Disclaimer: Let's step back and examine the situation for a moment... you also drew the conclusion that these characters are not mine and I meant no harm in tinkering with them for a while? Good.

Spoilers: Up through... Kitsunegari, but whatever. Takes place after "Patient X/ The Red and the Black."

A/N: Sometimes I like to make Scully cry. Sometimes I think that M&S actually talk to each other. Sometimes I put both of these elements into a story. All the time I like feedback.

He didn't know what had brought him to her door at 3 a.m. All he knew for sure was that women had intuition and men had instincts and in regard to her, his had never steered him wrong.

He didn't knock. She'd be asleep, and grumpy if he woke her up. He'd check on her quietly, leave a note and make his escape.

"Mulder, what are you doing?" came a sleepy voice from the kitchen.

"I just... I couldn't sleep, so I took a drive... I felt like talking to you... I was going to leave a note... I thought you'd be asleep..." he managed to get out as she made him a cup of tea.

"What did you want to talk about? I'm going to be up tonight anyway."

He sighed and followed her to the couch. They sat half facing each other, and she was assaulted with images of Eddie Van Blundht. She blinked them away and looked at him, her head cocking slightly to the side in question.

"Are you doing okay? I know you say you are, and maybe you think you are, but I think you're keeping everything inside."

She was quiet for a long time, tracing her finger around the rim of her cup.

"I guess I am. I just... I don't want to think about it so I just put it away. Out of sight out of mind kind of."

"Scully, I don't think you have room in there for all that. It's a lot. And you need to be able to release some things."

Her gaze went quickly from his face to her hands which she studied thoughtfully for a long time. When she finally looked up again, there were tears in her eyes and he immediately wished he hadn't come.

"I don't know where to put it, Mulder," she said softly. "I've always been able to deal with things one way or another. But this... it's too big, Mulder. I won't have any room left for myself."

He reached over and took her hand.

"You've got me, Scully. I'm a good outlet."

"Do I have you?" she asked, in the most forlorn voice he had ever heard from her. "I feel like we're..."

He rubbed her knuckles encouragingly as she went on.

"I feel like we're falling apart, or... drifting or something. I mean, we got back from California, and then there was Linda Bowman and then about 1,000 things piling up on us after that and I feel like we're so far apart, and I don't know how to fix it. And I need you. For the first time I can say that I really, really need you, but I don't even know how to tell you that. And some days I feel like I can't even breathe because everything... it's all piling up and I just... I need to process it and I can't. I can't even sleep and get away from it, and I don't know what to do."

"Scully, slow down," he said, taking her shoulders in his hands. "Maybe you don't need to process. Maybe you just need to cry."

She looked at him as if he had just asked her to travel across the country on a unicycle.

"How? I don't know if I can."

"You just do it, Scully. Those tears that have been coming for the last 10 minutes need to be let out."

"But... I can't let go."

He pulled her into his arms and settled them back against the couch.

"Just cry, Scully. Don't push it away. Allow yourself to think about it. Mourn for her. For yourself. Just relinquish control and let yourself really feel it."

It was then that he heard a beautiful sound. Scully was crying. It quickly progressed from quiet tears to sobs, the intensity of which he had never heard from her. Her whole body was shaking and she could barely catch her breath. He pulled her closer, lifting her into his lap and tucking her head under his chin.

"Let it all out, Scully," he murmured, kissing her hair and rocking her gently. She cried like that for a good 20 minutes before slowing down to normal, every-day crying for another half hour. Her hand finally went slack and dropped from where she had been clutching at his shirt. She took a few shaky breaths and relaxed in his arms. He lay down and took her with him, tucking a strand of hair behind her ear as she settled against him.

"Thank you, Mulder," she whispered.

"You're welcome."

He rubbed her back in soothing circles his fingers occasionally dancing over the scar on her neck.

"I'm so tired, Mulder."

"Do you want me to go?"

"No, can we just stay like this for a while? Please?"

"Of course. Are you warm enough?"

"There's a blanket folded up underneath your head."

He pulled the small blanket over them and she snuggled in closer.

"Go to sleep, sweetheart. We can talk more tomorrow."

"Goodnight, Mulder."

"Night, Scully."

She wasn't sure if it was the late hour or the look in his eyes, but something had made her relax with him and bare her soul. She'd even stayed on the couch with him for 2 hours before getting up to use the bathroom.

She tiptoed back to the couch to check on him, and he grabbed her wrist.

"You need to go back to sleep. Stay out here."

She nodded and resumed the previous position.

"You should stay home today. Relax."

"I will if you will."

"Yeah, because that's not suspicious."

She chuckled and nuzzled her nose into his chin, trying to figure out how to get him to stay. The walls that had tumbled down last night were going to go back up if he left too soon, no matter how much she wanted them to stay crumbled.

"Skinner would understand," she said quietly.

He was running his fingers through her hair, tracing her ear gently. She was almost asleep before he spoke again.

"I'll call him in a little bit."

She smiled to herself and let her eyes close.

"You want to just stay on the couch all day?" he mumbled, falling back to sleep himself.

"I wouldn't complain."

He chuckled and kissed her hair.

"Mulder," she said suddenly, shifting so she could look at him.


"Thank you. For last night. I needed it. And for not running away from this."

"We're partners, Scully. And even if we weren't I would still be here for you."

"I know you would. I just... I've never been able to talk about the things that hurt me. You're the only one I trust with that. I'm just glad you're here."

He smiled. Maybe his instincts about her were even better than he thought.