By Christine Leigh

Summary: Post-Existence. Continuation of the last scene in the episode.
Rating: G
Category: V, MSR
Spoilers: Existence.

May 2001

Mulder holds their son as he leans down to kiss her. They've had some fabulous kisses in the course of their romance, but this one bests them all. It is as though a magical cocoon is being woven in the golden light of the room, and for the first time in his life Mulder understands the hyperbole of a heart so full that it could burst. Can there be such a thing as too much love?

"There, there," he says to the soft noises his armful now makes. He then touches his lips to his son's tiny forehead. William is quiet.

"I think he knows you." Awe, happiness, incredulity, and fear are the frontrunners in the gamut of emotions that play across his face as he hears her say this. His legs are turning to jelly.

"I think I don't know what to say, Scully. This is all so . . ." Now he's blinking rapidly. The tears were probably inevitable, but he doesn't want to spend this precious time crying. They haven't said a word to each other about what comes next. That conversation will come later - later being an extremely relative term in their current situation. He wants to have a day without thinking about tomorrow; she wants a tomorrow that keeps him here and safe. What do you want, William? Do you know me? Will you remember me? He looks back to Scully. "It's overwhelming, but in the best way."

She's been calm through the drama of the past 48 hours. Will she look back one day, she wonders, and realize that she was temporarily insane? No, don't go there. It's not the insanity angle that bothers her, but the looking back. Never before in her life has she wanted to avoid reality as she does now. Even when dying she'd never been less than honest with herself about what was happening. She goes and sits down on the bed. Mulder follows. William's eyes are now closed. Side by side, they watch him sleep in his father's arms, the cruel beauty of the moment not yet acknowledged.

"Are you tired, Mulder? Or hungry?"

"I should be asking you the first question, and you should be asking him the second one."

"We'll know when he's hungry. Really, though, between Mom and Monica the kitchen has been kept well stocked."

"Not right now. I'll eat something before I . . ." Three fingertips, not his, are pressed against his mouth. She's right. They need this brief time together to be as unfettered by his future plans as is possible. He returns his gaze to his bundle. So tiny. But also sturdy. Mulder feels that, definitely. It comforts him. How is he going to be able to leave? There is one thing he is determined to say before. . . .

"There's something I'd like to say, Scully."

"Mulder, please . . ."

"No, this is a good something." He pauses. "I hope."

"All right."

"I wish the circumstances were different, but at the same time I know I've never been more certain about what I want." He takes her hand and kisses it. Despite a life lived to the contrary, he's never been happier. He is, in fact, a happy man. Their son is cradled on his lap and Scully's hand is in his. This is it. Whatever life they have ahead of them, ultimately, he wants the whole nine yards. Will she?

"Scully, will you, one day when the time is right, marry me?" He looks into her eyes. Dusky blue. If she says no, his heart will break a little, but he's used to it. He allows himself to blink.

She raises her hand to stroke his cheek, and then leans up to place a gentle kiss on his lips. "Of course I will." She wants to hold onto him forever and spins herself a story where as long as they never leave this room, everything will work out. This isn't denial. It's survival. A fleeting fairytale.

"Scully, I love you both in a way that I can't adequately describe right now." When the words come to him, where will he be? How many months will have passed? William will have grown. How much? He gives himself a mental punch. He can't do this now.

"For all time, Mulder. I love you for all time."

He delivers another punch, but it's no good this time; his feelings are too fierce.

"I want to stay, Scully." There. Now what? The last thing he wants to do is break both their hearts before going, and he is failing.

"You can't." She has never had more difficulty speaking.

"Tomorrow . . ."

"Tomorrow, we'll take pictures." Her voice is shaky. "I've received three baby books, and haven't had time to choose which one to use. Are you up for that?" She's trying so hard. Please, give us tomorrow.

"My artistic eye is yours."

A month or two? Possibly six. He won't consider that it could be a year. New fathers travel all the time for work; they go off to war. Which, in a way, is what he's doing. The risks are just as high or higher, but he will be back, and the three of them will build a life together. His beautiful son, still asleep on his lap, is proof that the seemingly impossible can happen.

Tomorrow will be the most glorious day.

~ End ~

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This story is (c) Copyright 2010 by Christine Leigh. "The X-Files" and its characters are the property of the Fox Network and Ten-Thirteen Productions and are borrowed here without profit or intent for profit.