She hates how much she wants him. Hates that he’s droning on about the Sarasota Some-Monster-or-Another when a week ago his tongue was between her legs. Hates that every time her eyes close, she’s back in that bed, coming with a shudder against his filthy, forbidden mouth.
She’s spent the last seven days telling herself it can’t happen again. She’s spent the last seven nights realizing she’ll die if it doesn’t.
Florida. Somehow even the air-conditioned rental cars are hot and humid.
Her blouse sticks to her back and her hose stick to other, more interesting places. He talks about monsters and she ignores him. She ignored him that night, too, or at least pretended to. They both ignore the elephant in the back seat, its tusks prodding more and more sharply against their necks with each mile they leave behind them.
They’ll be back in adjoining motel rooms tonight.
She should review the case, should prepare for their meeting with the sheriff in an hour. Instead though, she shifts in her seat, agonizes over whether or not to kick him out should he decide to steal through the adjoining door tonight, prays he can’t smell how wet she is at the mere thought of it from across the center console.
He doesn’t steal through the door.
No matter though, because she’d decided to kick him out anyway, at least that’s what she tells herself.
They eat breakfast the next morning in the diner adjacent to the hotel lobby, and as he chomps on greasy bacon from across the booth, she hates herself even further, for being disappointed.
“Sleep well, Scully?” he manages around a mouthful of eggs, and she rises, makes her way to the restroom without answering.
Go back to your room, Mulder, she practices saying in her head, before the diner’s bathroom mirror. The wallpaper’s peeling and the potpourri on the counter wears a layer of dust so thick, it’s no longer pink. No consorting in hotel rooms, Article 314 in the handbook, we’re both aware of the—
He knocks, tells her through the closed door, “I’ll be in the car when you’re ready.”
She smooths her hair, adjusts the blazer that already feels stifling at eight o’clock in the morning, brushes hands down the front of her skirt in an attempt to erase the sensation of his stubble against her inner thighs, makes her way out to the car.
She used to envision her future, back when she was young. A boyfriend, maybe even a husband. Walks together in the park, hours lost in a bookstore, a collection of seashells from a stroll on the beach…
She never pictured this— a man who carries tissues in his pocket for an entire year just in case, a man who recites her thesis back to her when she barely remembers it herself, a man who meets her back at the car with her coffee in a Styrofoam to-go cup, because he knows sure as anything she’ll want more within the hour.
A man who knows what she tastes like when she comes, but hasn’t met her eye for a week.
The Sarasota Monster is vicious, leaves women torn to shreds just yards from rundown apartment buildings, in garbage dumps, behind the Sudz ‘n Soak Laundromat on West 56th Street. Three days in and Mulder’s shoulders hunch, Scully’s temples ache. The sheriff’s toupee is terrible, but neither’s hidden away a smirk since yesterday.
They hadn’t expected something of this caliber when they drove into town on Tuesday afternoon, big, gray elephant in tow.
They’re silent as they eat takeout on her room’s excuse for a table (workspaces available for business travelers!), two autopsies under her belt for the day.
“It’s a tough one, Scully,” he muses somberly into beef lo mein, and he’s right, it is a tough one. He licks sauce from his fingertips and she blushes, turning away, ashamed of herself.
“Yes, it’s a tough one,” she agrees, standing, scraping half of her meal into the trash.
Go back to your room, Mulder, she practices, except please don’t please don’t please don’t.
He goes back to his room. She didn’t even say that part out loud, but he does it anyway. She wishes she’d said something else, touched him on the arm, done anything. But instead she sits on her bed, thinks about women and their body parts strewn about town because it’s the only way not to think about his mouth.
She wakes at midnight damp with sweat, air conditioner blasting but not coolly enough. The woman they found in the dumpster this morning won’t ever fiddle with a thermostat again, won’t ever curse the heat while lying in her bed.
She kicks at her sheets. There are moans seeping beneath the adjoining door, the low pulse of music as pixelated couples don’t worry about the temperature at all, don’t worry about women dying or about Sarasota monsters. It must be nice, she thinks as she drifts back off, to come when the lights are on.
When she wakes again it’s to footsteps, soft across her carpeted floor. It’s funny that she doesn’t startle, doesn’t reach for the gun laid out on the nightstand. She’d know his footsteps anywhere. Her eyes remain closed; her body though—it wakes instantly, heartbeat thrumming within her chest.
Go back to your room, Mulder, she urges her mouth to say. Her mouth does not obey.
He stands beside the bed. She can smell him—the sour, heady sweat of a man who feels too deeply, who works too tirelessly. She wants nothing more than to pull him down atop her, to rut against him until the pain goes away, until there are no more monsters or bad men or illnesses or death, until the terrible things they carry around each day disappear.
He hovers, thighs just inches from her shoulder, the same shoulder he laid his hand upon only hours ago, when he reached across her body to grab his suitcoat from the hook. She hates how weak she is, hates knowing she should send him away while at the same time her nipples tighten, her thighs grow slick. Just once more, she reasons with herself. Once more won’t hurt.
She waits—motionless—tries desperately to control her breathing, to keep her hips from shifting on the bed. The heat comes off him in waves. Just once more, she promises herself again, she swears, cross her heart and hope to die, stick a needle in her eye.
His feet shuffle restlessly against the carpet, his breaths grow increasingly harsh. Touch me, she silently pleads, please.
Instead though, instead of touching her—on her hip, on her neck, on her anything—instead, his feet stop shuffling, his breath goes quiet. His footsteps retreat, head away from the bed and back towards the door while she lies shocked, ripened to the point of bursting.
Go back to your room, Mulder, she’d told herself to say, but God, she hadn’t really meant it.
“Mulder,” she gasps quickly, eyes opening to find him silhouetted in the doorway. He stops but doesn’t turn. Clad only in boxers, he clenches his fingers, unclenches them.
“Stay,” she whispers.
He turns, and even in the dim light, anguish taints his beautiful face.
With hurried, trembling fingers, she unbuttons her top. It’s a perverse sort of offering, but it’s all she’s got. Satin slides to pool at her sides.
“Stay,” she breathes again. There are defining moments in a person’s life—kissing a boy, graduating from college, walking down the aisle… Her defining moment is this: Lying bared in a Florida motel room, broken yet brilliant partner watching her from across the room.
She meets his gaze, invites him again with her eyes, with the soft arch of her back against the sheets. Mulder, she begs silently, her entire body trembling.
He takes a step forward.
Until he’s back at the bed, knees dropping, body crumbling to the floor beside it. “Scully…Christ,” he rasps.
Someone runs water in some far-away room, filling the pipes that run through her ceiling. She holds her breath. For the first time since arriving in Florida, she has goosebumps.
He meets her eyes and she nods, just barely.
With a single finger, he traces a rib. She gasps, flinches in spite of herself. She’s not ticklish, but God, this is Mulder, and that in itself is startling, is utterly breathtaking. Another rib, another. She bites her cheek to keep from whimpering.
He continues—palm flattening as it drags across her belly. He watches her, keeps watching her, eyes on hers even as he fondles the puckered scar at her hip, even as he spreads his fingers out further, runs a thumb back and forth along the curve beneath her breast. She shudders, hating herself for it.
He doesn’t look away as he trails slowly up her sternum, doesn’t look away when he lands eventually at her throat. His palm is heavy where it lies along her windpipe, warm. Too sensual for her own good. When his finger lands at her pulse, her heart races.
There are no rules to this game, but even if there were, he’s not playing by them. There shouldn’t be eye contact this intense, there shouldn’t be his hand at her throat. She shouldn’t be trying this desperately not to moan.
He holds her gaze a beat longer, two, then to her relief breaks it, moving from her throat back down to her breasts. He circles them, goes round one then the other, makes figure eights on the trembling blackboard of her torso. She thinks stupidly for a moment about the underwire from today’s bra, poking her beneath her arm. He touches that spot, again and again, at the beginning of each new eight. Her nipples are hard by sixteen and by twenty-four, she’s panting.
She doesn’t expect his mouth. At least not this soon. She doesn’t expect his hot, hot tongue on her nipple and him hunched so suddenly on top of her. She doesn’t expect his other hand, pinching and tugging and plucking. She sucks an embarrassingly loud breath through her teeth.
He’s good, of course he’s good, of course his fucking mouth is just as good at her breasts as it was between her legs a week ago. He pulls her in deep, sucks at her greedily, messily, the slurping noises he makes as disgusting as they are erotic. “Fuck,” he mumbles against her skin, “Fuck, Scully.”
She arches her back, tries so damn hard not to thread her fingers through his hair. He kneads at one breast and nips at the other, and she, she does anything she can to convince herself she’s not in love with him, convince herself she could walk away from this tomorrow and not spend the rest of her life thinking about him and his stupid fucking mouth.
Her nipple pressed between his tongue and the roof of his mouth, he reaches his hand out, scrabbles blindly on the sheets until finding hers. Roughly, still sucking, he drags her hand down, shoves it beneath her pajama bottoms and between her legs. Grunts in encouragement.
“No,” she protests at first, voice weak, “No, Mulder,” but he presses her fingers against herself, finds that hungry, aching spot even with his mouth still at her breast, grunts again. This isn’t about her, doesn’t he understand that? She never agreed to participate; she never agreed to do anything but lie here; she never—
He presses again and she gasps, lifts her hips without meaning to. He rolls a nipple between thumb and forefinger and she decides not to care anymore what she agreed to. She shoves down her bottoms and he pulls his hand away.
She’s wet, swollen. She wants his hand back. She doesn’t know what she wants. All she knows is that he knows exactly when to nip, exactly how to suck, exactly what to do to make her neck arch back against the pillow.
With fingers that have smoothed back his hair, fingers that have written his reports, she touches herself, he at her breasts and the Sarasota Monster across town claiming its next victim.
They work well together, in this as in everything else, and she finds herself hating that fact, hating that it doesn’t matter what she does with her life these days, it’s better when he’s there beside her—whether she wants it that way or not. She’s touched herself hundreds of times, thousands, but dammit, it’s never felt like this. She shoves two fingers inside, bites her lip to keep from screaming.
He encourages her, muffled hums and moans vibrating against her skin, his eyes on her hand and his mouth working directly over her heart. She’s so wet, she can hear herself, so aroused she can’t keep her open-mouthed whimpers inside. She closes her eyes, for a moment is able to imagine they’re in her bed, wine warming on her dining room table, seashells they’ve collected displayed on the bureau.
They’re not in her bed though, they’re in a hotel in Sarasota, Florida, temperature stifling and dead bodies across town awaiting a Y incision. His teeth scrape roughly across her nipple.
The slick, wet sounds of her hand between her legs grow louder, are broadcast in stereo. She realizes one of his hands is missing, has disappeared between his own legs down beside the bed. He’s touching himself. She turns her head, presses the moan she can’t hold inside into the pillow, not sure whether to cry or to come.
Mouth on one breast, hand at the other, he urges her on: “Yeah, yeah,” arm pumping frantically enough that the bed shakes. She doesn’t want this to be so hot, in fact she tries in her brain for it not to be, but it is, it is because it’s Mulder, and she’s wanted him to come to her room for over a week and he finally did.
They move together, in tandem even, he rocking the bed from beside it and she rocking from above, and the whole damn thing’s so pathetic she could cry. She’s thirty-six years old and doesn’t know how to do this anymore, hasn’t had a man in her bed for years.
He rises then, without warning, and before she realizes it, she’s gasping his name, terrified he’s already stopping. She hates how desperate she feels, hates that she’s planned all week to send him away yet here she is panicked he’s leaving.
“No,” he assures her, voice so soft and Mulder-y, “No, I was just—”
He stands beside the bed, boxers shoved to his thighs, cock hard and pretty just inches from her face. He grasps himself and starts pumping again, opposite hand finding its way back to her breast with a squeeze.
She forgets for a moment what she was doing, until he nudges her with his thigh, hums in the general direction of her stilled and sticky hand. Her hips respond, rolling themselves against her fingers until she has no choice but to continue.
Her fingers work fast but his work faster. Her heels dig into the sheets. His face holds a grimace so much more beautiful than she’s imagined, all those times she pretended not to imagine him, fingers slick and frantic at midnight.
She circles and she whimpers, he pumps and he groans. There’s the faint sound of the building settling a few rooms away, the soft, rhythmic creak of the mattress beneath her back.
Falling forward, he catches himself with a hand against her sheets, arced above her like a rainbow, she his flushed and needy pot of gold. He’s close enough she feels his panting breaths at her chest, sees the sweat-tangled hairs of his armpit. His hand moves so quickly she can’t keep up, and it’s the most beautiful thing in the world.
She wants so badly to touch him—his hair, the dark stubble of his cheeks, his muscled shoulders as he works and he works and he works. She wants to drag him down on top of her and do this the way normal people do, not like this, not in this fucked-up, elephant-in-the-back-seat-of-the-car way that seems to be the only thing they can handle. She wants to whisper come for me, Mulder while gripping his forearm and coming for him, too.
But that’s not what happens. What happens is he comes regardless of all those things. He squeezes his eyes shut and he grunts her name, and he comes across her belly in hot, sticky spurts that make her gasp, that make her arch her spine with hunger, even though she’s never, never imagined it this way at all.
The other thing she’s never imagined is this: one of those spurts reaching further, lying hot and slippery against her pubis, precisely where her fingers continue to grind. He pants above her, oblivious as she plays in it, as she gathers it with two fingers then slides them frantically both inside, fucks herself before she has time to reconsider what a stupid, messed-up thing she’s doing, because stupid, messed-up things have somehow become their norm it seems. And what’s even more messed-up is how good it feels, how absolutely divine it feels to know that some small piece of him made it inside her, even if nothing more comes of it than that.
She comes, hard, choking back a sob and turning her head against the pillow so she won’t have to look him in the eye, so she can pretend she doesn’t hear him as he tenderly says her name.
He disappears to the bathroom and returns with a towel, wipes her up so gently, she fights to hold back tears.
He pauses beside the bed, looks at her. She closes her eyes. He pauses once more on his way back to the door, stands there for long, slow seconds before finally returning to his room.
She swears she hears a woman screaming from across town, body dumped in a field and left to die.
Beside her motel bed, there’s a nightstand, and inside that nightstand, there’s a drawer, and lying in that drawer is a brochure she never took the time to read, not while sitting on her bed three days ago, pretending not to want him, and not now, lying here, knowing she wants him more than anything and not knowing what to do about it.
Welcome to Sarasota, the brochure reads across the front, Here Be Monsters.