Scully rocked on the floor holding Mulder tightly and whispering words of comfort for several long minutes.

After a while, he seemed to quieten and she pulled back and looked down at the side of his face...his cheek was resting on her shoulder, his eyes closed.

"Mulder, why don't you go and get a shower? Then maybe you can try and eat something? It's been hours, you need…"

His head lifted slowly and his eyes flickered open to meet hers dazedly.

"A shower?" He asked quietly, as though checking his instructions.

"A quick shower, Mulder. I'll make…" Scully paused and imagined what could be the contents of Mulder's kitchen. She smiled at him gently, "Mulder, do you even have any food?"

Scully was shocked to feel his hand grip her sides a little too tightly and she gasped in pain.

"Please, don't leave me alone…" He hissed quietly.

Scully was almost sure that she felt rather than heard his quiet plea.

She instinctively leaned forward and pressed her lips to the warm-soft skin at the base of his neck. "I'm not going anywhere, Mulder, not tonight. Tell you what, I'll order in…" she started to pull back and stand, the muscles in her long forgotten legs shouting out in protest at the awkward position they had been forced to maintain for so long.

Carefully tugging herself from his grasp she stood gingerly and then held out her hand, "Mulder, stand for me…" she asked softly, "…let's get up off this floor."

The room was dark. It felt completely drained of the familiar warmth she usually felt when visiting her partner's home. Her mind drifted back to evenings with guns raised in fear…to a body on the floor…to words exchanged in anger.

Times when his apartment felt...cold.

Times when her Mulder had felt so far away.

She tried again.

"Mulder…" she said softly with tears in her eyes.

He looked up at her this time, his vacant stare seemed to look straight through her.

"Please take my hand, Mulder," She tried again feeling her heart pound in her chest. Please, come back to me.

He held her gaze and then slowly reached up to slip his hand into hers. She tugged gently and felt her partner pushing himself up off the floor.

"You'll have a quick shower? It's been a long day…" she looked up into his blank expression. "For me?" She added hopefully.

Mulder's teeth grazed his bottom lip quickly and then he looked down at the floor.

"I'll order food…" Scully suggested again.

"I'll be…right out…" Mulder whispered stiltedly and then he turned to walk slowly towards the bathroom.

She listened to the sound of the water turn on and his clothes slowly drop to the floor.

It sounded as though the doors were open…that felt important right now, neither of them needed closed doors.

Scully was suddenly aware that she was meant to be doing something but found herself staring at the door her partner had just walked through. Fear, sadness, anger and grief flooded through her and lead to inaction.

Mulder needed her right now and suddenly he felt a million miles away…behind those two open doors.

A loud groan shook Scully from her thoughts and she rushed through those doors and back to his side.

He sat in the bathtub - knees pulled up close to his chest, eyes clenched closed and freezing cold water streaming down his quickly reddening back.

"Mulder!" Scully hissed in pain and anger. Her tears welled and then rolled down her cheeks as she watched him rock slightly under the burning-cold cascade.

Quickly reaching for the temperature she adjusted the flow to a gentle warmth, not hot enough to shock his cold body but warm enough to be comfortable.

Then without thinking she rushed to strip her clothes. She tossed them near his on the floor, pausing briefly before removing her underwear then climbing in and tucking her body tightly behind his.

Her legs rested alongside his, her arms tucked around his waist, her palms against his chest pulling him close - her breasts pressed solidly against his broad back.

"I'm here, Mulder…" She whispered softly.

Once again Scully felt rather than heard his answering sob.

"I'm here…" She repeated, tears still flowing down her face as the warm water cascaded over them both. She turned her head slightly and pressed her lips between his shoulder blades. "I'm here…I'm here…I'm here..." she repeated against his skin.

They remained like this for several long minutes, her hands firmly against his chest, her lips and forehead pressed into his broad back. Her words occasionally slipping from her lips like a litany…an oath…I am here, Mulder.

His first words in many minutes came quietly and slowly, "Please, don't leave me…"

Scully shook her head, her fingers gripping his chest and repeating her promise, "I'm here, Mulder."

"Ever…" Mulder clarified, he choked a little on the word and his head dropped forward. "Please, don't leave me alone."

His words sounded weak, like a child on their first day at school begging his mom not to leave through that gate and abandon them to this terrifying and unfamiliar world.

"Ever," Scully vowed firmly. She kissed him everywhere her lips could reach, her palms sliding firmly over his chest and stomach. "Ever," she repeated, "…'re…my...whole world."

Mulder gasped and brought one arm to hold her hands to his chest and the other to hold one of her legs tightly against his.

Scully hissed in shock at the fierceness of his grip and closed her eyes. "Mulder…" she hissed against his back.

"You're all I have now," Mulder whispered forcefully, his voice sounding a little stronger and more determined.

Scully peppered kisses over his skin, her fingers linking with his. "I love you, Mulder," she whispered firmly. "You will never be alone, I'll always be with you, I'll always be...yours."

Mulder sobbed, then suddenly pulled out of their fierce embrace and turned towards her.

Scully found herself lying naked on the bottom of Mulder's tub, his broad frame shielding the flow of water as he kneeled between her legs and looked down with fire in his eyes.

Mulder stared at her with a ravenous gaze - his eyes roving over her body and lingering on her taut nipples.

"Mulder…" Scully whimpered and licked her dry lips, she glanced down at his straining erection and moaned.

"You're…mine?" Mulder asked, his expression dark and possessing.

Scully started to speak but her voice failed her...then she shuddered and felt her skin pucker.

"You're cold?" Mulder asked with genuine concern, his huge hand moving automatically to her waist.

Scully bit her lip and strained up towards his warmth, "A little…" she whispered tearfully.

Without another word, Mulder climbed out of the tub, turned off the water and then bent to lift Scully into his arms. She gasped at the feeling of his warm skin against her body as he carried her over to the sink, then gently let her down to her feet and wrapped her in a towel that was large for him and engulfed her completely. He worked quickly, drying her skin carefully without even pausing to think of his own state of undress.

Finally, he tucked the sheet around her and then reached for a smaller towel and brought it to her head. As he rubbed her hair gently their eyes met again and he smiled at her tenderly, "You feel a little better? Warmer?"

Scully's eyes welled with tears again; partly touched by his concern and partly out of relief. He was here with her now. Her Mulder.

"I love you, Dana Scully. You do know that?" Mulder asked.

Scully's mouth opened and then closed again, unsure of what he was saying and scared to assume...

"I've been so in love with you for so long," Mulder confessed quietly as he gently rubbed the towel into her hair. "You're all I have now, Scully. I'm terrified, but if you could even consider...I mean, if you could…" he shook his head with frustration at his inability to find the right words. "I know I don't deserve you…" Mulder paused and stepped a little closer, he brought the towel away from her head and smiled down at his diminutive partner, "…but, God Scully, I want you."

She shuddered at the rough timber in his voice, "…I just want to take your pain away."

Scully gasped when Mulder's mouth immediately covered hers, she felt his tongue thrust inside and explore her hungrily. She accepted his voracious assault and struggled to keep up as her hands slid up his back to pull him closer.

...Then she suddenly remembered his state of undress.

"Mul…" She groaned as he pulled back a little but remained close. "Mulder, you're…naked…" she smirked against his lips; her laughing eyes finding his own sparkling gaze.

"If someone had told me earlier that this day could be…" Mulder stopped talking and shook his head with irritation.

"What, Mulder?" Scully encouraged gently - luxuriating in the feel of his warm body pushing her firmly against the bathroom cabinet.

Mulder chuckled awkwardly and ran his hand through his wet hair. "It sounds awful, I can't…"

"You can tell me anything, Mulder, you know I won't judge you…" Scully insisted.

"This is the happiest moment of my life," Mulder whispered guiltily. Scully looked ready to speak words of comfort but Mulder shook his head and continued, "I grieve my mother, Scully. Her pain…our relationship…what we all became. I felt so alone…and so guilty for not doing more…"

Scully started to speak again, but Mulder brought his hand up quickly to rest two fingers on her lips.

"I couldn't have known what she was going to do, Scully. Intellectually I can accept that, but it might take a while for me to…process," Mulder assured her softly.

"You will always have me," Scully spoke gently against his lips, "…all of me."

"I think I felt alone every single day of my life before I met every single relationship I've ever had," Mulder confessed as his fingers stroked the back of her neck.

"Mulder," Scully whispered softly.

"You might not have always believed in my truth, Scully, but you've always believed in me. You've shared my burden...and maybe in doing so you also freed me to fall in love with you." He looked down to see her chest heaving against him, the top of her breasts swelling above the towel. "Can I…?"

"Mulder?" Scully breathed out shakily, the mood in the small room shifting again.

"Can I feel you against me?" Mulder asked awkwardly and looked into her eyes, his tongue flicked out to run over his lips and Scully glanced down.

Mulder's feet shifted a little and Scully felt his cock hard and eager at her hip.

She closed her eyes.

"I'm not going to rush you…" Mulder whispered softly, he stepped back a little sensing what he thought was fear. "We can dress, go through to…"

"This isn't…." Scully paused, suddenly terrified of saying what she needed to say and hurting his feelings.

Mulder closed his eyes, fearing rejection in spite of the words they had already exchanged. What if he had read this situation wrong? Confused her true feelings in the flood of his own.

"You're hurting…you're upset…." Scully started softly, "…but please understand that I need to preserve my own sanity here. My heart would not recover if…"

Mulder's eyes opened quickly and he looked at her with sharp caution.

"If you make love to me now, please don't…"

Scully's words failed her and she looked away, but Mulder filled in the blanks and his heart started to hammer heavily in his chest. Please don't break my heart.

Tears swam in Mulder's eyes, "You're the love of my life, Scully. I can't promise you flawless, I can't promise you we won't fight…" she smiled tremulously at that, "…but I can promise that I am yours."

"Mulder…"Scully said weakly.

"Yours," he repeated, his voice sounding stronger. "Your friend," he bent to kiss her lips softly, "your partner", he kissed her eyebrow, "your accomplice" Scully laughed softly as his lips grazed her temple, "your lover?" Mulder added with a hint of anxiety in his voice.

Scully hummed and dropped her forehead to his chest.

"Mine…" Scully mouthed against his skin.

Mulder decided to go all in, "Scully, you are all that matters to me."

Scully placed her fingertips gently on his lips.

He had lost so much, but he was still willingly laying down all that he had at her feet – his faith in her took her breath away.

Her fingers slipped from his lips, tugging the bottom one a little as they pulled away. Then she moved to loosen the towel and push him back a little with her hips.

"Scully, you don't…" He started to reassure her quickly.

Scully smiled up at him and let the towel slip between their bodies and drop to the floor.

"Make love to me, Mulder?" She asked him gently.

"Scully…" He replied reverently.

"Take me to bed?" Scully slipped her hand into his.

"You're perfect…" Mulder whispered, scared to burst the quiet bubble they seem to have slipped into.

She smiled awkwardly and shook her head.

Mulder's free hand trailed up her stomach lightly and then his fingers brushed over one taut nipple.

Scully gasped and her knees buckled a little.

He stepped closer and they both gasped when Mulder's arms tightly encircled her waist and they felt his solid cock against her stomach.

"The things I've dreamed about doing to you…" Mulder murmured, smiling as his nose burrowed into her hair and breathed in her scent.

Scully let out a nervous laugh, "I love you, Mulder, so much."

Mulder nodded tearfully, "No one has ever loved me like you do…" he spoke softly, his lips catching on her silky hair, "thank you, Scully...thank you for loving me."

"Mulder..." Scully tried to reply, but a tear slid down her cheek for the little boy who was never told how special he was. A flush of anger shot through her body at the thought of his recently deceased mother, the woman who even seemed to lash out and hurt him in death. No more. She wouldn't let them hurt him anymore. "You're mine now," she whispered against his skin.

"Yours," Mulder confirmed tracing his lips past her ear and slowly down her neck.

"I won't let them hurt you any more," Scully stated firmly.

Mulder pulled back and looked down at her, he saw the honesty in her words and almost asked what she meant before intuitively understanding her meaning and nodding.

"They'll have to come through me first," he affirmed.

"Just let them try," Scully smiled tearfully.

Mulder bent to slide his hands down her thighs and carefully lift her so that her legs wrapped around his waist. He bounced and then smiled when their faces became level.

"Hey," Scully smiled, her eyes sparkling with happiness.

"Hey, beautiful," Mulder replied and kissed her gently.

Scully's hands slipped behind his neck and when her fingers threaded into his hair he felt a shockwave down his spine.

"I wish I'd told her, I wish she'd known…" Mulder shared sadly as he walked them towards the bed.

Scully tilted her head to the side as Mulder placed her on the edge and knelt between her legs.

He reached up and tucked a strand of hair behind his partner's ear, "I know we hadn't been close for a long time, but I wish I'd told her more about you. I wish she'd known that in spite of everything, or maybe because of everything, I had found you. That I wasn't as broken as she feared, that I was whole…" Mulder explained.

Scully thought for a second, "I didn't know your mother well, Mulder, but I think she knew something of the bond we shared. I could see it in her eyes...I believe that she knew I loved you, but I doubt she…"

"Scully?" Mulder asked.

"Life had taught your mother to distrust love, Mulder. She saw me as a threat, she believed I would hurt you…" Scully finished, trying to choose her words carefully.

"You are all I will ever trust," Mulder vowed. He leaned in and captured her nipple between his lips; flicking it with his tongue and feeling the little nub tighten in his mouth.

"Mulder…" Scully's eyes rolled shut and her mouth fell open.

"Move back…onto the bed…" Mulder directed.

She wiggled her ass and used her feet to push back as asked but then gasped when Mulder grabbed her ankles to lift them over his shoulders.

"The things I wanna do to you…" he repeated, but this time with a smile and a dangerous look in his eyes.

"Mulder, no…" Scully gasped and then started to pull away and close her legs.

Mulder smiled, then he breathed through his nose and licked his lips, "You smell good enough to eat…"

Scully laughed with embarrassment and tried to move away again - suddenly becoming reacquainted with how naked they both were. "Mulder, please…" she begged.

He stopped and looked at her seriously, "If you really don't want me to…"

Scully blushed, "It's not that, it's just I don't want you to feel that you… Mulder, tonight...this is for you."

"This is for us, Scully. I'm yours, you're mine. I want nothing more than to taste you right now, but if you aren't ready…" Mulder licked his lips slowly his eyes dark and his breathing shallow.

Her breath hitched and she slowly nodded.

"You're sure?" Mulder checked.

She nodded more confidently, "I've fantasized…"

Mulder groaned and turned his face to lick the inside of her thigh, "So it's not that you don't want it…?" He asked roughly, his lips slowly kissing and licking his way towards his target.

"Some men don't like…" Scully started and then gasped when she felt Mulder's tongue slide along the crease at the top of her leg.

"Well, I love…" Mulder smiled and swiped his tongue along her wet centre. They both moaned and he breathed in her heady scent "…you!"

Scully chuckled and combed her hands through his hair.

He went to work lapping at her wet folds and then flicked eagerly over Scully's clit. She gasped and then tugged his head up, "Next time, baby…please…I need to feel you inside me."

Mulder groaned and then started to slowly ascend her body, his lips tracing her soft belly and then up between her breasts before covering her lips eagerly.

Scully reached down and gripped his cock.

"Ahhh…God...Scully…" Mulder moaned like he was dying.

"Ready?" She asked softly.

"Always…" Mulder confirmed and then slowly shifted towards her entrance.

Scully bit her lip when she felt him pushing inside and lifted her legs to wrap around him. "I love you so much," she confirmed breathlessly.

Mulder nodded and then looked into her eyes as he slowly pushed home.

She gazed at him with relief and adoration, "Show me."

"Yes…" Mulder hissed and then pulled out before thrusting back even deeper than before.

They wrapped tightly into each other's arms, an act of love and devotion.

Barely withdrawing Mulder moved against her with short fervent thrusts as they rolled onto their sides and his legs hooked over her hip and pulled her close.

"I could be consumed by you…" Scully growled into his neck and then licked hungrily at his throat.

"Mine," he replied his fingers threading into her hair and gripping tightly.

"Always…always…always…" Scully confirmed in time with his thrusts, already feeling her climax building as their damp skin slid against each other.

"Gonna…" Mulder started to warn her.

"Yes…come inside me," Scully encouraged and held on tight.

"Finally…" Mulder hissed as he shuddered and released.

Scully chuckled softly and gasped as he slipped out of her core. "God, Mulder, you feel…so good…so perfect in my arms…" her hands stroked over his back and her nails trailed gently down his spine.

She pulled back a little and then tensed when she saw tears in his eyes.

He shook his head in reassurance and brought his hand up to cup the side of her face gently, "I just love you so much. I don't know what I did to deserve this."

"Mulder, if it takes the rest of my life I'm going to make you see yourself as I see you. You're the best man I've ever known," her fingertips gently brushed the tears from his eyes. "Now I'm going to get up and pack us a bag, then you and I are going away for a while. Can you do that for me?"

"Now?" Mulder looked confused.

"I know you, Mulder, your duty will put this case before your own emotional wellbeing, and even mine…" Scully explained softly.

He started to argue but Scully shook her head firmly. "Not knowingly, but your passion and sense of justice can blind you."

Mulder closed his eyes.

"You love me, Mulder? You trust me?"

Mulder shook his head in wonder, "Of course I do…"

Scully sat and rolled them both so she looked down at him and stroked gently through his hair.

"Come away with me, Mulder…now. I'll leave a message on Skinner's answering service and we'll leave our phones at home. No work. No contact. Give me one week and we'll deal with the repercussions when we get home."

"You wanna skive off work with me, Scully?" Mulder smiled at her, his eyes laughing.

"I want to put us first for a change, everything else can wait a while..." Scully looked down at him in earnest. "You'll come with me?" She confirmed.

"I'd follow you anywhere, Scully…" Mulder whispered softly.

She bent to kiss his lips. "Let's change our path…together."