standalone; pg-13; fluff + angst; msr; through the years;
A/N: This got a little away from me. They’re not all piggy back rides, sorry! But the sentiment is there. Send me prompts!!!
He laughs at her silently for a full five minutes before he figures he should help her. Besides, he’s depending on a breeze just as much as she is. The basement office A.C. unit is never a priority for the maintenance staff.
Would it be possible, really, for him to tell her to move out of the way so that he could open the window himself? Maybe. Would it be nearly as fun? No way in hell.
She reacts predictably when he sneaks up behind her and grabs her by the waist. She kicks at him even as he’s hoisting her in the air, a squirming, seething, five-two mess, but she dutifully unlocks the basement window and shoves at the panes while she shouts out curses from above him.
He stalls for a moment with her in the air because it’s pissing her off and, honestly, disturbingly, he enjoys the closeness. But he’s very careful to keep his distance when he sets her down, backing away in record time.
He lets her cuss him out and stomp around the office in her best She-Hulk impression, but it’s hard to miss the little curve of her lips and the light in her eyes.
He’s wired on sheer gratitude right now. Nothing else could explain his ability to throw the dead weight of his naked partner over his shoulder and plow steadily over the icy terrain, when just moments ago he was succumbing to a certain frozen death.
He’s just so happy to see her. She’s so small, though his fatigue makes her the heaviest thing he’s ever carried. There is no where for them to go, but he is dead-set on carrying her until they find shelter or they freeze to death where he’s standing, with her curled over his back like a sack of potatoes.
He spots a watch tower in the distance.
If she wants to kill him, let her. The blood on her shirt is seeping through his own and for a second too long he’d been so sure her heart was gone, her heart, that important little piece of muscle that he relies on a hell of a lot more than she does.
She doesn’t fight him, though. She clings to his arms like a straight jacket. In his haze of selfless selfishness he realizes that there are agency issues at play and he wants to give her a choice for once, so he transfers her onto his back and feels too much when her legs wrap around his waist.
Their tentative foray into physical intimacy has meant a lot of things, to his soul and to his dick, but mostly it means she can relax around him now. She has this laugh that used to make an appearance about once a year, his absolute favorite cryptozoological creature, but now he hears it once a day.
And they touch, too, not those desperate little end-of-the-world touches, not even just sexually, but they hold hands during out of office lunch breaks and sleep on each other in planes – on purpose.
Today she’s helping him clean his bedroom because she trips every time she stays the night. The frustrated edge to her voice, the one that used to infuriate him but now just makes him smile, owes to his refusal to throw anything out.
“This magazine is thirteen years old!” She huffs out, jerking it wildly in the air. The movement causes the centerfold to fall out and her eyes do that twitching thing she does when she can’t believe this is her life.
“It’s a collectible,” he shrugs. She lets out a heavily put-upon sigh and throws it in the keeper box. Time for a break, then.
“C’mon, Scully,” he nods his head to the door and moves to get up. “I bought some of that unsweet tea sacrilege and a frozen pizza.”
“Lucky me,” she grumbles, rolling her neck until she hears a satisfying crack and getting up to follow him into the kitchen.
There’s a sudden all-consuming need to hear that laugh just once today, along with the bittersweet realization he’ll probably never get to carry her over any threshold. Her back is to him as she leans against the counter, taking greedy gulps of her disgusting plain leaf water, and she barely even startles when he scoops her up from her knees.
“Mulder,” she warns. Ooh, those are some cold eyes, Scully. He smiles at her dumbly like she’s a fairground prize he’s escorting out of the themepark. “Mulder.”
“Nice to see you, Scully. Come here often?”
She does the twitch thing again. Then her arms thrust out resignedly, and she demands: “Your back.” Mulder doesn’t waist any time, her knees cradled under the backs of his elbows, and oh, yes, there is that laugh again.
Sometimes he carries her like that out of the car and into motel rooms because half-asleep is the only way she’ll let him.
Her fidgeting is distracting only because she never does that. The sight of it is extraterrestrial in nature. The rocking chair she’s abusing is making stumpy little noises against the raw wood and Mulder needs her to stop before she leaves scuff marks.
“Mulder, what if he doesn’t like the mattress we picked out?” She asks in a watery voice. “Maybe it’s too soft.”
“It’s not too soft,” he says patiently.
He should be watching the winding driveway but he keeps his eyes on her, worried that she might topple over. He puts his hand over the one that’s clenching around the armrest and they both look out in front of them.
When a little car finally pulls through the gate, just barely in their eyesight, he wants to start fidgeting, too. But he forces himself to stand up on shaky legs and brings her up with him.
They can’t bring themselves to stand there on the porch when he’s right there, can’t bring themselves to spend one more moment wishing he’d come to them. No, they’d come to him.
But her legs are too wobbly. She almost trips down the steps and he needs an excuse to stop himself from crying anyway, so when her feet hit the ground he’s bending over and pulling her to him. He is sick with relief when she takes the hint and climbs up on his back, and they stay that way the whole walk there, right until they meet that little car in the middle.