Disclaimer: NONE, I repeat, NONE of the characters in this story are mine. In fact, the dialogue in the first part of it isn't even mine. It ALL belongs to 20th Century Fox, 1013 Productions, and Chris Carter. With this piece I am simply fixing a mistake that was made by Chris Carter while writing the script for The X-Files Movie. (That last statement is PURELY my opinion.) Tired

by conspiracy

Rating: PG

Classification: MSR

Spoilers: Fight the Future>P> Summary: What WOULD have happened if not for the $#@%*^ bee. ;)

The apartment building is cold, and a chill runs down my spine as the elevator doors open and I step into the empty hallway. Ohmygod, how am I going to do this? How do I tell him? How do I face him when all I have to say to him is my admission of defeat? How do I look into those piercing hazel eyes and say good-bye? I am at his door, and to my surprise, I find it slightly open. I peer through the crack and see him, sitting at his desk, looking through what appears to be an old family album of some sort. Panic and doubt surge through me one last time before I make up my mind. I nearly fling the door open in my hurry to make myself known before I change my mind. The words fly out of my mouth for no other reason than my need to say something before I am faced with his eyes. His passionate eyes that I fear I cannot turn away from if I dare to pause and look into them for even a second. "Salt Lake City, Utah, transfer effective immediately." He shakes his head, as if the motion itself could make my words disappear. I continue, rebelling against his denial. "I already gave Skinner my letter of resignation." Still, he won't face me. Perhaps he is afraid as well. Though how his facing me could threaten *him*, I don't know. "You can't quit, Scully." It is more of a statement than a plea. "I can, Mulder. I debated whether or not to even tell you in person because I knew-" Because I knew that even *one* of your pleading looks could do more damage than a thousand of my nights awake debating with myself. He shakes his head again, still looking down at the album. "We are close to something here." His voice rises in desperation. "We're on the verge-" "*You're* on the verge, Mulder." Finally, he faces me. He looks almost puzzled at my response, but how can he be? I'm nothing but a weight tying him down. He must realize that. But I have done what I swore I wouldn't let myself do. I have glanced at his eyes, and now it is impossible not to continue, to just leave without having convinced him- and perhaps more importantly, myself. Why does this have to be so hard? "Please- Please don't do this to me." He stares at me as if lost, not knowing how to deal with this new development, not knowing what to say to make me stay. He stands and takes a step toward me, motioning to photographs and files that litter the small apartment. "After what you saw last night- after all you've seen, Scully- you can't just walk away." "I have. I did. It's done." I know this argument has no real significance- I'm sure that Skinner will wait a few days before filing my resignation- but I need him to know that my mind is made up. Or maybe I'm the one who needs to be sure. "Just like that?" It's all I can do to keep my composure. If I lose that than I have nothing. Just the facts, Scully, I tell myself. That's the only way you're going to get through this. Funny that I have now taken to calling myself Scully in times like this, something that Mulder started. "I'm contacting the state board on Monday to file my medical reinstatement papers-" "I *need* you on this, Scully!" His voice is urgent. Again I wonder if he really means that, or if he is just saying it so that I won't leave. I feel a tinge of anger. I don't know exactly where it comes from, but I am thankful for the surge of adrenaline it gives me. "You don't, Mulder. You've never needed me. I've only held you back." I force myself to look away from him as the anger quickly recedes and I try to fight back tears. I can't let him see me cry. Not now. "I've got to go." I turn and walk out the door, frantically trying to escape before he can object any further. "You're wrong," he calls after me, following into the hallway. The anger once again surfaces. Why won't he just let me go?! "Why was I assigned to you?" I ask fiercely. "To debunk your work. To reign you in. To shut you down." His voice now takes on the same argumentative tone as mine, almost as if we were debating opposing views on a case. "No, you've saved me, Scully. As difficult and as frustrating as it's been sometimes, your goddamn strict rationalism and science have saved me a hundred times over. You've kept me honest. You've made me a whole person." I stare at him in astonishment as he continues, dropping his voice to just above a whisper, tender, almost apologetic. "I owe you so much... Scully, and you owe me nothing." I no longer feel threatened by his gaze, but am instead welcomed and relieved by it. His eyes reveal the honesty of his words. "I don't know if I want to do this alone. I don't even know if I can. And if I quit now, they win." I let myself stare into his eyes, pools of hazel, sincere. He steps closer and pulls me into a tight embrace as I allow a single tear to slide down my cheek, and I know that I can't leave him. I can't do that to him- or me. I step away from him momentarily and he stays completely still as I stand on tip-toe to tenderly kiss his brow. I then pull him down to my level and rest my forehead against his, gently rubbing the back of his neck with my right hand. I want to say something, want to somehow voice my gratitude to him, not only for finally saying the the words that I have needed to hear for so long, but also for believing them. For needing me. For appreciating me. Not able to find words capable of matching my feelings, I step away from him once more, leaving my hand to rest on the back of his neck, and gaze into his eyes again, hoping that my message might be conveyed through my own. His hands come up to softly cup my face, and I see in his eyes sadness and longing- and something else. I have waited and wanted for so long for Mulder to look at me like this, and yet I'm not completely sure that I'm ready for what will no doubt follow. I want this. But can I deal with it right now? What happens afterward? I don't know, I don't know! Ohmygod! All thought escapes me as he leans in to close the gap between us. For the first time in what must be a lifetime I am experiencing rather than analyzing. All I can feel are his hands on my back and neck and his lips on mine, his tongue passionately exploring the inside of my mouth. For a few endless moments, I can feel, smell, and taste only him. And then reality once again sets in. The implications and consequences of this one, simple act hit me like a physical blow, and I abruptly pull away. Mulder stares at me, questioning and obviously hurt by my sudden halt. I want so badly to erase the pain I see in his eyes with another kiss, but I know that I would only be getting myself deeper into something that I'm not sure I'm ready for. He starts to speak. "I'm sorry..." I cut him off with a shake of my head as I once again move into his arms for one last hug. He wraps his arms around me, successfully enveloping me in his embrace. After a few moments, he steps away from me, motioning towards his still open apartment door. "You wanna come in, talk for a while?" He can't possibly know how good that sounds, but everything is suddenly moving too fast. I need some time alone to collect myself, to sort out my feelings before I can discuss them. "I don't think that's such a good idea." His expression quickly changes to a mix between embarrassment and irritation, and it's hard to tell which feeling he is acting upon. "Okay, then." As he speaks, he is already backing up towards his doorway. "Fine. Will I see you tomorrow? No, you know what, I'll call you." He looks over me one last time before stepping across the threshold into his apartment. "So I guess I'll talk to you tomorrow." With that he closes the door. I flinch as I hear the dead bolt click into place and I stand completely silent, not an inch from the spot where we just kissed. Fighting back the tears that are beginning to swell in my eyes, I turn and begin to walk back towards the elevator. Approaching it, I raise my hand to push the "down" button, but it won't obey. Something tells me that if I don't act now, I may lose my last chance. But my last chance at what? A relationship with Mulder? God knows I've thought about it countless times, but is that what I really want? Do I want to jeopardise our friendship even further than we probably just did? Am I prepared to lose the closest friend I've ever had for something that I can't be sure will last? I don't know the answer to any of these questions. I don't know what I want. I am more confused now than I have been in all my life. I've always known what I wanted. Always known what I felt to be right. Even when I had doubts after joining the FBI against my parents' will, I still knew deep down that I had made the right choice. And now I am faced with something that I am completely unprepared for. Feelings that I shouldn't be having, that I have no idea how to deal with. I stand in the hallway, staring at the elevator doors for what seems like hours, though is probably only minutes. Then I come to a decision. Whatever my feelings may be or however I may chose to deal with them, I cannot let Mulder think that he did anything wrong. It can't hurt to talk. Slowly, I turn around and walk back towards his door. Approaching it, I pause only momentarily before lightly knocking. A few seconds go by before he opens the door hesitantly. He no longer looks irritated, but ashamed. It kills me to think that he feels guilty about wanting to kiss me. He begins to speak as he opens the door, revealing a dark room, illuminated only by the street lights that shine through the window. "Look, Scully, I'm really sorry about what happened back there. I-uh, I don't know what happened, I just thought..." "It's okay, Mulder." I go sit down on his couch as he closes the door and joins me. "I'm sorry for not coming in when you asked me. I just needed some time to sort things out. Everything was just moving so fast." "I know." He is looking down at the floor, unable to look me in the eye. "Mulder?" He looks up. "Yeah?" "Nothing." I don't know what I was going to say. I don't know how to convey my feelings to him. There are so many times when Mulder and I can communicate without words, but this situation is completely foreign to both of us, and neither words nor body language seem to be working. "I just want you to know that you shouldn't feel guilty for what happened in the hallway. I mean..." I try to search for better words, words that don't make it sound so much like a bad thing. "It wasn't... What I'm trying to say is that *you* didn't kiss *me*, *we* kissed. I... I got scared. I didn't mean to pull away so abruptly, I just got scared." We sit in silence for several minutes as he continues to stare down at his hands, weighing what I have said. "You... You don't regret it?" I am silent. I don't know how to answer. "I... Mulder..." He looks up at me, a horribly sad look on his face that breaks my heart. "No. I don't regret it." Again, silence. He looks me square in the eye, searching, though I don't know what for. "What would you say if I said that I don't regret it either?" He keeps his eyes on mine, and I stare into them, astounded at what I'm hearing. "What do you mean?" "I mean... I don't know what I mean, Scully. I'm just tired. I'm tired of going to bed at night thinking of you, but not being able to do anything about it. I'm tired of using any little excuse I can to be near you, to touch you. I... I'm tired of pretending that I don't feel anything more for you than friendship when I can't stop thinking that maybe it could be something more." He stares at me, waiting for a response, but I can't give it to him. All I can do is sit there, staring back at him, searching his eyes for some clue as to what he expects me to say, but none are present. Not receiving a response from me, he lets out a sigh and takes a deep breath. His voice is weary from exhaustion. "Listen, Scully, I don't need any response from you right now. If you don't feel the same way, that's fine. I just... I just thought we should get everything out in the open." On an impulse I reach over and take his hand in mine, and squeeze it softly. "Mulder, I... I do feel the same way. I just... I don't know if I'm ready to..." I let my voice trail off. The look he gives me resembles the one I saw in the hallway, and I am suddenly anticipating another kiss. I want this. He leans in slowly, but before he reaches me, I lean towards him and our lips brush against each other. His kiss is so soft, not as desperate as the one in the hallway. I want this to last forever. I don't want to face anything other than this moment. He slowly pulls away and stares at me, looking to make sure that I'm not upset this time. "Maybe you'd better go," he says finally. "Wha-" "Just trust me, we can pick up where we left off some other time, but right now I think I need some time to cool down." He smiles awkwardly. He cuts me off as I attempt to protest. "Scully, if you don't leave right now, I think I'm gonna have trouble keepin' it at kissing, and I think that'd just be taking it a little to fast." I let out a shy smile and stand up, heading for the door. "Good-bye, Mulder." "Good-bye, Dana." I almost burst out laughing at his use of my first name, but restrain myself quickly. Funny how my first name has somehow become more formal than my last. I close the door behind me and let a humongous, goofy smile that spread across my face as I head toward the elevator. I don't know where Mulder and I will go from here. I don't know where I want us to go. But for tonight at least, for the first time in years, I am truly happy.

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