She didn't want to see him get hurt again and was sure as hell going to be there if he did.

Mulder shook his head. He knew she was going to say that. "Don't worry, Scully. It probably won't go on for more than ten minutes. You go meet your friend and her family and I'll catch up with you guys later.

Scully looked at him suspiciously but knew she was better off not to press him for information at least for the moment. "Alright, I'll give you the address".

...

Now the rain has its own rhythm

And we danced in a different time

And I believe there is some reason

Why it's me that you came to find

~Ron Pope, Signs

...

Doctor Shanahan eyed Mulder seriously, Teena's medical charts in display on the desk between them. "Mr Mulder. You have already been informed that your mother is suffering from a rare form of Padgett's Disease called Padgett's Carcinoma. There are two types of this disease, one is transmitted virally and the other is hereditary. At the present time we are unsure whether Mrs Mulder is suffering from a former of the disease that is viral or has been inherited".

Mulder looked at her unblinking. The brown haired doctor continued on describing different symptoms of the disease and variations that he may recognise in himself. Her words totally drifted over his head, lost in his own sea of thoughts. Every possible scenario rushing over through his mind like boiling water, burning and eating away at him. Teena had never mentioned to him that they had a history of terminal illness in their family but then again he shouldn't be surprised considering the other secrets she had kept from him. He finally came back down to earth on Doctor Shanahan's next words.

"There's is a way that we can determine whether the disease is hereditary or viral in your mother's. We can test your genes for signs of the disease and we can test you for early signs of Padgett's Carcinoma today. The disease is quite rare and nearly ninety eight percent of the time is terminal once contracted. This should be considered carefully and maybe something that you should talk about with your wife", she said.

At the mention of Scully, Mulder's heart fell further than he thought possible. Mulder has had a pretty crappy life so far, losing everyone and everything dear to him and now fate deciding to be cruel enough to take his health and possibly his life too. Scully has become the most precious person in is his life to him over the last two and a half years, the previous night just made that official. Mulder couldn't imagine losing Scully in the way she may loose him if these tests come back positive.

"Can you do the tests today?".

"Yes, we can", she told him confidently.

Mulder stood up from his seat, shaking hands with Doctor Shanahan and made his way outside, sitting down. His mind went into overdrive. Mulder knew that he needed to tell someone but he couldn't bare to see the devastation on the face of the one person that he would tell. Scully.

There was only one decision to be made and only one option. He had to break off ties with Scully, end the priceless connection that had been incubated between them for the last two and a half years. He couldn't hurt her like that. He couldn't put her through the painful things that may be coming down the road.

There was always a little niggling voice at the back of Mulder's mind telling him that he was not good enough for Scully, Bill Scully had only just reassured this voice. Scully deserved someone who wouldn't die on her prematurely. She deserved someone who she could have kids with without worrying that would contract some terminal disease. Mulder realised that he might not be able to give her those two basic things anymore, even though he wanted to give her so much more than that.

He couldn't believe how easy things had been just two hours ago when he had been pondering on ways he could propose to her. He couldn't believe that his only worry before that had been that he hadn't brought any condoms with him to Connecticut when he and Scully had entered their hotel room, fumbling with buttons and zippers. (Scully had assured him that she was on the pill so an unplanned pregnancy wasn't anything to be thinking know about right now)

He sighed. That bliss seemed so far away now. All he could think about was how to relieve Scully from as much pain as he could. Mulder knew that no results were back yet and that he was probably getting ahead of himself but that seemed irrelevant to him right now. How many times have the odds been in his favour in life so far. The answer was very few. His only option was to let her go no matter how painful it was for him to do. It was what was best for Scully and that's all that mattered to Mulder.

He had to make her think that he doesn't love her. He had to make her think that he felt that the previous night had been a huge mistake when in truth it was the best night of his life. It was worth every moment they had spent emotionally constipated when they had finally come together, coming apart in a way that bonded and binded them in a way that they had never been until that point.

Mulder cursed fate for having to leave the one person who means more than life to him, because life may not be something he will have for much longer if those results come back positive.

He wanted forever with her but their forever might end up being cut painfully short.

Positive or Negative.

...

The reason it hurts so much to separate is because our souls are connected

~Nicholas Sparks

...

Chapter Text

Chapter 9: Stubborn Love

...

She'll lie and steal and cheat, and beg you from her knees.

Make you think she means it this time

He'll tear and hole in you, the one you can't repair

But you still love him you don't really care.

~ The Luimneers, Stubborn Love.

...

Washington DC

Road towards Georgetown

9.45pm

...

The streets lamps had been on several hours already and they cast a faint glow on the pavements beneath them, creating long and spiralling shadows on the dampened cement. Aside from it being early July the clouds had opened up and spilled on to the street below as if setting the scene for what was about to take place.

They drove down the street in the direction of Scully's home, splashing into a large puddle as they did. Mulder hadn't said much since they left Connecticut and Scully was beginning to get concerned for his wellbeing.

Scully had left Ellen's house early than planned as Mulder hadn't shown up like he said he would. Scully had returned to the hotel to find Mulder with his belongings packed up, laying down on the bed and staring up at the ceiling, lost in thought. She had asked him then if he was alright, Mulder didn't respond then but Scully hoped with some persuasion he would now with Connecticut left far behind.

"Mulder, talk to me", Scully said quietly, taking his hand between the seats. It wasn't the first time she asked him how he was in the last couple of hours but that was only because she had been getting nothing but grunts and one worded answers. Whatever was the matter with Mulder, she was going to drag it out of him one way or another. They were in this together, they always had been.

Mulder sharply pulled out of her grasp, not taking his eyes off of the road for a split second. He sighed deeply, already feeling the regret and guilt over what he was about to do. "I'm fine, Scully. I've told you that already".

Scully rolled her eyes, sighing deeply. She was well used to Mulder's many moods but that didn't mean that she enjoyed them. It was far better just to get to the root of the problem, so they could work through it together even though she knew that Mulder's first instinct would be to keep whatever was bothering him bottled up. Scully could on some level relate to this though, it was what she did too after all, much preferring to tackle things head on by herself.

Mulder was one of the few people that she let in on her inner thoughts when she was grieving her father. Mulder had become a great source of comfort for Scully at the time and she wasn't going to forget that.

Scully knew that she had to do the same for him now no matter if Mulder denied the fact that he needed someone to talk to. They were two independent souls who depend on one another it had been this way long before they had become romantically involved.

"Mulder. I know you. You're not fine", Scully said calmly, taking in the sight of him. Mulder's back muscle were tense and his eyes were clouded as though he was on a different planet, lost in thought.

He shrugged indifferently. "What makes you say that?".

Mulder glanced over at her quickly. He never felt great after he treated her badly in rge past and that was when he was actually annoyed with her. Due to their being so different in personality and outlook the pair of tgem ofen argued over small trivial things and wouldn't speak for a given number of hours. They infuriated each other so much at times but the love and attraction was always still there.

Mulder told in the sight of her large blue eyes filled with concern for him. God Damn it, he wasn't annoyed with her. Things just had to be this way.

Scully snorted looking down at the controls of the car. "Well, the first give away is that you're driving well over the speed limit".

Mulder looked down at the little green neon numbers that shone from the controls behind the steering wheel. She was right. Mulder lowered his speed considerably. He may well already be dying himself but he as sure as hell wasn't going to purposely endanger Scully.

"Sorry", he mumbled, his eyes now firmly back on the road.

Scully smiled despite herself, almost endeared by his sheepishness . "Are you going to tell me what's up now?".

Mulder glanced sideways at her again. Every fibre of his being wanted to tell her right there and then what Doctor Shanahan had told him in Connecticut. He wanted to tell her about the disease and his chances. He knew that she would reassure him that there wasn't anything to worry about yet.

Mulder knew that Scully would be logical about this, that she would not want him to do anything rash until his results were final. But Mulder also knew that Scully would stick by him no matter what. That she would stay no matter what the results conveyed. He knew it was selfish but he felt as though he needed her with him.

Mulder berated himself for this internally. He told himself that she deserved more than a dying man and if his usual luck was anything to go by the results that were due the following day from Connecticut would not be desirable.

Scully allowed him his silence for a while. Knowing that whatever he was going to tell her he would now tell her in his own time. She would give him that much.

They pulled into the car park across the street from her house. Mulder pulled the keys out of the ignition, turning off the faint sound of the radio and the purring of the heaters. He sighed deeply, coming his eyes and settling back into the seat. He braced himself to do the thing he believed to be right. He couldn't let Scully into a mess like this. Mulder accepted that the best way to protect her from this was to not tell her at all, to break ties with her instead.

Mulder opened his eyes, watching her for a moment, willing his photographic memory to never forget the shade of blue her eyes became when she was silently telling him that she loves him and that he can tell her anything. He wills himself to remember how Scully can tell him that she trusts him and will not leave him without ever opening her mouth. Mulder hopes she feels the same way about him. He hopes that ay some point she could see the same things in him even if now was not that moment.

Mulder knew he had to let her go, it was the selfless thing to do and it would be better for Scully in the grand scheme of things. If his test results came back positive he knew that Scully deserved more than what he would be able to give her. He wasn't going to gamble with fate over something like that.

"This was a mistake, Scully", Mulder said, hating every syllable that came from his mouth. It was all lies and Mulder had always been a person who believed the truth should be known and shared no matter how painful. He assured himself that this was a lie to protect Scully. For her he would go against that belief even though the lie's effect would emotionally hurt both of them.

Scully frowned, taking his hand. "Mulder, I know that you had a hard time seeing your mother but it was the right thing to do, don't doubt yourself on that", she squeezed lightly before pulling back to give him his space once again.

Mulder grimaced, tasting the words as they left his mouth. "Not what happened with Mom, Scully". He sighed once again, breaking eye contact with Scully. He didn't think he could find the words if he was looking at her. " I regret what happened with us".

Mulder watched her unblinking, gauging her reaction. There was nothing but silence and the sound of rain and traffic. He would have preferred a slap in the face to the reaction he got from her.

He saw pain in Scully's eyes for a split second before they went steely, a barricade coming up around her emotions that blocked him out. Mulder never felt so lonely. He wallowed in her silence.

Scully shared his quietness. Disbelief was her initial reaction, disbelief and betrayal. She searched Mulder's eyes for anything contrary to what he had said but his irises were nothing but swirling clouds of hazel, blank as an empty page. She had never seen him as such before. Scully had always found it easy to read Mulder's emotions, often easier than reading her own. She new that there was more going on than he was telling her. There was very few things Mulder could hide from her and the truth from her.

"Mulder, I know you and I know when you're not telling me the full story", Scully paused for a second, eyeing him seriously. " You need to let me in so that I can help you with whatever is going on". Scully always felt that actions speak louder than words and Mulder's actions the night before and everyday for the past two years were contrary to what he was telling her now.

Mulder sighed. Scully is easily the most loyal friend he has but she's also the most stubborn and if He's being honest with himself he would admit he loves her for it.

"You need to get as far away from me as you can, Scully", he said, breathing deeply, his eyes silently pleading with her to understand him. "Please". Mulder's voice became soft towards the end like a whisper, broken like the string of an overused guitar. He knew that he had to make her understand no matter what it took.

Scully scowled. "Mulder, whatever this is about you can tell me. I won't think any less of you". She looked at him forcefully, her gaze drilling into him . Scully knew that their was something up with Mulder so she tried ignored the sincerity and desperateness in his eyes. Whatever it was Scully was certain it was nothing that they couldn't tackle together. She would get to the bottom of it.

"Mulder, I need you to be honest with me. What's this about".

He took her hand, squeezing her fingers lightly, his eyes widening with something that reminded Scully of grief. "I need you to trust me, Dana".

Scully sighed, her glare softening and morphing into something that resembled disappointment. She reached into the back of the car, pulling out the luggage she had brought with her to Connecticut.

"I just want your honesty, Mulder. Nothing else matters". She half opened the car door and turned to face Mulder once again, her gaze almost hopeful as if willing him to share the truth with her. His last chance.

Mulder shook his head. " I can't be honest with you on this, Scully". His heart ached as he watched her get out of the car. He knew that this would hurt but he never expected it to be so painful.

"You can't choose what to be honest about and what not to be, Mulder. If you do how does that make you any different than your mother", Scully said sadly. She knew that comparing Mulder to Teena was a low blow but it may be the only way to make him see sense.

Mulder chuckled humourlessly. "I guess that I'm more like her than I give myself credit for".

He didn't know what else to say even though Scully's words struck a chord with him. He was acting like his mother towards Scully and the thought killed him.

"Then I guess that I can't trust you".

Scully fixed him with a gaze that made Mulder's breath hitch. He hated doing this to her but he had no choice in the matter. He forced the emotion out of his voice and answered her questioningly bluntly.

"I guess you can't".

They both forced their parting words out, their hearts sinking as they did so. It felt final as though they were standing at the edge of a waterfall about to tip over, launched into the unknown. Lost in the sea of foam and salt water. Their wounds stinging painfully.

Scully crossed the street letting the rain wash away the handful of tears that had sprung from her eyes despite her greatest efforts. Her father had always told her that men weren't worth her tears and for most of her life up until now she had believed him.

Scully hated that Mulder could make her feel so much, she hated that Mulder had melted the ice queen inside of her without even trying. Scully hated the fact that she had given Mulder the power to hurt her to the point where she berated herself for giving him that power. Scully felt her head begin to throb as she closed the door behind her, she rubbed her temples trying to dull the headache that was starting to nag her. She sighed, leaving her heels at the end of the stairs and willed the remaining tears in her eyes not to fall.

XXXXXXXXXXXX

Mulder watched her leave, the rain falling hard on the front window and the windshield wipers swaying over and back across the wet glass. The rain collided with the metal on the roof of Mulder's car, beating like a drum.

Mulder had always thought that being "heartbroken" was just a phrase coined by people who were being melodramatic but there was no other way he could describe the dull ache in his chest that made every beat of his heart hurt. Mulder had let women go before but he had never felt as empty as he did now. Scully was his constant, his touchstone, his best friend and she had taken a piece of him with her when she walked away, when he had pushed her away.

He couldn't hate her for it though. As far as Mulder was concerned it was rightfully her's anyway.

...

When we were young. Ooh,ooh,ooh. We did enough.

When it got cold. Ooh, ooh, oh. We bundled up.

I can't be told. I can't be done.

~ The Luimneers, Stubborn Love .

...

The bar that Mulder ended up in wasn't the one that he and Scully usually frequent together. Mulder had parked his car at the oppisite side of the street and relenting had entered the bar, dodging a street brawl in the process.

Several hours later Mulder found himself on a barstool in some grotty bar at the rougher side of town, surrounded by empty shot glasses and reeking of a mixture of alcohol. A lot of things didn't seem to matter anymore, his life seemed to have turned one hundred and eighty degrees in the opposite direction in a couple of hours.

Mulder signalled the woman managing the bar to refill his glass. The dirty blonde haired woman turned from the small sink towards Mulder, picking up his empty glass. She eyed him carefully, deciding whether or not he was harmless enough to make conversation with.

"You look like crap, you know that?", she said dryly as she refilled his glass.

Mulder snorted, smiling humourlessly. "Thanks but I think I'm within my rights to look like a piece of shit after being told that I may possibly be dying of a terminal disease. Not to mention that I just cut ties with the love of my life after finding out my father isn't actually my father and visiting my dying mother in hospital", he sighed emotionally into his empty glass. What was his life becoming?

"And all of this on top of the fact that I saw my sister being kidnapped as kid. I was there when the cops came to my house to tell my parent's that they had found her body and I went with them to make sure that the body was Samantha's".

Mulder chuckled dryly. "And did I mention that I'm a high school teacher whose students call Mr Spooky because I believe in aliens and that the woman that I cut ties with earlier on today was one of the only good things that have happened to me in my life". Mulder leaned back into his stool. "She was my best friend and I damn well had to let her go". He knew that he probably sounded like he was wallowing in his own self pity but he didn't really care how pathetic he sounded. It was probably just a side effect of the alcohol.

The blonde woman eyed him sadly not sure whether to pity him or kick him out because emotional drunks are bad for business. She took the glass off of him before Mulder could ask for more. "That about does it, Spooky. It looks like eighty-six is your magic number", she told him firmly, stowing the glass away on to the shelf beneath the counter. "Why don't you head on home now and sort out all of your crap tomorrow when your hangover has passed over?".

Mulder shrugged nonsensically, climbing off of the bar stool. He stood up, trying to keep his balance which seemed like a harder task than walking on a tightrope. He loosened his tie until it came undoing and hung open under his shirt collar. "I need a leak", Mulder mumbled, heading for the back door that opened on to a dimly lit alley.

He shut the door behind him and made to unzip his trousers. Mulder looked up at the wall opposite him, spotting a poster for the movie 'Independence Day", feeling vindictive Mulder decided to aim in the direction of the poster.

Just then a voice piped up behind him, a voice he had never expected to hear again, a voice that he hadn't heard in nearly five years.

"I see that you haven't changed a whole lot, Fox".

Not sure what to do with himself with that particular woman standing behind him, Mulder finished his business as quickly as humanly possible. He zipped back up his trousers and turned to face the dark haired woman that he hadn't ever expected or wanted to see again. Not after everything that had gone down between them. She looked exactly as he remembered down to the permanent frown that he never noticed until she was long gone.

The dark haired woman eye him almost critically. She looked totally unruffled with her pinstriped suit jack and cream trousers. Her hair had been straighten into submission and lips were pursed.

Mulder almost smirked when the nickname that Scully had bestowed upon the woman after Mulder had shared some further on his past love life over one to many glasses of wine. Scully, feeling bad for Mulder after he explained the story had cheered him up by christening Mulder's ex girlfriend "Fowley the Foul One". After that they had spent the rest of the evening giving their past lovers colourful nicknames.

Looking back on it, Mulder could now see that he hadn't only enjoyed insulting Scully's ex boyfriends because it was funny (especially when you're a bit tipsy and everything seems hilarious) but because he was already in love with her and was jealous of what those men had had with her. Mulder liked to think that Scully enjoyed the exercise for the same reason he had despite the fact that it was painful to think about such things right now at all. Not with everything that had happened in the last few hours.

Mulder dragged himself out of his thoughts, mid returning to the woman in front of him.

"Diana?", Mulder said, surprised. "What are you doing here?".

XXXXXXXXXXXX

Scully rounded the corner in the grocery store heading towards the frozen foods section. She tried to prevent her thoughts from rambling back to Mulder. Scully went about the motions trying to make this seem like an average breakup where she would buy ice-cream, watch Breakfast at Tiffany's with a glass of cheap white wine and move on the next day as if nothing had every happened. The fierce Dana Scully would be back in business in less than twelve hours, taking shit from no one.

It didn't feel like that this time. She was different and so was Mulder.

Scully reached into the nearby freezer, pulling out a mixture of strawberry and vanilla and tried once again to focus her thoughts on a less destructive subject. It is what Melissa told her to do twelve years ago after her first heart break. Once again she was unsuccessful. It went surpassed her own hurt after what had transpired between her and Mulder in the car.

It wasn't like any Scully's previous breakups. Mulder was her best friend first and foremost and she couldn't act as though he didn't matter to her. Even with all the logical reasoning in the world Scully couldn't see how Mulder's feelings could have changed so drastically in a matter of hours while they were apart that morning. She couldn't see why Mulder would choose to keep something from her when it seemed that something was bothering him so much.

Mulder is first and foremost her best friend and Scully knows without a shadow of doubt that she will do whatever it takes to help him. She just isn't sure if she can find it in herself to trust him with her heart right now if Mulder is choosing not to trust her enough to let her help him.

Scully asks herself if she always chose to share her worries with Mulder . She knew that she didn't. Scully had taught herself not to depend too much on anyone early in life and knew Mulder to be a person of similar outlook. They were after all two very independent people who rarely chose to depend on others.

She turned from the frozen aisle and headed towards the off licence area at the rear of the grocery store. Scully headed towards the section for white wines, selecting her favourite.

Scully know that she loves Mulder, is certain of the fact and she wholeheartedly wants to believe that his confession the previous night had been truthful. Something was bothering him and Scully was adamant that she would confront him about it. The truth is what has always mattered to Mulder and that is all Scully wants from Mulder.

Just then a deep masculine voice piped up behind Scully. The familiar sound filled her ears and she turned her gaze away from wine she was holding, looking up distractedly.

"Dana Scully. As I live and breathe". The fairly tall dark haired man greeted her with a smile, glancing up from his own bottle of brandy.

Scully masked her surprise by trying to muster up a friendly smile for her former lover. "Hello Jack. How have you.."

"Been?", Jack finished with a cloudy smile. "Honestly Dana, I'm a mess right now. I've just signed my divorce papers with my wife of five years".

Scully gave him a sad smile. "I'm sorry to hear that", she said. And she was, Jack had been the marrying type far before most people their age were. That was the reason she refused his marriage proposal seven years previously. Jack had wanted the whole white picketed fence lifestyle complete with a dog and three kids. Scully had wanted to finish college and get a job. Things must have gotten very bad for Jack to call quits on a marriage.

"Thank you, Dana", he said with a solemn smile. "So is this girl's night or are you going through a rough break up of your own?". Jack asked, gesturing to the contents of her shopping basket.

"I wouldn't exactly call it a break up. It ended before it truly began. He's a close friend of mine", Scully replied, not quite sure why she was unloading all of this on to Jack.

"Sorry about that, Dana", Jack said quietly before gesturing towards his own bottle of brandy and Scully's bottle of wine. "Life's crap and the night is young. Why don't we go drown our sorrows together?".

Most of the time Scully would turn down such an offer straight away but for some reason in the wake of Mulder denying that he loves her, a drink with Jack didn't seem as unappealing as it would in the regular light of day. It wasn't as though her break up with Jack had been a messy one anyway, they had gone their separate ways after mutually realising that they didn't want the same things.

"Just one drink then, Jack".

...

So keep your head up, Love.

Keep your head up, My Love.

Head up, Love. Head up, Love.

Head up, My Love.

~The Luimneers, Stubborn Love

...

"So how have you been, Fox?", Diana asked, seated across from Mulder in one of the shadowy candlelit alcove a few feet from the bar. She smiled a little too sweetly, sipping her gin n' tonic.

Mulder sighed, trying to mask a grimace as he settled against the hard leather back of the chair. He had always hated being called 'Fox' but Diana had insisted on calling him by his given name as soon as they had gotten together. Apparently the habit hadn't worn off even with time.

He wasn't sure how to answer Diana's question truthfully. It would probably make the woman feel almost smug if Mulder told her the truth. Diana would probably attribute his crappy state of mind to her having left him almost seven years before when in reality it had been quite a while since Mulder had even thought of her not since she had pulled his guts out with one well aimed kick from a pointy stiletto heel, metaphorically of course.

"I've been good to be honest, Diana", Mulder answered simply, shrugging off the question, his mind wandering back to Scully and his test results that were due the following day. "How was teaching in the middle east". He returned to making their conversation a bit more general. Mulder didn't really feel like showing much vulnerability around Diana after what happened the first time around.

Diana nodded dismissively. "It was good", before attempting to return to sentimental or nostalgic conversation. They both went quite for a few seconds, Mulder waiting for Diana to elaborate and Diana being unwilling to do so. "It's been a while since we have gone out together like this", she stated, signing deeply. Diana reached across under the table, resting her hand on Mulder's knee.

Mulder shifted uncomfortably, not quite sure what to do about Diana. It reminded him of the times where he couldn't even see straight when he was around her, even when The Gunmen tried to convince him that Diana was being totally manipulative of him. She had made him blind and when she had left he had been totally desensitised, spending the next five years sleeping alone on his couch. Mulder could see now that The Gunmen were right, what he had had with Diana wasn't the real deal.

"I guess it has", he stated quietly. Diana smirked triumphantly, pleased by his reaction. Mulder at further back into the chair, Diana's hand slipping off of his leg.

"You're not playing for the other team now are you, Fox?", she asked not entirely jokingly. "I knew my leaving you would leave a mark but not to that extent". Diana smiled, coming closer to Mulder across the small table, finishing her sentence somewhere near his ear lobe.

Mulder scoffed. "I've been just fine without you, Diana", he said finally. And he had. It had taken a while (five years of ordering in, porn movies and the occasional dirty phone call that cost him 59 cents a minute) but Mulder had gotten back on his feet, gotten on with his life and his work and somewhere along the way had the fortune to meet a certain redhead who made his feeling for any of the women in his past seem like an empty shell.

That was of course until about twelve hours ago when everything turned upside. Mulder didn't want to die yet but he may not have as much as say as he would like in that. It all depended on those damn results. A gamble he wasn't going to allow Scully to make, he loves her too much for that.

Diana's smile dropped slightly, melting like ice off of her face. "Do you have a significant other, Fox?", she asked almost coldly.

"Not in the widely understood definition of the term", Mulder answered with a half smile despite his darker thoughts. "She's my polar opposite and we drive each up the walls sometimes but when I'm with her I wouldn't want to be around anyone else".

At these words Mulder began to feel the guilt sink in. He really shouldn't have made the decision to cut ties with Scully after all they have been through together, Mulder realised that he should have just given her all the details and let her make her own decision whether she wished to stay with him or leave. After all the results weren't definite just yet. There may still be hope.

Then there was the undeniable fact that Mulder had told Scully only hours ago that he didn't love her and that he didn't trust her enough to share the truth with her. Would she even talk to him again after hurting her feelings in such a way? Would he even forgive himself for it?, Mulder wasn't sure of the latter or the former. He only knew that he had been an asshole and would tell Scully as much in the morning.

Mulder dragged himself from his thoughts once again, returning to Diana who hadn't said anything since his confession.

Diana nodded curtly, wearing a mask of understanding to cover her feelings within. She wasn't going to give up that easily despite the fact that whoever this woman was, Mulder seemed to be head over heels. "Do you not miss having someone more like-minded to yourself in your life", she asked.

Mulder shrugged nonchalantly. "Like I said Diana, I've been just fine".

XXXXXXXXXXXX

After less than a half an hour later, Mulder found himself walking down the street in the direction of his car. He had just left a more than slightly pissed off Diana Fowley in the bar and was already planning what he would tell Scully in the morning.

Mulder pulled his cellular phone out of his coat pocket and proceeded to dial The Lone Gunmen's number. After a few seconds of listening to the monotonous dialling tone Langly answered the phone with the typical false name that he used considering the fact that he and the other Gunmen were convinced that the Government knew that they were more that a couple of kooky high school teachers.

"Hey, Langly", Mulder said lamely. "By any chance are you guys nit-picking the earth's inaccuracies tonight".

On hearing his friend's downtrodden voice, Langly invited Mulder over straight away even though on regular circumstances he wouldn't do so without a wisecracks or two.

"It's what we do, buddy", Langly dismissed kindly before Mulder said anything else.

It was obvious to Langly that Mulder was not only drunk but something was up. Despite himself Mulder wasn't exactly the hardest man to read for those who knew him well.

...

And I don't blame you dear

For running like you did all these years

I would do the same, you'd best believe

And the highway signs say we're close but I don't read

Those things any more.

I never trusted my own eyes

~ The Luimneers, Stubborn Love

...

Chapter Text

Chapter 9: Even Underneath The Waves.

...

'Cos even underneath the waves I'll be holding on to you

And even if you slip away I'll be there to fall into the dark

To chase your heart, no difference will ever tear us apart, no,

There's nothing that I wouldn't do, I'll find my way back to you,

~Eric Arjes, Find My Way Back To You

...

Scully chuckles quietly into her glass, placing it down on the table between her and Jack who had just finished an impression of his youngest daughter Valerie. It was obvious how much the man loved his family, the crazy stories that he told about his three children almost kept Scully's mid from wandering back to Mulder and whatever he was hiding from her. The fact that she had already downed three glasses of whiskey probably helped too though.

Jack settled back into his chair, fiddling with the rim of his glass. "Funny that we bump into each other tonight. Huh, Danes?", he remarked, slurring slightly. "You think it means something after all these years?". His eyes were cloudy and dilated, Scully knew that he didn't hold his drink very well. Their first year in college had been a testament to that.

Scully shrugged nonchalantly. "What, so that we can be miserable together?", she asked, hoping to get out of the discussion that she had a funny feeling Jack was going to start next. Scully didn't want to deal with the 'what ifs' from her late teens years right now. She did ,after all, have enough on her plate.

Jack smiled slightly. "No, Dana", he said with a shake of his head. "Maybe we were supposed to work out the first time. Perhaps something greater than us brought us back together again tonight". Jack watched, trying to gauge Scully's expression. "Something like fate".

Her face fell. Scully had a feeling Jack's conversation was heading in this particular direction but had hoped for both of their sakes that it she would be wrong and it would go down a different route. She watched him silently for a moment.

There had been a time where Scully had loved Jack despite their different views for the future. There was a time when just like Daniel, she had imagined a life with him. That was the past though and even when Scully had believed herself to have been deeply in love with Jack, she knew now that what she had felt for him then paled in comparison to what she feels for Mulder now.

"You mean despite our mutual need for alcohol?", Scully answered, keeping her voice even. She was going to dodge this particular bullet for as long as possible and humour seemed like a decent option right now.

Jack smirked sadly, leaning almost uncomfortably close to Scully across the table. She could feel his warm breath on her face, her eyes fixed on her face. Scully felt herself freeze in shock when Jack reached across the last few inches and merged their lips together. "Whiskey and fate then, Danes". At his words she began to feel her head buzzing pleasantly from the alcohol.

Scully relaxed for a second, almost forgetting where she was for a moment as a result of the Whiskey. Jack took this as a positive sign and made an attempt to pull Scully closer, sweeping his tongue across her lower lip. She could feel his tears on her face or perhaps they were her own. Scully jerked back, coming to her senses. Mulder.

She wiped her lips on the sleeve of her jacket, glaring at a sorrowful looking Jack. "What the hell was that, Jack!", she hissed angrily at Jack for instigating the kiss, even though she was even more angry at herself for going with it, even if it was only for a second.

"I just wondered what it would feel like after all these years", Jack answered apologetically. He regarded her for a moment, how she didn't make eye contact with him. "This guy that you broke up with today", he started, casually. "You really love him, don't you".

Scully looked up to meet his eye, Jack was dead serious about what he was asking but something in his eyes told her that he knew the answer anyway. It was a rhetorical question but Scully nodded in agreement. "Yeah, I do".

She wasn't usually one to divulge her inner emotion that she usually kept bottled up but in the wake of what happened with Mulder she wasn't exactly herself. Scully was worried sick about him, missing his presence like a limb as cheesy as it sounds. Then there was a part of her that hated him, hated Mulder for not trusting her enough to let

Silence hung over them awkwardly, both shuffling their feet and avoiding each others eyes. The hustle and bustle of the bar continued around them despite the fact that many customers were beginning to mill out one by one as morning approached. The bartenders were beginning to come around, going from table to table collecting beer mats and wiping off the surfaces. Scully and Jack remained silent, taking turns observing each other and their surroundings.

"Hey Dana", Jack said quietly to get Scully's attention, breaking the mute between them.

She looked up hesitantly, hoping that he wasn't going to try anything else and ended up relieved by the expression on his face. He seemed sorry, that would be enough for now. "What? "she asked, still cold but less than before.

"For what it's worth. This guy is a lucky bastard. I would have killed to have you love me like you love him when we were together", Jack finished with a cloudy smile, almost melancholic.

"Thanks, Jack", Scully said, gathering up her bag from under the table and digging around inside for her cell phone to call a cab. "I'd better go", she told him finally before standing up to leave.

Jack smiled sombrely. "I know".

XXXXXXXXXXXX

Mulder's Apartment

Arlington

Washington DC

10.40am

6th of July

Mulder grumbled softly, his face an inch deep in the leather sofa. He was sprawled on his back in his living room where he had tumbled in, falling asleep almost immediately the previous night. Mid morning sunlight streamed in from the window to his left, stinging his eyes with it's unbearable brightness.

Mulder's head pounded like the base drum in a marching band as he mentally pepped himself up enough to scramble into a sitting position. The sound of the morning traffic outside was like Z jackhammer against his skull and Mulder held his head in his hands for a moment as his memories from the previous day hit him like a ton of bricks accompanied with a wave of nausea.

'Dammit, Scully', he mumbled to himself as he stood up from the sofa grabbing his coat from the night before. It was only now that the full weight of his actions the day before began to hit him, Leaving Scully would probably was probably the more nobler option but sometimes it really did hurt to take the selfless path.

'Is what you did really that selfless', a small voice at the back of his mind asked. 'Is hurting Scully really the best option for her. Was making up some ridiculous lie better for her, leading her to believe something that is in no way even remotely close the truth'. In the wake of things he wasn't even sure anymore

Mulder pushed these thoughts aside, their presence only making his ears pound and his hangover feel worse. He assured himself once again that what he had done was what was best for Scully and not for any other reason. The result still hadn't shown up, he wasn't expecting them until later in the day anyway. Mulder mind began to stray into dark places, wondering what would be ahead, fumbling in the darkness of what would likely be his future. Surely he hadn't acted rashly about all of this?

Mulder made his way to the door, not bothering to change or shower and took one glance around his loving room before shutting the door on number 42 behind him, heading down the hall. This was a morning for an extremely large black coffee and a whole lot of self pity.

...

I remember all of the things that I thought that I wanted to be

So desperate to find a way out of my world and finally breath

Right before my eyes I saw, My heart it came to life

This ain't easy, it's not meant to be. Every story has it's scars.

~Adele, Remedy

...

Cleary's 24 Hour Coffee and Diner

Washington DC

...

With a large cardboard cup in hand Mulder sat down in a reclusive corner in the almost empty coffee shop that he and Scully had started frequent on Saturday morning about a year previously. The shop was a little hole in the wall really, with it's small wooden chairs, darkly painted walls and low ceiling but the coffee was good. As soon as one entered the small shop you would be hit by the unmistakable smell of fresh coffee and the seemingly unending kindness of the seventy something year old woman who had been running the place alone ever since her husband died ten years previously.

"Hello, Mulder", the old lady greeted warmly, notepad and pen at the ready to take his order. "Are you feeling alright this morning, dear". Nancy Cleary stood opposite Mulder, her grey hair tied into a bun at the back of her head, her wrinkles pronounced and her eyes kind. The older woman knew Mulder and Scully well as she didn't have that many customers with her shop being the hidden treasure that it was.

Mulder gave her a half smile despite himself. "I'm fine, Mrs Cleary. Just a little tired", he said dismissively. "How's business?".

The old woman smiled. "Oh, the same. I can't complain". Nancy looked over from Mulder to the empty seat next to him. "I see Dana isn't with you this morning".

Mulder shook his head, taking a drag from his coffee cup to avoid the older woman's gaze. "No, she's not".

Nancy smiled kindly, patting Mulder on the shoulder. She had a fair idea what he meant by his response to her observation. "I don't pretend to know what goes on between young people these days but I do know that you two are a special pair and that things will work out for the best".

Mulder nodded, deciding that it was best to say nothing more on the topic. "Thanks, Mrs Cleary".

She nodded finally and with a final parting glance Nancy left, waddling behind the counter, her floral apron billowing behind her.

Just then the bell at the door tingled, signalling the arrival of a new customer. Both Nancy and Mulder looked up to see who was standing at the doorway and we're greeted with the sight of a tired, dishevelled looking Dana Scully.

Scully smiled briefly at Nancy who asked her for her order. The red haired woman pretended not to take notice of Mulder presence. For now it brought up too many mixed feelings from the day before. She didn't feel like facing him just yet not that her raging headache from last night's drinks helped the matter, making her feel twice as irritated about Mulder's lack of honesty. Scully kept her attention on the older lady.

"I'll just have the usual with an extra shot. Thanks Mrs Cleary".

Nancy nodded and after a few minutes handed over the drink across the beige painted counter top. Scully paid her for the drink before heading for the furthest table from Mulder even though there wasn't much choice with only three small tables in the Diner.

Nancy smiled kindly at her from over the counter, her eyes alight with mischief as she looked between the pair who were hastily avoiding eye contact or any other sign that they knew each other. "I'm afraid that I have that table reserved for a little later, dear. Why don't you take a seat next to the gentleman over there", she said gesturing to Mulder and acting as though she believed the pair to be perfect strangers.

Scully looked up from her coffee, meeting the older woman's knowing gaze. She immediately knew what Mrs Cleary was implying, that she and Mulder should talk. After all it was highly unlikely that a table would be reserved here mid morning let alone two. Scully glanced over to Mulder who at the same moment looked up from his coffee meeting her eye, his gaze intense as though a single glance could gain insight into her very soul.

Mulder held her gaze, wishing that he could somehow telepathically send her a sign. He could see how much he had hurt Scully and hated himself for causing her that pain. He tried to assure himself that causing her this pain resulting in saving her from a lot more. That was until Scully was actually standing in front of him, his best friend, the love of his life. Dammit he needed to tell her. She deserved to know even if it meant that he had to do everything in his power to push her away afterwards. Scully at least deserved the shore truth.

Scully quickly broke the spell, hastily standing up and taking her coffee with her. She felt her heart contract at her own actions. She was walking away from Mulder, the man that she knew that she couldn't help but love. After all, loving him proved to be as instinctive as breathing and leaving him felt like she was leaving her heart behind.

"I think I'll take this to go, Mrs Cleary", Scully mumbled to the older woman as she scrambled for the door. She didn't wait for an answer before the door swung shut behind her, the sound over the bell resonating around the small cafe.

Mulder watched her go for a split second before his body sprung into action. He couldn't leave thing like this, not with her, not with Scully. He quickly downed the last mouthful of his coffee, his head having finally stopped spinning. The sight of Scully must have instantly made him sombre.

Mulder reached the door in a handful of strides. "Thanks for the coffee, Mrs Cleary", he called over his shoulder.

The older woman smiled to herself. The dating game may have changed since her time but love was still love no matter how you dress it up.

...

Sometime you don't even have to look for your soul mate.

Why?

Because you have the same hiding place

~ Anonymous.

...

Scully made a beeline across the street, the traffic already quite busy and headed straight for the park at the end of the road. The gates on the outside were rusty with the paint peeling off, obviously having been long since abandoned by the city council but the inside was kept pristine even in light of the unseasonably bitter weather. The grass neatly manicured was glossy with dew drops, the small man made lake was a pale grey reflecting the sky over head.

Scully made her way to the bench just to the side of the water, the soothingly bubbling sound calming her, reminding her of those carefree days when she went sailing with her father and brothers as a child. She shut her eyes, managing her temples where a headache was brewing. She needed to be alone with her thought but obviously he didn't think so.

Scully knew Mulder had taken the seat next to her without ever opening her eyes. His tell-tale Muldererisms in his movements gave him away immediately. He reached across, squeezing Scully's hand lightly. "Scully, it's me".

Scully nodded, finally glancing at him. Mulder's hair was slightly bedraggled, his hazel eyes sad with black bags underneath. It was almost a comfort to know he was having just as crappy a time as she in light of this new and uncomfortable arrangement between them. It was almost a comfort to know that the distance and silence, though both were limited by the standards of most, was slowly killing them both. Almost but not quite.

"I know. If you were anyone else you would have a black eye for creeping up on me like that", Scully commented, the light humouredness not reaching her eyes.

Mulder chuckled self-deprecatingly. "I'm flattered, Scully", he said, running his thumb unconsciously along the back of her hand.

Scully pulled away from him, tucking both her hands into her dark coloured jacket. "We've still got plenty of time". She eyed him seriously even though she knew that it would take quite a lot more for Mulder to get such a reaction from her. Yell at him, maybe. Physically hurt him, no.

Mulder smiled sadly. Scully saw in his gaze a sincerity she hadn't seen in him since he confessed his love for rational her. His hazel eyes were wide with emotion until they almost seemed like melting caramel and something else that she couldn't quite name but it made her heart ache. Whatever he was going to tell her was serious. Whatever he was going to tell her was the truth.

"Mulder. Whatever this is we can overcome it together. You know that right?". She was the one taking his hands in her's now and he was the one pulling away. Scully held on to Mulder with her gaze refusing to let go of at least that contact between them.

"Scully, you need to get as far away from me as you can", Mulder told her. A part of him knew that he was getting ahead of himself on this. A part of him knew that the results may tell him that his mother died of a viral disease and that he would be fine. What if he was acting rashly? What if he had nothing to worry about? What if? The two words are as nonthreatening as words can be, but put together side by side and they have the power of haunt you. What if?

Scully fixed Mulder with her signature steely gaze, determined. "Mulder, I know you. You're my best friend. I know something is wrong but I can't read your mind. I can't help you if you don't let me in".

Mulder gulped, barely able to keep the truth swallowed at least not from her. Not from Scully. "You're better off this way, Scully. Without me", his eyes were wide, sparkling in their hollowness. The conviction in his words was lacking, a lie neither of them would believe. A lie that Mulder knew was such and a lie Scully found it had to find reason. His voice said one thing while his eyes screamed, 'Scully, you are the only one I trust'.

The truth was churning in the pit of Mulder's being, churning and about to come to light, bathed in the sincerity of the pair. The words were on the tip of his tongue about to spill out and be known. Scully reached across, seeing that he was ready to be honest with her and squeezed his hand encouragingly. Mulder smiled vaguely, lifting her hand to her mouth and placed a soft kiss on her knuckles.

"I will totally understand if you want to run for the hills when you here this, Scully", he said quietly.

Scully shook her head firmly but said nothing. It was clear to her that as long as he trusted her and she could trust him they had a home in each other, with their best friend and lover. If she hadn't run for the hills the day that she first met him she certainly wouldn't now that they had come so far.

Mulder opened his mouth to speak but was silenced when a hand grasped at his shoulder, turning him around to face her, away from Scully. Diana Fowley smiled sweetly at Mulder before turning to Scully and smiling tightly, obviously forced.

"Diana", Mulder exclaimed, surprised.

Scully looked between Mulder and the tall dark haired woman in front of her. Diana. Scully quickly joined the pieces together, realising that she had finally come face to face with Diana Fowley.

Diana nodded to Scully, realising quickly that she must be the woman Mulder had spoken so highly of the night before. The woman that had helped make his life better without her, Diana, being a part of it.

The dark haired woman turned to face Mulder once again, her smile just a touch to sweet to be genuine. "it's so nice to run into you, Fox", she said, emphasising Mulder's first name. She had been listening to the conversation between Mulder and Scully before and decided to immediately use the one advantage that she still may have. She can use Mulder's first name.

Scully rolled her eyes internally at the other woman's pettiness. Playing that card was just ridiculous, making it seem as though calling Mulder by his first name somehow made their interaction more personal and intimate.

Diana smiled once again, patting Mulder gently on the arm. "I enjoyed reconnecting last night", Diana said deviously, her voice dripping with suggestions.

Mulder shrugged sheepishly, scratching the back of his own neck. He looked between the two women, seeing Diana's triumphant expression while Scully seemed to be starting to stew. He tried to send Scully an apologetic look but she just glared.

Diana smiled, pleased at how she had stirred things up a little and decided to take her suggestions further. "I know our reunion brought you great pleasure, Fox", she said emphasising the final word with a smirk.

Diana glanced back at Scully again. "I see that you two are busy though". She stated brightly, knowing her plan had worked. "Goodbye, Fox". She patted his shoulder once again and with a final sneer in Scully's direction, Diana had brushed past them, vanishing in a curtain of dark hair.

Scully looked up at Mulder, eyes narrowed. "Was that seriously what you had to tell me? That you slept with Diana Fowley last night?". She shook her head, angrily, turning her back on Mulder and heading for the gates out of the park.

Mulder followed her closely behind, grabbing her by the hand and turning her to face him. "Are you jealous, Scully?".

In her anger Scully looked past his eyes that were filled with desperation, only hearing his teasing words. She had thought that finally surrendering to each other had meant as much to Mulder as it had to her but after all, there was no real proof either way. Nothing tangible or scientific to explain the mysteries of what she felt when Fox Mulder was in question. "Mulder, I need to be somewhere".

Scully wanted to fix them, to fix their friendship, their partnership, their companionship , their love. She just wasn't sure if it was fixable. She pulled away from him again, turning to leave and walking down the street to catch a cab.

Mulder followed closely behind as she raised her hand to the closest cab coming by in their direction. "Scully", he said desperately. "You know that Diana was bluffing. I wouldn't do that, not to you. I love you".

She turned to face him, her anger beginning to subside. She knew Diana was only bluffing to create a wedge between them but Mulder had already created quite a large wedge the day before. He had said he didn't love her. Scully wasn't sure that she could enter a more emotional relationship with Mulder if he feeling and expression didn't seem to match up, ever changing. "Mulder how can we further what we have it you keep changing your mind. You tell me that I am the only one you trust and then you don't trust me when I can see that something is bothering you. You have been acting bizarre!".

Mulder sighed, trying to gather his words. He could feel the future looming ahead of them, to be honest the uncertainty scared him. Was he actually sick or would it prove to be simply a false alarm. Mulder knew it such a thing came to pass he would never put Scully through the pain of losing him prematurely. "Scully-", he started, trailing off.

Scully smiled sadly, standing on tiptoes toes, brushing Mulder's cheek with the back of her hand. "You need to figure out how you feel, Mulder. I can't help you there". She fixed him with an intense gaze, a burning weight settling in her chest.

Mulder stood back slightly, nodding in understanding. He knew how he felt he always had. He felt the same was as he had for the last two and half years since they first met in his basement classroom. Mulder knew that he would do anything in the world for her because she was his world, his everything. He surged forward, his hands immediately on her cheek, in her hair, wherever he could reach without either of them taking it too far in the middle of the street.

Scully sighed sadly into his mouth when she felt a certain wetness on Mulder's face that she recognised straight away as tears, they mingled with her own that had sprung ripe from her eyes. Their tears washed over their joined lips making the kiss taste of water and salt and missed moments and unspoken promises that may remain as such. The kiss was numbing and healing and it made the earth beneath them feel as though it was shattering.

Mulder pulled back gently, disengaging their mouths. He didn't want to but his desires made him feel selfish in light of things. He wanted to tell Scully everything, the words right on the tip of his tongue. Just as Mulder was about to speak he hesitated.

Scully sighed solemnly, opening the door of the cab. Apparently the driver had pulled up mid-kiss and the meters was already ascending. Their parting words fell from her lips, spooning between the both her and Mulder.

"I'll see you later, Mulder"

...

When the pain cuts you deep and the night keeps you from sleeping

Just look and you will see that I will be your remedy. When life seems so cruel

And your heart makes you feel like a fool just look and you will see that I will be your remedy

~Adele, Remedy.

...

Scully entered her living room several hours later and tossing her coat on the couch seated herself on the couch. She felt a heavy weight on her chest and even though she had walked away from Mulder she still worried about him, still loved him and some part of her knew with certainty that he felt the same.

Scully walked over to her pale wooden desk next to the window and setting aside the potted plant next to the computer, Scully transferred the few boxes that she had brought with her home from Woodrow Wilson for the summer holidays.

Deciding that she needed something to keep her mind off of things, Scully flipped open the lid of the box to decide which worksheets and essays could be shredded now that the year was over. She had barely opened the box flipping through the first few various sheets when she realised that none of the stuff was hers. The psychology paper. The diagram of human brains. The worksheets on human behaviour. The various printouts and cut outs from The Lone Gunmen's paper and blog. Not to mention the slightly battered copy of Douglas Adam's 'Hitchhikers Guide to The Galaxy' and slightly crude doodles of UFOs. The contents of the cardboard box clearly belonged to Mulder.

Realising that her belonging and Mulder's must have gotten mixed up at some point, Scully made a move to pack the stuff away but something caught her eye right. A manila envelope with her name on it, written in handwriting that was clearly Mulder's.

Scully examined the envelope's exterior, debating internally whether or not to open it. On one hand it may be an invasion of Mulder's privacy, on the other hand the envelope had her name on it. It was as much to do with her as it was to do with him.

Impulsively, Scully ripped open the top, taking out the lined page on the inside. It seemed to be addressed to her and was entirely written in Mulder's writing.

February '94

Dearest Dana

(Damn, it sounds weird to call you that, even in a letter that I'm nearly damn sure I won't have the nerve to give you).

Being the spooky insomniac most people assume that I am (and they're probably right) I sitting here in my apartment wide awake at 4.30 in the morning reading the latest conspiracy theories (that I'm sure you will hear about tomorrow) on my computer.

Scully chuckled at this, endeared by her best friend's ridiculousness. Yes, that was definitely her Mulder.

But aside from all of these things. I need you to know something and I hope to any God that will listen to a man who believes in aliens that I will, at some point, tell you this in person.

Even though we have spent as much time as we have together over the last six months, when I'm not with you I miss having you around. The day we first met you in intrigued me more than anyone I have met before and everyday you continue to surprise me as I get to know you better.

Scully smiled softly, a single tear strolling down her face. This letter was written a year and a half ago . She wondered briefly if things would had turned out differently if one of them had made a slightly bolder move sooner.

I don't want to loose your friendship and I fear that a confession from me would do that. Sometimes I catch your eye when you think that I am not looking and see things in your electric blue eyes that I want to believe are true. I want to believe that you feel the same way as I do but the risk of loosing your friendship and trust would be a price too high to pay for my complete honesty.

I can see it now though, here in the dark in the dead of night when every sane person in the building is already asleep.

I love you, Dana Katherine Scully

Yours

Spooky

Scully chuckled, wiping the stray tear that had sprung from her eyes away with her sleeve. Her chest swelled with love for Mulder, the man who loved her as long as she loved him and just like her, spent the last two years denying it when they were both aching for more.

Scully knew that there was something that Mulder wasn't telling her. She could see it in the glistening pools of his hazel eyes. She could only hope that whatever it was, Mulder would at some point find it in himself to tell her about it. Despite how she usually felt about sharing personal things, Scully felt a great need to tell someone at least some of what transpired between her and Mulder over the last few days from their final get together, to their conversations since ten and now this letter.

She reached over the armrest on the edge of the pale leather couch, picking up the phone that stood on the lamp table. She dialled her mother's home number. The number that used to be her home number before she went away to college. Scully tucked Mulder's letter into her pocket and listened to the dial tone for a few minutes before her mother picked up.

"Hey, Mom. It's Dana...".

...

On my way now

Don't give up on me

And no one knows what

What tomorrow brings

These weary eyes will never rest

Until they look in yours again

I'm on my way now

I still believe

~ Eric Arjes, Find My Way Back To You.

...

XXXXXXXXXXXX

Arlington

Washington DC

...

On the other side of town Mulder too was looking down at a white envelope. One look at it and he knew exactly what it was but for some reason he couldn't bring himself to open it. Mulder couldn't bring himself to open it without her. Scully deserved to know.

Chapter Text

Chapter 11:

...

There's no taking back, what we've got's too strong,

We've had each others back for so long.

There's no breaking up this time. I've come to my senses

Letting go of my defences, there's no way I'm giving up this time.

~Life Houses, All in.

...

Maggie Scully's Residence

Washington DC

...

Maggie regarded her daughter's expression from across the table.

Scully had shown up at her mother's house half an hour after she had called, obviously upset for some reason Maggie had yet to drag out of her. Maggie Scully knows her daughter well enough to know that she will open up when she's ready to do so once she has been gently prodded in the right direction.

In that respect Dana Scully reminded her mother of no one but William Scully Sr. For Scully had inherited many of her father's characteristics and stubbornness was certainly one of them, not to mention the need to bottle things up inside rather than share your feelings.

Taking a final sip of her tea, Maggie spoke up, breaking the relatively comfortable silence between mother and daughter. She was going to get to the bottom of whatever was up with her daughter and she wasn't taking no for an answer.

"Dana. Are you going to tell me what's wrong, dear", Maggie asked, standing up from the table, taking both of their now empty mugs over to the sink and returning to the table to hear Dana's story.

Scully looked up distractedly to face her mother. "Nothing is wrong, Mom. I'm fine". She smiled faintly before sighing at her mother's knowing expression. Scully knew full well that her mother would see straight through her despite her efforts. It was something she learned long ago and was hard to forget. There was no point trying to keep things from her mother but Scully could at least try to redirect her mother's attention, right?

"Believe me. Everything's fine".

Maggie regarded her daughter sceptically. "Dana, you show up and start asking me about my next door neighbours and our distant relatives, all of which you caught up with last week at the barbecue she not you" She said firmly. "You aren't usually one for gossip, dear. You're trying to distract yourself. Something is up".

Scully sighed deeply. "I guess you caught me out, Mom".

Maggie smiled sadly. "What happened. You seemed so content when I called you with Elaine's new address. Did something happen in Connecticut?".

"It's messy, Mom", Scully said finally after thinking over her predicament with Mulder for a minute. She wasn't about to go into the details with her mother of all people. "Kind of a lapse in communication".

Maggie nodded. She had expected as much. "Between you and Fox, I assume".

Scully nodded, wondering if she really was that transparent to her mother even though to most people she seemed closed off and professional.

"What happened?", the older woman asked quietly, squeezing her daughter's hand.

Scully shrugged in hopes of appearing nonchalant. "Things kind of went south between us after Mulder and I were getting ready to come home"

"I take it things finally shifted between you in Connecticut", Maggie asked in a way that didn't overly embarrass either of them with giving or receiving too much information.

Scully knew that her mother knew the answer anyway but still nodded in confirmation. Despite the fact she was a thirty years old woman, sharing such information with her mother made her feel like a teenager being questioned about her first boyfriend by her parents. Somehow she managed to stifle a blush before ploughing through the rest of the conversation, trying to stop herself feeling so uncomfortable.

"I went to see Elaine and her family alone because Mulder had to meet with his mother's doctors and when I came back something was definitely wrong with him. He's seemed worried and irritable. More distant than I had ever seen him before", Scully sighed deeply before sharing the last part of her story. "On the car ride back to DC we hardly spoke apart from when I asked him what was wrong. After that we started arguing and both ended up agreeing that changing things between us had been a mistake.

Maggie eyed her daughter sadly, She knew Dana was a strong person but she could still see the pain in her eyes. She wanted nothing more than to help her. "And you didn't mean it?", she asked gently.

Scully shook her head, "Of course not. I love him, Mom", she answered quietly.

The older woman smiled. It had been clear to her for quite a long time now how much Fox Mulder and her daughter loved each other.

She had known that ever since she had seen how desperate he had been when Dana had been in a coma. The pain of almost losing her had almost consumed him totally.

She had seen the silent understanding and love between them when she had seen them reunited when Dana had woken up. She knew how much they respected each other, how much they cared for each other's wellbeing.

It was then Maggie had finally acknowledged Fox Mulder as a permanent part of her daughter's life, in what way, she hadn't been sure at the time. Now it was as clear as crystal.

"Have you seen him since?", Maggie asked sympathetically.

Scully sighed slightly, nodding in confirmation. "Yeah, I saw him this morning in that little coffee shop in Arlington".

"And?", Maggie asked, prodding her daughter gently for further information. Sometimes it was harder getting answer out of Dana than dragging a horse through the mud.

"He told me that he loves me and I told him that he needs to go figure things out for himself, that I won't be able to trust him if he doesn't trust me enough to share his problems. There's something wrong and he won't let me help him get through it".

Maggie sighed taking in the full extent of her daughter's troubles. "And now you think that you're have acted rashly, pushing him away before he finds it in himself to let you in".

Scully considered her mother's words for a second. Is that how she felt?

"I didn't feel like that at the time but before I called you I found this", she said, reaching into her Jean pocket and pulling out the neatly folded letter from Mulder. The letter she was never supposed to read. "And now I think you might be right, Mom. I didn't hear him out and now I'm worried about him".

Maggie picked up her reading glasses from where they hung around her neck and began to read the words Fox Mulder had lovingly written for her daughter. She reached the final lines, smiling silently. She had always liked Fox Mulder.

"You know, Dana", Maggie said as she refolded the letter and handed it back to her daughter. "You're father and I went our separate ways for a while two months before we married".

Scully looked at her mother in alarm. She had never heard that before, having always seen the love her parents shared for one another as something invincible, impermeable, unbreakable, untainted and pure. "Really", she asked, shocked at the revelation.

Maggie nodded, chuckling slightly at the memory. "You're father was home on holidays from the navy when we met. After three months together I found out that I was pregnant with Bill". The older woman smiled, continuing on her story.

Scully looked at her staunchly catholic mother who had preached about abstinence in her and Missy's teenage years. Scully was shocked.

"I knew how much your father loved being in the navy and I knew that loved him so much and that he in turn loved me but I feared that being a father at that time would hold him back", she chuckled slightly at her younger self.

" I was so worried about the whole situation myself that I didn't speak to him for about a month. He had thought that I had fallen out of love with him", Maggie said with a chuckle, the memory of her husband bringing tears to her eyes.

"Your father being your father chased after me relentlessly for about a week. He was so stubborn and I was just confused, young and stupid".

Scully watched her mother silently as the information began to sink in. Her mother was trying to teach her a lesson here. A lesson about not giving up on those you love, about not being beaten by your fears and uncertainties.

"Anyway", Maggie said, obviously getting to the end of her story. "Three weeks before he was due to go back to sea I finally got the courage to tell him", she smiled softly. "He was so thrilled that spun me around for a good three minutes until I asked him to let me down because I felt another bout of nausea coming on", Maggie concluded with a chuckle even though Scully could still see the pain in her mother's eyes. You don't just get over losing your soul mate. Maggie Scully was a testament to that.

Scully smiled. It was clear to her now that every relationship has it's rocky times, even her parents'. "Why did you never tell us that story before, Mom?".

Maggie chuckled, her eyes still damp from the fond memory of her husband. "Bill would probably have a hernia if I told him he was conceived out of wedlock".

Scully rolled her eyes despite the fact she too was emotional after hearing about her father. She well capable of imagining her older and very traditional brother's reaction to the story and frankly it would be amusing to see him have a hissyfit at the revelation.

The two woman laughed lightly before Maggie reached out once more and squeezed her daughter's hand. "It worth it all, Dana", she said simply. "The arguments, the fighting, the falling out. When you love someone it's worth fighting for".

Scully nodded, agreeing silently. Her mother was right. Her love for Mulder was worth fighting for as long as he was willing to do the same. "I know, Mom", she said with a final smile before the two woman returned back to more trivial conversation.

Happily this time.

...

I headed West. I was a man on the move

New York had lied to me, I needed the truth

Oh, I needed somebody, somebody to trust.

I don't gamble but if I did I would bet on us

Like the Dead Sea, you'll never sink when you're with me

Said I was like you're Dead Sea

~Dead Sea, The Luimneers

...

Mulder sat on the couch, eyes wander to and fro from the roof of his living room (where a bunch of pencils were hanging hazardously from the ceiling, ready to drop at a moments notice) to the unopened envelope on the coffee table.

He wanted to open the envelope and put himself out of his misery.

Mulder wanted the truth, the whole truth. Was he dying or had this whole thing been one of the universe's hideous pranks, either way no one was laughing.

His mind briefly wandered to his mother, how she was and where she was and then to his father or at least the man who he always had and always would consider as his father, biology bedamned.

Should he tell his father what he had learned from his mother? Should he tell Bill Mulder that he wasn't actually his son? Had Teena already told Bill? Would it even matter if he, Mulder, was dying.

He wasn't sure of many things anymore but the conversation with Scully earlier on in the day had put one thing in perspective; that even though many things in life are changeable, his love for her was not one of those things, despite what Scully had said.

Dying or not he has been in love with her probably since the day she walked into his basement classroom and told him aliens were a load of bullshit and challenging his every belief since then but never judging him.

Things were darker without her, his touchstone.

The only light he had in in the room was the tall lamp in the corner. It cast a faint orange glow on the room, making the shadows of both Mulder and the furniture long and stretched. Mulder grabbed for the envelope on the table, turning it over in his hands and reached for his landline on his desk, dialling the familiar number. He had to come clean to Scully, dying or not.

He listened to the dialling tone for a few minutes, waiting for Scully to pick up.

She didn't.

Mulder set the phone back on the hook, grabbing his car keys from his desk and his coat for the hangers next to the door. It was time to come clean for both their sakes.

XXXXXXXXXXXX

...

George's town

Washington DC

20 minutes later

...

You told me you were good at running away.

Domestic life never suited you, like a suitcase

Yes there are time when we live for somebody else

Your father died and you decided to live it for yourself

You felt that it was just the right time and for that I'm glad.

Cos you with cats, that's just not right

,...

It wasn't until he was outside her door that was he was doing began to feel real. He was telling her about his possible illness his chances. He was going to tell her that even though he understood if she wanted to run for the hills, he wanted her to be the first to know if the results were positive. If not and the odds were in his favour, well, he would have a lot of explaining to do. Surely Scully would understand that what he had been trying to do had been for her and her only.

Mulder knocked loudly on the wooden door. "Hey, Scully. It's me", he called.

He waited for a moment before knocking once more, the same thoughts whistling through his mind. 'She probably doesn't want to talk to you right now', 'You should give her some space'. Mulder paced slightly from one side of the door to the other, heart pounding. Even if she wanted to talk to him right now what would he say. "I love you but I might die if the results in this envelope are positive'.

Mulder groaned slightly. It sounded wrong even in his head.

Perhaps they were wrong when they had agreed that their meeting was fate that night in Connecticut. Perhaps it was all just a cruel joke fate was playing on them. Either way Scully deserved to know what was going on if not as his life partner but as his friend.

He sighed, stepping back from the door. He wasn't sure if he ever wanted to be just Scully's friend again and deepen down Mulder knew that she felt the same way.

He reached into his pocket, brushing off of the white envelope inside. Damn, he hope his results were negative. He wanted to be able to share good news like that with Scully, the one person he was sure he loved more than himself. Hell, he was certain he loved her more than life. She made him a whole person.

Just then the man Mulder immediately recognised to be Mr Colbin, Scully's landlord passed around the bend in the corridor towards him.

The man trampled down the hallway, wet to the skin in an oversized raincoat, his shoes squeaking on the wooden floor.

"You're looking for Dana, I assume", he asked, observing Mulder, who had been caught mid-pace outside Scully's door.

Mulder nodded, looking between the older man and the door closest to him. "Yeah, have you seen her around?".

Mr Colbin nodded and gestured towards the end of the hallway.

"Yeah. I met her a couple of hours ago on her way out. She said something about going to visit her mother".

Mulder smiled at the older man, delighted on getting some answers.

"Thanks Mr Colbin. I owe you one", he said, hurrying away towards the elevator.

The older man shook his head slightly. He didn't know Mulder very well and he only briefly knew Scully from when he met her once or twice a month to pick up the rent.

To him they seemed to be very private people but even he could see that it was about bloody time.

XXXXXXXXXXXX

...

You said space would make it better and time would make it heal.

I won't be lost forever and soon. I'm gonna feel like I'm haunted

Would you take the wheel. If I loose control

If I'm lying here. Would you take me home

Would take care of a broken soul. Would you hold me now.

Would you take me home.

~Jess Glynn, Take Me Home.

...

XXXXXXXXXXXX

Maggie looked wearily away from Scully (who now looked a lot more content) to the phone hanging on the wall next to the dresser of China plates, cups and dishes.

She was beginning to get a little concerned about Melissa, her eldest daughter having noticed how distracted, withdrawn and irritable she had become over the last few months.

She decided then to bring it up with her younger daughter.

Perhaps Dana knew something she didn't and even though she wouldn't ask Dana to betray her older sister's confidence (if that indeed was the case). Bringing up the topic may put her mind at rest for now for no matter how grown up her children were, Maggie still worried about them.

"Dana. Did you notice something was slightly off with Missy when you were all here on the fourth".

Scully thought about it for a second. It was true, her mother did have a point. Melissa had indeed been acting quite strange for quite a while (even by Melissa's standards).

Scully had called her sister a few times in the weeks prior but unfortunately nothing had come of it. When she had seen Melissa at the barbecue on the Fourth it had been the first time in quite a while.

"Yeah actually, now that I think about it", Scully answered quietly, mind going over the last few time she had seen her older sister.

Melissa had been a little distant at the barbecue and Scully had noticed some weird bruising across her sister's collar which Melissa had stubbornly blamed on a door when Scully had asked.

Then there was the fact that Kevin, Melissa's long term boyfriend had mysteriously not come with her to the family barbecue even though he had been doing so for the last six years.

Melissa had always told Scully that something was missing with Kevin and that she felt that thing didn't feel as they ought to in a relationship but surely any scenario with Kevin as the bad guy was a little too much of a conclusion to jump to. The man had survived William Scully Sr's interrogation for crying out loud not to mention Bill Jr's famous big brother speech.

Surely Melissa would have said something more when asked by her sister if it was serious, right?

Scully's brushed it aside for now, vowing internally to call her older sister when she got back home. The least she could do for now was put her mother's mind at ease.

"I'm sure she's fine, Mom", Scully said in a voice that she hoped sounded confident.

Maggie sighed deeply, her eyes wide. "I don't know Dana. I just have a feeling, call if motherly instinct if you will. I tried to bring it up with Missy when I called her yesterday but she wouldn't budge".

"Call it the signature Scully stubbornness", Scully joked with a unconvincing smile in an attempt to lighten her mother's mood. "I call her when I get home, Mom", she said finally relenting to her mother. "I've been a little concerned too to be honest".

Maggie nodded. "Thanks, Dear", she said with a watery smile.

XXXXXXXXXXXX

...

With every breath that I'm worth here on earth

I'm sending all my love to you

So if you dare to second guess, be assured

That my love is all for you

~Green Day

...

Maggie smiled out the front window of the kitchen when she spotted the familiar car pulling into the driveway.

She turned away from the kitchen sink to face Dana who at the time was setting the table, totally ignorant to her best friend's arrival outside.

For a moment Maggie watched the younger man approach the house before beckoning her youngest daughter to join her at the window.

"Dana. It's for you", Maggie told her happily. She felt a sense of almost motherly pride in Fox when she spotted him outside for even though things were uncertain between him and her daughter at he moment, he was already her favourite son-in-law.

Scully approached the window cautiously, now standing next to her mother. She knew from the expression on Maggie's face exactly who was outside. That knowing but encouraging smile was one Scully would recognise anywhere.

Maggie nudged her slightly. "go and talk to the poor boy, Dana. You two should clear the air".

Scully sighed, rolling her eyes slightly at her mother's description of a thirty three year old man as a boy before heading for the front door.

She wasn't entirely sure if she wanted to talk to him just yet. Scully hadn't been expecting to see him for at least a few more days.

She felt the dread settle in as she neared the door. What if whatever was wrong with Mulder was actually something serious.

Could she forgive him for keeping something like that from her when it was clear how much they both valued their mutual trust and honestly.

Scully sighed, pulling herself together and opened the door to reveal Mulder. He hadn't even knocked yet, having been psyching himself up for the conversation as much as Scully had.

"Hey, Scully", he breathed out upon seeing her.

Their eyes locked and for a moment it felt like all had been forgiven.

Scully felt herself drop into his hazel eyes but quickly pulled herself out. Now was not the time or place for such things. They needed to talk first.

"is everything okay, Mulder", Scully asked, clearing her throat.

He nodded, seemingly dazed for a split second before he too pulled himself together. "We need to talk, Scully".

She nodded "Yes, we do" but didn't move to let him into the house. As much as Scully loved her mother this was a conversation between her and Mulder only and not something that she wanted anybody else to be privy to. She shut the door behind her and followed him out on to the garden path, sitting down on the bench under the living room window.

Mulder sat down next to her, not saying a word for a moment and pulled out the white sterile looking envelope from the pocket of his leather jacket. He passed the envelope from one hand to the other, not sure what he wanted to do with it yet.

Scully eyed the envelope and Mulder. She noted his expression, one of pain and one of worry. Her heart ached for him.

Scully reached out to grab one of Mulder's hands that were still holding tightly to the envelope. "Mulder, you're scaring me", she told him, eyes wide.

Mulder looked up eyes meeting her's, his heart sank at the pained look on her face. He was beginning to regret keeping this from her even if it had been for only a few days. The results that lay in that envelope would affect her almost as much as it would affect him.

He gulped down any remaining hesitation, he had to do this if he ever wanted to have Scully's confidence again. She deserved to know the whole truth as to why he has been acting as he has for the last few days especially after all they had gone through together.

"You saved me, Scully", he started simply. "As frustrating as it is sometimes, your strict rationalism has saved me a thousand times over. You kept me honest, made me a whole person. I owe you everything, Scully and you owe me nothing". Mulder stared squarely at her, neither of them moving or saying anything for a moment. He tried to keep his emotions in check but in reality, he couldn't have been more raw. Every word he had said had been the God's gospel truth and it fell between them gently and settled on them like lead. The truth.

Scully looked at him seriously. "You know that isn't true, Mulder. I may have made your life better but have done the exact same thing for me".

Mulder sighed, handing her the envelope. If anyone should do the honours of holding the outcome of the rest of his life in their hands it should be her because she did so already anyway.

"What's this Mulder?", Scully asked quietly before moving to open in, sliding her fingers under the seal.

Mulder reached out to stop her. "Not yet, Scully. I need to explain everything first".

Scully nodded, setting the envelope down on her lap. The weight of it suddenly seeming heavy. Whatever was coming was not going to be good, she could feel it and hoped otherwise. "Alright, Mulder. Fire away".

"The day we left Connecticut when you went to visit your friend and I went back to the hospital the doctors asked to run a test on me because the disease my mother is dying of is in most cases...hereditary". Mulder paused for a second to gauge her reaction.

Scully felt her heart contract painfully, already dreading the worst. Scully knew what was coming, she could see the dread in his hazel eyes.

She tried to hold herself together for him though. She had to be strong for Mulder, he deserved that much.

"The doctors ran tests on me for early signs of Padgett's Carcinoma and for the gene that I would have inherited from my mom if it does run in the family. I got the results back today", he finished my gesturing towards the envelope. He knew it was best that he started with the facts, Scully would prefer it that way.

She held up the envelope, her voice quiet and her eyes a little glossy. "Have you read these yet?", she asked.

Mulder shook his head. He hadn't.

"Then why are you acting so sure about this. You could be fine, Mulder. Why did you try to push me away", Scully said her voice now rising. She tried to be reasonable for his sake but she couldn't. "Why couldn't you have let me fight whatever this is with you because that's what I want to fight for, Mulder. You and me"

"Scully", Mulder said gently. "Even if I'm not dying myself right now I could still get this damn thing in the future. If it's inherited I would never be able to give you the things you want and deserve in the future. We wouldn't be able to ensure our kids health. We would spend a life living in fear. You deserve better than that, Scully. I love you too much to risk your happy future".

Scully sighed angrily. "Dammit, Mulder. You could have let me make my own mind up about this instead of making my decision for me. Yes, I do want a future but I want one with you . Would you leave me if our situations were reversed. If I was the one who's future was uncertain?".

Mulder shook his head. "Of course not, Scully".

"Then why would you expect anything less of me, Mulder. I love you just as much as you do me", she said voice coming back to normal even though her eyes were still steely.

"Why would you jump to such a rash conclusion if you didn't even have all the answers", Scully felt tears beginning to well up in her eyes but she pressed them back. She couldn't loose Mulder and crying about it would only make it too real.

"I can't loose you, Mulder", Scully said so quietly that Mulder wasn't sure if she said it at all. "We can't admit defeat". The original words slipped out against her will and she hated how vulnerable they made her sound. They were true though. Scully was certain that she couldn't loose the man sitting beside her.

Mulder wrapped his arms around her body and pulled her against his chest. Scully sighed against him, breathing in the scent of leather, day old aftershave and something else that was entirely Mulder. It was soothing and Scully began to feel her heart rate return to normal.

"I can't loose you either", Mulder said softly, dropping a kiss on the crown of her head, inhaling the smell of her shampoo and the remainder of the freshly ground coffee that she had been drinking with her mother. He felt totally at peace here with her in his arms. There was no other place that he would rather be than here with her.

Scully pulled back and looked up at him, her strength found once again. She stretched up the last few vital inches and merged their lips together, gently tugging his larger bottom lip.

Mulder sighed into her mouth and wrapped both arms around her back. They felt themselves relax for the first time in the last couple of days, back with the other half of their souls, things falling back into place like missing jigsaw pieces coming back together.

They pulled back after a few moments and Mulder reached down to pick off the envelope that had fallen on to the pavement from Scully's lap. He offered it to her with a half smile for now he realised that together the two of them could overcome anything.

"Last chance to run for the hills", Mulder said jokingly for the both of them now knew where their loyalties lie, with each other.

Scully smiled, taking it from him. She hesitated for a moment, biting her lip. "Are you sure that you don't want to do it".

Mulder nodded, closing her grasp over the envelope. "There's is no one else that I would trust enough to have the outcome of my life in their hands", he told her genuinely.

At this Scully looked at him still uncertain even though she could see the sincerity in his eyes. Mulder really wanted her to do this. "You sure?", she asked.

He smiled affectionately. "It effects both of us Scully, either way".

Scully smiled. "I'm glad that we're finally on the same page", she said, tearing open the envelope and unfolding the results inside. She scanned through it quickly before looking back up at Mulder, her eyes bright with relief.

"It's negative, Mulder. You're okay".

...

My beating heart belongs to you

I walked for miles 'til I found you

I'm here to honour you

If I loose everything in the fire

I'm send all my love to you

~Green Day,

...

Chapter Text

Chapter 12:

...

Bloodshot eyes and your peppermint,

We can roll like dogs from the devil,

Give me one last try for love tonight,

I'll be the king of forever and you can be my sunshine,

~Devil's Kind, Green day.

...

Woodrow Wilson High School

Teacher's Bathrooms

11.16am

...

Two Months Later

Scully groaned in embarrassment as she examined the scarlet bruise just below her jawline, diagonal from her left ear. She had started to get suspicious after her first class of the day when she had gotten a mixture of sniggers and giggles from her class, whom generally behaved fairly well under the threat of extra homework or detention.

Apparently laughing their super strict science teacher having a hicky was enough to have them temporarily forgetting about having an extra chapter of questions on ionic and covalent bonds if they even toe the line.

It was already obvious that quite a few of the students not to mention the teachers were catching on to the latest shift in Mulder and Scully's relationship. Some kid had even gone as far to write an anonymous article in the school newspaper's gossip column about the differences in both of the teacher's and what this means in terms of their love life. Others seemed pretty pleased about the change, having collected their money from the various betting pools.

Neither Mulder nor Scully really cared about that though, it wasn't as though it was against the terms of their employment and it wasn't going to interfere with their ability to teach the kids and best of all, for the first time in quite a while both of them were completely content in themselves and in each other.

It had "inconveniently" slipped Mulder's mind the night before to set the alarm in his apartment, resulting in the pair of them staying in bed more than a little longer than they had originally planned.

In her haste to get to work on time, Scully had barely given herself a once over in the mirror and somehow missed the rather large love bite that Mulder had marked her with the night before.

Not to mention the fact that Mulder had said nothing to her about all morning!

'Dammit, Mulder', she grumbled under her breath as she reached below the sink to grab the small bottle of concealer that she usually kept in her handbag for emergencies.

After rooting around for a few seconds without any luck, Scully gave up. She must have forgotten to put it in there. She groaned slightly, returning her bag to the floor and her attention to her neck once again.

Scully usually warned him not to give her a hicky anywhere that was visible when they had work the following morning but the thought had unfortunately slipped both of their minds in the throes of passion after a whole bottle of wine, dinner out and a Stephen King movie marathon (that they both had completely lost interest in somewhere between the end credits of 'The Shining' and the beginning of 'It', with "other things" distracting them from their horror movie marathon in the most pleasant of ways).

She exited the bathroom with a slight huff and headed towards Mulder's classroom.

The hallway was fairly quiet, all of the kids having gone upstairs to the school canteen for morning break, her heels clicked on the tile floor as she neared the door of the psychology classroom room, pushing it open with a swing to reveal Mulder sitting behind his desk with a sandwich halfway to his mouth.

On hearing her enter he looked up with a smile. "Hey Scu-", he started brightly but trailed off when he caught sight of her unamused expression.

'Uh, oh', he thought to himself. 'Someone's in the doghouse'.

"Mulder what did we agree on starting our relationship?", Scully asked seriously, glaring at Mulder from across the desk.

He shrugged sheepishly, remembering the conversation they had a few days after getting together. "No sex at work even after hours?", Mulder replied with a grin.

"And?", she asked, with an eye roll.

Scully thought that that would be a given when they first brought up the topic. Having sex in school would be the height of insanity so long as they both wanted to keep their jobs but apparently the thought had crossed Mulder's mind.

Mulder chuckled lightly, standing up from the desk to sit at the opposite side of the desk, right in front of Scully. He settled himself quickly, settling both of his hands on Scully's hips and pulling her a little closer until she was standing between his legs, only a little taller than him sitting down when she was standing up.

He hummed thoughtfully, pretending to consider the question. "No sexual jokes around your mother or around Bill?".

Scully shook her head, trying to ignore how Mulder's playfulness was beginning to melt her anger, despite the fact that she was well used to his antics.

"Do you remember something about hickys, Mulder?", she asked, her interrogation almost teasing now. "Or has your usually brilliant memory failed you?".

Mulder stood up, only a hair's breath from her now, their chest almost pressed together. He smiled at the love bites he spotted on her neck as he stood up, his mind turning fondly to the night before when he put them there. "I do actually", he answered, jesting melodramatically.

His breath was hot against her ear and every syllable was a soft puff of warmth. "No love bites in public places", Mulder said with a lopsided, self depreciating grin as he placed a soft peck on the aforementioned spot on her neck. "And I don't forget anything about you".

Scully smiled at the feeling of Mulder's lips against her skin, her previous irritation almost forgotten for the time being.

"What is it with men and love bites? Women aren't looking to be marked as your territory", she said in an attempt to be serious.

Mulder pulled away slightly, his eyes bright and a smirk on his face. He loosened his tie slightly (it was only then that Scully realised that it was a lot tighter around his neck than usual) and opened the first couple of buttons of his white shirt, exposing a traffic light coloured love bite on the flesh between his collarbone and lower neck.

"What's marking your territory to do with being a man. Huh, Scully?", he said, placing his hands against her lower back. "I think women do the very same thing just fine", he smirked lovingly, bending down a little to whisper in her ear as though he was sharing a secret. His hands slipping from their original place to under her shirt, rubbing across the skin on her back. "Especially fiery little red heads".

Scully rolled her eyes at this (there was no way she was letting him seduce her at work) but Mulder continued anyway.

"Am I your territory, Scully?", he asked huskily, putting on his bedroom voice. The only thing that was giving him away was his eyes, they were wide with mischief and tease.

Scully burst out laughing, lightly pushing him away. "I'll consider taking you, Mulder", she replied not paying attention to the innuendo that had rolled easily off of her tongue as she began buttoning up Mulder's shirt before someone walked in on them. She eyed the love bite on Mulder's body with something Mulder recognised as pride. "But you're gonna have to be good and wait a few hours".

He smirked devilishly, pressing a kiss to the corner of her mouth. "You can take me whenever you want, Honey", Mulder said, emphasising the word 'take' with a suggestive smile, almost proud that his sense of humour had even somewhat rubbed off on her after the last few years as friends. "And I'll try and contain myself until then".

Scully rolled her eyes, shaking her head and straightening his tie. "You have such a dirty mind, Mulder", she deadpanned, looking over his shoulder to the clock on the wall behind him, remembering that she had Sex-Ed with the freshmen (just right of Middle School) in ten minutes.

"And I have to go now, Mulder or I will be late", Scully said pecking him swiftly on the lips and starting towards the door.

Mulder groaned softly, pulling her back towards him by the hand until their bodies were aligned once again. "Scully, you and I have Tuesday's class after lunch free this year", he said, wanting to stay together even just a little longer.

They usually spent the forty minutes after lunch in either one of their classes rooms correcting homework or class tests but it didn't really matter that it was a bit tedious, the company was still good.

Scully smiled, patting his chest firmly. Really she was endeared by his open affection, resulting in a wave of love for him flowing over her. Things were in some ways so different then they were before but it was really nice that way and not exactly hard to get used to considering how close a friendship they had had before.

"it's a favour for Skinner", she said, leaving out what she was actually teaching because she knew Mulder would tease her mercilessly for an endless amount of time.

She was teaching the freshmen the hour long annual Sex-Ed lesson .

Skinner asked her to do it because of Ms Lee's puppet show staring Cecil the Condom, Sandy the Sanitary Towel and Stevie the STD last year. The whole charade just made large group if thirteen year olds laugh and didn't really teach them anything about their sexual wellbeing. Since then the parent's council had decided that a science teacher would be able to tackle the lesson a lot better while the rest was covered separately in Health Class.

Mulder pouted slightly, kissing her forehead. "I'll see you later then".

...

So baby pull me closer in the back seat of your Rover

That I know you can't afford, bite that tattoo on your shoulder

Pull the sheets right off the corner of the mattress that you sold

From your room way back in Boulder. We ain't ever getting older.

~ Closer, The Chainsmokers ft Halsey

...

XXXXXXXXXXXX

Woodrow Wilson High School

Teacher's Lounge

11.59am

...

Mulder sighed looking over the Psychology curriculum printed in front of him. 'He'll, this is gonna be a busy year', he thought to himself. Mulder pushed the booklet of sheets aside and picked up some of the paper he had been doodling earlier, crumbling it up.

Mulder whirled around 180 degrees on his chair, tossing the paper into the bin. "He shoots, he scores and the crowd goes wild", he cheers at his trashcan slam dunk.

He turned back into his desk again, ignoring the mixture of amused and fed up looks from the handful of teachers around him. Each of them had a desk in the staff room for between classes, lunchtime corrections and in the event any of them wanted to call in after hours when the classroom doors would be locked by the school janitorial squad.

Just then a knock came to door, Mulder being the closest of the teachers got up to get it. It wasn't as though he minded a distraction anyway. He loved being a teacher, he really did but damn, the paper work around it sucked. Their was only so many junior psychology essays you could read and correct in a row without going totally demented.

He pulled back the door to reveal a very small looking fourteen year old with a pair of braids. Mulder smiled at the kid, somewhat reminded of Samantha with her size and sense of style.

"Ms Scully asked me to get a big Blue box off of her desk", the girl requested, proudly because she had been trusted with such a job on her first week at school.

Mulder nodded, having spotted such a box on Scully's desk when he came into the staffroom earlier. "Sure thing".

He headed towards Scully's desk, which was opposite his and began rummaging around under it in search of the aforementioned box.

Spotting it under a stack of A4 paper, Mulder pulled it out a little rougher than he shoulder have, the box tipping over and it's contents spilling out across the floor.

Condoms, lots of them. Some were out loose and the rest were in little blue foil packages.

A few of the teachers who glanced up from their work looked at Mulder strangely (they had always thought of him as a bit of a pervert anyway considering how his collection of tapes weren't exactly a secret) but he paid no heed of them, his own gaze pinponging between the mess of latex to the small girl who was still waiting outside the door.

He looked at the offending contraceptives, his eyes widening. There was no way he had been expecting this off all things. Surely, this wasn't the right box!

Mulder made haste gathering up the box's spilled contents and dumped them back into the box, covering it with the lid and heading back towards the door without another glance back at his colleagues. He may not be able to save his own dignity in front of the other teachers but he could still save Scully her's.

Then the pieces suddenly clicked together. A freshman student. A years supply of condoms.

Scully was teaching Sex-Ed!

(and man was Mulder going to give her hell for it.)

He quickly offered to help the little girl bring the boxes back to the science lab all the while considering how best to tease Scully about having your teach a bunch of kids about the birds and the bees.

XXXXXXXXXXXX

...

Science Lab

12.00am

...

Scully's eyes widen when she her eyes fall on Mulder's through the narrow glass window of the science lab door. Holly Colton (who she had sent to get the condoms that Skinner had ordered for the Sex-Ed programme from the staff room) had informed her when she had returned to class that the psychology teacher from across the hall was outside.

'What are you doing', Scully mouthed to Mulder who shrugged nonchalantly holding up the cardboard box, his eyes glinting with mischief. With a quick eye roll in his direction, Scully excuses herself and tells the class she will be back in a minute before heading towards the door.

"Mulder, I need those for my class", Scully whined, making a move to get the box out from Mulder's firm grasp. She really didn't need this right now. She had just spent the last fifteen minutes being asked really random off the wall questions and a headache was beginning to brew in her temples.

He shook his head playfully. "And here was I thinking that you needed them for extracurricular use", Mulder said jokingly, moving the package from one hand to the other to delay Scully returning to her class. Mulder smiled as her expression changed to one of reluctant amusement. He loved that he could do that.

Scully snorted, finally getting the box away from him while he was distracted. "You wish, Mulder".

"Hey, Scully", Mulder said as she began to retreat back into her classroom. "Do you mind if I finish my corrections in your classroom".

Scully eyed him sceptically. She knew immediately that mixing Mulder with sex education would be a terrible idea that would leave her with at least half a dozen students mentally scarred for life. "What's wrong with your own classroom or the staffroom.

Mulder shrugged. "I let Langly give his computer studies tuition in my classroom for an hour thus morning and that box of yours may or may not have opened down in the staffroom earlier so I wouldn't be surprised if good old conservative Ms Lee went after me violently for setting a bad example to the kids if I show up there again today", he finished jokingly.

Scully sighed tiredly, her head chef worsening. In any other situation she would find the idea of Woodrow Wilson's oldest and most conservative teacher on Mulder's case quite amusing but she really did need to get back to her class before all hell broke loose in there. "Alright, Mulder. You can come in and use my desk as long as you behave" .

Mulder pouted slightly, masking a chuckle as he followed her into the classroom. "Don't I always?".

XXXXXXXXXXXX

With these hungry eyes

One look at you and I can't disguise

I've got hungry eyes

I feel the magic between you and I

~Eric Carmen, Hungry Eyes

...

2 hours later

...

Teacher's Lounge

2.00pm

...

"Don't knock it until you try it, right Ms Scully", Scully imitated with a huff sitting down next to Mulder at their table in the empty teachers lounge. "Seriously, Mulder?", she asked him.

(She couldn't believe he had said that when one of the students had expressed their disgust aloud after the topic of oral sex had come up but really it wasn't half as bad as when Mulder had informed the class that pubic hair works like Velcro so the man doesn't slip off the woman while dancing the "naked pretzel".

It was two classes ago now but teaching Sex-Ed with Mulder would forever be burned into her mind as something that was a terrible idea.

She had covered up both of his comments pretty well, throwing him her signature 'You've Got To Be Kidding Me' glare. It wasn't until one of the boys asked what the foreskin was for (Scully had explained that it was to protect the head of the penis) that she had enough.

One of the girls had in her shock, not thinking before she spoke aloud, exclaimed at this new information, "Penises have heads?".

Mulder responded in a good-naturedly sarcastic tone of voice. "They also have two eyes, a nose and a little mouth. Absolutely terrifying".

Unsurprisingly the classroom had erupted in laughter. At this the girl had gone bright red but joined in with the rest of the class, howling in glee.

As soon as Scully had settled them down (them including Mulder) she had taken the next slip of paper out of the question and answers box only to find this in a scribbled note inside.

'Does watching porn make your sperm stronger'.

Scully rolled her eyes as she read the note aloud. What is it with boys (and men), porn and sperm strength. She was just about to speak up and inform the class that no, watching porn has no effect on the strength of your sperm when Mulder spoke up instead, giving his six and four pence on the subject.

"Well, we know someone has dedicated himself to train during the off-season".

As much as Scully loves him, that was the point where she had to kick him out of her classroom.)

Mulder chuckled, shuffling his chair closer to her's. "Don't pretend that you didn't think it was a little funny", he said with a lopsided grin.

He had only been fooling around and besides no one would able to resist making a few joke given the material he had been given by those kids. Everyone apart from Scully that is, ever the professional.

Scully smiled despite herself but remained outwardly stubborn. Yes, she could admit to herself that Mulder's comments in the classroom had been typical 'Mulder's-Sense-Of-Humour' remarks that were usually pretty amusing when she was in the mood for them but it hadn't been the time or place.

"It wasn't funny at all, Mulder", she exclaimed tiredly.

Mulder pouted slightly, dropping the subject for the time being. "How's your head now", he asked, passing Scully the coffee he had gotten her earlier across the table. He had recalled that she had been massaging the bridge of her nose earlier, something she only did when a thunderstorm of a headache was rumbling up there.

"Not as bad as before", she answered, talking about sip of her coffee, forgiving Mulder for now. "How did you know?".

Mulder shrugged sheepishly. "You were massaging right there", he said playfully pointing comically at the bridge of her nose in an attempt to lighten the mood. "All during first period".

Scully smirked. "I see someone was paying very close attention", she said teasingly, shuffling closer to him, resting her hand on his upper thigh as pay back for when he had tried to seduce her that morning in his classroom.

Mulder grinned, only then realising he was close enough to her to count all the freckles on her nose. Smiling, he wrapped an arm around her back. "Maybe you'll let me try something else to get rid of that headache of yours", he said, lips almost brushing her's as he spoke.

Scully grinned, pulling back, changing her mind about trying to seduce Mulder as payback in the currently empty lounge because realistically, anyone could walk in. "As nice as that sounds. I'm going to have to turn you down there, buddy. We don't want The Three Stooges walking in on something they don't need to see".

Mulder smirked, retreating a little also. "I think you're the one with the real dirty mind, Scully. My intentions were purely innocent", he replied, hazel eyes flashing.

Scully rolled her eyes returning to her coffee. "Sure they were".

Just then the door opened and in through came the three Lone Gunmen, taking their usual seats both opposite and beside Mulder and Scully. After they came in, one by one the teachers of Woodrow Wilson began filing in the door until most of the tables were full.

...

Science Lab

5.15pm

...

"Your place or mine", Mulder said poking his head into Scully's classroom at quarter past five that evening. He spotted her at the top of the room, reading glasses on, almost at the end of what looked like a mountain of paperwork.

Scully looked up from her desk, seeing him at the door, tie loosened considerably, ready to leave. "Depends if we can both fit on that couch of yours", she replied jokingly, knowing well that Mulder usually slept on his bed now, right beside her.

Mulder grinned, sitting down opposite her. "I guess it's yours then", he replied. "I can grab some take out on the way over", he offered before adding. " Scully, did I tell you that I spotted a new Italian place the other day. Want to try it out".

Scully considered his offer for a second. "Anything vegetarian that isn't very cheesy sounds good to me", she replied, remembering her diet just in the nick of time.

Mulder looked at her dramatically aghast. "Ahh, but Scully that's just gonna be rabbit food", he teased.

Scully rolled her eyes, eyeing him from over her glasses. "There's nothing wrong with wanting to be healthy, Mulder", she said. "Have you much more left to do?".

Mulder sighed, visibly deflating at her words that reminded him of the huge stack of exams he had to correct for his seniors not to mention a pile of 'know your mind' worksheets he still had to draw up for his freshmen. "I think I'll have to stay for another half hour or so. What about you?".

Scully smiled, half sympathetically and half 'I-told-you-so'. "That's what you get for spending your free time and supervision classes playing trashcan basketball and "helping" me teach Sex-Ed".

Mulder grimaced slightly, "I take it you're leaving me here to put in freebie overtime alone then".

Scully sighed, patting his hand. "If it was any other day I would tough it out with you but my Mom's coming over after work to talk about Missy".

Mulder looked up, forgetting his own petty misfortune in light of Scully's genuinely concerned tone. "Is your sister okay, Scully", he asked.

"I'm not sure to be honest", Scully replied, quietly. "She's been very distant with all of us lately and has been showing up at Mom's at really weird hours looking pretty beaten up. She won't tell any of us what's going on with her and mom and I are beginning to get worried. We haven't said anything to Bill yet though because he would go in all guns blazing, demanding to know everything".

Mulder nodded knowingly. "Why didn't you said anything sooner", he asked gently, squeezing her hand.

"There's wouldn't have been much more to say, Mulder. I learned a long time ago not to worry too much about Melissa. She's stubborn and tough and can look after herself. You know, she disappeared off the face of the earth away for about ten months three years ago and turned up later just fine", Scully sighed, continuing. "She seems really shook up now and none of us know how to approach her about it".

Mulder came around to her side of the table to offer Scully a little more comfort, pulling her into an embrace that she gladly returned. He didn't want to go all psychologist on her, he knew that she wouldn't appreciate him doing that right now. All he could do was be there for her and try to help her.

Scully sighed deeply, settling her head against his chest, breathing in his comforting scent. She wouldn't admit out loud how much she needed his support at times but for the first time since her worries about Melissa began to get more serious, Scully felt hopeful and at peace. "I just don't know how to reassure mom when I'm worried about Missy myself".

Mulder matched her sigh, retreating a little to press a kiss to her forehead. "Then don't, Scully. You should tell your mom how you feel".

Scully shook her head slightly. "I don't want to make my mother's worries worse than they already are, Mulder. I couldn't do that to her", she said quietly, moving her hands up to rest on Mulder's shoulders.

Mulder nodded quietly, understanding. "You know you can talk to me, right Scully", he asked, stroking her cheek, gently.

Scully smiled. "I know, Mulder", she said, placing a lingering kiss on his larger bottom lip, tasting his concern. "And I love you for it".

"Anytime, Scully", he answered, covering her lips with his for a final sweet moment before she had to go. "I love you too".

...

But then I need your voice

As the key to unlock

All the love that's trapped inside of me.

So tell me when it's time to say

I love you

~Green Day, When It's Time.

XXXXXXXXXXXXX

...

Scully's Apartment

7.09pm

...

"I come baring gifts", Mulder announced, jokingly once Scully had opened the door of her apartment to let him in. In one hand he had a bag containing spinach and mushrooms stuffed shells, Chicken Alfredo and a slice of Tiramisu to share.

Scully smiled gratefully, relieving him of the bag. "Smells great, Mulder", she said, pecking him on the lips in greeting and in thanks. "Did you finish up what you had left to do".

Mulder groaned quietly, following her into the living room. "Yeah", he said in an almost whine, despite the fact he was glad that Scully seemed more upbeat than she had been earlier on.

Scully chuckled, patting him half teasingly, half trying comfortingly on the arm. "All work and no play makes Mulder a dull boy", she said turning away from him teasingly, to head towards the kitchen.

Mulder chuckled and reached out to grab her by the waist, pulling her back against his chest where she landed against him with a soft thud. He let his hands, cold from being out in the September evening run ticklishly across the skin he exposed on her back. "Wanna help me with the 'play' end of that", he whispered huskily against her neck.

Scully squealed as his arms wrapped tightly around her waist, his fingers continuing on their tickle torture while she was still trying to wriggle out of his embrace. "Mulder", Scully scolded, handing him back the food. "My mom is still in the kitchen".

Mulder gave her a lopsided grin of apology and settled his left hand on it's usual spot on her lower back, nuzzling her temple with the tip of his nose as they headed into the kitchen to Maggie.

"Hello Fox", Mrs Scully said, smiling as she got up to greet the younger man.

Mulder smiled in response, returning the older woman's hug. "Always great to see you, Mrs Scully".

"And you as well, Fox".

Scully smiled quietly as she pulled the plates from the cupboard under her countertop at the exchange between Mulder and her mother. Her mother had always been very fond of Mulder ever since Scully had been in a coma and from what Scully knew the feeling was mutual.

She and her mother had spoken at some lengths over Melissa current behaviour, both very concerned but both eventually agreed that after talking with both Melissa and more subtly with her boyfriend Kevin (who was living with her) there was nothing they could do without their interference being an abomination. After Melissa was a grown woman of thirty two, surely she knew that she could open up to her mother and sister if something serious was going on.

At the end the two of them agreed that they just had to wait until Melissa was ready to talk to them, whenever that day would come.

Mulder looked across the table at Scully in that moment, catching her eye and spotting her hopeless expression. 'Are you okay', he mouthed, even though he was still talking to Mrs Scully. He knew without asking where her mind had gone and wanted her to know that he was there for here should she need him.

Scully nodded. 'I tell you later', she mouthed back, setting their plates on the table with a extra one for her mother. "Did you have dinner, Mom?", Scully asked.

Mrs Scully smiled looking between her daughter and Mulder. "I wouldn't want to intrude on your and Fox's evening", she said with a knowing look angled at her daughter that somehow Mulder missed (or at least pretended to).

Maggie Scully knew well what it was like to be young, passionate and in love.

Scully shook her head, nodding at Mulder to back her up. "of course you wouldn't be intruding, Mom. Mulder and I were just going to eat in tonight and watch a few movies, right Mulder?".

Mulder nodded, smiling between the two women. He had seen Mrs Scully as an almost maternal figure for quite some time, she was the only person he felt had understood him when Scully had been sick in a coma. That was one of the worst times in his life, right up there with Samantha's kidnapping.

Despite that however, he still saw an opportunity to make Scully roll her eyes at his antics. "Of course not, Mrs Scully", he said, grinning from ear to ear. "I have a soft spot for all Scully women", he said nodding between them. "Dana's my favourite Scully of all though. Probably my favourite human of all actually", he finished, winking at Scully who as he had predicted, rolled her eyes, swatting him affectionately on the shoulder. "But I wouldn't want to spend my evening with two other women".

Mrs Scully smiled, endeared by the open affection Fox Mulder had for her daughter and Dana for him. She hadn't missed the little silent conversation between them earlier and knew that Dana had shared her worries about Missy with Fox.

Although Scully had tried to reassure her mother aloud, Maggie could still see right through her. She also knew that when Fox had said 'all Scully women' he meant Melissa too and in that he too showed his concern.

"No", Mrs Scully said kindly, politely turning down the offer. "I had dinner earlier with a few friends and you two were in school all day. You need your food and rest", she fussed, glancing between the pair of them. "I should get going", Mrs Scully added, grabbing her coat from behind her chair.

"Are you sure, Mom?", Scully asked.

"I'm certain, dear", Maggie replied firmly, giving both her daughter and Mulder and quick hug and an affection pat on the cheek before heading out of the kitchen towards the door.

"If you're sure", Scully said following her mother out along while Mulder trailed a few paces behind her.

Mrs Scully nodded, glancing once again between the pair of them. "Look after each other, won't you?", she said, knowing the answer. No matter how old her children got Maggie Scully still felt for them, still worried about them but she was comforted with the thought that Fox Mulder would never let anything bad happen to her daughter and Dana would never let anything bad befall him.

"We will, Mom".

"We always do".

XXXXXXXXXXXX

When you walk in to the room,

you pull me close and we start to move

And we're spinning with the stars above

And you lift me up on the wing of love

Oh baby do you know what that's worth.

Oh heaven is a place on earth.

~Belinda Carlisle, Heaven is a Place on Earth.

...

Mulder smiled, settling down next to Scully on her sofa and setting the plate with the slice of rich looking Tiramisu between them, handing her a beer as he popped off the cap off of his own.

Scully sighed contentedly as they snuggled closer together. She pulled the patchwork quilt that was usually kept at the back of the sofa onto the two of them, covering them generously.

"What do you want to watch, Scully?", Mulder asked, his mouth full of coffee, chocolate and caramel flavoured cream, looking between her and their options on the coffee table.

"I picked up Pet Semetary, The Exorcist and Breakfast at Tiffany's in the video store on the way home", she replied, shovelling a small spoon of the desert into her mouth and accidentally leaving cream on her face.

"Woman after my own heart", Mulder chuckled, eyeing the cream on her upper lip with an amused eyebrow raised, smiling he reached across the few remaining centimetres between them to kiss the cream off of the side of her mouth.

"mmmh", he mumbled softly, his nose touching her's. "You know what, Scully?", he asked flirtatiously, locking his lips. "I think dessert tastes even better when eaten this way", he mumbles, leaning in again.

Scully rolled her eyes, smiling affectionately but leaned into him too, merging his lips with her's, revelling in the feeling of their bodies pressed so close to one another. His very presence was a comfort to her, his arms a refuge from the troubles of the world. She hoped he felt the same way about her.

The feeling was still relatively new even though they had been together for the last two months. The feeling was something they knew that they would never grow tired of, the hungry passion, the roaming hands, tongues exploring each others mouths, battling for dominance. It tasted of cream and coffee and chocolate and love.

Mulder smiled against her lips when they briefly pulled apart for much needed oxygen. He wrapped his arms fully around her and Scully settled back against his chest, now sitting as close together as humanly possible, covered in a red and pink quilted blanket and the love they felt for one another.

"So", Mulder said after a few minutes when they had their chosen movie up and running and the plate of dessert finished. "Did you talk to your Mom?".

Scully nodded sombrely. "We decided that we can't push ourselves on Melissa, that she'll come to us when she's ready to talk".

Mulder smiled sadly, squeezing her a little tighter to let her know he was there for her. "Don't worry, Scully. Sometimes these things take time".

XXXXXXXXXXXX

...

Melissa's Residence

Washington DC

11.45pm

...

Mellissa flinched as he came closer to her. She berated herself internally for not being able to find the inner strength to get up and leave. She had always thought that she would be strong enough to do so if it had ever came to this.

Kevin comes closer to her ,dark eyes lidded and hair shiny with sweat after the violation he had committed against the woman who was supposed to his girlfriend, the woman he was supposed to love. The woman who up until not so long ago believed she loved him.

Mellissa heard a small whimper rise up he throat, pooling up from the put of her stomach but somehow she found it in herself to choke it down. She wouldn't give him the satisfaction of seeing her breal.

Her father had always told her to leave if a man was abusing her the way Kevin had been for the last while. Kevin was bending her so far she was often afraid she would break, becoming of shell of her former self in the process

She swears she could hear a slight accent in Kevin's voice as he came closer, his angular face and tan skin only an inch or so from her's. Was it a hint of Russian she heard, Mellissa wasn't sure.

She knew that her mother and Dana were beginning to catch on though, that was the thought she held on to as Kevin's fist violently collided with her body.

Mellissa wanted to hate him and she was almost sure she did as bile rose in her stomach at the sight off him.

She was trapped, unable to breath, unable to rationalise.

Melissa Scully longed for escape.

...

Hi Guys, I hopened you enjoyed that. I know Mellissa is very very very OOC but it'seems necessary for the the next few chapters. Please leave a review and let me know what you thought whether it's good or bad. Thanks for reading!

Chapter Text

Chapter 13: The Many Shades Between Love and Hate

...

A falling star fell from your heart

And landed in my eyes

I screamed aloud as it tore through them

Now it's left me blind

~Cosmic Love, Florence and the Machine

...

Woodrow Wilson High School

Psychology Classroom

Washington DC

10.23am

...

Mulder grinned widely down at the group of tired looking freshmen. They seemed to be fitting into high school life well and had somehow recovered from the 'Sex Talk' that they had had early in the week despite how Scully had been stressing over the fact that she and Mulder would definitely have some parents in complaining about the inappropriate talk that the kids had received from a pair of teachers who were lovers outside of school.

Mulder quickly went through the last few slides on the topic he had begun covering with them. (It was more of an introduction to Psychology than anything else.) Before reaching the last one that displayed the homework that the class would have for the weekend.

Mulder turned to the class with a smirk, watching their faces change from shock to confusion to a look that blankly stated: 'Are you fucking kidding me' after they had read the slide.

Please do one of the following by Tuesday

a. Master King Fu

b. Switch religions for a day

c. Wear a fake moustache for 24hours

d. End world hunger

e. Find your nemesis, earn their trust, then vanquish them (preferably with magic)

f. Find a genie and wish for world peace

g. In the shower, use conditioner first then use shampoo just to see what would happen. (I'm curious)

Mulder looked around proudly, awaiting someone's outspoken reaction.

"This is a joke right, Sir?", the short and annoyed looking red headed girl in the back row asked plainly, eyeing Mulder with wide eyes that told him that he was crazy.

Mulder chuckled slightly. "You wanna chance it and find out on Tuesday".

He wasn't really being serious as he always liked to joke around with new students for the first few weeks considering the fact that they were going to get away with just about anything in his classroom for the next five years.

It was only a few more minutes to the end of first period and Mulder had just spotted that one of the boys had fallen asleep in the back of the class, the tall boy right next to the red-headed girl.

Smiling to himself, he walked down to the back of the class to confront the kid.

The classroom erupted in quiet giggles, expecting their peer to get a earful from their psychology teacher. 'Aren't kids cruel?', Mulder thought to himself. 'but not as cruel as me!'.

Being overly cruel wasn't Mr Spooky's style though, he preferred to get even.

The dark haired boy (Patrick Miller, Mulder remembered his name was ) snored softly, totally oblivious to his psychology teacher bending down on one knee before him, untying his shoelaces and retying both of his laces, binding both of the boy's feet together.

Mulder stood up quickly, putting a finger to his lips in an attempt to keep his highly amused class quiet.

The classroom shrieked in silent laughter. The only one who seemed annoyed was the red haired girl (Teresa Einstein or something, wasn't it?, Mulder was almost sure, his photographic memory never failed him) sitting next to the boy, silently fuming as she looked between Mulder and her sleeping friend, ready to wake-up Miller before the bell rang, startling him into waking up, getting up and falling on his face. She was his friend, the least she could do was save him the embarrassment, right?

Just as she was about to reach across and poke Miller on the shoulder and save him the ridicule of being the victim of a practical joke by Mr Spooky: the bell rang!

And Miller fell flat on his face, the classroom erupting with laughter.

XXXXXXXXXXXX

...

Woodrow Wilson High School

Teacher's Lounge

11.30am

...

"What the hell were you thinking, Mulder", Scully asked, sitting down across from Mulder at their table in the teacher's lounge.

Mulder smiled goofily, abandoning his school canteen food for the time being.

"You know, the usual. Fate. Destiny. Aliens. How to throw a curve ball. A beautiful red haired science teacher who works in the lab across from my classroom".

Scully rolled her eyes. "Mulder, you know exactly what I'm talking about", she replied, sounding more concerned than truly annoyed. "You can't go around tying a kid's shoelaces together as punishment or to amuse yourself and the rest of the class. You know that, Mulder", she finished with a sigh.

There was only so much Skinner could vouch for Mulder when parents came in to complain about his sometimes unorthodox methods of teaching despite the fact his class nearly always got good grades in Psychology. There was only so much both Scully and Skinner could say to have his back against the parent's council.

Mulder waved his hand in an offhanded way. "I apologised to the kid afterwards and he found it as funny as everyone else", Mulder paused for a second, recallingerie the flushed face of Patrick Miller as he had pulled himself from the classroom floor. "Well, as soon as he stood up and his face turned back to the normal colour anyway".

Scully huffed slightly, dropping it for the time being. "Oh no, I wouldn't expect a thing from Miller's family. He was singing your praise after the class", she replied with a half smile before continuing, "You're probably his favourite teacher now. But I think you might have created an enemy in his friend, Teresa Einstein", Scully said with a half amused smile.

Her conversation with the girl after she had asked her friend why he had a bump on his forehead would have been quite funny under other circumstances. "She's the one who came to me", Scully said.

Mulder looked over at her, head tilted and eyes wide in amusement. "Really?, wow, that I wasn't expecting. Maybe she'll trying and vanquish me with magic, Scully", he said with a sigh, recalling the homework that he had given them for the weekend.

Scully shook her head. "Really, Mulder. Magic?". She had no clue what went on in that man's head half the time. Hell, a quarter of the time even.

Mulder shrugged, sheepishly. "Just a homework assignment".

Scully rolled her eyes, groaning a little as she plopped her own lunch down on the desk across from his. "God, you are spooky dork sometimes, Mulder", she said, teasingly.

Mulder smiled goofily, reaching across to take her hand and press it against his lips. "Yeah, but I'm your spooky dork".

Scully smiled despite herself, shaking her head affectionately. "Just watch it in future, Mulder. For your own sake. You don't need more angry mothers coming in for your head on a plate".

Mulder smirked flirtatiously. "You'll protect me, right Scully?".

XXXXXXXXXXXX

...

It's a different kind of danger and the bells are ringing out

And I'm calling for my mother as they pulled the pillars down

It's a different kind of danger and my feet are spinning 'round

Never knew I was a dancer 'till Delilah showed me how.

~Delilah, Florence and the Machine

...

Melissa Scully's Residence

Washington DC

5.04pm

...

Melissa looked wildly around the apartment that she had shared with Kevin ever since she had returned from San Diego almost three years before. The day she had given up the little light of her life, her hope of a better existence away from Kevin.

She had been dating him for two years when it had happened. When she had found a reason to leave him for the first time.

Her reason was meaningful enough to her to leave not only Kevin but her family behind without much more than a sound. She had wanted to stay gone long enough for Kevin to have moved on with someone else but something about him pulled her back in, making her give up the one thing that was most important to her in the world (her reason for leaving in the first place) to return to him.

She found out later that it was not because of love she stayed with him, but out of fear for what he could (and would) do to the people she holds most dear.

But despite this, thinking about what she had lost killed her little by little everyday.

Melissa had first noticed a change in Kevin's behaviour just before she left and because of his dramatic change in personality she realised that she had to leave to protect the one thing that meant most to her. Everyday since she had regretted returning to him and leaving the life she could have been leading behind.

Their were times when Kevin was perfectly normal, times where he almost resembled the man that she had fallen for in the first place but there were other times when he became distant, cold and dangerous. His eyes would turn from their usual soft grey to a steely gunpowder colour that made Melissa feel uneasy. His voice would deepen and his usual American accent would gain a slight Russian twist to it.

He would bark viciously about some alternate reality where he had been asked to kill her sister by some powerful man who Melissa could tell that this other version of Kevin was desperate to please. He would rant for lengths about some bizarre reality where Dana and Mulder were FBI who were about to uncover the truth about aliens. It sounded insane at the beginning but the menace in his eyes when he told her he was assigned to the task of killing Dana shook Melissa to the bone.

When she first heard this from him Melissa knew that she had to stay. She knew that she would have to be there when Kevin became this other person who could hurt Dana. Melissa felt that she had to take the brunt of it all so that her little sister wouldn't have to. She would look Kevin up (or Alex as he told her he was called in this state) if she had to, distract him as much as possible for as long as she had to but she as sure as hell wouldn't let him anywhere near Dana.

Melissa Scully stayed not because she loved Kevin Walton (or whoever he seemed to be these days) but because she couldn't let anything happen to her younger sister or to the precious child who she had left in the Children's Centre in San Diego to keep her away from Kevin.

Melissa zipped up her handbag, taking one last glance at picture of the tiny blonde haired baby who was tightly wrapped in a soft yellow blanket, before stowing the only photograph she kept of Emily inside.

She still remembered the moment that she first held Emily as though it was yesterday. The child was small and gentle and beautiful. When Melissa looked her she didn't see Kevin in the slightest bit.

Instead she saw herself, she saw her mother, her father, Dana, Bill and Charlie. This little girl was a part of her family as much if not more than the rest of them and she hoped that they would all meet one day.

Pulled from her thoughts, Melissa could hear the sound of a car as it screeched to a halt outside. Anxiously, she looked out of the window to make sure that it wasn't Kevin back early.

So with her heart racing, she left the house, slamming the door out behind her while she thanked her lucky stars that it hadn't been him outside.

...

The stars, the moon they have all been blown out.

You left me I the dark

No dawn, no day.

I'm always in this twilight.

In the shadow of your heart

~Florence and the Machine, Cosmic Love

...

Woodrow Wilson High School

Washington DC

5.30pm

...

"Well, Scully", Mulder said settling back into his chair and pushing away from the desk in front of him, tossing his pen away. "I don't know about you but I am done with corrections this evening".

Scully looked up at him over the edge of one of her students disciplinary files, "Good for you, Mulder", she said with a groan, pulling her reading glasses agitatedly off of her face and dropping them on the desk between them. "Because I'm nowhere near done".

Mulder smiled teasingly, getting up and walking around to the back of her chair, dropping down low enough to whisper in her ear. "Anyway I can convince you to come home with me early", he asked almost seductively, rubbing his hands across her shoulders in a soothing manner, as he began to massage at the knots of tension near her shoulder blades.

Scully shrugged, holding back a tired smile. "No, Mulder. You can't", she replied evenly, leaning into his touch but still trying to stifle any vocal reaction to the actions of his fingers. "I've got so much work to do".

Mulder stopped momentarily before moving his lips to the side of her neck, under her ear lobe and down as far as he could go without unbuttoning her shirt, gently nipping and pecking as he went, expressing love and devotion in every touch and caress. "Nothing I can do to get you to leave it down a few hours early?".

"Muuulder", Scully moaned quietly as his lips met a certain spot that he knew was particularly sensitive. She stood up quickly to meet his lips with her own, the papers forgotten in a pile on the floor. She pushed him over a little until he was sitting on the edge of the desk and at the same level as her and took a fistful of his cream shirt in his hands.

Scully let her hands roam up under his shirt, his body much warmer than her hands. He hissed slightly against her lips at the contact but made no attempts to move out of her grasp.

"You're cold", Mulder mouthed softly against her lips as he wrapped his arms tightly around her lower back and waist, rubbing across her back in figure eights and other patterns only he understood.

Scully chuckled slightly. "You can warm me up as much as you like when we get home, Mulder", she said running her hands across his waist, looping her fingers into his belt loops. "I just have a lot to do before we go".

She could feel just how much he wanted her right now and was almost glad that he couldn't feel how much she wanted him because then nothing would or could stop them from ripping off the rest of each other's cloths and going all the way right there on the desk like mammals.

Mulder nodded in silent understanding, pecking Scully on the top of the nose. "Don't worry, Scully. I love putting in overtime with you". And it was true. There was many things that he loved doing with Scully and working with her was definitely one of them. "It's probably my second favourite thing we do together".

Scully laughed slightly, her head hitting against his chest at the honesty of his reply. "I love you, Poopyhead", the joke term of endearment now falling easily off of her lips.

"Ditto, Honey", Mulder replied with a grin, whispering against her hair. "Always"

Just then a knock came to the door and Mulder and Scully quickly detangled themselves from one another, straightening clothes and hair. "Come in", Scully called to the closed door as soon as she was sure that Mulder was standing behind her (so that Mulder Jr who was still not entirely calmed down was hidden from view).

Only a second after her reply the door opened to reveal a slightly day-worn Skinner, his shirt sleeves pulled up and tie loosened a little more than usual. "Scully. Mulder", he greeted, nodding to both of them with a smile.

"I was just wondering how you guys are at speaking French".

Mulder and Scully looked between each other in surprise at the seemingly random question from their boss before turning back to him again. "We both did it in high school", Scully answered, while Mulder nodded his assent at her reply for both of them.

Skinner nodded. "Would you two be free to go with the juniors to Paris on the mid-semester break then".

Scully looked at him confused, well aware that it was usually the French teachers job to go with the students on any cultural trips abroad. "Isn't Ms Antoinette not responsible for that, Sir", Scully asked.

Skinner nodded. "Usually, yes but I'm afraid Ms Antoinette will be gone on maternity leave by then and her doctor advised her not to travel abroad".

Mulder shrugged. "I'm in if Scully is". He quite liked the idea of a week in Paris with Scully whether or not there was a bunch of thirty something sixteen year olds to keep an eye on.

Skinner eyed him sceptically, he had been almost sure that Mulder (the more eccentric of the two) would be the harder one to convince. "Really?", he asked to make sure the younger man wasn't just pulling his leg for the hell of it.

Mulder nodded. "Sure, Skin-Man"

There also was the added bonus that it may finally give him the opportunity to give her something that he had been holding back on for the last week or two. The small velvet box had been weighing down the pocket of the coat that Mulder had been wearing for the last few days since he had finally gotten the nerve to pick it up from the jewellery store downtown.

He would have gotten out the tasteful sapphire and diamond ring and asked her straight out the previous weekend in bed after several hours of love-making but had put it off until later, in the event that Scully thought it was some kind of post-coital madness that had taken him over and end up laughing him off.

He smiled at the idea, setting it aside for later, his mind returning to his and Scully's still unconvinced boss."Learning a language is like riding a bike, right? Once learned never forgotten", even in Mulder's mind he sounded like he was laying it on thick.

At this Scully whirled around to face him, dropping her voice to a whisper to make it even somewhat harder for Skinner to hear. "Mulder, we haven't done French in thirteen years", she said seriously, looking up at him with eyes wide. "We need to think about this".

Mulder smiled, setting one of his hands on either of her shoulders. "Where's yours spontaneity", he asked with a smile. "We need a break anyway and they're sixteen year olds, not toddlers. They won't need 24hour supervision".

She relented slightly but was still contemplating, weighing up the pros and cons inside. "I guess a week out of DC won't kill us", she whispered slowly.

Mulder smiled, stopping himself before he kisses her right in front of their boss. "No it won't, Scully. It'll be great".

Scully turned to face Skinner with her arms folded. "If he's going, I'm going too", she said finally.

Skinner smiled, looking between the pair of them, clapping his hands together.

"Great. You guys go brush up on your French and get back to me".

...

I woke up in London yesterday, found myself in the city near Piccadilly

Don't know how I got here, but I got some pictures on my phone

New names and numbers that I don't know. I go to places like I belong

Take turns tonight, take turns to say. We're still young enough to say

Oh, this is gonna be a good life.

~ Good Life, One Republic.

...

Chapter Text

TV Shows » X-Files » Mr Spooky and Ms Starbuck
Author: pearlydewdrop «
Rated: T - English - Romance/Humor - Reviews: 87 - Published: 06-08-16 - Updated: 12-27-16 id:11988179
Chapter 14: Running Up That Hill

...

Dana Scully's Residence

Georgetown

Washington DC

...

If I only could, I'd make a deal with God

And get I'd him to swap our places

Be running up that road, running up that Hill

I'd be running up that building

~Kate Bush, Running Up That Hill

...

"Missy, What the hell is going on?", Dana said, concerned as she looked between her older sister and the small overnight bag that Melissa was carrying.

Her sister was only after showing up at her apartment, seemingly distracted and adamant to leave as soon as she had arrived, apparently having changed her mind about staying.

Something was definitely wrong.

Dana had not expected her sister's visit and had been busy, packing for the Cultural Trip that she and Mulder (who she had sent home to pack only hours earlier) were heading in a few days time.

She could vividly see a longish band of angry looking bruises marching from under Melissa's left eye to her collar bone on the opposite side, the rest was covered up by her long sleeved emerald green blouse but Scully could see in the way that her sister moved around, that her injuries were worse then she would have others believe. "You're hurt, Missy. You need to see a doctor".

Melissa gave her younger sister a steely glare. "Everything is fine, Dana. I just needed to get out of the house for a bit to get some air", she said seriously without a hint of the liberalness, optimism or free-spiritedness that Scully had always associated with her older sister. Scully could see Melissa almost wince as the words left her mouth, her breathing was hitched and her eyes lacked emotion.

Dana didn't know how much longer she could respect Melissa's wishes to stay out of things. She wasn't sure if she could continue to honour her agreement with her mother to wait until Melissa was ready to talk to them. Dana knew she had to help Melissa if there was anyway that she possibly could.

Over the last few days, Dana had found herself pondering over Melissa's situation and had come to one conclusion.

It was Kevin. It had to be.

She hadn't voiced her suspicions out loud (not even to Mulder) but she knew deep down it was true.

She also knew that her mother had similar suspicions, it was unspoken the last time they had brought up the topic of Melissa's abnormal behaviour and injuries but present, always present.

Something was very amiss and all the signs pointed to Kevin, the man they had all liked and trusted after they had seen how happy he and Melissa were when they met while travelling in India five years ago.

Even Ahab and Bill Jr (who were fiercely protective of all the women in the Scully family) had liked Kevin but now Dana could feel her blood begin to boil dangerously at even the mere thought of the man who was breaking Missy both mentally and physically, piece by piece.

She knew that Missy had to get out of there before something worse happened to her.

The dangerously determined look in Dana's eyes did not go unnoticed by Melissa. She could see that her sister was most certainly catching on with what was happening with Kevin but it was still too dangerous to allow Dana in on any part of the situation that directly concerned her.

Kevin's alter ego, Alex still wanted to hurt Dana (because of the whole alien conspiracy that he ranted about, something he was fully convinced that both Dana and Mulder played a key part in exposing). If that was what he wanted to do to Dana, God only know what he would do if he ever found out about Emily.

Melissa knew that she had to carry the burden of Kevin/Alex alone for now(even though it was becoming harder and harder to tell where one side of the man's personality ended and the other began. Alex and Kevin now seemed to be one of the same, ying and yang).

Melissa was finding it harder to separate Kevin, the man she had fallen in love with from Alex, the man who battered her senseless, raped her and threatened the lives of Dana and Mulder and probably Emily too, should he ever find out about her.

That wasn't the most difficult part anymore though, any pain that Kevin/Alex put her through was manageable.

It was the constant, ever present aching that the loss of Emily had left her with. The persistent agony that came with giving up her baby girl, the girl she had not yet gotten the pleasure of getting to know. Her beautiful blonde baby girl, her lost treasure.

She hoped desperately that she would someday get out from under Kevin's wrath if only to see her little girl just once (a hope she was struggling to hold on to)

Melissa was bursting to tell Dana at least some of this, the words were at the tip of her tongue, almost about to roll off, never to be taken back.

Instead, Melissa held on to the vow of silence she unknowingly had taken it upon herself to partake in.

"It's not a crime to want to see my baby sister, is it?", Melissa tried jokingly, in attempt to seem somewhat like her usual self.

Dana reached out for her sister's arm, totally unconvinced. "Missy, I know that something is wrong. I know that Kevin is hurting you".

Melissa sighed, not agreeing or disagreeing with the statement. Perhaps she wouldn't have to tell Dana everything but she could tell her some of the whole truth, a partial glance at the hell that had become her life.

Melissa stepped away from the door, gathering her thoughts as she moved to the living room area.

In the first words that left her mouth she found herself telling her sister about the only little bit of heaven (and hope) that was left in her life.

"I have a beautiful little girl, Dana", she said quietly. "I gave birth to her during the time I disappeared three years ago".

Dana swallowed her shock, like a mouthful of warm air into her lungs. "You have a three year old daughter", she asked quietly, her mouth slightly agape and her blue eyes wide.

Melissa nodded, without a glance her sister's way. She continued to stare down at knees, feeling guilty even though she had done the only thing she could think of to keep her baby safe from Alex/Kevin. "Yeah, I do. Her name is Emily and as far as I know she is still in the Children's Centre in San Diego. There's not a day that goes by where I don't think of her and wonder what would have happened if things had been different and I could have provided her with a safe childhood".

Dana sat down next to Melissa, the initial shock of having a little niece out there that she had never even heard of wearing off. "Why didn't you tell me, Melissa? I would have understood".

She shook her head sadly. "I know you would have, Danes. Our family was never the issue. I had to give up Emily to protect her from her father. Kevin was becoming more and more unpredictable by the day and she deserved more then a life where she was walking on eggshells around her own father", Melissa finished wearily, her eyes clouded like a stormy sea.

Dana squeezed her sister's hand, in some attempt to give her the strength to continue. She wished that she could take away some of her sister's pain. "You could have left him, Missy", she started weakly.

"We would have stood by you. Me, Mom and Dad, Charlie, even Bill after some whining", she finished with a humourless puff of laughter. "Why did you stay?".

Melissa gave her a watery smile, knowing she had already told her enough. She was sure that she couldn't let Dana in on the last part of her tale.

She knew her younger sister well enough to know that if Dana knew that one of only reasons her older sister was staying with her abusive partner was to protect her, the guilt she would feel would initially eat her alive and there was no doubt that Dana would insist that she could take care of herself.

"Thanks Danes but my reasons for staying are my own", she finished firmly. "But someday when all of this crap with Kevin is over; I'm going to find my little girl and we will be able to be a family again".

A tone of finality rung in the air and the two sisters fell silent. The conversation was over.

Dana sighed, relenting. She knew she wasn't going to get anything else out of Melissa tonight no matter how hard she tried. "Alright fine, but if you need to talk to anyone I'm here", she said quietly and genuinely, not sure if it was time to break the silence yet. "And I'm sure that you will see Emily again".

Melissa smiled gratefully, not being able to find the right words. She reached out, wrapping both of her arms around her younger sister's slightly smaller frame, chuckling slightly as she pulled away again a few moments later. "We used to tell each other everything as kids".

Melissa laughed her own recollection, bumping her shoulder against her sister's. "Literally everything. I think that I was probably the only one that you told about your first crush. We were like best friends".

Dana chuckled nostalgically, "Yeah we were, weren't we". When she had been a preteen Melissa(who was a raging rebellious teen at the time) had exposed her younger sister to a lot; boys, make-up, her first sips of alcohol, you name it.

Melissa was probably half the reason Scully had become a total punk as a teenager, having taken her to her first concert and encouraged her to steal that one cigarette from their mother when she was fourteen.

"I miss that a lot, Danes".

"Me too, Missy. Me too".

They felt silent for a moment, each basking in their own thoughts. Melissa was glad that she had finally opened up to someone, it was if an entire mountain had been lifted off of her shoulders. For the first time in months she felt at ease, calm even.

Melissa smiled, elbowing Dana lightly. "So what about you? I hear from Mom that things are going pretty good for you at the moment?".

Dana smiled slightly, "I guess you could say that. Work is going well. I'm teaching a wider range of year groups this year so that has been good experience. And um...",she trailed off. It would be insensitive to mentioned how things had changed with Mulder now considering the nightmare that Melissa's love life had become.

Melissa smiled. "I already know that you and Mulder finally got...involved", she said with a giggle, reclining backwards on the couch. "It's about time too. You guys were beginning to become unbearable to be around, the bedroom eyes were waaay too much. You could probably have cut the sexual tension with a knife".

Dana glared playfully at her sister, swatting her lightly with one of the cushions on the couch. "We weren't that bad", she said defensively.

Melissa chuckled, not having had a conversation like this with her sister in years. "Look into my eyes, Dana Katherine Scully and tell me that you did not want to jump his bones from the moment you first set eyes on him".

Dana rolled her eyes, unamused. "Of course not", she said, unconvincingly. "I didn't want anything to do with any of my work colleagues, including him".

"Yeah, sure". Melissa nodded sarcastically, totally unconvinced but didn't press the issue further because talking about relationships with colleagues usually lead to a conversation about Daniel.

Which was not a can of worms to be opened after everything they had already been through earlier.

"So, speaking of jumping Mulder's bones. How was it?".

Dana smirked slyly, "No comment". She wasn't going there with Melissa this evening.

Anything that happened between herself and Mulder was between them only.

She had been grilled in a similar way by Monica (who was thrilled about the whole thing, saying that she didn't think that "Fox-face" had it in him) about a week or two earlier when the two friends had gone out for coffee where she had given a similar answer to which the whole question was reluctantly dropped. Dana just hoped her sister would have the same courtesy as Monica had.

Melissa smirked, not letting her younger sister off the hook that easily. "That bad, huh?", she asked dryly, hoping to press the right buttons.

Dana shook her head but was still unsurprised by her sister's persistence. "No, it was good", she told her with a smile.

Melissa chuckled, continuing to rib Dana further. "Just good? What a shame. I thought you two would be passionate kindred spirits", she said, teasingly.

"Especially considering you barely kept your hands and eyes off of each other when you were 'just friends' but I guess not everything can live up to expectation".

Dana groaned, totally embarrassed. Her cheeks were quickly turning a faint shade of red as she shook her head, her mind beginning to flash back to the previous night spent with Mulder, partially on the kitchen worktop and partially in the bedroom next door.

That was until the memory of him coming apart inside her that morning in the shower struck her.

The hot spray, Mulder's much larger naked body wrapped both tightly and comfortably around her's. The smell of soap and sex had been ripe in the air, filling ever pore.

Sighing distractedly, Dana pushed the thoughts away, turning her attention back to Melissa (who was grinning like Cheshire Cat).

"Fine, I'll tell you but I need to be drunk first", she said, getting up to grab a bottle of wine from the fridge over at the other side of the room.

"Atta girl", Melissa cheered, glad to be distracted from her own problems even just for a while. Her own life might be the pits right now but the rest of her family was happy, that was something.

"So", Melissa said, as she watching her sister gather food from the fridge and various cupboards. "Have you guys anything planned for the mid-semester considering you teachers are the only ones off work", she asked before grinning mischievously. "Or are you just going to stay in bed and play all week?", she added teasingly, eyebrows raised suggestively.

Dana rolled her eyes, "No, we're going to Paris actually", she said, still unsure how they were going to realistically survive over there with such little French.

Melissa looked impressed until Dana spoke up again.

"Along with twenty four junior French students who probably have three times the size of a French vocabulary that Mulder and I do", Dana said with a heavy sigh. "It's a total disaster in the making but Skinner asked us and Mulder agreed and I can't leave him to fend for himself against quite a large bunch of sixteen year olds in a foreign country", she said, smiling despite herself.

Dana knew that her older sister saw right through her complaining. Dana loved Mulder, her job, teaching and even the kids she taught (sometimes) and Melissa knew that. The trip to Paris would probably go just fine.

"I'm glad you're happy", Melissa said with a genuine smile. "You deserve it and so does Mulder. You guys have been through a lot in the last year and a half".

Dana smiled gratefully, grabbing two wine glasses from the cupboard under her countertop. "You've have gone through a lot too, Missy and you'll be happy soon too".

"Thanks, Danes. I hope so".

XXXXXXXXXXXXX

...

Margaret Scully's Residence

Washington DC

9.15pm

...

I find it very, very easy to be true

I find myself alone when each day is through,

Yes, I'll admit that I'm a fool for you

Because you're mine, I walk the line

~Johnny Cash, Walk the Line

...

Mulder knocked loudly on the wooden exterior of Maggie Scully's front door. As much as he liked and respected Scully's mother, he couldn't help feeling a bit nervous. After all there was a slight difference between approving of your daughter's best friend or boyfriend and being asked by said best friend/boyfriend to marry your daughter.

Maggie may very well like him but would she approve of him being a member of the family.

Mulder waited patiently on the doorstep, resisting the urge to pace from the pillars on the right hand side of the door to the one opposite it one the left.

Then of course, there was the matter of Scully herself. Would she want to get married? Mulder knows without the smallest shadow of a doubt that he loves her and that she loves him. But was he actually husband-material? Was he cut out for that kind of role?

He knows that he loves Scully more than life itself, knows that he would do anything for her. Was that what it was like to be a husband?

Whenever they had spoken about there relationship it had always been fairly clear that they were both in it for the long haul but was this really the most appropriate first step?

They weren't even living together yet, dividing their time between his apartment and her's but spending the night together more often than not.

Was Scully ready for this? Was he ready for this himself?

Mulder wanted to believe it.

Just then the door opened, catching him mid-moment of panic, revealing a smiling Maggie Scully (who seemed rather surprised at having him on her doorstep late on a Saturday night). "Hello, Fox dear", she said brightly, taking in his serious expression. "Is everything alright?".

Mulder felt himself relax at her words. This was Maggie Scully after all, the woman who had been just as heartbroken and exhausted as he had when the had sat together at Dana's bedside when she was in a coma the year before. "Everything is fine, Mrs Scully. Don't worry".

"Is Dana with you?", Maggie asked, looking down the driveway to Mulder's car, trying to make sense of why Fox Mulder had shown up alone, so late in the evening.

Mulder shook his head. "Sorry, Mrs Scully. It's just me tonight".

Maggie seemed fairly curious as to why Mulder had turned up alone but was nonetheless delighted to see him as she would any of her own children. "Well, come on in out of the cold, Fox". She said fussily, "We don't want you to catch something".

"Thanks, Mrs Scully".

Maggie smiled as Mulder followed her into the hallway, shutting the door. She could see that the younger man was a little nervous and jumpy. Why?, she didn't know but only hoped that it was something good. "Would you like some tea, Fox?".

Mulder could tell that the older woman was a little suspicious as to why he had showed up at her house like this. Whenever he came to see her, he usually came with Scully in her car or followed her there in his own, both coming and leaving together. This was definitely out of the ordinary.

"Sure, Mrs Scully. That would be great".

XXXXXXXXXXXX

"So I take it that this isn't just a social call, Fox?", Maggie asked, eyeing Mulder over the rim of her tea cup with an almost maternal affection.

Mulder shrugged sheepishly, setting down his already empty tea cup. "You got me, Mrs Scully", he said, before reaching into his pocket to dig around for the little velvet box that he had been carrying for the last few weeks now.

He looked down at it silently, trying to put the words together in his mind. "I...um...I love your daughter, Mrs Scully but um...you already knew that".

Maggie smiled, looking between Mulder and the pretty little velvet ring box, finally knowing where this was going.

Mulder gulped slightly, wondering where he should begin to assure Mrs Scully that he would do his best for her daughter as long as the pair of them lived.

"I probably wasn't the guy that you or your husband ever imagined for Dana but I love her more than I have ever loved anyone before in my life, more than I think any other guy could or would. She has held my heart and soul practically every since I met her three years ago. She turned my life upside down", Mulder smiled slightly, either sides of his lips perking up a little at the truth in the words that just tumbled out of him so easily that it was like they had been rehearsed.

Mulder continued seriously, his voice even but his eyes betraying the storm of emotions he was feeling. "Dana is my perfect opposite but I wouldn't have it any other way. She drives me crazy sometimes and I drive her crazy too, but I think that's okay because we always make up afterwards even if it does take a little time", Mulder said with a nostalgic smile, thinking of when he tried to hide his test results from her.

"I accept that she might say no, that she isn't ready yet. I'm not even sure that I'm ready yet but if ask her and she refuses I still want to spend the rest of my life with her because when she walked into my classroom that day, she saved me in ways nobody will ever understand", Mulder said with a smile, a unexpected bark of laughter suddenly emitting from his lungs, "Hell, she saved me in ways that I don't even understand".

"I couldn't imagine a life without her now. She has become an integral part of me, as much a part of me as any limb. My constant. My touchstone. The person who knows me best. And now", he said opening the box to show Mrs Scully the sapphire and diamond ring inside. "I want to give her this so she knows I'm in it with her for life but I want to make sure that you ,as her mother, are okay with that first".

Maggie smiled, at this point now openly crying. She had known for quite a long time(longer then they probably knew themselves) that Dana loved Fox and he loved her but this was the first time their relationship (that Dana had simply told her was 'complicated' on various occasions) was properly explained.

How on earth could Fox ever think that he was any less of a man then she and her late husband had hoped for in a son-in-law? He was a good-hearted person that made Dana happy. Happiness was all that they had ever hoped for their youngest daughter.

She stood up from her chair, tears still welling up again in her eyes and reached across to hug Mulder who returned the gesture warmly rather then awkwardly for the first time.

"Fox", Maggie said, away from the younger man. "I have seen you as a son for quite some time and I know that you love my Dana. You are everything and more than William and I could have ever hoped for in a son. Don't put yourself down so much. Of course I will give you my blessing".

Mulder felt as though a balloon was swelling in his stomach, elated. "Thank you, Mrs Scully. That means a lot to me", he said genuinely, slipping Scully's ring back into the pocket of his jacket.

Maggie smiled, patting him affectionately on the cheek like she would Charlie or Bill Jr. She knew that most of the time, young men didn't usually ask the parents for their blessing anymore. 'William would have liked that a lot', Maggie thought nostalgically.

"I think my husband would have liked you a lot, Fox".

...

I keep a close watch on this heart of mine

I keep my eyes wide open all the time

I keep the ends out for the tide that binds

Because you're mine I walk the line

~Johnny Cash, Walk the Line.

...

Chapter Text

TV Shows » X-Files » Mr Spooky and Ms Starbuck
Author: pearlydewdrop «
Rated: T - English - Romance/Angst - Reviews: 93 - Published: 06-08-16 - Updated: 02-02-17 id:11988179
Chapter 15: Boulevard of Broken Dreams

...

Dana Scully's Residence

Georgetown

Washington DC

4.35am

...

I'm walking down the line

That divides me somewhere in my mind

On the borderline of the edge and where

I walk alone

~Boulevard of Broken Dreams, Green Day

...

The dark night sky stretched out from horizon to horizon. The stars blocked by the high-rise buildings. The smog emitted from both the chimneys and the traffic reached upwards like serpentine figures stretching towards the heavens before evening out, spreading, and evaporating into the October sky.

All was peaceful, still and silent save for a handful of drunkards ambling aimlessly around the streets in search of answers to some godforsaken question that they knew not of.

The apartment was serenely quiet, both sisters having retired to bed hours before. The living room was silent save for the ticking of the clock and the sound of Melissa's quiet snores. The bedroom was also as still as a statue , at least for now...

Scully jerked upwards in her bed, quickly covering her mouth with her hand so statue he wouldn't destroy her bedsheets.

She could feel her stomach lurching uncomfortably as she threw both of her legs over the side of her mattress, rushing for the bathroom where the entire contents of her stomach made a reappearance inside the toilet.

She could hear her breath ragged inside the porcelain bowl and panting heavily, she tried to recover from the effort of throwing up pretty much all of the food (and later alcohol) she had consumed with her sister the night before.

When she properly began to resister the sickly smell of vomit around, her head spun uncomfortably and her ears began to ring. Her stomach clenching in disgust.

Scully found herself trembling slightly as her body worked itself into a cold sweat. The shaking started in her midsection and spread out to the tips of her fingers and toes.

Her insides felt like they were coated in a thick layer of frost but despite this Scully sat on the ice cold floor of the bathroom until she was certain that the world around her had stopped spinning. The cool temperature seeping up from the floor having momentarily calming her down.

What the hell was happening?!

She wasn't usually a person prone to picking up stomach bugs. (Having spent four years teaching-two of those being in public schools like Woodrow Wilson-and not picking up every possible flu and bug that went around was proof of that).

'Vertigo,' she reasoned with herself firmly, 'or perhaps I just ate something that didn't suit me yesterday.'

Scully settled her head back against the wall as her breathing evened out and her stomach began to feel less and less like it was doing crazy somersaults and back flips.

She was beginning of feel normal again and a little less nauseous.

Mentally psyching herself up to get going again, Scully stood up from the tile floor refuge, flushing the toilet and making a mental note to pick something up from the local drug store later if her symptoms persisted.

After sufficiently cleaning herself up again, Scully made her way out into the living room, quietly making her way across the room (even though she was well aware that her sister was quite a deep sleeper) and back through the door of her bedroom, softly shutting the door behind her.

She had called Mulder earlier in the evening to let him know that Melissa was in desperate need of family support, and that it would be best if he went on home to his apartment for he night so that she was able to give her sister her full attention.

Stretching back down across the mattress, Scully lay on the duvet, willing her stomach to remain settled. She ran her fingers across the empty side of the mattress where Mulder usually lay when they spent the night together at her apartment.

After almost three months of practically living together, she found herself missing his presence in the dead of night. Her bed felt too big for her alone and a lot colder without him next to her despite the fact that she had almost always lived by herself ever since she was eighteen.

At the beginning, they would only spend a night or two a week together but, somehow, they had begun to coexist without ever really acknowledging that the change had occurred in their lives. Little by little there was more of him in her apartment and little by little there was more of her in his.

She shivered slightly as a coldness gripped her to her very core. She rubbed frantically at her arms, trying to rid herself of the goosebumps that had erupted all over her skin and caused the hair to rise.

Scully had always found it hard to admit that she needed other people, but perhaps Mulder was the one and only exception to that rule that she had made for herself.

He told her on several occasions that she was the only person in the world that he could trust, now Scully is beginning to see that the sentiment may go both ways:

She is the only one he trusts and Mulder is the only one Scully will allow herself to need.

Just as she was starting to settle, a guttural scream from outside her bedroom jolted her in surprise. She sat upright, throwing her legs over the edge of the bed and scrambled in the direction of the door. The scream brought back memories from their childhood and shook her to the core. She tore from her bedroom only to find Melissa thrashing on the couch. Fear etched on her sister's face as her eyes were clamped tightly shut.

The sound of Melissa's scream shook Scully to her very core. She didn't think that she had heard that sound since they were children.

Scully tore out of her bedroom at a run only to find Melissa thrashing on the couch, fear etched on her face and her eyes clamped shut.

Her red hair billowed around her in a tangled mess and her face was deathly pale.

There was a slight trickle of blood from her lowe lip where she had obviously bitten it in an attempt to contain her terror. Her fists were tightly clenched, causing her knuckles to turn as white as freshly melted wax.

"Don't you dare lay a finger on any of them, you bastard!", Melissa sobbed, turning quickly on her side to face the inside of the couch with such a force she could have easily fallen straight on to the floor.

Scully hurried to Melissa's side, dropping into a squatting position and proceed in an attempt to pull her sister from whatever terror was plaguing her in her sleep.

"Missy", Scully tried in a loud whisper as she began shaking her shoulder. "Missy, wake up it's just a dream". She said, well aware that whatever reality her sister was facing in her nightmare it probably felt a hell of a lot more serious than a 'just a dream' to her.

"Missy, wake up. You're safe".

Melissa shot straight upwards, narrowly missing Scully's head a she jerked herself awake. The terror on her face had not subsided in the least. In fact Melissa sobbed even harder under the watchful and concerned eye of her younger sister. As tears bubbled up in her eyes and ran like a waterfall down her cheeks, she clutched tightly at the borrowed pajamas as if pulling her clothes closer would make it certain that the clothes were still there.

"Dana," Melissa spoke. Her eyes were wide and frantic as they darted around the room. "He wants to kill you. All of you," she cried, squeezin both of Scully' hands with one of her own. "You need to get away from Kevin, Dana." Her eyes bore into the wooden door only a few feet away as thought he expected the object of her nightmare to come walking through at any moment.

"Alex is taking over and he only wants to hurt you".

Melissa could feel her own heart thumping wildly against her ribcage as though it were about to suddenly burst from her chest and run for the hills. Flashes of her dream spun in her head like the images on an old movie reel and she continued to shake vigorously.

She saw Alex standing over her, having already killed both Dana and Mulder for whatever crazy conspiracy he was trying to help conceal in the name of his so called 'superiors'; the black cloaked and smoking men of Kevin/Alex's mind.

Melissa desperately tried to tear her mind away from the dream, ripping the thoughts up by their dark and tangled pulled her knees up to her chest and set her chin upon them as she rocked forward and back, waiting for her tears to subside.

Scully sat down next to Melissa, pulling her into a comforting hug, rocking with her until the pain felt a little more bearable, bearable enough to talk about.

It reminded her of when they were children and their father would come in to comfort them when they nightmares.

"Be Brave", he would tell them. "Your have me, your mother, your brothers and each other. All you have to do is be brave, Little Sailors".

Scully knew how much her sister was going through and it made every square inch of her ache to watch Melissa do so.

"He's not going to kill any of us, Missy", Scully reasoned quietly, trying to sound as collected as possible, ju still as Ahab had years ago. "None of it's real".

Melissa shook her head solemnly. "This is real, Danes. I'm not making this up, I swear. It's not just a dream", she exclaimed in distress. "Kevin has been different for the last three and a half years; It's as if he is two separate people".

Scully pulled away from Melissa gently but remained holding her in a concerned gaze, squeezing her fingers. "What do you mean, Missy?", she asked quietly, her eyes wide. Melissa surely couldn't mean what she thinks she means?

Melissa shook her head. She hadn't wanted to tell her sister about any of this, hadn't wanted to burden her with it but that can of worms was opened now. Opened, and it couldn't be closed.

"There's something wrong with Kevin. I think he has multiple personalities or something", she said, sighing tiredly, knowing how abstract the truth sounded, how her sister may find it difficult to believe her.

"When he becomes this other person, Alex is his name. He gets really angry and...", that was when Melissa broke of, her voice cracking and her tears only barely kept at bay. "He threatens your life because he believes that you and Mulder are on the verge of revealing some kind of conspiracy to the American public. He thinks he is carrying out the orders of some kind of syndicate", Melissa muttered quietly, tasting the crazy words rolling off of her tongue. "And he thinks that by killing you, Mulder will loose all credibility and all sanity".

"He never speaks to me directly about any of it, anything I know I picked up from listening to him talk to himself", Melissa said, breathing shakily as the truth finally dropped from her trembling lips.

"Whenever I try and press him for more answers he hurts me. I don't know why but for some reason I have the feeling that the only reason he isn't hurting you is because he's hurting me", she finished, voice breaking off again as she dissolved once again into tears, resting her forehead against her knees. "I couldn't let him hurt you, Danes. You're my little sister".

Scully took in the sight of her sister. Her broken pieces melting away from one another until the truth could be clearly seen; the truth that had been plaguing their whole family for months.

Blinking back tears, Scully moved to hug her sister again. Her stomach was weighed down with lead and she felt like she was going to throw up again. Scully felt her ears ring as she wrapped her arm around Melissa's shaking shoulders, holding back her own tears because she knew she had to be strong for Melissa's sake.

Scully felt guilt slip down her throat like a many legged monster, making it difficult to breath, to speak or to even think clearly. "Melissa, you don't have to protect me. I can look after myself".

Melissa looked up at her tearfully, a puff of humourless laughter erupting from the pit of her stomach. "I know that Dana. You're my little sister though. I don't want anything to happen to you if I can help it".

Scully smiled sadly, "And now I need to help you", she vowed, her blue eyes shining in determination. If there was anything she could do to help Melissa, she would do so in a heartbeat. "We're going to go to the cops tomorrow. You need to get a restraining order against Kevin", she continued seriously. "It might save your life".

Melissa stared at her tearfully, her eyes wide. "That won't work, Dana. He's after you as well. You and Mulder. He wants to kill all of us".

"Then I'll call, Mulder tomorrow and the three of us will go together", Scully said finally. "As long as that's what you want".

For the first time in months, Scully saw hope in the eyes of her older sister. It spread out from her blues eyes, becoming infectious.

"I guess it's worth a try".

XXXXXXXXXXXXX

...

Arlington

Washington DC

6.52pm

...

Do you like walking in the rain

When you think of love do you think of pain

You can tell me what you see

But I will choose what I believe

~Vance Joy, Mess is Mine

...

Two Weeks Later

The sky was a deep shade of navy blue in color. It sprea across the sky like a long sheet of silk, illumiated only by the lights from the windows of the high-rise buildings. In the far distance, what seemed like miles away, a band of pink light stretched across the sky like a lace ribbon which seemed to tie up any remaining daylight with a knot not to be opened again until morning.

The lampshades dotted the edges of the pavement, a few yards apart. They blazed like huge oranges, their light spilling like juice on to the pavements below, feeding into any tiny crack in the concrete.

The air had a pleasantly cool feel to it with out a subtle bite that was becoming more and more evident that winter was on its way.

Scully smiled slightly, pulling into her usual parking space in front of Mulder's apartment building before climbing out. Tugging her coat tighter around her to ward off the cold she pushed her car door closed and crossed the street toward his building all the while her heels click-clacking on the pavement.

Things were finally going back to normal after two almost impossible weeks of juggling work and helping Melissa get her life back on track.

Kevin hadn't called or shown up in Georgetown so that was at least one thing that had somewhat gone in their favour, however slightly.

Melissa had point blank refused to tell anyone her story, claiming that she wasn't ready. The oldest Scully daughter had even refused to bring up the topic again in the same detail during the first week when their mother had shown up and completely fussed over her eldest daughter, worrying about her safety.

That was okay though, both Scully and Maggie knew that Melissa had been suffering for quite a while and now that she was away from immediate danger they would give her all the time in the world to open up fully to them.

The first week was definitely difficult but after that was over it turned out to be quite nice for Scully to have her sister around considering that the two 'Scully' women hadn't lived under the same roof since Melissa went away to college.

Scully had been weighing up the pros and cons of actually going to Paris with Mulder and the juniors. Given everything that happened, Scully had doubted whether leaving the country for a few days would be a wise idea. Mulder had understood her reasons and had offered to make up their excuse for Skinner himself.

Melissa who seemed to be somewhat back to herself had totally shrugged off her sister's concerns, reasoning that she was a big girl and that some space and time away from each other wouldn't kill either of them since they had spent more time together in the past two weeks than they had since they were teens.

As uncomfortable as Scully was with the idea of her sister alone while Kevin was still on the loose, she had missed having Mulder around (considering they have been joined at the hip long before they actually got together in the first place) and if his longing gazes had meant anything while they were at work, it was obvious that he was missing her too.

The time they had spent together in the last few weeks had been limited, both agreeing silently that it would inappropriate of Mulder to sleep over at Scully's Apartment while Melissa was living with her, given everything that was going on.

But tonight had been an exception since they were flying out of D.C. early the next morning, and it made more sense if they were coming from the same place.

Or at least that was the "logic" of it.

Scully smiled to herself knocking on the door of his apartment, tapping her foot impatiently on the timber floor outside, waiting for him to come to the door.

Suddenly the door opened and Mulder appeared at the opposite side of it, smiling in surprise. "Scully", he said, standing aside to wordlessly invite her inside. "I wasn't expecting you for another hour or so".

She shrugged nonchalantly, standing up on her tiptoes and placing a soft peck on the corner of his mouth. "Well, I'm here", she said, with a half smile. "Good surprise?".

They had agreed on the phone earlier to meet relatively late at his apartment so he wasn't expecting her until nearly ten, not that he was complaining. He understood her distance over the past few week, considering that Scully felt the need to support Melissa after everything she went through with Kevin. It wasn't as crime to miss her though and surely it wasn't a crime to want her.

Mulder chuckled, bending down and nuzzling his nose against hers. "Best surprise in weeks", he said, settling both of his hands on her waist, massaging her hip bones.

"How's Melissa doing?", Mulder asked, still holding Scully close to him. Neither of them were quite ready to let go of each other just yet.

Scully smirked, shaking her head slightly. "She's doing a lot better now, practically pushed me out the door this evening", she said with a sigh, running her hands up and down Mulder's forearms for the first time in weeks. "I think we're beginning to get on each other's nerves actually, like when we were kids", Scully added as an afterthought.

Mulder laughed. That definitely sounded like things were back to normal between the two women. "I'm glad she's okay, that you're both okay", he said genuinely, running his thumb across the apple of her cheek like he usually does when she's asleep or upset.

He had been worried about Melissa and about Scully.

He knew that they were both very strong and capable women, but if Melissa was anything like her younger sister then it was safe to assume that she too would have a tendency to hide her true feelings about when she was hurting or when something was wrong and would be stubborn letting someone in so that they could help her.

Unfortunately, that reluctance may prove to be a problem.

Scully sighed gratefully, settling her head against his chest and wrapping both of her arms around him. "Thanks Mulder", she mumbled softly against his shirt, touched by his concern and understanding. "I'm glad she's okay too, glad that things got solved before she really got hurt...before anyone got hurt", she trailed off slightly not having told him the full story about Kevin/Alex and how the two of them were somehow part of whatever insane reality that was inside the man's head.

Even though Mulder had come with them when they were getting the restraining order, he still hadn't been privy to the real reason behind Kevin/Alex's behaviour not to mention the existence of little Emily and Melissa's reasons behind staying with Kevin for as long as she did.

Scully wanted to tell him the full truth but kept her silence for the mean time, honouring Melissa's wishes. Mulder would understand when the time came for the oldest Scully sister"s truth to be known.

But for now Melissa was safe and beginning the healing process that would hopefully lead her to her daughter.

That was hope enough for now.

He smiled, agreeing silently as he kissed the crown of her head.

Things were getting better. Melissa was getting better. They were getting better.

"Are you ready for tomorrow", Mulder asked casually, trying to mask his excitement.

He wasn't usually particularly fond of planned getaways or heading field trips (or some strange mixture of the two) but the fact that Scully's ring, which still hadn't left his jacket pocket ever since he had shown it to Mrs Scully, and that he had a plan pretty much together for when he would ask her in Paris was enough to bring a smile to his face. He could only hope Scully would too once he actually got around to asking her.

Scully rolled her eyes, pretending to be more indifferent on the matter than she actually was. Despite her feelings on the matter a few days ago (when she had severely doubted that it would be a good idea to even consider going) she was looking forward to a few days out of DC with Mulder even though it was for work purposes.

"You mean am I ready for an entire week on "vacation"", she asked teasingly, emphasising the word sarcastically given that Mulder had been referring to it as such ever since Skinner had first asked them to go "with twenty four actual sixteen year olds and a thirty one year old man who spends half of his time acting like a sixteen year old?".

Mulder laughed, holding his hand melodramatically over his heart, feigning hurt. "You wound me, Scully", he said, hand dropping teasingly to her rear end where he squeezed her gently. "And besides, it's not my fault that you bring out the horny teenage boy in me."

Scully yelped slightly at the unexpectedness (but not unwelcomeness) of his actions but recovered quickly, "Yeah, well, I'm coming around to the idea".

He smirked, seeing an opportunity to tease her further. He wrapped both his arms loosely around her waist again, enjoying the feeling of being close to her. "The idea of me being horny or of going to Paris with the juniors".

Laughing despite herself, she swatted him lightly on the shoulder but didn't move from his embrace. "Of going to Paris, genius", Scully deadpanned before gazing up at him mischievously. "And just so you know, I have nothing against you being horny...most of the time anyway".

Mulder chuckled, smiling slightly. "I'm glad", he said genuinely glad that she felt comfortable enough with everything that had happened in the last few days to get out of town (If he was being honest, Mulder was hardly sure that he would be happy with the idea either, if the circumstances were in any way different than they were. Melissa was a good person, this he knew and nobody deserved what she had gone though. Melissa was important to Scully and therefore important to him and that was that). because if she wasn't going there was no way in hell he was going to Paris with Frohike and a bunch of teenagers.

Mulder knew that she was seriously considering backing out of the whole thing and he couldn't blame her really. Mulder knew how much being there for Melissa meant to her and knew if Samantha had lived he would feel the exact same way should anything happen to her.

"About which?", Scully asked innocently, handing drifting downward toward his waist like he had done to her earlier, swatting his ass. "Going to Paris or you being horny?".

Mulder smirked, trying to ignore the blood flowing to his groin due to her proximity and her actions

"Both", he retorted jokingly, bumping his her hips with his own.

"You hungry, Scully?", he asked after a moment silence, pulling away from her slightly even though they were still only inches apart.

Scully smiled, moving her hands away from his back, grasping the material of his grey t-shirt. "Only for you", she said lustfully, smirking slightly as she noticed the speed of his heart picking up under her hand.

The sexual tension between them that had been pent up over the last two weeks was growing to a crescendo. Like a pot about to boil over, contents fizzing loudly and spilling everywhere.

Mulder's eyes darkened, his usually soft hazel colour turning to a burning caramel brown as he slipped both of his hands under her jacket, untying the belt with a single tug but leaving all the buttons closed.

"And you say I'm the horny one?", he whispered huskily against her earlobe, his warm tongue momentarily gliding across the rim of her ear. "How hungry are you anyway,Scully?", Mulder mumbled seductively. "I want to know so I can properly satisfy you".

Scully barely stifled a moan, feeling an almost pins and needles-like sensation take over from her knees down. She felt her most intimate space between her legs growing warm as her body begin to coil tight like a spring as she waited for sweet release.

"I'm starving, Mulder", she answered seriously as though she was stating some scientific law. "You?".

"Famished", he replied, grinning wolfishly as he began to reach out and take her in his arms, pulling her hips tights against his.

Mulder pulled her closer until their bodies were perfectly aligned. Dipping his head to gain better access to her neck, he peppered her skin with soft kisses. He sucked softly at all the known sensitive places from prior love making excursions.

His lips slipped artfully down her neck in a worship-like manner, returning to every place he had learned over the past few months gave her the most pleasure. He unbuttoned the first button on her coat and of her shirt inside, placing a single sloppy kiss on her chest.

"Damn it Scully", he whispered huskily against her, breathing her sent of body lotion and chemicals from the science lab. "You're fucking beautiful".

Scully felt hyperaware of his every movement, of his firm and lean chest pressed against her's, of his hips pressed hard against her's until she was entirely certain of the effect that she was already having on him. Every layer that separated him from her became too much, clothes becoming a hindrance to how they truly wanted to be together.

She reached for the hem of his shirt, pulling it quickly over his head in one swift tug. She let her hands drift down his chest, enjoying the feeling of his warm and muscular body responding to her touch and presence. She was drunk on the effect she had on him, the effect he had on her.

"You're not bad to look at either", she said, placing a kiss on the centre of his bare chest. He tasted of men's deodorant and coffee.

'Perfect', she thought to herself, reaching up a little to kiss his shoulder, biting gently and playfully.

Mulder smirked, glancing down at his own half bare body. "Someone's eager", he teased softly, stroking her cheeks with both of his thumbs. One look at her and he knew he was intoxicated. He knew that from the moment he met her but moments like these really brought it to light for him.

He was a junky and Dana Scully was his favourite drug.

"I don't think I'm the only one who's enjoying myself", Scully replied with a knowing grin, running her hand across the fabric of his jeans which were becoming increasingly tight and uncomfortable for him. "I have the feeling that someone's excited to see me", she said, stroking him gently, an action that only caused him to harden further.

She could feel the stirring inside his jeans, feel how much he wanted her. It was something that could only be compared to her wanting of him.

Mulder smiled sheepishly, lifting her up off of the ground and finally merging her lips properly and fully with his.

"Someone is very excited to see you", he mumbled roughly around her lips as they broke apart due to the lack of oxygen, something that was unfortunately necessary. "I love you, baby" He groaned quietly against her mouth, claiming it again with his own.

Scully smiled, running her fingertips through his already mussed hair as she dragged his lips back to her, nipping his large bottom lip between her top and bottom teeth. She felt him push his hips passionately against hers which buckled at the force before returning the favour as hard as she could.

"I love you too, Mulder", she replied firmly, wrapping both of her legs around his waist, the full extent of his arousal quickly becoming more evident to her than ever as it pressed against her body.

Mulder growled softly, dippin his head and lifting her higher to gain better access. His tongue reached out to battle wit hers for dominance; a tryst which only ever ended with both of them panting desperately for breath, and in this case, ended with Scully being pinned above him against the wooden surface of his front door.

"Scully", he said with a lopsided grin that was meant to be teasing even though it no where near hid his arousal. He panting slightly against her chest.

"Do you have any idea how hard it was to keep my hands off of you all week at work", he groaned, running his nose up and down the length of her neck, nipping lightly at her earlobe. "Do you have any idea how close I was to taking you right on one of our desks at work or in the chemicals cupboard at the back of the labs".

Scully moaned, arching against him. "I know exactly how much, Mulder", she said pulling his body closer to her between her legs, until she could feel his errection pressed firmly against her centre, snuggling. "Because I needed you so much I probably would have allowed it" , she whispered against his lips, merging his mouth with her own again, relishing in the feeling of his tongue entering her mouth in tender but needy thrusts.

Mulder groaned loudly as he began to slowly unbutton her coat, taking his sweet time with each separate button much to Scully's impatience. He smiled mischievously, placing a loud wet kiss below her neck before returning his careful attention to her mouth, sucking gently and teasing her lips apart once again.

"Mulder", Scully mumbled, pulling away from him as she ran both of her hands down his cheeks against the slight prickliness of what she identified as day old stubble to rest on either side of his neck.

Her whole body was getting warmer and warmer by the second and all she wanted was for Mulder to relieve her of more of her clothes. "Bedroom. Now", she deadpanned, bumping his nose lightly with her own, pecking him hungrily on his already swollen lips.

"You're bossy", Mulder accused playfully, his eyes dancing with a mixture of arousal and amusement.

Scully smiled despite herself. "And you love it".

Mulder chuckled, shuffling slightly to better support her body. "That's probably true, honey ", he said throatily, running his free hand up and down the length of her thigh, lightly tickling the skin he exposed when hitching her skirt up.

"I love when you wear skirts, Scully", he said with a smile, placing a lingering kiss on the part of her chest that wasn't fully cover by her shirt and coat. "But I really don't think we're on even ground here", he said, eyes darting playfully between her half buttoned coat and his own bare chest. "I think we need to make this game a little more fair".

Scully laughed slightly, her eyes lidded with desire. She had not yet made a move to leave his arms. "How about you let me down and then I'll see if I'll let you play", she answered teasingly, stressing the final word in a way she knew would drive him crazy.

Mulder smirked but no where near loosened his grip on her, his eyes growing even darker and more dilated by lust. "You wanna play, huh?", he asked, running his hand under her skirt and further up her thigh, hitching the material higher and higher until it was in a bunch across her waist.

Scully watched him carefully, awaiting the discovery he would make any moment now.

Mulder stopping suddenly in surprise, grinning at his discovery. "What's going on in here, Scully", he said, eyes a little wide like a child on Christmas morning. "Or more like, what's not going on in here".

Scully smiled brightly at his expression, giggling a little against the heat of his chest. She had hoped for a reaction like this from him.

"I'm just being prepared".

Mulder smiled wildly, turning them towards his bedroom, not able to take it anymore, blood now pounding in his groin. "Really Scully", he groaned, hand sliding up her thigh again to the unprotected warmth between her legs. "Have I told you lately how sexy I think planning ahead is", he murmured deeply, adjusting his grip on her to gain better access, enjoying the effect he was having on her.

He ardently thrust into her, stroking her ready opening gently with his fingers.

Scully moaned at his touch, squirming at the pleasure he was making her feel, she parted her legs more to let him in further. She felt her whole body come to life at his touch as though their total opposite charges of electricity were surging together and forming something equally beautiful and powerful.

Throwing her head back, she felt the ecstasy taking hold, flooding her body like the tides rolling in at midnight to its rightful home on the shoreline.

"Harder, Mulder", she whimpered, looking up and pressing a lingering kiss to his lips, enjoying the familiar warmth of his full lips and tempting tongue.

Mulder groaned, returning her passion with equal enthusiasm, taking the opportunity to move them across the room and over the threshold in his bedroom, shutting the door with a quick kick.

"I missed you, Scully", he said, laying her down on his bed, pressing a kiss to her forehead before joining her on the mattress for the first time in more than two weeks.

Scully smiled reaching out to him, running her fingers along the waist band of his denim jeans and across the smooth and lightly tanned skin of his lower back as she tugged his body closer to her own until his body was hovering above hers on the mattress.

"I missed you too, Mulder", she said, pulling his mouth down to her's for another open mouthed kiss, unbuttoning his jeans quicker than either of them thought possible.

She looked at him like he was the only star in her darkest night and he kissed her like she was the air that filled his lungs.

He now felt that he was not simply close to her but rather that he no longer knew where she ended, and he began.

They were home.

...

Say it ain't so, I will not go

Turn the lights off, carry me home

Keep you head still, I'll be your thrill

The night will go on, my little windmill

~Blink 182, All The Small Things

...

Washington International Airport

Washington DC

5.34am

...

"Remind me again why we're here so early", Mulder said with a sigh, adjusting the strap on his bag and looking over his shoulder to Scully who was frantically running through the list of student names, emergency phone numbers of parents and details of the accommodation that had been given to her by Vice Principle Skinner.

"Says the guy who hardly ever sleeps more than an hour or two an night anyway?".

"What's that got to do with anything?"

"Well, if you don't sleep much you aren't exactly missing out on anything", Scully reasoned tiredly, yawning widely into her hand. It may be true that Mulder can usually function almost scarily well with little or no sleep, however the same could not be said about herself no matter how many cups of coffee came into the question.

"Touché", Mulder said with a single nod of grudging agreement but nonetheless continued to pout vocally on the subject.

Scully looked up at him impatiently, massaging the bridge of her nose. It wasn't really the early hours that was bothering her anyway, more the prospect of having to ensure the safety of quite a large group of kids in a foreign country for over a week.

Suddenly, Scully felt her stomach lurch uncomfortably as it simultaneously back flipped and did some obscure loop-the-lop-like motion that made the contents of her stomach churn painfully and her head spin like a top.

She swallowed stubbornly, slowing down her pace slightly but not stopping. There was no way in hell that she was throwing up at the airport. Stomach bug or not. She would just have to try her best and concentrate on something else.

"Scully", Mulder said reassuringly, knowing immediately that something was definitely was bothering her. "I can feel you thinking. What gives?".

He watched her cautiously for a second as she paled slightly before turning a light green colour. "Scully", he repeated, now genuinely beginning to worry. He placed a firm hand on her shoulder to steady her.

"Are you feeling alright?", his voice strong, anchoring he in the midst of the bout of nausea that was washing over her.

And then it was over as soon as it came.

Scully shook her head, glad that whatever that strange bout of Vertigo was it was over now.

"Mulder" she said firmly, considering it almost too early in the day for his concern, especially considering she had received a lot of it in the last couple of weeks. She felt a sprinkle of anger bubbling up inside of her even though she had almost no idea why.

Mulder was only trying to be sweet and honest after all. Why should this make her angry with him?

For some reason the thought made her want to both grumble at him and tear up?

'What the hell is wrong with me?', Scully thought, panicking a little despite how the logical part of herself simply blamed a mixture of stress and the weird food Melissa had insisted on cooking for dinner the previous night (because it was both plant and animal friendly) as the source of her sickness.

At a seconds notice, Scully had opted to not tell him that she was feeling a little unwell. She didn't want him worrying about her if there really wasn't anything wrong.

'It's probably nothing', she reasoned firmly, hindering herself from looking further into the matter for the time being.

"We have full responsibility for twenty four sixteen year olds for the next week and you and I will be the lambs for sacrifice if anything happens to them", she said sternly, her voice coming across a little more irritated than she intended it to be as she tried to pull her bizarre set of emotions together.

She was used to feeling irritation and affection towards Mulder but never at the same time.

Mulder shrugged his shoulders, nonchalantly at her statement. He couldn't really see an issue with any of kids were sixteen not a bunch of toddlers, a million miles from standing on their own two feet. Besides, as far as he could see it, he, Scully and the other teachers were responsible for those kids everyday from nine in the morning until four in the evening.

"And this is different from every other day at work because...", he asked, trailing off because he couldn't really seeing her point.

"We have to be here to assure the parents that their kids will be safe, Mulder. We're taking them to Europe for God sake. We need to explain to them about the curfews, how we have arranged for separate dormitories for the boys and girls at the youth hostel and how we will expect them to behave when we organise a day for sightseeing".

Mulder groaned loudly, "I guess that means we'll be on the receiving end of the Spanish inquisition from the whole Calvary of Momma Bears".

Scully smiled despite herself, returning to the head count for the tour, checking how many of the students she was familiar with; which ended up being most of them, thankfully.

"Don't worry, Mulder. You'll survive".

"You mean we'll survive", Mulder interjected putting a playful mask over what Scully knew to be his panic face. He nudged Scully's shoulder almost hopefully.

Surely she wasn't going to leave him alone with a bunch of mothers.

Scully shook her head, looking up quickly from her various lists. "Nope. You're on your own, partner. I have to explain everything to the kids while you explain it to their parents".

Mulder pouted dramatically, "Why do you get the easy job?", he asked. "That's not fair".

Scully smiled craftily, knowing best how to put an end to the topic. "Well, if you want to tell the touchy feely 'couples' that they can't be anywhere near each other after we get back to the hostel in the evening and before breakfast in the morning then be my guest".

Mulder seemed to consider the idea for a second before quickly turning her down. "No thanks. I'll take multiple momma bears any day", he said, hoping that he wouldn't regret his decision later.

Because really, it was a tight one.

Scully smirked lovingly, "Thought so", she replied teasingly, walking a little ahead of him as they continued on to where they had arranged to meet the kids and their families in a little over forty minutes time.

"Hey Scully", Mulder said, catching up to her. "Does this mean I have to be out of your room by evening time", he said with a smirk, slinging an arm playfully around her shoulders.

Scully rolled her eyes, elbowing him in the ribs as she pushed out of his embrace and began walking again, waiting momentarily to turn around and eye him mischievously. "I'll find some way to sneak you in", she replied in some strange mixture of tease and sarcasm.

Mulder smirked affectionately, eyebrows raised in a suggestive manner. "Well, look who it is 'Dana Scully, The Punk and Teenage Rebel", he declared. "She's reemerging".

She groaned loudly, "Damn it, Mulder. I should never have told you that".

"Awwww I think you would have been adorable"

"Sixteen year old me was a lot of things, Mulder and adorable was certainly not one of them".

"You know that there's absolutely no way that I'll believe that, Scully. Right?", he said, smiling goofily.

Scully still didn't look very convinced. "I guess we finally found something you don't believe in", she said half heartedly, her mind drifting briefly back to the strange bouts of sickness she had been feeling, silently hoping that whatever it was she was almost at the end of it.

After all, she would have to be in top form to keep twenty four teenagers and Fox Mulder on the straight and narrow.

...

Hold on darlin'

This body is yours, this body is yours and mine

Now hold on my darlin'

This mess was yours, now your mess is mine.

~Mess is Mine, Vance Joy

...

XXXXXXXXXXXX

Claude Margarine Youth Hostel

The Champs-Élysées

Paris

10.07pm (Paris Time)

4.07pm (Washington Time)

...

Words get trapped in my mind

Sorry that it doesn't take time to feel the way I do

'Cause the first day you came into my life

My time ticks around you

~Green Day, When It's Time

...

She could hear the loud chatter from the other side of the door so it was obvious that none of them had gone to bed just yet. She already had checked on the girls from the other dormitory to make sure that everyone was safe, happy and in their own beds. She also let everyone know what the agenda was for the following day.

Scully knocked on the door of the girl's dormitories, waiting for some indication from the teenage girls inside that she could go in.

"C'mon on in", a voice from the inside shouted, a voice Scully knew belonged to Brianna Skinner, Vice Principle Walter Skinner's niece.

Scully opened the door, stepping inside only to come face to face with the tall, plaid pyjamas clad teenaged girl, her brown hair hanging almost to her waist (it seemed the amount of hair that people had in the Skinner family was severely imbalanced between the men and the women, the men being bald and the women having extremely long hair) and a pair of round glasses perched at the end of her nose.

"Is everything alright in here?", Scully asked as she looked around making a note of who she saw in the room, mentally checking that everything was as she expected it would be.

Amelia Lennon, Eve Malone and a very distraught looking Shelia Fontaine.

"Are you feeling okay, Shelia?", Scully asked, noticing the expression on the large blonde girls face. "You know, it's alright to be homesick",

Shelia's curly hair fell around her face in ringlets, her eyes wide with confusion and sorrow.

She looked up as though she had only just noticed her teacher standing there for the first time.

"I'm fine", she mumbled, head down and sniffing dramatically, looking between the four other girls in the room and back to Scully.

Scully glanced over at the other teenaged girls for some kind of explanation to what was going on.

"She broke up with her boyfriend Daryl Mootz", Amelia said sympathetically, glancing briefly away from Shelia to Scully, her brown eyes filled with pity for her friend.

"And then Holman Hardt told her that he's been in love with her since they met in the first grade but was too embarrassed to tell her until now", the dark haired Eve Malone added with a half smile, looking up and over at everyone since she was so much smaller than the rest, almost elven looking.

Scully sighed deeply, trading quick glances with each of the girls before turning back to Shelia, trying best decide how to react in the given situation. On one hand, as their teacher, she should tell them that they would be better off to focus on their studies rather than boys but she knew saying something like that would be futile. After all, it had only been thirteen years since she was their age, she remembered what it was like.

She could ignore the situation as she knew many teachers would and many students would prefer them to do but it didn't feel like this was the case. Especially since all five girls were looking at her almost lying eagerly, expecting her two and four pence on the matter.

"Is that a bad thing, Shelia?", Scully asked cautiously, wanting to make sure that she had the whole story before she went about trying to give the girl advice of any kind.

Shelia paused for a second, contemplating the question. "I just never really thought about it", she replied quietly. "Holman is my very best friend. I just never thought about him that way...". Shelia trailed off thoughtfully, her mind seemingly deep in consideration.

Eve Malone chuckled slightly into her hand, thinking of the tall, awkward, lanky and glasses wearing boy and how he wasn't exactly attractive by most people's standards. "I can't say I'm surprised about that to be honest", she mumbled almost two low to be audible unless you were right next to her.

Brianna glared, elbowing the dark haired girl hard in the ribs. "Shut up, Eve", she hissed almost silently. "That's not the point".

Scully tried go ignore the conversation between the two girls and stay focused on Shelia's predicament. She didn't teacher Holman Hardt so she didn't know the boy all that well (aside from Mulder mentioning him briefly once or twice, considering that he had him in a small class for psychology tuition in the previous semester). But if recent experience had taught her anything about healthy relationships: she knew that it was nice to have both friendship, companionship as well as mutual love and respect with the person you are dating.

She also knew this wasn't easy and it usually didn't happen with your first love but when a relationship and a connection like it came around it was always worth the wait.

"Look, Shelia", Scully started, trying not to make what she was saying sound too heavy to apply to a teenage relationship. "I don't know what your relationship with Holman is like but it seems to me like the best relationships, the ones that last, are frequently the ones that are rooted in friendship where one day you look at the person and it's like a light has been switched somewhere and the person who was just a friend is suddenly the only person that you could ever imagine yourself with".

Amelia and Brianna looked at each other, grinning widely and trying to suppress their inner urge to squeal at what their usually no nonsense/strictly business science teacher had just said. They had suspected that Mr Mulder and Ms Scully were an item ever since they first met them two and a half years earlier in freshman year and Brianna even earlier than that considering her uncle often attributed his hair loss to the antics of the two teachers.

"You mean like you and Mr Spoo-I mean Mr Mulder", Amelia asked (who was ever the romantic of the group) enthusiastically, a cheesy smile plastered on her face.

"I guess so", Scully replied hastily so she wouldn't have to go into the specifics of something that she didn't really want anyone but her and Mulder to know the specifics of. "Mr Mulder, is first and foremost, my best friend and I think that makes all the difference", she said simply, smiling in amusement at the looks on the girl's faces.

"How do you know, Ms Scully?", Brianna asked curiously. She hadn't really been sure what love was ever since her parents had split up because her father had cheated on her mother. Brianna and her mother had eventually ended up living with her uncle Skinner for a while but that was over a three and a half years ago now.

"Know what?".

Amelia looked at her teacher incredulously, the same thoughts that plagued Brianna obviously plaguing her. "How do you know when you're in properly in love, as in not the fake kind?".

Scully smirked at the question. It was probably something that she would have asked someone herself (albeit sarcastically) up until recently. "I'm not an expert in that, but when it comes along, you just know, and no matter how long it takes for it to happen, it's worth every minute you waited," she said, surprised by her own honesty.

Before this she would have only expected something like that out of her mother (or Monica after a few drinks).

It wasn't like her to be giving out relationship advice like that or to be preaching about the power of love no matter how she may feel about the subject inside. It wasn't like her to share her emotions with anyone save for a select few people and Scully certainty wasn't a person to talk about her private life (however subtly) with her students.

'Get it together, Dana', she told herself firmly, her stomach churning uncomfortably once again almost as though it were attempting to turn itself inside out and make her crumble like a broken biscuit against the closest toilet seat.

Whatever was wrong with her. It wasn't easing up any time soon and it seemed the pills that she got for it at the drug store the previous week were having little or no effect.

Scully forced herself to settle, her stomach slowly following suit for the time being.

Brianna and Amelia sighed dreamily, not seeming to notice her obvious discomfort as they reflected over their teacher's words.

Eve Malone rolled her eyes, unconvinced. "So I guess when you meet this special person everything turns out fine and dandy and the two of you complete each other perfectly like you're two halves of one whole or some BS like that", she replied, voice dripping with sarcasm. "That only happens in the movies".

Scully smiled at the girl's comment. It was exactly like a comment she remembered making herself when she first asked Melissa what it was like to have a crush on a boy when they were in middle school. "I agree with you totally, Eve. When people say that it is definitely, as you put it, BS".

Brianna and Amelia looked over at their teacher in shock, their eyes wide.

"You can't have a loving a healthy relationship with someone until you know who you are yourself. A healthy relationship isn't being two parts of one. It's two whole people who love each despite their flaws and choose each other everyday, over and over again".

Scully smirked at how philosophical their conversation had gotten, something that she definitely hadn't intended. "But your teens aren't for serious relationships. They're for having fun so don't get too hung up on finding something serious. You have all the time in the world for that".

Eve nodded slowly, somewhat more comfortable with that idea than the crazy ideas presented by popular culture.

However, Shelia paused for a moment, her eyes glossed by nostalgia before a huge smile broke out on her face. Premature or not, maybe what she and Holman had could be more than a teenage fling.

"I think I know what I want to do. What I need to do".

XXXXXXXXXXXX

...

Meanwhile

A few rooms down the hallway

10.18pm

...

You are my sunshine, my only sunshine

You make me happy when skies are grey

You'll never know dear, how much I love you

So please don't take my sunshine away

~Johnny Cash, You Are My Sunshine.

...

Mulder unceremoniously entered the boys dormitories, not bothering to knock as he shoved the door open, letting himself in.

"Alright guys, I'm here to make sure that you're all present, alive and accounted for. Not dead, not missing, not abducted by aliens or out on the town getting lucky", Mulder exclaimed jokingly, looking around at the bunch of teenaged boys with a smirk. "Well, who's here and who's figured out how to beat the system".

A handful of the boys in the room chuckled, looking away from the small television in the corner to their teacher.

"Well, One of us is getting unlucky if you know what I mean, Sir", Jamie Ryan said from where he sat bare chested in the bottom bunk wearing a pair of basketball shorts.

Three of the other boys burst out laughing at Jamie's comment. It was alright to stay stuff like that around Mr Spooky Mulder anyway because if they were being honest; their teacher often said wilder things to them during class.

Mulder glanced quickly around the room, eyes falling on Holman Hardt, a slightly socially awkward looking teen with long skinny arms and legs. Mulder had given him advice on women only a few months before and how it would be best to approach Shelia about his feelings.

And if Shelia's three month relationship with Daryl Mootz was anything to go by then it was clear to everyone in the room that Holman hadn't told her about those feelings.

At least that was until now...

The poor guy was pacing the length of the room; over and back. Little beads of sweat popped up on his brow as he moved the length of the room and back. He was the only one still wearing his clothes that he had arrived in Paris in, and every so often, he woul puff out a little in frustration.

Mulder spoke up, not giving a second thought to getting involved. After all, he had unintentionally gotten himself involved ages ago, after he had offered to give Holman extra psychology classes after school once a week to get past finals. He had soon figured out that Holman's lack of performance in school had very little to do with his aptitude for the subject and a lot more to follow with his repressed feelings for Shelia Fontaine.

"You told her didn't you, Holman".

Holman gave out an almost squawk-like laugh but didn't reply as he continued to pace the room like some kind of crazy person.

Mulder turned to the rest of the boys (who were all displaying various degrees of pity and amusement) in the room with a questioning glance. Most of them shrugged nonchalantly (save for Daryl Mootz who was snoring loudly on one of the top bunks) but Jamie replied.

"He told her alright, Sir", Jamie said with a small smile, looking over at Holman teasingly, trying to find some way to cheer his friend up a little. "He practically told her that he wanted to marry her one day and have her babies", he joked, tossing the basketball that was on his bed over to Holman who put it sternly on the floor, glaring at him.

Jamie threw his hands up in surrender, "Alright, man. Cool your jets".

Mulder chuckled slightly, turning his attention back to the skinny and distraught looking teenager. "What did she say, Holman", he asked, mind wandering to all the possible scenarios he used to entertain (or more accurately torture himself with) when he, himself, had been trying to deter himself from confessing to Scully how he felt.

Holman sighed deeply, finally stopping pacing the floor. "She said absolutely nothing. She just turned and walked away", he cast his eyes to the floor before the final few words dribbled out of his mouth. "I think I've lost her friendship forever now".

The room was silent for a few seconds, allowing Holman's words to properly sink in.

Suddenly, a knock came to the door, pulling them all out of their stupor. Mulder got up reluctantly to answer the door.

He knew he really should say something to Holman about all of this, especially considering that he had already involved himself in the whole situation to the degree he had.

Mulder opened the door, expecting to see Scully who was also on 'patrol' duty (his words not hers) utility was instead faced with a panicky but elated looking Shelia Fontaine.

"Sir, I know it's after 10.00, but I really, really need to speak to Holman Hardt".

"Well, Miss Fontaine", Mulder said jokingly. "If I let you in here we're breaking every field trip rule in the book, written and bound by our very own Vice Principle Skin-man".

Mulder's humour went straight over Shelia's head in her attempt to get past him. "It will only take a second. I promise, Sir".

"I'm giving you five minutes", Mulder said, feigning seriousness (which one again whizzed straight past Shelia)

"Alright, Sir. Five minutes".

"I'll be counting".

Mulder let her past him and into the room, shutting the door behind him with an amused smile playing about his lips...

And he gave them ten minutes.

...

We can live like Jack and Sally if we wanted.

Where you can always find me

We'll have Halloween on Christmas

And in the night we'll wish this never ends

Wish this never ends

~Blink 182, Miss You

...

"Where we you?", Scully asked as the mattress dipped a little and Mulder slipped into bed beside her.

Mulder smirked affectionately, recalling what Shelia had told him about Scully's advice only a few moments before, "I was playing cupid between two of our students", he said simply. "But I've heard a rumour that I'm not the only one doing cupid's overtime around here"

He made to slip both of his arms around her but hissed a little when he came into contact with her very cold body. He ran his hand from the top of her shoulder to her thigh, hazel eyes filled with concern . "Scully are you okay", he asked, humour forgotten. "You're freezing".

"I'm fine, Mulder", Scully said, trying to sound sure even though her voice came out a little shaky.

She felt a layer of cold sweat all over her body under her pyjamas and she shivered slightly at his warm touch. "I've just been a bit under the weather for the last couple of days", she said honestly, stroking his jawline reassuringly her fingertips. "I just feel really cold".

"Are you sure?".

"Yeah, I'm sure", Scully said, mentally promising herself that she would go to see a doctor when she got home to DC.

"We'll then, Scully. Turn over on your side and I'll see if I can warm you up a little", he offered gently, rubbing across the skin on her back.

Usually, she would come up with some playful and equally suggestive retort to a comment like that, but right now, she was cold, tired and all she wanted was to have him near, as soppy as it sounded.

Smiling slightly, Scully turned on her back, pulling away from him momentarily before his arms wrapped around her small frame. Cocooned by his warmer and larger body, she felt him melt away the freezing cold inside her with his embrace.

Mulder remained concerned, brushing her hair back from the front of her face, placing a kiss on her temple as he nuzzled through her hair comfortingly. He felt her body warm up ever so slightly in his arms and relaxed a little at the revelation. 'She's okay', he told himself. 'She's alright'.

Scully sighed contentedly, wrapping her fingers around his hand that lay in front of her on her pillow. She kissed the back of it, her lips lingering on one of his knuckles as she spoke up. "This is how I like my Mulder", she said quietly, physically feeling him relax behind her, his muscle loosing the tenseness that they had only moments before.

"Your Mulder?", he asked jokingly, brushing her neck in a teasing manner with the top of his nose, eliciting a chuckle from her.

"All mine", she agreed with a laugh, turning her head around quickly to peck him softly on the lips.

Mulder chuckled against her mouth, glad to see she was somewhat herself. "I think I came to terms with that quite a while ago", he agreed sincerely, spooning around her once again, one hand over her shoulder, laid on the pillow and the other resting on her thigh. "Does that make you mine?".

"Maybe", Scully answered teasingly, wiggling her hips against him, partially to warm and partially to be closer to him.

Mulder laughed openly. "Aww, I thought this would be a mutual exchange here, Scully".

They both laughed at the ridiculousness of even having this conversation. They both knew how they felt and neither of them were pretty subtle about it anymore (if they even were before).

"I've been yours longer than I've let myself be, Mulder", Scully said genuinely, caressing the inside of his forearm. "And nothing is going to change about that anytime soon".

"I'm glad to hear it because I'm not planning on going anywhere either".

"Good".

...

Just like a willow we would cry an ocean.

If we lost true love and sweet devotion.

Your lips excite me, Let your arms invite me

Now that your near, The time is here

~ Elvis Presley, It's Now or Never.

...

XXXXXXXXXXXX

...

Dana Scully's Residence

Georgetown

Washington DC

Washington DC – 8.05pm

(Paris- 2.06am)

...

It was a rimy evening. Rain lashed against the roof of the Georgetown Apartment. Water clung to the roof of every passing car, clutching it in it's claws and lulling down the windshields. On every rail, gate and hedge, wet lay clammy and the evening just was so thick that it was hard to see more than a few feet in front of you.

Thunder rumbled quietly like a bear in hibernation and every so often the sky would with fill with fiberant celestial forks, the fireworks of Zeus.

None of this mattered to Melissa Scully however. She was home from work for the evening, huddled up on her sister's couch with a heavy shawl draped over her shoulders and a book on celestial healing in her hands.

Melissa was sure her younger sister would have openly criticised her reading material if she were here. But she wasn't and Melissa was almost glad of it. Dana had been extremely concerned about her for the last two weeks and it was beginning to get on Melissa's nerves.

No she didn't want to talk about what she had gone through. She had kept her silence over the last few years and didn't want to go dragging up every detail of the past. She had to keep it together for when she would see Emily again and talking about the things that had hindered her being with her daughter was not something she wanted to go into in a lot of detail. Even if it was with her sister.

However, all of this aside she had been somewhat glad of Dana's support and understanding. Dana had respected her wishes when she hadn't wanted to explain why she had left Kevin/Alex to the rest of the family. Their mother included.

Melissa didn't want to burden the rest of her family with her problems. It was already bad enough that she had confessed most of the details to Dana. That was why she insisted that she was alright, that Dana and Mulder should go to Paris.9

She wanted her entire family to get on with their lives without having to worry about her. Bill had Tara and Matty, Charlie had Nora and little Mary Margaret, Dana had Mulder and their mom had all of the above even though her husband was dead.

Melissa knew that she had all of their support too but all she really wanted was for everything to be fully normal again and to have Emily back in her life.

Suddenly, the landline in the corner next to the kitchen door went off, resounding throughout the house, louder than the storm outside.

Melissa was quickly pulled from her thoughts. She got up off of the couch and moved towards the other side of the room to pick up the phone. She knew it wouldn't be Dana as she had already called earlier on when they had landed in Paris.

Bill or Charlie weren't usually the type that called often. The former always seeming too busy and the latter showing up when ever he felt like it with a large bottle of wine and no shortage of stories.

No it wouldn't be either of the Scully men.

But it could be their mother though.

When she picked up the phone she was greeted with the loud, ear-splitting sound of static. 'it must be the storm', she reasoned as she tried to make out what the person at the other side was saying and who it was. .

"My darling", a voice whispered in English with a strong Russian twang that chilled her to her very bones. The sound of his voice brought back a thousand unpleasant memories, and she felt herself become petrified as the next few syllables.

Something clicked in his throat, as if he had works in him like a clock, and was going to strike.

"I know where you are", he whispered.

...

My shadow is the only one that walks beside me

My shallow heart's the only thing that's beating

Sometimes I wish someone out there will find me

'Till then I walk alone

~Green Day, Boulevard of Broken Dreams

A MASSIVE THANKS TO UNTAPPDTREASURE & WHIRDARF

A/N: Hi everyone who's reading this. I really hope you enjoyed the chapter. Please Leave A REVIEW on your way out it would mean the world to me to know your opinion.

Chapter Text

Chapter 16: Howling Ghosts That Reappear.

...

Claude Margarine Youth Hostel

The Champs-Élysées

Paris

7.00 am (Paris Time)

1.02pm (Washington Time)

...

I've been reading books of old.

The legends and the myths.

Achilles and his gold, Hercules and his gifts,

Spiderman 's control and Batman with his fists

And clearly I don't see myself on that list

~Something Just Like This, Coldplay and The Chainsmokers

...

Scully groaned loudly at the bright sunlight streaming in through the blinds, burying her face further into Mulder's bare chest and slipping one of her legs between his two warmer, blue flannel pyjamas clad ones.

After a quick glance at the digital clock next to the bed, Scully glared up at Mulder, who was smiling down at her mischievously.

'Did the morning always have to come so damn early.'

It wasn't that she minded what they had planned for the day ahead, surely a boat trip down the Seine and a visit to the Louvre would be fun but another half an hour of shut eye would be welcome, especially since they could afford the extra time in bed.

But naturally, her early rising co-worker and boyfriend had other ideas, waking her up nearly forty five minutes sooner than she had previously planned.

'Damn him and his need for very little sleep.'

The sounds of a vacuum cleaner, hummed noisily outside their bedroom door. The hostel warden's nearly sixty year old wife must have deemed the carpet outside their door to the dirtiest in all of Paris either that or she was just nosy and the latter was the most likely option of the two.

The elderly lady seemed to love gossip as much as life itself and had shared her highfalutin tales of the slanderous young american teachers staying upstairs with some of her employees, some having thrown Mulder and Scully disapproving looks whenever they encountered them and they rest overtly refering to them as 'the love birds'

The woman had materialized outside their room ever morning without fail and spent an entirely inappropriate amount of time hovering outside their bedroom door (claiming the carpet to be dirtier on that particular area than it was on the whole floor) after she had unfortunately overheard something that she shouldn't have had overheard on the second morning.

The thought of the elderly French lady outside, hoovering away to her heart's content in search of a "scandalous" story and their sixteen/seventeen year old student; sleeping on the floor just below, had made it difficult to maintain the proper mood for languorous romance.

"Mulder, we don't have to be for up another forty minutes.", Scully declared, grumbling quietly and blinking blindly, grappling for the pillow that she had discarded earlier on in the night in favor of her partner's warm body. "We meet the kids downstairs at 8.00 for breakfast and the city boat tour is scheduled for 9.30", she added voice muffled by sleep and the comforter her face was pressed against. "I'm not going anywhere or doing anything."

Mulder smirked lovingly turning on his side to stroke her shoulder, propping his body up with his elbows, as his redheaded companion ducked away from him, turning over to bury herself further into the pillows.

"Aww, Scully", Mulder said jokingly, tickling the skin exposed on the back of her neck due to her attire of a loose Knicks t-shirt that she had 'borrowed' from him. "I thought you'd enjoy a nice morning in, not necessarily sleeping."

Scully turned her head around from where it was, face down against her pillow, to face him.

Seeing the almost comical expression on his face, she smiled despite herself, chuckling and turning away from him again, pulling the blankets closer around her with an carefree giggle, something that even Mulder hardly ever heard from her, but couldn't get enough of when he did.

"You're insatiable. You know that, Mulder?", Scully remarked, peaking up at him from her pillow."Even with Madam News-Monger outside", she said whispered before turning around and wrapping both of her arms around his neck, pulling him back down onto her pillow, his head resting lazily against her stomach.

Mulder grimaced in remembrance, nodding as he looked up at her. "Sorry, Scully. I momentarily forgot about that little turn off."

"No worries". Scully lowered her face to his, placing a hand on his cheek as his lips greeted her, warm and inviting with a brush of heat before pulling away far too quickly for her liking, a smile that screamed he was up to something gracing his features.

"Where are you going?", Scully asked as Mulder swung both of his legs out of the bed.

He smirked devilishly. "I'd hate for the old dear to be too disappointed in us", he answered as he proceed to sit upright on the mattress, gently bouncing up and down to create a rhythmic squeak.

The vacuum cleaner stopped abruptly and the sound of steps hurrying away from the door could be heard from inside the room.

After a moment or two of bouncing, Mulder gave a dramatic groan and collapsed backwards with a twang of protesting springs.

Scully rolled her eyes, swatting him affectionately on the shoulder. "The whole point of not having morning sex while we were here is to avoid those kind of run-ins with her. We're supposed to be teachers here on a school trip, Mulder", she berated halfheartedly, chuckling despite herself at his pout when he settled his head back against her stomach.

"Hey", Mulder protested teasingly, waggling his eyebrows and totally overlooking her original point. "You're supposed to moan ecstatically not berate me and chuckle. She'll think I'm bad in the sack."

Scully smirked, deciding to play along. "Well, you would have to keep it up for longer then, a minute doesn't deserve anymore than a chuckle and besides...", she added, a slight bitterness trickling into her otherwise light-hearted tone as memories from dinner the previous nights came to mind."It might keep her daughter Bambi's eyes and claws off of you if her mother tells her that you're a bad lover."

Mulder looked at her incredulously, a bubble of laughter threatening to burst out of him, "Holy Shit, Scully!", he declared, eyeballing her. "Are you jealous?", he asked, half amused and half surprised.

Scully looked up at him sternly with one eye brow raised. It was her signature 'Dana-No-Nonsense-Scully' glare again. "Mulder, You're Nuts! Of course I'm not jealous!", she reasoned, shaking her head adamantly. "I just think Bambi has gotten the wrong impression from you after what you said to her last night at dinner."

He chuckled softly, lying back down next to her. "Well, let's just say it slipped my mind in the last fourteen years that the 'p' at the end of Boucoup is silent."

Scully chuckled slightly, "I'm surprised she didn't slap you Mulder. Considering that you, a perfect stranger, told her she had a nice ass instead of just saying 'thank you' like a normal person."

Mulder pouted, shaking his head in amusement, as he wrapped both of his arms around her narrow waist again. "What can I say, Scully. I've got a gift", he announced, teasingly as she squirmed in his embrace. 'I can wiggle myself out of getting my ass kicked', he thought to himself, deciding not to voice it aloud should Scully see fit to tease him about the times his 'gift' wasn't enough to keep him out of trouble.

"Yes, Mulder. A gift for pronouncing the silent 'p' in a way that gave a formally innocent sentence a whole new meaning", she said before grimacing slightly at the memory of Bambi standing over Mulder like a freaking bird of prey, as she took their orders and the orders of the students that were with them at the long rectangular table the night before. What kind of person reacts to a crass comment like that even if it was totally unintended on Mulder's part. "You should have seen the look she gave you."

He laughed against her shoulder, gently sliding the tips of his fingers up her thigh and under the baggy Knicks t-shirt to rest on the elastic of her panties. "You do know that your ass is the only one I chase these days, right?"

"I trust you if that's what you're asking, Mulder", Scully said looking up at him, eyebrows raised. " But I am also am well aware that Bambi fits in with just about every woman you've been with, probably since high school from what you've told me".

"What do you mean fits in?", Mulder asked jokingly, now resting both hands on her waist under her (or rather his) shirt. "Are you suggesting that I have a type, Dana Katherine Scully?"

"Maybe", Scully answered. "It seems that I have noticed a pattern of tall, dark haired, big chested women in your past", Scully replied dryly, mind wandering to the brief descriptions that Mulder had given her of past girlfriends and lovers, not to mention her own encounter with Diana Fowley only months beforehand.

Mulder's grin faltered, sensing her sincerity. "The key word there being; past, Scully. I was never actually in love with any of those women, except maybe Diana but we both know how that turned out", he said simply, arms loosening as he felt Scully move out of his embrace to face him properly. "I love all five foot two of you, nothing, not the past, not the future, will ever change that. You're my partner in crime, my constant, my touchstone, my one in five billion. You're my favorite person. The only one that I trust."

Scully smiled despite herself, stroking his jawline with the tips of her fingers. "Ditto", she said feeling her fleeting jealousy slip away like the tide back out to sea as she realized how ridiculous discussing this with Mulder was. She trusted him 100% just as he trusted her. Neither of them were going anywhere in the foreseeable future.

She usually didn't feel this jealous over such stupid things. Dana Scully was usually a completely confident person who didn't really entertain thought of her boyfriend's exes. What the hell was up now? Why was this suddenly changing? For the past few days it had been almost as if her hormones had been everywhere but where they were supposed it be. It really was getting ridiculous, like a rollercoaster that she had not given herself permission to go on. Scully made a mental note to check the calendar later, perhaps it was coming near her time of the month or something.

"No one means more to me than you do", Scully confirmed quietly, her hand freezing momentarily over his upper lip. "And I really do trust you."

"Even if I am a bit weird and spooky sometimes?", Mulder asked teasingly as he gently began tickling her sides, his fingers finding their way across her stomach and hips underneath her t-shirt.

Swatting his hands away, Scully replied firmly to his question.

"Normal is overrated. I'd much rather be weird with you".

Mulder grinned widely, glad to see he had reassured her. He knew that she didn't like huge gestures or over the top declarations of love, they never needed them. It was almost as though they communicated telepathically. However, it didn't hurt now and again to be a little more vocal than usual.

"And anyway", Mulder flirted with a smirk. "Who said brunettes were my type? How do you know I haven't always had a serious soft spot for tiny, gorgeous, super intelligence, kick-ass, perfect redheaded science enthusiasts but I just never met one until I met you."

Scully rolled her eyes, swatting him lightly on the shoulder. "Sure you had, Mulder", she said sarcastically.

Mulder rolled over on his front, settling both of his elbows at either side of her body until he was hovering just above her on the small double bed. "No, Scully. It's true", he said, pecking her hard on the chin and across her cheeks before softly brushing his lips over hers. "Totally whipped, right?", he asked, eyes shining mischievously.

"Absolutely", she agreed jokingly, chuckling and kissing him softly on the lips.

Smiling into her mouth, Mulder returned her enthusiasm in equal measure, gently pulling her on to his lap, he gently pulled his mouth from hers, holding her mere inches from himself, an almost temptingly close distance. "So Scully, considering that you think that you have identified my past self's type. Can I do the same?", he asked against her collarbone.

"If you think that your male ego can handle it", Scully replied teasingly, running her hands across the warmth of his broad shoulders, gently skimming her fingers along the rippling muscles of his back and placing a handful of kisses against his throat, settling herself on his lap.

Mulder moaned loudly, chuckling into her hair but suddenly pulled back, smirking devilishly and leaning closer to her, pressing his nose gently against her cheek. He raised her hand to his lips, kissing each of her individual knuckles. He started with the fist knuckle of her right hand, his lips lingering a little.

"Older", he said thoughtfully to which Scully shrugged.

"Sometimes."

He continued on, with each description kissing another of her knuckles.

"Forbidden", he tried in a careful tone of voice as though he was some sort of psychic or medium, watching her intently for any tiny giveaways.

"We'll that's always a turn on isn't it. There's a charm about the forbidden that makes it unspeakably desirable."Scully replied teasingly, sliding her fingers down his warm, bare chest. "I think I kept with that one though, your best friend is usually off limits", she added before leaning in closer to remerge her lips with his but chuckling when he, instead, continued with his little guessing game.

"Above average intelligence"

"Naturally."

"Good genes."

"Well, I never asked any of my exes for their genetic history but I guess I managed to avoid certain traits that I could pinpoint on a first meeting."

Mulder laughed affectionately, almost able to imagine Scully doing exactly that with her best 'scientist' looking expression firmly etched on her face. "Well, I'm proud to tell you that my family have a spotless genetic history, granted some people would think a few of us are a bit crazy but you already know that."

"You're not crazy, Mulder", Scully defended gently. "A little eccentric, yes, but I find it cute on days when you're not driving me up the wall", she admitted sheepishly, her voice getting a slightly higher tone, something that always endeared Mulder since he saw so little of his usually stubborn and unforgiving lover.

"So should eccentric be on this list, Scully."

"No, that particular fetish only cropped up a few years ago."

"When you met me", Mulder asked teasingly as he ran his free hand under her shirt and up her spine.

Scully rolled her eyes, deciding his ego had definitely been massaged enough for one day. She swatting him lightly on the arm before retorting sarcastically, "No, Mulder. When I met Frohike."

"Well, I promise that I'm better than him in bed any day."

"How do you know how Frohike is in bed?"

"Don't ask", Mulder replied, wincing at a few college memories from back when he briefly lived with The Gunmen after college. It had always been bluntly obvious on the extremely rare occasion when Frohike managed a one night stand.

It didn't even occur to him how his answer must have sounded until it already left his lips.

Scully smirked teasingly at Mulder's suddenly disgusted expression. "Do you have something hidden in the closet that you haven't told me about, Mulder", she asked jokingly, ribbing him in the side.

After all he was probably one of the most heterosexual men she knew and that was saying quite a bit considering that half of the men in her family were (or had been in the past) macho military and naval officers of one sort or another.

"You know perfectly well the kind of man I am, Scully."

"You'll have to prove it to me again later."

"It would be my pleasure", Mulder declared, bowing dramatically to her and waggling his eyebrows suggestively. "...and yours too."

Scully chuckled despite herself, rolling her eyes. "You seem very certain of your abilities."

He smiled almost boyishly. "That's true but I also know you."

"What do you know about me", Scully challenged sliding closer to him on his lap so that his abdomen was pressed against hers so she was less sitting on his lap and more straddling his waist between her legs.

"I know", Mulder said smirking triumphantly, taking her hand in his again and returning to his earlier actions of grazing his lips against her knuckles, kissing each of them in turn before trailing further up her arm. "That you have a thing for men with...", he said, voice trailing off as he reached the sleeve of her (or rather his) shirt. He silently asked her permission to do away with the garment before pulling it gently over her head with a swift swoop.

He chuckled at his own jest as the next words left his mouth accompanied with a boyish grin, almost akin to a child who had been caught robbing a sweet shop. "Buckteeth", he whispered teasingly, against her skin, placing a sloppy kiss to her chest.

"I'm pretty sure I never dated Bugs Bunny, Mulder", Scully said with an eye roll, crossing her arms over her chest and inching away from him a little. "I've always had high standards even when I was 'Dana the Punk Scully', as you so charmingly put it."

He pouted, wrapping his hands loosely around her elbows. He remembered very well when Scully had dated Mr Harawell a few years back while Monica was on sick leave. (He wouldn't admit it to Scully at the time but watching her date another one of their colleagues had really hurt) "What about Harawell?",Mulder asked, attempting to mask his own uncertainty at the topic. "He definitely had Buckteeth".

Scully looked at him incredulously, remembering the man in question. She had no idea that Mulder would have remembered him though.

Harawell had been quite a gentleman when it came to asking her out and even though she hadn't been woefully interested at the time (considering she was probably more in love with Mulder than she would allow herself to believe) she had agreed to go out with him. "He did not have Buckteeth, Mulder", Scully insisted.

"He did too", Mulder insisted stubbornly, mirroring her by crossing his own arms defiantly.

Scully rolled her eyes, smiling slyly to herself at Mulder's behavior. "I think you're the one who's jealous."

Mulder opened his mouth to protest but Scully saw right through him. Smiling, she covered his mouth with her own. "If i don't have to be jealous neither do you", she whispered against his lips as she paused for a moment for air.

He smiled, snaking his arms around her body, bringing her close to him again, as if they would fall apart otherwise. He knew that there was no point in denying her claims. It was the truth, after all. "Okay."

"Okay", she agreed, fusing their lips together again, pushing him downward towards the pillows, straddling his waist between her thighs. To her, It felt like there wasn't enough of him, or skin, or space, or time.

But Love is an eternity, it wipes out all sense of time, destroying all memory of a beginning and all fear of an end.

Time was irrelevant

XXXXXXXXXXXXX

...

The Seine

Paris

11.30 am (Paris Time)

5.32 pm (Washington Time)

...

But she said where'd you wanna go,

How much do you wanna risk

I'm not looking for somebody with some superhuman gifts,

Not some superhero or some fairy-tale bliss

I just want somebody to turn to. Somebody to kiss.

I want something like this

~Something Just Like This, Coldplay and The Chainsmokers

...

"Why the hell didn't you tell me that you get sea sick", Scully exclaimed, half sternly, half sympathetically at Mulder who was looking increasingly more green the longer they and their students were on the tour boat. He clung desperately to the brass railing on the side of the boat, so hard his knuckles went white. He had already thrown up twice and could hardly stand upright and still for longer than a few minutes at once. Scully hadn't seen anyone that bad out on the water in years.

Everyone else seemed to be coping pretty well with being out on the water, the majority of their students up on deck, laughing and taking photographs of the river side views of Paris .

"For the same reason you never told me that you were Dana Scully America's Number One Natural Born Female Sailor", Mulder replied gruffly, shutting his eyes tightly, his fists clenched to somewhat steady himself.

Rolling her eyes, Scully chuckled quietly. "I did tell you I was a Naval Brat", she said teasingly. "Same difference."

And it was true, being out on the water had never bothered her, even as a small child she would go out in her father's boat with him and her two brothers.

Even then the sea had always felt like another home away from home. Ahab had always said that the sea, one it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonders forever and that the voice of the sea was music to the soul. Even now, at the other side of the world, beng near the sea made her feel as though she was near her father again.

She felt tears well up on her eyes and quickly decided to think about something else. She didn't need to be a blubbering mess right now with Mulder looking sickly and a class of students to keep an eye on. "Mulder, when was the last time you were on a boat anyway?", Scully asked, guiding him away from the railing to sit down, running her hand across his forehead to insure that he wasn't burning up.

Sitting down on one of the long brassy benches that ran along the starboard side of the antique tourist boat, Mulder immediately dropped his head down between his legs to somewhat relieve the sensation of spinning that he was feeling.

Scully gently pulled him closer to her until his head was settled on her lap, against her stomach, like an anchor grounding him.

"About ten years ago", Mulder replied, his eyes shut tightly. "The last time I was out in Martha's Vineyard before Dad downsized", he said grumpily, breathing heavily. That had been one horrible trip. "And that was hell too, worse then even this."

"Maybe you're improving then", Scully replied in some attempt to lighten his mood, making a mental note to force him to buy pills for sea sickness if they ever found themselves in a situation like this again. "Some of these things get better over time."

Mulder smirked humourlessly, shutting his eyes again after a brief glance up at her. "Naaah, the company's just a hell of a lot better this time."

Scully swatted him lightly on the shoulder. Sick or not, Fox Mulder couldn't help but be a total flirt. "I don't know if you're really that sick, Mulder", she said jokingly, moving to slip out from under him to see if their students needed anything. She was well aware that he was, in fact, not faking his illness but joking about it may make him feel a little better.

Which was about all that they could do considering she had no medication of any sort with her for motion or sea sickness.

Scully opened her mouth to tease him further but Mulder stopped her with a pout. "Sing?", he asked quietly, his hazel eyes a strange mixture of puffy (from being dizzy) and hopeful, something that ultimately made him look more like a boy of three than a man who was over thirty.

"Well, now I know you've lost it, Mulder", Scully replied dryly, remaining underneath him for a few more minutes. "No way am I singing to you with a quarter of Junior year only a few feet away", she said gesturing shortly to the group of teens closest to them, where Eve Malone and Brianna Skinner were cackling loudly and taking photographs for the school yearbook of Shelia and Holman recreating a scene from the titanic at the head of the ship.

"I can't hold a note to save my life and you know it as well as I do", Scully said, referencing the time Mulder had walked in to find her singing in the shower at his apartment a few weeks earlier and decided to join her (in both the shower and with the singing).

"Aww, I like singing with you", Mulder replied almost sleepily. "especially because we can harmonise together without hitting a single correct note. That's pretty dang impressive if you ask me."

"Okay, now I'm definitely not singing."

"Please."

"Mulder, someone could hear me."

"You can sing really quiet. No one would ever know."

Scully groaned loudly, knowing this was an argument that she wasn't going to win considering that Mulder was lying, half in her lap and damn, the more sympathetic part of her felt bad for him. "Ugh, Fine."

Mulder looked up at her from where he lay in her lap, amused but still a rather green, sweaty and sickly. "Love you, Scully."

"Sure. Fine. Whatever", she replied, grumbling somewhat bitterly under her breath before beginning probably one of the most ridiculous songs she knew.

"Jeremiah was a bullfrog", she began quietly, barely audible to the pair of them let alone anyone else. Sighing deeply under her breath, Scully glared down at Mulder.

'Do you have any idea how much I love you to sing for you, you lucky bastard', she thought grouchily to herself. She would never do anything this crazy for anyone but him. She would never risk personal humiliation in front of her students (young people who's respect it was already a challenge to gain) for anyone but the man who was now currently lying with half of his upper body on top of her.

Never.

"Was a good friend of mine. Never understood a single word he said but I helped him drink his wine."

Mulder opened his eyes briefly, smiling up at her despite the still constant spinning in his head.

Despite the unusual circumstances of lying seasick in her arms on a tourist ship with her glaring down at him as she sang the almost comical song comically out of tune, Mulder never loved her more and probably would have proposed there and then if he didn't know that Scully would take his proposal as a side effect of his seasickness and brush it off with a smirk and tease him about it later. "Chorus", Mulder requested softly, knowing that it would piss her further off.

Strange as it might be, he had always found annoyed Scully extremely endearing.

"Joy", Scully deadpanned as she reached the chorus of the song. "To the world".

"To all the boys and girls". She couldn't help but brush back a lock of hair that had fallen into his eyes despite her annoyance towards him.

She couldn't help but somewhat enjoy herself. After all, he really did look adorable lying there, head on her lap with a helpless expression of affection and amusement on his pale green face.

Mulder grinned toothily. Scully's singing almost made the sea sickness worth it.

"Joy to the fishes in the deep blue sea. Joy to you and me".

Just then a click went off in the corner, closely followed by a lot of giggling, eye rolling and awww-ing from the small groups of teenagers who had overheard their science teacher's display of musical talent and thought it would be as good as any a photograph to use in the school yearbook on the section about their Paris Trip.

"Nice singing, Ms Scully", Brianna Skinner called teasingly while Jamie Ryan who stood beside her shook his head with suppressed laughter. The pair had been given the task to be the yearbook photographers/ editors and had been adamant to document just about everything on the trip so far for both the year book and the presentation of France for the rest of the year group when they got back home to DC.

The two teenagers traded mischievous glances before shouting in sing-song, out of tune voices like their teacher had only moments before. This time however, much much louder. "Joy to the world for all the boys and girls. Joy to the fishes in the deep blue sea. Joy to you and me"

Oh well, so much for avoiding public humiliation.

...

I've been reading books of old

The legends and the myths.

The testament, they told the moon and it's eclipse.

Superman unrolls a suit before he lifts

But I'm not the kind of person that it fits

~ Something Just Like This, Coldplay and The Chainsmokers

...

XXXXXXXXXXXX

..

The Cité des Sciences et de I'Industrie

30 Avenue Corentin Cariou,

Parc de la Villette

75019 Paris,

France

3.45pm (Paris Time)

9.48pm (Washington Time)

Day 5 of Paris Trip

4.06pm

...

His crown lit up the way as we moved slowly

Past the wondering eyes of the ones that were left behind

Though far away, though far away, though far away

We're still the same, we're still the same, we're still the same

Howling ghosts they reappear

In mountains that are stacked with fear

But you're a king and I'm a lionheart

~Of Monsters and Men, King and Lionheart

...

It had been decided that morning, considering that it would be their final full day in Paris, that the rather large group of twenty four students and two teachers would divide into two separate groups to attend different tours that they were personally more interested in. There was much to see and do in Paris and unfortunately it was quite difficult to get around to everything in a little over five days.

The first option was a visit to The Natural Science Museum which was a short journey on the Metro away from the hotel and housed some of the finest Natural Science exhibits in Europe between the huge exhibition on evolution and the massive botanical gardens that housed over 6.5 million specimen and had over 1.9 million visiting science enthusiasts per year.

The second choice was a Ghost Tour of The Catacombs below the city. The tombs belonged to the early Christians who had lived in Paris and were supposedly haunted by the deceased, whose bones had been deposited under the city of Paris in a complex maze of tunnels. Apparently the tour guide also knew a thing or two about the ghost stories of Paris, something that had already sparked the interest of a certain psychology teacher.

It was an easy guess which of the two Woodrow Wilson teachers would be had organised each of the respective tours and pretty much all of the students had been eager about signing up for at least one or the other of the day trips.

After an almost three hour tour of The Natural History museum. Scully found herself alone and walking aimlessly around the 'City of Health' exhibit on the basement floor, reminiscing on her year spent in medical school before she changed her mind, becoming a science teacher instead.

After six years it still wasn't something she regretted in any way.

She had told her group of eleven students that they could go anywhere that they wished inside the museum for an hour, considering that the tour guide had finished a little earlier for lunch and there still was plenty to see and learn within the huge building.

Scully continued down the corridor, past a large, almost sixteen foot tall, replica of a human skeleton only to catch sight of a man she hadn't seen for over six years.

Daniel Waterston

Standing a little under a foot taller than herself, decently built for a man nearly fifty with sandy/grey coloured hair and moustache. It seemed as though time had barely changed him at all.

He looked well, almost as well as he had the day she told him that she had enough with the sneaking around with him behind his wife and daughter's backs.

Enough of being the other woman.

Scully turned on her heel to leave almost as soon as she saw him. Even after six years, it was still painful to see him.

Not because she still loved him, of course. She had stopped loving Daniel Waterston years ago.

It was painful to see him because he was a clear reminder of the person she used to be; An ambitious twenty-two year old who was perfectly fine with the idea of having an affair with a married man who had a daughter almost her own age.

She didn't regret the person she used to be, of course. She just regretted him. Her time with Daniel was certainly a time that she would never again relive.

Ever.

It wasn't usually her style to duck and hide. She had always been the kind of person to choose fight over flight but almost unknown to herself, Scully was picking up speed at this point, almost twenty feet from him.

Suddenly, Daniel looked up from the exhibit, hearing her heels clicked on the tile floor. His eyes brightened in recognition of the short redheaded woman before him.

"Dana Katherine Scully, as I live and breathe", Daniel declared in utter surprise, dropping his tour booklet to the floor with a gentle clatter, making his way over to her in a handful of strides.

Scully turned around, shutting her eyes in silent prayer, groaning internally. Hitching on a smile, she faced him. "Oh wow, Daniel", she said, attempting and almost failing miserably to sound friendly considering the bad terms on which she and Daniel had parted company on. "It's great to see you."

Now that she was closer to him, she could see that certain things about Daniel had, in fact, changed.

The frown lines that were once faint now ran deeper and his hair was quite a bit greyer then it had been before. His dress sense had changed too. It seemed as though Daniel had permanently abandoned his half hospital scrubs and half casual look that he had once sported, giving away to a brown suit pants, tweed jacket, turtleneck jumper and loafers. He looked older than before and much more like the college professor type persona that he had been for nearly fifteen years.

The most notable change though was the pale band of skin on his ring finger where his wedding band used to be. If she had witnessed such a thing years ago, the gesture would have made her heart leap but now Scully only hoped that she had not caused the destruction of Daniel's home life.

Despite knowing that Daniel had been married, she didn't know at the time that he had children her age (that had been the main reason she left him in the first place) and didn't want to be part of the reason behind the downfall of the marriage of someone's parents.

That was why she left him.

Even after six years of getting used to the idea it still didn't sit well with her. Scully could hardly believe that it was something that she could have even considered anymore.

She and Daniel simply weren't meant to be. They never were.

Daniel smiled, something about the way he looked at her didn't seem simply casual or friendly. There was a certain softness behind his brown eyes that she had only barely seen beginning to flicker like Roman candles when they had been together. After six years since their breakup it appeared that Daniel was blazing.

Was it possible that he still loved her and was only now allowing himself to properly show it.

Scully didn't particularly want to know.

Something in Daniel's intense gaze gave Scully an uneasy gut feeling. He obviously had feelings for her that weren't in any way reciprocated anymore. She felt her stomach twist with discomfort as her head began to spin, similarly to her fleeting bout of sickness in the airport now several days earlier.

She felt her head grow lighter and lighter as she struggled to keep in control of herself.

Daniel, however, didn't seem to notice and probably took the look of vacancy and distraction as a sign she too shared his feelings but couldn't put them into words when in reality Scully was struggling to stand.

"So strange running into you here, Dana, in the city of love", he said breezily, his voice seeming faint, dripping with nostalgia and his eyes becoming a warm affectionate orange as he remembered the happier parts of their shared history. They had been few and far between, most of them only stolen moments in her tiny apartment at the time or in storage rooms at the hospital.

Whatever Daniel was thinking about however, it was making him glow as he drunk in the sight of her. "Sounds like fate." He looked a little shocked as the words left his mouth, as though shocked by his own boldness.

Scully coughed awkwardly, avoiding his eye whilst attempting to keep the contents of her stomach down. She felt her stomach grow queasier and queasier, knotting almost painfully as she felt the colour begin to drain from her face. Her insides seemed to be doing back flips. Scully struggled to get control of the situation.

Indifferent or not to his feelings, the last thing she wanted was to vomit all over Daniel.

After a seconds pause, Scully spoke up, hopeful that she could make it to the end of a short conversation with him before rushing to the nearest bathroom to relieve herself of her breakfast. (She usually went for the healthy option at breakfast time but had a bizarre hankering for fruit loops that morning, something that had amused Mulder greatly)

"Mmmh, Daniel you know I struggle to believe in thing that there isn't concrete proof of...", she said, trailing off as she remembered the conversation she had with Mulder in Connecticut on the night that they had first made love.

Was fate really something that she didn't believe in anymore?

Perhaps not.

Scully believed that there was signs along the way to pay attention to in life, signs that would lead you to where you were meant to be, choices to be made that lead down different paths to different lives where things were different. Choices that you would regret and choices that would lead you to happiness.

She made the choice not to stay with Daniel, not to become a doctor. She made the choice to become a teacher, to pass on her love of science to a new generation. She made the choice to give her whole heart to Mulder.

Scully regretted nothing. They were her choices and her's alone.

She knew that her life had been made up of millions of decisions, some small and some significant but just as fervently as she knew this she also knew that she would choose him every time, over and over again, in any time, place or dimension.

If given the choice she would always choose Mulder.

He was hers and she was his anything else was inconceivable.

Scully smiled, surprised with herself at how easily she, Dana Scientific Scully, had swallowed such a notion. She turned back to Daniel, looking up at him with a new light in her eye, ready to have a reasonable conversation with him and turn him down politely.

Their relationship was a part of her past and she hoped that she could get Daniel to understand that.

Abruptly, her head started to pirouette again as though the earth itself was wobbling and rotating on it's axis. She wasn't sure how much longer she would be able to hold herself conscious, much less hold her balance.

Scully stumbled backwards, away from Daniel. She waited for the imminent crash against the floor, the crash that never came. She felt Daniel's arms carefully grasp her elbows, easing her to the ground and then suddenly, she saw nothing, blanking out.

Only darkness and seemingly eternal spinning.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

...

Visible machinery, these moving parts inside of me.

They've been shutting down for quite some time.

Leaving only rust behind.

I know, I know the siren sound

Just before the walls come down

~Sleeping At Last, Touch

...

Blue Heron Herbery

1010 Vermont Avenue

Washington DC

5.24 pm (Washington Time)

11.24 am (Paris Time)

...

The street was bustling outside Melissa and her friend and co-owner, Pryia Starling's small herbal shop. Contrary to most alternative medicine stores in DC, the shop was brightly lit and inviting. The walls were lined with colouful jars, all holding strange odds and ends from Rosemary to Aloe Vera and from Camemoile to Thyme.

Melissa sighed deeply, her eyes itching irritatingly with tiredness. Her breathing was shallow and under her eyes, she had huge bags that almost looked like bruises from afar.

She was absolutely exhausted, not having slept a single wink since her unexpected phonecall from Kevin. Even now, the very thought of his threatening tone echoing and crackling from the receiver made Melissa shivered with dread.

She never felt safe anymore, not at work or at home. It didn't matter who she was with or where she was. The very thought of that Kevin could arrive at any moment scared the hell out of her.

She heard him behind her sometimes when the rational part of her insisted otherwise, everything about Kevin loomed above her like andnymorettnny upturn waiting for it's prey to die of hunger. Waiting to swoop in.

"Are you okay, Missy?", a voice somewhere behind her called.

Melissa jumped a little in surprise but relaxed on recognising the familiar voice of her coworker and friend. She turned around to face the other woman, attempting around neutral and carefree expression. Deep down, Melissa knew she was failing miserably.

The woman before her was short, slight with waist length dirty blonde hair hastily pulled into a messy braid. Priya Starling, a woman Melissa had met years earlier in college where they were both bound on career paths where they would never be happy.

Together they quit college and traveled around Asia and India, picking up whatever they could about the alternate medicine of the East. That was when Melissa had met Kevin, who Priya had always said wasn't a good man deep down.

When the three of them arrived back in DC, Melissa and Priya had opened their own store, their pride arrived and joy: The Blue Heron Herbery. From the get go, Melissa had been the partner specializing in the treatment of clients using alternative methods including Rahinni Celestial Healing. Pryia offered much of the same but often told the fortune of their clients, claiming she had had the sight since birth but only truly realised it's nature while they were travelling.

Melissa sighed internally, reminding herself once again that Priya never liked Kevin. Perhaps there was some truth in her friend's ability to see the future. A part of Melissa wished she had listened to Pryia back when she had fist advised her against Kevin but then she would never have given birth to Emily.

Melissa would never ever regret her daughter, come hell or high water.

"I'm okay, Pry", Melissa replied hoping to sound absentminded even though her stomach was still knotted with discomfort at the very thought of Kevin. "I just didn't sleep very well for the last couple of nights."

Pryia eyed her, concerned, her eyes becoming misty and empathetic as though she could see inside Melissa's head. "Something about the future is not hearing you,right?"

Melissa nodded reluctantly.

"You wanna tell me about it?"

"Not really", Melissa replied. She trusted Pryia completely but she still didn't want to burden her friend with something that may prove to be nothing.

Even though her gut preached otherwise.

"I could do a reading for you?", Pryia offered, reaching into one of the huge pockets of her mustard colored floral dress, pulling out a deck of tarot cards.

Melissa considered it for a moment. She knew that tarot cards were pretty vague but even so, did she really want to know the truth. Did she really want to know her future, no matter how dubious it may prove to be.

Melissa felt a cold sense of dread as she nodded, silently agreeing to Priya's offer.

"Okay. Let's begin."

...

Dana Scully's Residence

Georgetown

Washington DC

Washington DC – 5.55pm

...

The Devil. The Tower. Death.

They were three of the most unlucky cards in the pack of tarots and Melissa had been presented with all three.

The image of the three cards turned over on the silk table cloth still bore into Melissa's mind, forever ingrained in her memory. Pryia had tried to protest and talk some sense into Melissa, tell her the cards usually had multiple meanings but the red haired woman had uped and ran as soon as the realisation had even begun to settled in.

The cards may have multiple meanings but to Melissa, the meaning was clear.

She was going to be killed by Kevin, her very own devil.

Her heart pounded as she sprinted across the street, through the puddles and towards her sister's apartment. Melissa felt as though a pair of eyes were boring into her back, watching her every move as she threw open the door of Dana's home letting herself inside and began bolting the door behind her, her fingers fumbling clumsily with the chain.

A cold sweat broke out on her back and forehead, tiny beads of perspiration bubbling up on her brow as she dashed around the kitchen, frantically opening drawers for anything to defend herself with.

A knife.

Melissa turned to face the door, sickeningly unsurprised as the handle begin to jiggle.

She had known she was being followed by him. She had felt his presence hoover over her all day.

A mocking voice called out, a voice she knew Kevin adopted whenever Alex took over.

"Darling", he bellowed, voice dripping with angry sarcasm."I'm home". He knocked loudly on the door, filling the apartment with the sound of metal on wood. Something told Melissa that he had a gun. "Don't make me break your sister's door down. Will you, baby?"

'Yes', Melissa thought bitterly to herself, her heart almost audible and her ears beginning to ring. 'The Devil is home."

The door burst open, and ear-splitting clatter erupting that would be audible in the surrounding a parts if everyone wasn't still at work.

Melissa backed away from the door even though she knew confronting Alex/Kevin would be inevitable. Her lungs surged for air as she grasped the knife she had spotted seconds before in the top drawer, it's shiny metal gleaming in the darkness.

"Darling, I'm home", Alex whispered ominously entering through the door that separated the living room from the tiny hallway.

His tall and thin figure approached her slowly, a gun held firmly at his side.

Melissa glared at him from the kitchen island, tightening her grip on her lone weapon. She had always been a big believe of being master of her own fate. Would she really allow the results of a game of tarot dictate whether she live or die tonight.

Would she fight for her right to survive if that right meant seeing Emily again, if it offered her a chance to raise her own daughter.

Could she really submit to her supposedly inevitable fate with so much on the line?

...

Pain's a well intentioned, will of men

Predicting God as best he can

But God I wanna feel again.

Oh God, I wanna feel again.

Down my arms, a thousand silluottes.

Suddenly discovers

~Sleeping At Last, Touch

...

Chapter Text

TV Shows » X-Files » Mr Spooky and Ms Starbuck
Author: pearlydewdrop «
Rated: T - English - Romance/Angst - Reviews: 124 - Published: 06-08-16 - Updated: 04-20-17 id:11988179

 

 

Chapter 17: Little Talks

Paris Catacombs

Tourist Exit.

4.35pm

...

I'm looking for a place to start and everything feels so different now.

Just grab a hold of my hand, I will lead you through this Wonderland.

Water up to my knees but the sharks are swimming in the sea

Just follow my yellow light and ignore all those big warning signs.

~Yellow Light, Of Monsters and Men

...

A bright green exit sign glowed at the top of the cold stone staircase as Mulder followed the tour guide (who had been very pleased about his enthusiasm for all things paranormal), leading his class back out into the light of the street above that would surely be still lit by the awaiting afternoon sun.

The middle aged tour guide turned to them as she pushed back the heavy metal door at the top of the stairway, the sun bursting through and immediately casting a lengthy shadow of the door across the narrow landing.

Bolting the door to the wall to allow the tour group through, she turned to them with a smile, regarding their slightly creeped out (in most people's case) and relatively intrigued (in Mulder's case) expressions.

"I hope you all enjoyed the tour", she said, beckoning them all out on to the street.

The students nodded to her and to each other, coming back to themselves now that they were well and truly out of the creepy-ass cemetery.

Their chattering was growing back to an almost normal volume when Mulder turned to the tour guide. "Thank you for having us. Very Spooky, if I say so myself", he said with a half laugh.

Spooky. Definitely something he knew a thing or two about according to his students.

The Catacombs had been an awesome experience, truly creepy. Quite a number of people on the tour had claimed that they felt two cold hands grasp at their shoulders and sensed something or someone didn't want them there. Even some of Mulder's more sceptical students had admitted to a feeling of coldness and the sensation of being watched.

Mulder was even sure that Scully, the Queen of Scepticism herself, would have a few questions leaving the creepy underground cemetery.

"Hey, Mr Mulder", a voice called behind him. "Something's happened."

Mulder whirled around, coming face to face with a concerned looking Jamie Ryan. His usually easy-going, easily amused student looked slightly shocked, an uncertainty entering the teen's voice as though he was delivering news that he didn't think was in his place to deliver.

Mulder approached the boy, nodding a final word of thanks to the guide who had promptly taken her cheque and went on her merry way. "Is everything okay, Jamie?."

"Sir", he said. "Holman called. He said he's been trying for the last thirty minutes but couldn't get through with us being underground."

Mulder smirked in an attempt to lighten the kid's mood. Whatever was going on it was more than likely nothing. "That traitor. He's cheating on the paranormal with science all for the love of a woman who didn't want to go to a creepy graveyard", he said jokingly, referencing lover's tiff that the whole tour group had witnessed the previous evening between Holman and Shelia. "Not a good sign."

Jamie didn't crack a smile.

"Sir. Holman said Ms Scully collapsed at the science museum. Apparently, an ambulance had to come and everything. Her whole tour group is still in the lobby of the museum with the one of the caretakers. Holman said some old guy went with Ms Scully in the ambulance and that she didn't look so good."

The colour drained from Mulder's face and his heart sped up from a steady thumb to a full on panicking tango. He had to find Scully, wherever she was.

He had known Scully had been feeling a little unwell for the last week or more. Mulder had noticed subtle changes in her mood and her appetite, not to mention her frequent spells of come-and-go nausea.

Could something really be wrong?

Every time he had asked her if she was feeling okay, Scully had simply brushed it off with the reasoning that she was probably just coming down with some kind of bug or virus.

But what if was something worse than that?

Mulder's heart began to race, his heart hammering in his chest all down his body to where his feet were on the sidewalk, in his in mind; beating against the concrete like a drum.

...

Hold your horses now

We sleep until the sun goes down.

Through the woods we ran.

Deep into the mountain sound.

~Of Monsters and Men, Mountain Sound

...

Hospital Centre Rives De Seine

(Site De Neuilly-Sur-Seine)

Paris

France

...

With her eyes shut tightly, the first thing Scully registered was the smell and sound of her surroundings; the poignant scent of antiseptic filling her nostrils and the tell tale noise of the hospital coming to life around her.

The beeping of monitors, the rattling of the wheels on trolley beds against the tile floor and the hustle and bustle of busy doctors, rushing around like bees inside a hive.

She was in hospital.

A sense of disorientation rippled through her before her mind began to piece together the puzzle that was the last few hours.

She had unceremoniously collapsed, unexpectedly into the arms of her former lover

'Fucking Fantastic', Scully thought, embarrassed. At least, she would discover whatever the hell had been wrong with her.

That was something.

Scully slowly opened her eyes, daylight entering in the window on the opposite side of her bed. She was in the last bed at the end of the ward, next to a slightly opened window that looked out on the cheerful Parisian streets and the pleasantly bubbling Seine that reflected the light of the afternoon sun.

Groaning, Scully sat up, ignoring the slight spinning sensation she felt as she pulled herself into a sit ting position. A feeling of worry settling in, she wondered where Mulder and their students were; hoping to God that Mulder had found the students that had been in her care when she had passed out.

'And damn', she thought bitterly to herself as she stretched her arms in an attempt to relieve herself of a tingle pins and needles sensation that had been bothering her since she had awoken. 'I'm supposed to be the responsible one'.

"Are you feeling alright, Dana?", an unfamiliar but friendly voice piped up from beside her. The curtain on the left hand side of her bed that separated her from the next person were suddenly whipped back, the curtain's rails screeching in protest.

Scully turned to be faced with a tall brown haired, olive skinned lady about the same age as herself. The woman was dressed in an long white lab coat, her hair swept back into a neat bun that wouldn't have looked out of place on a ballerina. "Hi, I'm Doctor Neveu. I've been one of the doctors looking after you since you arrived here", she greeted in perfect English with a heavy French accent.

"How long have I been out for?".

"Fine, I guess. A little dizzy but I've been experience that almost every day for the last two weeks", Scully paused for a moment before continuing. She had planned to wait until she was back in DC to make a doctor's appointment but since she was here it would probably be best to set her worries prematurely to rest."Do you know what's wrong? I thought that I had a stomach bug or something as I have been experiencing nausea, vomiting and the occasionally fever but nothing seemed to work."

Dr Neveu smiled. "And there's a good reason for that too", she said as she looked through Scully's charts. There was increased rates of hCG in her blood, a sign that usually meant only one thing. "Dana, you're almost two months pregnant. I believe congratulations are in order."

Scully looked at the doctor in shock. "I'm pregnant", she whispered quietly in amazement, more as a statement to herself than a question. Her hands automatically drifted to her stomach almost protectively.

She was going to be a mother. Twenty three chromosomes of hers and twenty three chromosomes of Mulder's were fused together inside of her, multiplying rapidly and already on their way to growing into a whole new little human being. A little miracle really.

"Aside from that though, you and your baby are in perfect health and you're fit to be discharged in an hour or two. All of your belongings are in the locker next to your bed."

She turned back to the files she was carrying for a moment before looking back up. "I see from your records that you're from Washington DC. I would advise making an ultrasound appointment as soon as you're back in America."

Before Scully could say anything else, Doctor Neveu was gone as quick as she came and with a parting smile, she took Scully's charts with her.

Scully sat silently in the hospital bed, letting the truth wash over her. How had she not recognised the signs for what they were sooner? If she thought about it enough, she would admit to having noticed a few subtle changes in her body in the last few weeks, not to mention the fact that she had missed a period only a few days after Melissa had first shown up at her house.

The possibility of pregnancy had been the last thing that had been on her mind at the time, considering everything that had gone on in the last few weeks. Yet now, in hindsight, it made perfect sense and a part of Scully thought that she had subconsciously ignored the signs.

Perhaps she had considered a baby too much to hope for. Bad things happen to good people all the time; her sister Melissa was proof enough of that. But now here she was, three thousand two hundred and twenty eight miles from home and pregnant with her best friend's child.

Scully smiled softly, running her fingertips across her abdomen through the scratchy hospital gown. Her baby. Mulder's baby. She loved him or her with her whole soul already, the little person who was currently smaller then the tip of her finger.

Even though she knew that she would not be able to feel the baby move inside of her for quite some time and even though the scientist in her thought it was ridiculous; Scully swore she could feel her son or daughter inside of her. She was overwhelmed by a sense of fullness that she had never felt before.

What would Mulder think? Was he ready to be a father? Scully wasn't even sure if she was ready to be a mother. How would Mulder feel about this surprise little bundle of joy?

They had spoken about kids before, but not in a serious 'let's-start-trying-for-a-baby' way. It had only ever been mentioned in a looking far into the future way during post coital pillow talk or jokingly when they discussed the probability of a child of theirs inheriting Mulder's messiness or Scully's temper. They were, after all, only together four months and had been more than happy with each other for the time being but now, they were going to be parents. Everything was changing, which was both a daunting and exhilarating concept.

One way or another, Scully knew she had to tell Mulder as soon as possible. This may be her little miracle growing inside of her but it was his too. Their baby.

Her heart swelled at the thought of a little boy or girl who took after his or her father. Even though she had teased Mulder relentlessly about the prospect of a child like him in the past, the thought now made something inside of her burst with pride. Mulder was the best person she knew, their child would be lucky to have him as a dad.

Slipping out of bed, Scully reached the handle of the drawer to grab her belongings and get ready to be discharged. All the while, pondering over how best to tell Mulder that he was going to be a father.

XXXXXXXXXXXX

The Hospital Corridor

Moments Later

Do you,

Do you really enjoy living a

Life that's so hateful?

Cause there's a hole where

Your soul should be

Your losing control of it and

It's really distasteful

~Lily Allen, Fuck You

...

Excuse me", Daniel said, leaping up from his seat outside of Scully's hospital room as he spotted a doctor leave the same ward he had seen Scully enter nearly thirty minutes earlier. "Do you know anything about a patient by the name of Dana Scully.

Dr Neveu turned to him with a typically pleasant smile, eyeing the concerned expression on his face. "I was just speaking with her now?", she replied. Doctor Neveu knew the man had arrived in the ambulance with the aforementioned patient and assuming that he was the father of her patient's unborn child having bared in mind his reluctance to leave, she spoke up. "She's awake now if you want to see her. She's in the last bed on the right next to the window. We'll be discharging her in an hour or so, so I think that's she's preparing to leave."

"Thank you very much, Doctor Neveu", Daniel said, a smile of relief breaking across his face. He was beyond grateful that Dana was okay considering everything that he had to tell her, everything that he had wait far too long to tell her.

So with a spring in his step, Daniel hurried into the ward, sprinting past several other patients in the partitioned hospital room to get to a certain redheaded woman. His heart skipped in excitement in anticipation of speaking with Dana for what would be the first time in years. He had missed her so much. In less than an instant, he was right in front of the blue hospital curtains that Doctor Neveu had directed him towards.

Scully looked up with an expression of slight shock as she heard the curtains being pulled back. "I didn't think you would have stayed", she said almost absentmindedly, toying with the buttons on her cell phone. The block characters on the screen seemed to looked up at her almost anxiously; 15 MISSED INCOMING CALLS FROM MULDER.

"But nonetheless, thank you for getting me here, Daniel. I really appreciate it."

Daniel smirked humourlessly, "How could I possibly have left, considering that I have only just found you again.

She looked up at him again, this time giving him her full attention as she set her cell down next to her at the edge of the hospital bed. Despite the nausea she had felt before passing out, Scully still remembered what Daniel had said and how he had looked at her. It just hadn't occurred to her that he really meant it or that he would stick around until she woke up. Looking up at him cautiously, she spoke up. "Daniel", Scully began quietly, trying not to sound too harsh. After all she had loved him once upon a time, or at least thought she did. "You surely don't-".

He cut across her before she could say anything else, his voice breathy and desperate. "Dana, I love you and I always have. I should have told you years ago and spent everyday showing you just how much."

Scully frowned. "Daniel, be serious. You haven't seen me or spoken to me in six years. I'm not the person I was back then and neither are you."

"But now my daughter understands that I can never love her mother again and that I love you. My family won't hold us back anymore, Dana", he replied, seeming as though he hadn't even heard her previous protestations to his declaration of love. "We can have a life together."

Scully sighed, frustration beginning to take hold, clawing it's way up through her stomach and spreading into her throat. She had been young and stupid when she had an affair with Daniel. She had let herself love him when it seemed that all he had wanted her for was live scientific debates and a quick romp behind locked doors at the medical school where she had been a student and he had been a teacher.

However six years later, it seemed as though he wanted more than that now that he was middle aged and lonely.

"Daniel, your daughter was two years younger than me. We would never have worked out."

"Dana you are one of the most intelligent people I have ever met, surely you know by now that age differences don't matter. The heart feels what it feels", he said softly.

Scully rolled her eyes, pulling her hand away. "You don't even know the first thing about me anymore", she stated matter-of-factly. And it was true. Daniel had known a young, ambitious and reckless Dana Scully, fresh out of high school and out of her strict Irish catholic home where an affair with a much older man would be something unspoken and unheard of. Daniel had been an act of rebellion that she had fallen in love with the idea of, she knew that now.

Daniel smiled, still apparently not getting the message and stubbornly stepped a little closer. "I'm willing to learn all that again, Dana. I want to know who you are now. That's why I'm here."

With shining eyes, he attempted to approach her again, stepping a little closer. "I don't even know what you do know since you dropped out of medical school. You would have made a fantastic doctor, you know?"

"I'm a high school science teacher in DC", she replied, hoping an answer wouldn't encourage him into thinking she was interested in taking him up on his bizarre proposal as soon as the words left her mouth."

"Sharing your knowledge with a whole new generation. It's oddly fitting considering the accomplished woman you are. It's not wonder I feel as I do about you."

At this her frustration was beginning to turn to anger. Scully knew that he was just being honest with his feelings and laying all of his cards on the table but to her it seemed as though he was just ignoring her feelings on the topic. "How do you justify loving a woman who is young enough to be your daughter. Jesus Daniel, you were nearly as old as my own parents at the time "

Daniel smirked knowingly, "You didn't have a problem with that six years ago", he smiled triumphantly as though his words were some fantastic come-back.

"Because I was stupid and thought I loved you."

"And do you still?"

"Of course not. I don't think I ever loved you, Daniel. I was just completely infatuated with you, with the idea of us", she almost laughed as the truth that she had held deep inside ever since their breakup fell from her lips. She knew she was being harsh, but at this point she didn't really care. Daniel was being stubborn and relentless so she would be too. "I loved the idea of being desirable to an intelligent older man. Our relationship was an act of rebellion on my part, especially looking back on it now."

"So you don't love me?"

Scully sighed, finally realising that she was getting nowhere, her full frustration at Daniel finally getting the better of her. She had tried, really tried, to play nice and to let him down gently but this really was getting ridiculous. "Daniel, not that it's any of your business but I am in a relationship with someone else."

Daniel looked at her slightly confused as though the prospect baffled him slightly. This apparently wasn't a scenario the had envisioned. "Is it serious?"

Scully stared at him incredulously. Who the hell did he think he was, asking her something like that. She had known Daniel had a habit of poking his nose where it didn't belong but this blind determination for her acceptance was something else all together. "Yes."

"Are you married?". Daniel asked, looking down at Scully's hands in search of a ring that he may have overlooked earlier. Not that marriage meant much to him anyway.

"No", Scully replied, attempting to remain unruffled by his hungry inquisitiveness, even though he was already under her skin and he knew it. There was few people who could rile her up this much and Daniel already seemed to be pressing all the right buttons. Her romantic relationship with Mulder may not have been going on for too long by the standards of most, but they had been the best of friends long before that and always would be.

She had looked at Mulder as a friend for so long until she found that she loved him with with her whole soul, it was then Scully realised that she and Mulder had always looked at each other a little too long to be 'just friends'.

But their relationship was unique and certainly none of Daniel Waterston's business.

"Engaged?", he asked dryly.

"No", Scully answered, really starting to get pissed off by his persistence. She had enough now and spat out angrily: "But how's five and a half weeks pregnant, huh?"

As soon as the words left her mouth, she regretted it immediately. Daniel shouldn't be the first one to hear this from her. Mulder should. Either way, it was out now and there was no going back.

"You're pregnant?", Daniel asked, frowning in disbelief. "You do know that unmarried guys usually consider an unplanned pregnancy like this as a desperate attempt to tie them down and make a family man of them, right?"

Anger finally boiling over, Scully leaped off the hospital bed to face Daniel, pointing a finger accusingly at him. "You are such a jerk, Daniel! How dare you accuse me of something like that! You don't know anything about me, my life, my child or my relationships! I love Mulder and our baby and only want them to be happy", sighing angrily, she continued, her usually bright blue irises turning to a dangerous navy colour. "You and I had an affair, Daniel. Six years ago! It wasn't a relationship. It wasn't love. It was a fucking fling! Nothing to do with me concerns you anymore, so you have no right to expect me to welcome you with open arms just because you feel lonely after all these years. The time we spent together was destructive and toxic and I don't regret ending it when I did."

"Even though you left medical school?"

"I love teaching", Scully replied firmly. She had been asked why she left medical school so many times over the years by both family and friends but she didn't think it would be something she would ever regret. "I wouldn't change a day, Daniel."

Daniel smiled slyly, stepping closer so they were only mere inches apart. "You wouldn't be getting angry like this, Dana, if you knew that there wasn't some truth to my words."

"Which words are they now, Daniel? I'm afraid I've lost count of all the stupid things you've said since you showed up", Scully exclaimed vehemently, stepping backwards and away from hm. "Don't get me wrong, I'm grateful that you called the hospital and got me here but if you think that I owe you something because of it, then you're sorely mistaken."

Daniel shrugged, stepping away from her. "Mark my words, Dana. You'll see what I mean when you tell that guy of yours that you're pregnant."

Scully sighed angrily, trying to ignore his words. "Please Daniel, just get out", she said, once again picking up her phone from her bed, looking away in an attempt to ignore him while her head was buzzing with uncertainty. 'What if Mulder didn't want to be a father yet?'.

Daniel smirked humourlessly to himself, turning on his tail and pulling back the curtain.

Leaving her alone by her bedside, lost in her own thoughts

...

You say

You think we need to go to war

Well you're already in one

Cause it's people like you

Who need to get slew

No one wants your opinion

Fuck you (fuck you)

Fuck you very, very much

Cause we hate what you do

And we hate your whole crew

So please don't stay in touch

~Lily Allen, Fuck You

XXXXXXXXXXX

...

Close the door, leave the cold outside

I don't need nothing when I'm by your side

We got something that'll never die

Our dreams, our pride

My heart beats like a drum (all night)

Flesh to flesh, one to one (and it's alright)

And I'll never let go cause

There's something I know deep inside

~Born to be my Baby, Bon Jovi

...

"Excuse me, I'm looking for a woman that was admitted here about two hours ago", Mulder asked, pausing mid-sprint through the hospital corridors. A passing nurse just looked up at him with an annoyed glare and kept going.

Undeterred, Mulder practically flew into the hospital reception area, rounding on the first member of hospital staff that came into sight (which happened to be a sternly looking receptionist with a phone pressed to her ear) "I'm looking for an American woman who was admitted here a few hours ago. A patient named Dana Katherine Scully."

"patientez s'il-vous-plait", she grumbled, glaring at him through her thick spectacles as she put her hand over thee phone's receiver.

Sighing in frustration, Mulder spun around, coming to face a tall middle aged doctor with a thick moustache. "I'm looking for a patient by the name of Dana Scully. Is she a patient here?"

The doctor shrugged nonchalantly, brushing past Mulder and continuing out through the corridor at the opposite side of the room.

Mulder's eyes darted around the room frantically in search of someone else who could help him on his search for Scully, hoping only that he was in the right hospital this time and that wherever she was, Scully was alright.

Sticking in his head in the door of one of the wards, Mulder spoke up again. "Excuse me is there anyone...", before catching sight of the sickly patients in the room and quickly deciding to keep moving.

Reaching another administration desk, Mulder spotted yet another member of hospital staff. "Has there been a patient by the name of Dana Scully admitted today?"

The woman looked at him confused. "Je ne comprends pas."

Mulder sighed tiredly, wiping his brow in annoyance. "Is there an admitting nurse around?", he asked loudly, raising his voice so that someone useful might hear. "I'm looking for a woman who was admitted a few hours ago", he said voice growing to a crescendo that echoed around the hospital. "A patient by the name of Dana Scully."

A few patients and visitors looked up in shock but the doctors, nurses and staff didn't seem too phased by his outburst.

A tall and dark haired female doctor with olive skin approached him. "You need to calm down, Sir"

"I'll calm down when I'm given a reason to calm down", Mulder exclaimed, his frustration and worry that had been eating at him ever since Jamie Ryan had told him that Scully had unexpectedly collapsed finally getting the better of him. Worry for Scully's welfare and frustration that he wasn't with her.

"If you're friend is a patient here. I can assure you that she is receiving the best of care. Now who did you say that you were looking for?"

Mulder sighed reluctantly, his breathing beginning to even out. "Dana Katherine Scully. I believe that she was admitted in the last hour or two."

The doctor nodded in response. "Yes, she is a patient here. My name is Doctor Neveu. I've was just in with her a few moments ago."

Relieved, Mulder visibly began to relax, releasing a breath that he didn't even know that he had been withholding. "Is she okay?"

Doctor Neveu eyed him carefully. One could never be too careful with the people that you let into your patients after all, especially when you caught them yelling at hospital staff and fellow doctors in the reception area. "Medical information is confidential and is only provided to immediate family members."

Mulder grumbled quiet under his breath. "I'm her...", he trailed off unsure how to sum up his relationship with Scully in a way that would;

(a) do it justice

(b) be understandable to most normal people and

(c) get him past the usual red tape that surrounded hospital visits.

Although,it probably didn't help either that he showed up all guns loaded like some crazy person. "Boyfriend", he tried, going with the most obvious option.

His answer was accurate of course, but it still didn't sum up his relationship with Scully. In fact, it probably made it sound somewhat juvenile in comparison to what they truly had.

Doctor Neveu eyed him critically, sure that a fellow member of staff had pointed out the older gentleman that had accompanied her patient to the hospital as the woman's partner. 'Americans and their overly complex lives', she mused silently, deciding that the panic and concern on the face of the man before her was purely authentic. "Alright then, We're actually discharging her in a few hours but in the mean time, she's in the second ward to the left in the last hospital bed in the row, beside the window."

"And she's okay?", Mulder asked, just to be sure. He could feel his fear and frustration begin to ebb away only to be replaced with relief.

"We have no further concerns, only that she should have a follow up appointment when she gets home", she replied firmly with a nod, deciding not to reveal anything else, after all that was up to the patient herself. "Now I need to get going unless there is anything else that you want to ask me?"

"No there's not", Mulder answered gratefully, already beginning moving in the direction that she had indicated towards a moment before. It wasn't that he didn't believe the doctor, he just wanted to see Scully, make sure she was okay. "But thank you so much for your help."

...

We got something to believe in

Even if we don't know where we stand

Only God would know the reasons

But I bet he must have had a plan

'Cause you were born to be my baby

And baby, I was made to be your man

~Born to by my Baby, Bon Jovi

...

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Howling ghosts they reappear in mountains that are stacked with fear
But you're a king and I'm a lionheart

And in the sea that's painted black, creatures lurk below the deck
But you're a king and I'm a lionheart

- King and Lionheart, Of Monsters and Men

Arranging her clothes to redress, Scully picked up her phone for the third time, contemplating calling Mulder. She had the first few digits of his number dialed into her phone when she paused, there was no way she was confessing to him that she was pregnant over the phone and somehow she knew that once she heard his voice she wouldn't be able to withhold the truth from him.

She knew that he would be worried about her, the fifteen missed calls were testament enough to that. And she knew Mulder well enough to know he would be imagining the worst case scenario taking place.

She needed to talk to him face to face, to be honest with him. He deserved to know that, in less than eight months, he was going to be a father.

Scully pushed those thoughts aside, she wouldn't worry about that now. For now, all she knew was that she was in love with a human that she hasn't even met yet. Yes, her baby wasn't planned but that only meant that life knew what she needed before she did herself. Some of the best things in life happen when you least expect it and some of the best stories start with "and, all of a sudden". Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans so it's best just to enjoy the ride. Scully was beginning to see that now.

Setting her hands on her entirely flat stomach, Scully knew that it would be impossible for anyone to tell that she was pregnant for a while. Her baby, her beautiful little miracle.

Suddenly, Scully was pulled from her train of thoughts by the unexpected sensation of a pair of arms enveloping her in a hug from behind.

"I hope you're not planning an A-Team style prison break here, G-Woman?", a voice asked teasingly, his tone failing to conceal his relief at seeing her again.

Mulder.

Recognising his familiar scent, Scully relaxed back against his chest, the chest of the man who had given her their little miracle.

"A prison break? Without you? Never", she replied in the same joking but relieved manner. In that moment it didn't really matter how he had found her or where their students were or what they were going to do now. It only mattered that they were here together and they were both okay.

Scully turned around in his arms to face him with a smirk. "So what brings you to this part of the city, Mulder?."

Mulder smiled goofily against her hair as he enveloped her once again in a hug, still feeling grateful that she is okay. "Oh you know the usual, to smoke crack with Keebler Elves."

Scully snorted, vaguely amused. It was only then she noticed just how close Mulder was to her, his body pressed against her's where their child was beginning to grow.

Mulder eyed her, his beautiful hazel orbs brimming with concern, he could, in many ways, read her emotions better than he could read his own, but was still uncertain whether that was to do with being a psychologist or to do with (as bizarre as it sounds) her being almost like an integral part of himself, a part he carried outside of him. He strongly suspected the latter as he often felt that she knew what was going on inside his head, sometimes even before he made sense of it.

"Scully are okay?", he asked quietly, his voice barely above a whisper. Doctor Neveu had told him that Scully was okay and that she was fit to be discharged in an hour or two, but was there more to the story.

He knew that no matter what was wrong, Scully would simply tell him that she was 'fine' but he knew her well enough to see past that.

"I'm fine, Mulder. But...", Scully began, words failing her halfway through in light of the emotions welling up inside of her: a mixture of fear, excitement and love for the child growing inside of her and the man standing in front of her. A mishmash of emotions that Scully knew had less to do with her pregnancy hormones and more to do with feeling a new kind of love that she had never felt before in her life.

Love for her child and love for the man who helped her create the most precious of miracles that they could imagine; their wonderful little baby.

With that thought, her fears slowly began to subside and tears began to well up in her eyes. She knew Mulder better than she knew anyone else in the entire world. She knew that he loved more deeply than anyone that she had ever met before in her life. She had never met someone more passionate and dedicated then him. And somehow Scully knew that he would love this baby every bit as much as she would.

"But what, Scully?", Mulder asked gently, tilting her chin upwards so she could properly look him in the eye.

"Mulder, I'm pregnant", she replied quietly with a watery smile. Watching him intently to gauge his reaction before he would inevitably speak up.

He look at her in shock, his eyes widening almost comically in pure and unadulterated amazement and disbelief. "I'm going to be a dad", Mulder asked almost feebly, looking down at Scully's almost completely flat stomach.

He took in the sight of her, his adorably petite soulmate. He would gave never guessed that she was carrying his child. Mulder felt the corners of his lips turn up, until they were both grinning foolishly at one another as if to say; 'Oh my God, look what we did' with tears spilling down their faces.

Scully couldn't help but tease him considering the almost boyish look of pride on his face. "Well, he or she is either yours or some kind of immaculate conception so I'm kinda banking on the first option."

Mulder chuckled heartily and reached down, enveloping her in an embrace that was both warm and protective. Mulder knew that Scully didn't need his protection but he couldn't help it. Not now, especially since she was standing in front of him with tears in her eyes, giving him the greatest gift he had ever been given in his entire life. "You're going to be such an incredible mama-bear, Scully", he said smirking lovingly against her forehead.

Scully laughed reaching up to peck him lightly on the chin. "I hope so", she said, vaguely pondering why she had been so concerned about sharing her news with Mulder in the first place.

She reached up, moving her hands from where they had been settled against his lower back to his face. Scully traced his lips with her thumbs before trailing her index finger across his sharp jawline. He was by no means perfect, nobody was, but he was perfect for her in every way that mattered. "I love you so much, Mulder. So much that there's no way that I can try to rationalise it or make it logical. I love you and you are going to be the most amazing father."

Mulder smiled lovingly down at her, blown away by how much the woman before him really means to him. Scully was his whole life and has been his family ever since she first walked into his classroom, into his life and into his heart. His constant and touchstone, the mother of his baby. "I don't know about that, Scully. Let's just hope that junior doesn't get my nose", he said with a playful smirk, slipping his arm from around her waist to touch her stomach.

He knew that he was changing the subject but as excited as he was about Scully being pregnant, he was still nervous about one thing; Would he really be able to be a good father? He already loved his and Scully's baby so much and would never want to let the kid down.

He had had a crappy relationship with both of his parents for years after Samantha had died and even before then Teena and Bill Mulder hadn't exactly been the poster children for good parenting, especially with their constant fighting and loud arguments that would often go on for hours. It had usually resulted in Mulder taking Samantha into another room and turning either the television or the radio up full blast to drown out their parent's screams.

Even now, after what would soon be twenty one years, his relationship with his parents still wasn't the best. He knew that his mother was still ill, wherever she was, and he had made good on his promise not to visit her again. He had not yet spoken with his father on the topic of his parentage considering the still fragile nature of their still newly reconciled relationship.

He never wanted a relationship like that with his own kids but a part of him still doubt that he would be capable of more. After all, how would he know how to be a good father when he wasn't sure he even knew what being a good father entailed.

"Mulder", Scully said firmly, once again surprising him with her ability to practically see into his soul. "I know what a good father is. I've had one all of my life. Believe me when I say this..", she said, clasping one of his hands in her own. "You will be such a good father."

Mulder watched her intently for a moment. He didn't want to let her down or let their baby down, he loved them both more than he had ever loved anything before in his life. "Scully, how do you know that?"

"Because I know you", she stated simply, pulling him closer to her in reassurance. "Mulder, you are the most caring, determined and passionate man that I have ever known. You don't do anything halfheartedly and you love more deeply than anyone I have ever met. Our baby will be lucky to have you as their father."

Smiling, Mulder pulled her the last few inches until she was peering up at him intently, her chin mere centimetres from his chest. "How the hell did I get so damn lucky, Scully?", he said, tucking a strand of red hair that had fallen into her eyes behind her ear. He had spent the last week waiting for the right moment to ask Scully to marry him and it was only now that he realised how stupid that was. Every moment that they were together was perfect simply because it was them, just being with one another.

"Scully", Mulder said softly, moving his hands up to cup her cheeks. "I been so in love with you for so long. You walked into my classroom that morning and my soul kind of sat up and went 'oh there you are, I've been looking for you' and that was it for me. I was yours in body, heart And Soul. There could be no one for me but you. Ever", he confessed with a small smile, pausing for a minute to reflect on the day she had walked into his life all stubborn and logical even then. "And after all this time the essence of our relationship is still the same, your my best friend, my favourite person and I trust you more than anyone. I trust you with everything. You're my constant, my touchstone, my one in five billion", he sighed deeply, his eyes glinting with love. "And now you're the mother of my kid too."

Scully watched him, smiling silently, wondering how she could ever have imagined her future without this wonderful man beside her, beside them. And here he was telling her that he was hers. Forever.

She has never loved him more.

Mulder gently moved one of his hand from her face, slipping it into his jeans pocket where a certain little velvet box had made it's home for the last few days. If there was ever going to be the right time to ask her, it was now. After all, there's no time like the present.

"Scully?", he said gently, her name falling from his lips like a question, his thumb flicking across the apple of her check. His eyes were alight and questioning and he watched her, watching him in anticipation. "Marr-...", he began but was cut off by the ringing of Scully's cell phone that was resting on her bed.

"I think you might have to hold that thought, Mulder", she said. Scully sighed tiredly, gently disentangling herself from Mulder. "It's probably my mom", she mused, moving to get to her phone. "She hasn't called since we got here."

Mulder shrugged in response, trying not to seem too disappointed. They had all the time in the world, after all. He didn't need to ask her now.

Picking up the phone, Scully immediately recognized the number not as her mother's, but as he brother Charlie's.

Frowning, she hit the receive button, eyeing Mulder in confusion. She knew her brother and she knew that he wasn't the calling type. He was more of the 'show-up-on-your-doorstep-unexpectedly- if-he-wants-to-talk' type of guy, always had been.

"Is everything okay?", Mulder mouthed, watching her expression.

Scully shrugged in response, waiting for Charlie to speak up from the other end. "I don't know."

"Dana", Charlie piped up from the other side. "You need to get home."

Scully smirked, her brother had always been a prankster and being twenty seven years old wasn't reason enough for him to change. "I didn't know that you'd miss me this much, Chuckles!", she began teasingly but stopped at the seriousness in her younger brother's voice.

"Danes, there's been an accident."

Scully's face fell, suddenly recognizing the pain her brother was feeling at the end of the line. She could hear it in his voice. "What's happened, Charlie?", she asked, any hint of teasing long forgotten. She waited a beat for him to reply and started to get desperate when he didn't. "Tell me what's going on, Charlie!."

She heard him gulp in repressed emotion. Scully has never heard her brother like this, even when Ahab had died.

"Missy has gone into surgery,Danes. You need to get home."

Scully suddenly felt her world spin. She had thought things were getting better for Melissa and now this! "Surgery for what?!", she exclaimed. Her eyes glistened with emotion, pulling her eyes brows down, wilting like flowers in the autumn. Her lips trembling as if she were to let out a sob- but she never did. Her nose twitched as her mouth suddenly became agape and she drew in a breath of air sharply, turning her neck.

She had left Missy whatever was wrong with her was her fault. Scully's heart began to pound as she awaited Charlie's response.

Mulder watched her helplessly. He didn't know what was going on at the other end but from where he was, it couldn't be anything good.

"Melissa was shot in the head, Dana...", he said his voice heavy as though he had been awake for days. "by Kevin."

"What?", Scully replied quietly in disbelief even though her insides were screaming. "Melissa was shot? How?".

"Kevin broke into your apartment, Danes. He shot her", Charlie said, a hint of recklessness entering his voice. "And if she hadn't beaten me to it, I probably would have killed the bastard myself", he finished bitterly. It was unlike Charlie to say something like that, threats were usually Bill's forte, being the older brother and all but desperate time brought out another side to Charles Scully. "The doctors say that there isn't much hope for her, Dana. We're counting on a miracle here but we need you too."

Scully tried to keep her voice from cracking because she feared that if she spoke too much now then she would totally shatter. "I'll see you soon, Charlie", she responded quietly, knowing that if she mentioned Melissa now, then she would totally break down.

He must have recognized something in her voice and decided to leave her alone.

In less than a few seconds Charlie was gone, leaving Scully listening to the lonely dialing tone. Her head felt a barren wasteland, soaking up the dialing tone as though it was the last water on earth. She let her phone drop to the hospital floor with a loud clatter.

She knew Mulder was watching her closely. She could feel his eyes on her.

"Scully, Mulder began as he approached her carefully. When he reached her settled both of his warm hands on her trembling hips. "Talk to me?".

It was then, and only then, that Scully realized that she was shaking. She pulled away from him harshly, not believing herself worthy of his comfort. "I can't, Mulder. Not now."

Her sister might die and it was all her fault. She should have told Charlie or Bill or anyone Melissa's secret so that they could have had her back. She should have insisted on staying with Melissa despite the her protestations. There was so much she could have done differently that would have lead to a different outcome now.

Scully felt her stomach turn violently and she rushed for the bathroom that was just outside the curtain.

She shut the door firmly behind her, locking it and spilled the contents of her stomach into the toilet, the vomit burning her throat like mines of sulfur. it was then she let the tears fall, sobs wracking her body.

"Scully?", Mulder called from outside, knocking on the door. "Will you let me in."

No response.

After pacing for a moment, Mulder spoke up again. "Please."

Scully looked up from the floor, quickly drying the tears from her eyes. There was no way she was letting anyone see her like this, see her when a part of her world was crumbling.

She needed to be with her family. She need to be with Mulder. But she couldn't.

Scully felt guilt rise up within her like a clawed demon, excavating it's way through her insides.

It was her fault, she hadn't been there for her sister and now she might loose her. How could anyone understand that?

Mulder knocked again. "Scully, I know what this is like."

At this Scully, felt anger flaring up inside her. People always say that they know how you're feeling when they are trying to make you feel better but they never do.

"How the hell do you know how I'm feeling?".

"Because I know what it's like to loose a sibling. I know what it's like to fear for the life of someone that you care about and I know what it's like to blame yourself for all of the above."

At this Scully got up, unlocked the door and let him inside, let him comfort her on the floor of a hospital thousands of miles from their home. She needed him after all. She needed to see her family and she needed her sister to be okay.

"Stay with me?".

"Always".

...

And as the world comes to an end, I'll be here to hold your hand
Because you're my king and I'm your lionheart, a lionheart.

Howling ghosts they reappear in mountains that are stacked with fear
But you're a king and I'm a lionheart

And in the sea that's painted black, creatures lurk below the deck
But you're a king and I'm a lionheart, a lionheart

-Of Monsters and Men, King and Lionheart

...

Chapter Text

TV Shows » X-Files » Mr Spooky and Ms Starbuck
Author: pearlydewdrop «
Rated: T - English - Romance/Angst - Reviews: 132 - Published: 06-08-16 - Updated: 05-10-17 id:11988179
Chapter 18: Holding On To You

...

Can we skip past near death cliché

All I want is to flip a switch

Before something breaks the cannot be fixed

~Touch, Sleeping At Last

...

Surrounded by a pale yellow fog, Melissa breathed in deeply looking around. She couldn't see very far in front of her so she stayed still, waiting for the fog to pass and breathing in the powerful smell of incense burning to her far right.

The smell was intoxicating, wiping away her pain and fear.

Her last worldly memory of the horror that had transpired in Dana's apartment seemed, already, so far away. Almost as if it had happened years ago.

Melissa could no longer feel her skull ache where the bullet from Kevin/Alex's gun had penetrated her body, she could not longer feel fear gnawing at the inside of her stomach. She could only sense the soothing sensation of the cool fog around her and smell the scent of burning spices.

"Hello", she called loudly into the abyss. "Is there anyone here?"

Slowly the fog began to clear, revealing a room so purely white, free of any imperfection.

Melissa looked around curiously, noticing a figure walking towards her that she had not noticed before, as though he had materialised outside of nothingness.

"Dad", Melissa shouted, hoping that he would hear her. "Is that you?"

As though floating, the once red-haired and now bald man stood before her in seconds, enveloping her in a tight hug. "I'm so sorry, Missy", he whispered thickly, voice full of emotion.

He had watched over her in desperation over the last few weeks, knowing that she would be joining him soon and wishing to God that he could do something to prevent it. "I'm so sorry that you had to go through all of that. You didn't deserve it, sweetheart. You deserve so much more, you and Emily both".

He had been watching over his eldest daughter in horror as Kevin had broken into Dana's apartment. He had cradled Melissa's soul in his arms, hoping beyond hope that she would fight for another day even though he knew it was futile. He would have given anything to give his daughter more time but time was something he couldn't give her, only comfort.

Melissa returned his embrace, hesitantly at first considering how they had never seen eye to eye on certain topics, but fully when she realised that that didn't matter anymore. He was still her father and she was still his daughter.

She was surprised by his display of emotion, William Scully Sr had always been a very guarded man about his emotions, hardly ever letting anything betray his cool exterior, much like Bill and Dana did. In the difference, Melissa and Charlie had always been more like their mother, strong but open with their feelings.

"It's okay, Dad. I'm okay", she whispered quietly, her voice breaking slightly. Suddenly she felt tears fall as she thought of her own daughter, who she would always watch over but, unfortunately, never get to know. She wanted the best for Emily, that was what she had always wanted. Her little girl deserved everything in life and she had wanted to be the one to give her everything once their lives were safe enough.

But now that would never be an option.

Emily may never get to know her mother but she may have a chance to get to know the rest of her family. Melissa thought about it for a moment, imagining her daughter happily growing up knowing her uncles and grandmother and cousins but possibly being raised by her aunt instead of her mother and calling the same aunt 'Mom' because she was still too young to understand her family circumstances, too young and too innocent, something Melissa didn't want stripped from her for a long time. She expected a jab of pain or jealousy at the thought of Emily being raised by Dana (and probably Mulder too) but felt only peace. Her daughter would have a family.

Gently pulling away from her father, Melissa stepped back, her mind buzzing.

"Dad, is there anyway that I can talk to Dana? She needs to know something before I leave with you", She whispered determinedly, Melissa knew there was no going back now, she already felt so detached from her body and didn't even pay attention as it was wheeled cold and lifeless from the emergency room.

And her mother send Charlie were being sympathised with by the doctors who told they that they had "done their best".

Melissa knew that they had done their best to reignite the roaring spark within her but Kevin had tried even harder to snuff it out.

There was some just one thing she had left to do.

...

Visible machinery,

these moving parts inside of me

They've been shutting down for quite some time,

leaving only rust behind.

~Touch, Sleeping At Last

...

Dana Scully was adamant. She wasn't going to sleep until she found out what was going on at home. She and Mulder had collapsed into their bed exhausted but unable to shut their eyes.

Scully hadn't been able to shut herself off without an image of her sister appearing before her eyes almost tauntingly. Even though the rational part of herself had insisted that she could have done nothing to prevent what had happened to Melissa, Scully still felt responsible for what had transpired. Her sister was in her apartment and it had been her fault she was alone.

She hadn't been able to sleep a wink that night, neither had Mulder. He had held her silently in the darkness without comment or judgement, he didn't need to. They had always had a near telepathic connection between them and his presence was all she needed to reassure and comfort her.

With one hand settled against her lower back and the other resting on her abdomen over their baby, Mulder had laid down with her in the darkness, worrying for her welfare while she worried for her sister's.

Scully loved him for it.

By the time they had risen, just after 5am, to catch their flight back to DC, woken up their students, nibbled half heartedly at breakfast, hurried to their airport terminal and toppled into their seats on the plane, Scully begin to feel her overwhelming exhaustion settling in and weighing her down. She hadn't thrown up again this morning, that at least had been something. Thee baby must have known his or her mother didn't need the extra stress.

Settling her head against Mulder's shoulder, she sighed tiredly as his arm looped around her shoulders.

"Are you alright, Scully?", Mulder asked, concerned. He hadn't slept in twenty four hours either, but that was more normal for him than it was for her. He watched her intently, noticing the quiet creases in her forehead knit together in worry and utter exhaustion as her eyes began to droop.

Scully nodded sombrely, while internally fighting the urge of sleep. "I'm fine", she replied, firm despite her grogginess. She knew that was the answer that he expected, whatever atrocities befall them Scully know that she will always tell him that she is fine, just as she knows he will see right through her but make no judgment either way and just be there for her.

She settled one of her hands against her still flat stomach over her and Mulder's child, noticing how he smiled softly against her temple as he watched her. How had everything gone so wrong so quickly?

Struggling to keep her eyes open she concentrated on Mulder's deep hazel eyes, how they swirled with concern and caramel coloured hues. She concentrated on how his arm encircled her smaller body holding her and the baby protectively to him even though he knew that she didn't need his protection. Just because she doesn't need it doesn't mean that she can't want it. He skimmed his other had against the front of her shirt, caressing her over her knuckles and belly.

She could hear the gentle and reassuring 'thud' of his heartbeat beneath her fingertips, comforting and soothing, a sign that she wasn't alone. To her, he was the brightest thing in the room, casting everything else into shadow. Bright and warm and crackling-he was a human campfire. He was her best friend, her comforter, the father of her baby. He was hers.

Scully tried to focus on Mulder and their baby for now, but her own guilt and feeling of responsibility for what had happened to Melissa was overwhelming. She just wanted to see her sister, to hear her voice. Scully knew, after two years at Medical School, that the prognosis for cranial gunshot wounds weren't good, if someone survived until they reached hospital things could still go severely wrong, the brain could swell, it could haemorrhage, patients could even die of blood loss during surgery.

"I'm worried, Mulder", she answered truthfully. "I don't want to loose my sister."

Mulder watched as her eyes began to close, her eyelashes fluttering shut to resemble angel wings. For a woman so stubborn and strong, she felt so small, so fragile here in his arms. The thought kind of scared him before he realised that Scully only showed this side of herself to him only because she trusted him above everyone else. She trusted him enough to show him the part of her that was hid underneath the layers of fiercely independent and logical Dana Scully.

Meanwhile, Scully felt the lulling tendrils of sleep pulling her under despite her unwillingness. She was worried about Melissa, fearing for her sister's life and blaming herself all at the same time, but Scully still felt safe and warm in Mulder's arms. It was so easy to sleep, so easy to let herself become overwhelmed and plunged deep into the land of dreams.

She felt horrible, heavy, guilty and tired, feeling as though it was partially her fault that Melissa may possibly die. She didn't want to loose her big sister and never imagined she would this early in life.

Surely she wouldn't?

The last thing she felt was Mulder's lips brushing her forehead as he tightened us grip on her, pulling her closer to his chest.

Just as she finally fell asleep.

XXXXXXXXXXXX

She wasn't usually one for clear and vivid dreams, the kind of dreams that stuck in your head long after you opened your eyes. When she emerged into a clearing amongst vast swirls of pale yellow fog, Scully felt as though she had been there before, it felt almost familiar.

"Dana!", a voice called behind her, a voice she had been hearing from the earliest stages of childhood.

Spinning quickly around, Scully turned to face Melissa. For reasons beyond her she felt desperately compelled to see her sister as soon as possible, as though moments with her were now at a scarcity, quickly slipping through her fingers and disappearing into the pale yellow abyss like grains of sand from the beach beside the Naval Base in California that they had played so often as little kids.

"Missy", Scully replied in relief, reaching out to hug her older sister but was gently pushed back by a warm void between them. She spoke up again nonetheless, unfazed but in slight disbelief at the sight of her sister. "Missy, are you okay?"

Melissa nodded. "I'm fine, Dana. I just want you to do something for me", she sighed deeply, turning away for a second before fixing her younger sister with a serious but deeply emotionless gaze. "Danes, please look after Emily for me", she rushed out quickly as though she was uncertainty of how much time she had left with her younger sister. "Please give her all the love and attention that I won't be around to give her..."

Scully looked at her sister in shock, mouth slightly agape as she cut across her sister's outburst. "But Melissa, you'll be there for all of that. You'll be there to be a mother to Em...", the gaze Melissa set upon her silenced Scully immediately, just as the realization began to settle in in the pit of her stomach, the realization she had subconsciously expected but had pushed aside. Melissa couldn't really be gone...could she?

Surely this was just some really bad dream.

"I won't, Dana. That's why I'm asking you to find her. She's in the children's centre in San Diego. I thought her best chance would be to keep her as far away from her father and I as possible but now that Kevin is out of the picture, I want Emily to have a family", Melissa said hopefully, her eyes filling with tears as she remembered the wiggling infant that she had given birth too, all pink and squealing but completely beautiful. "Her real family", she clarified firmly.

Melissa could even see the little girl now, almost three years old with a head of blonde hair that was turning strawberry-coloured at the roots. Still little and beautiful, Melissa could watch over Emily as the little girl drew and coloured at the foster centre in San Diego. Melissa watched her, eyes filling up with tears, wishing that she could draw with her daughter, if only just once. "I just had always hoped that I would be a part of that."

Scully reached out to comfort her sister, tears springing into her own eyes as the truth began to settle within her. The warm force between them pushed her out once more. Wherever Melissa was, it wasn't the place for her for quite a long time yet. "This can't be true", Scully tried one last time in denial.

Melissa nodded sadly, before she fixed Scully with the same determined gaze as before. She knew that she had to push her own sadness and feelings of loss aside, it was what was best for Emily. "Promise that you'll find her, Danes. Promise me that you'll be for her what I can't".

Scully watched her sister intently, wishing that she could give her some kind of reassurance aside from a handful of words. She couldn't imagine how Melissa must be feeling. Before when Melissa had first told her about Emily, Scully had felt a deep sense of sorrow for her sister but now, as a mother too, she could relate on a whole other level. She would do anything for her and Mulder's baby just as she knew that Melissa's selfless actions had been for Emily's benefit. "Of course I will look after her", Scully replied firmly. "I'll love her as if she was my own".

"And you'll raise her with your and Mulder's daughter and any other kids that you guys will have in the future?"

"Of cour..., hold on a second. My daughter?".

Melissa smiled knowingly even though her eyes were still glistening with tears. "Your daughter", she confirmed. She hadn't meant to let that little secret out of the bag just now but what's done is done. She wouldn't tell her anything else about her future, not now. She had said enough "Do you promise that you will raise our girls together and be a good mother to both of them?"

Scully looked down at her stomach, lovingly placing a hand over where her baby was, imagining a little girl with brown curls and bright blues eyes playing with a girl who was a little older with matching blue eyes and the same strawberry blonde hair that she and Melissa had had as little kids before it turned scarlet. Her heart swelled with love and pride, not just for her own daughter but for Emily too.

"I promise."

Nodding in acceptance, Melissa looked her younger sister in a final sort of manner, as though it would be the last time that she would see and speak to her for a long time. "I'm so proud of you, Danes", she said, eyes shining. "You've started to open yourself up to people more. I'm so glad of that because I know that you'll be able to get past what happened to me by opening up about your feelings to Mulder and by helping mom and the rest of our family cope and heal", Melissa smirked slightly, lightening the mood. "Now how the hell could I be prouder of my once emotionally constipated baby sister."

Totally ignoring her sister's jibe, Scully felt her burning guilt from earlier resurface and leak into her from all sides, the guilt she had compressed within her for only a few moments. "You have no reason to be proud of me Melissa", she said, stubborn amidst her own binding regret. "I should have been there for you when you needed me."

Melissa smiled, her eyes shining mischievously as though amused by her sister's response. 'Typical Dana', she thought to herself, but didn't say any more as she had a feeling that her time was running out, she could feel it. Melissa wanted to hug her little sister goodbye but knew that she wouldn't be able to reach for her through the void that separated her from the land of the living. "I love you, little sis", she said, a sense of peace waving over her. She wanted nothing but the best for her sister, for Emily and for the rest of their family.

"Love you too."

...

We grew up together
From the cradle to the grave
We died and were reborn
And then mysteriously saved

Oh, sister, when I come to knock on your door
Don't turn away, you'll create sorrow
Time is an ocean but it ends at the shore
You may not see me tomorrow

~Bob Dylan, Oh Sister

...

XXXXXXXXXXXX

"Scully!",he said, touching her lightly on the cheek, brushing his fingertips across her jaw. "Honey, Are you okay", Mulder continued, worried.

He knew that she needed any sleep that she could get between now and when they would land back in Washington. He shook her shoulder gently, keeping his voice a whisper so not to alert anyone around them. No matter the circumstances, Mulder knew it was important to Scully to maintain a strong facade in front of most other people.

Sitting up straight in her seat, Scully looked around, confused and slightly disorientated. What the hell had just happened. The last thing she remembered was talking to Melissa who was apparently dead. Could that really be true?

"Mulder, What's going on?", she asked quietly, not looking at him.

"You were crying in your sleep so I woke you up."

Scully turned to Mulder, unsure of what to tell him. Could she really say that she had just spoken to her supposedly dead older sister?

It wasn't like her to subscribe to people's claims about the supernatural, let alone make such claims herself. She knew that Mulder would believe her in an instant but would telling him make the prospect of Melissa's possibly being gone all too real?

She wanted to believe that it was all just a nightmare, that her sister was still fighting for her life in Washington General Hospital. She wanted to believe that her sister was still alive. After all, you weren't supposed to loose your sister at twenty nine years old. Nothing or nobody could prepare you for such an tragedy. She didn't want to believe it, she couldn't until she had solid proof.

But still, that dream felt so damn real.

And what about Emily? Was the little girl really still living the children's centre in San Diego where Melissa had left her three years ago? If needs should arise; How would she, Scully, bring up the topic to Mulder that she discovered that her niece was halfway across the country in need of a family from a vision?

Would he believe it? Probably. Did she believe it herself? Undetermined.

And if Melissa truly was gone, could she, Scully, have done anything differently to prevent what had happened from happening? If she had been there with Melissa that night in the apartment could everything have turned out better? If she had gone to Skinner and told him that she couldn't chaperone on the Paris Trip would Melissa be okay? What if she had bought stronger locks for the front door of her house? Would Kevin/Alex still have broken in?

What if? What it? What if? Two words as nonthreatening as words can be but put together side by side and they have the power to haunt you for ever. What if? What if?

"Talk to me, Scully?", Mulder asked, concerned by her silenced. Observing her through a psychologist's eye, he watched as her eyes became unfocused, as though she were engaged in some sort of huge internal conflict. He wished that he could tackle half of her pain for, they could do it together. "I can feel you thinking."

Scully sighed sadly, reaching out and lacing her fingers through his, even this small action was such a comfort. With his larger hand enclosed around her's, she felt lighter somehow as cheesy as it sounds. "I don't know what I'm going to do", she said simply, absentmindedly sliding her hand over her stomach, resting her hand on her and Mulder's baby daughter, their daughter according to the dream anyway . "I have no idea."

It was the truth in its most simple form. She didn't know whether to believe her dream or not. She didn't know if Melissa was alive or not. She didn't know what she could do to help Emily even though she had promised Melissa that she would look after the little girl should (or had if her dream had been real) anything happen to her?

She didn't elaborate any further but she didn't need to. Mulder heard her loud and clear.

Letting go of her hand, he wrapped his arms around her shoulders, squeezing her gently against him. "Whatever you do, Scully", he said, looking at her seriously. "I'm with you, no matter what. Through thick and thin", he said with a humourless chuckle against her hair. "Through heaven and hell. To the moon and back, aliens inhabiting the moon's hollow surface bedamned"

Smiling sadly, Scully reached up and pecked him chastely on the lips. Right now she didn't really care that their students were around. Mulder really was such a good man, the best she had ever met. She was so grateful to have him here with her. There was no one she would rather be with. She knew she would open up to him fully about everything from Melissa, to her own personal guilt, to Emily. Everything. Just not right now.

She had to find some answers first, solid and definite answers that she could accept and piece together for herself.

"Thank you, Mulder."

Mulder nodded solemnly. He could see straight through her. Hearing those two words from Scully right now spoke multitudes. Words weren't needed in times like these. They spoke almost telepathically as though they were two halves of the one while. Mulder knew there was a lot on her mind but he also knew she would open up to him when she was ready to do so.

"Anytime, Scully. It's you and me. Ride or die, baby"

"Love you, Mulder"

"Love you too"

...

I know, I know the siren sound

Just before the walls come down

Pain's a well intentioned will of men

Predicting God as best he can

But God I wanna feel again

~Touch, Sleeping At Last

...

XXXXXXXXXXXX

...

You taught me the courage of stars before you left.

How light carries on and the sleep even after that

The sureness, I cry. You explain the infinite.

How rare and beautiful it is

To even exist

~Sleeping At Last, Saturn.

...

For the first time since she heard about the news about Melissa, she is alone with her thoughts. Mulder reluctantly had to wait for the last of the parent's to come and collect their kids at the airport while she, Scully, had been adamant to find out where her mom and Charlie was and what was happening.

It had started raining almost as soon as their plane had touched down in Washington. Scully put her foot to the accelerator, determined to find some answers at the hospital. The November rain lashed lightly against the windshield like teardrops.

After a half an hour drive through evening traffic, Scully pulled into the visitor's entrance to Washington General Hospital. The building seemed tall and threatening like a tombstone in the dim evening light, the emergency entrance surrounding by a fleet of ambulances coming from various corners of the city.

Hurrying up the steps, Scully pushed open the door of the visitor's entrance, peering around the bustling reception area for a member of her family.

It didn't take longer than a second to recognise a familiar redheaded, five foot ten, figure sitting in the far corner of the waiting room, his face etched in sorrow, his phone held up to his ear.

Charlie.

Scully felt a sinking feeling in the pit of her stomach as she observed her brother, the dark rings around his eyes a tell-tale sign that he had been up as long as she had. His eyes were a little bloodshot either from exhaustion or tears, Scully wasn't sure.

Either way it didn't matter. The prognosis wasn't good. Scully felt what little hope that she had remaining inside of her slip away as she made her way across the room the Charlie, his name not yet formed on her lips when he sprung up off of the chair and hugged her.

"It's not good is it, Charlie?", she asked, even though she already knew the answer. Her voice sounded almost muffled against her younger brother's shoulder.

"No Danes. We lost her three hours ago", Charlie sighed tiredly, letting out a breathless sob. "I wanted to call you", he whispered quietly. "I just didn't know how."

"What are we going to do, Charlie?", Scully asked equally as quiet. Charlie knew that she didn't mean about the funeral or about telling the rest of their extended family or anything else along those lines.

Scully felt her tears fall, tears it felt as though she had been holding in ever since she parted ways with Mulder at the airport. Charlie squeezed her comfortingly, finally speaking up. "We're just going to have to stick together, Danes. Stick together and tough it out."

...

I couldn't help but ask for you to say it all again,

I try to write it down but I could not find a pen,

I'd give anything to hear, you say it one more time.

That the universe was made, just to be seen by my eye

~Saturn, Sleeping At Last

...

XXXXXXXXXXXX

...

Every move that I make, every inch I've grown.

You're in my heart, In my soul, you're in my bones

I wanna fell, wanna feel everything you do.

Because at the end of the day

All I need is you

~Johnny Stimson, Holding On

...

Mulder slid back the door, stepping into the corridor that Charlie had indicated to him when he had first showed up at the hospital. Without question, Charlie had immediately informed Mulder of the situation and after Mulder had sympathised with the youngest of the Scullys, Charlie had promptly told him where he could find Scully herself.

In stark contrast to how he had barrelled into the hospital in Paris, Mulder quietly made his way into the room that had, for a few hours while she had been in prep for her operation, once belonged to Melissa Scully.

From the other side of the glass window, He caught sight of her immediately in the dark hospital room, dimly lit from the bright corridor outside and a small lamp in the corner. She sat at the bedside, watching over the empty hospital bed like an Egyptian sphinx watching over the tombs of the long dead pharaohs.

Pushing the door of ward number four forward, Mulder made his way over to the chair where Scully was sitting and before squatting down next to her in the semidarkness.

She knew that it was him the second the door opened but she looked up anyway. His hair was a little tousled as it usually got when he was frustrated or upset, his eyes were wide with concern and worry, making him look a little like an upset puppy.

Something about the gaze that he was fixing her with told her that he already knew what had happened to Melissa but Scully spoken up nonetheless, trying desperately to keep her voice strong. "It happened three hours ago when she went into surgery. The damage to her brain was worse than they had hoped. Her blood pressure started to rise and she slipped away."

Scully felt Mulder's hand silently reach across and squeeze her knee comfortingly, he didn't speak or he didn't try to offer her his sympathy. He knew that she needed none of that, all she needed was him. "She came to me for help, Mulder. She was in my apartment when she was shot. She was killed in my home and I wasn't there to prevent it", she said, choking a little on her words. "When she needed me, I wasn't there to help her. And I've tried to tell her that I'm sorry but I don't think she'll ever really know."

That's when she finally broke down, tears streaming quietly down her face, landing on her lap. Mulder reached across, pulling her gently into his embrace, holding her shaking body tightly against his. She wasn't one of those dramatic sobbers, his Scully, she was a logical and collected woman who tried to remain unruffled at all costs, a person who felt deeply but bottled up her emotions deep inside.

He had to be her anchor now, just like she had been for him so many times in the past. He could see the turmoil inside of her, raging like a stormy sea. "Melissa knows, Scully", he whispered soothingly against her hair, his heart aching for her.

He wished that he could do so much more to help her but knew that this was as much as she would allow right now.

"So now I'm sitting here cursing God for his cruelty", Scully said with a stubborn sigh against Mulder's chest. "There is no justice, Mulder."

He sighed, kissing her lightly on the forehead. "I don't think that this is about justice, Scully. I think it's about something that we have no personal choice in, I think it's about fate."

Scully sighed, pulling away from him with a frown. "You think this was fated, Mulder? That Melissa was to die and I to live. You think that I was not at home last night for a reason?"

Mulder grimaced slightly, wondering how best to approach such a sensitive topic with an already upset Scully. He knew that she would be upset but he had no idea that she was blaming herself. Now he wished he had said something to her about it sooner. "Scully, I understand survivor's guilt, I've been there. You have no reason for being ashamed of yourself for not being with Melissa last night. You did everything you could to help her, you convinced her to go to the cops, you got her away from Kevin and you gave her support and a place to stay when she needed you. You have nothing to feel guilty about."

Scully looked up at him seriously, for the first time since he walked in, she saw pain in his expression. Pure and raw. "You think I would have died too if I had been with her last night, don't you?".

"Don't make this about me, Scully", Mulder said with a sigh. His mind immediately imagining what could have happened if Scully had been with her sister. Would Kevin have killed both Scully women? Surely, considering how the man was completely out of his mind. He couldn't imagine what he would have done if something had happened to Scully.

He had almost lost her before and even now the memory of that time made him feel almost dead inside. He had lost so much in his life and gotten on with things but losing Scully would probably have driven him totally over the edge. And it wasn't just Scully either, it was their unborn baby too, both of them would have been lost forever. Was it really selfish to be glad that Scully hadn't been at home that night? Was it selfish to be glad that it was Melissa and not Scully?

Probably a little.

"Don't worry, Mulder", Scully said softly before wiping away her stray tears and wrapping her arms around him, resting her left hand against his cheek, the slight stubble tickling her fingers. "You won't loose me."

"And you won't loose me either."

"Good 'cos I like you a lot and I reckon your kid will too", Scully said with a watery half smirk.

"Probably. At least until they become a teenager anyway", Mulder replied, settling his hand against her stomach.

They remained completely still for a few moments, watching over Melissa's empty bed. Watching how the light from the bedside lamp accentuated the bed's emptiness. Scully entwined her fingers with Mulder's over her stomach, her mind turning away from Melissa for the first time since Charlie had first told her the new. She thought of Emily. A little girl who would hopefully grow up happily with her aunt, uncle and cousins.

She silently wished Melissa was still around, her sister really deserved to see Emily grow up after all that she had gone through. Scully tried to imagine the pain Melissa had gone through when putting Emily into the system. Soon to be a mother herself, Scully could only imagine how painful it would be to loose your child like that.

"How did you get past Samantha dying?"

"I'm not sure that I ever did, Scully. I just had to learn to live with it", he replied, smiling sadly, standing up from his crouching position before offering Scully his hand. "You wanna go and find your Mom?"

Scully nodded quietly, steeling herself up a little as she remembered how hard it had been with her mother earlier on, no one expects to bury their children. Scully took his hand, looping her fingers through his.

"Thank you, Mulder"

"For what?"

"Just being here with me."

They left the room silently together, as the hospital staff came in and started changing the covers on Melissa bed, wiping away all signs that she had once been there, preparing it for the next patient.

...

So I keep holding on

When the world is falling (holding on)

When the light is calling (holding on)

When forever proves untrue,

I'll be holding on to you.

~Holding On, Johnny Stimson

...

XXXXXXXXXXXX

...

Mulder's Apartment

2303 Arlington

No.42

6.45am

...

Turn around take it back to yesterday

Now I know everything that I need to say,

You're the words on my lips and the melody,

You're the key to the dark that has set me free

~Johnny Stimson, Holding On

...

Despite the fact that they hadn't gotten in until well after three in the morning, Scully awoke early, her stomach churning madly.

Throwing her legs over the side of the mattress, she wiggled out of Mulder's embrace, attempting not to rouse him and rushed to the bathroom at a full sprint, the contents of her stomach making an unsightly reappearance in the toilet.

"You cheating on me with the toilet seat again, Scully", a teasing voice called behind her.

Looking up to face a very much awake Mulder, Scully scowled even though she knew that he was only trying to make her feel even a little better given the circumstances. "I'm fine, Mulder", she replied stubbornly before heaving into the toilet again.

Mulder frowned slightly, "I may be no scientist or ex-medical student but I do know throwing up like that isn't fun, Scully. Even if the reason behind it is a good one, an amazing one really"

"Well, it's normal when you're five and a half weeks pregnant."

"I thought that's only when you eat dodgy things that the baby doesn't like", Mulder said, a smile gracing his features as he reached out his hand to pull her up off of the floor. "Like beebalm", he offered with a smirk.

"Maybe so, but I hope she or he doesn't have the same ideas on healthy eating as their dad", Scully replied as rolled her eyes but let him pull her to her feet. She knew they were both ignoring the elephant in the room after last night by trying not to mention what had happened, but the funeral service was later on that day, the wouldn't be able to avoid talking about Melissa and Emily for long, no matter how painful it was.

She had known last night that her apartment had been thoroughly cleaned out after what had happened but their had been no question about where she was staying the previous night. She wanted to stay with Mulder and there was no way in hell that she was going anywhere near her apartment where Melissa had lost her life.

"I'm going into work", she said simply as she began heading back towards the bedroom, turning her back to him. "I need to do something."

Mulder followed her back into his bedroom, gently laying both of his hands on her hips, turning her around to face him. He knew he should have expected this; Scully had, after all, gone back to work the very day after her father died during the previous year. Scully buried herself in her work when she was upset but he also knew not to question it too much. After all, it was something he did too. He, himself, had gone to work every single day while Scully was in a coma. Teaching the kids had been a good distraction from his pain.

Nevertheless, it wasn't exactly a healthy way to deal with losses or grief, leaving aside the fact that both of them did it. If he could help her grieve in a healthier way, Mulder knew he would at least try. Anything for his Scully.

"Dana", he whispered quietly, tasting the foreign title as it left his lips. He only ever used her name on the most serious and painful occasions. "I called Skinner and explained what had happened to Melissa. He said that you can take all the time you need."

Scully looked up at him, taking in what she knew was advice in disguise. Mulder's use of her first name seemed to reach inside her and resonate deep down within her. Even though almost everyone in her life, apart from him, called her by her first name it felt different coming from him. She would always be his Scully and he her Mulder but on moments like these when he really wanted to reach her, he called her Dana. He only ever called her that once before and that was when Ahab had died. It had felt foreign then too, foreign but comforting.

"Mulder", she replied gently, setting both her hand firmly against his chest. "I need something to put my back up against right now. I need to distract myself from this until it doesn't hurt as much."

Mulder nodded, unsurprised. They may be very different people in most respects but he and Scully have similar coping mechanisms when times get tough. "I'm here if you need me, Scully", he vowed, bumping her nose with his own. She may need to bury herself in work for a while to cope with her loss but he would make sure that she wasn't alone.

Scully smiled sadly but affectionately, reaching up to peck him lightly on the mouth. "I know you are", she said, thinking silently about how to approach the topic of Emily with him. Was the girl really in San Diego as Melissa had said? Was Emily still in the foster system?

Was it too soon to bring this up with Mulder or should she just check it out herself and tell him when she knows more, when she knows enough for it to be real?

Possibly, but she still hated the thought of keeping something from him if she could at all help it. Melissa had told her when she was alive not to tell anyone about Emily.

Was that her sister's true wishes and was the dream just a figment of her, Scully's, imagination smile she was trying to cope with the possibility of losing her sister. Had she just wanted to say goodbye so badly that she dreamed it all up?

She wrapped her arms around Mulder, feeling as he gently pulled her further into his embrace. His soothing scent filled her nostrils as he stroked her back. "I can't believe this has happened, Mulder. I didn't expect anything like this to ever happen", she said, sounding defeated.

Mulder sighed, propping her chin up so she faced him. He watched her carefully, drinking in the sight of her. "Who does?", he replied, brushing his fingertips through her scarlet locks. "But we'll get through this won't we, you and me?".

Scully held him tighter to her, the feeling of his warm chest reaching her through the t-shirt she had borrowed from him to sleep in. Even though she was usually the strong and emotionless one, she need him as her anchor now in the midst of her many mixed emotions that went hand in hand with losing a sister and preparing for motherhood all at the same time. The sorrow and joy were too conflicting emotions eating away at her inside, but somehow with him she felt a measure of peace.

Through everything, he still remained her anchor, her best friend, her confidant, her everything.

"Don't we always."

...

So I keep holding on

When the world is falling (holding on)

When the light is calling (holding on)

When forever proves untrue,

I'll be holding on to you.

~Holding On, Johnny Stimson

...

XXXXXXXXXXXX

...

Woodrow Wilson

High School

Teacher's Lounge

8.33am

...

"We heard about Melissa this morning from Skinner", John said, stepping into the school laboratory, closely followed by Monica who nodded in agreement at her husband's statement, eyeing their friends who were seated behind the teacher's desk and in the chair at the opposite side.

Scully and Mulder quickly sprung up off their seats to meet the friends over at the door.

Monica turned to Scully, pulling her into a tight hug. "I'm so sorry for your loss, Dana", she said sincerely. "I can't imagine what it's like to loose a sibling but know that John and I are here for Mulder with whatever you guys need."

Scully smiled despite herself, patting Monica on the shoulder. She had always admired her for saying the right thing in most situations without losing her honesty. Monica was a direct and to the point person but very insightful.

Scully pulled back, speaking up herself even though it looked like Monica was about to say more. "Thanks, Mon", she replied. "I appreciate that."

"Are you sure that it's the wisest thing for you to be at work today, Dana", John asked looking between Mulder and Scully in concern. It was typical of John Doggett really, fiercely loyal and protective of all his friends.

Scully shrugged trying to appear nonchalant even though she was at conflict internally. She hadn't thought that it would be this difficult when relieving the sympathy of people outside her family. John and Monica looked at her carefully, concern etched into their features.

Turning to Mulder for a moment, she caught his eye as he gave her a reassuring smile, placing a firm hand on it's usual place on her lower back.

"I'm not sure if it's wise or not but I am here, so that's something", Scully replied simply in an attempt to steer the boat out of possibly emotional waters. It wasn't that she didn't trust John and Monica, of course she did. That didn't mean that she wanted to appear vulnerable around them.

John and Monica got the hint. They knew what their friend was like after all.

Just then, Scully felt a wave of nausea ripple through her, feeling as though the little toast that she had managed to keep down at breakfast time was going to make a reappearance. 'Not now', she thought to herself, a little frustrated. She clamped her hand quickly over her mouth, unsure if she would be able to keep it down.

"Oh shit", she mumbled quietly, more to herself then anyone else before rushing out the door of the lab to get whatever Mini-Mulder "didn't like" out of her system.

Mulder started to follow her out the door towards the staff ladies bathrooms but was stopped by a knowing smile from Monica. "Hey Fox-Face, you don't want to barrel head first into the little girls room, believe me. You wouldn't recover", she said, throwing a smirk in his direction as she began to follow Scully out the door.

"But-", Mulder began in protest. He knew that Scully didn't want everyone to know about her pregnancy just yet in light of her sister's death.

Monica cut him off quickly. "Don't worry I can handle this", she said with a smile.

And just like that she was gone, leaving a conflicted looking Mulder and a confused looking Doggett in her wake.

XXXXXXXXXXXX

Monica observed her redheaded friend who was standing in front of the mirror in staff bathrooms, dashing her face with water. "How far along are you, Dana?", she asked knowingly, glancing at Scully's slightly green complexion.

"That obvious, huh?", Scully said, looking across the small bathroom to the other dark haired woman. Even though Monica was, without a doubt, her closest female friend, she hadn't imagined her finding out first after Mulder. She had wanted to tell her mother but couldn't find the words, it didn't seem right to be talking about happy things when their family was so broken.

Monica smiled wistfully. "Believe me, It takes one to know one. I spent half of my pregnancy with the twins with my head in the toilet seat."

Scully chuckled quietly, remembering vividly how Monica had rushed to the bathroom on countless occasions when they had gone out for coffee in the months leading up to the births of Nina and Robert Doggett. "I'm over six weeks along."

"Why haven't you guys told anyone yet?".

Scully sighed deeply, "I only just found out myself when we were in Paris and then we heard the new about Melissa and it didn't seem right to start talking about something happy so soon after."

Monica nodded in silent understanding, observing her friend intently. She could always tell how people were feeling ever since she was a kid herself. She could always read people's emotions almost as easily as reading or own. Some may call it a blessing, some a curse but most, Monica herself included, just chalked it down to very good intuition.

"You feel guilty about what happened to Melissa. Don't you?", Monica asked, careful not to upset her friend too much.

Scully looked up at her, almost used to her friend's crazy good intuition at this point, blinking back any tears that may surface at her sister being mentioned out rightly in such a manner. She held her resolve firm though, answering Monica's question with minimum emotion.

"I did", she said honestly, deciding it was best to answer Monica in this way. "And probably always will feel somewhat responsible as she was shot in my house buy I talked it through with Mulder and don't feel as guilty about it anymore, just sad", she said her voice growing lower and lower until the final sentence was a near whisper. "And shocked. I can't believe that this has happened to be honest."

Monica walked across the room, squeezing Scully comfortingly on the shoulder. "Everything will be fine in the end and if it's not fine then it's not the end, Dana. You're going to be okay, you and Mulder and your baby. You guys are going to be happy because you deserve it. I feel it in my bones"

Scully smiled gratefully at her friend. "I hope so, Mon. I really hope so."

XXXXXXXXXXXX

...

Our Lady of Sorrows Cemetery

2985 Lincon Avenue

Washington DC

4.35pm

...

When I grow up, I'm gonna be happy and do what I like to do,
Like making noise and making faces and making friends like you.
And when we grow up, do you think we'll see
That I'm still like you and you're still like me?
I might be pretty; you might grow tall.
But we don't have to change at all.

~Diana Ross, When We Grow Up

...

It rained again during Melissa's burial, a sign, according to Irish legend, that a soul was happy in heaven.

Each of the Scullys came forward, presenting a rose on Melissa's coffin before it was lowered into the earth. Maggie Scully watched in utter silence, her eyes bloodshot, as her eldest daughters remains vanished into the ground for the last time.

Bill stood firmly on her left, eyes a little wet with a mixture of sadness and anger, but was otherwise holding himself together. Tara, who stood beside her husband, was busy trying to soothe an oblivious but wailing Matthew, a little boy who would never know the slightly more eccentric of his two aunties.

Scully stood between her mother and Mulder. Much like Bill, she had managed to retained a controlled exterior even though she was devastated on the inside. This wouldn't be an easy thing to heal from. Subtly, she rested her hand on her stomach, contemplating how her and Mulder's kids would grow up without biological aunts. Melissa and Samantha were both dead, after all.

She wished her baby could have known Melissa. Her sister may have been a little stubborn and more than a little secretive but she was a good person, a trustworthy friend and the best sister that Scully could imagine despite their differences.

As if he was sensing her thoughts, Mulder's reached across the few inches between their hands and entwined their fingers together, raising the back of her hand to his lips, he kissed it comfortingly, a typical Mulderistic display of affection. Just as he had promised her when they first found out about Melissa, he had stayed with her. Always.

She had no idea how much she relied on him and his strength of his beliefs until now, usually she was a fierce and independent individual who bottled things up and kept things to herself, it was at times like this when she realised how much she really could trust him. And maybe, just maybe, it was okay to need him by her side. Even just a little bit.

Charlie stood beside Mulder, alone this time. He and Nora had stayed with Maggie in the family home the previous night and stayed in the hospital all night during Melissa's surgery. In the meantime, their daughter, Mary Margaret, had unfortunately caught a cold and Nora had opted to stay with her after Charlie had insisted he would be fine attending Melissa's service without them.

It seemed as though it was a Scully family trait, claiming that you're okay even though you're not.

Father McCue stood before them, preaching over the coffin. Words that nobody really took in, going over their heads in their mutual grief. Words that Melissa herself would probably have rolled her eyes at, she was never one for the institutional catholic church or even the religion itself but there hadn't been time to organise anything else. Father McCue was a friend of the Scullys and was more than happy to do whatever he could in their time of need.

After the final words were said and the gravediggers came to cover the coffin with clay, the family silently filed out through the cemetery gates to their cars on the road outside.

No one was going straight back to work so Maggie had insisted they all return to the family home for the evening.

They all agreed, none of them wanting to leave their mother alone.

"Dana, can I have a word?", Bill asked gesturing to a lonely looking spot furthest away from where she had parked the car that both herself and Mulder had arrived in.

Something about Bill's intense gaze told Mulder that he wasn't welcome to be part of the conversation. He let go of Scully's hand with a final squeeze. "I'll wait for you in the car, okay?".

Scully smiled gratefully, letting go. "Thanks, Mulder". It felt like she had been saying that a lot over the last forty eight hours but each time she meant it. He had been so good to her through all of this.

Leading her well put of Mulder's earshot, Bill gestured towards the car. He poke up in a loud indignant whisper. "What the hell is that son of a bitch doing her at our sister's funeral, Danes. It's his fault that you weren't with Melissa when she died."

Scully looked at him incredulously, half believing that his grief over Melissa had gone to his head in other ways. "Where on earth did you get that idea?"

Bill sighed, rubbing his eyes in frustration. "It's him and that teaching job of yours that inspired you to leave the country during all of this. It's his fault that you weren't about, especially to say goodbye to Missy."

"Bill, My not being with Melissa when she died was nothing to do with Mulder and it's certainly not his fault. If it's anyone's fault it's mine. I agreed to chaperone the trip with Mulder. I was the one who Melissa came to for help and I was the one who stupidly believed her when she told me that she was safe", Scully replied firmly, stubborn tears welling up in her eyes, tears which she forced back to their native spring.

"This isn't you fault and you know it, Dana. Why the hell are you covering for him?", Bill asked pigheadly. "What the fuck do you see in a jerk like that?", his voice finally rising. "Mom told me you two were an item now."

"Leave Mulder out of this, Bill", she answered, quietly, dangerously, her blue eyes glinting with navy. "I don't expect you to understand my relationship with Mulder but I do expect you to, at least, respect it."

"He's not good enough for you and you know it, Dana?"

Scully glared up at him angrily, hardly able to stop herself before she slapped him hard across the face, leaving a bright red mark on her brother's cheek.

As soon as she looked at him again, she immediately regretted it, noticing her brother's irises turning a little grey with sadness and tears unshed.

For the first time in her life, Scully truly saw through Bill's tough and overprotective big brother facade. Apparently, she wasn't the only one who blamed herself for Melissa's death. "Mulder isn't Kevin, you know?", she said quietly. "He's such a good hearted and loving person underneath his sarcasm and eccentricities. You just have to get to know him."

Bill looked at her sceptically but, at least, he looked a little calmer. "You sure about that?".

Scully rolled her eyes. "Yes, Bill. I'm sure about that. Mulder is and always will be an unnegotiable part of my life, just like Tara is of yours."

Usually, she would never feel the need to explain something like this to her brother. Usually she would joy say that Bill should go fuck himself and deal with it, but this is hardly usual times.

"I love him, Bill. Totally and completely. He's my best friend, my lover, my partner in crime and now..", she said trailing off for a moment considering she hadn't wanted to enclose this particular piece of information to her family just yet, but now might me the best time to inform Bill. "The father of my baby too."

Bill looked at her in amazement, the colour draining from his face. "You're...pregnant. With HIS baby", he asked looking down at her stomach in shock and horror, half expecting some alien entity to come bursting out of her, introduce itself as Mulder Junior, and proceed to tease him about the Knicks superiority to Bill's own favourite basketball team. "Have you told him yet?"

Scully smiled to herself. "Of course I have but mom doesn't know yet so I'll expect you to keep this to yourself until I tell her."

Bill nodded reluctantly, deciding to keep his very traditional thoughts on children born outside of marriage to himself. His youngest sister was anything but traditional and Mulder was probably even worse. "I just don't want to loose you, Dana. I've already lost one sister, don't make me loose two", he watched his sister carefully for a moment, reflecting on the time he had first met her when he had gone with Melissa and their father to the hospital.

Even now he could remember his father's smiling face looking down at him. William Scully had been wearing a Naval t-shirt, old jeans and his red hair was beginning to thin on the day that they had gone to pick up Dana and their mother from the hospital.

Even then, his father had been his number one hero. "You've got a second little sister to look out for, Billy-boy", he had said kindly, ruffling his sons hair. "Promise me that you'll watch out for your sisters when I'm old, won't you Billy".

Even though Melissa had squealed indignantly from the back seat that she and baby Dana would look after their brother too, Bill had still promised his father that he would.

Now Melissa was dead.

"None of this is your fault, Dana", he finished quietly, wanting to make sure that his youngest sister wouldn't blame herself.

Scully shook her head, observing her brother carefully. "It isn't yours either", she replied just as firmly. "But for what it's worth, you don't have to worry about me. I look after myself and I don't need anyone's protection."

Bill smirked humourlessly. Yes, that was so typical of his younger sister. "I still worry about you, Danes. I do love you, you know. You are my little sister after all."

Scully smiled sadly. "I love you too, Bill", she answered quietly, reaching up to give her brother a quick hug. It was the first offer of comfort that they hadn't given each other since hearing of Melissa's death.

Bill sighed, wrapping his arms around his sister in response. Tears prickles up in his eyes once more, tears for his sister who he would never see again and tears for his sister who he only wanted the best for, even if that meant having to put up with having Fox Mulder around. "I'm really going to miss Melissa", he whispered quietly, his voice cracking slightly.

Scully nodded against her brother's shoulder. "Me too, Bill. I think I always will."

They held each other for a few more minutes before pulling back and observing their newfound common ground. For the first time in nearly a decade's worth of arguing and misunderstandings, they found themselves on the same page.

Family really meant everything at the end of the day. Mulder, their baby, her mom, Charlie, Bill, Tara, Nora and even little Matthew and Mary Margaret. They were family for better or worse and that meant everything. Melissa would always live on in their memory, as would Ahab, they were never really gone.

"I'm in here, Starbuck", Ahab had told her, pointing to her heart when she had seen him in a vision while she was in a coma several months before. "And in here", he had said, pointing to her head.

The only person who was missing was a little girl who was currently in the children's centre in San Diego if Scully's dream had been true. Could it have been? Should she involve Mulder in the search for Emily, considering she had no solid information to go on? She didn't want to get hopes up sponge with her own.

But Emily deserved a family wherever she was. They shared blood and the little girl had a right to know that.

Scully observed her brother, wondering what he would think but didn't say a word. He would probably think that she was crazy for believing a vision like that. Hell, a part of herself thought she was crazy. Her whole brain told her that the whole thing was crazy?

But her heart told her it was true.

Bill chuckled softly as he let her go. "He better make an honest woman of you at some point, Dana", he said, faking annoyance.

Scully smiled gratefully up at her older brother, taking this as a sign that he was ready to play nice with Mulder. "I reckon we'll get there sometime between now and when we reach ninety five", she said jokingly as she walked away from Bill and returned to her car and to Mulder, the man who was and always would be, unnegotiably, the love of her life.

"Everything okay, Scully?"

"I think I might have just convinced my brother to like you."

XXXXXXXXXXXX

...

Mulder's Apartment

2303 Arlington

Washington DC

7.32am

...

and I'm aware of your problems
and all the things that you've done
all that I've know is
that you burn like the sun

Oh how your hair falls down your back
Oh your eyes crease when you laugh
Oh how you don't walk but you bounce
Oh how you don't cry but you gasp

~Amber Run, See you Soon

...

Mulder opened his eyes slowly, feeling oddly cold. He reached across the mattress expecting to come into contact with Scully's warm body next to him.

Nothing.

He listened quietly for a moment, expecking to hear the sounds of Scully either in the bathroom or the kitchen but was met only with silence and the faint buzz of the heater beside the double bed.

Sitting up in mattress, he looked around the room, eyes landing on the pillow next to him. Some thing about the small piece of parchment gave him an uneasy feeling in the pit of his stomach. A note lay neatly on the pillow, written in what was undeniably Scully's cursive writing.

Deep down he knew that this was more than Scully just popping out for something.

M,

There is something that I really need to take care of for Melissa's sake and for the sake of our whole family. I'm so sorry that I couldn't tell you this face to face but I need to fix this now before completely I talk myself out of it, chalking it down to grief. This can't wait, I'm sorry. I know that what I'm telling you probably makes no sense but you will understand it a lot better...Hell, I will understand it a lot better, once I have some concrete proof.

I know that I'm supposed to be the sceptical one of the two of us and I know that it goes against my own nature to do something like this but I feel as though I have to, for Melissa and for another little girl too. I really hope that you understand. I promise that I'll be careful and look after myself and our little one.

All my love,

S.

...

Let that be a lesson to you

That there's depth where there's distance too

And all that you can do Is say I'll see you soon

~Amber Run, See you Soon

...

Chapter Text

Chapter 19: Some Nights

...

Some nights I stay up cashing in my bad luck

Some nights I call it a draw

Some nights I wish that my lips could build a castle

Some nights I wish they just fall off

~Fun, Some Nights.

...

Woodrow Wilson

High School

Psychology Classroom

7.45am

...

Mulder sighed deeply, tossing a freshly sharpened HB pencil at the ceiling, waiting in anticipation for the quite thump that told him that it had now become a semi permanent part of the tiling above his head. 'Beautiful', he thought to himself, looking up at his handiwork. 'An art form'.

Michelangelo may have had the ceiling of his Sistine chapel but Mulder had the tiled roof above his desk, pencils jutting out at all different depths and lengths, all depending on the force he had applied while throwing them.

Thinking like this was sad, even by his standards.

Sure, his mornings (and life in general) was a little (okay, a lot) lonelier without Scully and granted he was a bit (quite a bit) irritable without her company but he understood perfectly why she had needed to get out of town, whatever she had to do.

Mulder understood how important closure after going through loss was from personal experience, he could still remember his own sister's murder trial in perfect detail and he had only been a kid himself. However Scully felt was best to get closure on her sister's death, he would stand by her 100%.

He just wished that he knew what he was standing by her on.

She could have been a little more open about it with him as he had promised to be either her. Mulder knew that Scully was a woman who always put it upon herself to find her own strength within, even if it meant bottling up her worries inside. He did it too after all, most notably when he had pulled away from her after his Padgett's Carcinoma scare a few months previously.

Mulder promised to be open with her so why was she pulling away from him. He knew she was going through a lot and he didn't blame her, not really. He just wished he could be there for her now. He knew what it was like to lose a loved one, how alone it made you feel. Mulder hated the very thought of Scully feeling alone as he had been. No one deserved that, especially not Scully.

'Thump', as another pencil collided with the roof.

"Mulder, we'll all know who's responsible if that roof eventually caves in with more than half a box HB pencils sticking out of it?", a voice called half firmly and half jokingly behind him.

Mulder whirled around on his wheeled office chair to face his bald headed employer, Washington High's very own Vice Principle Walter Skinner.

"What's up Skin-man, you bald beautiful man?", he asked joking lazily and completely ignoring the accusation, typical Mulder-style.

Skinner rolled his eyes, heading towards Mulder's desk at the top of the room. "I wasn't expecting you in today, Mulder. Is Scully okay?"

Mulder sighed reluctantly, wondering how best to keep Scully's privacy. He knew that Scully wouldn't appreciate her whereabouts being nationally broadcasted (even though Skinner was just one person and Mulder and Scully both trusted him more than most). Mulder might have told him something if he knew himself but Hell, he didn't exactly know what she was doing and he was closer to her than most.

All he knew was that she was doing something on Melissa's behalf. That was the only explanation he had been given from her and he doubted that her family knew any more than he did, they probably didn't even know she was gone at all.

He had tried calling her repeatedly in the past few hours (he had been worried after all, sickly so) but they all had gone to voicemail. Wherever Scully was and whatever she was doing she wanted to do it alone.

He knew that it was wrong but the thought made him feel a little bitter, not just at Scully but at the circumstances too. Only a few months ago Scully had made him promise that he would share his burdens, worries and fears. Now, after he swore to her that he would, she was gone, leaving him with a letter as proof that she had gone from Washington to God knows where with a heavy heart, her shoulders weighed down with something she wouldn't allow him to carry with her.

He knew she was strong, that she was tough and fiercely independent. He respected her and loved her for that. But when he knew that she needed him, she even give him a chance to understand why it was so important for her to go.

Mulder had promised her before that his future was their future. Promised that he wouldn't keep secrets from her even if it was to protect her. Surely Scully knew that he would be there for her while she did whatever she needed to do to grieve her sister.

She had said that she didn't have enough answers to give him, to bring him with her. She said what she was doing was irrational (His Scully being irrational?, Mulder could hardly believe it!) But shouldn't she know that he would follow her head first and blind just about anywhere should she ask it of him even if it was a little irrational.

Damn it, everything about them was irrational after all. They were polar opposite people in just about every respect but somehow they had found a home in each other. They were going to have a child together in the near future after all, surely that was one reason to put their emotionally constipated ways aside.

The other was that the loved each other without explanation or rationality and trusted each other with the same determination. Should that be enough proof for her, Scully, to believe that he, Mulder, would go with her to find her closure. Whatever it was.

Shouldn't she know...

"Mulder, you still with us?"

Mulder looked up to find Skinner still standing before him, a little quizzically. He sat up straighter, snapping out of his thought induced stupor. "Sorry, Sir. You were saying?", he replied.

Skinner frowned slightly, he had half expected another snappy retort. Mulder was definitely a little 'out of it' today. "Scully? Is she okay?"

Mulder nodded sombrely. "Don't worry, Skin-man. She's getting there", he answered, at the last second deciding that the less he said the better.

Skinner nodded, choosing to stay out of it. The less he knew about the goings-on between his science and psychology teachers the better. "Alright then, Mulder. Send her my best".

"Will do, Sir".

And he would have, if he had any idea how to get 'Skinner's best' to her, that is.

...

But I still wake up, I still see your ghost

But Lord, I still don't know what I stand for.

What do I stand for? What do I stand for?

Most nights...I don't know

Anymore.

~Fun, Some Nights.

...

Woodrow Wilson High School

Teacher's car park.

6.25pm

...

Mulder chucked the handful of Senior Level Psychology essays that still remained uncorrected into the back seat of his '91 Toyota, swinging the door shut behind them, all the while cradling his travel mug of freshly brewed rocket fuel coffee in his free hand.

He had just put in three hours of unpaid overtime to correct a mountain height of uncorrected homework but, at least, he was somewhat on top of things now. Mulder had been almost laughably behind and his students were beginning to wonder if he had accidentally chucked their homework in the shredder.

Tempting yes (at least in some cases), but he wouldn't do that and both he and the kids knew that with all joking aside.

Nearly three days had gone by and he still hadn't heard a thing from Scully. Mulder had done his best to dodge any questions from Skinner, John and Monica that had come up in the last few days but when Mrs Scully had called the landlines in Mulder's apartment on the night previous, looking to speak with her daughter, Mulder has told the older woman the little he knew about Scully's whereabouts.

Maggie had insisted over the phone that her youngest daughter was not the kind to run from her problems and Mulder couldn't have agreed with her more. That wouldn't be like Scully at all. Mulder had quickly told Mrs Scully what Scully had told him about doing something for 'Melissa and another little girl too'.

Mrs Scully had had no idea who the little girl could be, just as Mulder had. Between the pair of them the had no idea where she could be gone to, but they trusted that she would call when she was ready, however long that took.

He opened the door at the driver's side, preparing to get in but just then Mulder's cellular started to ring in his pocket, feeling around for a moment, Mulder dragged the device out of it's hiding place, hoping beyond hope that it was Scully.

It wasn't.

He didn't even recognise the number. Mulder sighed in disappointment but nonetheless hit the receive button.

"Mulder", he answered, a little disinterested. It was probably nothing after all. He could count on less than two hands the amount of people who called him regularly and he had all of their number, berserk memorised, thanks to his photographic memory. It was more than likely just some phone company or something of the sort, planning on giving him a long and boring lecture on the benefits of switching to or not switching for their enterprise.

"Is this Fox Mulder, the son of Teena Mulder", the voice asked formally from the other end.

Mulder replied in the affirmative, shutting the door of his car again and stepped away into the middle of the car park. He had been on the best of terms with his mother when he last left her bedside a few moths ago in Connecticut but she was still his mother after all even though she had kept things from him, things that she should have told him years ago.

But he still hoped she hadn't taken a turn for the worst.

"I'm with the NYPD. We found your mother's body dead in the living room of her Connecticut home this morning. We believe it was suicide."

Mulder wasn't sure what the cop said next because he only got one thing out of the conversation, it was the only thing he heard.

His mother was dead.

...

This is it, boys, this is war, What are we waiting for?

Why don't we break the rules already?

I was never one to believe the hype, save that for the black and white.

I try twice as hard but I'm half as liked.

And here they come again to jack my style.

~Fun, Some Nights.

...

Saint Mary's Centre for Children

San Diego

5.25pm

...

"Excuse me, I'm looking for someone who I believe is here", Scully asked, glancing at the middle aged woman who sat in an office/reception area at the opposite side of a small pane of glass. She approached the window and waited for the woman to approach her.

The glass slid back.

"Hello", the woman said observing Scully carefully for any signs of injury, much as she usually did when clientele appeared at her doorstep. She always was so surprised by the differences in walks of life of the people and children who came through the centre. It seemed to her that anyone could experience abuse, no matter how young, old, happy or sad the person may seem. "Are you feeling alright, dear?", she said. "Do you need to speak with someone?".

Scully shook her head. "I'm not here because of...", she trailed off unsure of how to finish the sentence because she was going to say that she wasn't a victim of domestic violence. Scully thought of her sister for a moment, Melissa was not a victim.

Her sister had made the best of what she could of a terrible, tragic and unfortunate situation. She had made choices that Scully couldn't ever imagine making now that she too knew what it felt like to be a mother. Melissa had kept her daughter away to give the child her best chance.

That made Melissa one of the strongest people Scully had ever known. Her sister wasn't a victim. Melissa had experienced things that Scully didn't ever want to think about, and somehow had never managed to say anything about it to anyone, all to protect her daughter that she would never see grow up.

It was heart breaking but true.

Scully wished her sister had told her sooner, that she had come to her family for help back when she had first fallen pregnant with Emily. If she had she might still be alive.

If she had. If she had...

Was it worth thinking about that anymore? Really thinking about it. She, Scully, couldn't change the past even though her sister's passing would surely haunt her until the day she died. There was still nothing she could do, no scores to be settled or no revenge to be sought. Kevin was dead after all.

Now the only thing that Scully could do now was find her niece. For her sister's sake and for Emily's. The girl deserved to be loved, to be part of a home and a family, Scully knew she could give her niece that much.

"I believe that my sister was here", Scully started quietly, hoping that her lack of detail didn't make her sound like a total idiot. "About four years ago. Her name was Melissa Scully and she gave birth to a little girl called Emily."

"Your sister", the woman asked curiously. "Was Emily's mother?". She knew of Melissa Scully's case. She and her daughter Emily had shown up at the centre nearly four years ago, Melissa desperate to find a refuge for her tiny baby girl.

Every few months, Melissa had called asking to speak to one of the social workers about her daughter, how she was, what she was doing. Usually the connections between the centre at the mother would falter and the child would be put up for adoption, but that ad never been the case with Emily and Melissa Scully.

They had been expecting a call from her any day, but now she was beginning to doubt if she would ever hear from Melissa again.

Scully nodded. "Is my niece here?"

The woman sighed, sadly. She knew what the story would be here, she had seen such tragedies unfold before. She had hoped this wouldn't be the case. Emlyn was such a sweet little girl and her mother seemed to have been doing her utmost for her family.

'Something must have happened to Melissa Scully', she thought to herself. Emily, the little girl who had been at the children's centre far longer than any of the others. She didn't need to ask, she could see pain in the eyes of the woman before her.

"Yes. She is".

XXXXXXXXXXXX

After over 48 hours, one pretty serious meeting with two stern social workers , a background check with the local PD and the presentation of proof of her own identity and her sister's death, Scully was cleared to meet Emily.

It turned out that she, Scully, was on the top of a short list of family members to be contacted about Emily should anything happen to Melissa and it wasn't long before she got permission to meet her niece.

Scully paced the corridor outside the children's wing, her heart pounding a little as she waited in anticipation for a sign from the social worker inside that she could meet her niece.

It had been quite a while since she was this nervous about meeting someone for the first time and even more bizarre that she was nervous about meeting a little kid who was her own flesh and blood, her sister Missy's daughter.

But she was.

A part of her feared that looking at Emily would be like looking at her sister in miniature, her sister who she would never see again.

The thought both made her heart contract painfully and swell with love and gratitude, gratitude that there was someone in which the memories and characteristics of her sister lived on.

No matter how great or small the resemblance may or may not be.

Scully feared that looking at Emily would be like looking at the ghost of her sister but she kept on reminding herself that the girl was a person of her own right, not Melissa or anyone else for that matter.

The little girl on the opposite side of the door was Emily Kaitlyn Scully and she would be loved.

Scully sighed, mind drifting to Mulder. He should be here with her, shouldn't he? Of course he should. She berated herself internally for not telling him about Emily before it actually came to meeting the child.

Mulder should be here with her. They were two parts of the same engine after all. This whole situation concerned him as much as it did her after all.

They hadn't had an outright conversation about their future but ever since they got together they had both known they were in this for life. It was unspoken but true, a life spent apart was not an option for either of them anymore, it hadn't been for quite a long time and the baby she had growing inside of her just solidified that.

They were a family.

Scully rubbed her belly silently, protectively, lovingly. There still was no baby bump of any kind just yet, she knew their wouldn't be for a while but the thought that she was carrying a new life, her and Mulder's child, inside of her was like a breath of fresh air to her system.

She made herself a silent promise to call Mulder as soon as she left the children's centre. He didn't deserve to be in the dark about this any longer.

Just then the door opened.

"You can come in now."

...

My heart's breaking for my sister,

And the con that she called love

But I look into my nephew's eyes,

And you won't believe the most amazing things

Can come from...

Some terrible nights

~Fun, Some Nights

...

XXXXXXXXXXXX

...

The Radisson Hotel

Connecticut

11.35pm.

...

Mulder sighed in exhaustion, his lungs heaving uncomfortably at the new loss he had sustained. He felt torn, a swell of regret bursting up in his chest and invading his airways.

His mother was dead and the last time that he had had been with her he had called her out on cheating on his father, not to mention having called her a liar for keeping the truth about his parentage from him.

Now his mother, Teena Mulder, was gone.

For the second time in his life, Mulder found himself identifying a body. The first time was when he had been twelve years old and his sister Samantha had been killed. He hadn't been able to recognise his sister then with all the cuts, bruises and burns she had sustained. It could have been any eight year old girl, the thought had sustained him for a while as a kid. 'Maybe his sister wasn't dead after all'.

He accepted shortly after that it was just false hope. His sister was gone, just as his mother now was.

He had entered the morgue down at his mother's local precinct, half hoping the cops had somehow gotten it wrong (even though he knew deep down that they hadn't). He identified the body as his mother's and had been told the case was an open and shut one. It was obviously a suicide to avoid dying a more painful death and going by the deterioration in his mother's body since he saw her last, he could hardly blame her for wanting out.

Mulder set his head back against the pillows, vaguely considering calling Scully. He quickly tossed the thought aside, she was going through enough at the moment without him adding his woes on top of her's.

He stretched out on the double bed, realising how uncomfortably large a bed this size was without Scully.

Much too big.

Mulder sighed tiredly, picking up his cell phone from the pocket of his coat that he had dumped next to him on the bed. He quickly dialled the number for his voice machine at home, if anyone was going to call him they would calling him at home after all.

That and it might provide a distraction.

"You have two new voice messages", the automated voice stated blandly before the dial tone.

Mulder waited for a second in silence, an eerie silence settling over the room. He could hear the murmur of a vacuum cleaner down the hall, the soft spoken voices of the hotel guests next door.

And nothing else.

He hoped the message would be from Scully, after the day he was having there wasn't much he wouldn't give to hear her voice even if she knew nothing of what had happened to him and to his mother since they had last been together. Hearing her would be like ice to a wound and knowing that she and their baby are okay would be like air to his lungs. To hear that she had found what she was looking for (which despite his own loss he hoped with his whole soul that she had), to hear something good (or at least as good as something can be at times like these after all he and Scully have been through). He needed that now.

Even though he thought it was selfish considering Scully's own loss, he need her now. He need her presence and her comfort and he needed to comfort her in return.

But still unsettling chill shook his body, something was off. Very off. Mulder was hit by a sense of finality that he had felt before on only a few occasions, this would be no ordinary voicemail.

It felt monumental somehow as though a change was occurring, Mulder wasn't sure if he wanted any changes at the moment though, enough rugs had been ripped out from under him and Scully in the last few days, just after they had found themselves in a perfectly happy little bubble.

Somehow he knew the message that he was about to receive would be nothing of the sort, call it gut instinct if you will. An uneasiness settled in the pit of his stomach, curling up like a sleeping cat, stretching and yawning. Something told him that whatever he was going to discover now may just turn things even more topsy-turvy.

"Fox", a voice spoke up. Mulder sat up straight in his bed in recognition, less than a handful of people called him that and he immediately knew who was speaking (or in this case had once spoken) at the other end.

His mother.

Mulder now knew why he had felt the way he had, he was about to hear his mother's last words. Her suicide note if you will.

"Fox, I had hoped that you would have called at some point in the past few weeks but I hadn't heard from you. I'm sure you're busy", Teena Mulder's voice paused for a second as though she had been collecting her thoughts up into a bundle, a bundle to pass along to her son. "There are so many emotions in me that I don't know where to start. There is so much that I have left unsaid for reasons one day I hope you'll understand."

Mulder gulped silently, listening and attempting to mentally prepare himself for whatever his mother may through at him as he tried not to dread the fact that there was more that his mother hadn't told him.

Was he surprised any more?, not really.

"Fox, I know you think that I have kept a lot from you, and I have, but my son, I'm sorry to say that there is more. I'm sorry that it has took me until the sunset of my life to share this with you but believe me with whatever faith you have left in me, I didn't want to. I did it to protect your future, Fox", he voice cracked slightly, she who was Mulder's seemingly emotionless mother until now. "I did it to protect you and your sister."

"You know that your father, Bill Mulder, once worked with the US government. Well, that's no all he did. He got involved in things he should have, learned more than he should have and as a result of his foolishness, placed you and your sister Samantha in grave danger. Bill threatened to expose what he had learned and because of this, your sister was killed to keep his quite", Teena's voice paused for a moment as though about to reach a turn in their family's tragic story. Mulder found himself holding his breath as she spoke up again, her voice an octave lower.

"Or at least that was what I believed until recently."

Mulder stared down at his phone in shock, his mind buzzing at his mother's word. Confusion began to roll in in tides, swallowing him whole. This couldn't mean what he thought it means, could it?

Despite his original feelings towards hearing the last word's of his estranged mother, he now found himself handing on her every word.

"Your biological father, Spender, was in the inner circles of the organisations that Bill managed to nose his way into. Spender knew that either you, Samantha or possibly both of you were his children and for that reason your sister's life was spared. Her death was faked and Bill and myself went on with our lives believing that she was dead or at least I did until Spender visited my hospital in July", Teena paused again although this time it seemed as though she was more out of breath then pausing for effect.

Mulder frowned listening, wanting to believe with every bone in his body. He wanted to believe that his mother's words were true, that his sister was still alive and out there. The thought made his heart swelled with hope.

"Your sister is alive, Fox", Teena said, voice thick with emotion, perhaps she was even crying. "Your sister is alive and living in Denver."

...

Well, some nights I wish this all would end,

Cos I could use some friends for a change,

And some nights, I'm scared that you'll forget me again,

Some Nights I always win (I always win)

But I still wake up, I still see your ghost

And Lord I still don't know what I stand for

What do I stand for?

Most nights, I don't know

~ Fun, Some Nights,

XXXXXXXXXXXX

...

Saint Mary's Centre For Children

...

Scully stepped into what looked like a playroom, the brightly coloured walls, alive with cartoon drawings attempting to create a happy environment for the kids who had been through so much. Scully didn't notice much of it though, her attention entirely focused on the little girl in front of her who was sitting quietly and drawing at a circular table at the centre of the room.

The kid was definitely her niece.

She was a little small for an almost four year old and was dressed in a pair of navy dungarees and a red sweater. Her strawberry blonde curls fell into her face as she looked up curiously, her bright blue eyes widening, at the woman who had come to visit her.

Scully approached Emily and smiling in greeting, she dropped to a squatting position beside the small child sized table where her niece was seated. "Hi Emily, It's so nice to meet you. My name is Dana."

Emily smiled politely, shyly. She watched Scully with the same curiosity as before, as though taking in every little detail about the woman in front of her. "You aren't usually here, are you?", she asks quite out of the blue. "I haven't seen you before."

Scully smiles, the girl in front of her may never have met anyone from her biological family in her life so far but she as sure as hell was a Scully at heart, cutting right to the chase. "No, sweetheart. You wouldn't have seen me before because I live in Washington."

The four year old looked up at her thoughtfully as though trying to make sense of her words. Washintun...was that another planet, a magical land perhaps?

Emily didn't think so because was magic only in books.

"Where's that?"

"It's...", Scully started, trailing off as she wondered how to explain American geography to a three year old. "Across the country."

Emily nodded seemingly satisfied with her answer. She had known it wasn't another planet...or a magical land. "Do you live with you're mom and dad."

Scully shook head. "I used to but I don't anymore."

"Me neither", Emily stated thoughtfully. "Well, maybe I did when I was littler, I don't remember", she looked back down at her drawing, picking up a yellow crayon from the cup at the centre of the table.

Scully watched her in silence, silently documenting the little things about Emily that reminded her of Melissa. There was a few, yes but there were things about Emily that shone out like beacons all on their own. Things that were uniquely Emily.

Despite her slightly confusing family situation, the little girl before her was a ray of sunshine and hopefulness.

"Hey Dana", Emily stated, looking up from her drawing. She pulled Scully out of her thoughts. "Do you want to play princess with me."

Scully looked at the girl and smiled, "I'd love to."

XXXXXXXXXXXX

...

3 hours later

...

"But why do you have to leave now, Dana?", Emily said sadly, looking up at Scully, her cobalt eyes wide and her mouth pouting at the thought of her new friend leaving her. "I thought you liked playing princess with me but we can play something else if you like."

Scully smiled softly, reaching down to hug the little girl tightly to her. She may have only known Emily a few hours but she would already do anything for her. But it would be Emily's bedtime soon, not to mention her own in a few hours considering her lack of sleep the previous night.(She had been visited by a few unwelcome but devastating nightmares about the events of the last few days which was all followed up by a fairly violent bout of morning sickness when she woke up, in truth she was exhausted).

"I'll come back to see you tomorrow, how's that?", Scully offered gently as she released a now smiling Emily from her embrace.

Emily nodded enthusiastically, her heading bobbing up and down almost comically. "And will you bring your silly friend who likes aliens with you", she asked excitedly. "The one who's a grown up boy."

Scully chuckled affectionately, ruffling Emily's blondie-red hair. "Not tomorrow because he is still back home in DC but I'll call him and tell him that you invited him."

"Mmmh, okay", she said, before once again seeking reassurance that Scully will return. "And you promise that you'll come back tomorrow", Emily questioned, looking up at Scully almost firmly, or at least as firm as a three year old can look. "You pinkie promise", she asked holding out her tiny pinkie finger for Scully to shake.

Scully smiled, squatting down once again to be nearer to Emily's size. She reached out her own hand, mirroring Emily's actions, offering the child her own bigger pinkie finger. "My pinkie promises", she said playfully, wiggling her finger a little as she linked it with Emily's.

Emily giggled, reaching up to hug Scully once again, all the shyness that she had a few hours earlier long gone. "Alright then."

XXXXXXXXXXXX

Only when she was alone in her motel room did the full extent of the situation hit her or at least the reality of it. If she wanted to do this and to do it properly, she would be giving Emily a home with her in Washington. Did she want that?, of course she did.

After meeting her niece today, she would do just about anything for her in a heartbeat, just as she would for her and Mulder's unborn child. She wanted to give Emily a home and to raise her with her own daughter (or at least according to Melissa she was having a daughter) but it wasn't just about her wishes and aspirations. She wasn't the only one who should expect involved in these decisions.

She had kept Mulder in the dark about all of this for far too long already and now all that she wanted to do now was to tell him absolutely everything.

Before Scully even thought too much of it, she found herself dialling his number. Her heart raced in her chest at the prospect of telling him about Emily, she felt almost as she did when she was about to tell him that she was pregnant.

He picked up almost instantly.

"Mulder it's me", she blurted out immediately. "I need to see you, we need to talk."

She heard him sigh deeply at the other end as though deeply pained or conflicted about something. Immediately, she began to panic. Her heart clenching for him, aching to know what has him sounding like that. "I need to see you too, Scully."

XXXXXXXXXXXX

...

The Pequod Hotel

San Diego

3.34am

...

And I still wake up, I still see your ghost

But Lord I still don't know what I stand for,

What do I stand for? What do I stand for?

Most nights, I don't know...anymore.

~Fun, Some Nights

...

Scully sat up in bed with jolt, the hotel phone on the locker next to her bed riding like crazy. She hadn't slept, not really. Ever since Mulder had called she had been worried sick about him especially considering the very vague details he had given her on the phone. She looked over at the alarm clock, reading off the vibrant neon numbers, 3:34. Sighing wearily, she reached blindly for the receiver.

"Sorry to disturb you at this late hour, Ms Scully. This is the front desk."

Scully nodded vacantly along with the call as though they could see her from the other side. "That's okay", she replied sleepily, yawning and preparing to half listen to the man at the other end.

"There is a slightly restless gentleman down here by the name of Fox Mulder who is looking for you. Can I send him up".

Now fully awake, Scully threw her legs off the side of the slightly grotty hotel mattress. "Of course, thanks for letting me know. Does he seem okay?"

"He looks a little out of it actually."

Scully frowned in concern. She had thought pretty much the same herself when she had spoken to Mulder on the phone earlier. Nonetheless, she thanked the receptionist for his help. "Thank you very much."

"No problem."

Mulder was here in San Diego! She peered over at the clock again on the night stand, silently calculating the hours and the time difference between San Diego and Washington. He must have left almost as soon as they said goodnight to one another.

Dropping the phone to the receiver she headed straight for the door of her hotel room, throwing it open only to come face to face with an exhausted looking Fox Mulder.

"Mulder", she said in shock, immediately reaching for him.

He gave her a half hearted crooked smile in reassurance as he almost collapsed into her arms. His eyes appeared tired, sad and stressed. He drank in the sight of her as though her exhausted form in pyjamas bottoms and a baggy t-shirt that she borrowed from him was the best thing that he had seen in days.

She supported as much of his body weight as she physically could, helping him sit down on the end of the small double bed. He reached for her almost reverently, pulling her into him until she was standing between his legs. Mulder hugged her around the waist.

"Mulder", Scully started quietly, she stroked through his hair gently, sweeping it back. She returned his affections without question, holding his head to her chest. Whatever had happened to him since they were together last, it had taken it's toll on him and she was going to hold him until he told her what it was.

In an instant, she hated herself for suggesting him come out to San Diego and voiced just as much. He shook his head immediately, pulling her closer.

"I needed to see you."

Mulder inhaled her scent, the familiar sensation of her body wrapped in his arms comforted him immensely. After all that had happened, after everything he had once believed about his family and his childhood had been turned upside, Scully was still there and she was still the same.

His constant. His touchstone.

"My mother's dead, Scully", he whispered against her (or rather his) shirt. "She killed herself". He sighed deeply, not sure where to go from there, the rest was just so inconceivable, even to a man who believed in everything that most consider impossible. Mulder felt his first tears since he heard both the NYPD's news and his mother's news.

He wanted to believe however. He wanted to believe so bad that it hurt.

But Scully made him hurt less.

Scully said nothing, she just held him as he dampened her clothes with his helpless tears. She felt tears well up in her own eyes, not for Teena but for the man that was holding her so closely you would swear his life depended on it.

Maybe in some way it did.

"Mom left me a voice mail before she...did it. She told me things...", Mulder looked up at Scully, hoping that some part of her would believe what he was about it to tell her. His voice trailed off as he began to doubt himself. It was possible wasn't it, that Samantha was still alive?

Scully placed both of her hands gently on his warm cheeks. She brushed his tears away with her thumbs, trying desperately to hold back her own, to be the strong one now for him as he had been for her during Melissa's funeral. But damn, she hated to see him hurting. When Mulder hurt, she hurt along with him.

"What things, Mulder?", Scully asked softly, she knew that he needed to tell somebody whatever it was, she had seen it building up inside of him as soon as she had half felt his body collapse practically on top of hers over the threshold.

Mulder cupped one of her hands that was still on his face, tenderly kissing her wrist. "She told me that Samantha never died and that she has been alive all along."

Scully looked down at him, her eyebrows raised. Anger immediately welling up in the pit of her stomach, anger for the kind of woman that was Teena Mulder. What the hell had Teena been thinking when she had dropped a bombshell like that on her son before killing herself.

Surely Teena Mulder knew the effect that the death of Samantha had on her son, the effect that it still had on her son? Surely the woman who had given birth to Fox Mulder, one of the kindest and best people she has ever known, hadn't been that inconsiderate of a person...

But it wasn't the time to speak badly about Mulder's late mother.

"What do you mean?", she asked carefully, surely Teena had given him some explanation.

Mulder sighed tiredly, squeezing her waist gently. At the moment it seemed like she was the only thing that was real to him, she was grounding him, the only thing stopping him from going floating away. Dana Scully was standing in front of him, comforting him and showing him love. She was carrying their baby.

All of that was real, right?

"My father got himself involved in things he shouldn't have at work and according to Mom the people he worked with took Samantha to keep him quite. They would have killed her if Mom hadn't been having an affair with my dad's boss, I guess. His name was Spender and he knew that either me or Samantha or both of us were his kids. He let our whole family go on thinking Sam was dead, Scully. Can you believe that?"

Scully frowned slightly, looking down at Mulder in concern. "Did your Mom say where Samantha was?"

He nodded. "She told me that she was alive and living in Denver."

"Do you believe her?"

"I want to believe her. Do you?".

Scully watched Mulder intently for a moment. She wanted to believe that Samantha was alive, of course she did. She wanted to believe it for Mulder's sake but she wasn't sure if she trusted Teena Mulder after everything that she had put Mulder through between keeping secrets about his biological father and now this.

Scully didn't want Mulder to get hurt no matter what and that was the bottom line but if finding his sister alive was something that was possible, Scully knew that she would follow him and be there for him.

"I think you should have The Three Stooges check this out before we go racing off to Denver. If we're going to do this we need something to go on. We can't make this a wild goose chase, Mulder. It's not just you and me anymore, we have our baby and...", she almost said Emily but quickly decided to leave that discussion for later or maybe until the morning. "To think about. We need to be realistic".

Mulder nodded, dropping his gaze to her stomach, gently kissing the place where their baby was through the fabric of her t-shirt. "Always the smart one, Scully", he stated affectionately before turning his eyes up to her again, amazed by her ability to be so logical in such a situation. "Does that mean that you'll come with me to find my sister once you've sort out whatever you need to here in San Diego?"

Scully nodded, gently placing a lingering kiss on his forehead. "I wouldn't let you go alone, Mulder", she assured him quietly with another stroke through his hair. She knew that if this information that Mulder had received from his mother was false or just the hopes and wishes of a dying woman, then it would be like Mulder had lost Samantha all over again. She knew that she couldn't stop him from at least trying to find his sister, nor would she if she could. But there was no way that she would have him face his tragic past alone. "I couldn't do that. I wouldn't. As you said before, it's me and you. Ride or die, baby"

Mulder looked up at her, smiling in amazement at how far Scully was willing to go for him. He reached up, kissing her softly on the neck, peppering her skin with his gratitude.

Scully found herself whimpering at his touch as his warm and salty lips found a particularly sensitive spot on her neck. "Mulder we need to talk", she started quietly but was silenced as she felt Mulder's front teeth glide reverently across her skin. She found herself pushing his jacket off of her shoulder and leaning further into his inviting touch."...later".

Mulder nodded knowingly, agreeing with a half smile. "Later", he agreed, reaching down for the hem of her stolen t-shirt, pulling it gently over her head. He stood up from the bed, wrapping his arms around her waist properly, merging his lips with hers.

Scully responded in kind, pulling on his bottom lip with her teeth, listening to him groan quietly into her mouth. Taking this as an invitation she pulled back from their kiss for a moment to tug his shirt over his head, running her hands across the smooth planes of his skin. 'Perfect', she thought affectionately, reaching up to press open mouthed kisses to his jawline and across his face and under his eyes, tasting the skin that his tears had fell upon.

It had only been a few days but she still had missed him.

Mulder looked down at her lovingly, stroking her hips. He took in the sight of her naked upper body, noticing the first signs of her pregnancy. Absolutely beautiful in his opinion.

"Scully", he said reaching down to pay the same homage to her chest as he had to her lips. "You've gotten bigger", he said almost matter-of-factly even though his appreciating gaze told a different story all together.

Scully chuckled, swatting Mulder in the chest, reaching down to unbutton and unzip his jeans. "Wait until the hormones and the cravings kick in, Mulder. I'll be the size of a whale in seven or eight months time."

Mulder shook his head, kneeling down to kiss her stomach, he wrapped his arms comfortably around her waist. "And you'll be so damn beautiful", he said, gently loosening her pajamas pants, slipping them down her legs. He trailed kisses up her thighs, his pupils dilated by lust and boundless love, before coming to her underwear. "So beautiful", he whispered huskily as though it was a secret between the two of them.

Scully moaned in relief as he slipped her panties down her legs. She gripped his hair between her fingers, holding on for dear life as he slipped his tongue inside her.

"I love you, Mulder", she whispered quietly a few minutes later as she came down from her high. "Whatever our future holds", she sighed deeply, holding him tightly against her as she had before as she played with the hair on the nape of his neck.

Mulder smiled, resting his head against her stomach. Despite everything that had happened and despite everything that had changed, he felt totally at peace here with Scully. No matter where they went and what happened to them when they when they were together or when they were apart, she was his home. "I love you too, Scully. No matter what happens."

...

Well, that's alright. I got a martyr in my bed tonight

She stops my bones from wondering just who I am,

Who I am, who I am. Who am I?

~Fun, Some Nights.

...

XXXXXXXXXXXX

...

The Pequod Hotel

San Diego

7.52am

...

Scully hummed quietly, sighing into her pillow as she was awoken by the sweetly familiar sensation of a recently woken Mulder stroking her side from shoulder to thigh. "Good Morning", she said, turning away from the sunlight that was streaming through the window to the warm darkness of her pillow.

Mulder smiled slightly, always amused by early-morning-Scully. He knew that she had to talk to him about something serious. When she called yesterday she had sounded excited, nervous, amazed and heartbroken all at once. Despite his own pain and worries, he couldn't help but notice. "You told me over the phone that you wanted to talk".

Scully nodded, propping herself up on the pillows. She was a little surprised that Mulder still remembered that she had called him to talk to him but that was the thing about Mulder, even after what happened he just kept on surprising her.

"I think it's best that I show you instead."

...

But I still wake up, I still see your ghost

But Lord I still don't know what I stand for,

What do I stand for? What do I stand for?

Most nights, I don't know...anymore.

~Fun, Some Nights

...

Chapter Text

Chapter 20: Hearts Don't Break When The Sun Comes

...

Saint Mary's Centre for Children

San Diego

12.30am

...

Here comes the sun (du du du)

Here comes the sun and I say

It's alright

~The Beatles, Here Comes the Sun

...

Glancing questioningly to Scully over his shoulder, Mulder peered in through the narrow rectangular glass window pane on the door. Inside was quite a large colourful playroom, children's drawings tacked up on the walls and the floor littered with brightly coloured toys of all shapes and sizes.

"Scully, what's all this about?", he asked. She hadn't told him much on the drive there, only that she wanted him to meet someone. He had been quite surprised when she had driven them to a social services centre for children born into abusive families, but had followed her in nonetheless.

Scully threw him a half hopeful and half nervous half smile, squeezing past him to open the door, giggling quietly at his inquisitiveness. "I already told you, Mulder. I met someone that I want you to meet too."

She hadn't been sure how he would take to the idea of having two children (One which was already out of diapers) when he was still mentally preparing himself for being a father to one. Hell, Scully wasn't sure if she was ready for it herself, but Emily was family after all and she was Melissa's little girl. Scully just wanted what was best for her niece and that was to be with her whole family. That was what really mattered. She and Mulder would figure out all the rest in time.

Together, just as they did most things.

She just hoped that he wouldn't be too upset about her not telling him about Emily sooner. Realistically, she knew he would be, as getting custody of a child was something that deeply concerned both of them, but she had had her own reasons for her silence and Scully knew Mulder well enough to know that he would accept them eventually.

Mulder shrugged, settling his hand on it's typical spot on her lower back as he followed Scully into the room. "Alright then. Lead the way, G-Woman." He had studied her expression and body language on the way here, whatever was going on it must not be all that bad considering how she hadn't seemed this at ease (albeit a little nervous) since they had left Paris the previous week.

Scully smiled gratefully and reached for his hand, interlacing their fingers, pulling him in the door with her and felt him squeeze her fingers reassuringly.

Yes, whatever was going to happen would happen and they would do it together.

Suddenly, she felt something tiny but mighty plough into her, holding onto her waist tightly. Scully staggered back a pace or two at the ferocity of her niece's hug, landing against Mulder with a soft thump.

"Dana, I wasn't expecting you to come for aaaaaaages", Emily declared excitedly before either Mulder or Scully could say a word. She jumped around excitedly in a dark pink t-shirt and dungarees, tugging at her auntie's coat. "Sienna said that you probably wouldn't to visit again until tea time like yesterday but I still knew you would", she added, referencing the social worker who had met with Scully yesterday.

"Well, I pinkie promised didn't I?".

Cue another chorus of nodding from the little girl.

Scully ruffled Emily's hair, affectionately smiling down at her niece as she scooped her up off of the ground and settled her on her left hip, turning to face an even-more-quizzical-than-before Fox Mulder.

"Dana", Emily whispered quietly as though shy about her new visitor. She eyed Mulder up and down curiously while he stood, still a little dumbfounded but intrigued, under the little girl's gaze. "You brought a grown up boy with you. Is that you're friend Mulder, the one who lives with you in Washintune and likes aliens?"

"That's right, sweetheart", Scully said with a smile before correcting her niece gently. "And we live in Washington."

Emily seemed disinterested in her slight mistake and turned back to Mulder with big blue eyes that weren't unlike her aunt's, something that didn't go unnoticed by Mulder even though he wasn't sure of the reasoning behind it yet.

Scully would have told him if she had had a kid before she met him, right? And even if she didn't tell him (which he doubted she wouldn't) would the girl not have lived with her in Washington this whole time? Surely.

Still, he couldn't shake the resemblance between the pair.

"Mulder, are you okay?", Scully asked, looking at him in concern. She watched him intently for a second in an attempt to figure out what he was thinking, reaching over with her arm that wasn't supporting Emily to squeeze his arm.

He shook his head slightly, pulling himself out of his thoughts as though they were a bottomless well that he had barely plunged out of. Mulder returned his attention to Scully and the little girl clinging to her. "Don't worry, Scully. I'm fine".

He would ask her about the little girl's origins later.

Scully watched him considerately but decided not to press him for now. "Okay then, this is Emily", she said bobbing her niece up and down a little on her hip, making the girl giggle brightly.

Emily really was such a sunny child considering everything she had been through.

"And this", Scully said, gesturing to Mulder. "As you so rightly guessed is Mulder."

Mulder smiled and little uncertainly at the small child unsure of how to handle himself around the three year old. He looked over to Scully who nodded to him encouragingly before he turned back to Emily.

"I saw you colouring on the way in, Emily. What are you working on?"

Emily smiled bashfully, wiggling out of Scully's embrace until both of her feet were firmly back on the ground. She quickly dashed to where she had been sitting earlier on the floor, returning with a sheet of paper which she proudly presented to Mulder. "A potato".

Mulder looked down at her with a half grin, whatever secrets were behind the little girl in front of him and whatever questions were plaguing him about her, she was still a freaking adorable kid and he couldn't help but get tied around her little finger. "You know Mr Potato Head", Mulder offered, puffing out his cheeks and looking at Emily cross eyed. "He looks kinda like this, doesn't he?"

Emily giggled, her eyes glistening with delight at her new friend's antics. Scully threw Mulder an affectionate half smile.

She had seen him with kids before and had known he would be a good father for quite some time, but seeing him here with Emily made her heart swell.

And just like that the ice was broken and things truly began to feel right. However, Mulder still had a lot to talk to Scully about.

All in due time.

XXXXXXXXXXXX

...

Little darling,

it's been a long cold lonely winter.

Little darling,

it feels like years since it's been here

Here comes the sun (du du du du)

Here comes the sun and I say

It's alright.

~The Beatles, Here Comes the Sun

...

"Mulder", Emily asked looking up from the brightly illustrated storybook that Scully was reading her. It was a beautifully presented children's version of Herman Melville's classical novel 'Moby Dick'. At the beginning Emily had found the pretty pictures of the seaside and the whale and the ships captivating but she was clearly beginning to losing interest.

Emily observed Mulder with big pleading blue eyes across the little round table from where she was sitting on her auntie's knee. "Can you please tell me an alien story?", she asked sweetly, remembering how Dana had told her all about Mulder's love for little green (or grey, as Dana had told her Mulder always corrected) men.

Scully glanced across the table, half warning and half amused, Mulder heard her loud and clear. 'Don't tell her anything too scary. Keep it PG, honey'. She didn't have to say anything outright because her look said it all for her, that and he knew her expressions quite well.

Mulder looked between the woman and girl in front of him, their physical similarities even more evident then before now they were side to side. Their noses, the bone structure of their faces, their chins and their eyes were all nearly identical. If Mulder had ever imagined a little version of Scully, she would be quite a lot like Emily, only with redder hair.

"Alright then, Ems", Mulder said animatedly, internally wracking his brains for something light-hearted and suitable for a four year old. He tossed his thoughts aside for later, focusing on the adorable little girl and the woman who was his best friend who were looking up at him expectantly.

"Have you ever heard the story about the alien who loved playing baseball so much that he gave up zooming around outer space in his spacecraft to learn how to throw a curve ball and hit a home run better than all the pros combined?"

Emily shook her head slightly, watching Mulder, intrigued by the idea of his story. "Tell me. Tell me. Tell me", she chanted, her voice growing to a crescendo. "Please tell me, Mulder."

Scully rolled her eyes, ruffling Emily's blonde hair like she had earlier. She threw Mulder an amused smile despite herself as she stifled a chuckle at Emily and Mulder's matching enthusiasm for storytime. 'Thank you', she mouthed to Mulder over Emily's shoulder, she had known the kid was getting bored of classical literature.

She had hoped that they would get along and like each other and was delighted by their instantaneous friendship. It was both heart breaking and beautiful to be sitting here with Mulder, looking after her late sister's child. But she still hoped that they would have an endless sea of moments like this in the future.

Mulder nodded, smiling a little as he launched into his own rendition (or in other words: a kid friendly version) of a story one of their fellow teachers at Woodrow Wilson, Mr Arthur Dales, had told about his brother (who oddly had the same name) who had worked as a cop out in New Mexico.

"It all started on a warm summer evening in Roswell Municipal Ball field with a cop called Arthur Dales and a baseball player everyone called Xley..."

...

Little darling, the smiles returning to the faces

Little darling, it feels like years since its been here.

Little darling, I feel that ice is slowly melting.

Little darling, it seems like years since its been clear

Here comes the sun (du du du du)

Here comes the sun and I say

It's alright

Sun, sun, sun, here it comes

~The Beatles, Here Comes the Sun

...

XXXXXXXXXXXX

...

She is the sweetest thing that I know

Should see the way she holds me when the lights go low

Shakes my soul like a pothole every time.

Took my heart upon a one way trip

Guess she went wandering off with it

But unlike most women I know,

This one will bring it back whole

~Ed Sheeran, Hearts Don't Break Around Here

...

5 hours later

"Scully, why didn't you tell me about Emily sooner?", Mulder asked quietly as they headed for the car park to find her rental vehicle. There was no easy way of bringing up a question like this, so he had decided it was best just to come out with his feelings on the matter.

He really did enjoy the day with Emily and Scully, he genuinely did. Emily was one of the most adorable and lovable little girls he had ever met and he really had enjoyed seeing a more maternal side to Scully, something he knew he would see more of as time went on but was still endeared by seeing her motherliness come to light.

There had only been one thing that had bothered him for the duration of his stay in the children's centre. Who was Emily? Was she Scully's daughter? And if she was, why had Scully never told him about her?

Scully frowned slightly even though she had expected such a question more likely sooner than later. "I had to see her for myself to truly believe it, Mulder", she said simply even though she knew her response would probably cause even more questions to pop up in Mulder's head. "But now I know her, I just want to do what's best for this little girl."

"So I was right, there was no coincidence in you finding her here in San Diego. You came here to find her, right?". He didn't sound angry or upset, just confused and a little betrayed.

Mulder had never really been one to believe in coincidence. After all, it hadn't been a coincidence that his sister had disappeared and after he had spent his whole life half believing he was the one who should have been killed, he found that she had been alive all along.

No, as far as he was concerned, there was no coincidences anymore in this world and Mulder was pretty damn sure that it wasn't a coincidence that Scully and Emily looked so alike. "She was the little girl who you mentioned in your letter."

Scully nodded, before recalling how vague she had been in the note she had left him. It had been written quickly on the night after Melissa's funeral when she was certain that Mulder was asleep, if he hadn't been, Scully doubted that she would have been able to keep the details of the vision she had had about Emily and Melissa to herself.

"Look, Mulder", she said, reaching for his hand. "I'm sorry that I didn't tell you where I was and I'm sorry if you worried about me, but I really did have to find Emily."

"But you still didn't tell me", Mulder said, finally releasing the internal hurt he felt deep down. Scully was the last person he would expect to keep something from him, even after he had found that pretty much all of his family had been keeping the truth him that had plagued him his whole life from him for years.

He knew she was going through a lot after Melissa's death but it wasn't as if he didn't have his own issues either.

Mulder knew it was selfish to think like this when there was an innocent little girl involved but he couldn't help it. Scully had asked him for total honesty with her ever since he had kept his Padgett's Carcinoma scare from her back in July and he had promised never to lie to her again. Surely it was fair to expect the same from her. "You do know I would have told you years ago if it was me that had a kid, right?".

Scully looked up at him in shock. How had Mulder even considered that? Surely he knew that she would never have kept something like that from him for the past three and a half years. "I'm not Emily's mother", she said her voice rising in anger at Mulder's apparent lack of faith in her honesty. She almost added 'biologically' to the end of her sentences but the words got caught in her throat. Even though Melissa had told her that Emily would end up calling her 'Mommy' in the future, Scully wasn't ready for the prospect just yet, the loss of her sister was still too raw.

She would simply have to be 'Dana' to Emily, at least for the mean time.

Scully could feel a mixture of sadness and angry tears prickle her eyes but she batted them back, blaming it on the pregnancy hormones and the fact that she hadn't slept much the night before. She was physically and emotionally exhausted and wasn't able to do this with Mulder right now.

But still, anger was bubbling up inside of her and was fit to burst out of her in seconds.

"Jesus Christ, Mulder. Do you seriously think I wouldn't have told you if Emily was biologically my daughter, huh? You think that I wouldn't have mentioned that I had had a child with someone else before I met you? ", Scully asked, her eyes flashing dangerously, silently challenging him.

Despite himself, Mulder found his own voice rising to match hers. How could Scully turn all of this back on him when she had totally left him in the dark to worry about her? He had spent the last few nights sleepless because he had know exactly how we it felt to loose a loved one unexpectedly and how the loss would make a person feel.

"Well I don't know, Scully. Maybe I wouldn't think that if you hadn't flown to the opposite side of the county, totally out of the blue I might add, to adopt a child when it concerns me just as much as it concerns you."

Scully sighed in frustration, her face flushed and seething. Yes, adopting a child did concern him but it wasn't as if she had kept this from him until now without good reason. "Dammit it, Mulder. You really can be such a jackass sometimes", she said, attempting to walk away from him to get into the car. She would deal with this later when they both had calmed down.

He reached for her, settling his hand on her shoulder. She looked up at him, blue eyes firm in determination like a stormy sea. Mulder bent his neck sideways slightly to look her straight in the eye, his hazel orbs a shade calmer than hers. They were silent for a moment, her looking up at him and he down at her.

"Mulder", Scully deadpanned, looking up at him seriously. "Get out of my way", she said, pushing against his hand and pulling away from him. "I'm not ding this with you here or now."

Mulder quickly sidestepped around her so that they were facing one another again, much closer than before this time, so much so that Scully could feel his hot angry breath against her forehead.

He held her gaze, as though looking inside of her, his hazel orbs quietly seeking answers from her. He knew she was hurt, he knew she was in pain. He knew she was because he was too. They really were a matching set in every way imaginable, even when they were screaming at one another in anger, electricity crackling between the pair of them. The same electricity and tension they had between them since the day they met over three years earlier.

"Scully", Mulder said, a little calmer than before, he reached out and touched her shoulder. "You may be prepared to walk away now but I sure as hell am not", he sighed, noticing she too was calming down and pulled her closer to him by the shoulders. Not quite into an embrace but close enough to feel each others warmth in the chilly November air. "Tell me the truth, Scully. If you don't, no one else will."

Scully sighed, her own anger dissipating slightly. She wasn't going to walk away on Mulder, that was the last thing she wanted to do. From the beginning they had been in this together and together they would stay.

They did need to talk this though, for Emily's sake, their unborn baby's sake and for the sake of their relationship. "Emily is Melissa's daughter. She gave birth to her here in San Diego to hide her from Kevin."

As soon as the words left her mouth, Scully saw Mulder's face fall in surprise, guilt and embarrassment. She didn't feel for him though, not yet. He had doubted her honesty towards him and the trust they had carefully built over the last few years. She wasn't quite sure whether to continue being angry with him or to just let it go.

After all, she wasn't the only one who was going through a lot at the moment.

Mulder watched her carefully, he could always tell when Scully was holding in her emotions and he knew this was one of those times. He felt guilt climbing up his oesophagus from the pit of his stomach, clogging up his throat. He felt embarrassment and shame at the fact he had doubted Scully even if it was for only a moment.

"Melissa is Emily's mom?", he choked out.

Unsure whether the question was rhetorical or not, Scully nodded sombrely anyway.

Mulder shook his head, wracking his fingers through his hair in frustration. He hadn't been thinking clearly after all the unexpected truths that had been almost simultaneously thrown at him all at once in the last few hours, but was that really an excuse for behaving like he had with the woman who was the love of his life and the mother was his child? Hell no.

"Fuck Scully, I'm sorry", he said quietly, not quite making eye contact with her. "I just...I'm having trouble not jumping to conclusions after everything that has been happening recently."

Scully nodded in understanding, although not quite sympathetic. "Well, now you know", she said dryly, sounding a little snappy.

Mulder sighed tiredly even though it was still relatively early. He caught her eye, holding contact with an intensity that made her feel as though he was looking inside her. She gazed back with the same determination, a whole conversation shared silently.

It was quickly becoming easier to breath for both of them.

Mulder did feel apologetic for the majority of his actions but he did still feel somewhat hurt that Scully had kept this from him until now, he would have trusted her with this if their situations were reversed, why didn't she? "Dammit Scully, I know I shouldn't have asked you that right away but how would you feel of I had introduced you to a kid that was practically a miniature version of me without any kind of heads up?"

Scully thought about it for a moment, imagining their scenarios flipped. "Okay", she said reluctantly, her mind drifting to a situation where Mulder would introduce her to a giddy little boy with dark floppy hair. Yes, she would probably feel a little put out and assume it was a child Mulder had with a past lover. Would she react rashly? Not in front of the kid, never that. But to Mulder? Probably worse than he had just reacted "Point taken. I should probably have shed a little more light on the subject for you than I did."

"Yes you should have but I also shouldn't have doubted you on little or no proof", Mulder stated, still guilty. "You have never given me a reason not to trust you before and I shouldn't have expected anything else now."

"No you shouldn't have", Scully said before smiling up at him a little cheekily. "But I can blame my immediate flare up of anger on my Irish temper". She smirked before adding. "Not to mention my pregnancy hormones. You did knock me up after all", she said, poking his arm teasingly. "You have no excuses though".

Mulder chuckled, reaching out and taking one of her hands in his. She was forgiven wholly and completely and so was he if the almost playful look she was giving him was anything to go by. "Hey, why can't I blame my misjudgement on pregnancy hormones if you are, they do say it takes two to tango after all."

They chuckled softly together, momentarily distracted.

But he still had one question for her, one piece of the puzzle that was still niggling him. "Why didn't you tell me about Emily back in DC before you left? I would have come with you, Scully."

Scully sighed sadly, looking down from Mulder's face to their intertwined fingers. He gave her hand a little encouraging squeeze for which she rewarded him a half smile. She had already known that he would have come with her, knew he would follow her to end of the earth in a heartbeat. After all, she would do the same for him.

"I wasn't sure if I believed it, Mulder", she said simply, briefly meeting his confused gaze. "I had to see Emily for myself before I believed what Melissa had told me about her."

"But why didn't you believe her?", Mulder asked, slightly confused. As far as he knew, Scully and her sister had had quite a good relationship. Surely Scully wouldn't have doubted Melissa about Emily if she had told her before she died.

Scully looked up again, tears sneaking out at the corner of her eyes, silently rolling down her face. She clutched Mulder's hand tighter, she knew he would believe what she was about to tell him, others may doubt her (hell, she even doubted it a little herself even after it had proven true), but she knew Mulder wouldn't.

The dream she had had on the plane back to DC was the one thing about her sister's death that had remained vivid, she could still remember every tiny detail. The rest of the experience felt hazy and all of her memories of Melissa's funeral service and burial had a dreamlike and shiny quality. It was almost a week later and none of it had begun to feel real yet.

But Missy was still gone. And if Scully could do anything for Melissa's only child, she damn well would.

Crying was easy, once you started tears came in an abundance, rolling down your face, fresh, salty and would make you feel as though your heart were shattering. The type of crying that would exhaust you in mere minutes and leave you with a headache that would last for hours.

But as soon as the tears had left your body, you were left with a barren chasm inside where all of your pent up emotions had been stored. The gaping hole inside Scully after her sister's passing hurt like hell but she would get through this.

For Emily, for her unborn daughter, for Mulder and for herself.

It's what Melissa would have wanted.

"Missy told me she had a daughter the week before she was killed, that was all I knew until our flight home from Paris." Scully sighed quietly, wiping away any stray tears with her free hand.

She usually wasn't a crier, she never had been since she was a little girl. In adulthood, the only times she had really really cried was when she had lost her father, Melissa and when she had feared she was losing Mulder. Whether it was the pregnancy hormones that were taking over her body or the fact the loss of her sister was still so fresh, Scully couldn't help but let her emotions show completely.

Just this once.

Mulder reached over, brushing his fingers over her chin, gently sliding her face upwards to look him in the eye. He knew she was hurting, probably worse than she had in quite a long time. She had comforted him last night despite her own pain, now it was his turn to return the favour to her. "Scully, it's okay. You don't have to tell me right now if it hurts too much."

Scully shook her head adamantly, she looked up at him with fresh determination. "No Mulder, I'm telling you now", she told him firmly, once again blinking her tears back to their native springs. "On our flight home from Paris I had some sort of dream or vision, I'm not sure, but I saw Melissa and she spoke to me", she observed Mulder's reaction carefully. He seemed totally accepting of the prospect that she had spoken to her then already dead sister in her dreams.

But that was Mulder for you.

"She told me where and how I could find Emily. She asked me to look after her because she wouldn't live to do it herself", at this Scully's voice cracked a little but this time she allowed herself some weakness. But just for now. "She asked me to help her so coming here alone was the only way I thought I could."

"It's okay, Scully", Mulder said soothingly. He wrapped both arms around her, holding her slightly cracked pieces together as she had for him the night before. It now made perfect sense to him why Scully had done what she did and he internally berated himself for not realising it sooner. She had said in her letter that she had to do something that took a leap of faith, dome thing that went against her sceptical nature. "You don't have to say anymore."

She shook her head against his chest. "No Mulder. I promised myself that I would tell you everything once I had found Emily and I did", she released him slightly but he remained holding her in a comforting but loose embrace. Scully smiled softly through her unshed tears. "I wasn't sure if I could believe what I had seen and what Missy had shown me, there was no proof or any kind of evidence to back it up so I did what I do best and I doubted it."

Scully heaved a heavy sigh, looking up at Mulder who reached over to brush away the tears that had escape her eyes while she was talking. He stroked the apple of her check calmly, reassuringly. It gave her the courage to go on when she needed it most. "I thought it was best to follow Melissa's wishes alone, Mulder. I wasn't even sure if they were her real wishes or directions for me and by the time her funeral was over, I had almost talked myself out of coming here at all, chalking the things I had seen down to grief and shock."

"Why couldn't you believe?".

"I was afraid, Mulder. I was afraid to believe."

Mulder sighed, gently bringing Scully's face closer to his, tilting her chin upwards so she would look him directly in the eye. "Even after your leap of faith gave you a little girl to love and be loved by."

Scully looked up at him eyes wide, a quite sob catching in her throat at his words. "Mulder, she showed me a glimpse of the future, our future. She showed me Emily and our daughter playing together."

"That's something that's worth the leap of faith."

"I guess you're right."

Mulder beamed down at her as though he hadn't considered the words "our daughter" until then. He slipped his hand that wasn't cradling her face from it's spot on her lower back to her still flat belly, Mulder rubbed her affectionately through her clothing. "We're having a girl?, he asked in disbelief.

Scully nodded half tearfully and half happily.

Mulder looked down at her in awe, brushing away her remaining tears. "We're going to have two little girls to hang around with, to look after and play with and love soon?", he asked both half amazed and as of now, half excited.

Scully looked up at him lovingly, her face breaking out in a real proper smile. Even in her grief, his joy was infectious. But that was the thing about life, even when things are falling apart, other things begun to piece themselves together. Life would go on and Scully would be happy.

But did Mulder really mean what she thought he did? Did she heard him quite right? "Does that mean that you're up for getting custody of Emily with me?", she asked carefully. "Are you sure that you would be okay with raising a child who isn't yours?".

Mulder nodded, feeling overcome with emotion. How could he not love Emily. It had been clear to him from the moment he had seen Scully and Emily together how much his partner loved and wanted to protect the little girl.

He wanted that too, he would love and protect Emily just the same as he loved his and Scully's own baby girl. How could he not?

He had fallen in love with both of them immediately. Emily from when he had first made her laugh at his Mr Potato impression and their unborn baby girl right from when Scully had first told him of her existence. "Emily is your family Scully. Your flesh and blood. None of this was ever a question of me not being open to love Emily", Mulder watched her again for a moment, tasting how true his words to her were and how raw they made him feel. Of all the horrible things to happen to them recently, Emily was one of the few good things. "You are my family Scully, you and our girls. Both of them".

Scully smiled softly, wrapping both of her arms around him. She reached up, pulling his face down close enough to her so that she could place a lingering kiss on his forehead, his skin inviting beneath her lips. She could feel his warm and muscular arms wrapping around her lower back in response, a gesture that had become her safe refuge. "Thank you, Mulder", she whispered against his chin.

Mulder sighed against the crown of her head, inhaling the comforting scent that was his Scully. "There's nothing to thank me for, Scully. I want what's best for our family", he felt her relax against him at the words he spoke.

"I know, Mulder", she replied breathily, her voice catching a little in emotion at the back of her throat. "I want that too."

Scully hadn't missed his use of the phrase 'our family'. Was that a thing now? Scully supposed with them discussing the adoption of a child and awaiting the both of another made them so at this point. Still though, the idea of them as a family, living in a house with two children was kind of surreal.

In a good way of course.

She held him against her, easing into the sensation of his body being so near to hers, the one comfort she would always allow herself. She let her palms slip down his broad shoulders to settle on his lower back, her fingers slipping into the rear belt loops on his jeans. She loved him like this, here in her arms.

"Where do we go from here?", Mulder asked her gently, hand absentmindedly running through her hair as her forehead lulled against his shoulder, his chin resting on the crown of her head.

Scully sighed deeply, pulling away from him a little. Sienna Morrissey, the social worker over Melissa and Emily's case who Scully had met on her arrival at the children's centre, had filled her in on how to seek custody. Apparently the situation should run fairly smoothly considering the fact that Melissa had listed Scully as the first to be contacted about Emily should anything happen to her.

"When we apply for custody, we will have to attend a hearing. If that goes well, there will probably be some visits from a home study for four or five months and some family counselling to attend because her caseworkers will want to make sure Emily is in a safe and stable family environment", Scully looked up at Mulder, expecting him to look a little overwhelmed. Hell, she felt a bit overwhelmed herself.

But boy, was she wrong. The man looked almost eager for God's sake. Scully smiled softly, watching him with affection. Hair tousled, eyes shining and a crooked smile in place. Had she said something funny?

"What Mulder?", Scully said, looking at him with her 'signature Scully eyebrow' raised.

Mulder smirked teasingly, slipping a strand of hair behind her left ear. "Stable family environment, huh?", he questioned playfully. He knew she was just repeating exactly what she had either researched herself or been told during one of her visits but he couldn't help but feel a little hopeful. There had been a 'we' and an 'us' for quite some time but now there was a family to think about.

That was definitely something that felt pretty darn amazing.

"Sounds like you want to marry me if I say so myself, Scully", Mulder remarked teasingly. As soon as the words were out of his mouth, Mulder suddenly became very aware of the engagement ring that was still in the pocket of his casual everyday black leather jacket. It had came out like an accidental joke but Mulder had meant it sincerely and even though it wasn't even close to how he wanted to ask her, he wasn't taking it back now.

Scully smirked, patting him on the chest. "You free tomorrow, G-Man?", she asked in the same joking tone he had used. "I hear there's a nice city hall not to far from here." Having expected his playful expression to remain, Scully watched, endeared by Mulder's hopeful expression but faltered slightly when his expression changed to one of seriousness.

She was damn well used to Mulder sense of humour, his flippant joking proposals and sexual innuendos. It had rubbed off on her to a certain extent after all.

It wasn't entirely a joke though, she did want to marry him. Whether it was today, tomorrow or thirty years from then.

"Scully", he said, reaching into the pocket of his jacket and pulling out the princess cut sapphire engagement ring that he had been carrying around with him everyday for over a month. "I'm not fooling around here", he said, hazel eyes glowing earnestly.

She looked up at him, eyebrows raised. "Neither am I?"

"You're not?".

"Of course not. Are you serious about this?"

"Of course I am, Scully. Why do you think I've been carrying around this here rock with me 24/7 for the last month and a half. I love you, completely and totally. I was just waiting for the right time to ask you", Mulder said genuinely, squeezing her hand gently. "I even went to your mother last month to ask for her approval."

Scully looked up at him incredulously, her eyes shining with mirth. "You asked my mom for her permission?", she asked, grinning. Her question was rhetorical but Mulder nodded anyway.

"Yep, for you Scully. I braved the head of the Scully family who showered me with tea and hugs and called me her third son."

She smiled, knowing that was more than likely pretty accurate. Her mom really was very fond of Mulder and from what she knew the feeling was very mutual. Mulder was probably closer with her mom than he was with his own after all and her mother had been encouraging her to date Mulder practically since she introduced him to her."I didn't think you were so old school, Mulder."

He smirked devilishly, pulling her a little closer to him until their bodies were touching, her shoulders pressed against his lower chest. "Well, I'm full of surprises. I thought that you knew that, Scully".

Scully smirked, setting her hand against his chest. "How were you planning on asking me?", she asked teasingly.

"Oh, I had a whole speech planned where I was going to try and convince you what an amazing husband I would be even though I knew you wouldn't fall for that kind of stuff", Mulder replied jokingly, hazel eyes glinting mischievously. "I reckoned that I would probably have to plead and grovel a little bit too."

"I did fall for you though so that's saying something", Scully jested back in return. She had always loved this side of their relationship, ever since they first became friends. The banter between them had always been mighty and they had always played off of one another remarkably well. Forever trying to entertaining themselves and the other person and brighten their day even when things were hard.

"I guess so."

"So can I hear your speech."

"My speech?"

"Yeah, your big proposal speech"

"I've actually come up with a better one since."

"Since when?"

"Since now".

"Okay. Let's hear it."

Mulder smiled down at her lovingly but still amused. He could see similar emotion reflecting back at him in Scully. "Alright then Scully, prepare to be blown away", he said, settling both of his hands on her hips. "I'm in love with you, Dana Kathrine Scully. I have been since shortly after I first met you and I'm certain that I will be for the rest of my life. I can't promise you a totally smooth sailing marriage, both of us are smart enough to know that would never be an option with us", Mulder smirked softly, watching a quiet smile spread out on Scully's face.

She knew he was right, smooth sailing was never their style. They fought and argued over tiny things, they always had. It had been one of the reasons people thought that they had been dating for far longer than they had, Mulder and Scully had pretty much always acted like an old married couple.

"There are some things I can guarantee you though", Mulder said with a mischievous grin. "My trust, my unconditional love and hopefully sixty plus years of mind blowing sex. What do you say, Scully? You in?", he asked lifting up the ring with a wink.

Scully rolled her eyes, swatting him affectionately. The proposal was so Mulder, so very very Mulder. It was perfect. "I'll marry you, Mulder", she deadpanned, answering with a bored facade to play along with his games, her eyes glistening with love and telling a whole different story.

She couldn't keep up the facade up for very long though and quickly barrelled herself at him, closing the few centimetres distance that had been retained during his proposal and pulling him tightly against her into a loving embrace. "Of course, I'll marry you", she whispered against his chest, pulling back for a moment to observe his expression of boyish joy.

She chuckled at his expression before adding sassily, all the while running her fingers lightly across his jawline and gently skimming his lips with her thumbs, her eyes dancing with joy. "Especially considering you promised my sixty plus years of amazing sex."

A bark of laughter burst out of him. "I knew you were just marrying me for my body, Scully", he teased. Mulder grinned goofily as he slipped the ring onto her finger. A perfect fit.

The ring had been in his possession for over fourteen years ever since his grandfather had given it to him on his grandmothers passing. Mulder had checked the ring with jewellers back in DC who had claimed that it was still in perfect condition.

William and Tessa Mulder, his father's parents, had been married for fifty seven years and had been practically the only happily married couple in that Mulder had been around growing up. William had followed his wife a few months later, two weeks before his grandsons nineteenth birthday. A heart attack had taken him next to his wife's grave.

William had made an eighteen year old Fox Mulder promise to only give his grandmother's ring to a woman he loved as much as his grandparents loved each other.

Mulder had strongly doubted he would ever find such a person for about twelve years, that was until he met Scully.

"Wow, you sure about that, G-Woman", Mulder asked teasingly, kissing her knuckles. "You might have a hard job getting rid of me."

Scully smirked, wasting no time in pulling him down to her level by a handful of his t-shirt. "I'm glad to hear it", she said, ardently merging her lips with Mulder's, the man who meant so much to her. He drove her absolutely mental at times, made her really angry and frustrated at times but she could never imagined her life without him now that he was a part of it.

She couldn't imagine being with anyone like this but him. It would only ever be him, just Mulder and no one else. Mulder was her best friend, the father of her baby, the man who wanted to adopt Emily with her and she was a hundred percent sure that he was the love of her life. He was hers and she was his, anything else was unimaginable. "I love you, Mulder", she whispered against his lips, totally dropping her playfulness from before.

Impatiently, she closed the miniscule distance between them, still retaining her tight grip on his shirt. Scully could feel his body against hers from chest to hips and taste the sunflower spends he had eaten earlier on his tongue, the normalcy of it felt comforting considering that they were halfway across the country with so many things in their lives changing rapidly. She relaxed into his embrace, letting go of Mulder's clothes to tangle her fingers into his hair. Their slightly jagged, bruised, battered but no worse for the wear jigsaw pieces a pretty much perfect match for one another.

He chuckled into her open mouth, touched by her sincerity and aroused by her eagerness to make out with him. "Good because I want to marry the hell out of you, Dana Scully", he whispered huskily against her lips, backing away a little to observe her reaction.

He had never even imagined

"Likewise, partner", she replied with an amused but understanding smile, running her fingers lightly over his pouty lips.

Mulder wrapped his arms around her waist, pulling a practically giggling Scully against him until they were once more aligned. He leaned down to kiss her again just as she responded in kind, moaning softly into his warm and inviting mouth.

"And just for the record...", he said, nudging her nose with his, chuckling against her slightly swollen lips."I love you too, my amazing spitfire of a baby mama."

Mulder gently moved his hands from their place at her hips bones, lightly skimming her sides before bringing his hands up to cup her face affectionately as he leaned down to be closer. Scully chuckled quietly at the title he bestowed on her, standing on tiptoes to kiss him again, their lips colliding in easy but still passionate synchronicity. She pressed her forehead gently into the bridge between his forehead and nose, feeling his eyebrows furrowed against her skin.

"Always?"

"Always."

Perfect moments shouldn't be waited for, they should be just made.

Even in the most unlikely of situations.

...

Daisies, Daisies perched upon your forehead

Oh my baby, lately I know.

~ Ed Sheeran, Hearts Don't Break Around Here

...

Chapter Text

TV Shows » X-Files » Mr Spooky and Ms Starbuck
Author: pearlydewdrop «
Rated: T - English - Romance/Angst - Reviews: 168 - Published: 06-08-16 - Updated: 08-24-17 id:11988179
Chapter 21: Church on Sunday.

...

The Pequod Hotel

San Diego

3.47 pm

The following day

...

Every night I'll kiss you, You'll say in my ear,

Oh, we're in love, aren't we?

Hands in your hair.

Fingers and thumbs baby

I feel safe when you're holding me near

Love the water that you conquer your fears

You know hearts don't break around here

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

~Ed Sheeran, Hearts Don't Break Around Here

...

"Are you sure you want to do this now...?", Mulder asked, tucking a strand of coppery hair behind his partner's ear. He looked down at her lovingly, his heart bursting with emotion as he took in the sight of her in the silky knee length white dress that she had quickly picked up in a women's clothes shop not far from their hotel.

For some reason, seeing Scully in white made this whole thing that much more real.

Mulder knew she loved him just as he loved her but he wanted to make sure she was okay with going through with their wedding now, that she wanted it as much as he did.

As far as he knew, most women wanted a lot of thought put into their weddings and often spent weeks and sometimes even months pouring over every detail.

On the flip side, Scully wasn't most women, that had been clear to him for years but he was still compelled to ask.

"...that you don't want some big white traditional shindig with your hundred and one redheaded Scully cousins?".

Scully smirked as she looked up at him, turning away from the full length mirror in their hotel room and smoothing out the crisp new shirt he had only bought a little over thirty minutes ago with her palms.

Standing slightly on tip toes, she leaned in closer to him, running her fingers across his chest, coming to rest on either side of his face. Gently she caressed his lips.

"I just want you, Mulder. I don't really care too much about all of the bells and whistles that bother other people. We aren't other people and as long as I can call you mine, I'm happy." She smiled at the truth behind the words of assurance that she had felt slip easily from her mouth.

There was no other way to put it. As long as she had Mulder and their girls, she was happy.

She watched him visibly relax at her words, smirking back at her. He looked handsome, if she said so herself. For a dress shirt that he had bought at five minutes notice, it clung to him nicely in all the right places and his hair was tidy enough to show he hadn't just jumped out of bed but mussed enough to look Muldery.

They had an evening ceremony booked at San Diego's City Hall, it was just going to be the two of them and Emily but neither of them would have had it any other way.

Scully remembered how much hassle her mother, Bill and Tara had gone to when they had been organising the last Scully big white family wedding almost six years ago.

Cousins, distant relatives and family friends from the navy had come for the occasion from all across the states and even their Aunt Olive, Ahab's eldest sister, and all of her children and grandchildren had come over to DC from Clonakilty in Ireland.

It had been absolutely hectic, enjoyable enough at the time but absolutely crazy once evening came and enough alcohol had gone around for petty family disagreement to crop up.

The entire Scully family, whether they lived in America or Ireland, had two things in common, their flaming red hair and their fiery tempers.

Scully didn't feel up for any of that after what happen to Melissa and was certain that Mulder felt similarly after what had happened to his mother. Granted, her own mother will probably end up being a bit put out that she wasn't at her only remaining daughter's wedding but Scully was sure she would eventually understand.

"What about you, Mulder?", Scully asked with a half smile, already knowing what his answer will be. "Did you want to invite the whole country club from Martha's Vineyard?".

Mulder chuckled softly, wiggling his eyebrows at her. "Yeah Scully", he answered sarcastically, interlacing their fingers. "Just like I wanted to wear one of those big puffy lemon meringue dresses."

Scully rolled eyes, swatting him affectionately on the chest. "I don't think lemon would be your colour, babe", she teased back in the same joking manner.

"Hmmm", Mulder said, feigning thoughtfulness as he pulled her hips gently towards his own, all the while bumping his nose with hers as he moved in to kiss her. "Probably right", he whispered against her top lip as he leaned down, their noses touching. "Definitely wouldn't bring out the colour of my eyes."

This time, Scully laughed aloud, tugging him impatiently down to her level, crushing his lips with her own. "Shut up and kiss me, will you?".

...

Well I found love inside

The arms of a woman I know

She is the lighthouse in the night

That will safely guide me home

And I'm not scared of passing over

Or the thought of growing old

'Cause from now until I go

~Ed Sheeran, Hearts Don't Break Around Here

...

San Diego

A block away from City Hall

5.20pm

...

"So what's a wedding?", Emily asked expectantly from the back seat of the rental vehicle, bouncing up in her car seat as high as her safety belt would allow so she had some chance at being seen by Mulder when he looked in the rear view mirror.

Scully turned around in the passenger seat, patting the girl softly on the knee. "Don't bounce around too much in your seat, sweetheart. You don't want to hurt yourself or distract Mulder from the road."

Emily pouted slightly for a moment before turning her attention back to her earlier question. "Well, what's a wedding and why are you guys having one?".

"Well", Scully said. "It makes Mulder my husband and legally makes us family, so we will be allowed to bring you home with us", she answered, hoping that she had simplified the situation enough for the three and a half year old. "Remember like we talked about this morning."

Emily nodded, recalling the conversation. She was excited to be going home with her two new friends. Dana had even said that she would have a grandma, two uncles and lots of cousins to play with. She hadn't had anything like that before.

Still, the whole event that she was attending today confused her. She shook her head, even more puzzled than before. "But why do you want to make Mulder a part of your family, Dana?", she asked, looking over at an amused Mulder. "I thought you said he was your friend."

Mulder smirked, breaking his eyes off of the road to watch Scully struggle to come up with an explanation simple enough for a little kid to understand. He loved seeing this new maternal side of Scully and her trying to break down the concept of marriage for Emily was definitely amusing.

"Well", Scully said slowly. "He is my friend but I also love him and that's why we're getting married."

Emily sat back in her car seat, processing this new information. "So", she said thoughtfully. "When you decide that you love your friends, you marry them and have a wedding."

Scully sighed quietly, glaring at Mulder as he finally chuckled aloud at the exchange between his two girls. "Not quite, Ems", she said, deciding that explaining why Mulder was different to her than her other friends to a three year old was far harder than explaining Hook's Law to freshmen physics students.

Mulder, finally deciding to come to Scully's rescue, spoke up. "Hey Ems, you know when we watched 'Aladdin' this morning.

"Uh huh". Emily nodded enthusiastically, it was her favourite Disney movie after all. She launched straight into a full blown rant on the film. "There was Jasmine and Aladdin and that big cuddly tiger and the funny genie and that big meanie Jafar who wanted to make everyone sad...and...and...and", she said trailing off excitedly, her eyes bright and beaming.

"That's just the one", Mulder answered with a matching grin, Emily's excitement really was infectious.

He glanced over at Scully who had a faint but grateful smile playing about her lips. 'I hope you know where you're going with this' her eyes seemed to say.

"Remember at the end Aladdin and Jasmine had a party and they gave each other rings?", he asked, getting to the point.

Emily nodded, wrinkling up her nose. "Yeah, I remember. And then they kissed."

"Well", Mulder said realising that he might have landed himself right in the hole Scully had been trying to avoid. "That's the kind of party that Scu-, I mean Dana, and I are having".

Emily sat back again looking between the two of them from the back seat, she peered curiously over to Scully. "Dana", she asked inquisitively, as though trying to piece a puzzle together. "Does that mean Mulder's your...kissing friend?", she asked blatantly as though disgusted by the concept that the two adults would want to do something as bizarre as kiss each other. "Like Aladdin was to Jasmine?".

Scully looked over her shoulder to the bright eyed child in the back seating who was peering back at her expectantly, her nose wrinkled up as though she has caught a whiff of something unpleasant.

Scully bit her lip, unsure whether to laugh or to simply respond to the affirmative.

"Yeah", Scully said, splitting the difference and letting out a short giggle. "I guess he is my kissing friend", she replied, tickling Emily's knee who promptly giggled in return, shaking her strawberry blonde curls.

"Yucky", Emily declared, crossing her little arms across her chest.

Mulder glanced back at her through the rear view mirror, the heavy evening traffic providing respite from having to keep his eyes on the road. "If you tell me that when you're fourteen, Ems. I'll be thrilled".

Scully chuckled swatting him affectionately on the shoulder. "Fat chance of that, Mulder", she replied, remembering how she and Melissa had been about the opposite sex in their early to mid teen years.

But still, she couldn't help the grin that spread out on her face.

Of all the responses to Emily's comment she could have imagined coming from Mulder, the fatherly one she heard wasn't expected. This was a new side of Mulder, not wildly unlike the side of him she saw at work on the off time a kid came to him with a problem but still different enough for her to notice.

Yes, she had seen a caring side of him around those kids but seeing him act like a dad was a different story altogether. She really liked it though. She had been right when she told him he would make a good dad, not only to their baby who was still on the way but to Emily too.

Emily pouted, not entirely sure what 'fat chance' meant but going by Dana's tone she could tell that one of her two grown up friends was doubting her.

As they pulled into a parking space by the sidewalk. Mulder smiled, reaching across the hand break and the gear stick between himself and Scully, squeezing her lower thigh just above her knee. She looked away from Emily, turning to him with a smile.

'Are you my kissing friend?', Mulder mouthed teasingly to her as soon as he had caught her attention.

Scully chuckled. Despite everything that had happened to them, she was feeling more carefree then she had in months as she sat there with Mulder and Emily at the start of a new chapter.

She considered him playfully for a second, her lips pursed before reaching across, pecking Mulder swiftly on the cheek as an answer to his question.

"Hey Dana and Mulder", Emily called from the back, causing them to turn towards her once again.

"Yes baby girl?", Mulder answered.

Emily looked to them with puppy eyes, having spotted the brightly coloured establishment right next to the city hall and recognised it for exactly what it was. "If this is gonna be a party, can we at least have ice cream afterwards?".

...

Break a leg, you crush my heart.

I'm a mess, you're a work of art.

Got your blessings, going 0 to 5.

Steal a kiss and I took a dive, and I went down like the speed of sound.

I had a dream where I kissed your lips and it felt so true

Then I woke up as a nervous wreck and I fell for you

I'll spend the night living in denial, making paper planes just for a while.

~Green Day, Fell for You.

...

XXXXXXXXXXXX

...

City Hall

San Diego

7.13pm

...

Today is the first day of the rest of our lives,

Tomorrow is too late to pretend everything's alright.

I'm not getting any younger, so long as you don't get any older.

I'm not going to state that yesterday never was..

Bloodshot deadbeat and lack of sleep, making your mascara bleed,

Tears down your face, leaving traces my mistakes

~Green Day, Church on Sunday

...

Scully glanced between Mulder and Emily, one of which smiled back teasingly from where he stood next to her and the other who swung her little legs two and fro, vaguely interested in the proceedings and how they compared to her favourite Disney movies, in the front and only occupied seat.

It wasn't your traditional wedding. There was no big tearful wedding party, no organs playing and no floral arrangements on every surface in sight.

Scully had never been one of those girls who visualised her wedding as a kid, that had always been more Melissa's, the dreamer of the family, forte. God, she wished Melissa could have been here with them. Even before she and Mulder had gotten together, Melissa had teased her about this day and about her and Mulder's aura compatibility as though they were teenagers and not grown women shoving and in their early thirties.

Melissa was not the only one who should have been with them, Scully not only felt the absence of her sister but of her father too. She felt him though, whispering how much he loved her, how proud he was, how lovely she looked and how he liked Mulder. She knew both Melissa and her father so well she felt like she could pick out the exact words they would say to her today; and she hoped it would stay like that always, that they would never truly be gone.

Mulder brushed his thumb soothingly over her knuckles as though sensing her nostalgia. He knew she missed her dad and her sister, he could see it in her eyes. He too missed his own mother, despite their differences and had spent the majority of his life until recently missing his sister.

He knew what pain was like and how it demanded to be felt, but today was a happy day.

Mulder felt elation swelling up inside of him like a balloon. The woman he loved more than life itself had agreed to marry him, they were expecting a baby and filing for the adoption of Emily. Yes, things had been difficult but they would get through it together. They would always get through it together.

Life had made Fox Mulder a pessimist but somehow along the way, Scully had brought a whole new light into his life. She kept him down to earth while he showed her the vastness of the skies.

Before, he didn't trust anyone apart from himself but now she was the only one he trusted. They were perfect opposites, always had been, and they balanced one another out so completely.

He threw her a quiet, concerned glance to which she nodded at him in response, smiling softly. They really had become pros at unspoken communication.

"Ladies and Gentlemen", the tufty haired minister said in an almost sing-song voice to the empty auditorium, save for Mulder, Scully and Emily. "We are gathered here to celebrate the union of two faithful souls."

Mulder held tight to Scully's hand, squeezing gently as though she was the only thing pinning him to the earth. Scully focused on that as she prepared herself for the words coming, the promises they'll never break.

It's magical really the power this day holds.

"Do you Dana Katherine Scully take Fox William Mulder as your lawfully wedded husband? Do you promise to love him, comfort him, honour him and keep him, for better or for worse, in sickness and health, for richer and for poor and forsaking all others, be faithful to him until death do you part?

Scully couldn't help the smile that broke out on her face as she looked up at Mulder, who winked mischievously, mouthing silently. "Let it try."

She wanted to believe that, maybe nothing ever would 'do them part'. Not even death itself.

The way she felt about Mulder...well, it was indescribable and made all previous relationships pale in comparison. He was her best friend, her perfect other. With him, she both at home and on an adventure simultaneously.

"I do", she vowed, slipping the larger of the golden wedding bands that had once belonged to Mulder's grandparents, much like her engagement ring, on to his finger.

Mulder smiled crookedly, raising his eyebrows in jest as if to silently tease her about 'claiming him' with a wedding ring. And tease her he would, just not now.

Now he was happy to revel in the fact that he was truly hers just as she was truly his.

"And do you Fox William Mulder take Dana Katherine Scully as your lawfully wedded wife? Do you promise to love her, comfort her, honour her and keep her, for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer and forsaking all others, be faithful to her until death do you part?"

"I do", Mulder promised with a wink in Scully's direction as he repeated her earlier action, slipping on the smaller of the two wedding bands on to her finger, taking both of her hands in his once more.

The minister looked between them, peering up from his notes. "Now I do believe, as you have said to me earlier, that you have written your own vows too?". Even though it was phrased like a question, it was more of a statement.

It was time to say a bit more than "I do".

They hadn't had much time to write their vows. Scully, who usually liked to be prepared for things, had been a bit concerned about this. Mulder, on the other had, was pretty chill about the whole scenario and would probably have winged it anyway even if they had more time. His reasoning being that, it didn't need to be rehearsed. Their relationship wasn't for show and neither was their marriage or their wedding.

Scully, who Mulder's impulsiveness was beginning to rub off on, agreed and so the vows were left to the eleventh hour and fifty ninth minute.

"Dana Katherine Scully", Mulder said gently, moving his hands from hers to cup her face gently, stroking the apples of her cheeks with his thumbs. As childish as it sounded, he thought he might burst with love looking at her. She was his family, her and Emily and the baby. They were all he needed in life.

"Ever since we met, I've known what we have is special. That the way we talk and laugh around one another is different from everyone else, that I will never meet anyone who I can trust as much as you and that most people search their whole lives for what we've found. Like a shooting star, soaring through the sky in the dead of night, you entered my life shining so vibrantly that you took my breath away. Loving you has taught me that love is mankind's true destiny, we do not find the meaning of life alone. We find it with another".

Mulder smiled sheepishly, brushing the few stray tears that leaked out of his usually tough soon-to-be-wife's eyes. She gently moved her arms from his waist to grasp his elbows as he continued on, a playful smirk coming to light on his face. After all, he wouldn't be the man she loves if he didn't throw in a joke somewhere so Scully couldn't say what came next was entirely unexpected.

"So from here on out, I promise to tolerate you in PMS as long as you do the same for me in Man Flu. I'll happily put up with your huge stacks of science journals beside the bed if you promise to return the favour regarding my UFO paraphernalia with a minimal amount of eye rolling. I promise to always be the big spoon because I know you like the comfort even if you don't usually let on that you do. And in the coming months, I will never be rude to your tummy when it rumbles loudly and you and the baby have weird cravings. Instead, I will bend down and respond respectfully."

This gained a slightly watery chuckle from Scully and a hearty one from the minister overseeing the proceedings. Emily, on the other hand, just looked a little confused as any four year old in her situation would. Mulder spoke slowly and passionately for the rest, his vows obviously coming to a close.

"But most of all, I promise to annoy you every single day, yet make up for it when I do, until they day comes where we have to tell death to shove it up his ass for trying to do us part, because I for one know that I wouldn't want to imagine a world where we aren't together. I love you, Scully. You are my rock, my saviour, my constant, my touchstone. You're my one in five billion. Thank you for making me a husband and a father."

Scully sighed deeply as she looked up at him, a great tide of affection and love for the man standing in front of her rising up from deep within. She wasn't good with words like he was and usually preferred actions, but she was going to tell him how she felt, in words this time.

"Before I met you, Mulder, I didn't think that love was anything more than a chemical reaction in the limbic system...", she sighed, feeling a little uneasy and gently entwined his fingers that had been cupping her face all this time with her own, bringing their joined hands back down between the two of them.

"...but your friendship and love has given me the courage to open myself up in a way that I wasn't able to before. The courage you gave me has been one of the greatest gifts I have ever been given and I hope it's something we'll be able to pass on...", she said, placing his hands on her belly and glancing briefly to Emily, who was beginning to look a little grossed out by all the 'ooey gooey' love stuff.

Mulder, on the other hand, looked down at Scully with something that resembled awe. His glistening hazel orbs not exactly brimming with tears but not composed either.

His reaction gave Scully the drive to continue and she let her next words flow from her as easily as warm honey in summertime.

"A person is lucky when they have found someone to call their best friend and another to call the love of their life becuase they'll always have someone to laugh with, someone to love, someone to be silly with, someone to make plans with and someone to talk when things are tough...". She paused for a second, a little teary eyed as the man in front of her was all of those things and more.

"...I think I have it even better because I found both my best friend and my soulmate in you, Mulder. I have always been a person who prided herself in being completely independent of others. I never wanted to give my heart away because I thought that it would only get broken", she said softly, bever having said all of this out loud before as she had always assumed that Mukder just knew.

"But I would rather weather every storm that life could possibly throw at us than not have you by my side. Love isn't something rational or practical. It can break you, but can also make you happier than you ever imagined yourself. Three years ago, you walked into my life and into my heart like you belonged there. So defying all rationality, practicality and all stupid pride, I give my heart to you totally and completely, and I'll trust you never to break it."

Mulder didn't think he would be able to resist the urge to kiss her soundly right there and then, minister not having finished the ceremony bedamned.

But instead, he brought one of her hands to his lips, kissing her knuckles softly. "Christ, I love you so much", he whispered gruffly so low that Scully doubted anybody but herself had heard.

'Love you too', Scully mouthed to him, stifling an uncharacteristic giggle at Mulder's blatantly tender and honest expression as the minister pronounced them husband and wife.

Mulder pulled her closer to him, wrapping his arms around her as his lips met hers for the first time as a married couple. Scully smiled against his mouth in response, happily returning his enthusiasm.

It wasn't a particular passionate kiss considering that they had an audience consisting of a child and an elderly minister but the promises behind it caused it to surpass all others. It was reverent, loving and full of hope for the future.

Fox Mulder and Dana Scully didn't agree on much, they argued constantly and always challenged one another but they had one hugely important thing in common, they were crazy about one another and couldn't be looking forward to their future together with their girls any more.

Chuckling as they finally pulled away, Mulder took her hand, twining her fingers with his. He couldn't believe that they had gotten this far, as he was sure she was too. In three and a half years, they had gone from bickering best friend's and co-workers teaching across the hall from each other to a married couple planning on raising a kid and expecting another.

Unbelievable.

"Well, what do you think of that, Honeybunch", he remarked mischievously, throwing her a goofy grin. He knew she wasn't particularly fond of that pet name, but he loved teasing her nonetheless. "Looks like we're hitched."

Scully rolled her eyes, swatting him on the arm. "Shut up, Mulder", she replied half heartedly, her smile betraying her playfulness. Right now, it didn't seem to matter what they would have to face in the future. They had each other and that's all they really needed, each other and their girls. Together the would both fight and embrace the future.

It's not a fairy-tale as they had told Emily before. Marriage is something that they will have to work at. After all, doesn't anything worthwhile or meaningful take effort.

They both knew that there would be hard times, confusing times but they would get through it like they always had in the past.

Together.

They both knew that things won't always go as they want and that they will have to work to remember why they chose this. They would have to fight for one another, to compromise, to remain best friends and to never stop pursuing each others hearts.

This wasn't happily ever after.

It was so much more than that.

...

And I say; If I promise to go to church on Sunday

Will you go with me on Friday nights?

If you live with me, I'll die for you

And this compromise.

~Green Day, Church on Sunday

...

XXXXXXXXXXXX

...

Gino's Geleteria

San Diego

8.12pm

...

"Mulder, you're going to spoil her rotten", Scully declared with hands on hips as she eyed her husband, Emily and the huge ice cream sundae that he had bought for her.

The thing was practically as big as the four year olds whole head and shoulders, sporting several scoops of vanilla, chocolate and strawberry ice cream with cream, syrup and a cherry on top.

Emily giggled, shaking her head adamantly at the statement. So what if she was being spoiled a little, she wasn't going to complain. "I'm not spoiled", Emily said with an ice cream covered pout, proving that Mulder's influence was already brushing off on her a little bit. "Just loved, right Mulder?".

Mulder chuckled, ruffling Emily's strawberry blonde curls. "Right. And what better to mark a milestone with than ice cream...", he said before smirking playfully at Scully's order and tucking into his own rum and raisin favoured dessert. "...or Non Fat Tofutti Rice Dreamsicles if that may be the case". For some reason he was always both astound and endeared by her impulse to be healthy, even after three and a half years together.

Scully rolled her eyes. "Ha-ha, Mulder", she deadpanned half heartedly, a smile twitching at the corner of her mouth. For some reason she wasn't able to keep in any way frustrated with him today. Damn him. "Real funny", she said sarcastically. "Real witty."

XXXXXXXXXXXX

...

The Pequod Hotel

San Diego

10.30pm

...

I hereby solemnly swear to tell the whole truth,

And nothing but the truth is what I'll ever hear from you.

"Trust" is a dirty word that only comes from such a liar,

But "respect" is something I will earn...if you have faith.

~Green Day, Church on Sunday.

...

"You know, Scully", Mulder said teasingly flopping down next to her fully clothed on their double bed, his head and shoulders hovering above her upper body. "I hear eloping is all the rage this year, the new big white wedding"

Scully smirked, reaching her arms around him, one in his hair and the other against his firm back, and pulled him down to her. "And here was I thinking that we didn't follow the crowd", she replied with a grin, stretching up a little from the mattress to kiss him soundly on the lips.

"Au-Contraire, my dear Scully", he said, adopting a tone not unlike the one used by Sherlock Holmes when speaking to his partner Watson. Mulder grinned mischievously, feigning seriousness as he dipped down against her, pecking her hard on the nose and chin. "We're the trend setters", he added in his own voice, moving away from her face and proceeded to trail kisses down her neck.

Scully rolled her eyes but secretly she loved Mulder's crazy ridiculous remarks. She let both her hands run through his soft brown tresses, lightly scratching his scalp. He groaned quietly in response, drawing himself closer to her.

Meanwhile, Mulder nipped lightly at the skin in the valley where her neck and collar met, pressing his warm lips against as much of her as he could reach with them both still fully clothed.

She arched her neck to give him better access, Stiffling a slight whimper as he got to a particularly sensitive spot. "Mmmh, Muuulder", she mumbled at the blissful sensation his teeth against her flesh.

Mulder hummed softly, pulling back once again to watch her, a contented smile etched on his face, his bottom lip slightly pursed. "You like that, huh?"

Reaching for him once more, Scully made to pull him back towards her again. But Mulder was already up and out of the bed, standing at the foot and reaching for the radio on the small desk at the end of the bed, before he began twiddling with dials.

An old Beatles song erupted from the speakers, filling the small hotel room.

Scully looked up at Mulder, eyebrows raised. What was he up to!

"I'd like it a lot more if you got back into bed and undressed me, Fox Mulder", she said, not exactly serious. "My dress wasn't the only thing I bought new for today", she added suggestively, knowing the latter would get a rise from him.

Mulder's eyes darkened for a moment but nonetheless he reached his hand out to her to help her up off of the bed. "And I will gladly do the honours, Scully", he said, still waiting for her to take his hand. "But before we do, I'd love a first dance with my wife if she wanted to dance with me", he replied, an unspoken question hanging in the air.

'all my little plans and schemes, lost like some forgotten dreams. Seems like all I really was doin', was waiting for you'

Scully looked up at him incredulously, an amused smile breaking out on her face as she reached out to take his hand, getting out of bed. At this point Lennon and McCartney had reached the chorus but neither Mulder nor Scully seemed to mind.

'Don't need to be alone. No need to be alone. It's real love. It's real'.

"Alright then, Mulder", Scully agreed, looking up at him lovingly with a smirk, taking his outstretched hand. "As long as you don't step on my toes", she added playfully, placing her hand that wasn't in his on his shoulder.

Mulder chuckled, before holding their entwined hands to his chest in mock outrage. "I would never".

Scully smiled, laying her head down on his chest but still couldn't bite back a retort. "Sure thing, twinkle toes".

'Thought I was in love before but in my heart I wanted more. Seems like all I really was doin' was waiting for you'

Scully looked up at Mulder in surprise as he dipped her low mid waltz. "You weren't this good at dancing the last time", she said, recalling the time they had danced together while chauffeuring at a high school prom almost six months ago. "Have you been holding out on me and been secretly taking dance lessons, or something?"

Mulder rolled his eyes. "I haven't gone to dance lessons since I was a kid", he mused thoughtfully, wincing slightly at the memory.

Scully looked up at him in surprise, not sure whether he was joking or not. "You did dance lessons?".

"Only because Samantha wanted to and Mom roped me into it because she didn't want me going to the boxing club with the other boys", he smirked at the memory of how his ten year old self had been horrified by the idea. "Which I might add, did not help my popularity since my name, email was already Fox."

Mulder smiled sadly, but moved on slightly distracted. Thinking about Samantha was hard even at the best of times but now that he knew there was a chance that she was still alive, Mulder didn't know what to feel. "Who taught you to dance, Scully".

She looked up at him in concern and squeezed his hand. Reluctantly letting him change the subject if that was what he wanted. "My dad", she said quietly, thinking of her father for what was not the fist time that day. "When he came home from the navy he would stand Melissa's and I up on his toes and dance us around the living room".

Smiling sadly at the memory, she looked back up at Mulder, finding him still looking a little conflicted. "We will find her, you know", Scully added quietly, as though reading his mind. "Samantha."

She knew Mulder wanted to find his sister but they had to sort out everything with Emily first, she had to be their priority now, they both knew it.

But that didn't mean that they would forget Teena's last words. Scully knew that if she had even the slightest chance at seeing her own sister again she would try and did understand where Mulder's line of thinking was coming from.

That didn't men that she didn't worry about him though.

Mulder smiled, nodding slightly shocked he kissed her brow softly and laid his chin down on the crown of her head. "I know", he agreed. "We just need to figure out where to look."

'Don't need to be alone. No need to be alone. It's real love. It's real'.

They finished dancing barefoot in their hotel room in silence. Whatever was coming in the future they would face it together but for now they would enjoy the fact they were finally married.

...

Bloodshot deadbeat and lack of sleep, making your mascara bleed,

Tears down your face, leaving traces my mistakes

And I say; If I promise to go to church on Sunday

Will you go with me on Friday nights?

If you live with me, I'll die for you

And this compromise.

~Green Day, Church on Sunday

...

Chapter Text

TV Shows » X-Files » Mr Spooky and Ms Starbuck
Author: pearlydewdrop «
Rated: T - English - Romance/Angst - Reviews: 170 - Published: 06-08-16 - Updated: 10-31-17 id:11988179
Chapter 22: Come As You Are

...

Creekside

Johnson Street

Denver

7.15pm

...

Come as you are, as you were

As you want to be

As a friend, as a friend

As an old enemy

~Nirvana, Come as you Are

...

It was early December and the evenings were getting longer. The shadows were lengthening and the air was getting colder. Christmas was now well within reach.

Downtown Denver on a Friday night was lit by the neon lights of clubs and bars, shinning on the rain kissed sidewalks, not to mention the endless strings of Christmas lights wrapped around telephone poles and in shop windows that casted a multi-coloured glow onto the faces of passers by.

The once salmon and purple sky was transformed, as though washed away by a great lick of grey paint, watery light illuminating narrow patches of brilliance.

They had walked up and down this same street more than four times in the last two hours.

Mulder took long strides, pacing nervously down the sidewalk, with Scully having to take two steps to match up to one of his.

'Crunch, Crunch'

He munched on sunflower seeds, spitting the shell out from the corner of his mouth.

It calmed him and gave him something to do with his hands.

He could hear his own heart pounding in his ears and he clenched his fists, deep in thought.

'How the hell was he going to do this?...just walk up to his sister's door and say 'Hey I'm your brother. Remember me?'...Hell no.'

"You know, Mulder...", Scully started, taking her husband gently by the elbow, slowing him down to a stop and pulling on his jacket so he would face her.

She could sense the same air of angry vulnerability around him that she had seen from him the night he showed up in her hotel room in San Diego and also when they drove out to Connecticut to see his mother in hospital after they first got together.

He was scared and all that made her want to do was protect him, fiercer than a momma bear protecting her cubs.

"..We can come back tomorrow if you're not ready yet. Mom said she would take Emily to school for us on Monday if we needed her to."

Mulder looked down and shook his head, not quite meeting her eye. "No", he answered quietly, thinking of the little girl that, even after the short number of weeks that she had been in their care, meant as much to them as she would if she was their own flesh and blood.

They could have brought her with them but had opted not to. Scully having rightly pointed out that neither of them were sure what it is they would be walking in on.

After all, Mulder hadn't seen Samantha since she was eight and he was twelve, just twenty two years ago. Realistically, he didn't truly know his sister anymore but he would like to again if, of course, she was comfortable with it.

Emily had called them (with the help of her grandma) and had eagerly chatted to them about her day out at the zoo and all the animals she had seen and how she had helped her grandmother make chocolate chip cookies afterwards before going to Saturday evening mass.

"We said we'd be there on Sunday evening. And...", Mulder said, trailing of a little as he thought of his own parents and upbringing.

An uncountable amount of broken promises. A missing and presume dead sister. Estranged parents. Loneliness. And Lies, lots and lots of lies.

'Emily deserves a hell of a lot more than that', he decided internally.

"...I don't want to break a promise to her", he stated simply, voice a little more normal as he finished his sentence and linked his arm through Scully's, giving her a small smile.

Scully knew that this was going to be hard on him, that this whole situation had really bothered him ever since he had found out that Samantha had been alive for the last twenty two years.

She knew he feared that Samantha wouldn't want anything to do with him and had noticed that he had been going above and beyond as a surrogate father and father-to-be for the last few weeks (mostly out of pure excitement but also because he was concerned about doing a better job than his own parents had).

"For God's sake, Mulder. Will you listen to me for once and not be so Goddamn stubborn...", Scully said firmly, reaching up to take his face in her hands.

"You ARE an amazing dad. Emily is absolutely crazy about you and so will this baby...", she said, ghosting a hand over her almost but not quite unnoticeable baby bump through her brown suede jacket. "... be when he or she is born.

Scully looked up at him, steely eyed and determined as she began to plough on. "Your capacity to care as much as you do after everything you've been through is incredible. There are days when I think that I can't possibly love you anymore than I already do, but then moments come along when I watch you try to play basketball with Emily or when I see you pick out space themed toys for a child who isn't due for another six months and I fall in love with you all over again. You are a wonderful, intelligent, funny, open minded, slightly eccentric but totally loving person, father and husband. And...", Scully said taking a breather, as she blinked back a stray tear. This was all coming out like she was angry even though she crying (damn those pregnancy hormones). "If Samantha doesn't want you to be a part of her life, she's a total idiot who hasn't got a clu-".

Mulder silenced her with a firm, full mouthed kiss, smiling against her lips, letting himself really smile for the first time since The Boys had called them three days ago with concrete information on Samantha's whereabouts.

He was mind blown, once again, by the depth of his feisty redheaded wife's devotion to him. She was his oxygen. Her smile was his heaven, her laugh his favourite song and her arms his home. She was his best friend, his confidant and his saviour.

He leaned down for better access, tracing her lips gently with the tip of his tongue, hoping to show her just how much that devotion was reciprocated.

Scully responded in kind, pulling him closer under the street lamps and proceeded to tangle one hand in his winter coat and the other in his warm brown hair.

Mulder's hands came together in their usually spot at the small of her back, the place where they had always belonged since day one, high enough not to seem disrespectful or inappropriate in public but a little too low to be more than just friends.

"I'm ready now", Mulder replied a few minutes later when they stood a few centimetres apart, panting slightly with their warm breath dancing in the chilly winter's air.

He smirked softly at her flushed pinkened cheeks and tucked a strand of scarlet hair behind her ear. "That was one hell of a way to get a man moving, huh Scully?", he joked playfully.

Scully rolled her eyes but smiled despite herself, running her thumb across his cheek and day old stubble, glad to notice confidence glistening in his hazel eyes once more.

"Alright then, Mulder", she said feigning sarcasm as she stepped away from him to link their arms again. "Now will you just move that ass of yours along before we both freeze to death out here."

"Hey", Mulder said aghast, nudging her jokingly with his elbow as they began making their way back up the street for the fifth and hopefully last time that evening. "I thought you were crazy about my ass."

Scully shook her head. They may be a married couple with children but somethings never change.

She wouldn't have it any other way.

...

Take your time, hurry up

The choice is yours, don't be late

Take a rest as a friend, as an old memoria

~Nirvana, Come As You Are

...

XXXXXXXXXXXX

...

Studio Apartments

247 Creekside

Johnson Street

Denver

7.32pm

...

Almost ten minutes had gone by since their playful exchange outside and it was now too late to turn back.

Mulder and Scully stood side by side outside what they hoped was the door of Samantha Mulder's studio apartment, waiting and wondering what would meet them at the other side.

There were kids nursery rhymes being played either on a radio or by the television inside but they couldn't hear much else.

Suddenly the door swung open, revealing a small slender lady in her late twenties/early thirties with shoulder length peroxide blonde hair and bright green eyes. "Sam honey, I wasn't expecting you back so soo-", she began but trailed off when she spotted the two unexpected visitors.

"Can I help you guys?", she said with a smile, finding her bearings again with ease.

Mulder looked over to Scully for a second, Scully nodding to him in encouragement. It was now or never.

"Does Samantha Mulder live here?"

The woman's brow furrowed. "Samantha Mulder?", she questioned softly, her eyebrows raised. 'By any chance could this be-?' but she shook her head slightly, that would be impossible.

Mulder and Scully nodded.

"No", she replied evenly, looking between the pair before her with curiosity. "But a Samantha Adler does." She watches how their faces became a little blank at the statement so she tried again, using her girlfriend's name before she married. "What about Samantha Spender?"

Mulder felt a swell of hope in his stomach and turned to Scully who grinned and raised her eyebrows at him in response. It was kind of unsurprising if Samantha Spender was indeed Samantha Mulder.

After all, Teena Mulder did convince Spender not to have Samantha killed on the chance that she may be his daughter. So her having grown up under his name would, in fact, add up.

"Yeah. Samantha Spender. That's who we're looking for", Mulder replied, hardly believing his words. None of this even felt real yet but he was going to meet his sister again.

"She's out at work in the art studio down town. I wasn't expecting her home for another half hour or so", the woman replied, glancing between Mulder and Scully once more, aware that they still hadn't introduced themselves. "Who are you two?"

She could be suspicious but the man in front of her looked far too elated at the idea of finding Samantha so she wasn't completely certain.

There was also something about his features that struck her as familiar.

The dark hair. The easy smile. The slightly tanned complexion. The hazel eyes.

She would guess that the guy was a relative of Samantha's if it wasn't for the fact that her girlfriend had told her that her entire family (save for her disapproving biological father) were all killed years earlier when she was a little girl.

Her mom. Her dad. Her big brother. All dead. All gone.

Apparently not.

"I'm Fox Mulder and this is Dana Scully", Mulder replied, gesturing to himself and to Scully.

Suddenly a voice yelled gleefully out, advancing up the hallway. "I don't freaking believe it, Meghan. The bids on 'The Beast of Dean' started at two THOSAND dollars. It's finally happening", the female shouter revealed, totally oblivious to her visitors standing in the hallway outside her apartment.

Mulder and Scully whirled around, coming face to face with a tall, brown curly haired, arty looking woman.

Scully turned to Mulder with raised eyebrows and a smile.

Paintings of a mythology beast that some believed to be real. The hazel eyes, tall and slender frame and brown hair.

There was no hiding that the woman before them was Samantha Mulder.

A grin seemed to split Meghan's (the blonde who now had a name) face in two and the strange unexpected visitors who showed up seemed to have been totally forgotten about until...

Samantha finally turned in Mulder and Scully's direction, eyes widening in pure disbelief. Any signs of her previous excitement melting right off of her face, only to be replaced with pure shock and amazement.

"Fox is that you?", she managed to get out, voice almost catching in her throat. Her brother may have grown in height, his face may have aged and lost it's childish puppy weight and he may have filled out quite a bit, but he was still her brother; Bright eyes and crooked smile, just they way he had lived in her memories for the last twenty two years. "How on earth are you alive?".

"Well, I was the last time I looked", Mulder replied teasingly with a half smile, stepping closer to his sister.

Obviously deciding that this all was, in fact, very real, Samantha wrapped both of her arms around her brother's neck, propping her chin up on his shoulder. "Too late for a game of Stratego is it?", she chuckled out shakily, not at all sure what to say.

Mulder let out a bark of laughter, hugging his sister right back for the first time in over two decades. "Hell no", he replied, just as shaky and just as emotional.

Scully smiled in relief, watching the siblings reunite.

Samantha steeped back a few moments later, tears springing up in her eyes. She let them fall, hesitating to blink in case it was all in her head and her brother would just disappear again. "You were dead, Fox. Twenty two years ago you died", she said, almost on the verge of sobbing.

The memories of being told as a little girl that her family were dead were still so vivid and painful.

"It's been so long and I never even thought that you could be...that you could be alive. I would have looked for you sooner if I had."

Mulder smiled sadly, "I found out recently...when mom died".

As soon as those words were out between them, he wished he could have held them back for a little longer. He shouldn't have told her that so soon after meeting her again.

Samantha looked up at him, choking against the terse that were now streaming freely down her face. "Mom was alive until recently?", she asked, astounded.

Mulder nodded, unsure of what to say or do. He couldn't tell her that their mom killed herself right on the spot now. Hell no.

"What about dad?", Samantha asked. She knew that Bill Mulder wasn't her biological father, or Fox's for that matter, but whenever he had come into her mind over the last two decades, he was the one who was 'daddy'.

"Alive and well", Mulder confirmed, relieved he could answer that question without launching into hisi second bad new report of the last few minutes. "And I'm sure he'd love to see you, Sam."

Samantha smirked softly, wiping away her tears with a faint laugh. "Well, I always was the favourite child", she teased.

Mulder rolled his eyes, glancing over at Scully over Samantha's shoulder, eyes alight. "See Scully, this is exactly why I used to get in trouble for pulling Sammy here's pigtails growing up!"

XXXXXXXXXXXX

A pair of bright little hazel eyes peered, wide with curiosity, out at them from over the back of sofa before flipping around, obviously having lost interest, to watch television.

"Fox sweetie can you come out here, please", Samantha called once they had all gotten inside the apartment and introductions had been made. "We have some people here who would like to meet you."

A little boy of about five or so, emerged shyly from behind the sofa, shaking a small pudgy hand through his ashy blonde curls. "Mommy, do I have tooooooo?", he whined softly, looking up at her with a pleading gaze. "I'm watching the 'ooney toones".

Samantha reached for her son gently, setting both her hands on his shoulders and began steering him in the direction of their guests and his other mother. "Yes Fox, you have to."

The little boy pouted, reluctantly heading in the direction his mom was indicating towards.

"See, Mulder? ", Scully whispered in a good naturedly amused tone . "I told you that you weren't the only person called 'Fox' in the world."

Mulder threw her a glance as if to say 'poor kid'.

Scully grinned.

"Fox, this is your uncle", Samantha stated pointing to Mulder, who knelt down to shake hands with the boy "His name is Fox too. And this...", she said, pointing to Scully. "Is his wife Dana".

"they're you're aunt and uncle, kiddo", Meghan chimed in, eyeing her and Samantha's fussy son lovingly.

Fox Jr looked up at Mulder in amazement, looney tunes forgotten.

Only one thing about what his mother had said resonated with him in any way, shape or form.

"I thought I was the only Fox!".

...

Come doused in mud, soaked in bleach

As I want you to be

As a trend, as a friend

As an old

Memoria, memoria

Memoria, memoria

~Nirvana, Come As You Are

...

XXXXXXXXXXXX

...

Maggie Scully's Residence

Washington DC

2.56 pm

...

"Daaaaaaaaaana", Emily shouted joyfully, practically bouncing in Scully's direction, dropping her colouring book and crayons with a loud clatter on to her grandmother's kitchen table when she heard what must be her Dana and her Mulder coming through the door in the next room.

Maggie Scully watched the child affectionately for a moment before getting up to follow her.

Emily had been shy at first but was such a little live wire once you got to know her. She reminded her so much of her late daughter in that respect.

Maggie couldn't believe her ears when Dana first told her how little Emily had come to be, but now knew that the little girl could not have asked for better surrogate parents than Fox and Dana.

She also hope Melissa would look down on the three of them. They really did deserve the odds to be in their favour from now on.

Emily proceeded to jump up, engulfing Scully in a bear hug, tightly holding on.

Scully grinned widely at the pixie-like kid, kissing her on the forehead. "Emily, I think you might have grown since I saw you last", she told her affectionately, poking her on her button nose.

Emily giggled sliding off of her and landing with a light thud on the floor. "Really, Dana?".

Scully nodded the affirmative before turning to her mom and hugging her as well. "Thanks for looking after, Ems."

Maggie smiled, hugging her usually not very affectionate daughter back (it seemed as though the little girl who was currently bouncing from one foot to the other had brought out a new side of Dana. Or maybe there was something else going on too?).

"It was my pleasure, sweetheart. Emily and I had a great time. Didn't we, chipmunk?".

Emily nodded enthusiastically before peering expectantly at the door once again. "Dana, where'd Mulder go?".

"Mulder will be in in a second, Em. He's just outside parking the ca-", she began replying but was cut off by another loud squeal from the four year old when the front door, once again, opened.

"MULDER. MULDER. MULDER! YOU'RE BACK! YOU'RE BACK! YOU'RE BACK!", she declared flinging herself into Mulder's already open arms as he hauled her over his head.

"What's kickin', little chicken?", he asked the laughing little girl, imitating a southern drawl.

Emily grinned widely, wiggling her legs in mid-air. "Colouring with Grandma", she replied excitedly, voice popping at the 'ma' in 'grandma' as Mulder lowered her to the floor.

"Well, what about I go say 'hi' to your grandma and then I can help you draw big ugly grey aliens?", Mulder offered, holding out his hand for a high five which Emily gladly returned. "And we can let Dana and grandma talk about grown up girl stuff".

He knew that Scully wanted to tell her mom about their pregnancy as it would soon start getting impossible for her to hide

(that was if the very observant Maggie Scully had not already figured it out for herself).

On the other hand, he and Scully had agreed it best not to tell Emily until Christmas, when she was better settled and they had found a new home big enough for the three of them and junior.

" 'Kay", Emily replied with a nod, "I'll run and get the colours."

Mulder smiled ruffling her strawberry blonde curls. "You do that, Gummi bear."

Scully smiled at him gratefully as he approached her and her mother.

"How are you, Fox?", Maggie asked, reaching up to embrace her favourite son-in-law, patting him affectionately on the cheek.

"I'm good.", Mulder replied with a smile, even now pleasantly taken aback by the maternal affection that Scully's mother has always shown him.

Maggie looked between them, noticing how happy they both seemed. She assumed their trip to Denver had gone well. "Did you find Samantha?"

Scully and Mulder glanced briefly at one another with a smile. They could still hardly believe it even though they knew that it was true.

Samantha Mulder was very much alive and living happily with her long term girlfriend and adorable little son.

"Yeah, we found her", Scully replied, taking Mulder's hand in her own and squeezing his fingers gently. "She and her family are coming to visit for Christmas."

Scully knew how much finding his sister meant to Mulder and was so damn happy for him that it had all worked out in the end.

If he was happy, so was she. Because all that he and their family was, was all that she knew she would ever need.

Mulder, as though sensing her thoughts, raised her hand to his lips, placing a firm kiss on her knuckles. "I probably would have chickened out if I didn't have your daughter there with me, Mrs Scully."

Scully smiled despite her usual dislike for public displays of affection in front of her mother. "No you wouldn't have, Mulder. I don't believe that."

"My Scully, always the skeptic."

The aforementioned red-haired skeptic rolled her eyes.

"Well, I'm happy for you, Fox. You deserve to have your family back in your life."

"Thanks, Mrs Scully."

Maggie scowled, looking up at him with mock disdain. "You're married to my daughter, Fox. So, if I have to ask you to stop calling me 'Mrs Scully' one more time, I will hit you over your pretty head with a sweeping brush. Call me 'Mom' and if not that 'Maggie'."

Mulder chuckled. "I'll bear that in mind, Mom", he agreed, turning to Scully with a knowing smile. "And I believe that there is aliens to draw, so I'll have to leave both of you lovely ladies to your own devices".

Scully rolled her eyes, Barely Restraining Herself from elbowing him in the ribs.

"Alright then, Picasso. It's your turn to have your hands full. I'm on bath time duty this evening", she teased sarcastically as he reached across to peck her on the lips.

"My hands may be full but there's always room for more", Mulder whispered, not entirely jokingly against her mouth before taking off in the direction that Emily had gone before Scully could come up with a witty retort.

Maggie grinned knowingly when her son-in-law disappeared only for the chatterings of a four year old to burst forth from her kitchen into the hall. " He's good with kids, huh Dana?", she asked, observing her daughter's quiet smile as Mulder left the room.

Scully turned to her mother, her visible glow giving her away on her deadpanned response. "I guess you could say that, Mom", she replied, well aware that her mother's observation was very true.

"Are you planning on giving him any little Mulders sometime soon, sweetheart?", Maggie asked, using the same nonchalant tone her daughter had used. "Say, in the next nine months or so?"

Scully looked at her mother, face registering shock.

She had known for years how impossible it was to keep a secret from her mother, a lesson she learned many a time when she had broken something in their house with her brothers as a child or as a teenager when on the handful of occasions that she had snuck out of the house.

After thirty years, she still couldn't fathom how her mother did it.

"Mom, how long have you known?"

Chapter Text

TV Shows » X-Files » Mr Spooky and Ms Starbuck
Author: pearlydewdrop «
Rated: T - English - Romance/Angst - Reviews: 180 - Published: 06-08-16 - Updated: 01-09-18 id:11988179
Mr Spooky and Ms Starbuck Chapter 23: Christmas Special

...

It's amazing how you can speak right to my heart.

Without saying a word, you can light up the dark.

Try as I may I could never explain.

What I hear when you don't say a thing

~ When You Say Nothing at All, Alison Krauss

...

St. Teresa's Health Centre

Washington DC

20th of December

5.20pm

...

There was no hiding what time of the year it was.

In the corner of the room stood a beautiful little fir tree adorned with baubles in all shades and hues of red, silver and gold. The gynaecologists office was brightly lit with a string of Christmas lights going from one corner of the room to the other, a rainbow coloured kaleidoscope of holiday light.

The days were becoming increasingly shorter so even at the early hours of 4.30, the glow of streetlamps was casting shadows against the frosted window.

From this side of the surgery door, Mariah Carey crooning about all she wanted for Christmas was but a faint humming coming from the radio in the waiting room.

But all of that went completely unnoticed...Mulder and Scully were totally transfixed by what was going on on the small monitor in front of them.

Their baby boy or girl, alive and kicking inside their mother's womb, the sound of their heartbeat filling the room.

The technician was busy explaining everything on the screen considering how neither Mulder nor Scully had mentioned that she, Scully, had done a stint in medical school and knew exactly what was going on before them.

The baby was healthy, an appropriate size for thirteen and a half weeks and had a strong and steady heartbeat.

Scully had known this within the first few minutes of looking at the scan and hearing the fluttering sound of her son or daughter's heart. She felt an immediate flood of relief and love flow through her, smiling brightly, her eyes filling with tears but also a little swell of fear...this was her baby. She was a mom.

This kid only had her and Mulder. They were parents...

Scully pushed these thoughts to the back of her mind. After all, they had nothing to worry about. Her baby was growing nicely, still very small but already almost fully formed and wiggling around.

Scully felt a made a silent promise to her unborn baby that she would do everything to kept them that way.

Warm, looked after, loved. Always, no matter what.

So, drowning out the technician's voice, she alternated between watching her son or daughter's tiny but completely beautiful self and glancing to Mulder's utterly amazed expression, his hazel eyes alight as he gripped her hand tightly. He caught her eye every few minutes with a look of pure and unadulterated excitement and adoration.

He couldn't believe it!

Mulder knew from the moment that Scully had told him of her pregnancy that this was happening, that it was real. He had seen her body begin to change to accommodate their child. They had both been at the receiving end of nonstop parenting advise from Scully's mother since she had found out.

He knew that this was happening! But damn, seeing their baby move around on screen and hearing his or her heartbeat filling the room, that was a whole different story.

He, Fox Mulder, was going to be a father! A ripple of fear momentarily shot through him as his all too familiar doubts crept in.

As single glance back at the monitor's screen quickly remedied his fears and Mulder promised himself that he would do anything for his and Scully's family

Their family!...holy shit!

Scully reassuringly squeezed his hand as though she instinctively sensed a change in him. Mulder let out a shaky breath, returning Scully's gesture.

Everything was going to be fine, they were facing this together. As always.

The technician left with a final congratulations after a few minutes, leaving them to spend some time alone.

Scully smiled up at Mulder from the bed. "We did good, huh?", she asked him, a playful smile tugging at her lips, her eyes glistening with unshed tears. "She's already so beautiful."

"Just like her mom", he chimed in lovingly, recovering from his brief moment of panic. After all this time and everything they've been through, Scully still took his breath away and now wasn't an exception. She was hid partner. His wife. His best friend. The mother of his children.

Scully smirked affectionately, stroking the back of Mulder's hand with her thumb. Two could play that game. "What about her dad, huh?", she asked teasingly but meaning every word. "I think she'll be damn lucky if she takes after him".

Mulder let out a bark of self depreciating laughter, a grin still tugging at the corners of his lips. "Naaah, nothing about this baby reminds me of Vice Principle Skinner."

"Very funny, Mulder", Scully replied dryly, rolling her eyes at his shenanigans.

Mulder smiled goofily, raising her hand gently to his lips as the realization hit in that they had been referring to their unborn baby as a a girl. He smiled at the thought. "You think she's a girl, huh?", he asks teasingly.

Scully nodded, gazing happily at the screen. "I'm not sure yet, Mulder. I just have a feeling about it", she confessed honestly, reminiscing on how Melissa had asked her to 'raise their girls together'.

Mulder looks back at their child again and listens to the soft fluttering of his or her heartbeat.

He could only imagine having another little girl running around the unremarkable house that he and Scully had purchased and moved into in the previous few weeks. He could only imagine a sister for Emily. Amazing.

"Between you, Ems and possibly junior. I'm beginning to think that it's my calling in life to be surrounded by gorgeous women", he commented teasingly, nudging his wife on the arm. "Every man's dream,huh?"

Scully shook her head in defeat, letting out a short giggle.

Mulder raised his eyebrows, smiling. Even though he loved it, he still wasn't used to a giggly Scully, but it seemed as though motherhood had brought a new side to her. "You know, Scully. I think she already has your nose."

Scully rolled her eyes again, suppressing an affectionate grin. "There's no way we'll know that until the end of June, Mulder", she told him firmly, suppressing the giddiness that she felt rise up inside. Fears aside, they were going to have a baby!

Mulder chuckled, squeezing her fingers. "What can I say, Scully", he replied with that shit eating grin of his. "I've just gotta feeling about it."

XXXXXXXXXXXX

...

An Unremarkable House

Outside Washington

8.30am

...

The smile on your face let's me know that you need me.

There's a truth in your eyes saying you'll never leave me

The touch of your hand says you'll catch me whenever I fall

You say it best, when you say nothing at all

~ When You Say Nothing At All, Alison Krauss

...

"Dana", a festive gingerbread pattered pyjamas clad Emily said, barely looking up from her bowl of brightly coloured fruit loop cereal (a weekend treat compliments of Mulder who had helped Emily sneak them into the shopping basket unbeknownst to Scully).

"Yes, sweetheart", Scully answered absentmindedly, spooning two spoons of instant coffee into her mug as she tossed some bacon into the frying pan. "Everything okay?", she asked as the sizzling sound and the salty smell filled the kitchen.

"Are you my mommy?", the kindergartener chirped casually, as though it was a perfectly ordinary question to come out with early on a Saturday morning as she sipped a glass of orange juice in the kitchen of their new house.

Scully, who was also still in a pair of flannel pyjamas and an old t-shirt of Mulder's, looked up from the half cooked bacon in the frying pan, trying to keep the shock off of her face.

She knew the question would come up eventually but she sure as hell wasn't expecting it right now.

Scully recalled the vision that she had of Melissa shortly after she had passed away. Melissa had told her this would happen eventually, that Emily would see her as her mother.

But was she, Scully, ready for that...she wanted to be, especially after her appointment the other day. She felt ready to be a mother, not just to her and Mulder's unborn baby but to Emily too.

"What did you say, sweetie?", she asked, just to be sure she had heard Emily right.

Emily sighed, flicking one of her two messy little French braids over her shoulder. "I know you didn't make me in your belly like other mommies but I was talking to my friend Ally and she thought you were my mommy cos you do all the things for me that her mommy does for her", she replied firmly, voicing her four year old logic on the matter.

"Like you feed me and tucking me in while Mulder tells me alien stories and some days you pick me up from school and you helped me write my letter to Santa Clause and you rub my tummy when I gets sick."

At Emily's thoughtful expression and childhood sincerity, Scully felt tears creep into her eyes.

She didn't let them fall though, knowing her pregnancy hormones would only scare Emily further and confused the whole matter for the child.

Curse them damn hormones for getting in the way. She had never had any problem with controlling her emotions before, it was one of the few things she really wasn't enjoying about being pregnant.

Scully pulled herself together and smiled softly at her niece, swallowing her tears.

She loved Emily with her whole heart and just wanted the four year old to be safe and happy. The thought of being her 'mommy' still made Scully's heart swell with love even if she did still feel a twinge of sadness at the idea.

The death of Melissa was still such a fresh wound.

It was almost an understatement to say that she, Mulder and Emily's lives have been almost brutally tough at times. After all they have been through both together and separately, they deserved this. They deserved a chance to be hopeful. To be happy. To be an ordinary family.

The future seemed hopeful and Scully wanted to believe that life would continue to get better from here on for them.

It was a scary but exciting prospect...

"Well, do you want to call me mommy?", she asked gently, a sense of calmness rushing through her as she brushed the stray strawberry blonde curls that had escaped Emily's braids while she was asleep behind her ears like her own mom used to do for her and Missy when they were little. "Because I would love you either way."

Emily hummed thoughtfully, kicking her little legs to and fro under the table. "Yeah, I want to call you mommy", she said decisively, shovelling another spoon of slightly soggy fruit loops into her mouth. "I've never called anyone mommy before but you seem...", Emily said, trailing off as she wracked her brains for a suitable words. "Uhhh, mommy-ish."

Scully let out a small chuckle, ruffling Emily's hair. Emily's choice of vocabulary never ceased to amuse her. Trust a four year old who has been spending an extensive amount of time with Fox Mulder to come up with an adjective like 'mommy-ish'.

"Alright then, sweetheart. I'll be your mommy."

Scully knew there would come a time (hopefully far) in the future where she would have to tell Emily the truth about their family. But that wasn't for now. For now, she and Mulder were the closest thing Emily had to parents and both of them wanted nothing but the best for her.

Emily nodded as though that was the matter sorted but wrinkled her nose up, once again, in thought. "And if you're my mommy that makes Mulder my daddy, right?"

Scully smiled brightly, feeling another deep swell of affection for the kid yet again.

She knew exactly how much being called Emily's Dad would mean to Mulder. "Yeah Emily", she said. "I think he would absolutely love that."

Just then, they heard the glass front door shut and the kitchen door opened, revealing a very sweaty looking Mulder, dressed in shorts, trainers and an old Oxford sweatshirt and body warmer. "Morning, Sleepyheads", he greets with a smile, wandering over to the kitchen sink, not yet noticing Scully and Emily's expressions. "How are my girls?".

Emily's eyes light up as she looks up from the kitchen table to Mulder. "Morning, Daddy!", she chirps cheerfully, a big cheesy grin stretched across her face.

Mulder's hazel eyes widen almost comically and Scully, despite her earlier emotions, finds herself holding back a laugh. She knew his reaction would be something on to this!

Emily all the while, went back to her cereal. "Mommy, my cereals gone all soggy. I don't like it anymore", she complained, pushing the bowl away from her.

Neither of the adults replied just yet.

Mulder glanced over to Scully, unsure about how she would feel about Emily calling them 'mommy and daddy' so soon after Melissa had been killed. He knew she loved her niece dearly. He did too. Having her in their family felt right.

A silent conversation passed between them...

'Are you okay with this?'

'Yeah. Are you?'

'If you are'.

Mulder headed across the room, totally abandoning his original thirst after his run. Leaning over, he pecked Emily gently on the crown of her head, smiling as he did so. "Good Morning to you too, Gummi bear", he responded, eliciting a smile from Emily. "Now, what would you say about chocolate chip pancakes?".

Scully eyed him with raised brows. "Mulder, Emily just ate a half bowl of fruit loops", she protested, eyeing both her husband and their four year old with a half stern and half amused glare. "She'll be on a sugar high for the rest of the day."

Totally ignoring her, the kindergartener nodded vigorously at Mulder's proposal, hopping up out of her seat. "Yes please", Emily practically shouted, hurrying over to the kitchen cupboard, standing up on her tiptoes to reach the door, prying it open with her fingertips. "I'll get the chocolate chips".

Mulder grinned after Emily before leaning forwards against the back of Scully's chair. "Don't look at me like that, Scully", Mulder pouted before gesturing towards an elated Emily. "How could you refuse a face like that".

He gazed down at Scully who peered back at him over her shoulder, his forehead against hers from above as he squeezed her forearms, kissing her unamused smirk tenderly. "You know you want some too, Scully", he teased, bumping her temple with his nose and offering her his hand. "Tastes better than beebalm and bio-organic yogurt anyway."

Scully rolled her eyes but allowed Mulder to pull her to her feet. "Sure, fine, whatever".

Even if the future was still a little uncertain and their lives were changing and becoming something totally new, come hell or high water , everything was going to be okay...better even.

XXXXXXXXXXXX

...

An Unremarkable House

Outside Washington DC

Christmas Eve

2.05pm

...

All day long I can hear people talking out loud

But when you hold me near, I drown out the crowd

Old Mr Webster could never define

What's being said between your heart and mine

~When You Say Nothing at All, Alison Krauss

...

"Remind me, Scully...why does your brother have to stay here with us for a full week?", Mulder whined as he and Scully helped prepare dinner for the entire Scully clan plus his few remaining relatives for the following day. "And how did we, of all people, get roped into hosting Christmas dinner?"

Scully sighed, clearly frustrated with Mulder's incessant pouting and tossed the potato peeler aside, glaring up at him with hands on hips. She was small in stature, yes, but that didn't mean she wasn't utterly terrifying and at this point she wasn't sure whether she wanted to slap him or kiss him, probably both.

"My mother 'roped us', as you so charmingly put it, into hosting Christmas dinner this year because she thinks it would be good for Emily to have her entire family around for the holidays in her own environment. And...", Scully said trailing off, throwing a dishcloth at him which he caught lazily out of the air. "Bill promised me at Missy's burial that he would make an effort to like you."

Mulder smirked sarcastically, dropping his voice so Emily couldn't hear them from where she was watching Scooby Doo in the next room. "Scully", he said, tossing the aforementioned dishcloth into the sink. "If Big Brother Bill manages to play nice with me for ten minutes, we'll have some form of witchcraft to thank for it."

Scully rolled her eyes, clearly annoyed and folded her arms over her chest. "Mulder, don't be ridiculous..."

Mulder groaned, wringing his hair between his fingers. "I'm being ridiculous, Scully?", he asked aloofly. "I've never known the man to be even halfway civil and I'm the one being ridiculous? The first time I met your brother, he wanted to kick me out of your hospital room because I wouldn't accept the doctors letting you die. The second time he tried to punch my lights out and the third time he just stood there and glared at me. He doesn't think I'm good enough for you and he constantly believes I'm going to walk out on you or do wrong by you when those are the last things on earth I would ever do. I'd sooner loose a limb than loose you or either of our kids!"

Scully sighed tiredly, setting both of her hands firmly on his arms. They weren't getting anywhere on this and they both knew it. "Mulder, you're the other half of me, my perfect opposite, so much so that sometimes it's infuriating", she told him with a little laugh, letting her hands roam upwards to cup his face, earning a slight smile from him. "But you're mine and mine only. I would choose you every day over and over again if I had to.", Scully told him sternly, her bright blue eyes steely with intensity. "And as thick and pig headed as Bill can be sometimes, I know he sees that too."

Mulder smiled half heartedly, brushing back her hair with one hand and the other loosely embracing her. "For you, Scully and only for you...I guess I could make an effort. But if Bill is the same disapproving Bill Scully that I remember—", he began but Scully cut him off, the same determined look on her face from before.

"Then I will personally give my dear brother hell", she assured him, her eyebrows raised almost like Disney Villain from one of those movies that Emily liked so much. "And God help Bill if he brings me to it."

Mulder chuckled, pressing a kiss to her forehead. It was moments like these that really showed how protective and badass his wife was. If there was anyone one this whole damn planet he could trust to have his back and who he would, in return, always stand by then it was Dana Scully. She was right, neither of them would change a day. "I knew that you'd protect my honour."

Scully gave him a half smile, pushing him gently away from her and towards their half stuffed turkey and still un-honeyed ham. "C'mon, Mulder. We've got mouths to feed."

...

The smile on your face let's me know that you need me.

There's a truth in your eyes saying you'll never leave me

The touch of your hand says you'll catch me whenever I fall

You say it best, when you say nothing at all

~ When You Say Nothing At All, Alison Krauss

...

XXXXXXXXXXXX

...

I lost my faith to this, this town that don't exist.

So I run, I run away to the lights of masochist

And I leave behind this hurricane of fucking lies

And I walked this line a million and one fucking times

But not this time...

~Green Day, Jesus of Suburbia, .V. Tales of Another Broken Home

...

Christmas wasn't really his Bill Mulder's time of year, Mulder had always known that about his father, and if the older man wasn't sitting alone in the corner of the kitchen, furthest away from the majority of the Scully clan, refusing any offers of conversation even from the ever warm Mrs Scully while nursing a rather large whiskey, than he wasn't the man that Mulder had grown up with.

For a guy only in his early sixties, Bill Mulder looked older than his years. His salt and pepper hairline (which was a lot more salt and a lot less pepper than Mulder remembered from the last time he saw him) had receded almost dramatically and his skin was taut and wrinkled from far too many years of smoking thick brown cigars (something he had only given up recently on the insistence of his doctors. It had either been the cigars or the whiskey, one of them had to go).

Even though Mulder had a slightly more than a marginally better relationship with his father than he had had with his mother, there was no hiding that Bill Mulder could be an impossibly grumpy old bear of a man. He had always been that way and Mulder doubted that even the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future wouldn't put a dent in that.

Hell, even Emily had only barely managed to drag a smile out of him when she decided aloud (as she had been trying to piece together who was who in her rather large family) that he must be her granddad.

Perhaps seeing the daughter he had believed he'd lost forever would change that...the same daughter who would be arriving in the next hour or two.

Mulder had, a handful of times, been on the phone with his sister Samantha since his and Scully's trip to Denver and it had been decided that she, Meghan and Fox Jr would come out to Washington in the afternoon on Christmas Eve and drive out to Baltimore early the following day to see Meghan's parents on Christmas Day.

They needed to catch up properly and Samantha desperately wanted to see her and Mulder's dad again considering how she had believed for so long that her whole family was dead.

That wasn't the only thing they needed to talk about though, Mulder's final conversation with his mother, Teena Mulder, still haunted him.

Her near skeletal face in the hospital bed, clearly having lost a significant amount of weight in the months she had been hiding her illness.

'I need to be honest with you, Fox. Bill Mulder isn't your father'.

Mulder blinked, shaking his head slightly. He could still remember just how rotten and up in the air he had felt after that particular bombshell had been dropped on him by his mother the previous summer.

It had been Scully who had dragged him back down to earth again afterwards, assuring him that family isn't always the people who you are related to by blood, that his father would still accept him even if he wasn't biologically his son and that he should just talk to him about it.

Mulder looked away from his father momentarily and scanned the room for Scully who was chatting with her brother Charlie and her brother Bill's wife Tara. She looked over catching his eye and smiled encouragingly, Mulder returned the favour half heartedly, feeling a little but better as he made his way across the room, taking a seat opposite his dad.

"Seems like you went from an irresponsible bachelor to a family man very quickly, son", Bill Mulder commented, almost but not quite affectionately, eyeing Mulder over his half full tumbler. "She's a good woman, your wife. The kid seems cute too", he said with a ghost of an approving smile. "Pity I never knew my only son was getting married though", he added with a light-hearted amount of accusation.

Mulder scratched the back of his bed, looking a little embarrassed. "Yeah, sorry about that, dad", he admitted. "We didn't really have anyone at the wedding. Just Scully, Emily and I."

Bill shook his head, waving his hand dismissively. "Don't worry about it, kid. I know all too well from personal experience that the big white weddings don't always end in smiles. You and Dana were far better off the way you were."

"Actually that's what I wanted to talk to you about?", Mulder said, sighing deeply in his chair. "I went to see mom in the hospital last summer and she told me something pretty...crazy."

Bill chuckled. "Your mother always had a flare for dramatics, Fox. You know that", he replied offhandedly. "I wouldn't give it much thought if I were you."

"She told me I wasn't your son and that there was a good chance that Samantha and I were a result of her affair with your boss Mr. Spender", Mulder blurted out unable to carry the truth inside any longer. His mother may have been able to carry a little like that with her for the majority of her life but he sure as hell wasn't.

It was then that Bill did the last thing that Mulder expected him to do. He laughed aloud, taking another large mouthful of whiskey. "She hit you with that old hat, did she?", he answered, shaking his head. "Typical Teena, why couldn't she just let old dogs lie?"

Mulder looked at him in disbelief. He hadn't even entertained the possibility that his father had known all along too. "You knew?", he managed to splutter out in shock.

"Well Fox, there always was a few questions surround your and your sister's parentage", he told him honestly, trying to hide the pain he still felt at the loss of Samantha and the role he played in it. "I had known from the beginning that your mother was having an affair with my boss and that arrangement suited us both fine. Our marriage was never one of love but I suppose you've always known that?".

Mulder nodded slightly, feeling numb all over like he had been clubbed over the head. "And you and Mom never thought to check our DNA?", he asked after having recovered enough to speak.

Bill shrugged nonchalantly. "Spender had no interest in knowing either way and as far as I was concerned, I was father to both of you."

"So it wasn't just mom who lied to me, it was you too?", Mulder said finally coming to his senses, anger welling up inside of him. It was bad enough when he had one parent who had been keeping secrets from him his whole life, but now he had two. "My whole childhood was lie after lie and fight after fight. I can't keep doing this, when does the lies stop and the truth begin?"

He didn't really want to argue with his father. Mulder hadn't come over to do that. Even though he hadn't particularly seen eye to eye with his mother, Mulder still felt her loss deep down and was still haunted by the fact their relationship had ended with an argument.

He couldn't and wouldn't make the same mistake again no matter how angry he was.

Bill considered him for a moment, ignoring his son's anger completely. "It wasn't quite a lie, Fox", he stated simply, setting down his whiskey tumbler again and pressing his fingers together thoughtfully.

"That little girl running around over there...", he said, dropping his voice and gesturing to Emily who was sitting on Mrs Scully's lap nibbling on a Christmas cookie. "She calls you 'daddy', right? And, correct me if I'm wrong, but don't you love her as though she was your daughter?", he asked, immediately seeing a softening in Mulder's eyes and knew that he had hit home.

"Yes of course I love Emily, but she knows that Scully and I adopted her and we will eventually tell her where she came from?", Mulder argued. "It's not the same!".

Bill looked at him questionly. "It isn't is it?", he asked, shrugging. "Our relationship may have been far from perfect, Fox but I hope you know I have always loved you. It didn't matter to me that it was likely that you and Samantha weren't biologically mine."

Mulder frowned, unsure whether to forgive his father or to continue being angry. He couldn't call to mind another occasion when his father, or either of his parents for that matter, had told him they loved him and was a little conflicted by the turn in events. "Dad, I..uh..still don't know what I think of all this and I sure as hell don't know if I'm ready to accept what you and Mom decided to keep between yourselves for the last thirty three years but, um...your the only grandparent my kids will ever have so...", he started but his father cut him off.

"You'd be willing to try to overlook this if I be a better grandfather than father."

"And you best not screw up this time." Mulder warned, eyeing his father almost challengingly. Neither Teena or Bill Mulder had been anywhere near being good parents at any point in their lives but, despite his many failings, Bill was the best of the bad lot. "I want to trust you again for our whole family's sake."

Bill looked like he was going to say more but was interrupted when a loud knock came to the door.

Immediately, Emily slipped off Mrs Scully's knee and went running across the room to Mulder. Scully glanced over in amusement at the little girl's actions before seeking out Mulder's gaze again.

'Everything okay?', her eyes seemed to ask him. 'Are you okay?'

Mulder smiled back in reassurance, allowing Emily to drag him to his feet. 'I will be'.

"Daddy", Emily questioned excitedly, pointing to the tall, brown curly haired figure just about visible through the window pane on the front door from the kitchen. "Is that Auntie Sam at the door?".

Mulder turned to face his father, this hadn't exactly been how he and Samantha had planned for their father to find out that she was still alive but couldn't find it in himself to care too much at this point since Emily looked so happy at the idea of more guests.

"Is this some kind of sick joke", Bill asked coldly, going very pale.

"No, dad", Mulder replied evenly, following Emily. It appeared that this time at least, he was the only one who was in the know. "I think that particular sense of humour only hits in every couple of generations."

...

I don't feel any shame, I won't apologise

When there ain't nowhere you can go

Running away from pain when you've been victimised

Tales from another broken home

~Green Day, Jesus of Suburbia, .V. Tales of Another Broken Home

...

XXXXXXXXXXXX

...

An Unremarkable House

Outside Washington DC

Christmas Eve

2.35am

...

Hold on, to me as we go

As we roll down this unfamiliar road

And although this wave is stringing us along

Just know you're not alone

'Cause I'm going to make this place your home

~Philip Philips. Home

...

"For God's sake, Mulder", Scully sighed deeply, rubbing her temples with her index finger. A headache was coming on. "Did you really have to go and loose the English instructions?"

Mulder grumbled in frustration, holding the French instruction manual up to the light as if it would make an difference (it didn't). "I don't know, Scully", he argued back. "Who ordered the flat pack playhouse?"

It had been a long day. It was late, they had gotten up early and bed still seemed like a long way away what with an entire playhouse to construct (using French instructions when their French wasn't by any means fantastic) and a bunch of presents still to wrap.

All in the name of Emily and jolly old Saint Nick.

Bill and Tara had gone to bed quite a while ago since Mattie was still under a year old and all of his toys had been easy to hide and assemble.

Seated on the living room floor, they worked on in silence, their eyes itching, both too stubborn to admit defeat by an ikea flat packed toy.

"Mulder, that doesn't go in there", Scully decided, snatching the booklet off of him and looking over his shoulder as Mulder fumbled with the ridiculously small and fiddly parts. "It says here we join that wall with the adjacent wall using screwdriver 4, hinge B, bolt G and screw C. Then we tighten the bolt with wrench number 9."

"It clearly says that you use bolt C and screw G", Mulder argued back pigheadedly, grabbing them back off of her. "Not bolt G and screw C".

Scully rolled her eyes, leaning back against the side of the sofa. "Alright Mister Macho, you figure it out then", she responded dismissively but kept a watchful eye on him.

"Alright then, I will", Mulder replied confidentially, selecting the necessary items. "Indian guides taught me a thing or two, honey."...He tightened it and it fell apart in his hands.

Scully smirked, her eyebrows raised in amusement. "You were saying?", she asked with a chuckle, crawling back across the floor to sit next to him."C'mere, Mulder. Let's try it a different way."

XXXXXXXXXXXX

...

An Unremarkable House

Outside Washington DC

4.32am

...

Settle down, it'll all be clear

Don't pay no mind to the demons

They fill you with fear

The trouble it might drag you down

If you get lost, you can always be found

~Philip Philips, Home

...

Forty minutes, multiple glasses of iced tea and a half deciphered instruction manual later, Mulder and Scully had something next door near identical to a playhouse and a stack of still unwrapped presents before them.

"Next time we buy something like this, we're buying it ready made.", Mulder declared, his head lolling back on to the seat behind him. "Santa doesn't do flat packed anymore."

Scully raised her glass, clinking it with his. "I second that motion", she replied with a satisfied smile before eyeing their still unwrapped gifts tiredly, a thought suddenly popping into her head. "You bought wrapping paper, right?"

Mulder looked up at her. Suddenly losing all sleepiness, his face said everything...the panic face. "Ohhh, shit!"

XXXXXXXXXXXX

'Happy Birthday to You!', was printed all over the wrapping paper in bright neon rainbow colours. 'Happy Birthday to You! Happy Birthday to You!'.

It had been the last available wrapping paper at their closest all night supermarket and they'd been desperate.

And Mulder sure as hell heard all about it on the way home... that and how he had made absolutely no effort with her brother Bill. Not to mention how he always ran off to do things without her and ended up making a mess that she had to pull him out of.

Yeah, the mixture of general pissed-off-ness, pregnancy emotions and sleep deprivation didn't suit Scully one single bit, so she hit the sack as soon as they got home, leaving a frustrated Mulder to face the presents, sticky tape and un-festive wrapping paper alone.

"I saw Dana on the way to bed when I got up for a leak", a voice said behind looked up only to see an amused looking Bill Scully, who smugly took a seat next to him. "She seemed all fired up."

Mulder sighed in annoyance, setting aside the last messily wrapped Barbie doll. He didn't need this right now, especially not from Bill. "I'm well aware that she's annoyed, Bill."

The eldest Scully smirked at his frustration, reminding Mulder somewhat of his wife.

"Well, I knew that you knew, Mulder", Bill said. "Clearly if she's pissed off, it's something that you've either done or not done, whichever the case may be ."

Mulder frowned, grumbling under his breath. "What makes you think I did something?", he fired back.

Bill chuckled slightly, "I've been married for six years. Believe me, I know what the doghouse looks like and you Mulder, you're currently in the doghouse."

Mulder looked sideways at Bill, genuinely confused by his brother in law's change in demeanour from his usually glaring and grumbling self to actually talking to him, albeit slightly mockingly, but still no fists had yet been fired.

"Are you feeling okay, Bill?", Mulder asked. "Because the last time you and I spoke more than a sentence to each other, you tried to floor me."

"Look Mulder, you're married to my sister now. You're looking after Emily with her. You've got a baby on the way at some point in the new year ", Bill said, a little reluctantly. "And for what's it's worth, even though I don't particularly like you, I do respect that."

"She told you about the baby?", Mulder asked since he and Scully had planned to tell everyone their news at Christmas dinner the following day and Emily in the morning after she had finished opening her presents. As far as Mulder knew, the only ones who knew were Maggie and Monica.

Bill nodded in confirmation, a hint of humour in his voice that until now Mulder never believed could be possible from the man. "Yeah, she..uh..let me in on that particular secret when she was pleading your case and trying to convince me that you weren't the sorry son of a bitch I thought you were", he admitted. "She bit my head off when she saw me earlier after you guys came in, said I hadn't made enough of an effort with you."

Mulder chuckled, deciding to play nice if Bill was. "So I'm not the only who has landed themselves on her bad side."

Bill batted a dismissive hand at Mulder, "I'm her big brother, it's my job to be in her bad books. You...not so much", at this he put on a stern voice and eyed the hallway where all the bedrooms were. "Now, go and apologise to my sister before I change my mind about you being a jackass."

Mulder smiled, getting up out of his chair. Maybe Bill Scully wasn't as bad as guy as he had originally thought. "Hey Bill", he said, squeezing his brother in law's shoulder. "Thanks."

Bill laughed humourlessly. "Get out of here, Mulder."

XXXXXXXXXXXX

A few minutes later, striped down to his boxer shorts and a t-shirt, Mulder crawled into bed beside a still awake and hopefully still not fuming Scully.

He spooned in behind her, setting his head on her shoulder and his hand between her flannel pyjamas bottoms and camisole. "Look, Scully I'm sorry about the wrapping paper and the instruction manual", he said, nuzzling her hair until he got a small smile out of her. "I did make friends with your brother though."

Scully chuckled slightly, turning around in his arms until she was facing him. "I'll believe that when I see it, Mulder", she replied teasingly, brushing his hair back gently with the tips of her fingers before embracing him loosely, her hands against the nape of his neck.

Mulder smirked, running his fingers ticklishly over her hip bones, knowing by her light-hearted response that he was forgiven. "You always need evidence for everything", he whined dramatically, feigning hurt. "What did I ever do to-"

Scully shook her head, putting a finger over Mulder's lips to silence him for a second. She needed to get something out there in the open.

"I'm sorry too, Mulder. I overreacted about the while thing. I was just...", she said trailing off slightly, trying to find the right words for the feelings that had been at the back of her mind since their sonogram appointment and since Emily had started calling them 'mommy and daddy'. "this whole parenting thing...I think I'm scared."

"You are?", Mulder asked, tucking a auburn strand of hair behind her ear, fingers brushing her cheek.

Scully looked up at him seriously. "Of course I'm scared, Mulder. We're parents. Us. For their whole lives you and I are going to be their mom and dad. We're gonna be the people they call first when things go right and who they come to for comfort when things go wrong", she took a deep breath looking away from Mulder, watching their fingers as she laced them together. For the first time she let herself say these things out loud. "When they go away to college and they think of home, they're gonna think of us. Us. And when they grow up and have kids, we're going to be those wise old grandparents. Except we're not wise, we're just two people who fell in love working in the classrooms adjacent to one another."

"I know it's crazy. It's all crazy but it's a good kind of crazy, right?", he asked her smiling despite himself and tucking his fingers under Scully's chin so she looked up at him. He had no idea that she had felt this way about everything that was going on but was glad he wasn't alone in his fears, after all the idea of being a dad scared him out of his wits too. "Believe me, I'm every bit as terrified by all this as you are."

She gave him the tiniest ghost of a smile at this.

"Scully", Mulder said gently, pressing on. "You've got nothing to worry about. You're a total natural at this mom thing. You're amazing!"

Scully sighed deeply, leaning into her pillow until she could only half see him in the dim light of their bedroom.

"I don't know, Mulder", she said, a slight hint of a laugh in her voice entering her voice despite her earlier confession. Scully knew she could always count on Mulder, no matter what, to make her feel better on the rare moments where she was at her most vulnerable. "I kinda figured if I acted like a mom, Emily would let me be in charge, you know?".

Mulder chuckled, reaching over to kiss her on the forehead. "Like I said, a natural momma bear", he declared earning a slight giggle from her. "Or what about Mom-101 or Supermom?", he offered teasingly, punctuating each title with a peck to her cheeks.

Scully laughed aloud this time, pushing him off of her and tackling him until their bodies were pressed together on the mattress. "You might have two children", she teased, biting her lip. "But sometimes I could swear I have three."

Mulder made like his wife and rolled his eyes. "You wouldn't mean me, would you?", he questioned sarcastically, leaning in to capture her lips with his own, wrapping his arms tightly around her.

Let all the craziness come, they'd be ready for it...

XXXXXXXXXXXX

...

Settle down, it'll all be clear

Don't pay no mind to the demons

They fill you with fear

The trouble it might drag you down

If you get lost, you can always be found

Just know you're not alone

'Cause I'm going to make this place your home

~Philip Philips, Home

...