Most of my real-life friends don’t look at Fox Mulder and Dana Scully standing side-by-side onscreen and see “true love the likes of which the world will never see again” the same way I do. Sure, fine, whatever; it’s their loss. X-Files fanfic writers give me all the validation I need anyway, confirming with their beautiful words and awe-inspiring insights into our shared OTP that shipping Mulder and Scully is the most natural thing in the world. Each new story by a fellow shipper is a reminder that I’m part of a fandom full of people with a shared vision of a 30-year romance between two fictional FBI agents whose preternatural bond transcends time, space, and alien invasions, not to mention The X-Files canon. Certain lines from these stories are so mind-blowingly good that they have the power to stop me in my tracks, to steal my breath, to make me consider a new tattoo. They are words I come back to again and again, whenever I crave an MSR-branded serotonin boost.
Here are just a handful of the insanely romantic quotes from beloved fics that I treasure for how perfectly they capture the enigmatic and endlessly fascinating Mulder/Scully relationship.
He’s so used to her small, powerful presence, she feels so much a part of his own being, his own personhood, that sometimes he forgets she’s not. Sometimes he forgets that they’re two separate people. …
She meets his eyes, smiles at him over the best waffles he’s ever had, and he knows that she’s it. There will never, ever be anyone else.
–lepusarcticus, “Sunday at Pluto’s”
she loves him then, for his steady hand and the hesitance under his smile. she loves him then, but she loves him all the time, and she has for years so it’s really not even worth noting.
He’s been holding back from this for years, he realizes; all those times his eyes caught on her lips, watching her mouth shape his name. Occupying his tongue with sunflower seeds to distract himself from what he really wanted. Leaning close, furtively whispering, convincing himself that he really needed to be in her personal space. It was all an elaborate buildup for this moment.
–SilhouetteOfACedar, “Fox Mulder, Closet Romantic”
He was a constant surprise to her, though she could predict his every action, and it was the biggest surprise of her life to discover that she was simply not wholly herself without him.
–Revely, “Unfinished Universe”
Even now he would still be hard pressed to say exactly how long he has really been in love with Scully, to pinpoint when it was that trust and friendship and standing back to back with her as the whole world went to hell had burst like a nova into something greater and far more terrible, but sometimes he really has to wonder why on earth there was ever a time that he wasn’t.
–sixpences (a.k.a. bravenewcentury), “The Ineffable Aura of Planet Spooky”
They were years-deep in the process of pair bonding. When the conversations of others sidetracked them, they stood back to back and she felt him shifting slowly on his feet, as was his habit. As always, they were subconsciously aware of each other’s proximity, or distance, at every moment of the evening.
Mulder and Scully had discovered that it is a frightening and wonderful thing to be at the mercy of one whom you love. Even the purest and deepest of friendships can begin to make you feel like a hostage. But perhaps this is all love is: mutual terrorism of the heart.
–nascent, “Theory and Practice”
He was leaning one elbow on his table in the corner, negligently sweeping the crowd, and Scully couldn’t believe that no one was looking at him, no one else was aware of him. Her throat closed with foolish love of him.
–Tesla, “This House Is Burning: Book 1”
“It’s funny,” she said, looking upward so that he was graced with her elegant profile. “My sister was always telling me to listen to my heart, but I never would. I guess it finally decided it had to go on strike to get my attention.”
Mulder held his breath for a moment, not sure what to do with that revelation. “So what was it trying to tell you?” He finally joked. “Eat at Joe’s? Don’t invest in Microsoft?”
“That I love you.” She said it calmly, as a matter of well-known fact, her eyes still fixed on the ceiling.
Mulder said nothing. He had just lost the facility for thought, for language.
–fialka, “Arizona Highways”
Scully, who has always been made of steel and lately she’s tempered herself into a weapon, and he loves her and he loves her and she is so brave and if this is the last time he ever sees her, he’ll remember this.
–all_these_ghosts, “then the bomb”
For years, she had spent more time with him every day than with anyone else, herself included. She found herself looking to the side, expecting him there. Her phantom limb. …
She loved to work. But without him? Traitor! (We have to eat, don’t we? Money doesn’t grow on trees.) But maybe: she should be there with him, always. Was she wasting his return? Though certainly that couldn’t be healthy, staring at him, latching onto him, locking him away. Could it? If that lifestyle got a stamp of approval, if she read an article in JAMA championing codependent relationships, she would gladly have shed her white coat and her j-o-b to spend her days holed up with Mulder, tangled up in the sheets, peeking under rocks, looking to the skies.
She ducked into bathrooms at lunchtime to listen to him munch on a sandwich and tell her about something he’d read. “Huevelmans Lake, Scully. Can you believe it? The frogs are back.”
–onpaperfirst, “Home, Home”
To the rest of the bullpen, it might have looked like they were having a serious discussion about a case, arguing over a turnip farmer’s annual manure consumption, or conspiring to sneak off and hunt aliens after dark. But the truth was that Scully was wearing a tight sweater and Mulder didn’t feel like thinking about work. He knew they were going to be good together because this was already the best relationship of his life. It had always been good. It could only get better.
—Punk & Sab, “How to Fake an Orgasm”
“It was you,” I breathe out as I squeeze his hand in mine. “I felt like something was missing, and I realized it was you. It was Christmas morning, and once again, we’d nearly died the night before. Just another bizarre adventure that I didn’t think was supposed to be part of my ‘real life.’ But there I was on this morning that’s supposed to be about family, and counting your blessings, and sharing the gifts that life brings us, and I was struck by how wrong it seemed to me that you weren’t there. Like something incredibly important was not where it should be. …
“So I found myself driving over to your apartment before dawn broke, and you said, ‘Aren’t you supposed to be opening up Christmas gifts with your family,’ and I thought, well that’s why I’m here. To open Christmas gifts. With my family.”
—Innisfree, “Among Momentary Days”
Sometimes I do wish for a life of peace. But it isn’t peace for myself alone that I dream of; it’s peace for him. For us. The rare times that I have seen him relaxed and happy gave me glimpses of what could have been—of what, perhaps, may still be, in some hazy future after all the battles have been fought. Lately, he seems to be finding more intervals of contentment, and I treasure the ones we share. That’s why I pretended not to know how to hit a baseball; that’s why I come to this corny, overpriced sandwich shop to eat with him and roll my eyes at the menu.
—Maggie McCain (laurakaye), “Another lunch at Will’s”
The two of them weren’t good at the traditional endearments, preferring to express the depth of their emotions through a telegraphed look, a gesture, a private smile across the room. The language they spoke the most fluently with each other had no words.
Frohike walks over to Mulder and puts a sympathetic hand on his arm. “Mulder,” he says quietly, wishing he didn’t have to do this. “[Having Scully reassigned] won’t stop them from using her against you if they have to. They don’t…they don’t just do it because she’s your partner.” He clears his throat, feeling uncomfortable, and sees Byers look away.
Mulder closes his eyes for a moment. “I know.”
—Aloysia Virgata, “This Her Fever”
She realizes then that she wants this, this exact moment, every day for the rest of her life. That she wants weekends with Mulder and bank holidays with Mulder and stupid fights over whose turn it is to load the dishwasher. She wants pillow talk and dirty talk and she knows it’ll take time, everything’s always taken so much time with them–except, she supposes, learning to trust one another. What some people struggle with for their entire relationship, she and Mulder had managed to perfect, mostly, in under six months. But she knows that no matter how long it takes, it’s the only thing she wants. He’s the only one she wants.
—h0ldthiscat, tumblr prompt fill
“Mulder is just determined to end up alone.”
“Oh,” Doctor Alton said again, this time more gently. She wrote down the results of the exam on Scully’s chart, then set the pen aside and squeezed Scully’s hand. “He’s not alone,” she said. “And maybe that’s what he’s trying to tell you.”
“I know you,” she whispered.
You were my partner, my best friend, the love of my life.
“I know,” he said.
You are still all of those things, Mulder.
“No,” she said, shaking her head. “I knew you, Before.”
Mulder sank to his knees and buried his head in her lap. Instinctively, her hands moved to stroke his hair.
Nothing has changed. I still love you. I never stopped.
He raised his head and blinked at her through tear-filled eyes. “I know, Scully.”
—dashakay, “Blinded by White Light”
She and Mulder had been “becoming close” for six years. What was emerging between them now had always been there, sometimes closer to the surface than other times, sometimes more painful than pleasant, but it had always been there. It had been there in a candlelit room in Oregon, in a car outside Eugene Tooms’ house, in a dark house in Minneapolis, even in a hotel room in Comity when she’d walked in at the wrong time.
Tentative, tender, trusting, even tense—it all boiled down to the same thing. She and Mulder loved each other, wanted each other, needed each other.
—Anne Haynes, “12 Degrees of Separation”
“Come home,” he said. So she did.
—tree, “Floating Compass”
Reading (and re-reading) TXF fic has brought me joy for for many years; I expect it always will. And since there’s every reason to believe I’ll continue discovering (or re-discovering) MSR lines that deserve to be celebrated, I resereve the right to continue adding to this list over time. This merely seemed like a good start!
Now, tell me about the romantic Mulder/Scully fanfic quotes that have burrowed into your heart. Which ones would make your top 3? I want all your X-Files fic recs, please and thanks!
Want more fanfiction recommendations? You may also enjoy “Revisiting 13 Classic X-Files Fanfics with Mulder/Scully”
And if you’re as crazy about MSR as I am, fear not, this blog has your back:
- A Shipper’s Guide to Watching X-Files for the Mulder/Scully Romance
- How to Say “I Love You” in X-Files by Fox Mulder and Dana Scully
- “You’re My 1 in 5 Billion”: 21 Times Mulder/Scully Ruined Me for All Other TV Romances
- 8 Clues Ellery/Reed Belong Together in the Ellery Hathaway Books (or: Why MSR Fans Simply Must Read the Ellery Hathaway Mystery Series—Just Trust Me on This)
- My 15 Favorite X-Files Fanvids