Mulder, Scully and what might have been. . . (Fox)

For roughly 24 hours, many people were able to convince themselves that Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny — the actors who played paranormal investigators whose sexual tension percolated throughout multiple seasons of “The X-Files” — were a real couple.

The information, as noted in today’s morning mix, was based on a thinly sourced item on a barely known celebrity gossip site. But that didn’t stop many from writing status updates and Tweets that squealed, “Oh my God, Mulder and Scully are really dating!!!” even though, before they could even type that final exclamation point, most already realized this was probably just a fantasy.

The truth was still out there.And the truth, it turns out, is that Duchovny and Anderson don’t appear to be a thing.

Duchovny’s rep told Celebuzz — a better-known celebrity Web site — that the rumors about his romance with Anderson are “not true.” And on the official Gillian Anderson Web site, a post dubbed “Silly Gossip” says, “To all those believing and re-tweeting the nonsense being floated by tabloid websites, we would like to sell you tickets to a dinner & show with Elvis Presley. For those eager to spread genuine news, we suggest, ‘Zero truth to the GA & DD rumor — it’s a fan fantasy run amok.’”

Given that Mulder was the believer of the pair while Scully was the perpetual skeptic, it appears that we all let our Mulders get the better of our Scullys.

Why do we do this to ourselves? It’s because our television characters mean something to us. We are invested in their non-real lives because we spend hours of our actual ones watching them evolve. We root for these fictional yet recognizable people, especially when there’s good chemistry between them and it occasionally seems as though they might die together at the hands of aliens or a weird family of deformed people.

It’s not just Mulder and Scully. We all wanted Maddie to wind up with David — well, as long as it wouldn’t have ruined “Moonlighting.” Which it did. Fine. Bad example. Let’s start over.

We all want Kevin Arnold to wind up with Winnie Cooper, or Doug Ross to come back for Carol, or Lady Mary to be with Matthew — but we want it to be for real so that we can believe that fantasy has the capacity to morph into something lasting and true. That’s one of the reasons, in addition to its longevity and apparent solidness, that we so admire the marriage between Michael J. Fox and Tracy Pollan. Because Alex really did end up with Ellen; they actually lived happily ever after instead of having to spend years listening to that Billy Vera and the Beaters song while filled with an unshakable sense of melancholy.

For our “X Files” stars, however, it seems it’s not to be. At least until someone starts another rumor and sends every sci-fi fan fiction writer’s hopes up, once again, to the skies.

Until then, farewell, Mulder and Scully. Parting with rumors about the actors who played you is such sweet sorrow.