Sleepwalking your Path by XSketch                                                                                              Home              
TITLE: Sleepwalking Your Path
SPOILERS: Three Words
RATING: PG-13 (some bad language and violence)
SUMMARY: Sometimes you need to see things through somebody else's 
FEEDBACK: It would make me the happiest person in the whole world!!!
DISCLAIMER: *sigh* Still not mine, which I guess means everything
you recognize from the show belongs to CC, 1013, Fox, yadda yadda
yadda - no copyright infringement intended.
ARCHIVE: Sure, as long as you let me know first.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Originally written for MR's 'Take a walk in my shoes' 
fic challenge in October 2005, but was never done in time and has 
taken a year to complete, so now it's ready for the Oct '06 MR 
'Abductions & Ructions' challenge. Thanks heaps to Lisa for the 
beta and pokes!


The rush of cold air forced across the room by the door's sudden, 
sharp closure wraps around the lone figure like a blanket as it 
slumps against its desk and into the shadows. The constricting grip 
of the chill and the extra empty air created by her departure should 
make him shudder, sob, feel propelled to chase after her and end this 
madness, but three months of unbearable torture and then three months 
of nothingness as he lay condemned six feet underground have left him 
robbed and bereft of emotions, motivation, or much of anything for 
that matter - resurrection gifted to nothing more than the shell of 
who he'd once been. So instead, the figure rests there and stares 
with unfocused eyes at the closed entrance to his apartment.


Frantic, fleeing footsteps slowed to a stop as Dana Scully reached 
her car. The key turned in the lock, but she was already seated and 
sobbing into trembling hands before it registered that she'd even 
opened the door.

"What have I done? What am I doing?"

He was home, they were together again...and yet they were more alone 
than they'd ever been. She didn't know what had just happened up in 
his apartment or why she'd been unable to stop herself from leaving 
before important words had been said...She didn't even know why the 
strong need to go back to her apartment now refused to let her be.

The only truth there was to know was that she needed him.

When the tears finally abated, hands lowered to rest on the mound 
under which their child kicked and shifted and grew, whilst her head 
dropped back against the seat's headrest - an exasperated, defeated 
sigh escaping.

The things they'd wanted to say hadn't been said, in turn silencing 
the words that *should* have been said in place of the silence and 
painful snipes. She knew it would take time for him to re-integrate 
and adjust to the life he'd returned to, but the emptiness in him 
when she'd looked into those eyes...the distance and coldness he'd 
put between them when he'd referred to her joy at having him back 
and their unborn child... Even if she'd stayed, any words would have 
been pushed aside by overwhelming sobs or the physical act of 
knocking the sense into him with a hard slap across his 
expressionless face.

Countless nights of lost sleep, days of stress, and months of 
emotional turmoil combined with today's new devastating blow had 
drained the adrenaline she'd been running on since his body had been 
excavated from every part of her being, and her eyes slowly slipped 

"If...if only I c-could...If only you knew..." she wished in a 
whisper, "how happy I am to h-have you back...what it's been like..."


TV couldn't help him forget the hollowness, let alone cure it, and 
even the porn that had once been his only solace failed to hold his 
attention for more than one minute. After two cycles through the 
channels, the man that doubted he'd ever feel like Fox Mulder again 
gave up trying to pretend everything was the same as it always had 
been and turned the box off before tossing the remote control in some 
direction or the other.

He shifted onto his back to stare at the ceiling above where he lay 
on the couch. The flashes of memory continued to torment his soul, 
leaving him to wonder if he would have been better off left in the 
cold, damp earth where the black void staved off the feeling of 
complete desolation, and the one person he cared for couldn't be hurt 
by his outward expressions that had so much more to do with his 
inability to deal with any of it than how he necessarily felt 
towards her. A large part of him knew the distancing tactic had 
been far from the right thing to use, especially considering her 
obvious attempts to grasp for dear life at their connection's 
tethering thread, and the emotional effect it had had on her when it 
had seemingly snapped beyond repair.

But *dammit*, he didn't want this pregnant, overly outwardly 
emotional Scully - he wanted *his* Scully! The Scully that had 
remained in his heart and mind throughout Their torturous procedures 
and stopped him from completely giving in or losing his mind...The 
Scully that he remembered had been worried and upset, but still 
refused to lose her composure as she'd let him go with Skinner for 
the flight to Oregon.

His Scully had been a five-foot-two pillar of strength that he could 
rely upon no matter what, and unable to conceive a child even after 
her precious Science had falsely raised her hopes.

This Scully's face was creased and torn by months of sleepless 
nights, panic, relentless searching and an endless stream of tears. 
Her voice was softer and occasionally much more hesitant - hormones 
smoothing out the cracks in her worn vocal chords after uncountable 
callings out of his name in a desperate bid to try bring him back 
with the sheer power of that alone.

In fact, this woman that had greeted him upon his return from the 
dead was so different from any of what he'd held so dear for so long 
that he couldn't believe she dared to bear Scully's name.

It just wasn't right, and that was why he hadn't stopped her from 
walking out the door.

Darkness consumed him, both inside the room and within his heart, 
and despite the fact that he'd been asleep for the past three months, 
the pull of Slumber's tide was too overwhelming.

"You'll never understand because I'll never be able to explain what 
I went through - what I'm going through," he lamented as his eyes 
closed. "I just wish things could go back to how they were before. 
I just wish you knew..."



Thunderous echoes of a large, heavy metal door crashing shut 
reverberated in the air and sharply awakened Scully's senses. Her 
eyes snapped open, expecting to look out through the windshield of 
her still-parked car... Except--

This wasn't her car - it wasn't even either of their apartments...
and the dim blue orbs illuminating the area from above where she 
appeared to be laying didn't belong to any place she'd ever been 
before. She tried to sit up--

And that was when the pain seeped in, tearing up her arms and legs - 
her cheeks burning as something tugged at them every time her head 
moved a fraction.

"You refuse to learn or submit," a voice intoned as a dark figure 
moved to loom over her. "It's just a matter of time now, and I 
promise that will be very short."

Aside from the stranger, the location, and the pain-inducing 
restraints, something wasn't right...She knew who she was, the hell 
she'd been put through over the past six months, and that she should 
be pregnant, but there were tears streaming from the corners of her 
eyes and...and there were thoughts, fears, in her head that felt like 
somebody else's - terror that 'she' wasn't okay, that the cancer was 
back...that he wouldn't see her again....?

What th--?

"Of course you can never see her again," the stranger's voice coldly 
dismissed as the ominous shadow moved away. "Not that that ever 
really bothered you, did it? After all, how many times did you ditch 
her so that she wouldn't get in the way? How many times did you lie 
to her to hide your true feelings? Her...soul, is it?...has been so 
tormented, she would make quite the specimen for us."

Fury beyond comprehension or anything she'd ever known came to a 
boil. "Leave her the fuck alone!" The body she had no control over 
frantically fought against the restraints, the overwhelming pain 
incomparable to its need to get out of here now. "You touch her, I 
swear I'll kill every last one of you as slowly and painfully as 

And then she realized what was wrong. The flat, breast-less and 
pregnant bulge-less expanse of torso, and that familiar deep, 
cracking voice...

She was Mulder - seeing things through his eyes, experiencing 
everything he had been through, an--

The disembodied voice let out an emotionless chuckle from somewhere 
to her - *his* - right, before sighing, "There's no time for idle 
threats, Mister Mulder. In time, she will be ours to work on again, 
but for now we have a few issues concerning your genetic makeup to 
contend with." 

This was confusing! She could feel everything - every muscle twitch, 
every nerve working overdrive as searing pain took hold, every 
conceivable emotion - that Mulder was, as if she were him, and yet 
she unequivocally was conscious of the fact that she was the partner 
he (and, in turn, she) was all-consumingly worried about. Two souls 
in one body: one the sufferer, one the tactile observer.

Without warning, a mechanical arm appeared from nowhere, and before 
there was time to question its purpose, two rotary saws on the end 
spun to life - their ear-piercing whirring increasing in volume as 
they first neared, and then easily cut into, Fox Mulder's chest.




The head snapped up as the sound of a pain-filled cry echoed within 
the remaining fragments of the dream, but as Mulder tried to make 
sense of it, the surreal feeling of being worried about 'him' and the 
fact that he was now in their basement office, the sudden need to 
spew his guts gripped at him with a force he'd never imagined 

"Goddammit...Not again..."

What the fuck?!

As the body shakily moved to a vertical position - holding at the 
edge of the desk for dear life - Mulder slowly came to the 
realization that he had no control over what it was doing or the 
thoughts that were washing over his consciousness. All he could do 
was observe and experience, but as pain wrapped around the strange 
body's ankles, pulled at its chest, tore up its sides, and gripped at 
its stomach yet again, the thought of that was far from appealing.

"You okay there, Agent Scully?"


Eyes eased open, the unavoidable need to vomit was pushed aside to 
save face, and thin hands he'd known, held and loved for years now 
were frantically pushing back disheveled strands of red hair before 
he'd even had chance to catch up with what was happening.

"I'm fine, Agent Doggett. I was just--"

"You were just gettin' a little shuteye?"

Despite the pain the unfamiliar thought processor knew would follow, 
her back straightened, and in that instant - as tired bones 
disapprovingly clicked into place - Mulder finally caught on to what 
was happening.

So much for investigative mind!

...Except, this *wasn't* his mind...

But he'd wished for her to know what he'd been through, so why was he 
seeing things through her eyes? This wasn't right at all!

Sleepy-but-determined eyes fixed a glare on the figure standing in 
the doorway, who casually sipped at his cup of coffee and stared back 
at her with a skeptical glare of his own. Before she had chance to 
respond, the newcomer shook his head and stepped into the office. 
There was something in his expression that made both Scully and 
Mulder feel pitied.

"I thought you were on your way home to pack for the flight?" Doggett 
commented, moving to sit at the desk in the corner of the office.

'Montana...' The fleeting thought passed through Scully's mind, 
shortly followed by even more thoughts of 'him' and the uplifting 
possibility of Hope. Suddenly Mulder's conscience was flooded by 
painful memories of what she'd been through over the passing months 
since he'd gone back to Oregon. It was all too overwhelming, and he 
was certain that if he'd been in his own body he would have surely 
wrapped both arms around himself and squeezed the life out.

"No, I uh..." She was fighting an internal battle over how much 
information to share with this man she still barely trusted, leaving 
Mulder to wonder how long it had been before he'd gained any of her 
faith. "The overnight bag is in the car already." She'd been 
sleeping at his apartment? Crying herself to sleep alone on his bed 
as she'd clung any item of his clothing that still had the slightest 
scent of him still on them tightly against her chest? "I just need 
to sort some of--...I need to finish some paperwork up before we 

He should've been there for her... To have been the one sitting there 
with her, holding her hand when the doctor had revealed the news of 
her miraculous pregnancy; to insist she take it easy at work; to take 
care of them both more than she would stubbornly allow him. He 
should have been there to stop or wipe away every single teardrop, 
dammit, and...

Oh, shit...



There was nothing.

No lights. No more sharp implements tearing or drilling through 
strained, bloodied muscles. No shadowed faces expressionlessly-but-
intently observing every test and procedure.

Nothing except pain, fear, claustrophobia, darkness, and the 
overpowering, worsening stench of dankness and decay, that is.

Scully didn't know which was more unbearable: the idea that she'd let 
them bury her very-much-alive partner, or the cacophony of thoughts 
that had whizzed around inside his head as he'd lain completely 
immobilized and trapped within the confines of the wooden casket.

'They put you here - nobody wants you.'

'She won't even remember you a week from now!'

'Please let her be okay...'

'You got what you deserved! Is this the truth you were looking for?'

'You're dead and you're going to be left alone with just your pitiful 
thoughts forever!'

'She'll be able to have a proper, happy life....unless it was the 
Cancer...Oh God...'

They were just a handful of the noises she was able to make sense of 
amongst the clatter, and she couldn't believe that despite all he'd 
been through and the terrifying, maddening predicament he was in now, 
his primary concern lay with her; as beaten, bruised and - in almost 
all literal senses of the term - dead he was, the state of her health 
and wellbeing was the only thing torturing his soul.

"You'll n-never know...I should have told you so many times..."


Surreal kicked up a gear and quickly shifted to Heart-wrenching. 
Memories from the day of the funeral returned to her, and that night 
when she'd been unable to stay away from his grave despite the 
insistent pleas from Skinner, the Gunmen and her mother to 'give it 

"What was it you said once? 'I don't wanna do this alone - I don't 
even know if I can'? Well, I can't, dammit! I've tried - I've tried 
so hard, but it's killing me inside and I'm just not strong enough 

'Scully, I'm here! Please hear me! Everything's gonna be okay, just
...just...Please, be okay...'

She wanted to hold him, soothe him, comfort him - assure him that 
everything was okay and that he would be out of this hellhole soon. 
She wanted to tell her past self that he could hear every word she 
was saying - that he wasn't dead.

But there was no escaping from this - this nightmare she was 
experiencing the re-run of, from the opposite perspective *had* 

And endurance of three more long, lonely, terrifying months of this 
before finally being 'unearthed' like some forgotten relic could 
never be soon enough...She was at breaking point already having only 
been in this part of his consciousness for twenty minutes...Even just 
a day would seem like an eternity, let alone a whole month or three!

'Mulder, I'm with you, *always*' she tried to assure him, wishing 
that their connection had the power to cross the boundaries of space 
and time. 'You have to know that. I wouldn't have let them do this 
to you if I'd known - I'm *so* sorry!'

Her wish didn't come true, however, and she felt the torturous 
turmoil surging through his paralyzed body stir to a higher level as 
he chanted to himself 'Scullyscullyscullyscullyscully'.

"What-- What am I supposed to do? What am I supposed to tell our 
ch-ch-child when...when he asks why his daddy isn't there to video 
his first Little League game? O-or when she cries on my shoulder 
because her father isn't there to give her away to her husband-to-
be?" A pause, a sniff and a sharp intake of breath from the figure 
that knelt on the damp surface of the earth six feet above. "What 
am I supposed to tell myself every second of the day...when I wake 
up alone each morning...or as I turn to tell our child that you 
would be so proud of them if I'd just listened to my gut instinct and 
refused to let you go back to Oregon? I-I should n-n-never have let 
you go back there!"

This was killing him, slowly and painfully, and Scully wanted 'out' 

'Imherescullyimherescullyim-- Child? What? Sc--...Our child? Oh my 
God, Scully...Scullyscullyscullyscullyscullyscully'

He'd heard every word she'd wept at that graveside, and suddenly the 
expression of dawning realization on his face as she'd tried to tell 
him about the miraculous pregnancy at the hospital made sense; 
suddenly everything about his cold attitude toward her made more 
sense than she'd dared to let herself imagine or comprehend. After 
months of tests and torture at the hands of the barbaric aliens that 
he'd spent mostly worrying over her health and how pissed at him 
she'd be for ditching her again whenever he returned, he'd then been 
condemned to this box for a further three months with only his 
endless, festering ruminations as company (besides the worms, of 
course) which she had only added fuel to with her regular, sobbed 

He'd not been able to question her about the wheres, whys and whos. 
His guilt-ridden brain had convinced him that she was having a much 
better and more productive life without him...

No wonder he was confused.

'I'll make it up to you, I swear,' she tried again, unable to avoid 
the crest of emotion that was threatening to crash over his mind in 
any instant. 'Everything will work out right - it has to.'

Despite the unlikelihood of a miracle, he did seem to actually relax 
fractionally shortly thereafter.


Everything was spinning out of control. Days of stark nightmares, 
sickness, emotional turmoil and wild panic had sped past within a few 
short hours, and the madness slowly seeping into Scully's senses was 
having a knock-on effect over Mulder's consciousness. 

Would this ever end? He'd realized his mistake of believing for one 
second that his disappearance had been easy on his partner or even 
helped to better her life...Surely he should be released from this 
now so that he could try make it up to her? 

Frantic footfalls across the cracked, wooded land slowed only 
momentarily as the stupid, bat-eared Doggett guy tried uselessly to 
keep her away from the truth she'd been searching for over the past 
three months...

And then everything slowed.



A world only tethered together by the thinnest strands of Hope fell 
into a million shattered pieces as her stressed, bruised, 
malnourished bones crumbled to the floor.

"No! Oh God, no...honey, no!"

It was the same feeling of emptiness that had consumed Mulder when 
she'd been abducted, but a million times worse - an empty wasteland 
sapped of everything it could have ever had to offer. He'd had an 
insight into what she'd been going through and the emotions that had 
been thrown into chaos by his disappearance and her unexpected 
pregnancy, but this...This was the final nail in the proverbial 
coffin that made him realize how lost she'd really always known 
she'd be without him by her side, and how much she loved him.

"He needs-- He needs help!"

'I'm so sorry,' he tried to tell her, knowing the words would never 
be able to change the pain he'd caused her firstly by going back to 
Oregon, and secondly by completely disregarding her since his 
return. 'I swear I'll make it up to you...You know I will, over and 
over again. Everything will work out - it just *has* to.....I love 
you too much to put us through this!'

Only...he *had* put them through this...


*I love you*

Eyelids flew open and a shuddering gasp of air was snatched in as 
sweaty fingers reached desperately for something - anything - that 
would give support and a life-saving connection to reality. It took 
several more moments and cleansing breaths, but finally the world 
spun back into focus and the final traces of the nightmare faded 

To punctuate the point, the miraculously-conceived baby kicked at her 

Dana Scully tentatively lowered a hand back down to rub across her 
abdomen and glanced into the windshield mirror at the reflection of 
the dark apartment building. A majority part of her wanted to run 
back upstairs and refuse to let him out of her tight embrace until 
he realized she would always be there for him, no matter how long it 
took him to find his feet again, but after witnessing what she just 
had there was also a part that insisted she give him the space he 
needed. Pushing too hard would not help his recovery or their 
relationship at all, and they would just have to take it one step at 
a time.

"We're always here," she whispered, pulling the driver's side door 
shut. "Don't forget that, and please don't take too long to realize 


The sound of a distant car door slamming shut caught the lone 
figure's attention as he sat on the edge of his leather couch rubbing 
furiously at the sweat bathing his face.

'You're such an asshole, Mulder,' an inner-voice sniped as he stood 
and moved to look out of the window over his desk. 'When is that 
gonna get through your thick skull?' Bloodshot, hazel eyes spotted 
her car as it prepared to leave the parking lot. 'There! You have a 
chance to make it up to her - to let her be your touchstone again. 
Don't throw it away after all you've both suffered!'

"Scul-ly..." Quiet and strained from the screaming he'd done whilst 
asleep, but the voice carried determination as Fox Mulder sharply 
turned on his heel and ran out of the apartment.



The car lurched to a halt and red hair whipped aside as she shot a 
glance over her shoulder at the echo of that familiar voice in her 
ear, and sound of something slapping against the vehicle's rear hood. 
After the debate they had just had up in his apartment, surely Mulder 
hadn't chased after her?


He was at the window beside her now, tapping urgently at the glass, 
and one look into those eyes that she'd stared into a million times 
before - found comfort in on countless occasions over the years - let 
her know that he'd chased after her as fast as his legs had managed 
to carry him. A little unsure of what to make of his sudden change 
of heart, she slowly lowered the window.

"You--...I thought you'd said all you wanted to say?" Dana croaked, 
finding it almost impossible to push the words past the ball of 
emotion blocking her throat. "...That...That you c-couldn't be 
around me right now..."

Eyelids slipped shut as Mulder gave a solemn nod of his head in 
acknowledgement of her words.. He couldn't take back what he'd said, 
and if he were truly honest with himself he wouldn't anyway, but he 
did need to apologize for not giving her a chance to explain anything 
and causing her so much more anguish.

If only he knew how to put it in more meaningful words than just 'I'm 

"I-I can't be around *me* right now," he tried, not looking up at 
her. Even the snort of irony sounded hollow. "I shouldn't around 
anything, even - I was dead...I should still be dead..."

Scully shook her head as she fought desperately against the urge to 
jump out of the car and throw both arms around him - knowing that if 
she did, nothing would be resolved and wounds would continue to tear 
them apart. "No matter what I say to the contrary, you won't believe 
me. No matter what I do to try convince you you're needed more than 
words will ever be able to express, you'll only push me even further 

"It's...It's not--"

"Look, Mulder, I..." She snatched in a deep breath and lowered a 
hand to rub instinctively over her pregnant bulge. "I understand 
what you're going through - what you fear and why you feel the way 
you do...What's happened to you is just too beyond belief to 
comprehend, but--..Maybe you're right - maybe you do need your own 
space for awhile...Drills, shadowed figures and being buried alive 
would drive me insane too."


One of her hands outstretched through the open window to grasp his 
hand. Mulder tensed at the contact briefly, but she felt his muscles 
relax as her thumb started to gently caress along the back of his 
fingers. "It doesn't matter, now. You're alive - you *are* - and as 
unimportant as that may be to you, to me it means more than the 
universe - more than my life a million times over. This time two 
weeks ago I was crying myself to sleep for the god-only-knows-how-
many-time, certain I would never see you again and that our child 
would never know their father..."

*What am I supposed to tell our child when...when he asks why his 
daddy isn't there to video his first Little League game?*

Mulder's head lifted as an inexplicable memory from his time in the 
coffin underground flashed to the front of his brain.

"I love you," she ploughed ahead, noticing but dismissing the dawning 
realization creasing and smoothing his features, "and regardless of 
whatever decision you make, nothing will ever change that." She gave 
his hand a squeeze and then released it. "Just believe me when I say 
that your ditching me to go on your own little ventures *never* broke 
my soul, nor did anything we went through over the years - not the 
cancer, or Emily, or Missy, or more injuries than anyone could ever 
imagine suffering in a whole lifetime let alone seven years. 
But..." A gust of wind picked up, and Dana briefly diverted her gaze 
to watch the leaves tumbling across the road as she struggled to rein 
in her emotions yet again. "Finding you in those woods...Finding you 
and touching your cold, lifeless body...F-finding y-y-you in that 
condition and then learning that there was absolutely *nothing* I 
could do to put color back into your gray cheeks - no way of making 
you o-open your eyes and breathe against my skin as I c-cradled you 
in my arms...That *did* break my soul - it damn near killed me!" 
Thin fingers curled tightly around the steering wheel. "Knowing 
I-I-I...I couldn't erase those chest-ripping razor-sharp saws or 
the t-tests they'd p-put you through before it had become too much...
I wish I could, I really do - I wish the last six-fucking-months 
hadn't happened! But they did, and the only thing we can do is try 
to work through the memories and look ahead, no matter how impossible 
that may seem. You f-fit in, M-Mulder, but you n-need to take the 
step and realize that w-w-without you I have nothing, and my life 
could never be b-better without y-you."

She'd said what she'd wanted to say - what she hadn't been able to 
say up in his apartment - and more, and there was no way she could 
spill anymore without completely breaking down or putting the health 
of their unborn child in danger. If it was enough to knock some 
sense into his scarred brain remained to be seen, but at least she'd 
tried to eradicate some of the fears she'd been witness too within 
the nightmare.

"I'll...I'll speak to you later..."

Her foot was about to apply pressure to the accelerator, when he 
suddenly reached into the vehicle, switched off the ignition and 
took out the keys.


"Please tell me you gave a monologue like that for my eulogy, 'cos I 
can assure you the oak structure of the casket wouldn't have been the 
only stretch of wood in that general vicinity."

Scully's jaw dropped as she stared at him and watched the flame that 
had once made him Fox William Mulder faintly flicker to life in his 
eyes and warm the smile that was lifting his left cheek. "What?"

He glanced down at the collection of keys in his hand and the Apollo 
11 keychain they were attached to.

'No one gets there alone.'

"You really shouldn't have run through the forest like that - you 
could've tripped and hurt the kid," he playfully chided, looking back 
up at her.

"How do you know--?"

"Like you said, it doesn't matter now - nothing matters now, 
except..." A pause for contemplation and then "Except that you get 
out of the car."

Despite her doubt at his sudden change of attitude, Scully opened the 
driver's door, but when she tried to step out of the vehicle a 
wave of exhaustion and inertia too powerful to fight took over her 
body and her head dropped back against the seat. Mulder quickly 
dropped to his knees beside her and reached for one of her hands.

"Are you okay?" he frantically asked in a voice she'd resigned 
herself to believe she'd never hear again after the cold, distant, 
hollowness she'd been given since his revival. "Should I call 911?"

Without hesitating to think of the best way to respond, she gave a 
gentle shake of her and locked eye contact with him. "I'm fine." 
Again a hand moved to rest over her abdomen. "I just wish I could 
untie those thoughts whizzing around in your head and cleanout the 
nasty ones. I want you back."

He wanted 'Scully' back but, even after all he'd experienced through 
her eyes, she was still too different from what he'd grown to love to 
make that possible. Of course change of some kind had been necessary 
over six months for a grieving, pregnant professional woman, but to 
him the trip with Skinner to Oregon had only happened a fortnight ago 
and things were going along far too quickly for his head to wrap 

"Things have just moved on without me so much," he confessed, moving 
his free hand to rest over the one she cradled her stomach with. 
"So, so much... Even though there are flashes of all that happened 
trapped in my head, to me it's like I left yesterday and it's just 
difficult - too painful, even - to accept that in fact you've been 
through six months of Hell. That none of this has been easy on you, 
and that you put that which you've always prayed for in danger 
because of your desperate search for me..." The tentative touch 
against her body grew in surety. "And...And I don't know if I can 
be--...I don't know if I'm the man you want anymore."

Scully let out a snort of laughter and leant forward to rest against 
him. "You silly thing," she sighed, pressing her face into the 
warmth of his chest. "God, really c-couldn't be more 

Their now-entwined fingers remained against her pregnant bulge as 
they both let their eyes slip shut and reveled in the close 
proximity of each other. As if sensing the ultimate yet slightly-
tenuous reconnection of the bond between his parents, their baby 
kicked at Scully's insides and both smiled at the intimate sensation.

"You got an athlete in there?" Mulder joked, anxiously awaiting the 
next kick and overjoyed when it came only thirty seconds later. He 
still had doubts about the paternal credit she insisted belonged to 
him, but the knowledge that there was a little Scully in there, 
growing against all odds in a supposedly-barren wasteland - 
conception blooming as he'd been dying, even after IVF attempts had 
failed - meant the world to him. As empty, lost and dead he'd felt 
four hours ago, in that instant he realized that the nightmare, the 
feel of his partner nestled under his chin and those two mind-blowing 
kicks were breathing the life back into him.

Fox Mulder was being reborn.

"A fighter," came the muffled voice vibrating against his pecs. "A 
mini G-person to fight the aliens in the future when his parents are 
too crazy and crippled to do anything but sleep in bed all day 
together. What d' you think?"

"Do you think you can put up with me that long?"

"As long as we're together, we can do just about anything."

"I guess I'd better order in the bedpans and hearing aids then."

The sound of laughter rolled and echoed across the silent car park as 
two souls reunited. As painful as it had been, they'd both taken a 
walk down each others' path, and the circular journey had led them 
back to one another - each where they truly belonged, better and more 
complete for knowing what had happened in their absence.

As tough as the months - maybe, even, years - to come would be, they 
would see it all through.

Together, they really could do anything.