The impossibility of this falls short of convincing him it isn't true. She knows things, this person before him who is not in the least contained by the small space her body affords her.
"Not really," she amends. "I woke alone. But you might have been there. You should have been there." Her small hands reach for him, but she drops them to her sides again before he can accept her timid offer.
She continues to speak, and he is so overwhelmed by what she has already said that he cannot concentrate on hearing any further. He ought to focus, but he is taken with her right eyebrow, the familiar arc of it and the smooth expanse of her skin; and it is only when the brow furrows that he remembers to hear her words.
"I could smell you there, Mulder, when I woke. I don't know what the hell kind of detergent you use to cleanse bloodstains from grey fabric, but there is no other like it in the world. I -- Mulder, I can't keep doing this."
Doing what? he wants to ask, but that brow answers him with her tired concern. She cannot keep waking at night reaching for him if her arms continue to meet only empty space.
I know, he thinks, I know, I know, I -- God, Scully, I know, and I love you, I love you so much, but he doesn't say it, and neither does she; nor does she reach for him again.
"I woke in your arms, Mulder, and I don't really care if it was real." Her eyes brim with tears that neither of them brush away.
Come here, he thinks. Come on. Come with me. He does not touch her as he leads her from his sofa into the bedroom. Come here, Scully, sleep here.
She reaches out to touch the grey fabric again, running it beneath her fingers, its softness stinging her hand as the tears sting her cheeks. She leans her face into the softness as she sinks into his bed. Her tears soak it, soak him.
Shh, he means to say, Scully, and she does not answer.
He draws her toward him as she falls asleep, and he knows she feels him while she knows it can't be true.
"Mulder," she breathes in her sleep. "Please come back for me."
"I'm here, Scully," he whispers, and knows that he is not, that he is in a place unreal, but that he must come back for her, for this person who knows that he will.
26 August 2000