I sat on a rigid park bench, eating the salad in my lap. Earlier, I had ran out of the office as fast as my legs would carry me. The day was too beautiful to eat lunch inside as I normally would, and I was thankful I still had 20 minutes before I had to rush back.
Thank God it was Friday.
A warm breeze rippled through my hair, swaying the trees beyond me. The smell of summer was prominent in a bold and comforting manner. Grass beneath my shoes, sun glowing above me...
Despite all of this, I did not take notice.
I was searching the park for something I was not sure of at the moment.
Perhaps it was the abundant amount of couples walking arm in arm, displaying their happiness with the world in which they no longer feared. That hurt, in an odd way...I never saw myself as the type of woman to crave the attention of a male. Rather, I only wished to share my life with someone.
Or maybe it was the fact that there were children, running in the fields, and playing on the swing-set. Their parents watched in awe.
How wonderful would that be? To create life, and to build it up from nothing. This was something I could no longer do.
Loneliness bared down on me. I simply was not sure why...
It could be that I had no longer attempted to enter the dating world. The complications that could arise from that are far more than the benefits that may come. It was not something that could be enjoyable for me, anymore, especially at my age.
But, perhaps the real reason was hovering over my head, because I knew what I wanted.
I knew what I needed.
And he was something that was far out of my reach.
When I think of all the years Mulder and I have spent together, I see two people who have made a life. A life dedicated to everything other than ourselves. Where could we have changed things? It was too late to pursue a romantic relationship now. There would be far too much to sacrifice, and I gave up hope years ago. The longer we worked together, the more professional we had to become.
Professionalism was not something I intended to shake.
Yet, even I know that is a front created in my mind in order to control my real emotions. I suppose what bothers me more than anything, is Mulder's complete dedication for everything he does. The willingness he has to ignore all odds and to pursue what he wants despite what is right and what the world thinks of him has always baffled me, in both the positive and negative connotations of that word.
If I was what he wanted, he would have had me long ago. Therefore, I cannot act on it.
His flirty nature was not something I overlooked from day one. There were times when he would invade my personal space: place his palm on my back, hold my hand, kiss me gently, even... I try not to dwell on these moments, and try to ignore them when he makes moves toward me. I flash my look of disapproval, and he always ceases his action.
But, sometimes... I think harder. There are moments where we look at each other, and we know. The moments of silence shared when we read each others faces...
We know what we have.
Love is obvious between us. But, it isn't enough, and we know this as well.
I looked down at my watch, to my dismay, and began the walk back to the source of my issue and confusion. There were times when I wondered if this was right (becoming an FBI agent and all). Medicine had been my passion at one point, and that was something honorable. It was something to be proud of when you discussed it with others, and it said more about me personally than my current profession.
Now, the only passion I had for this profession was the man who worked me restless even when we weren't on the job. But the X-Files are his passion. I try very hard to understand that. He deserves something pleasurable in his life, even if it does come from bleakness.
I suppose my loyalty stems from the fact that, in my mind, if I help him pursue the unknown, one day he may find what it is that he's looking for. One day, he could look up at me, peaceful for the first time in his life, and decide to rest.
To settle down...
That was what normal people did at our ages. They got married, they had children, and they became aware that a family was what life should have been about the whole time. It just took maturity to realize that. For a moment, I wondered if Mulder had even considered having a steady girlfriend. My God, some high-schoolers could even handle that. Where the hell was Mulder at in his life?
Then, I shuddered at myself. I had none of these things, either.
It's a sad moment when you accidentally spot the flaws in your own pathetic, mess of a life.
I stopped at the door of our office and waited, and I tried to change my expression.
To live a lie as I always do.
I'm vaguely sure it looked like a painful smile, but Mulder wouldn't notice. He was sure to be concentrating on paperwork.
When I finally opened the door, he was gazing at me before I had even come all the way through the opening.
"Hey, Scully," he cooed, glossy eyed and a smile painted on his entire face. There was never a man so dreamy, so... idealistic, even, against the negativity of the world. Even my staunch air of detachment and sarcasm was no match for him, as I had learned all those years ago.
Soon, I noticed the paperwork was in his lap, without having been opened in my absence. I wondered what he had been doing this whole time...
"Mulder," I nodded to greet him. I felt his eyes follow me across the room, and I looked over again to realize that he had never even touched his lunch.
In fact, he was just now in the process of opening the burrito that he had bought at the same time that I had purchased my salad. Had he really wasted a whole 30 minutes doing absolutely nothing?
As this unusual and rather lazy behavior was in fact typical Mulder behavior, I decided not to go any deeper, and just fix the problem myself, as usual.
I walked back to the desk and stared at the paper in his lap. He looked up at me slowly and in mock surprise, before he thrusted his hips up and moved them from side to side.
"Are you in need of something?" he winked. I raised an eyebrow.
"The paperwork, Mulder. That you were so kind as to get a head start on," I said with as much sarcasm as I could produce. He smiled at me. "Cmon, hand them over."
"Oh, is that all you wanted? Here I was getting excited," he said dully. I tried to suppress a chuckle, which I know he saw, because he looked up for approval and his eyes lit up, before he handed the papers to me.
"So, you're not even going to question what I was doing for the time that you were gone? And, speaking of that Scully, I was a little offended that I had not received an invite to eat lunch with you," he said.
"...Did you want to come? I wasn't aware you enjoyed being outside," I deadpanned, brow furrowed.
The man loved the office. It was tight, cramped, offered privacy, and no sunlight whatsoever. His apartment was the same way. As far as I was concerned, Mulder was a hermit.
"Well, yeah, I mean... eating without you is a little weird," he said, eyes toward his palms, and lips pursed.
"Eating without me is a little weird?" I asked.
"...Yeah. You know. I, uh, I guess I'm used to your company," he said, shrugging his shoulders.
"So, not doing the paperwork was your form of retaliation?" I asked. Really, I tried my best not to convey my feeling of adoration. As always, I got the impression that he liked our moments together in this hellhole. It was an odd form of flattery.
"Yes," he said, like a child who was having a tantrum. He took an bite of his burrito, and it was running down the side of his face. When I thought of telling him, however, I also thought of the paperwork I would have to do on my own, and realized that leaving him messy was my punishment for him.
I did not respond to him after that. We sat together for about 2 hours, while I worked on the paperwork, and Mulder rearranged the files next to his desk. In fact, he was probably just trying to make himself look like he was busy.
Finally I got up, to stretch, and he looked up at me.
"So... what are you doing over there, anyway?" I asked. He smiled and stretched back in his chair, hands folded behind his head.
"There was an old file I was looking for. An occurrence, and possibly the only one in U.S. History, that was a catalyst where the government nearly made a public announcement about the existence of extraterrestrials," he said in his best know-it-all voice.
I rolled my eyes. For a while there, we had drifted from conspiracy. Now, out of sheer boredom he was trying to dip ourselves back in again.
"Continue," I demanded, and he gleamed. It was hard taking him serious on a day to day basis, but now especially with the food still on his face.
"In 1968, over the skies of Las Vegas, a UFO made it's way from the cover of the clouds, crashed near the mountains, and was visible to everyone. News rooms were flooded. People were stunned, but they were too scared to make there way over to it. Finally a group gathered up enough courage to march over and see what it contained, but the government was already on it. The people were killed, there's no record of them at all, and all that remained was the crash site. It was cleaned up and stored away somewhere, thought we've only a guess. The only evidence that remains is the impact it made on the mountainside..." he explained.
"So, why have I never heard of this before? If it were so popular it would be... embedded into pop culture, people would stake out just to get a glimpse of what went on out there, if that's what really occurred," I countered.
"That's my point. How could something so popular in the past be unheard of in the present future?" he pressed, very intense, with a small, devious smile on his lips. After all these years, I knew that when we had these discussions every week, his favorite part was where he tried to ignore my logic with some sort of wild accusation.
"Where are you going with this?" I led in, not sure why I continued to play this game with him all the time.
"Mind control. What if they completely erased the memory of everyone involved? A mass forgetting." he said, eyes wide, but I simply stared back, unmoved.
"Mulder, even if that were possible, how would the minds of hundreds, or even more, of people be eradicated. That was 30 years ago. If we don't have the technology to do that now, there's no way it would have been possible then," I explained, but I knew it was futile.
The way his eyes were narrowed, I knew he was already decided, and I sighed. In response, he smiled gently.
"What I'm really getting at is that there's a rogue army general who claims he was present during it all. I was curious if we could get a hold of him."
"How would that be possible?"
I hated to know that no matter how much I fought him on it, we were still going to do things his way. There was something in Mulder that exuded power, and though it was an immediate turn on, it also angered me beyond belief. However, anger meant passion, and perhaps that was why I never felt that I had a chance to resist him. Very rarely did I find the kind of person, especially a man, to challenge me on a daily basis.
"You and I have connections...The Gunmen!" he exclaimed. I stared at him, and he raised his eyebrows and smiled more widely.
"Mulder, it's the weekend..." I whined. His expression faded, and he looked off in the distance for a while.
"What if we just go see them once? Tonight, to see if we can get some information. We could pursue this on Monday, and have the whole weekend to relax," he promised dearly.
My heart lurched at the 'have the whole weekend to relax'. It was also the only statement that had not included the term 'we'. But, I was happy that he had taken my feelings into consideration. Headstrong as he was, he did have remarkable qualities that made up for it. I smiled weakly, worried that for a moment I may have been selfish.
"Thank you," I said, and he grinned.
Before I knew it, we had grabbed our bags, ready to lockup the office. He opened the door for me, and I walked out, with him behind me.
"Alright! I'll pick you up tonight. 7ish," he declared. The formality and the giddy way in which he said it, made me think that he had confused work with personal interests, but, as always, I let it slide.
We too a step inside the elevator, and on the next floor, another agent who entered was glaring at Mulder. I hoped she had not sensed his friendless and lack of formality in regard to his physical stance next to me in the elevator.
We already had enough suspicion here about our partnership.
Then, however, I noticed that she was looking at the dribble on his mouth. My face went red. Mulder was looking at her, somewhat agitated, and most assuredly confused. He frowned, and glanced at me as if to say, "What's her problem?". She got off in a hurry.
"What the hell was that?" he asked. I laughed and moved closer to grab his face gently.
His eyes got wide, breathing heavy. He leaned in ever so slightly. Did he think I was going to...?
I wiped the corner of his mouth with my finger, and he pulled back in confusion, realizing his mistake, before he glared at his shoes.
"What would you do without me?" I said, smirk on my face. I was not sure if his embarrassment came from what was on the corner of his mouth or from what latent desire was in his heart.
But, I couldn't help but notice, most assuredly, how eager he was to lean in.