nr 6 and msr please! I love you!
Dear lovely anon, thank you so much! Here we go. Set in season 6.
a sunny Tuesday afternoon, the late sunlight glowing in your hair’
He’s been planning it for months.
Long months spent running after shadows, as always, trying to escape ex-girlfriends, not so common, and trying to find a way back to each other. He feels like maybe that’s their thing, after all.
The first it happens it’s messy and unplanned. Born out of pure relief; he’s alive, she’s alive and he’s in his time, with her, giving him The Look and she doesn’t believe a word he’s saying. His I love you is thrown away like the punch her alter-ego directed at his cheek; still burning when he woke up. Just like her ‘oh brother’ stings, just deeper, more profoundly.
So after that he plans. He doesn’t tell her when she asks him if he ever wants to get out of the car. He doesn’t want to and maybe that’s why he jokes, doesn’t say what’s really on his mind. I love you, he thinks, and I want to spend the rest of my life doing this with you. Driving on a deserted highway in the middle of nowhere, chasing answers to questions no one else even thinks about. The rhythmic roll of the tires screeches I love you with every inch traveled. The words never land on his tongue, though, and so he doesn’t tell her.
Mulder whispers I love you to her when she’s forced to share her hotel room and her bed with him in Kroner, Kansas. She’s fast asleep, her even breathing never once missing a beat. A perfect rhythm that he watches silently, guiltily if he’s honest because he knows she hates it, feels embarrassed by it. Watching her then he thinks of later, planning to tell her when the case is over. Look at me, Scully, I don’t want to be like Holman. I can’t make the weather for you, but I can tell you that I love you. He doesn’t, though.
Christmas comes and goes without a single I love you uttered. When Diana strolls into their life, her feelings ever present on her face and her tongue, his plans are crumpled up like a piece of paper, forgotten in his favorite pair of pants. He thinks it still, sometimes, when Scully looks at him, raises her eyebrows and questions his loyalty. I love you, he thinks, but can’t tell her because she wouldn’t believe him anyway. She walks away from him, their shared trust trampled under her heels as she leaves him standing there. He pushes his hands in his pockets, empty, like his mind.
He tells everyone but her that he loves her when they go undercover as a married couple. My wife, who I love. My wife, who I adore. She rolls her eyes, thinking he can’t see it or simply not giving a damn. He at least hopes it’s the first. One night, while on the couch in a strange house, playing a role he hates opposite the woman he loves more than anything else in the world, he decides that it’s time. As soon as this is over, he promises. He’ll tell her. He’ll tell her he loves her and she’ll believe him. He falls asleep before he can have any doubts; when does Scully ever believe the same thing he does?
Months pass and his plans get derailed again. Gun-shot wound to the abdomen and he loses his courage touching her hand, warm and steady. His gratitude of being able to touch her, to see her there is greater than his need to tell her. She wouldn’t believe him anyway, he thinks bitterly, as she tells him she’s fine and to please stop babying her. His courage leaves him again a million times over on a Monday that repeats itself again and again, like a bad, broken record. Like that outcome, maybe it’s just not meant to be.
The day is perfect. He leaves a message on her answering machine; he knows she needs a reason for everything. A simple I want to spend time with you outside of work and government conspiracies is not going to cut it. A birthday present, either way too late or way too early, might put a smile on her face, lure her out. He can’t stop grinning when she shows up, humors him and lets him hold her. Her hair tickles him, her scent entices him as they stand close, molded together for no other reason than wanting to be. It’s the perfect day. The moment she makes contact, when her eyes watch the ball fly in amazement, just watching, marveling, is there. I love you, I love you, I love you. He wants to scream it into her ears, rather than say it, but instead he just grins against her skin, takes everything he can have. He doesn’t say I love you, again.
When it happens, finally, on an average Tuesday afternoon, they’re both tired and sticky. Having spent half the day in a rented car without air conditioning, Scully furiously trying to tame her hair and Mulder giving up on his dress shirt desperately and hotly clinging to his back, they decide to stop at a diner. Order me something cold, Mulder, Scully lets him know before she makes her way into the bathroom. He orders a coke and a diet coke with extra ice and waits for her at the car, unwilling to go back in just yet. He absent-mindedly plays with the straw, occasionally taking a sip, reveling in the sweet, cold taste he knows will make him sweat even worse. Then she starts walking towards him. Mulder lifts his head the moment he hears the cheap bell over the door ring. It’s Scully, all right. She’s opened another button on her blouse, still tasteful, still professional, and her face looks flushed, devoid of make-up. Her hair, previously having stuck to her neck, gently flaps against her cheeks now. Scully’s mouth opens as she walks towards him and he thinks she is going to say something. But he wants to say it first. He could tell her about the blazing color of her hair right now, how the late sunlight captures her color perfectly, transforming it into a gentle fire, burning him. Waxing poetry, though, that’s not what she needs. Or wants.
“Scully, you look…” The words shoot out of his mouth and when she glances at him, her hand reaching for her diet coke, he knows this is the moment. He couldn’t have planned this. This is not how he wants to tell her, and yet this time, he does.
“I love you, Scully. I love you.” He repeats it as if saying it more than once will make her believe it this time. She, however, cups her drink, captures the straw and takes a sip. His heart beats, waits, beats again. Say it again, he thinks, tell her you mean it, his mind demands.
“I know, Mulder,” Scully tells him and her voice is as gentle as the breeze, as soft as the sunlight caught in her hair, “I love you, too. I was just waiting for you to say it again.”