She hadn't slept all night. It felt strange, being awake when he wasn't. Mulder was always the insomniac. He lay beside her now, fast asleep. Every now and then he'd snore softly, sigh deeply, and reposition himself across the pillows. He was always restless when she was distant.
Scully ran a hand through his hair in comfort. His dreams were rarely peaceful, even now, after all these years out of the bureau. Outside their bedroom window were the telltale signs of an impending storm.
The clock on the bedside table read 5:49am.
She had been expecting the storm hours ago, every weather report promised thunder. But night had continued the days sweltering summer heat, dark and tacky on her skin.
Restless, Scully moved out of the hot sheets towards the window. The curtains had been open so she could track the progress of the weather, though she was unsure why it preoccupied her. Maybe this was how Mulder had felt for all those years he had watched the sky. He used to look at her with that same wonder.
The calm before the storm truly was the worst part, she thought, as the sky yellowed and groaned under the pressure. Tears pricked at her eyes.
Her partners voice was sleepy, and it immediately brought feelings of guilt and protectiveness to her gut. This wasn't his fault, she had to believe his recent apathy was not out of a lack of love for her. She had to.
"Did I wake you?" she whispered.
Mulder sat up, his bare chest gleaming slightly with sweat. "Christ, it's hot in here," he groaned. He looked around the darkened room as if checking it for some unknown assailant, as she had seen him do many times when it was a necessity, and many more since it was not. Finally he zeroed in on her.
"You ok, Scully?" he asked her.
She felt her heart skip a little at the intensity with which he studied her. That fiercely worried look she remembered so well ignited long dormant memories of their shared past, the danger and excitement of do-or-die, being so emotionally entangled in each other that the whole world and it's terrors paled in comparison to being without each other. Those eyes had been present before they consummated their love, he had held her face so reverently she felt like a work of art, are you sure, he asked. She had silenced his fears with a kiss.
If only it was that simple now.
"Scully?" he prompted.
"I'm fine, Mulder," she said softly. He looked disappointed in her, she looked away.
"Sure," he mumbled. He lay back on the old mattress with a thump, throwing an arm over his forehead.
And there it was. Communication, lack of it. She hadn't realised just how much Mulder coaxed out her true feelings until he stopped. Scully licked her lip uneasily. She wanted to say things, so many things, most of all she wanted to curl up beside him and whisper that she loved him and everything was going to be ok, but she just didn't have the conviction anymore. She never knew how a display of affection would be received. Would he break a smile and hold her, would he show his own grief at the space between them and finally, finally let her in, or would he leave her with the cold sting of rejection?
A deep rumble filled the sky, and Scully turned to see heavy clouds closing in on them.
As a child she had been afraid of thunder. She recalled vaguely Bill junior telling her thunder was giants; on their way to get her, probably. She was young, and her older brothers words were gospel. From then on she had taken to hiding in her mother's bed when it thundered, trying desperately to block out the noise and the memory of Bill's mean laugh. It was one of those silly and slightly embarrassing memories that she had made a concerted effort not to dwell on. Mulder would take it as yet more evidence that her brother was a cruel jackass, she was sure, but at the time she had just felt weak. Vulnerable. That feeling chewed her up like poison and, from the time she stepped outside the influence of their small sibling world, she had taken knowledge like the antidote.
It hadn't thundered again in minutes, and Scully found herself getting impatient. Just rain already, do your worst! The sky remained stubbornly still. Stalemate.
She heard Mulder sigh from the bed, but it wasn't in sleep. He was lying awake. Was he waiting for her to say something, or did he want to be left in peace? Scully rubbed her temples. When had they become so out of sync?
A loud crack sounded, followed by a roaring moan of thunder. Finally, she thought. Another grumble and the whisper of rain on their roof became a downpour. A flash of light, and Scully threw open the window.
"What in the hell are you doing?" Mulder was watching her again, annoyed this time.
The smell of first-rain filled the air and Scully found herself breathing it deep, reaching to feel the cool drops of rain on her arm. "Finally," she said, a wash of fresh life seeming to fill her lungs, "it's been a dry summer."
Lightning flashed again. Thunder rumbled. A thrill ran down her spine.
"Are you trying to get struck by lightning?!" Mulder demanded, bounding from the bed to her side.
First the light, then the sound.
"No," Scully laughed softly, putting a reassuring hand on his chest. "Look out there," she said, "all the grass died months ago," she let him pull an arm back inside, "this is just what we needed."
Mulder stood dumbly by her, squinting to see something that could have caused her almost emotional outburst. Lightning crackled in the dawn light, electrical discharge splitting the sky into many jagged pieces, splintering to nothing.
"It's beautiful," Scully said wistfully.
Mulder gave her a strange look. "I thought you hated storms, you used to- " Mulder stopped abruptly. She used to wrap herself in the cocoon of his arms and tell him to drown it out. His methods were more than satisfactory.
Scully felt her face pink.
A warm hand stroked the hair from her cheek, and she looked at him to see him looking back with an tired half-smile. "After all this time, I can still make you blush."
She put her hand to her face bashfully. "Hmm....it could be sunburn," she teased. "You know what happens when I go out in the sun."
"You burn like a cute little lobster," he grinned.
"Mulder!" She laughed. A closer look at him revealed an new, unreadable expression. "What's wrong?"
He hung his head a little, removing his hand from her face. "Let's get away from the window," he said.
Wordlessly, they retreated to the bed, climbing to the headboard's cool relief. He took her hand in his, they were radiating tension and heat.
"I really didn't like storms," she said, if only to break the ice, "I got over it, I guess." She peeked up at him, bumping their shoulders coyly, "But I never really liked them until you came along."
"What do you mean?" he allowed her.
She squeezed his hand in hers. "You always seemed to come alive...when everything was crashing around us. I like that side of you," she caught his eye, praying silently that he wasn't freezing up, "I like all of you."
"Yeah?" Mulder put his head in his hands, "what about the side of me that forgets to shower for days on end. What about Mulder who can't see anything closer than outer goddamn space."
"I love him too," she promised. "You're doing much better Mulder, you are."
He was quiet for a moment. "I love you too, Scully, always."
He sat up suddenly, straddling her hips, he put both his hands on her shoulder, putting them eye to eye. Her heart spooked as she put her fingers over his lips, holding his gaze, more afraid than ever that she would see him melt away before her very eyes.
"I can do better," he told her, "I will do better for you, Scully."
His hands were in her hair, but his face was agonizingly separate from hers.
"Me too," she said so quietly it would have been missed by any less attentive man. His thumb traced her bottom lip and she kissed it lightly.
A particularly vicious roll of thunder rocked the sky. They both inhaled sharply.
"I gotta say Scully, the thunder was never really what got me going," a familiar playfulness fell over Mulder's features.
She pressed herself forward, wanting to be closer to his teasing mouth. He met her there, pushing back till they were locked in a half-wrestle half-embrace, close enough that she could feel his breath on her face, smell the faint toothpaste scent. The heat around them reached boiling point between them.
"Mulder, if I don't get this shirt off soon I'm gonna spontaneously combust."
He smiled widely, and seeing it reach his eyes left her speechlessly happy. "I missed you," he whispered.
In one clean stroke, Scully's thin sleep tee was thrown to the floor. "You have me," she said, before his strong arms fell around her and their standoff was over.
He kissed her with years of feeling and a lifetime of unsaid words. Their bodies rocked together over slight fabric, eliciting moans from both parties. Lightning flashed violently and Scully gasped into his lips, her own electricity spreading fast through her veins, sending a shock of warmth to her very core.
"Mulder," she said his name like a prayer, "now."
His chest felt molten hot against her own. Her fingers curled desperately around his biceps, her toes curling with anticipation. Mulder's lips were on her neck, sucking and kissing the spot he knew drove her crazy, she could feel him smile wickedly against her. She was beneath him now, enveloped in white heat. A light breeze kissed her bare skin, leaving a trail of goosebumps behind.
"Oh," she breathed. He eyes shot open as his mouth found her breasts, his hands grazed her hips, finding their way to her stomach, dropping tantalizingly low. It had been too long, and she knew neither of them would last long once they hit the spot.
He found her mouth again, and their tongues met, old lovers never forgotten. His own arousal pressed against her. It was exquisite torture. The flimsy material of her black panties became unbearable. "Off," she said, her voice a deeper than normal, her brain flush with chemical love and lust. "Take them off."
Their bodies parted as finally he complied. Stripped bare, she bit her lip as he shed himself of the final barrier between them. His underwear joined hers in an unceremonious pile on the floor. The chill of cold air made her feel all the more exposed, it thrilled her that he looked at her so hungrily, both of them so vulnerable.
Slowly, she sat up and ran a hand down his chest, reaching his erect penis, she stroked it easily, enjoying the bliss that closed his eyes. Keeping her motions unhurried, she pressed her mouth to his clavicle, nipping ever so lightly.
"Scully," he groaned as her hand travelled to squeeze him, applying pressure, continuing to stroke him leisurely until he had the almost primal urge to lie her down and fuck her to completion. A low moan came from somewhere deep within his chest. He took hold of both her hands and firmly lay her back on the pillows, pinning her wrists by her shoulders. He kissed along her chin. "Give a guy a chance."
"Never", she smiled. Her legs wrapped around his waist and he shuddered into her shoulder. He leaned up on his elbows, releasing her wrists to let his hand cup her breast, rolling the nipple between his fingers.
"Mmm," Scully sighed.
The storm outside had gone threateningly still. Scully's heart pounded as Mulder's hand moved from her nipples to her pubic bone. She forgot all about the absent thunder as his fingers grazed her centre, squirming with desire. Their eyes locked, and he delved into her wet folds. His thumb found her clitoris in seconds and Scully writhed beneath him, pleasure detonating from his touch. She was ready for him, ready to feel inside her. Secure within her hips she vowed to never let him go.
She lost herself in the electric charge he wound inside her. He touched her with frenzied, well-worn tracks. One, then two fingers melted into her core, her growing moans went straight through him. Scully's eye's had begun to roll upwards, and she could feel her lower stomach tighten like an elastic band inside her. Outside there was a flash and a wave of thunder. Scully could wait no longer.
She flipped Mulder onto his back, his fingers still working her clit and inner walls. He let them out slickly and watched her bestride him, mouth awed. They were one move away from joining together, and Scully arranged herself above his waiting member. With one last breath she took him in. They both took a moment to catch themselves. Overwhelmed with a need have him completely, Scully took his hand to her mouth. Looking him in the face she put his index and pointer finger into her mouth, sucking them clean of her own flavour. It always brought him to the edge, and sure enough, his hips bucked beneath her. The motion spread through her body like wild fire. There was no more resisting, she had to allow their bodies to move. Her hands fell forward to press on his chest and he grasped her hips to his own.
They sped up almost immediately to the rhythm of their own frenetic breathing. She heard ragged moans rolling from her tongue, illegible words, the sound of their bodies colliding. Their vocalising filled the room. He was deep within her, every little nerve was a live wire. She reached to massage her own clit as she felt his orgasm rise. The sensations left her light-headed and breathless.
"Scully, I'm close. So close."
And then he was there, he jerked into her uncontrollably, emptying himself completely. His face at the moment of orgasm, her name on his high put her over the edge, and she was riding him franticly, her nails leaving red grooves on the skin of his chest.
She came hard, crying his name. Mulder, Mulder, Mulder
Lightning, thunder. The light then the sound.
She fell onto him, their chests heaving from exertion.
Slowly, slowly, the cloud-shrouded sun let a pool of yellow light wash over their spent forms and perfect silence enveloped them. Scully squeezed her eyes closed, willing the moment not to end. Reaching out she found Mulder reaching for her too. They held hands in the space between them, atop the crumpled sheets, neither wanting to say a word to break the spell.
"Well," said Mulder finally. "Looks like it's turning out to be a beautiful day after all."
As if in disagreement there was a clap of thunder overhead.
Scully burst into laughter at the look of disgruntlement on his face. "Nope, not today."
They looked at each other. They were both covered in sweat and probably worse.
"Last one to the showers a sissy?" Mulder suggested.
She traced his cheek. "I love you," she said quietly.
Her partner's eyes softened. "For better or worse," he agreed.
Scully basked in their afterglow. For the first time in months she allowed herself to just be in his presence, no walls, no bitterness, no worry. Just him and her, For better or worse.
"That's gotta count for something," she mused.
Mulder fingered the gold band on her finger, and their hands twined together. "More than something," he said. "I like to think we both wore these long before we eloped down the aisle."
"You would like to think that," she hid her smile with their joined hands, "hopeless romantic."
"Ouch. Ice Queen," he kissed her knuckles, "your majesty."
"You're impossible," she grumbled. "If you were anyone else I'd deck you."
"Be still my heart."
They lay in companionable silence for a long time, both knowing they should really get up, shower, face the day and the deafening uncertainty of their future. It was unappetizing at best. At worst they would both roll away from each other and back into their individual protective layers, for days, weeks or months, until their emotional paths collided again in an explosion of stars. Still. Even now, in the grips of residual traumas and unkind years, Scully knew they would always find their way right back to this place, lying side by side, for better or for worse; Mulder and Scully, like thunder and lightning.