Disclaimer: I do not own The X-Files, even on DVD. But we're working on that.

A/N: Because I'm stuck between parts of "Dreamland". Seriously, whose brilliant idea was it to put parts 1 and 2 on different discs? Anyway, this is inspired by the conversation in the car at the beginning. Also, proper grammar went out the window here, a sacrifice upon the altar of style. I promise that spelling and commas and all that are still correct (because I'd hate myself if they weren't), unless there's a typo, but sentence structure has been brutally murdered and its brain eaten. The gods of style demanded it. And they are vicious.

She thinks she'd like a normal life. To stop the car, look around, have a house and a family and a dog. To let life move on by and the truth find her as it would (or wouldn't). To get rid of her gun and be a doctor. To bring people back to life rather than avenge their deaths. To wear clothes other than suits and, occasionally, even sneakers. To be normal.

She thinks she'd like that.

She knows she'd hate it.

She knows that this hasn't always been true; once, when she was little, she dreamed of the life her mother had. But she's grown up, grown away, working with Mulder on the X-Files; now the truth isn't some grand ideal, some almost-attainable hope, like it was before. The truth is a crusade, is a clear goal, is a life. She's learned that from Mulder. And if not for this fight, this quest, that she was involuntarily assigned to and willingly embarked upon, she wouldn't know what life was.

She thinks she'd like a normal life because it's a nostalgic dream that's vanished forever, something she sees people all around her achieving and yet one she knows she's walled off from. It's the same reason other people, normal people, want to be rock stars and doctors and FBI agents, because once upon a time it might have been possible but it's not anymore. Even if she and Mulder figure this thing out, find the elusive truth that Mulder has been after for twenty-five years, she can't go back. Because Mulder couldn't live without a quest, and she, well, she can't live without Mulder.

It's not like a love song. It's not at all like any love song she's ever heard, all "I can't live without you" and "you light up my life". Because those words are true, and it's the absolute raw truth like what Mulder's after, and it belies the dulcet tones and melodic chords. A real love song should be harsh, all off-key chords and hidden violence under the soft edges, evasion and anger and honesty and lies. And trust. But she's never heard trust in music. So this is not like a love song.

She can't live without him because he's changed her life. Irrevocably. Something clicked when she first walked into that basement office, but she didn't notice it until later. Not until she was in the middle of the woods, looking for a UFO in the middle of the night. Not until she panicked in a strange bathroom at the feel of two small bumps on her lower back. Not until she was lying on a motel bed in a blackout with a stranger/friend on the ground at her feet, explaining to her everything he was and everything he'd always wanted as if this was perfectly normal. Not until she realized that for him, this was supremely normal. Not until night after night of stakeouts, of hunts for the unknown, of impossible theories that she'd reject until finally they were the only ones left (at which point she was forced to adopt the Sherlock Holmes theory of crime-solving, that when the impossible was gone, whatever was left, however improbable, must be the truth). Sometime during that first year with Mulder, with all his bizarre cases and his spooky reputation, everything changed. And maybe then, she would've avoided it, still hoping to fall in love with a good, smart, handsome man and have a nice family, but by now, she can't imagine anything different. (Besides, she has, except for the family part. And apparently, she's never going to have that anyway.)

He knows that he'd destroyed her dreams of maybe-someday. And he's sorry for that, even though he can't understand why she'd ever had them in the first place. Maybe it's the way they grew up; a naval base is a supremely normal place to raise a family, like the traditional perfect suburban neighborhood. And he grew up in the traditional perfect suburban neighborhood with money, but his family wasn't happy and his sister was taken and everything went wrong, so he doesn't understand the appeal of a normal life. She does. But she doesn't want it anymore.

Maybe, maybe it would work if it was with Mulder. If she were married to Mulder, and they were still able to follow this quest that they share now – but they wouldn't be able to work together. And they'd never be able to have kids, because babies and toddlers and teenagers just don't fit with a life where their parents might end up in Antarctica or in Africa or on a spaceship. And their neighbors would never understand them, and besides, what would they do with their names? She can't marry Mulder and take his name, because he'd still call her Scully and it wouldn't make sense; she would lose her identity, if she ever changed her name. And whoever heard of a marriage where first names are never used?

No, it would never work, not even with Mulder. But it's a nice thought.

(And she can hardly believe she even dared to imagine a life married to Mulder. God, she'd kill him before they ever got that far. But, she supposes, they did get this far. But that's a line she doesn't ever cross, a line that is getting progressively fainter as the years go on, and someday it won't exist, and maybe then it will be possible. Or the possibility will be possible. Or maybe it won't be. But she has no doubt that Mulder would make a great dad.)

So really, she's content to continue driving, with Mulder, on and on towards some distant mysterious future. Some evasive truth. It's coming, someday; someday, it will make sense. Someday, they will solve this. And maybe then, everything will change irrevocably, and maybe it will create a brand-new life for them, or maybe she'll have a new maybe-someday dream to hold onto. For now, she'll keep her nostalgia alongside her happiness, because as long as she's on this road with Mulder, she'll be fine.

God, that sounds like a love song.