watched him make his way inside. He hadn't spotted her car, no reason for him
to look for it. She knew she'd been avoiding him, she'd admitted that much to
herself while she was waiting. He was later than she'd thought he''d be. She
could have let herself into his apartment to wait, but she wasn't entirely sure
how he'd feel about that.
He was moving slowly, barely lifting his feet from the pavement, as though that was too much effort.
Maybe she shouldn't bother him after all, except . . . except she couldn't make herself look in her rearview mirror again.
He was inside, out of sight now. That made the need to see him even stronger. She found herself bailing from the car and hurrying across the street. Fortunately she didn't have to wait for the elevator, the need to see him suddenly overwhelming her.
She hurried down the hall and knocked on his door before she allowed herself to analyze it.
He opened the door, and the look of curiosity turned rapidly to concern. "Scully?” He reached for her, pulling her inside. He shut the door, but didn't release her. “What is it Scully? What's wrong?” He touched a tear that was trailing down her cheek. It startled her, she hadn't been aware she was crying.
“Come in here, sit down.” He seated her on the couch and squatted in front of her. “Are you okay? Did something happen?”
She shook her head, suddenly unable to speak. “Okay, you just sit here. I'm gonna make you some tea.” He took her silence for assent and, after scanning her face one more time, moved quickly into the kitchen.
She sat staring at her hands clasped tightly in her lap, unaware he was watching her from the door. His chest was tight. He'd known she wasn't okay. He shouldn't have gone off on her at the facility, but he was so damn scared. It was like she was fading away. He shuddered at the thought.
The microwave jerked him back to the present. He dunked a bag of her favorite tea in the mug and hurried back to her.
He slipped the mug onto the coffee table to steep and took the seat beside her.
“Scully?” He took her hand into his. It was icy, which alarmed him on a deeper level than he was willing to admit. He took her other hand as well, rubbing them lightly and then bringing them to his lips. He blew warm air on them, then turned them over and placed a kiss in each palm, mindful of the cut she'd received earlier.
He looked up, expecting her to get after him, instead she was watching him. “Tell me what happened Scully.”
Still she hesitated. “Scully please, trust me.”
“I do.” She whispered.
He held her eyes for a long moment, “Then talk to me.”
“I . . . I saw him.”
His brow furrowed, “saw who?”
“You went down to the morgue?”
She shook her head. “In . . . in my car.”
“I don't - “
“When I left you, to go home . . . I looked in my rear view mirror and . . . I saw Harold sitting in my back seat.” She looked up, almost hoping he would laugh or brush it aside. Instead she saw the fear in his eyes.
He swallowed. “Scully, tell me what your doctor said.”
Her eyes met his and flicked away. His grip on her hands tightened involuntarily, as though to ground her here, to never let her go.
“There, uh, there's been some growth of the tumor, but less than he expected.”
He didn't speak, just waiting.
“They're doing some blood work. He's concerned that . . . that the cancer will metastasize into my blood stream.”
“Has it?” His voice sounded rough, as though he'd been yelling, even though neither had spoken above a whisper since the conversation had started.
“The, uh, the tests were inconclusive.”
“Incon . . .“ His voice faded out, or ran down, he wasn't sure which.
“They're going to run them again next week.”
“I want to be there.”
She looked into his eyes. This was the man she had called when she'd received her diagnosis - the only one. Now of course, others knew. Mom, Bill, which meant Charlie knew, though he had never mentioned it. He did call more often, keeping their conversations light, upbeat, easier on her.
Mulder was still watching her, waiting. She nodded, and he drew her against him, holding her tight against him. He waited for her to protest, pull away, but instead to his surprise she snuggled in.
She let her eyes slide closed and realized this was why she had come here - to feel his arms around her, his strong healthy body against hers and to feel safe, for a little while.
He felt her relax against him and pressed his lips to her forehead. She sighed and cuddled in a little more. In minutes he knew from her gentle breathing that she had fallen asleep.
It was late and she'd had a terrifying experience. He was still feeling that terror himself. But she'd come to him. He would step up his efforts, find something to help her. He wasn't going to let her go. And for tonight, for tonight she could stay right where she was.