With his ears deadened by the inane chatter of strangers all around him, Mulder almost misses the quiet snick of Maggie Scully’s back door closing. He’s pretty sure there’s only one person it can be, and a quick glance around the room, at all the distant relations and family friends he’s never met- or heard of, even- confirms it for him: Scully’s fiery hair is notably absent. Looking over at Mrs. Scully, he sees her daughter’s exit has not been wholly unnoticed, and with a quick jerk of her chin, Maggie gives Mulder permission to go after her. Which he does. Gladly. He’s a curiosity to these people, Dana’s crazy partner who believes in flying saucers. More a museum exhibit than a real person.
Scully’s an exhibit, too, in her way. Poor Maggie’s daughter who’s dying of cancer.
No, not dying. Don’t say that. Don’t even think it.
Outside, his breath clouds the air in the February chill. The yard is completely dark; Scully didn’t turn on the porch light before her escape. It takes a moment for his eyes to adjust enough to make her out, sitting on the porch steps, her back firmly to the warmth and light inside the house. Mulder slowly crosses the porch and sinks down next to her, his side brushing hers, just barely checking the urge to put his arm around her shoulder. She doesn’t want that, not now- he can see it in her face.