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COOPERVILLE

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Assistant Director Walter Skinner sat still and silent at his desk for a very long time before picking up the phone.

He put it down again and sat for more long minutes before finally composing himself, sighing, and making the call...

***

Fox Mulder was sharpening pencils when the phone rang.

'You going to get that Mulder?'

'Yep.'

'Today?'

'Yep.' He finished off the yellow HB with a flourish.

Scully sighed deeply, watching Mulder place the pencil neatly in the desk-tidy with two dozen others he'd shaved to within an inch of their lives in the past half hour.

Then he answered the phone. Listened, and said 'Yes sir.' He stood up and hung up in the same movement, and Scully questioned him with her eyes.

'Skinner wants to see us right away.'

'What for?'

'I don't know. But he sounds...'

'Annoyed? Angry? Frustrated? All of the above?'

But Mulder didn't smile. 'He sounds serious.'

'Oh nooooo, Mulder! What have you done now?!' wailed Scully as she pulled her jacket on. Mulder gave her a droll look.

'I was about to ask you the same thing, Scully.'

Scully gave her patented Scully-snort which said so much so eloquently that Mulder didn't even bother waiting for an answer before holding open the door for her and following her through it with his hand - as usual - at the small of her back.

In the elevator, Mulder and Scully exchanged slightly anxious looks. Mulder shrugged and tried to lighten the mood: 'Five bucks says it's you Scully.'

***

The two agents entered AD Skinner's office and took their usual seats. Scully's nerves ratcheted up a notch when she saw Skinner's face. It was a mask of barely suppressed anger. She glanced briefly at Mulder and saw he'd registered it too. His own face was as calm as it usually was, but she could see the flicker of disquiet in his eyes.

There was a moment after they sat when nobody said anything. Skinner merely stared at his blotter, almost as if he didn't know they were there. It was unusual and uncomfortable. Mulder glanced at Scully and cleared his throat. 'You wanted to see us sir?'

Skinner looked up, but not at them. This is bad, thought Scully. This is bad this is bad this is bad...

He turned to the screen in the corner of the room and hit a button on a remote control on his desk. 'I did, Agent Mulder,' he said, 'but not like this.'

The TV flickered to life and Scully flushed at the pictures that appeared. Two people. Fucking. The woman kneeling on a bed, being taken from behind as she held onto the headboard. There was no porno music, only the realistic sounds of sex - grunts, moans, heaving breathing - her urging him on 'Harder! Harder!' And then...

'OH!!' Scully actually yelped as she realized it was HER. It was HER urging the man on...

And the man fucking her was Mulder.

Scully leapt to her feet. 'What the hell is this?!'

AD Skinner looked grimly at her. 'My thoughts exactly Agent Scully, when this memory card was sent to me this morning.'

Scully spun from him to look at Mulder who was staring open-mouthed at the TV, a look of complete and utter shock on his face. Skinner - mercifully - switched it off and the office was silent again, but this time it was a silence that creaked and squealed under the sheer weight of what they had all just seen. Scully felt sick - physically sick. Her mind raced and hopped from one ridiculous explanation to another, grasping desperately for a handhold on reality.

'Sir! I never! I never have! Agent Mulder and I have NEVER! Done that. Ever! Mulder?!

She looked at him for support but he looked dazed. 'Tell him Mulder!' Mulder only shook his head, slowly, as if he too was having serious trouble computing.

'Sit down Agent Scully.'

Scully stood unsteadily for a moment, then - to her own shock and humiliation - she burst into tears of pure outrage.

'Agent Scully?' Skinner pushed a box of tissues at her and she took one - hating herself for ever needing such a thing in the presence of the AD... in the presence of anyone. She slumped back into her chair. Skinner waited for her sobs to subside. He seemed to be in no rush to embark on the next chapter of this particular book.

'Agents...' He started slowly, carefully, as if he didn't trust himself to remain calm. 'This raises several questions. The first being your personal conduct in the field, obviously. The second being who made this recording; the third being why it was sent to me.' He sighed. 'There may be a fourth issue. And a fifth. And so on, but I'll let you know as they occur to me; these are the things I need answers to right now. And this is embarrassing for all of us, so the faster you give me an explanation, the faster I can decide how best to handle this.'

Scully realized he was looking at them, expecting them to explain. Fat chance, she thought.

She tried hard to get a grip on herself. She knew that she and Mulder had never had sex. That's why it had taken her so long to register that the woman on the screen was herself. Just the thought of the scene being played out in front of AD Skinner and Mulder brought fresh tears of fury and embarrassment to her eyes, and she dabbed fiercely at them. She made an effort to take a deep breath and felt herself starting to calm down. This was embarrassing, sure, but the events on that recording hadn't happened, so there had to be a rational explanation.

'If it's any help,' said Skinner, 'the timecode on the recording is February 12 - that'll be two weeks ago on Wednesday.'

Scully glanced over at Mulder. They'd been in Georgia. A small town called Cooperville, investigating the appearance of strange symbols burned into the flesh of corpses at the local funeral home. They'd come home on the 13th - the day after they were supposed to have...Scully suppressed the images to allow herself to think clearly. The day after the 12th. The 12th - that's how she would think of it from now on, that would be easier.

'We were in Georgia sir. Sunday through Thursday. We came home a day early because I got sick.'

The tiniest frown appeared fleetingly between Scully's eyes, and Skinner saw it and nodded, encouraging more, but Scully's hesitation was only momentary.

As far as she remembered, she and Mulder had come back from the funeral home after inspecting four scarred bodies, then eaten at a local rib joint, gone over their day's work, and gone to bed around 11pm. Because Skinner was still looking at her, she told him that.

He nodded: 'Separate rooms?'

Scully was stung, but tried not to let it show. 'Of course sir.'

'And did ANYTHING happen during the night? Anything at all?

'No sir. Not that I can recall.'

'Agent Mulder?'

Scully could hear the barely controlled anger in Mulder's voice. 'I think I'd remember THAT happening sir.'

Skinner flushed then took off his glasses and pinched his nose as if he had a major headache coming on. Finally he replaced his glasses and looked at both of them with a laser-like stare.

'Listen Agents. We're all adults. You two wouldn't be the first or the last FBI partners to take things to a more personal level--'

'But sir!'

'Let me finish Agent Scully... However, ' he sighed, 'I cannot tolerate being lied to--'

'We're not lying! It's not us!' Mulder was on his feet, unable to take another second of humiliation. 'It can't be us. Have you had the file checked for tampering?'

'Not yet.'

'Well you should!'

'I wanted to speak to you first. Give you the chance to defend yourselves--'

'Against what?!' yelled Mulder 'We never did it! It's not us on that card!’

Mulder was so angry now that he was leaning on Skinner's desk.

'Sit down, Agent Mulder.'

Scully reached up and tugged at Mulder's arm; he backed off but he didn't sit down. Skinner regrouped and started again.

'I have not had the recording checked because I thought you would rather keep this matter in this room. If I have to send it to the lab techs then I can no longer be responsible for protecting your privacy.'

Scully nodded gratefully but Mulder was not appeased. 'I don't care! Send it to the lab, if that's the only way you'll believe us!'

'No Mulder!' Scully stood up and faced him angrily. 'I don't want it to go to the lab.'

'But Scully, it's the only way to prove it's not us. The footage has been faked, but we can't prove that. This is the only way.'

'Mulder. No.' Scully's voice was low, but its impact was undeniable. Mulder turned to Skinner for support but Skinner shook his head.

'I won't send it unless you're both in agreement, Agents. But I have to warn you that in the absence of evidence that this footage has been manipulated, I will have to treat this as a case of gross misconduct in the field.'

'What does that mean?' Mulder asked.

'For now,' sighed Skinner, 'It means you're both suspended. Badges and guns.'

After a second of stunned disbelief, Scully laid her gun and badge on the AD's desk. Mulder threw his down, his gun skidding across the polished wood, and stormed out without waiting for Skinner to dismiss him. Skinner sighed and looked at Scully, but she gave him nothing.

'You can go Agent Scully. Please call me if you think of anything that might help your case.'

He was being sincere, Scully knew that. She also knew he took no pleasure in suspending them. She nodded briefly and followed Mulder out of the office.

Skinner rubbed his face. That had been even tougher than he'd expected. He'd imagined they'd be embarrassed and defensive at first, but that - presented with the overwhelming evidence - they'd quickly admit they'd overstepped the mark and suffer whatever consequences he saw fit. However, he hadn't expected outright denial of what were plainly the facts. He was angry that they were lying, but at the same time something in the back of his mind niggled away at him. Their reactions had been truly shocked. Scully's furious tears were genuine and Mulder looked as if he'd been kicked in the guts. He'd watched closely but there'd been no meaningful glances between them as the pictures played out; nothing that indicated they knew they'd been caught and were gauging from each other how to react. Instead their usual symbiotic connection seemed to have deserted them entirely, with Scully having to urge Mulder to support her, and he barely able to respond, and then their disagreement over whether the card should be sent to the lab - they'd plainly been at cross purposes. Although - having watched the whole recording - he could understand Scully's reluctance to share better than anyone... Other than that, none of it made sense to him. Or, it seemed, to them.

Scully caught up with Mulder at the elevator and they stood in awkward silence, waiting for the car. Scully's mind was in turmoil. The same stupid conclusions that made no sense whirred endlessley through her brain, every one ending with the image of Mulder pounding into her as she begged him for more. Every time her mind ended up there she felt herself blush. She glanced up at her partner, who was avoiding her eyes by looking up to see which floor the car was on.

They rode down to the basement in an ugly black silence. A dozen times Scully started to open her mouth, but realized she had no idea what to say.

Mulder strode into the basement office and threw a few things into a briefcase - studiously ignoring his partner - while Scully just leaned against the filing cabinet and watched him.

'Mulder.'

He ignored her.

'Mulder, I'm sorry.'

'You should be Scully!' She was taken aback by the fury in his voice. 'Having that memory card analyzed is the only way to clear our names. I'd say that was worth a little embarrassment.'

She bristled: 'A LITTLE embarrassment?! Well obviously your definition of ‘little’ is a very long way from mine, Mulder. If anyone but Skinner saw those pictures that gossip would never end. My reputation would be gone. Shattered. Forever.'

'And what about MY reputation Scully?'

'Mulder you're a man! You know as well as I do that your reputation would only be enhanced if the rest of the Hoover Building finally got the proof they've always wanted that you're fucking me!'

As soon as the words were out of her mouth, she regretted them. She didn't have to see the hurt stab through his eyes to know how out of line she was. She moved towards him...

'Mulder, I didn't mean--'

He held up a hand, stopping her before she could get near him. 'Well, at least I know where I stand, Scully - reputation-wise.' He must've seen the contrition in her eyes, because his tone softened a little. 'Somebody's setting us up Scully. You know it and I know it.’

'All I know, Mulder, is that you and I have never had sex. To my knowledge.'

His eyes widened in shock. 'What are you saying Scully? That we've had sex WITHOUT your knowledge?! That I RAPED you?!'

Scully hung her head. She wouldn't have stated it so baldly, but she knew now that this was one possibility she'd had careening through her brain since the moment she saw the footage. Now that he'd picked up on her unspoken accusation, she saw no point in denying it.

Mulder said nothing for so long that she looked up at him - and realized with a pang that it was because he was trying so hard not to cry. When he finally spoke his voice was broken and harsh.

'Well, I don't know your definition of consent Scully, but I'm betting any court in the land would consider 'harder, harder' to imply at least encouragement.’

She slapped him so hard it made her hand sting. The handmark on his face showed white for a second and then bright red as the blood returned with a vengeance.

Mulder's eyes closed down as if a light had gone out. His face became a smooth mask and he looked at her as if he didn't know her at all. Then he left without another word and closed the basement door behind him.

***

Scully sat at Mulder's desk for more than three hours, her eyes seeing nothing but the grainy images of their animal coupling. They'd only watched a minute or so but every moment was ingrained in her memory. She saw her knuckles white on the headboard, her hair swinging rhythmically in front of her face as he thrust into her, one hand on her breast, the other on her hip. She saw his lean flanks moving smoothly but powerfully to meet her ass, and withdrawing so far that she could see the thick shaft that connected them, before it plunged into her again. She was embarrassed to feel herself grow warm as she remembered it, again and again… And there was something else. Something she had thought of fleetingly in Skinner's office…

She pushed the image away with a conscious effort, and concentrated on trying to recall every detail of that night.

They had gone over the case together in Mulder's room. He'd had the TV on, as usual. He'd brought his dessert back from the rib place because it was chocolate cake and he'd teased her with it for a while until she consented to share it with him; he'd barely eaten any of it in the end. She'd gone to get ice. She'd chewed ice cubes while they worked, even though the temperature outside was freezing.

She'd said goodnight around 11. She'd left the door between their rooms unlocked, as usual. She felt safer that way. Not any more, she heard a mean little voice say in her head, and her throat tightened with tears.

She pushed the thought away. The idea that Mulder would rape her was untenable. She trusted him more deeply than she trusted herself. Sure, he was always ready with an amusing innuendo, and he touched her far more often than was strictly necessary, but then, she did the same with him. But she trusted him with her life every day, and with her honor every night they were on the road, and in neither of those two spheres could she ever imagine him letting her down. When she thought of her earlier unspoken accusation and the pain it had caused him, Scully's tears welled up and became unstoppable, and she wept loudly like a broken-hearted child. Even through her sobs she tried to analyze what it was she was crying for. When she realized it was at the cruel irony of being censured for something she only fervently wished she HAD done, she cried even harder.

She finally stopped crying at 9.06pm. It happened suddenly and with complete finality. She knew she'd cried all the tears she possessed right now, and wouldn't cry again tonight. Good. Now she could think clearly. For the first time since Skinner had switched on the TV this afternoon, Dana Scully felt like herself again.

With her renewal of faith in Mulder came clarity. There were only two options here: If they had had sex, then neither of them remembered it for some reason, and that reason should be investigated. If they had not had sex, then the disc had been faked and THAT should be investigated.

That was all there was to it.

Scully got up, smoothed her hair, picked up her car keys, and thanked god for waterproof mascara.

***

Mulder opened the door of number 42 and stared at her blankly. She'd only seen him five hours before, but he looked ten years older. He was still wearing his suit pants and white shirt, although it was untucked now, with the sleeves rolled up, and she could see his tie flung over the back of a chair. His face was deathly pale and he had dark smudges under his red-rimmed eyes. With a surge of guilt, Scully realized she could still see the mark left by her hand - four finger-sized stripes of red bruising emblazoned on his cheek.

'Can I come in?'

He said nothing, but stood aside stiffly to let her pass. He stayed at the door, as if he expected to be showing her out again shortly.

She took a deep breath: 'Mulder, I apologize for implying you raped me. I was humiliated and angry, but it was unforgivable.'

He nodded almost imperceptibly. 'Thank you.' he said quietly.

Scully felt a rush of pure relief and happiness that she'd apologized and that he'd been gallant enough not to rub her nose in it. It had been her biggest fear about coming over here; trust Mulder to make it easier for her than she'd anticipated.

'I've been thinking about that footage, Mulder—‘ He snorted mirthlessly and met her eyes. As if either of them had thought about anything else since 4.15 this afternoon. She shrugged, acknowledging he was right.

'I know that the most logical course of action would be to have the recording analyzed for tampering. But there's something I wanted to discuss with you first, before we have to resort to that. Something that might be relevant.'

He nodded again, warily interested. Suddenly Scully felt weak. This was not going to be an easy conversation to have. She glanced about her as if for support. Mulder read her in a second.

'Do you want to sit down Scully?'

She nodded and dropped onto the couch. 'Yes. This is difficult to talk about Mulder. For me. And maybe for you too.'

Mulder sat down beside her on the edge of the couch. 'Everything about this is difficult Scully.' His voice had warmed now, and Scully felt it wash over her like a balm. Five minutes ago they had been as far apart as two people could possibly be. And now they were sitting side by side, working together, healing together. Her heart clenched and she felt her bottom lip tremble in gratitude at having him as a partner, as a friend, as… what?

She forced her mind back to the present.

'In Cooperville. When I got sick?' She glanced at him and saw he was looking at her intently, not missing a thing. He nodded. 'It was the morning after… the… 12th. I woke up early and I had this terrible headache.'

'I remember. You were out of Advil. I got some for you from the check-in guy.’

'That's right. And then I threw up. Twice.'

Mulder nodded sympathetically but still watched her intently, understanding that she was building up to something he did NOT know about Cooperville.

'But there was something else Mulder. Something I didn't tell you because it didn't seem to…fit…with my other symptoms. It was something that I was so surprised at that if I'd been feeling well, I'd have paid more attention to it.' Scully's eyes dropped to her hands and her voice became a whisper. 'Mulder, when I woke up I FELT… as if I’d… had sex. I don't mean in my mind, I mean… physically, you know…’ She tailed off, too embarrassed to continue.

'Are you sure, Scully?' Mulder's voice was soft. She nodded.

'It's been a while, so, you know, I felt…different. And also, when I showered, I noticed two small bruises, right here on my hip. Right where…’ she couldn't finish.

'Right where my hand was holding you in the film.' His voice was flat. A statement of fact. Mulder looked away from her and across the room; she could almost hear his mind working.

She reached for his hand and squeezed it and slowly he turned to look at her. 'If you still want to have the footage analysed, I'll agree to it. But I thought you should know this first.'

He nodded. 'You were right to tell me Scully.' He half-grinned at her, but there was no humour in it, and she could see in his eyes that he more to say.

'What is it?'

He rubbed his eyes, then leaned back into the couch with a sigh. 'If you hadn't told me that, I wouldn't have thought much about it, Scully, but now it seems it might be relevant.'

'What might be?' The hairs at the back of Scully's neck actually prickled in anticipation.

He sighed, not knowing how to begin. Finally he just shrugged and shot a brief grimace at her. 'Well, I guess one embarrassing sexual turn deserves another…

'When I woke up that morning - the next morning - I thought you were in bed with me.' She frowned in confusion and he shrugged: 'My bed smelled of you Scully. I remember waking up and thinking you were next to me, I could smell you so clearly.' He looked down at his hands in his lap to avoid her eyes: 'And there was… well, you know, a wet patch on the sheet…’

Even in the semi-dark of his apartment, Scully could see him blushing. She could almost feel the heat of it rising off him. She took his hand in hers and looked into his eyes seriously. 'How long have you been wetting the bed Mulder?'

They both laughed then, and the last shred of tension between them was blown away like a wisp of smoke. They laughed longer than the joke deserved, just because it was so good to laugh after the day they'd had - and to be laughing together was the best thing of all.

Finally there was silence between them and she could tell they were both thinking the same thing.

'Maybe it IS us on that recording Mulder.'

The thought closed around them like a shroud, dark and secret and disturbing and… and something else too.

Something neither of them wanted to admit.

***

Mulder winced as Scully slid the needle into his vein and started to tap what looked like a rich seam of blood.

'Jesus Scully, if you're going to take that much can I at least get a cookie?'

'Don't be a baby Mulder.'

'Are you kidding?' He whined, 'That would've wrung a baby dry!'

She rolled her eyes at him and picked his vials and the ones she'd taken from her own arm five minutes earlier.

'You'd better get back down to the basement Mulder. Skinner's only given me permission to use the lab to do the drugs tests, not for you to be poking around on official FBI business up here.'

'How long will you be?'

'Hours. And don't get your hopes up Mulder, it's been two weeks since Cooperville. I'm expecting these to come back negative.'

'I'll go get lunch. Come down when you have a break.'

'Okay.' She smiled at him and wondered for the fiftieth time since last night why she felt so damned good when her job and her reputation were both hanging in the balance. She could only attribute it to being back on the same side as Mulder, with a goal to work towards together.

AD Skinner had been pleased to hear from her when she'd called earlier. She'd heard a genuine note of hope in his voice when she sketched in the details of the tests she'd like to run, and he'd agreed to hold off on starting official suspension proceedings against them for a couple of days. She was grateful for that and she told him so. She didn't tell him about the intimate details she and Mulder had confessed to each other the night before. Those meant nothing in the context of an official investigation; the drugs tests could mean everything.

Although she wasn't hungry, she took a break around three, and went to the basement. Waldorf salad for her, pastrami on rye for him. He was ravenous, but had waited for her. Guiltily, she knew that he would have waited all day if she'd taken that long to join him.

They ate in companionable silence. Mulder didn't bother asking about the tests - he knew she would tell him when she knew anything.

'You know, Scully?' He leaned back in his chair and propped his feet on the corner of his desk. The long pause after he started meant he was trying to find a way to go on. When he did, it was slow and measured. 'Whether the drug tests are positive or negative, we're ignoring the most important piece of evidence available to us.'

She knew it was true. She'd thought about it last night after she'd got back to her own apartment. But she'd hoped Mulder wouldn't go there. Scully didn't even have to close her eyes to see that minute of footage replay again and again. The thought of viewing the whole recording did things to her mind that she couldn't begin to describe.

'I know Mulder.' She paused, wondering how to answer him. 'Let's take it one step at a time. If the drug tests show anything then maybe that will be enough.'

He nodded, and she saw the relief in his eyes. She was surprised but grateful for it. This was one porn flick he really didn't want to watch.

***

Mulder opened the door before Scully had finished knocking on it.

'Hi. Anything?'

She walked into his apartment and turned to face him as he closed the door.

'Something Mulder. Not much. But something.'

She followed him into the kitchen and watched while he poured them both a coffee, then looked at her expectantly.

'Your blood tested clean Mulder. It doesn't mean you weren't drugged - just that there's no longer any evidence of it.'

He nodded, but she could see the disappointment etched all over his face.

'What about you Scully?'

'There were very small traces of Rohypnol.'

'The date rape drug?!'

She nodded agreement: 'It causes heightened sexual desire and compliance, lowering of inhibitions, and subsequent memory loss.'

'But why didn't you find that in my blood Scully? I mean, I can't remember ...anything...either.' His eyes were anxious and Scully knew why.

'As I said Mulder, there were only traces of it left in me. It doesn't mean you didn't have it in your system, just that it left your body before it left mine.'

He chewed on his lip for a moment, his hazel eyes troubled and staring at the scuffed lino in his kitchen. Scully ached for him. She knew in one respect this result put her in the clear - but not him. She had plainly been drugged - and heavily if the Rohypnol was still in her system - but there was no evidence that he had been. Therefore he had no evidence that he hadn't drugged her and raped her. In a court of law it would come down to his word against her evidence, and his word would mean nothing. She reached out and touched his arm and his eyes met hers immediately, warily seeking reassurance. She gave it to him unstintingly, along with a little smile, and saw the relief flood through him.

Suddenly his arms were around her, his face pressed into her hair. She could feel the warmth of him against her breasts, and her hands went round his waist. She stroked his back gently, comfortingly.

'Thanks Scully.' His voice was husky and when he stepped back he looked a little abashed.

'You're welcome Mulder. But we're not out of the woods yet.'

'I know, I know.'

'The test results won't be enough for Skinner to accept that a third party was involved in what went on.'

'God, isn't the fact that the whole thing was mailed to him in glorious technicolor a clue?!'

Scully smiled big this time. 'Well, Mulder, maybe all that porn has finally come back to bite you in the ass. Maybe Skinner thinks you and I have been in the movie business all this time and you couldn't resist bragging.'

'Scully, 'that porn' as you call it, keeps a lot of poor, under-educated single women in gainful employment. I make no apology for donating to their upkeep. It's an act of charity.'

'Mulder, your acts of charity make Bill Gates look like Ebeneezer Scrooge!'

They both grinned, then slowly became serious again as they returned mentally to the recording.

'I guess we should watch it.' Mulder tried to keep his tone light, but Scully saw the nerves in his eyes.

'I don't know if I could watch it Mulder. I think I might die of embarrassment. You're used to that kind of thing - why don't you watch it and tell me what happens.'

He looked incredulous. 'I warn you Scully - if you leave it to me to tell you what happens, I'm coming out of this whole thing like a cross between James Bond and King Dong.’

'I was talking about the clues Mulder, not the sex.'

'Yes, well, something tells me I may be too distracted by one to be at the top of my FBI game about the other!’

'Mulder,' she whined. 'I don't want to watch it...'

'Gee, Scully. You're whining. That's MY thing.'

They were silent for a moment, their brains ticking over on the problem.

'Here's a plan,' said Mulder brightly, 'why don't we get Skinner to watch it for us?!' She rolled her eyes and he feigned surprise: 'What?! He was in Nam! If he survived the Tet, how Offensive can a couple of healthy, attractive FBI agents getting it on be?!'

'Don't Mulder,' she laughed, trying to be serious. 'Doesn't it bother you if it turns out we were filmed having sex and we can't even remember it?'

'Bother me?! It's driving me crazy!'

He was grinning, but something in his eyes made her suddenly catch her breath. Instantly the air between them was crackling with tension. Once again the picture of them fucking flashed into her head and she flushed.

Fucking.

That's what it had been. It was not making love; it was not dutiful marital sex. What she'd glimpsed briefly on that footage was pure animal lust of a kind she'd never experienced - at least not in her conscious memory. The increasingly likely possibility that it had indeed taken place made her feel dizzy and breathless and…

Mulder was staring at her, his eyes fixed on her face as if he could see the images pulsing through her mind.

Scully cleared her throat, then turned her back to him. She needed a moment of privacy. She knew he was right. Somebody had to watch the disc all the way through, and she knew it could only be one or both of them. The thought of watching it terrified her, but if Mulder watched it alone, she knew that eventually she'd have to see it anyway - the personal fear and professional need would burn in her until she did. And they had to remember, this wasn't just an embarrassment; this was a mystery they had to solve to save their jobs.

And once it was boiled down to just another X-file, there was no question in her mind as to how they should work this case…

Mulder had waited, silent and patient, until she'd finished thinking it through. Now Scully turned back and looked at him, fear and determination written all over her face.

'I think we should watch it together.'

***

Skinner had been surprised by the request but tried not to show it. It was plain that Agent Scully had found it embarrassing enough to come into his office in her jeans and T-shirt and ask for the USB stick.

Without questioning her, he'd got up and removed it from his safe.

'I'm relinquishing that evidence to your custody until the end of the week Agent Scully.' He looked at her meaningfully, 'I don't have a copy.'

She'd nodded. 'Thank you sir. I appreciate your trust.'

***

They watched it at his place because his AV equipment was better. Scully barely watched TV and when she did it was on a 14-inch portable she hid away in a cabinet when it was not in use so it wouldn't gather dust. Mulder, on the other hand, had a wide-screen TV and hifi hookups so the sound quality would be better.

She got back from Skinner's office just after noon. As she knocked at number 42, she realized she was shaking with nerves. Mulder answered looking almost as bad. He'd showered and put on jeans and a sky blue polo shirt but looked pale and anxious. His hair was still damp and spiked in odd places.

He closed the door behind her and took a deep shuddering breath.

'I don't know about you Scully, but I think I need a drink before we start this.'

Scully bit back her automatic response about the time of day, and just nodded in agreement. She put the USB on the coffee table and sat on the old leather couch that smelled of Mulder. She realized for the first time that he also smelled a little bit of the couch - that a faint aroma of well-tanned leather always hung about him. No wonder - the amount of time he spent on the damn thing.

He came in with a bottle of Jack Daniels and two glasses.

'I didn't know you drank bourbon Mulder.'

'I don't. Someone gave me this for Christmas about five years ago. I always thought I'd have to use it to disinfect something or hit someone over the head with, but I guess this is more of a fulfilment of its true purpose.'

Scully noticed that his hand shook a little as he poured two tumblers half full of Jack. Then he plugged the USB stick into the TV and sat down beside Scully with the remote.

Neither of them moved or spoke for a long moment. The enormity of what they were about to see bound them and separated them at the same time. Scully felt the way she once had on the high board at school. She could not believe she was about to dive all that way. She knew it was going to hurt - maybe even kill her - but at the same time she knew that going back down the ladder in front of her classmates was not an option.

'Jesus, Scully.' Mulder's voice was husky now. 'Should we talk about this first?'

'Mulder… without seeing the disc, I wouldn't know what to say.'

'I don't want this to change us Scully.' She heard the break in his voice and felt her own tears not far away.

'But it could, Mulder. We don't know. It could change everything.'

He nodded dumbly at his feet for a moment. 'I know.'

His voice was so small and helpless that she wanted to hold him, but something made her resist the urge. What she'd said was true - what they were about to watch could change everything. If that were the case, she didn't want to be holding him when it did.

He reached out suddenly and grabbed his tumbler, clanking it briefly against hers before downing it in one. He was no drinker, and came up gasping for air. She thumped his back until his coughing subsided. He gripped the bottle and poured again.

Scully took two long slugs to finish her shot. It spread through her like molten courage and she held out her glass for another. They both downed their second Jacks in one and Mulder banged his glass back down on the coffee table.

'Okay,' he said grimly, 'Let's go.'

The screen started out black. Then came the picture - in the grainy green of night-vision. The time at the bottom of the screen read 0013 - barely an hour after they'd both gone to their respective beds. It was Mulder's room at the Cooperville motel - the only one in town. Mulder was bare-chested and asleep on his back, but it wasn't a quiet sleep. He mumbled something unintelligible, and flung an arm across his eyes. A few seconds later, he twisted under the sheets and moaned loudly. Then he twisted back and whimpered into his pillow…

From the corner of her eye Scully saw Mulder shift uncomfortably.

'Can we skip to the bit where I wet the bed, Scully?'

She shot him a sympathetic smile and he shrugged, rubbing his hand across his face…

On the bed, Mulder's nightmare was in full flight. He groaned and cried out and thrashed, trapping his own legs in the sheet, which pulled down to reveal his boxers…

Mulder poured another drink - smaller this time - and swallowed it down. 'Jeez, how do you stand me?'

'Mulder, it's a nightmare. Everybody has them.'

'Every CHILD, Scully.'

She hated the tone of self-loathing in his voice, but this was not the time to try and dissuade him from that particular life-long pre-conception…

The motel room light was switched on and everything was suddenly in colour. Scully moved into the frame, dressed in a tank top and sweats. She moved to the bed.

'Mulder? Mulder…’ She touched his shoulder gently and he shrank from her and cried out in fear. She shook him more firmly, saying his name, urging him out of the terror of sleep. When he woke, Mulder woke suddenly, with a gasp as if he'd been drowning - his eyes dark and unfocused.

'Scully?'

'It's me Mulder. It was just a dream.' She sat on the edge of his bed, holding his hand while his breathing slowed to normal. 'Do you want some water?' Mulder shook his head as he leaned back against the headboard, his chest and abs sheened with sweat.

'Do you mind if I do?' He raised his eyebrows in assent and Scully picked up the bottle…

On the couch, Mulder and Scully both leaned forward. Was this the source of the drug? The metallic tear of the seal being broken on the bottle denied it. They looked at each other in disappointment, then laughed a little as they sat back once more. Scully could feel the Jack Daniels working on her now, she was all warm and floaty and nothing seemed as bad as it had thirty minutes earlier…

Onscreen Scully swigged half the bottle and placed it back on the nightstand. She squeezed Mulder's hand. 'Okay?'

He nodded: 'Thanks Scully.'

'You want the light out Mulder?'

'Not yet.'

Scully left and Mulder rubbed his eyes, then stared off into the middle distance for a long while…

'Well this is exciting,' said Mulder drily. ‘We should sell the box-set.’

Scully smiled. The minutes dragged by.

'Can you remember this Mulder? Can you remember what you were thinking?'

He shook his head. 'Probably what an asshole I am.'

He shrugged. She knew he meant it.

Then Scully walked into Mulder's room again. This time she was wearing just the skimpy tank-top and panties…

'Jesus Scully!' Mulder onscreen and Mulder on the couch both said the words simultaneously.

Scully blushed deep crimson. This was so far from what she'd expected to see that she felt breathless. She didn't dare look at Mulder beside her on the couch as she watched herself cross to the bed, pull back the sheet and slide in beside him.

'What are you doing Scully?' Mulder shifted away from his partner a little and looked down at her in confusion. Scully looked up at him: 'I just wanted to make sure you were okay Mulder. Can't you go to sleep?'

He opened his mouth to answer, but all that came out was a sharp gasp of surprise as she ran her fingers lightly over his left nipple. She smiled and let her hand move down his ribs and across his abs, which twitched visibly in response. Her nails scraped teasingly along the low-slung waistband of his boxers, tracing a line from his right hip-bone, through the narrow line of dark hair under his navel, to his left hip, and back again.

Mulder closed his eyes, and his voice shook a little: 'Scully, what are you doing?'

Instead of speaking, Scully suddenly dropped her head to his hip and kissed the gentle hollow of his groin where it disappeared into his shorts. Mulder arched back against the pillows with a groan of desire; his hand rested on the back of her head. 'Ohhhhh Scu—‘ He was cut off as she pushed the sheet down and ran her fingers lightly over the growing bulge in his boxers, then closed her hand around him. 'OH!' His hips arched up into her touch, seeking more…

Scully leapt off the couch, her face burning. She grabbed the remote from the table and jabbed furiously at the buttons. 'Turn it off Mulder! Please!' He was up in an instant, taking the remote from her; the screen went dark. He touched her shoulder but she shook him off and stepped away from him.

'Don’t!’

She put her head in her hands and wept.

'Scully.' His voice was filled with pain for her and he reached out again to comfort her but she shook her head to keep him away until her sobbing came back under her control.

'Mulder I'm so sorry.'

'Scully, it's not—‘

'After those terrible things I said to you. And it was ME. I was the one who did it to you. I feel horrible.'

He didn't try to touch her again, but his voice was comfort enough. 'Scully don't. I'm sure there's stuff on this recording we're both sorry for and embarrassed by. I'm guessing we haven't even scratched the surface.'

'I don't know if I can do this Mulder. It's only going to get worse.'

Mulder sighed. 'I don't know what to say Scully. You're right. But if someone did this to us then this is the best chance we've got of finding out who. I wish there were another way.' He ran his hand through his hair. 'Do you want to watch this separately Scully?'

She was tempted - so tempted - to say yes. The humiliation was almost unbearable. But the idea of Mulder watching it alone without her to defend what looked like her almost-indefensible behavior was even worse.

‘No.’

He nodded his agreement. 'You need a break?'

After a moment's hesitation, she shook her head. 'No. Let's get it over with.'

They sat down again and Mulder hit Play…

Scully peeled off her tank top and rolled onto Mulder, straddling his hips, her soft round breasts inches from his astonished face.

Mulder's hips jerked under her, his hard-on now straining his boxers. His hands gripped the sheets as he pressed himself against the headboard. 'Scully? Are you—‘ She silenced his mouth with hers and he groaned as their lips met, his hips rising once more to meet her sex, his hands moving to her hips.

Scully was panting now, and grinding herself into Mulder's erection as he held her in place. He leaned forward and took her right nipple between his teeth and she hissed with pleasure and held his head to her breast.

She suddenly pulled back from him and sat on his thighs. She spent a moment surveying his body - her eyes running to his bulging shorts - and then she slid her fingers under the waistband and pulled them down. His cock sprang free like a caged animal…

On the couch Scully's eyes widened at the size of him. Her face and neck burned with shame, but her sex suddenly throbbed with excitement at the thought that the man sat here beside her on the beat-up couch - Fox Mulder - hid that monster in his jeans right now, not six inches from her. She couldn't resist a glance at him. He was staring at the screen, glassy-eyed, his lips slightly parted, his face flushed. She chanced a brief look down at his lap and a bolt of excitement shot through her as she glimpsed the bulge growing there. All these years… She couldn't think straight. The TV was showing the most shameful moment of her whole life - a moment that could ruin her, ruin them, ruin everything they'd worked for - and yet all she could think about right now was reaching out and touching him. With difficulty Scully turned her eyes back to the TV…

Onscreen, Scully dropped her mouth onto his cock to a cry of lust from Mulder. She sucked at him and his fingers found an anchor in her hair as his hips found a rhythm in her mouth that made her moan around him. His eyes squeezed shut as the pleasure washed over him. Then he opened his eyes, pulled her up and off him, and twisted away from her. She sat back and looked disappointed. 'Mulder?'

He groaned:'Have to stop Scully...gonna come.'

But she wasn't disappointed for long. Mulder flipped them so she was under him and pushed off his shorts, then tugged her panties off, and suddenly his passion outstripped even hers as he knelt between her legs and pulled her hips up and onto his. He pushed her folds apart with the head of his cock. 'Yeah, Mulder, fuck me, fuck me.' She was a rag doll in his hands and he leaned forward, supporting the small of her back with one hand, the other finding her breast, as he slid into her to the hilt with one hard thrust. She cried out - a long wail of being mated - and he started to fuck her…

Scully looked at Mulder to find him staring at her with naked desire. 'Jesus Scully.' The words this time were low and gravelly, and she realized that he must be seeing exactly what she saw - someone spiralling rapidly into lust. Their eyes locked as that understanding passed between them - and suddenly he was on her, kissing her fiercely, pushing her down on the couch as she tugged at his shirt and opened her legs around him. They were desperate, uncontrolled. His hips thrust against hers as their mouths sucked greedily at each other, the sounds of their sex on the TV rising in time with their now-passion.

'I want you. I want you. I want you' his words were a mantra in her ear, and she felt his hand knead her breast roughly as his lips took hers again, teeth biting, tongue flicking. His knees spread hers wider and through two pairs of jeans his erection found her clit and rubbed hard and rhythmically against her. She whimpered and bit his lip and he growled into her mouth and pumped harder, faster. 'Mulder! Mulder no! Stop!' Scully was suddenly terrified and amazed as she felt her orgasm approaching. He opened his eyes to look at her but didn't stop thrusting - she didn't think he could stop. 'Mulder! Don't!' she cried, 'I'm gonna come!'

'Me too,' he gasped, and his words and the fire in his eyes catapulted her right over the precipice and she howled as she came, hardly hearing his own cries of release as everything in their minds and bodies became about their sex and the hard, hot, frantic pressure that suddenly exploded into warm bursts of liquid shudders that left them whimpering in ecstasy in each others arms.

Scully came back to full consciousness slowly. She felt his hot breath against her throat, his eyelashes fluttering against her cheek; the small, random twitches his cock still made against her - and the clenching response to each one that her own body made. Each time it happened his breathing hitched, and hers did the same.

She became aware of the sounds of their sex still coming from the TV. She didn't turn her head to look but she smiled at Mulder's ceiling: now she recognized those noises he made as he got closer to the edge, as the excitement and sensation rose in his balls. There was no doubt now that it was them, fucking in Cooperville.

Mulder shifted against her and the TV fizzed off. She stared into his eyes to find a weird mixture of lust, embarrassment and laughter as he looked down at their bodies.

'Gee Scully. It's been so long that I forgot you're supposed to get naked.'

'My mother always told me to practice safe sex Mulder.'

'I wish she could see you now then Scully - she'd be so proud.'

They giggled against each other, then fell silent as the enormity of what had just happened sunk in. The silence stretched between them - every second making it harder for one of them to break it. Scully felt him shift across her to get up, and gasped as she realized he was still hard - or already hard again. He stood beside the couch and looked down at her watching his crotch. He blushed and picked up a copy of Fortean Times from the coffee table to cover himself with. 'Sorry Scully.'

'What for?'

'I don't know,' he admitted finally. 'I don't know whether to apologize for what just happened, or for the fact it didn't last longer. I don't know what to say. Or to think. Or to do. Shit!' He met her eyes with some difficulty, still clutching the magazine against himself like a glossy fig leaf.

There was another yawning silence before Scully cleared her throat.

'I know.' she said.

'You know what?'

'I know what to say, and to think. And to do.' He looked at her in dread and hope as she sat up and swung her feet onto the floor, either side of his own. He was suddenly uncomfortably aware that her face was now at the same level as his groin. He gasped as her hands pushed the Fortean Times aside and she looked up into his eyes.

'I'd SAY, this is what we here in America call a button.' She popped it open. 'And I THINK, this is something I've heard of called a zipper.' She flicked the metal tag gently with her fingernail. His eyes were dark, and his lips slightly parted as he gazed down at her - as if he couldn't quite believe what she was doing.

'And I'm pretty sure this is what you're supposed to DO with it...' She leaned forward and took the metal tag between her teeth then slowly, slowly, she dragged the zipper down, feeling the heat of his raging hard-on under her lips and chin all the way.

'Scully,' he breathed softly, and she felt his hands in her hair. She peeled back his opened jeans with her teeth and exposed the ridge that stretched his grey cotton boxers. She bit gently down his length, gnawing his pulsing flesh through the soft fabric until she felt his balls under her mouth, then she switched to lips and tongue alone.

'Scully!' his voice was strangled with desire but he pulled away from her. She looked up questioningly and saw the struggle he was going through.

'Scully we can't.'

'Mulder, we just did.'

'No, we... I mean, we haven't yet...'

'We have Mulder. That's us. On the card. In Cooperville. Fucking.' He groaned at the words and she felt the wetness flood her own sex. 'We've done it Mulder. And I want to do it again.' She drew back then and looked up at him seriously. 'Don't you?'

By way of an answer, Mulder pulled her to her feet and kissed her roughly. She gave as good as she got and their tongues and lips were bruised in the assault. He bent to take her nipple in his mouth through her shirt and she whined in pleasure as his tongue and teeth teased her as she had teased his cock. He spoke into her breast.

'I only meant what about the card?’

'It'll still be here when we're finished Mulder.'

'But I thought Skinner wanted it back by the end of the week?'

She laughed and he rose from her nipple to grin at her.

'This time Mulder, can we do it with our clothes off?'

'You're so picky Scully.'

She shrugged: 'I just… know what I like.'

'Oh yeah? Show me.'

She looked into his dancing eyes and - never breaking the gaze - dropped to her knees in front of him. His pupils pulsed open, making his eyes almost black with sudden desire. Scully peeled his boxers down and her small delicate hand ran down his cock, hardly touching it, and he sucked in air.

'You're so big Mulder!' she could hear the honest amazement in her own voice and his answering laugh.

'Can I have that in writing Scully? On a billboard maybe?'

She grinned up at him and flicked her tongue over the head of his cock. He stopped laughing then and stood still so she could do whatever she wanted with him.

And she wanted to do plenty.

***

They took nearly three days to watch the footage all the way through with what they both considered to be a professional degree of attention to detail.

In all, they had to stop eleven times. They stopped three more times on the couch, twice on the floor next to the couch, once on a combination of the two, once up against the front door, once on the kitchen table and three times in the shower.

'Thank god we're on suspension, Mulder,' said Scully as she panted against the wet tiles, 'All this and work too would kill us.'

He grinned and leaned round to pinch her nipples the way he already knew she liked. Mulder was a fast learner and a never-forgetter. It was a great combination in a sexual partner, thought Scully with an inner smile as she felt that now-familiar pressure building in her. 'Harder,' she gasped, 'harder.' And Mulder slid his hands down to her hips so she couldn't escape his pounding.

As if she ever wanted to.

***

The moment they walked into the room that Friday, Skinner could see Mulder and Scully were back on the same page. They looked just as they always had before he'd received the memory card almost a week before. Calm, determined, keen. Despite the bruises on Mulder's face, he noted. The marks had obviously been left by a small but hard hand, and Skinner knew there could have been only one source. However, it was plain that whatever had prompted Scully to strike him, it was in the past. Mulder had even put on a suit. Mentally he was in work-mode - even if his tag now bore V for Visitor - and Skinner was happy to see it.

Scully placed the card on his desk. 'Thank you sir.'

'Did you find anything Agents?'

This was the moment of truth.

'No sir. It seems the footage is genuine.'

Scully's words took all the wind out of Skinner’s sails. He'd been braced to be blinded by science - or at least the paranormal. This calm acceptance of the footage as genuine first stunned him, then made him blush in a way he hadn't blushed since Anne-Marie Hankers had called attention to his erection in high school gym class.

Since he had first confronted them with the recording, and been convinced by their outraged reactions, he'd personally come to believe that it must be a fake. To have them concede now that it was real brought his memory of it back into sharp relief.

So that's what they look like fucking.

The thought made the back of his neck burn. The delicate, professional, reserved Agent Dana Scully was a whore in the bedroom - a beautiful, wanton, highly-skilled whore. As for Mulder, well, all he could think was, still waters run deep. Very deep.

It happened rarely, but Walter Skinner was entirely lost for words.

Mulder stepped into the breach. 'Sir, it appears likely that we were drugged and filmed in a compromising position…’ He halted at the memory of just how many compromising positions they'd been filmed in - and then ploughed on… ’Presumably to discredit us and the X-files at the very least. The best case scenario for the perpetrator would have been to drive a wedge between Agent Scully and myself, and thus put the future of the X-files in jeopardy.'

Skinner was still struggling to deal with the fact the footage was genuine: Mulder and Scully appeared to have dealt with it, moved on, and left him floundering in their wake.

'Do you have any evidence to support that?'

Scully told him of the traces of Rohypnol found in her blood.

'And Agent Mulder?' Trust Skinner to cut straight to the chase, thought Scully.

'Sir, it appears Agent Mulder processed and expelled the drug faster than I did.'

'So you found no evidence that Mulder was drugged?'

'No chemical evidence sir. But Agent Mulder still has no memory of...any...impropriety... So we are proceeding on the assumption that he was also exposed to the drug.'

Skinner glanced at Mulder, who met his eyes steadily. 'Assumptions aren't going to cut it Agent Scully, as well you know.'

Scully nodded. She'd been afraid of that - but prepared for it too. 'Sir we thought you might take that view, so we have a favor to ask…’

*******************************************

Skinner looked carefully round room 7 at the Cooperville Motel. It was a room like a million others across the USA, ugly, poorly furnished, draughty. Except this was - by their own admission - the very room where Mulder and Scully had finally succumbed to the physical desires that had threatened to overwhelm them for years, if he was any judge of body language.

Right here on this boring bed, they'd performed sexual acts that had left him open-mouthed and embarrassingly hard. He'd only viewed the footage once, but he'd thought about it almost constantly since then, and had only refrained from watching it repeatedly because he was an honorable man who could come up with no legitimate reason why he should do so other than pure, unadulterated lust. Sometimes being honorable had serious drawbacks.

But the vivid memories that that single viewing provided played through his mind now as he gazed at the double bed with its worn blue counterpane. Scully's head dipping to Mulder's swollen cock; his fingers in her hair - holding, guiding; that crazy, inhuman sound she made when Mulder drove himself into her; the frenzy of their first coupling; his tongue and lips and hands making her pant and writhe, and the animal lust of the subsequent acts.

He wondered now whether they'd done it since. Hell, he would have! They hadn't said they'd watched the disc together but if they had then he couldn't imagine how they'd have kept their hands off each other. Surprisingly he felt himself smiling at the thought - and a pang of envy. The idea of engaging in that kind of hard, wild sex was thrilling. He wished he were 20 years younger and then, with a sigh, he remembered that 20 years ago he still had never had that kind of sexual encounter, and probably never would.

Skinner shook his head and adjusted his crotch to a more comfortable position, and got back to the task Mulder and Scully had requested of him. They'd been reluctant to look for evidence in room 7, all too aware that they were being asked to police themselves. Skinner was the only person they trusted to do it for them. He'd given up his weekend for this, but he knew they appreciated it.

Skinner quickly found the place where the camera had been. It was behind one of those 1970s string pictures set on black velvet. The small round hole went right through the velvet but was almost completely invisible - Skinner surprised it with his finger. The picture was mounted on inch-square batons, leaving plenty of room behind it for the gadgetry needed. Empty screw holes in the wooden batons indicated the camera and microphone had been mounted there, rather than on the wall. He dusted the surrounding wall for prints and got what looked like a partial thumb, although it was years since he'd done any lab work, so he just put the tape card into a bag and hoped for the best.

There was a small bottle of water on the nightstand. They'd told him they'd both drunk from the same bottle that night. Skinner couldn't remember who'd drunk what and when during the proceedings, but reddened at the memory of why they needed water so badly, and then realized that just looking at the bottle had revived his hard-on with a vengeance. He sighed and wondered how Mulder and Scully were doing…

Mulder and Scully were about a third of the way up a mountain of identical blue plastic water bottles in the Cooperville Motel's recycling station. Their search system was simple and tedious. Pick up the bottle, check the cap, throw it aside.

They were looking for a puncture mark in a cap. They knew the bottle on Mulder's nightstand had not been opened before Scully did so - the sound it had made on the disc convinced them both of that. But they'd also identified the bottle of water as the only possible source of the drug. Mulder had not eaten the ice, and the chocolate cake had been consumed too early in the evening to have been responsible for the sudden loss of inhibitions shortly after midnight.

Scully sighed deeply. 'There must be a year's worth of bottles here Mulder!'

'Three months, the clerk said.'

'It's a needle in a haystack.'

'It's worse than that Scully; it's a mark left by a needle in a haystack. But it's our only common reference.'

'I know, I know...' She lifted, looked and tossed, lifted, looked and tossed. Some of the bottles didn't even have caps. Lift and toss, lift and toss. But on the disc Mulder had unscrewed the cap, downed what was left of the water, and replaced the cap. It should be here. She sighed again and thought about what had led up to Mulder's desperate need for water at that point, and her sex twitched at the memory of an act she was pretty certain was actually illegal right here in Georgia. Although not, apparently, in Mulder's apartment… And then she stopped dead in the middle of a lift.

'Hey Mulder!'

'Found it?'

'No.'

He looked up at her anyway and pushed his hair off his forehead.

'Mulder?'

'What?' he was looking at her curiously now, because she'd obviously had an interesting thought.

'Mulder, I drank from the water bottle ten minutes before I… before I…’ she struggled to find the words.

'Took advantage of me?'

She grinned and nodded. 'Yeah, before that.'

'So what's your point?'

'My point is, Mulder, you only drank the rest of the water—‘

He got there before she finished and his mouth dropped open. Then he blushed so red that Scully burst out laughing.

'Oh my god Mulder! You may have been drugged by the end, but you sure as hell weren't when it started!'

Mulder looked mortified. Scully's libido had been chemically boosted off the scale, so she'd climbed into his bed and touched him and kissed him and got him hard, and she could blame it all on the drugs. He had no such defense. Not until it was three-quarters over! The only things HE could blame on the drugs was one comparatively tame fucking with her on top, and total memory loss. Mulder looked as if he might burst with embarrassment while Scully rolled around in plastic bottles with laughter.

'It's not funny Scully.'

'That's where you're wrong Mulder! It's so funny I should sell it to a cracker joke company!'

'But it means I'm, like, a total pervert!'

'Tell me something I don't know.'

'No fair Scully!'

She stopped laughing and eyed him innocently. 'Whatever you say Mulder. From now on, we'll just have sex missionary style, in bed, maybe once a week. No oral, no hands, no food, no… foreign objects, no ropes, no talking dirty, no touching of those pesky erogenous zones with assorted body parts, no aberrant… insertions… ‘

Mulder swallowed hard and she grinned at the effect that just her words were obviously having on him.

'That's impossible Scully.'

'Impossible Mulder?'

'I don't have a bed.'

He gave her a smug look but she just fixed him with a lazy, appraising stare.

'You're a pervert Mulder. Or none of this would have happened!'

His eyebrows shot up: 'You're not exactly a prude, yourself Scully.'

She smiled and shrugged, a little embarrassed. 'Well I guess that would be shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted.'

They laughed

'I'm glad it did happen though Scully. Aren't you?'

She looked up at his suddenly serious tone, and nodded. 'Yes Mulder. More glad than I can say.'

There was a long moment of complete happiness and contentment between them, despite the oddity of their surroundings. Then Mulder sighed deeply and picked up the next bottle.'This is going to take forever Scully.'

But she was all business again: 'Look harder Mulder.'

He nodded and murmured under his breath: 'Harder, harder...'

She gasped in outrage and pitched a bottle at his head, but he caught it deftly, looking at her with wide-eyed innocence. 'What did I say?!'

She gave him a sidelong glance from under her lashes. 'You know what you said Mulder; you always do,' and she turned to pick up another bottle.

'Hey Scully?'

She looked over; he was still holding the bottle she'd thrown at him.

'This bottle-cap has a tiny hole in it.'

***

The bottle had a the dregs of a high-strength Rohypnol solution in it and saliva DNA from both of them on the rim.

The partial thumb Skinner found belonged to Alex Krycek.

Skinner returned their badges and guns the same day, along with the memory card to do with 'whatever you see fit'.

In a rare moment of complete agreement, Mulder and Scully saw fit to watch it that very night as they fucked each other over, on, and around his coffee table.

'Pervert,' she told him afterwards.

'Thank you,' he said.