Spooky and the Doc, That’s a Big 10-4
“You’re not a bad dancer,” she observes, smiling wistfully out the passenger window of the sedan at passing mile markers.
“You sound surprised.”
She is. More so at the way he’d swept her onto the dance floor and then twirled her like a prom date, moony smile on his face. What the hell was that?
Not that she’s complaining. It was a nice dance, as dances go. She’ll admit that she got caught up in the moment as well. She’ll never listen to Cher’s music in quite the same way again, that’s for sure.
“Where did you learn?” she asks, legitimately curious.
Mulder chuckles quietly. “You don’t want to know.”
She doesn’t press, but she does float him a look that says she really does.
“An ex,” he concedes finally. “Apparently, we didn’t do enough fun things together. Ballroom dancing lessons was her suggestion. Mine was Redskins season tickets. Obviously, I drew the short straw.”
Scully watches him drive, his profile glowing green from the dashboard lights. Mulder took dance lessons for a woman once. The idea is perplexing and leaves her with a tight feeling in her throat for no reason she can figure.
“This one had a good ending,” he says, satisfaction in his voice.
“The case. It’s nice to feel like we actually did something good.”
She frowns a little. “I think we do a lot of good.”
“Yeah. I guess. Sometimes it’s hard to see the silver lining, ya know?”
“You’re bumming me out, Mulder.”
“Let’s find an all-night diner and get the biggest, baddest ice cream sundaes they have.”
They spend half their lives on the road, the other half in diners. They’re like truckers in more expensive clothing. Maybe they should get CB handles. He can be Spooky and she can be Doc. Like Smokey and the Bandit.
This is the strangest life she never imagined.
Scully smiles contentedly and tips her head back. “You’re on.”
Once More from the Top, But With Feeling
She is supposed to be driving in the direction of his place, but somehow they end up half a mile from hers. The saying “so angry I can’t see straight” has some merit to it. It’s a miracle they’ve made it anywhere in one piece.
“You could have died!” She chokes the steering wheel in her grip.
“But I didn’t,” he points out, calmly.
“They had NO RIGHT! They deliberately withheld information from you, from both of us, that put you at tremendous risk. It was essentially a suicide mission, Mulder, doesn’t that bother you?”
“Of course it does, but what do you expect me to do? No one’s going to assume responsibility. You know that as well as I do, Scully. It’s the reality under which we’ve been operating for the last five years and one undercover op is not going to change that.”
They make it to her apartment building and she shifts into park, cutting the engine. Mulder looks out the window at the brick front with its clean windows and manicured hedges. Upper middle class, a stretch on her salary, but after growing up on a crowded naval base, she justifies spending her money on more than she needs.
He doesn’t ask why they’re here. She was supposed to take him home, but it’s debatable which of them should not be alone tonight.
Seized with frustration again, she bangs both hands once on the steering wheel. “I hate that I have no one to take my anger out on.” It feels like there’s chalk dust in her throat and bitter tears prick at the corners of her eyes. “I hate this!”
He reaches and her hands disappear into his. “Be angry with me,” he pleads. “I agreed to the assignment, Scully. I didn’t have to.” His touch takes the sting out of her rage. She wants to be mad at him, but like all the other times, there is something tragic in him that softens her.
“Come inside,” she says with a sigh.
Scully makes coffee while Mulder leans against the archway, watching her like he’s unsure what’s expected of him.
“I wanted to tell you about it,” he offers quietly. “I was uncomfortable from the beginning with you not knowing.”
She nods and closes her eyes for a moment. “I know. Skinner told me.”
All the clean dishes are still in the dishwasher, dry for days, reminding her how little she’s been home this terrible week. The two mugs left in the cupboard are chipped and she’ll be damned if she’s going to give him anything broken tonight. She starts putting plates away.
Her mind paints a picture of him kneeling in the dirt with his hands behind his back, terrified and alone. Would he have been thinking of her right before the bullet pierced his brain and stopped his heart? How long would he have lain there, dead on the cold ground, before they found him?
The heat of her fury stirs again, but this time it’s mixed with an even stronger emotion. Fear. Anguish. Maybe love.
The glasses clink together as she hastily pushes them into the cupboard. She isn’t interested at all in being careful. They’re just things. Stupid, meaningless, replaceable things. To prove it, she hurls a mug – a red and blue UPenn one of Ethan’s that she should have chucked years ago with the rest of his stuff and it shatters, raining shards into the stainless steel sink and over the stove top.
She swears and braces her palms on the counter, swallowing a sob.
“Hey,” he whispers, squeezing her slumped shoulders. “It’s okay, I’m here.” He feels solid standing behind her, something she can lean into like a human umbrella. Her storm shield.
“It’s not okay, Mulder. They made me doubt you. Nobody has the right to do that.” Her head shakes, indignantly. “Nobody.”
Mulder sighs, pulling her closer and she turns into his arms. “No they don’t,” he whispers to her hair.
The brushed cotton of his shirt soothes when she surrenders her wet cheek to it. His heartbeat echoes in his chest like a metronome, and her respiration slows, matching rhythms.
She almost lost him forever. No one, not even Scully herself, can know what that would have done to her.
They stand woven together, breathing in tandem, for a long time. Until she’s sure he’s really there and he isn’t going anywhere. His scent is as familiar as her own. Something masculine, but gentle and very uniquely Mulder. Coffee and sandalwood and clean cotton. It always makes her feel sleepy and safe.
When she turns her face into the hollow of his throat, right below his Adam’s apple, she isn’t thinking about wanting him that way. She’s spent enough time convincing herself she doesn’t. Funny how convincing she can be when she lies to herself. Her mouth opens against his salty skin and she allows just a taste.
The hands at her waist flex, then tighten. Mulder’s eyes sharpen and dart around for a split second. “Scully,” he whispers uncertainly, spoken like a released breath.
She marvels at how fast her brain can redirect anger into desire. It’s far from the first time she’s felt it – that feeling like she needs to scream and slap him and fuck him standing up.
Her lips climb his jaw, depositing whisper-light pecks. She can’t see the look in his eyes at this angle, but he’s breathing faster. His thumbs press into her pelvic bone.
She’s poised on tiptoes now, mouth open, the hot steam of their breath funneling. The warning in his eyes makes her knees weak, but she refuses to head for safer ground. Instead, she blinks slowly under heavy lashes, stroking her lower lip with her tongue.
The kiss, when it comes, is far from shy and anything but accidental. Her fingers twist in his hair and his hand sneaks under her blouse to caress her bare back, staying politely south of her bra clasp.
She feels him grow hard against her stomach and she thinks ‘that was fast.’ He presses her into the edge of the counter and the coffee pot gurgles behind them. Her tongue flicks around the inside of his mouth like a hot flame.
It’s Mulder who breaks away first, pulling back with a regretful look, which she quickly misinterprets. “Scully, I-“ He shakes his head, trying to catch a breath.
Her cheeks color. She’s embarrassed and slightly irritated at the same time. Why the hell was he feeling her up then? And she knows she hadn’t imagined his arousal.
“It’s fine,” she whispers hastily, refusing his eyes. “Forget it.”
She tries to slip away from him, but his hands hold onto her waist. “No. I don’t want to forget it. The last thing I want to do is forget it.” He huffs. “You just took me by surprise, that’s all. I have to figure either you’re very forgiving, or very forgetful.”
It takes her a few beats, but she finally realizes what he’s talking about. Her fair skin burns even hotter and she shakes her head, looking down. “Mulder-“
“Because I sure as hell wouldn’t be excited about trying again if I were you,” he continues. “Suffice it to say it’s been a year and a half and I still haven’t worked up the nerve to ask for a second chance.”
His confession throws her completely and she pulls her chin back, dumbfounded. “I didn’t know you…wanted one.”
He looks at her like she’s crazy. “What threw you off – the phone calls every weekend for no reason, the slow dancing, the shameless innuendo…”
Scully bites her bottom lip and her eyes fall.
It feels like she’s swallowed a whole net full of butterflies.
“Scully, it was bad,” he admits. His hand comes up to graze her cheek tenderly, and he releases a self-deprecating laugh. “I think I can say with some confidence that I’ve never been that bad.”
This is more than either of them has said since it happened. The relief is overwhelming and Scully has to hold back from spilling everything she’s thought and felt for the last year. “I…didn’t think you wanted to talk about it. I just figured it was something that happened and we were going to ignore it.”
He looks worried. “Is that what you want?”
With a sigh, she shakes her head once. “No.”
They absorb this while Mulder’s hand mingles with hers, fingers weaving and provoking. It makes it very hard to concentrate on what should happen next.
“Do you still want coffee?” she asks rather absently. She doesn’t want him to leave. If he leaves, they won’t talk about this for another year and a half and she will quietly go insane.
“Yes,” he says. “We should talk.” He plants a kiss to her forehead and then leaves her breathless in the kitchen.
Mulder is diligently engineering a fire in her underutilized fireplace by the time she joins him in the living room. There is wadded newspaper littering her floor. He stirs the pile of ashes and charred logs with an iron poker. “Indian Guide make fire,” he says gruntingly, and she smiles. So far, this Indian Guide business hasn’t really come in handy for them.
She sets two steaming mugs on coasters and peruses her CD collection for something fitting the mood. There really isn’t anything perfect for “let’s discuss the awful sex we had.” She chances early Aretha Franklin.
They sit on the couch together, half facing one another, his arm unassumingly stretched across the back of the cushions like he’s done countless times before. Scully can tell he’s waiting for her to say something, that he’s nervous about what’s going through her head. There’s a level of vulnerability in his demeanor that makes her feel off-balance.
“I just figured it happened once and you wanted to forget about it,” she admits, her eyes glancing off his.
“I did. But probably not for the reasons you think.”
Her eyes prompt him.
“I was embarrassed, Scully. I still am. I guess I thought if we ignored it long enough, you might start to think you’d imagined I was really that awful in bed. Not even in bed.” He makes a pained face. “Jesus, there was no bed.”
She touches his sleeve. “It wasn’t one of the more brilliant things we’ve done.”
“It’s nice of you to imply that you hold any degree of responsibility, Scully, but don’t. It was entirely me.”
Scully clears her throat. “Well, it’s not like I stopped you,” she says gingerly.
He waits a beat before he speaks again. “I noticed that.”
Their eyes meet and hold, then proceed to have an entire conversation all on their own.
“My take on it,” he hedges, “and stop me if I’m wrong, is that there was…interest… before that night. Mutual.”
She raises her brows just enough to assure him he isn’t crazy. Not about this anyway.
“And then I pretty much fucked it up beyond repair.”
“Maybe not beyond repair….” She can feel the heat of his gaze on her as she retreats into her coffee mug. He seems to be waiting for her to elaborate, but she refuses. Minutes ago, he’d had his hands up the back of her blouse. Surely the trained investigator in him should be able to apply the clues.
“I know I didn’t imagine how upset you were,” he presses, “in the weeks that followed.”
“No. No, you didn’t. I felt used. Like I just happened to be there. Like you thought I was an easy…” She tilts her head at him, but looks away. It’s a statement she doesn’t need to finish.
His head shakes emphatically. “No. I would never think…no.” He sighs. “Scully…I-“
“The condom broke.” She looks at him squarely. He might as well know, not that it matters now.
“Well, it didn’t exactly break. It…slipped off. Inside me.” She swallows. “I, um, had stopped taking birth control by then.” This is probably way too much unnecessary information about her sex life.
Mulder sags against the back of the couch. “Jesus…Scully, why didn’t you say something?”
She shrugs at him, wondering what the point is in bringing it up now, except that yeah, it had been a hellish few weeks while she wondered just how badly they’d fucked up their lives.
“I assumed I wasn’t,” she says, “but then I was several days late.”
He groans, afflicted. “I don’t understand why you didn’t say something?”
Scully really hadn’t planned to drag this up, but she has to admit to a degree of satisfaction at his anguished response. He wasn’t the one who took seven home pregnancy tests in five days. He wasn’t the one running to the bathroom every half hour to check for the start of a period. He wasn’t the one who would’ve had to break her Catholic mother’s heart when she found out her only remaining daughter had gotten knocked up by her work partner in a 3 minute drunken fuck. Well yes, she would have made him do that part if she’d been pregnant. It would have served him right.
“There was no point in both of us worrying about it until I knew for sure,” she replies, less dramatically.
His expression says he thinks she’s off her rocker. “Yes there was. Of course there was.” He lowers his voice. “Did you think I wouldn’t step up? If…”
And do what exactly? Marry her? She scoffs quietly at the idea. How conventional of them.
“What?” he asks. “Say it.” He’s starting to appear a touch irritated.
“I really…I don’t see why it’s necessary to consider the potential ramifications of something that never transpired. You asked why I was so upset afterward.” As if thinking he’d used her for sex wasn’t enough reason. She crosses her arms over herself. “And so I’m… telling you.”
There’s a stretch of dense silence in which he looks her over, nonconfrontationally. She can’t read him right now and she hates that. He doesn’t have the right to be pissed off about anything. If he makes this about him-
“I would have stepped up,” he says.
“It doesn’t matter.”
“It does. I don’t give a shit what anyone else in the world thinks of me, Scully. Just you.” He tries for eye contact and she finally gives it to him. “I care what you think.”
But see, that’s the thing she hasn’t the energy to make him understand. No girl dreams of having a child with a man who’s “doing the right thing.” And despite Mulder’s shortcomings, he is without a doubt an honorable man.
Boy, wouldn’t that have made for hot gossip in the bullpen.
She sighs when he takes her hand, wondering when exactly this conversation turned into an argument.
“I’m sorry, Scully. I wasn’t planning for it to happen that night, but it doesn’t change the fact that I was a selfish jerk. And I’m sorry you had to deal with all the rest …the worrying.” He threads his fingers with hers. “If something had happened, we would have figured it out together.”
That’s about the best thing he could’ve said.
She nods and fights back the surge of emotion that comes from knowing it’s all a sad, moot point. He could lose a hundred condoms in her now and it wouldn’t matter. The irony of them discussing what they’d have done if she’d gotten pregnant without planning to. It seems so anticlimactic now.
His stiff posture suggests he’s overthinking her silence. “So now what?”
“I don’t know.”
“Earlier in the kitchen…what was that?”
Her cheeks darken for about the twenty-second time. “I don’t know,” she repeats. “It felt like the thing to do.”
Mulder nods and rubs his chin in thought. They size each other up silently until he speaks again. “Does it still feel like the thing to do?”
Her eyes find his. “Maybe,” she whispers.
He slowly places his empty coffee mug on the table and closes the distance between them. She knows what’s coming, but it doesn’t keep her heart from skipping a beat when his fingertips lift her chin. His lips brush hers and she almost spills the rest of her coffee. They both chuckle nervously and Mulder takes the mug from her. “Careful there, calamity Jane.”
Coffee aside, his hands return to her face. “I was serious about wanting a second chance.”
Scully blinks slowly, wetting her lips. Before her fraying nerves convince her to go lock herself in the bathroom, she initiates another kiss. Her lips feather back and forth over his before tipping her head and going all in. She kisses him long and deep and doesn’t stop until his hand tightens on her knee.
“What, Mulder? What is it?”
He looks like he might pass out.
With a half-pant, half-laugh, he melds his forehead to hers. “Nothing, I just really want this.”
The edges of her mouth twitch and she palms the back of his head tenderly. “Breathe, Mulder. This won’t be nearly as much fun if you pass out on me.”
He chuckles. “I’m okay.”
Their eyes smile at each other and it’s just them, like it always is. She tells him so, telepathically, even though she claims she doesn’t believe in such things. Never say never, his eyes reply.
She decides to be the brave one and lifts one knee over his hip, sliding into his lap. Her bottom settles carefully against his erection. Mulder draws a deep, hitchy breath, but holds the eye contact. It doesn’t appear that a coronary event is imminent and she thinks he’ll be okay, so she kisses him again.
As their tongues become more curious, her fingernails slip between the buttons of his shirt to graze his skin. Mulder’s hands frisk her sides, thumbs gently massaging her rib cage, tracing the underwire of her bra. Scully finds herself wishing to God he’d stop being so polite with his hands.
When the kiss breaks, their faces stay so close that his eyelashes tickle her cheeks. He nuzzles her temple, skims his open mouth along her hairline, teases her earlobe. “I want to take you to bed,” he whispers. The fireplace crackles and pops, sending up a plume of hot, fiery embers.
In her bedroom, she stands so he can’t reach and makes him watch her undress to her bra and panties. He tries to hold her eyes, but he can’t, stealing hungry glances as she peels away clothing.
“You can look,” she invites. She kicks her slacks aside with the toe of one shoe and stands in front of him in her heels and lingerie. It feels naughty and she bites her lower lip, letting it slide through her teeth. It might be the closest she’s ever come to performing a strip tease.
He fidgets. His hands flex. He looks like he wants to pounce. She feels like prey.
Light from the hallway slices her bedroom into strips. Moonlight filters through the blinds and softens the edges, casting everything in an astral glow. She knows he can see her well enough because she can see him. She wants to see more.
Her small fingers work at his buttons, skillfully. When he tries to help, Scully brushes his hands away. No, this is hers. She didn’t get to do this last time. A bit of selfishness on her part would not be uncalled for.
Teasing his mouth, she skims her hands over his smooth shoulders, pushing his shirt to the floor. She’s seen him bare-chested before plenty of times, but she’s never mapped him with her fingertips, delighted in the ripple of his muscles, the tightening of his nipples. Their tongues twist as he slides his hands down her hips, over the back of her panties to cup her bottom. He squeezes hard and she almost loses her breath, wavering on her heels. She loves her ass touched. Once in a great while spanked gently, but she won’t tell him that. He can figure it out on his own.
His erection tents the front of his pants, nudges at her belly impatiently. “Look at me! Notice me!” Penises are curious things. Always ambitious, seldom well-behaved. Persevering despite the odds, moody and emotional. Mulder’s brain is unique and unusual, but other parts of him are gloriously, flawlessly male.
Scully presses closer, lets him know she can feel it, teases him a little with a twist of her hips. His eyes flash panic and his fingers mark her ass cheeks. She’ll be able to see that tomorrow, she thinks, vaguely thrilled. “Damn,” he mutters without separating his mouth from hers. “Please, Scully.”
She’s enjoying this a bit too much. “Please what?”
With two handfuls of her ass, Mulder yanks her against him and grinds until she whimpers and bites his lower lip.
His belt proves to be no challenge at all and there is something very satisfying about the clank of the buckle hitting the floor. There is a nearly unclothed man in her bedroom. Thank God, finally.
She has the sudden urge to stun him with how assertive she can be sexually. There’s very little he doesn’t know about her, but he doesn’t know that.
She coaxes him to sit on the edge of the bed and then tucks herself between his parted legs. Beguiled, he watches her. Reaching back, Scully snaps her bra clasp open and slides the straps off her shoulders, one by one. Her breasts spill out and he captures them with two hands, dipping his face forward to chase one nipple with the hot tip of his tongue. She closes her eyes and parts her lips. Her fingers comb through his thicket of hair.
He tongue-bathes her languidly and thoroughly until her nipples are rosy and stiff, her areolas slick. She doesn’t ever want him to stop. Except that she does because his mouth seems to have other ideas, better ones.
Her panties slip down her legs and she can’t believe how suave he is. She’d been completely unaware he was working them off. When he noses her stomach and begins planting open mouth kisses there, she sucks in a quick breath and cradles the back of his head with her palm.
Please, please, please, please, please, please ….oh God…a little lower, just a… little….
Mulder slides off the bed and onto the floor. His mouth moves with him, tickling her inner thighs with the felty tip of his tongue until she says really dirty words under her breath. He fingers her and tips his head back to watch her expression, captivated. It’s almost too much. She fights the urge to hide her face from him. Instead she pinches her eyes closed.
Panting and squirming in his hands, Scully wants to scream when he spreads her open and introduces the flick of his tongue to her clitoris.
He makes greedy, hungry noises that drive her crazy. She arches into his mouth and quivers, looking down at the top of his head at it rocks between her thighs. Oh fucking God, he knows what he’s doing.
“Mulder,” she pants, desperately, “I’m going to fall over.” She means it. She can’t stand up much longer with his tongue doing those maddening, wonderful, unholy things to her.
She’s a trembling mess of nerve endings when he hauls her onto the bed. His underwear is still on and all four of their hands tug at the cotton like the house is on fire.
“I don’t want to rush this, Scully. I want to make this good for you.” He’s breathing fast, his eyes feverish.
She agrees it’s a fine idea. Go slow. Savor it. “It’s good, it’s good,” she groans, straddling him and sinking all the way down.
“Je-zuuus,” he hisses, trying to hold her still for a few seconds.
His back is against the headboard and she’s sitting in his lap, her hands braced on the wall behind him. This is a brilliant position for them. How did he know? She suspects he’s thought about this a lot. More than she has, which is saying something.
She starts to move, slowly at first, indulging in the sensation of him gliding in and out of her body. The perfect fit, the delicious slide, the waltz of her hips as she rises and falls, the way her vagina tightens around him, eager and thirsty. She finds a sweet spot and accelerates, letting herself get carried away. The wooden headboard knocks against the wall.
Mulder watches her, blissed out, eyes like dark pools.
“Easy….easy,” he pleads after several minutes. Lifting them both off the mattress, he grips her thighs tightly so he’s buried inside her. She clenches her muscles and his eyes slam shut. “God, don’t do that, Scully.”
They rock and pitch together slowly, forward and backward, while he soothes her needy hips with his touch.
Mulder tries to capture a nipple in his mouth and she helps, arching her shoulders back and palming the back of his head, guiding him. She knows he likes her breasts. She catches him looking sometimes – in the car when he thinks she’s zoning out the window. In the basement when she reaches past him, blouse stretched tight. When she swings her jacket on and for a split second, her buttons gap.
Fingertips dance over her rib cage, tracing the slope of each breast. Scully wiggles and releases a yelpy laugh. “That tickles.”
His teeth free her nipple so he can rest his head back and watch them sway at eye level. He caresses each one religiously. “I didn’t see last time. God, they’re so soft and full.”
She’ll never think of her breasts the same way after seeing how he looks at them.
Scully feels like the most beautiful woman in the world. She dips forward for a kiss and her hair eclipses both their faces.
Her climax, when it happens, is swift and powerful and she cries out into his mouth, rippling and clenching around him. She thinks he will go with her, but he lasts. He seems fascinated by her orgasm, watching her so intensely that she can’t pull her eyes from his. The intimacy is frightening, almost unreal.
This day. This long, terrible, heartbreaking day, when she had come so close to being alone at the end of it. She wants him to stay and hold her all night.
“You,” she whispers, the emotion crushing her. “You’re here.”
He pushes into her deeper. “Yes… I’m here.” Her breasts flatten against him in a tight embrace and his mouth opens to her shoulder as he shudders and jerks forever, then relaxes.
They kiss their way out of it.
This is the part that scares her a little bit. She blinks into the moonlight with his chest rising and falling under her. She isn’t sure they know how to do this.
“You’re thinking too much,” he says, and she startles, surprised he’s still awake.
“Mmm,” she hums, nonspecifically.
She isn’t prepared for the question. “Just…how strange things are.”
“Things…” he prompts.
She had to know he wouldn’t leave it alone.
“I guess…tonight…and what happened a year ago. Just everything.”
He sighs deeply and now she can feel him thinking too.
“Do you regret it?”
“No,” she answers quickly. “I don’t regret it.” She doesn’t. She’s just not sure what to do about it. “Do you?”
“No. Well…I regret how things started. But not that we’re here like this, no. Never.”
It feels surreal having this conversation with him, naked and in her bed.
Mulder is naked. Naked. She mentally repeats the word to herself until it sounds foreign and meaningless.
If she could see in the dark better, she’d look under the sheet again to make sure.
He’s been Mulder to her for so long. Her best friend, her partner, her challenger, her protector. Just Mulder. A classification all his own.
Now he’s a man in her bed. Hairy and strong and muscular and virile. Touching her. Wanting her. She is suddenly hyper-aware of his masculinity, of all the parts of him she wasn’t allowed to think about before.
She doesn’t want to want this so badly, but she does.
His fingertips slow on her spine. “Are you okay?”
“Yeah. I mean…yeah.”
“Okay.” He sounds unconvinced.
“You don’t have to feel like…I mean, I’m not expecting…” She sighs, mutters “I don’t know,” and gets up to walk to the bathroom, closing the door behind her.
When she comes back out, the bed is empty, but there’s noise coming from the kitchen. She slips into a cream-colored silk robe and ties it, scrubs her face with her hands and shuffles off to find him.
He’s standing at her sink shirtless, wearing his jeans. His back is to her. He drains a glass of water, refills it, and turns around.
Her eyes glance over him. His pants are zipped, but unbuttoned, the sides folded down. God, he’s beautiful. She tries not to stare at the ripple of his abs or the trickle of dark hair that disappears into his jeans. He isn’t wearing his shorts underneath because they’re still on the floor of her bedroom.
“Are you leaving?” she asks.
He shrugs and looks her over, thoughtfully. “Anyone ever tell you that you sure know how to kill the pillow talk?” There’s a faint smile on his face, but his eyes are not happy.
She crosses her arms. “I’m sorry it wasn’t what you expected.”
He frowns. “The sex was great. Better than great. Forgive me if I’m just a little puzzled by the part where you tell me I don’t have to call you the next day.”
He shakes his head once and watches her shift her bare feet on the cold tiles. “So you’re not interested in more?”
“I didn’t say that. I don’t know what I-“
“Because I am,” he says pointedly, cutting her off.
She looks at him. Her mouth opens, but she can’t think of anything to say.
“Interested in more,” he finishes.
“Oh,” she says, softly.
He looks disappointed, maybe hurt. “Does that surprise you?”
Scully fidgets with the sash on her robe, pulling it tighter. “You don’t think we’re getting ahead of ourselves? We’ve slept together twice.” And the first one didn’t count, she wants to add.
Mulder nods, not in agreement, but to indicate he’s considering her point. Whatever her point is. She’s forgotten now.
They stand there in silence long enough for him to finish his second glass of water.
“It’s not about the sex,” he says finally. “For me anyway. I just want to be with you.”
God. What the hell is wrong with her?
“I think I, uh…,” he sighs and stares off at a corner of the table blankly for a second, a small frown appearing between his brows. “I’m probably in love with you.” He stops for several beats to let the idea germinate, refusing eye contact with her.
She watches him place the glass carefully into the sink. “So you should think about what you want.”
He brushes past her to the bedroom.
After a moment of standing frozen in place, she recovers and follows him.
Mulder gathers his clothing off the floor, picks up his wallet and keys from her dresser and puts them back in his pockets.
“I’ll call a cab. You don’t need to drive me home this late.”
He sits on her rumpled bed with his back to her, pant leg rolled up, strapping on his weapon. They are the type of people who have guns on top of their dressers, in their underwear drawers, scars in unusual places, chips in necks, poisonous tattoos, missing ova, missing sisters.
“We’ve got some expenses to sort out tomorrow,” he says, feeling under her bed for his other shoe. “And I can’t find some of the receipts. You’ve probably got them.”
“Did I tell you Skinner said the meal per diem is going up by ten bucks next month? We’ll still have to eat diner food, but maybe we’ll be able to afford the places with clean silverware.”
“So this is it then?” she asks, quietly. “Back to normal? Or whatever our version of normal is? Pretend like we didn’t just make love?” She flushes. It sounds strange to call it that, but after his admission, anything else sounds cheap. And it was making love for her.
Mulder arises, tucks his shirt into his jeans and threads his belt. “I guess that depends on you. I can do business-as-usual or I can do…us,” he says evenly, meeting her eyes. “One I’ll do if I don’t have a choice, but I’m not losing you either way. I won’t do that.”
“Can we…slow down a little? Talk about this?” She takes a step toward him.
Eyes lingering on her, he nods. “We can talk all you want. I’ll still be in love with you, and you’ll still have to decide what you want. But yes, we can talk.” He looks at her, longingly. “And we can take this as slow as you want. If you mean…what happened tonight, I have no problem putting the brakes on. It’s worth the wait.”
“I liked tonight,” she admits without hesitation. “I liked it very much.”
“So did I.”
“I don’t know what I’m ready for,” she says, honestly, the edges of the room blurring. “But something.” She glides closer to him, extending both her hand and her trust. “I’m ready for something.”
Mulder’s eyes spark a smile, but the rest of his face remains cool. “Something is a place to start.”
“Will you come back to bed? Please?”
He hesitates as he appears to consider her request and a hundred other variables. Where they are, where they’ve been. The risks and benefits of loving her.
“I’d like you to stay,” she repeats.
“Okay. I can do that.”
She tucks herself into his embrace, her arms circling him. He cups both sides of her face and kisses her forehead. She thinks about the way he said “us,” and how it makes her feel.
The lights are dimmed and Scully loosens the sash on her robe. She climbs into bed and watches him undress again.
Sliding to the middle of the bed, his toes go in search of hers. Chilled from the kitchen floor tiles, she places the ball of her foot on his calf and he jumps. “You’re a human icicle,” he chides, pulling her more solidly on top of him.
He transfers kinetic energy to her and she curls into him like a cat, sleepy and content.
When she opens her eyes again, there’s sunlight warming the corner of the mattress where her hand rests. She slips from the bed nude to twist the blinds closed and sees that he’s watching her, one elbow bent beneath his head.
“How long have you been watching me sleep?” she accuses with a frown, slipping back under the sheet.
“Not long.” He blinks from his pillow. Her pillow.
Scully wants him to stop staring at her. She went to bed last night without washing off her makeup or even brushing her teeth.
“This is the first time we’ve woken up in the same bed together,” he says with an impish smile.
“You don’t sleep in a bed.” Does he always start off this happy before 8 a.m. on a Saturday?
“I think I’m going to get a bed. Maybe today.”
“Where will you put it?”
“In the bedroom. That’s a silly question.”
She squints at him. “You have a bedroom, Mulder? Why aren’t you sleeping in it?”
He smiles. “There’s no bed.”
Of course. She’s going to need more sleep before they dissect this further.
“There’s other stuff in there,” he adds.
If his office is any indication, she can only imagine.
“Do you want to help me buy a bed, Scully?”
“Why would I want to do that?” She tries not to smirk.
“I’ll buy you dinner afterward.”
Scully props onto her elbow and eyes his morning scruff, pretending to weigh the offer. “That sounds suspiciously like a date.”
“It could be loosely classified as a date,” he admits.
“It’s Saturday, Mulder. How do you know I don’t have plans?”
He has the decency to look worried for a second.
She smiles and rolls over, tucking her bottom into his groin. Which doesn’t seem to be quite as soft as the rest of him at the moment. Mulder inhales deeply and shifts a little, but maintains his composure.
“A bed-buying date, huh,” she murmurs, his warmth enhancing her drowsiness. “I think you lucked out and there happens to be a break in my social calendar tonight.”
He sneaks his head onto her pillow and his arm over her waist. “So that’s a yes?”
“That’s a yes. If you let me sleep another hour.”
He nuzzles below her ear and his hand finds her breast.
She has to give him the look that indicates just how serious she is about sleep, even though he should know by now.
“It’s to your advantage to have me well-rested.”
His hand halts, then finds a place to rest on her tummy. He plants a sweet kiss to her hair. “Shh Scully, go to sleep. You’re keeping me up.”
She smiles into her pillow and closes her eyes.
The End. Thanks for reading.