She glanced over at him, still asleep in the car. He was resting peacefully, more peacefully that she remembered witnessing in all their years together. His hunt was over. He knew now, finally, what had happened to his sister. Well, she hadn’t seen anything, there was no scientific evidence but she didn’t really care. He was sleeping peacefully.
She couldn’t help but wonder what that would mean for the future. Oh be honest, for her, for them. Samantha had been his quest; the reason he’d gone looking for the X-Files in the first place.
Would he want to continue? Would he care anymore? And bottom line, would he still want her as his partner? She glanced over at him once more. He looked younger somehow, lighter. As though the weight of years of guilt were somehow removed from his shoulders.
He could not have stopped what happened to his sister. Too many forces of darkness, most likely related to CGB, had been in play. He knew that now. But when Samantha had been returned and then taken by this other force she didn’t begin to understand . . . Mulder was absolved. He could even let himself believe that now.
Okay, so he had achieved inner peace. Where did that leave her? It was selfish, the man had discovered that his long lost sister was dead. And he’d just lost his mother. Theoretically she was all he had left, right?
But maybe she would remind him of this futile quest; hell she might embody it now. Maybe with this new freedom he would want to take off, do something he had never done before, something he’d felt too guilty to enjoy before.
He could decide to write or teach, some solitary endeavor that wouldn’t include a partner.
She shook herself; she was being a real bitch. The man had found out what he had wanted to know since he was twelve years old and she was concerned about herself.
He should plan to take off a month or so anyway, just to recuperate. Then if he wanted to come back, she’d be here, waiting. She’d wait a long time; she realized that about herself now. He’d pushed her away during this investigation. She understood that too. It was too much to handle with all of his emotions – her logic was hard to hear much less heed.
God, she hoped he would come back. At least to the FBI if not the X-Files. Then at least she would see him. Wait, was she planning to take over the X-Files? Not consciously but apparently that was exactly what she’d been thinking, or rather not thinking, just doing.
Did she want the X-Files? It was what she did. She’d been working on them for seven years – did she want to change? Would she even be any good at them? Her immediate reaction to every case was that there must be a logical explanation. Unlike him, who rarely saw things that way. She wouldn’t be as good on them alone. It was the team that had made the work . . . well, work. Together they were an incredible team – at least on the job.
She sighed and focused her eyes back on the road. She couldn’t think about this now.
He woke and squinted his eyes. Scully was driving, oh yeah, he was in a car. But it had been a good sleep. She looked a little stressed, he should probably offer to take over the driving. But it felt good to be in her hands.
Would he be allowed to stay in those hands now? They had found Samantha, maybe not in exactly the way he had always dreamed; but he knew now. He could live with this knowledge. But would it change the dynamics between he and Scully? He had pushed her away during this investigation, not able to hear her point of view; not sharing information that she might have wanted to pick apart.
Still she’d been there. She’d listened when he had read Samantha’s diary and cried with him. It was okay to cry in front of Scully; only Scully. It was safe. She didn’t know that about him. There was no reason she should. But who else could he feel safe around?
Mom was gone. To be honest, he hadn’t felt safe around her for as long as he could remember. Did he subconsciously know that she knew more about what had happened; what his father had been involved in than she had let on? She’d taken her own life. That was going to haunt him; that he hadn’t talked to her when she’d asked. He’d been too busy. Would she have told him what she was going to do? No. With the information Scully had given him, he doubted that he could have talked her out of it anyway.
Back to Scully again. She was more firmly entertwined in his life than anyone had ever been. Would things change now? He was free to do other work now if he wanted. He’d accomplished what he had set out to do – find Samantha. What did that mean in the giant scheme of things? Other work might be appealing, but only if Scully were beside him. He couldn’t imagine a job that didn’t include her at his side.
Just at a job? He couldn’t imagine anything without her beside him. He didn’t even want to try.
So why wasn’t he better to her? Why did he treat her as badly as he did? Pushing aside her information without a thought. She’d dug to find out about CGB and the parallel investigation. She’d even gone back to his mother’s house to search. And he had dismissed it. But she’d still been there, at his side when they had broken back onto the April Base and he’d found Samantha’s diary.
Yes, but now would she want to traipse around the country with him? She might think this was an excellent time to quit. Maybe she would think he didn’t need her anymore. He certainly hadn’t shown her what she meant to him, not really. One kiss – in seven years he’d kissed her one time. That would hardly show a woman that was everything to him how he felt.
Could things be different now? He couldn’t say he had more to offer a woman than he had last week, but maybe he had a little less baggage. Would it be enough?
Enough? That depended on what he wanted. What he wanted was her in his life. More so even than she was now. He wanted her in every aspect of his life. But how did she feel? Maybe the reason she was always there for him was because she thought of it as her job.
He stretched, letting her know he was awake. These weren’t thoughts he wanted to dwell on. He was feeling better; there was finally some resolution in his life. The possibility of living the rest of it without Scully was bringing him too far down.
"Good nap?" She knew the answer; he rarely smiled in his sleep – at least as far as she had seen.
"You hungry? We could stop or go on. What do you want to do?"
"I don’t know, maybe we should go to Disney World."
She laughed lightly; he was doing better. Then she caught the pronoun, we?
She took a deep breath. "We, Mulder?"
"Why would I want to go to a Magic Kingdom without you? Scully, why would I want to go anywhere without you?"
"Wha . . . what?" Had he said that?
His breathing had gotten shallow. Well he’d said it. Would her response be like before? Could he take another "oh brother" from her?
"You . . . you’re not planning to leave; give up the X-Files?"
"Is that what you want?" He was watching her closely.
"You’re answering a question with a question."
He took a centering breath. "I want to do whatever I have to do to keep you in my life." Her eyes grew impossibly wide. He’d blown it, she hadn’t known, hadn’t even suspected.
"You . . . you want to stay with me?" She was having a little trouble drawing a deep breath herself now.
"Maybe you better pull over." He wanted to live with her, not die with her and her driving was becoming erratic. Live with her? Well, he did, what was wrong with admitting it, to himself at least? They definitely had some talking to do.