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Math and Science

Chapter Text

It didn’t really seem like a case that should fall under FBI jurisdiction. It was a chain of solo robberies, and although it was definitely strange, it wasn’t by any means paranormal. Honestly, Scully wouldn’t be surprised if the local police had turned it over just to get it off their hands.

Scully liked to think of herself as a practical, professional, modern woman. As a medical doctor, she could be frank about sex. As a law enforcement officer, she had encountered enough sexual criminals to keep a calm but grim exterior. She’d worked with plenty of female escorts without batting an eye.

This case was something else entirely, but that may have mostly been Mulder’s fault. He was having fun with her, she knew. He’d taken the keys and made her read the report aloud on the way to the first scene, pressing her for proof that the list of stolen property didn’t go into deeper detail, asking her opinion on such matters. She’d poked back at him gently, with “videos that aren’t yours” and playboy jokes.

Now she stood next to Mulder, an uncomfortable distance between them, as they stood in the dimly lit parlor of a roadside sex shop. A woman leaned on the glass counter, paging through a catalogue as she talked to them, seemingly uninterested.

“Just a shit ton of video tapes,” she explained, verifying her written statement. “And the cash register was unlocked. Not a dime gone. Wasn’t even gonna report it, but then I heard it was a chain thing.”

“Can we take a look around?”

“Be my guest.”

That had been the first stop of the day.

They’d spent the entire day driving from “adult boutique” to “lovers’ superstore,” six so far, seven in total.

Almost everyone they’d talked to had kept things minimal. As one store clerk had put it, “Who wants to talk to the government about porn?” They developed a routine. Check for security footage, sweep for prints, and talk to an employee. In and out, and then talk in the car.

“Who knew there were this many sex shops in a thirty mile radius?” Scully had muttered. Mulder had just grinned.

 

“I’m still trying to profile this guy—“ began the conversation later.

“Or girl,” Scully interjected.

“I mean… Why not take money? Who has a need for thirty-something sex toys?”

“Thirty-seven,” said Scully, because she still held the preliminary report between her fingers. “Thirty-seven sex toys, twenty explicit videotapes, six bottles of personal lubricant, five lingerie outfits, a cardboard cut-out, and a complicated bondage device.”

“Sixty-eight, sixty-nine, seventy…. Man. Should have left one of those movies behind.”

Scully rolled her eyes.

 

It was dark by the time they reached the last shop. Scully climbed out of the car wearily, sweeping the hair from her eyes.

“FBI,” she said, badge already out as she entered the building. “We’re here to talk to Mr. Ryan James.” A girl nodded, and disappeared into the back of the store. Scully stayed put by the cash register while Mulder roamed the aisles. Scully had seen enough for the day, but he fingered the rows of magazines as he brushed by.

“Look at this,” he called, holding something that lit up up for her to see.

“Mulder.” She leaned against the wall, letting her eyes close for a moment. The door to the back opened.

“Agents Mulder and Scully?” She straightened immediately and went to shake hands with the older man. “I’m Ryan. Sorry to have you folks out here so late at night.”

“Not a problem, sir.”

“We actually have the thief on tape,” he said, handing Scully an unlabeled box he pulled from his pocket. “I wasn’t here Saturday night, but Melody was.”

Scully slipped the tape into her pocket as Mulder finally joined them, sauntering over with his hands in his pockets.

“I’ll go talk to Melody, then,” said Scully, leaving Mulder with the storeowner. The interview went over much like the others. Nondescript male suspect, no getaway vehicle, no violent exchange, just a fleet-footed escape. Honestly, Scully was fed up; this was nothing the county sheriff couldn’t handle. Melody left the moment Scully was done questioning her, and when she went to find Mulder he was in deep conversation with Mr. James. He was holding something up in the air, pink and almost J-shaped, and Scully would have backed away from the conversation had Mulder not noticed and motioned her forward.

“Most expensive thing we sell,” James was saying. “Don’t know what a male suspect would want with one’a these, though.”

“Maybe he got in a fight with his girlfriend,” Mulder quipped.

“I think it’s time to go,” said Scully, smile forced.

“You ever try one of these?” James interrupted, moving the vibrator down to her eye level, just a little too close to her face. “Best G-Spot stimulator they make. None of our competitors sell them.”

“Thanks,” said Scully. Her face was pleasant but her voice clipped. “We have all the information we need. We have to get going now.”

Mulder was still laughing when they got to the car.

“I never took you for a prude, Scully,” he laughed as they pulled out onto the street.

“I’m not a prude, Mulder.”

“The look on your face. Man.”

Scully sighed and slipped the video tape from her pocket into the file.

“You know, you never answered the question, Scully.” It took her a moment to realize what he meant. This time she didn’t resist rolling her eyes.

“The answer is no, Mulder.”

“Let me guess. You don’t believe in the G-Spot.”

She really should have ignored him; he was just trying to get under her skin. But she was fed up with the case and fed up with him. Her answer came out a little harsher than she intended it.

“Well…I mean, not really.”

“No?” He actually sounded surprised. At her answer, or maybe that she answered at all.

“I mean, I don’t deny that some women have a particularly sensitive erogenous zone somewhere down there, but there isn’t any scientific evidence that would suggest the universal existence of some…sweet spot.”

“Huh.”

They didn’t talk for the remaining eight minutes of the ride to the hotel. Scully’s cheeks were hot, and the minute the car was off, she was out, pulling her bag out of the back. They checked in at the desk then took the stairs to the second floor. She had barely been alone for ten minutes when there was a knock at the door. She opened it to Mulder, letting him in wordlessly. He was already in a t-shirt and sweatpants.

“How do you feel about Chinese take-out?” he asked.

“Alright,” she said as he made himself at home on her couch.

“Good. I already ordered.” If she was less exhausted, she may have had something to say about that.

She let out a heavy sigh, filling a glass with water from the bathroom sink. What she really wanted was a glass of wine.

Mulder hadn’t said anything, but he watched her from the couch, a strange expression on his face. She joined him, sitting on the opposite end of the couch and pulling her feet up to hug her knees.

“This case is garbage, Mulder. They really don’t need us.”

He tilted his head to the side in acquiescence, a slight smile playing his lips.

“Maybe the kid was just too embarrassed to actually buy anything.”

“Or maybe he didn’t want to get in trouble for setting up some sort of sex dungeon,” Mulder replied.

“Either way, it’s petty theft. Not a federal matter.”

Mulder chuckled.

“I’m going to change. Call me if the food gets here.” She slipped into the bathroom and ran her hands through her hair, changing unhurriedly into her silk pajamas. Mulder grinned, looking her up and down when she came out, and she could see a comment about the constant formality of her sleepwear on the tip of his tongue. A knock on the door prevented further conversation. Mulder answered it, holding up a finger to her. He disappeared out the door for a moment and returned with a brown paper bag.

            “Lo Mein,” he said, pulling a paperboard container from the bag. It was exactly what Scully would have ordered. She took it from him, along with a package of disposable chopsticks, and sat back down on the couch. She hadn’t realized how hungry she was until the delicious smell of stir-fried noodles reached her. She scooped noodles into her mouth in silence for a few moments.

            “What’d you get?” she asked. He had sat back down next to her. He swallowed his food, opening his mouth to respond, but she had already reached into his takeout container with her chopsticks. “Mm.” He shook his head at her, mock agitation on his face. She grinned at him, her tongue darting out to lick the sauce from her lips. She looked away then, going back to her own food.

            “Should we try to watch the security footage?” she asked, although she really wasn’t in the mood.

            “It’s late,” said Mulder. “No more work until morning.”

            Scully finished her food quickly and set the empty container on the table. She pulled her legs up onto the couch and turned to face Mulder. He looked deep in thought. She watched him as he ate, trying to ignore the affection that bloomed in her chest. He glanced her direction, smiling under her gaze.

            “You ever been in one of those shops before?” he asked, setting his carton on the floor by the couch.

            “Yeah,” she said. “College.” He grinned.

            “What’d you buy?”

            “Mulder!” He just shrugged. “Find anything you didn’t already have in the video section?” she teased.

            “Hm.”

            It was late and warm, and she barely protested when he pulled her into his lap, her head resting on his knee. It was an almost playful position, him looking down at her, and Scully felt like a twenty-two year old again.

            “I’ll tell you if you tell me.”

            “Mulder,” she said. “I asked you a yes or no question.” The proper answer would have been, ‘Mulder, we don’t need to know about each others sex lives,’ but she wasn’t in the mood for proper. “I’ll tell you…if you tell me …” It was like truth or dare. She tried to think of a good exchange. “What’s your favorite position?” She watched his eyes widen. Her fingers drifted up to play with the sleeve of his shirt.

            “A pink vibrator,” she said. “My friend insisted. Your turn.” She felt him tense a little at her words and smiled to herself, knowing she was letting this get out of hand.

            “Um,” he said. He was silent for a moment. Then he shifted, and Scully thought he was getting up to leave. Disappointment bloomed in the pit of her stomach, but she knew it was for the best. Still, the one night she let go of rationality, she was frustrated Mulder decided to take the professional route.

            But in a chain of movements that seemed impossibly quick, he pulled himself up and over her. He was not leaving. She pressed herself back into the couch instinctually as his face hovered above hers, his arms framing her face. His legs straddled hers, and his hips were angled down. She didn’t know what to say, so she just swallowed hard. She ignored the heat that rushed through her skin.

            “The first time,” he whispered, “Like this.” Slowly, he drew back up and off the couch. He stood looking down at her, and she opened her mouth uselessly, trying to think of something to say, but his hand gripped her left ankle. Smoothly, he lifted her legs up, until they made an acute angle with her body. He climbed back onto the couch and kneeled before her. “Like this, otherwise.”

            The intimate moment was broken when he plopped back down on the couch and let her legs fall in his lap. Scully was shocked to find herself breathing heavily, but he just looked self-satisfied, like he had just convinced her to do something or other.

            “I said tell, not show,” she managed.

            “Either way,” he said, his eyes meeting hers. She still hadn’t moved on her own accord. “I did two. You owe me another answer.”

            “I didn’t ask!”

            “Did you ever use the pink vibrator?” he pressed.

            “Of course,” she scoffed, before even thinking about her response. Mulder was grinning.

            “Now that’s an image.”

            Scully’s eyes rolled towards the ceiling. She pulled her feet off of his lap and back towards her body.

            “Your turn.”

            They sat in silence as Scully wondered if she should keep this going. What was the harm, part of her asked? The other part shied away. She searched for a question.

            “Have you ever been with another man?” She wasn’t sure where the question came from, but she knew Mulder wasn’t the type to find the question offensive.

            “Sexually?” he asked. “Yeah, sort of. Twice, when I was younger.”

            “Huh.”

            “Why don’t you believe in the G-Spot?” His next question came rapid fire, like he’d been waiting for the chance to ask it all night long.

            “Well, it’s not really a matter of belief, “ she explained. “Just…scientific…no one has ever proved that there’s some sort of organ, or a cluster of nerve endings, or something that would validate a universal spot.” She was searching for words. Mulder shifted so that he was leaning towards her again.

            “Have you ever tried to find it, scientifically?” He looked at her the way he always did when he thought he’d found something big. It was his, “Scully, watch this!” face.

            “Well, no.”

            “Huh.” Once again, he let the building tension drop by reaching for the Chinese bag. “Fortune cookie?” Scully shook her head. He popped one open for himself and bit off the corner.

“Fortune favors the brave,” he read.

            Scully swung her legs off the couch.

            “I need a glass of water. You want one?”

            He shook his head.

            Scully filled a cup from the bathroom faucet, watching her reflection in the mirror. She brushed a section of stray hair from her face; she needed a trim. She sipped from the glass slowly, noticing the shadows under her eyes. It was late. It always seemed to be late.

            Mulder had shifted again when she got back to the couch, and she took a seat beside him. His arm was draped over the back of the couch and she leaned into it, warm and familiar.

            “It’s late, Mulder,” she said, though she didn’t really want him to go.

            “Yeah.” His fingers tapped against the worn fabric of the couch. He turned to face her and studied her for a moment in silence. From anyone else the scrutiny would have made her uncomfortable, but she met Mulder’s gaze. His eyes dipped up and down her body almost too quickly, and then they settled on her face. He smiled.

”One more round, Scully. You can go first.”

She blinked, taking a second to realize what he was talking about. His voice was too soft for the topic at hand. Her eyes wandered the room.

“Um—I’m out of questions, Mulder. You go first.” There was a moment of silence.

“Would you use that vibrator, back at the last shop, if you believed in the G-Spot?”

Her eyes tipped to the ceiling but didn’t complete the full roll. He laughed. She could see the way he was grinning at her, eyebrows slightly raised, teeth showing. It was late and this was all a game, one that was too close to ending. She crossed her arms, leaning towards him.

“Is this going to be a thing, Mulder? Another skeptic versus believer debate?”

“Would you? If I told you I have proof?”

The thought was absurd and she laughed.

“Just like the aliens and the jersey devil and the moth man. I think it’s time for bed, Mulder.”

“No, really. What if I could prove it to you?” His smile was still playful, but his eyes were intense. Her stomach dropped at the thought of why it could be so important to him. She pushed the image away. It was late and a game, a game between friends. What he got up to in his own time was none of her business. If she supplied some fantasy material—

“Fine, Mulder. If you had indisputable scientific proof, then sure, I would use the vibrator.” She moved to get up from the couch, but his hand caught her wrist. He took her by surprise and she dropped back to the couch, closer to him than she had been before.

“Indisputably scientific. What if I could prove it to you?”

“Mulder, I said yes.” Her heart rate was increasing, but he held tight to her wrist. His eyes locked onto her hers.

“Let me prove it to you.”

He was impossibly close and it all hit at once what he meant—what he could mean. Their eyes were locked, intense, too intense, but she couldn’t look away.

“Mulder.”

It was late and a game and they had reached a tipping point. Part of her wanted to flee. Damn this case. Damn him, damn her for letting it come this far. He was still staring. She closed her eyes and breathed, searching for some semblance of rationality. And then she kissed him.