She pressed 'save' then looked up from her laptop, stretching her neck. Her eyes fell on him. He'd fallen asleep on her bed, her pillow tucked up against him. She wondered if it smelled of her. Even as she thought it, he
burrowed his nose into it and relaxed even more.
He looked damn comfortable. When they'd returned from the sheriff's office he'd ducked in his room, and changed into cut-off sweats and one of his older gray t-shirts. There was no shape left to the shirt on its own, molding
to his body like a second skin.
How did he do it?
Today, in the sheriff's office, he'd met scorn, ridicule, out right disbelief and . . . and he'd risen above it all. They had treated her with respect at least, even compassion when showing her the photos of the victims. They'd
treated her like a woman and him like a pariah.
It must have been hard for the good old boys to come to her instead of him with information. They just didn't realize how lucky they were he'd made his leap and saved at least two lives, probably more.
At the office he'd been professional, distant almost to the point of arrogance. They hadn't seen it as a protective device - only a handsome kook, in an expensive suit, that they didn't want to listen to, especially when he'd
been proven right.
But here, here he was completely vulnerable. Here he wasn't afraid to be himself any longer. He felt safe showing his vulnerability to her. Why couldn't she do the same? She knew he loved her. She had known it for a while,
but she couldn't drop her own guard.
It really was ironic - everyone thought of him as the consummate loner. People thought she drew him out, made him more sociable. It wasn't true. He craved friendship, companionship, acceptance - he'd just learned after so
many years to live without it.
She . . . . she didn't even try. The constant moving as a child, the fights to be accepted in a man's field, first in physics, then medical school and finally the Bureau, had only reinforced the walls she had built around herself.
No one got too close, it was safer.
Then this insecure, gorgeous nerd of a man had wormed his way past her defenses. It had been so subtle. She hadn't seen herself fall for him, and she certainly hadn't wanted to fall for him. She'd made the mistake of dating
co-workers twice, with disastrous results both times. No, he had just been her partner. Hadn't she described him as a jerk to Ellen all those years ago. She had believed it at the time. She had only just begun to glimpse how
needy he was back then. It had never crossed her mind that she would, or even could, ever fill that need, or that he would fill hers.
He had, completely, so why couldn't she show it? Why had she set up rules and barriers and . . . and kept him at arms length? He was precious to her, so much more than she had realized just a few short weeks ago.
She had been shaken to her core, Pfaster had violated her home, her sense of self and she had murdered him. That was the only word for it; it wasn't self defense though Mulder had reported it as such. Then he had cocooned
her from the rest of the world, taking her to his apartment keeping everyone, everything else away. Once there, in the safety of his home, she had shattered into a million pieces. He had quietly and patiently picked up each piece
and reassembled her, holding her back together with his love. He'd put her in his bed and held her through her nightmares that night. Sometime during the night, it had changed - she no longer asking merely for comfort, he
allowing her to see his true feelings.
He had been worried when she woke, so frightened that he had abused her trust, taken advantage of her in her distraught state. She had been able to convince him that wasn't the case and his relief had stunned her. She
had had to face the fact that this man was so very much more than her partner. He was . . . he was quite simply the man she loved.
So why the hell was she keeping this distance now? He wasn't. He was as open and honest about his feelings toward her as a puppy. He was so delighted to be able to touch her, to hold her, to watch her in the privacy of
their homes and even out here in the field on occasion.
As she watched he snuggled even deeper into her pillow, breathing in her scent. "Mmm, Scu . . . "
She rose and quietly closed her laptop, then moved toward the bed. She just wanted to look at him, watch him sleep. He seemed to feel her near him and stirred. He looked up at her, guiltily, "Sorry, I didn't mean to fall asleep."
She didn't speak, sitting beside him and brushing the hair from his forehead as he smiled up at her sleepily. "Mulder, do you know how much I love you? How important you are to me? Do you know how happy I am that you're
in my life?"
He blinked up at her, mouth slightly open. "What . . . what did I sleep through?"
"Just some soul searching."
He waited, totally unsure of what to say.
"Want to know what I found?"
He slowly nodded his head
"You. I think . . . I think you are my soul."
Now he watched in wonder as she stretched out beside him and cuddled into his chest, making herself comfortable against his heart, where she belonged.