I was watching the three episode arch where Scully goes missing in season two, and I can't believe how people must've felt watching this when it first aired. I about went out of my mind waiting for the next episode to air the following night. I probably would've ripped my hair out waiting a whole week each time. Ughh. And the episode with Mulder and the vampire things? EWW!! I hated that, and it drove me nuts when I didn't see any of Scully. Poor Mulder. He about went bananas trying to find her. I've been sitting on the edge of my couch for nearly a week, just hoping that this episode would be the one where he found her. But the episode One Breath was absolutely worth it. I love Mulder, and those few fuzzy moments with him and Scully were worth the wait. And even though I knew that Scully would be fine, I kept finding myself hoping that she would wake up and Mulder would make everything all better. I named this story after what each of them said during the episode, and I hope it's not too OOC. I definitely rambled a little in this AN, but it's four a.m. and I'm a little out of it with exhausting and oozing fluffy Sculderness. Is that even a word? I dunno... Enjoy, and please review!

Disclaimer: Not mine! *mumbles under breath* I begged that Chris Carter guy, but apparently he doesn't like Monopoly money. Heh... Maybe he'll accept Scotty money... *scampers off to find out*


It was well after midnight when Dana Scully stirred. Her mother and sister had left hours ago, after promising numerous times to return first thing in the morning. There was a dim glow from a lamp at the other end of the room, and she blinked slowly.

Something had stirred her from her sleep, but she wasn't sure what it was.

Her breath caught in her throat when the door closed, and the subtle scent of cologne wafted toward her. She knew that cologne. A small smile tugged at her lips when she heard the soft scraping of the legs of the chair against the hospital room floor.

She was turned on her side, away from the interloper, and she decided not to let him know that she was awake. Instead she concentrated on her breathing.

Mulder settled down in the chair and leaned forward, closing his eyes. This past month had been hell, and now he didn't even want to let Scully out of his sight. But with her family there he had been wary to stay and visit for longer than just a few minutes. So, despite his longing to remain at her side, he had kept his distance until he simply couldn't stay away any longer. And even then he waited until he was certain that no one would be visiting with her, so he wouldn't be a bother.

She could hear him breathing heavily, and she was surprised when he reached out and laid his hand on her arm. She closed her eyes. He was the reason that she had come back, that she'd even had the strength to. He had given her the strength, and the warmth of his touch soothed her even now.

His fingertips began caressing her warm skin with an unspoken and deep affection. Normally he didn't allow himself the pleasure of physical contact with her, but he had come so close to losing her forever... He scrubbed his face roughly with his free hand and sighed. If this was how he felt nearly losing her only to get her back, losing her forever would destroy him completely. He just wouldn't be able to handle it. He leaned forward in the chair and continued to caress her arm slowly.

Knowing that he couldn't see it, she smiled. He so rarely touched her that she wanted to savor it for as long as she could. The touch of his fingers was so soothing, so reassuring, that she never wanted him to stop. For such a reserved, quiet man, any display of physical affection was rare. But when someone was special enough to receive it, he was truly unreserved and completely vulnerable and open. And she was amazed that he trusted her enough to let down his guard like this.

Finally he spoke softly, unaware that she was wide awake. "Scully..." He paused. "Dana, I'm sorry that I wasn't here sooner..." His hand slid down her arm until he found her hand, and he tangled his fingers in hers. "I should have been." He gently brought her hand to rest against his unshaven cheek. "I could make up a lot of excuses, but the fact is that I wasn't here when you needed me to be."

Her brow furrowed. What was he apologizing for? She wasn't quite ready to come back, but she would have been, eventually. But hearing his voice brought her back sooner. It wasn't his fault, and she wasn't about to blame him. He didn't deserve it.

A tremor went through him as he rested his forehead against her knuckles. "I... almost lost you, Dana..." A tear slid down his cheek and hit the thin hospital blanket as he spoke the words out loud for the first time. "I... don't know how much this is worth... but I'm not going to leave again."

She smiled. That was fine with her. She wouldn't run him off.

He gently rubbed her arm. "I'll be here, for whatever you need."

"I need you." She froze, uncertain if she had said the words out loud, or just thought them. She hoped it was the latter.

His brow furrowed as he raised his head. "Scully...?"

She squeezed his hand, then slowly turned over in the bed until she was facing him. He started to pull his hand away, but she refused to let him withdraw. "Hey..."

He swallowed hard. "How... How are you feeling...?"

She gave him a sweet smile. "Better." Definitely better since he had gotten there.

"Good..." There was an awkward silence before he finally spoke again. He had to get this out, or he was afraid that he would never be able to. "Dana..."

Her fingers tightened around his. "Yeah, Mulder...?"

"I missed you."

Her lips curved up in a gentle smile. "I missed you, too."

Suddenly the weight of the past month hit him, and he lowered his head as his tears escaped.

Worried, Scully freed her hand and rested it on the back of his neck, gently pulling him closer to her. She could feel his pain radiating off of him, and all she wanted was to take it away from him. She gently tugged on him, surprised and relieved when he followed. As soon as he was close enough, she wound her arms around him and pulled him tightly against her.

Sobbing, Mulder buried his face in the crook of her neck. Then he slid his arms around her and hugged her tight, needing to feel that she was still there with him. That this wasn't some kind of amazing dream, and he wouldn't wake up alone in his apartment. When he had gotten that call from her sister, he had been so certain that it would bear the words he had been dreading, that she was gone. It was the reason that he had not answered the phone immediately. But when he finally did, her sister's words were the exact opposite of what he had been preparing himself to hear. She was awake, coherent, and had asked for him several times. He was certain that he had flown back to that hospital, but something was in the back of his mind. And it didn't stop whispering hurt until he had opened that door and actually laid his eyes on her. She was pale, weak, and quiet, but she was alive. God, she was alive. And he had felt like hitting his knees right then and there.

Scully held him close and shushed him as he cried. She understood his pain. She had nearly lost him twice before, and it had felt as though her world was going to end. She could only imagine how he must have felt. Her fingers began to caress his thick hair as she whispered soothing nonsense into his ear. The words didn't matter. All that mattered was that they were both alive, and he was in her arms. Right then and there, no one or nothing could reach them. They could protect each other, and keep the other safe.

Slowly Mulder moved his face from her neck to her thick hair. The feelings that surged through him were indescribable, and he couldn't discern one from the other. She always had a way of doing that to him, no matter what he tried to do. His grip on her tightened. "I'm sorry, Dana..." He wasn't even aware of the words that flowed from his mouth until she spoke softly.

"Don't apologize, Mulder. I'll be fine." She rested her head against his and closed her eyes. She had never been one to stay still for long, so her constant need to rest bothered her. She especially didn't want to rest right now. Not when her partner so obviously needed her.

Finally he lifted his head and met her sleepy eyes. Suddenly he felt guilty for keeping her from the rest she needed to continue healing. Reluctantly he pulled back. "I'm sorry, Scully." He gently brushed her thick hair back. "Go back to sleep. You need the rest."

She looked petulant. "I don't want to."

A grin appeared on his caring face. "Yes, you do." He carefully returned to his chair, but reached up and took her hand again.

She shifted closer to him and squeezed his hand. "No, I don't." She yawned.

He smirked. "Just close your eyes then, Scully."

Her eyes softened, and she ran her fingers through his. "Are you going to stay?"

That question surprised him, and what surprised him even more was that he wanted to. "Yes, Scully. I'll stay."

She closed her eyes and sighed contently. As long as he was nearby, she could rest easier.

He reached out with his free hand and gently smoothed her hair out of her beautiful face. She was asleep within a matter of minutes, but he didn't pull away from her. Even though she was asleep and he knew that she wouldn't notice the difference, he didn't want to leave her. He had only just gotten her back, and leaving her just felt wrong.

And when a night nurse came into the room, she smiled at what she saw. Her patient was sleeping peacefully, and a man she assumed was her husband was draped across her abdomen. Both had expressions of pure contentment, and she was careful not to disturb either as she checked on her patient.

When she was finished, she found a spare blanket and draped it over both of them. Then she walked out of the room, closing the door quietly behind herself.

And both Mulder and Scully slept on.

The End.

A/N: Fluffy goo. That's the only way to describe it. LOL. I am really starting to see why everyone loves them so much, and I definitely can't wait to get the series set or season sets and watch all of them in order. Definitely something I'm looking forward to. Thanks for reading, everyone, and please review!