She opened the door to his apartment to let him in. He didn't want to show how weak he still was, but was pretty sure hiding it from her was impossible. At least she'd recovered fairly quickly.
He made a beeline for the couch and sank onto it as she moved toward his kitchen. As she expected, there were a couple of bottles of Gatorade in his refrigerator and she took one to him. He was already almost asleep but was sitting up, probably in deference to her. His shoes were off, under the coffee table and his legs were stretched out, his stocking feet resting on the table. His head was nodding down toward his chest.
"Mulder? Drink this first, then you can go to sleep."
He opened one eye and looked at her. "I'm beginning to hate that stuff."
"I know, but you have to keep your electrolytes up. Come on, drink half of it then a nap."
The trip had taken all of his stamina and it brought home again how close it had been. Their skin texture had returned to a more normal level, at least neither of them looked ninety anymore. She wanted to put her arms around him, but that was nonsense.
"Go on, Mulder. While you're asleep I'll go get some groceries and fix us some dinner."
"We could order - "
"No. You need something a little easier on the stomach, which gives you a better chance of keeping it down."
He met her eyes and nodded.
She was pretty sure he was asleep before she left the apartment. She hurried to get back to him. He should be okay for this short a time, but this time had been just a little too close for him.
The aroma woke him and he looked around. Home? He was in his apartment, yeah, he and Scully had been released finally and she'd brought him home. He managed to sit up and as a precaution, took another swig of the Gatorade before trying to get to his feet.
He was fairly steady. He headed toward the kitchen and spotted Scully at the stove. The sight stopped him for a moment. It looked right somehow.
She must have heard him, because she turned and smiled at him then. "How are you feeling?"
"Hungry," he responded.
"Good, have a seat. This is ready; it's on the bland side, but it won't be long before you can scarf down a greasy pizza again."
He tried to glare at her, but she only chuckled as he took his seat. She ate the same meal as him to his surprise. She had regained her health, and youth, much more rapidly and though he knew it was because of his dehydrated state when it all started, he was pleased to see her improvement.
She refused him seconds of the dish, reminding him he had to take it slowly and to be honest, he was more tired than hungry when he had cleaned his plate.
"Go get ready for bed."
"I should handle clean up," he challenged.
"Next time. Go on."
He didn't argue, his stamina was gone and the thoughts of a good long sleep on his own couch were overwhelming now. He headed for the bathroom, then stopped and turned back.
"No problem." She watched him move out of sight and closed her eyes again. So close.
He emerged shortly wearing old sweatpants that had been washed to nearly threadbare. There were holes at the left knee and thigh. His t-shirt wasn't in any better shape, with holes at the neckline and below the nipple on the right side. He'd never looked sexier and it wasn't just because he was commando under those sweats. She looked away at the thought.
She heard him sink down on the couch again and headed that way. "Here, take these." This time she handed him water and he took it gratefully, downing the pills.
"You should head on home, Scully. You've got to be tired too."
"In a little while. Stretch out and get comfortable. I know you're glad to be back on that couch again."
He grinned tiredly. "Yeah, I am." He got comfortable and looked up at her. "You sure you're okay?"
"I'm fine, really," she said at his expression. "I'll lock up, just go on to sleep."
She was certain he was asleep before the words reached his ears. She stood watching him, appreciating the rise and fall of his chest, grateful for the movement. He was down for the night, she was sure of that, but she didn't want to leave.
She had truly thought she had lost him when he had fallen asleep for that last time on the ship. She had never expected to wake up herself. She could stay here for a little while, just to ensure . . . Oh hell, she wanted to stay.
Scully took a seat at the far end of the couch, gently lifting his feet into her lap. He didn't stir. She got comfortable, curling around his feet and resting her head against the back of the couch.
He didn't know what woke him, but it took him a second or two to recognize his apartment. He had made it back once again, thanks to Scully. The place even had her scent and . . . she was here. He focused on her sleeping at the other end of the couch.
She'd stayed for him. Stayed to make sure he was okay, regardless of her own recovery.
She'd get a stiff neck if she slept like that all night. He rolled to his side, pressing his back against the back of the couch, and pulled her down beside him. She didn't wake, just got comfortable against him. He smiled as he looked down at her. "Thank you for growing old with me." He placed a kiss on her cheek and settled in beside her, holding her to him.