"With a sigh he leaned his head back and shut his eyes. 'Yeah, well. Maybe he'd hate it anyway. Maybe he'd be miserable having an ordinary life.'

Her soft hand on his cheek made him open his eyes. She tilted his head down to look at her. Suddenly, it felt very hard to swallow and he blinked and looked away. Her hand dropped.

'Would he?' she asked. He could feel her gaze on his face. 'Would he really hate it?'

Mulder closed his eyes and let his chin fall toward his chest. There was a tidepool of seawater inside him, and a wave of it threatened to breach the shore. When he spoke, his voice was as gritty as the sand.

'No,' he said, shaking his head, 'no, he'd love it.'"


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