Title: Essential
Author: TLynn

Feedback: yes, please. tlynnfic [at]
Rating: PG
Category: MSR
Inspiration: That now-infamous picture from ‘People’.

Disclaimer: Not mine, never have been, never will be.

Note: It’s been a while since I’ve done this, so I’m starting small.

* * *

This is it. This is the moment. It’s an old, familiar feeling, one that brings back memories of a different time and place. She’s not the same person she was six years ago, ten years ago, fifteen years ago. Neither is he. Yet this thing has followed them, lying dormant, waiting for the opportunity to resurface. She hasn’t yet had time to decide if she is relieved to see it or not.

The cold, icy wind that pierces through her layers of clothing is insignificant compared to the pull of his eyes, is no match for his steady gaze; it takes all her strength not to meet it.

She’s terrified. She doesn’t want him to see it, doesn’t want to have to acknowledge it. But she can feel it taking over, can feel it rising to the surface and surely it will spill out if he takes one look into her eyes. It took some time to adjust to this new life, to overcome the fear and uncertainty, to stop looking over their shoulders at every turn. But days passed and turned into weeks, weeks into months, months into years. They found a certain normalcy together, found some modicum of peace, even if was at the expense of living in the shadows. The uncertainties were still out there, to be sure, but she had felt she’d regained some semblance of control over her life. Now, though, she can feel what little control she has slipping through her fingers even as he takes her hand into his. Even his touch is different, is reminiscent of a man she once knew and she can feel her heart pound more forcibly in her chest.

She thinks these years have been harder on him than her. She wouldn’t be able to say when it happened, but somewhere along the way, he changed. He’s been stifled, forced to become someone he’s not. The fire once in his eyes had reduced to embers, the need to search for an answer had waned with each passing year. Her soul ached for him. But his new thing he’s stumbled upon has awakened something inside him again. His renewed energy, almost tangible in the air, sends a shiver down her spine. The risks are greater than she cares to acknowledge, the stakes are higher and the potential losses are enough to paralyze her with fear.

For a split second, she considers running. But the thought is gone as quickly as it came as his forehead gently presses against hers. His love, his need, radiates from that point and coats her slowly, filling her entire being with warmth; her toes tingle with it.

“Scully…” he whispers.

He is as essential to her as breathing. How can she deny him? She once told him she’d follow him all over again. So back into the lion’s den she’ll go, at his side. He hasn’t given up, so neither will she.

She finally opens her eyes.

“Okay, Mulder,” she says. “I’m in.”

* * *