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“I don’t know,” she said, openly annoyed and secretly frightened of what she might reveal. “Like that actress who plays the alien on that sitcom you love?  The amazon with the long hair who has a thing for the obese cop who used to be on that other show.” Scully stopped abruptly and ran an index finger along a dusty shelf searching for the precise volume of Bureau code she sought.

 

He would have preferred to have this conversation over pizza and beer, or in one of the countless rental cars they had once taken for granted when field assignments were a way of life. But it had begun, innocuously enough, at their desks, eleven a.m. on a Thursday morning, and the line of discourse intrigued him enough to follow her to the deserted far corner of the FBI library.

 

“Every heterosexual male in the country with a pulse and a remote has ogled her,” Mulder shrugged. “Why do you think men watch that show?  Booger jokes aside.” 

 

She fixed him with her “I ‘m right, so why are we arguing about this?” glare.

 

“But,” he hastened to add, “that doesn’t mean she or women like her are the object of every man’s fantasy.”

 

“You just said -”

 

“- I said men check her out. Mentally undress her, maybe. Make the occasional assumption about what she would be like...” he trailed off in the wake of Scully’s amused, if annoyed, expression. “Look – I can’t speak for all men, but the object of a man’s desire is usually the object of his affection.”  She remained unconvinced. He leaned in so as not to be overheard, and not to be misunderstood. “There’s only one woman who truly turns me on, and she’s not a leggy blonde on the idiot box, but someone I love.” 

 

Scully felt, rather than heard, those words. No. She tasted them. Their intense flavor drenched her tongue and she savored each syllable. In the pair’s rarefied universe, such a remark should have practically sunk to its knees and begged for a cynical comeback. But had the appropriate rejoinder come to mind, Scully wouldn’t have given it voice for fear of souring the sweet essence which filled her mouth. Absently, she chewed at her lip, now useless for speech, though she refused to let his declaration go unanswered. Unchallenged.         

 

Arms crossed, Mulder leaned in slightly, expectation in his posture, uncertainty in his eyes as he awaited her response. He hardly had to wait at all, because in one swift, smooth, undoubting move, Scully rose on tiptoe to press her mouth against his. The kiss was over in a heartbeat, really, so that he could only pull her body against his in a fevered, transient caress. But this tacit communication revealed all.

 

Searing cold flashed through him as he watched Scully close the manual and return it to its place on the shelf. He had been kissed by his partner. In the stacks of the Hoover Building reference library. Mulder licked his lips, trying to recapture the taste of her. The moment had come and gone without either of them pausing to consider the consequences, professionally or personally speaking, yet they knew beyond a doubt that the epiphany they each had searched the heavens for had finally arrived. It was time.

 

Without speaking another word, they strolled casually out of the library, entered the elevator and rode down to the parking garage. Mulder had arrived early this morning and his car was in the first row of slots, just across from the elevator, so they took his. Scully’s apartment was closer than Mulder’s place, so that was the logical destination. Every so often during the elevator ride, the car trip, and the walk from Scully’s garage to her door, the two exchanged glances. Not looks of uncertainty or surprise or even overwhelming lust. Merely, they connected eye-to-eye, grounding each other and making silent promises.

 

She was unaware that, as they approached her apartment, he picked up on an odd vibration from her. Her fingers trembled slightly as she fit her key into the lock, and that was when he saw it and understood. An expression he had seen in her eyes under very different circumstances, usually when one or both of their lives were threatened.

 

Fear. Pure and simple.

 

The nagging voice in his brain that routinely blared warning cries in the presence of danger - a voice he just as routinely ignored - screamed that for Scully to become involved with him was indeed a dangerous proposition. On the face of it, bodily harm posed the most benign threat. Emotional Armageddon, apocalypse of the soul, these were the graver perils. But he was just selfish enough to wait and see how far she would go.

 

The door shut behind them, Mulder shucked his jacket and laid it over the back of the sofa. He had no doubt now that she wanted him. Had wanted him for some time. But did she believe that he could love her without limits? Did she understand the depth of his emotions where she was concerned? That, no matter how seriously he doubted whether he deserved her or whether loving him was in her best interest, there also existed an unshakable hope that he, and he alone, could sustain her, make her happy.

 

Mulder’s keys thunked noisily onto the end table near the couch. Scully, halfway to the bedroom, turned just in time to see a shadow cross Mulder’s features. From the set of his downturned face, she sensed he had something of the utmost importance to tell her, but had forgotten how to string together verbs and nouns. He finally lifted his eyes to her, as if to make an attempt at speech, but she held out a hand to him, and he followed without a word.  

 

###

 

So now that you’ve got him here, what do you do with him? God, has it really been that long?

 

The thought of having Mulder in her bedroom was no match for the reality of having him there, radiating heat and light and pure want, watching her, waiting for her to act.

 

Slow. Start with the most basic things. She took his hand in hers. She had memorized the shape and size of them ages ago. Long fingers and broad palms. Sparse hair and smooth, lightly-tanned skin. She has bandaged them, squeezed them in comfort and affection, even held them on the few occasions when she allowed herself to draw strength from them.

 

Until half an hour ago, their casual glancing touches or rarer supportive caresses were just that and nothing more. But just thirty minutes ago, her world had turned upside down as he moved them over her body with ardor and reverence. Touching her as a man touches a woman whom he loves and desires and needs above all things. And from his touch, she understood how long he had wanted to hold her this way, and how long he had struggled to hold himself in check. Her own small, strong hands grasping at him had echoed these feelings, and it was as if a door had quietly but decisively opened before them. In that embrace, there was release.   

 

She turned his hand palm up, tracing the lines lightly with one finger, then slowly undid the buttons on his cuff, carefully rolling it back to his elbow. She brushed her lips over his wrist, bringing the warmth of his hand to her face. He let it remain there as she repeated the actions with the opposite hand, removing his watch before gently kissing the delicate skin. When both hands cradled her head, she let her eyes find his. Tacitly, she thanked him for his uncharacteristic forbearance.

 

Slowly, but deliberately, she stretched up on tiptoe to kiss him. She felt herself begin to liquefy at the contact with his soft, moist mouth. A bit shyly, she darted her tongue out to touch his lips. It was all the encouragement he needed. She groaned as his hands snaked over her small form, and fingered the buttons of her suit jacket. She stopped their motion with hers, and reluctantly broke their kiss.

 

“Wait,” she said hoarsely, her breath coming rapidly.

 

He lifted his hands away from her, holding them up in the air like an unarmed suspect. She recoiled slightly at this action, wounded that he could draw himself away from her so decisively, as if she had threatened him. But peering into his face, she saw that he had done it, not to hurt her, but to resecure his own control, and this touched her deeply. It gave her the courage to speak her heart.

 

She placed her hands on his shoulders, signaling him to lower his arms. She leaned into his body, and he relaxed into her embrace, sighing softly.

 

Her forehead braced against his chest, she began quietly, “Before this goes any further, I need you to know-”

 

“Scully, you don’t have to say anything,” he cut her off. “I understand.”

 

“No, I don’t think you do,” she countered, pulling away slightly to look up into the depths of his hazel eyes.

 

“We don’t have to go any further or any faster that you feel comfortable with,” he assured her, “if you truly want this to happen, I’ll go along with whatever you decide.” Inexplicably, part of him fervently wished for her to sigh with relief and suggest they go back to work. The other part dreaded that she would do just that.

 

Scully wrinkled her brow. How could he still doubt that this was what she wanted? Was he only being chivalrous, or did he simply not understand the effect he had on her? He was like a drug. The closer she got to him - physically and emotionally - the more she wanted, more she needed him.

 

She spoke again, determined that he would hear this now. “Mulder, I want everything from you. More particularly, I want your body. Today. Now.” She smiled a little at her own directness. She didn’t think it had ever been necessary to tell a man outright how impatient she was to make love to him. But... “But I can’t remember the last time I was this anxious to feel a body against me, inside me, and the intensity has overwhelmed me a little. And so I don’t want to rush any of this, because I treasure you.” She liked the way that sounded. Liked the way it made the color rise in his face, made his adam’s apple bob violently, and so she repeated it tenderly. “I treasure you.”

 

His mouth was suddenly dry. He foundered in the sound of her voice shaping those words. Words he had never received from anyone, and had never expected to. It was the most sincere and intimate declaration of love he had ever heard. Beat the hell out his mumbling, Demerol-laced deadpan from a hospital bed. And it precisely described his feelings for her. He cursed himself for not thinking of it first. Speechless, he responded the only way he could, by pressing his mouth over hers, sealing their long- unspoken, but long-held covenant. She pulled him closer into her embrace, opening her mouth under his, reveling in the soft, hot feel of his tongue exploring her. Learning her.

 

Her hands drifted to his belt buckle. Deftly, she undid the clasp, then pulled the belt through the loops of his trousers and dropped it to the floor. She returned her hands to his shoulders, contentedly stroking the muscles through the cloth of his dress shirt. He reached around to the small of her back, fumbling for the zipper of her skirt. Gently, she maneuvered them away, telling him tacitly, but unmistakably: Baby steps.

 

He smiled smugly to himself. Fine. If that’s what she wants, that’s what I want. “It’s been a while, Foxerino,” another nagging voice, first-cousin to the alarm blaster, spoke up. “Sure you can hold out?” Mulder considered the growing hardness that strained against his zipper for only a moment. He put the voice in its place. Watch me. Replenishing his air supply, he removed his lips from hers and trailed light kisses across her cheekbones. Carefully, he fingered the pearl closure at the neck of her blouse, slipping just the first button from the dainty loop of fabric. With a single finger, Mulder splayed the neckline open and laid his lips against the warm skin beneath, as a true believer kisses Mary’s feet.

 

Her head lolled lazily from side to side. “Ohhhh...” she moaned breathily, feeling the hair at the back of her neck stand on end. He crouched before her, and she was grateful to have his shoulders to lean on, because she wasn’t sure anymore that she could balance her own weight. With light caresses, he stroked her calves. The friction of his hands against her stockings was delicious. Just the sound of his fingers moving over nylon made her shiver. Arriving at the curve of her ankles, he lifted one little foot and then the other, freeing them from her sensible pumps. He placed tiny kisses at the top of each knee, just above the hem of her skirt, before rising again, sliding the length of his body along hers as he went. The electricity between them flared exponentially.

 

Lightheaded, she leaned against him, directing all of her focus to the task of slipping his tie free of its knot and dragging it slowly from around his neck. She wasn’t sure how it happened, because she was fairly sure his hands had never left her hips, but suddenly his shirt was hanging open, the tails freed from the waist of his trousers. The thin white tee-shirt he wore underneath hugged his torso, sensuously outlining the solid curvature of his chest. Without thinking, she latched her mouth over one nipple, teasing at it through the cloth.

 

“Sc-” he breathed sharply, and went silent.

 

Her tongue and teeth tortured the spot a moment longer. When Scully pulled away, she was chagrined, but somehow pleased, to discover the rosy ring left by her lipstick. It looked oddly like an Impressionistic flower, a darkened wet bud in the center surrounded by blurry outer petals. Always one for symmetry, she repeated the treatment on the other side.

 

At this, Mulder could no longer remain passive. His hands began to roam wildly over her form, compressing their bodies more tightly. He began to sense that Scully’s insistence on a slow revealing of skin might actually be simple shyness, even though the sweet torture she was now treating him to didn’t come across as particularly demure. Perhaps she was simply more comfortable being touched than seen. Without unfastening her jacket or the rest of the buttons of her blouse, Mulder dipped his hands beneath those two garments to trace his fingers along the straight column of vertebrae.

 

Scully groaned helplessly at the heat of this contact. She gazed a question at him and he grinned his reply, undoing the hooks at the back of her bra and slipping his hands around to cup the round weight of her breasts. Biting her lip to keep from swooning, she dropped her eyes to watch the insistent movement of his hands beneath her clothes. The sight produced a fresh rush of wetness between her thighs. He continued to squeeze and pet, his hands wandering erratically, never finding a regular pattern, never settling over the sensitive, aching peaks. Christ, how could he dominate her with just his hands and breath and heat?

 

Mulder eyed his partner carefully, viewing the disintegration of her control bit by bit with victorious pride and stunned adoration. “Do you like the way that feels, Scully?” he whispered, a pleased smile in his tone. He already knew the answer.

 

“Yaaaaa...but...”  Not yet ready to decompose into a puddle at his feet, Scully  grabbed him by the neck and yanked his mouth toward hers. The fog cleared from her azure eyes as she looked into his and demanded, “Get to the point, Mulder.”  In an instant, their mouths were locked together, Scully sucking voraciously at his tongue and thrusting her upper body against his hands. When he finally rubbed her hard nipples between his fingers, her hips bucked against him, sending chills through both of them. Though her body mass was small, the insistent way she pressed against him sent him tumbling back onto the bed and he pulled himself up on his elbows to watch her.

 

She stood before him, somehow still upright. Slowly, she undid the buttons of her jacket, let it glide off of her shoulders and tossed it over the chair next to the bed. With a small smile, in that magical way women have, she retrieved her bra from under her blouse without removing the blouse itself. Feeling heady and sexy, Scully tossed the garment at Mulder’s reclining form. It hit him square in the face and he grinned goofily, both at the gesture and at the sight of her rosy red nipples poking through the front of her delicate shirt.

 

“If this thing with the FBI doesn’t work out, a second career is awaiting you in one of those bars by the airport,” he cracked. Normally, that kind of remark would earn a roll of the eyes, a firmly suppressed reaction. Instead, Scully blushed, not in response to his “compliment,” but merely basking in his regard.

 

But Mulder had no monopoly on teasing. She held him transfixed as she deliberately released each of the tiny buttons and opened the blouse to reveal an expanse of skin, glowing pink and gold by the midday light filtering in through the window shades. To Mulder, it wasn’t the room’s ambiance that lit her. Jesus. All of that heat, all of that brilliance, can’t be contained. She was on fire. For him. Mulder swallowed hard and held out his arms to her, anticipating the feel of her skin against his.

 

Scully ignored his outstretched limbs, and instead knelt at the foot of the bed. She smiled again and teased, “Planning on making a quick getaway?”

 

His brow wrinkled in confusion until she lifted one of his feet to show that his shoes were still attached to them. “Shoe fetish, Scully? I’m telling you right now, stilettos are practically impossible to find in a 12D.”

 

“I’m not even going to ponder how you might know that, Mulder,” she gave another little half-grin and set about tugging at the laces. Once she’d freed him of the shoes, she began easing off his socks in the slow, seductive manner Mulder had occasionally fantasized about watching Scully roll stockings down her own legs. He swallowed. Hard. Amazing how such a simple act could result in such dazzling arousal. His eyes turned to saucers as Scully took one foot in each hand and pressed them against her bare breasts. She couldn’t say what gave her the impulse to try that little move; she’d certainly never done it before,  had never considered any man’s feet particularly stimulating.

 

It was...different. She wanted to be different with Mulder. She liked knowing that she could try anything with him, that he made her feel secure in ways she never had before. He arched his feet, trying to cup her breasts, succeeding in trapping a brightly blushing nipple between the toes. He grinned an absurdly proud grin at her. As a reward, holding his gaze, she took his toes one by one by one into her mouth and sucked at them until his elbows gave out from under him as he flopped back onto the mattress.

 

“Jeeeezzuuhhsss...”           

 

Just as well. Scully had been having trouble keeping up the eye contact. At that angle, to see his face, she’d had to look directly past the expanding fixture between his legs, and the temptation to focus her attention on it was almost too great. Now, with Mulder moaning softly and languidly rolling his hips, she could look to her heart’s content, daring herself to keep her hands away until she couldn’t stand not to. Instead, she let them roam gently under his pant-legs, caressing the strong calf muscles and tickling the backs of his knees. As he wallowed in her attentions, he managed to wrestle out of his shirts, fresh air rushing over his heated skin.

 

Mulder was hardly surprised by the intensity of his own arousal. For years now, just watching her had stoked a deep, internal flame. In the past, he had ridden out any number of instances where he had wanted her so goddamn much, he’d had to physically escape her presence in order to maintain the status quo. Fuck the status quo. The woman of his dreams had just written a whole new set of rules for the game of footsie, and he wasn’t going anywhere until they had played this thing out.

 

Those cool, hypnotic hands of hers stroked lightly over his legs. When her fingertips danced behind his knees, Mulder’s back arched, a shiver rising along his spine like mercury through glass. Grabbing for her hands, he sat up abruptly and pulled Scully back onto the bed with him. Off her perplexed look, he explained, “You’re learning all my secrets, but there’s so much of you left to uncover.” 

 

He nosed aside her blouse, dropping tiny, white-hot kisses along her collarbone and under the swells of her breasts. She hummed quietly and let her eyes drift closed. A minute later, Mulder was nibbling at her mouth again, thoroughly seducing first her upper, then her lower lip. Scully quivered. Christ, goosebumps just from kissing.  That, coupled with the sudden realization that it was the middle of the day and she was lying on her bed in Mulder’s arms, nude save for a pair of gray French-cut briefs. She didn’t remember removing the rest of her clothes. I’d remember the pantyhose, wouldn’t I?  But there they were, naked as two people could be lying on a bed in their underwear.

 

And, in truth, day and night - time itself - had been left outside the bedroom door. All that mattered was here, now, and Mulder. Scully grasped the waistband of his soft cotton boxers, fingering his slim hips, thumbs tracing his hipbones. What keeps his pants up? Gingerly, she eased the shorts down over his engorged cock. Besides that.  She dragged her knuckles over the impressive column of flesh between them, a satisfied grin crossing her lips at his gasp.

 

Summoning his trademark leer, Mulder glanced down at his partner as he traced his hands over Scully’s waist, and snapped the lace edging of her panties with thumb and forefinger. “Why do I feel like I should be saying ‘Mother, may I’ before I do this?” he croaked.

 

“You can take them off only if you promise never to refer to me as ‘mother’ while I’m in any state of undress,” she sighed.

 

“We’ll stick to Red light/Green light from now on,” Mulder quickly agreed with a nod. He slipped his hands under the waistband from behind, easing the stretchy scrap of fabric over the soft mounds of her ass and down her legs. Scully toed her underwear the rest of the way off and luxuriated in the feel of his naked skin everywhere over hers.

 

“Mulder, you lived near the water as a kid....did you ever go skinny dipping?”

He looked at her quizzically, sure he had missed a segue somewhere.

 

“Just once,” he replied, “the summer after high school, I stayed with my dad - that’s dad, not m-oh-m,” he spelled out, so as not to break their seconds-old pact, then kissed her neck for emphasis. She grinned and stroked a hand through his hair, encouraging him to go on. “I had a thing going with a girl visiting her grandparents for the summer, and we’d go for walks on the beach at night -” 

 

“Mulder, that’s so-”

 

“- normal?  Perverts are made, not born, Scully.”

 

“ - I was going to say sweet.”

 

He grimaced, not commenting on her remark. “Anyway, one night we were heavily into a round of beach blanket bingo and she had this great idea...”  Scully twitched her brows expectantly. “It wasn’t pretty. There was...shrinkage.”

 

She made amused, sympathetic sounds against his shoulder, then bumped her hips against him. “There doesn’t seem to have been any lasting damage.”  They smiled almost shyly and continued caressing each other lightly.

 

Mulder shook his head, trying to pick up the thread. “What - was skinny dipping a sacred ritual among Navy brats?”

 

Scully’s lips curved slyly around snug memories of one unbearably hot summer when they were stationed in Guam. She couldn’t have been more than five. “When the four of us were very small, I think sometimes it was too much effort to get us all into our swimsuits, so Mom would just throw t-shirts over us for the walk to the beach, then let us run wild.”  Mulder chuckled quietly, nuzzling her breasts. “And then, around junior high sometime, Melissa and I were friends with a girl who had a swimming pool and parents who were out a lot. They decided to get ‘European tans,’ - I just turned into a lobster.”  Her voice took on a dreamy quality. “But I can still remember what it felt like to dive in without a stitch on, how different it was to feel the water glide over parts of me that were normally covered...how naughty it felt...how free.” 

 

Mulder found himself incredibly turned on by images that came to him as she told him these things. Not of a little red-headed girl, exactly, but of a carefree Scully. Pure, undamaged, unwary. It moved him to realize how much of that purity she still managed to hang onto, and that loving her this deeply somehow, in turn, purified him. He caressed her softly with his hands, his lips, his breath, suddenly conscious of each place he normally touched only through the barrier of clothing - her back, knees, shoulder blades, biceps - and other places he had never touched at all. He rippled wave upon wave of love over her vulnerable, trusting body.

 

Scully was all for slow seduction, a tantalizing, even lazy progression from one stage of arousal to the next. But, as in all things, she liked there to be a logical order. There was a standard path: mouth, neck, breasts, tummy, thighs, all leading right on into full-blown cunnilingus. How could she have been so foolish as to expect Mulder to follow Standard Operating Procedure?  The fact was, they had spent a good half-hour just getting undressed, petting and kissing and looking and feeling. And it had been wonderful, but Scully had thought of all that as the pregame show; now, she was itching to throw out the first pitch, but apparently Mulder wanted to turn the national anthem into a Wagnerian opera.   

 

Her sex throbbed heavily, pulsing relentlessly like the car stereo you hear from four lanes away, even with the windows rolled up. But there was no relief. No release. Mulder’s gentle teasing was nearing the point of cruel taunting. A firm grasp on her ass was followed by a light kiss to her sternum, followed up with the glance of his tongue along her lower lip. On and on like that, no direction, no destination. Once or twice, she tried silently to get him to concentrate his attentions, to pick a spot and stick with it, but to no avail.

 

She felt totally at sea. And then she remembered: She loved the sea, the one place she could accept being utterly out of control. Very young, she had learned the thrill of riding the current, learned not to fight a rip tide, but allow the waves to wash over her, learned to enjoy the sensation of an earthly force carrying her randomly, knowing she eventually would come back to shore, back to herself, safe and sound.

 

Just as she was giving herself over to Mulder’s haphazard method, his mouth closed decisively over her sex in an impossibly deep soul kiss. The heat of his tongue against her was almost too much to bear and her thighs clamped around his head in response. Damn if she didn’t feel him smile against her. Mulder...when he picks a spot, he knows how to pick ‘em.

 

Entwining his arms with her legs, he stroked his hands over her hips, under her ass, his tongue and lips busy with a single purpose. Wiry hair tickled his nose and he fought off an urge to sneeze. Unconsciously, he dug his hips into the mattress, matching the rhythm to hers, which rose and fell as she whimpered softly and lowed his name. He cast his eyes up to her face, surprised to find her gazing back at him, watching. Without breaking their connection, he sucked deliberately until her eyelids gave up and epoxyed themselves tightly shut.

 

Scully felt the contractions begin deep within her body, so deep, she thought for a split second she might be experiencing myocardial infarction. Unaccountably, she still had the presence of mind to realize that a heart attack wasn’t supposed to feel so good. Pleasure spasms chased along her nerve endings, and her body began to jerk uncontrollably. Raw, lower-primate sounds erupted from her throat. Mulder stayed with her as she convulsed beneath him, his mouth latched to her, prolonging the euphoria, never taking his eyes from the most soul-searing sight the universe had ever offered him.

 

When Scully began to settle down, Mulder dropped his head on her creamy thigh, exhausted. Their breaths came heavily and fast and were the only sounds in the room - until Mulder’s whoop of surprise as he felt himself being heaved onto his back. Scully’s endorphin level had apparently sky-rocketed in direct proportion to the activity which produced them.

 

“What the hell - ?” he panted as she dove toward the opposite end of the bed. Scully was in no mood for explanations, and was otherwise occupied besides. He wailed again, first in shock...then in supplication, “Oh God, like that, like that...Don’t stop, please don’t stop...,” as her mouth assaulted him. Her lips wrapped themselves tightly around his cock, and her tongue sworled relentlessly. He needn’t have begged. Goal-oriented Dana Scully pursued his climax single-mindedly, just as Mulder had painstakingly elicited hers. He was too far gone to compare and contrast their personal styles, spinning in a vortex of pleasure and gripping her ankles for dear life. Scully worked him furiously, not heeding his frantic cries. “Scuhh-  I’m gonnaaaahh, guhn- it’s-  I’mmmm-” He came like a locomotive, loud and fast and hard and whistling her name high enough for all the townsfolk to hear. Gradually, he coasted to a stop, heat coming off of him like steam evaporating from a smokestack.

 

Scully was tenderly, methodically kissing her way back up Mulder’s spent and supine form when she felt his ribs begin to convulse. A raw, almost hysterical sound filled the room. It wasn’t Mulder’s usual snide chuckle, nor a bitter, self-deprecating snort. It was just this side of Mad Scientist, and it was wonderful. She couldn’t recall ever having heard him laugh like that. The sheer elation in his outburst was infectious. She joined him, chortling to herself at first, and eventually was left gasping for air, feeling her sides cramp joyously. As they alit from whatever happycloud had wafted them back to earth, Scully realized ruefully that the ache from laughing at such length was extremely unfamiliar, probably twenty years forgotten.

 

Settling herself alongside Mulder, tucking into the curve of his shoulder, she threw one leg across his thighs and flushed at the thought of other muscles also long overdue for a workout. Though Scully liked to feel that presumption was the antithesis of her very world-view, she had nevertheless presumed that Mulder had been similarly out of circulation for some time now. Admittedly, there was little concrete evidence of this. But by collecting the tiles of his porn collection, solitary demeanor, manic-obsessive work habits, along with the deep affection and trust which he seemed to reserve exclusively for her, Scully pieced together, with the mortar of her own hopes and intuition, a circumstantial mosaic of a man whose sexual life in recent years had been lived in isolation.

 

Scully reflected upon the numerous times she had gazed at Mulder’s mouth, wryly thinking what a shame it was that such a rich resource was going unused. Among her most sentimental secrets was that she ached not only at the waste of them, but that this man, so sensual a being, had denied himself - had been denied, she flushed guiltily - the joy of their sweetest purpose.

 

No more.

 

She was through with pretending she didn’t want him virtually every hour of every day, through with allowing her own insecurities to dominate certain areas of her life; and she was positively through playing the lonely role of perfectly self-contained single woman.

 

No more.

 

Still lost in thought, Scully swept one splayed hand down the length of Mulder’s torso to his thighs and back up again, grinning to herself as she bumped against a sure sign of renewed arousal. Mulder inhaled sharply as her fingertips brushed over his stiffening cock. Her palm skated over his nipples and abdomen, now avoiding contact with the rigid shaft. Scully’s thigh began to rub slowly but insistently against Mulder’s side. Breathing a deep sigh of contentment and desire, Mulder placed soft kisses along her brow. Cradling her head in his left hand, he tilted Scully’s face up and invaded her mouth.

 

“Oh God, Mulder,” she murmured between kisses, “no more.”  To Mulder, not being privy to Scully’s unspoken thoughts, her words seemed to contradict the ardent motion of her hands and mouth, and the friction of her legs against him. Fortunately, he was not in an analytical frame of mind. Instead, he reveled in the way she stroked his tongue with her own and bit at it teasingly. She exerted suction and pressure in the most erotic combination possible. Mulder’s blood surged in his veins, his heart beating a conga. Their mouths fucked fervently, and it was time for the rest them to join the dance. Turning slowly on the bed, Mulder lay gingerly on top of her, stroking his fingertips down the sides of her body. He wanted to savor this first true joining.

 

From nowhere, unbidden, unsettling memories flitted across his vision. Recollections of the many instances where they had participated in the same event, yet come away from it with radically different interpretations of the experience. Even as recently as a couple of months ago, Scully’s doubts regarding his version of the events surrounding Gibson Praise’s second disappearance served as a sharp reminder of their innate differences.

 

The idea that, in this most intimate of ventures, they might not understand each other absolutely frightened the hell out of him. It was imperative that she know what was happening between them now wasn’t about smoothing over conflict or assuaging his fear of abandonment. Expressing his love for her physically was both more simple and more complicated than that. It was acknowledgment, confirmation. Acceptance of the imperviousness of their bond, now and going forward.

 

“Scully...you know that I love you.”  A statement, not a question, though he found himself searching her eyes for confirmation.

 

“I know, Mulder. I know,” she responded tenderly.

 

“And that for me, this - us - is...”

 

“I know that, too,” she asserted. She broke their gaze and lowered her voice just a notch. “Sex changes everything, and it changes nothing.”

 

His eyes widened. Were they really on the same page?

 

“I don’t expect our differences to dissolve after today,” she continued, glancing back up at him, “I don’t think either of us really wants that, anyway.”  Her sigh was edged with resignation, a sign that she had considered - probably more than once - what might become of their partnership if they were to cross this invisible but very tangible line. “In fact...it may seem to exacerbate them, and we have to be prepared for that.”

 

Mulder nodded seriously. “I’m scared to death that the next time we argue over a case, or a piece of evidence, or a theory, you’ll think I expect you to agree with me - no questions asked - and that you’ll resent it.”  His chest grew tight waiting for reassurances, unsure if she would offer them, and unsure that he could accept them.

 

Scully’s brows knit together. “Mulder, I admit, I’ve held myself back from this for fear that, were we to become involved, the work would suffer. I’d back off, lose my edge, become willing to give in where I know I shouldn’t,” Scully confessed in a rush. “That said, something in me today just got fed up with worrying about eventualities I’d never know for sure might happen, if I didn’t let myself take this step. We’ll just have to take the rest of it as it comes.”  She shook her head at how flimsy - how insubstantial - that sounded to her ears, but feeling intrinsically that it was right for them to be here now. “I don’t know what gives me the right to feel so optimistic,” she said softly, “call it faith - or belief.”  She punctuated this last statement with a kiss over his heart.    

 

They were quiet for a long moment, each seeking assurance in the other’s eyes. It was Mulder, naturally, who broke the silence, giving voice to the last traces of their lingering apprehension.

 

“Red light?” he teased.

 

Forgetting the reference, Scully absently returned the volley. “Green light?”

 

“Red light?”  he asked, this time uncertainly.

 

Now remembering their earlier bantering, she assured him, “Green light.”

 

“Red light?” he persisted, enjoying the game.

 

“Green light,”  she nipped at his throat, provoking him.

 

“Red light,” he grinned slightly, playing with the tousled threads of her hair.

 

“Green light,” she whispered, gliding a thumb over his brow and losing herself in his eyes.

 

She tugged at his neck, and brushed her lips over his eyelids. With her other hand, she grasped his thick, turgid length and showed him in. As they fulfilled a union begun years before, Scully swore she heard Etta James’ voice in her head, crooning, “Aaat laaaaasst....” 

 

Mulder exhaled a long-held breath as his lover’s body welcomed him. She was warm and slick, as soft and well-muscled inside as out. He levered himself over her at a slight angle, resting on one hip, and slowly drove into her again and again and again.

 

“Oh God. Oh, my God...” Scully’s breath caught in her lungs, expelling itself in harsh sighs and soft wailing. She had drawn one leg high over Mulder’s hip and bent the other knee outward, opening her heart and body to him as she had to no other. Now, the foot planted on the mattress gave her added leverage to swing her pelvis up to meet his, and with every thrust, she felt him sinking more deeply into her satin shaft, felt his sac bounce rhythmically against her ass.

 

“Scully....wanted....you....so....long...now....”

 

His words tingled every nerve in her body. She smoothed a hand over his chest, felt the steady, quick rhythm of his heart and knew intuitively that this was the most profound connection either of them had ever felt for another human being. She reached up to wipe a single tear from his face and he curved his lips. “Can...you...believe...this is...us?...” The rough darkness of his voice sent fresh chills over her skin.

 

She focused her most direct gaze at him and beamed like the lights of heaven. “I believe...hmmm....I be-lieeeeve...”  She was feeling slightly chagrined now over her earlier insistence that they act slowly and deliberately - count on Mulder to take a concept and run with it - for while the sensations that engulfed her were extremely pleasurable, each wave only inflamed her desire further. Her eyes slipped shut and her voice fell to a rasp. “Need...more.....need more...needmoreneedmore!”

 

Scully pulled him down in a wanton kiss, thrusting her tongue at him forcefully, and trying like hell to speed the movement of their lower bodies in kind.

 

Mulder broke away. “More?” he teased. She nodded. “More?” he repeated, eyes wide.

 

“Yesss...” she hissed.

 

And again came his voice, “More...?”

 

“YES DAMMIT MOOOORE!!”  she keened.

 

“Shh..shh...” he chuffed, and moved to answer her plea.

 

“WHAAAT?”  she wailed as he halted his thrusts and withdrew from her completely.

 

He sealed his mouth over hers to quiet her as he grasped his throbbing cock and rubbed the hot, swollen flesh over the glans of her clit, then plunged powerfully back inside of her. Scully’s gasping response flowed through him like a song. “More?” he whispered, a smile on his lips.

 

“oh yes,” came a tiny reply.

 

Mulder repeated the pattern over and over, lifting himself out of her, sliding and circling his hard heat over the sensitive nub, then felt her arch under him for a thick, slippery return. Left breathless by his passion and astounded by his control, she was aware he couldn’t continue this way indefinitely. They had been balanced on a wave of near-ecstasy for what seemed like a geologic age and she began to sense that his need was as great as hers to surrender to the tide and let it bring them back to shore.

 

He buried his head in the curve of her shoulder, barely maintaining his delicately balanced control. With her last thread of restraint, she laid tender kisses along his dampened hair line. “Let’s go, Mulder....just dig in and ride...”  

 

His poise faltered for just a moment before he arched back and began pumping into her with abandon. She wrapped her arms low around him, one hand gripping his ass, driving him deeply into a frenzied fucking. “Yessssss....” He exploded into her, pounded against her, washed over her, his lips shaping her name once in a soundless alleluia, his hips’ drumming rhythm still forceful, but slower now and irregular.

 

She brought one hand up to cup the back of his head, resting it again in the crook of her neck as she brought her lips alongside his ear. “You owe me nothing,” she managed to gasp before plummeting into a fury of color. This maelstrom of sex and emotion left her shaking in its wake, even as a profound satisfaction seeped into her bones. Not seawater, but her own salty tears clogged the back of her throat.

 

Resurfacing, she felt, rather than heard, Mulder’s comforting murmurs against her skin. The dust-motes suspended in the hazy sunlight which peeked through her blinds sparkled like fairy dust, and the pair drifted off as if they had been lulled to sleep by the most enchanting bed time story ever.

 

###

 

Sometime later, midday sunlight rapidly taking on the amber cast of late afternoon, Scully awoke with a start. Reflexively, she sought the clock on the nightstand, but her bedmate’s muscled shoulder blocked her view. Her arms and legs wrapped around him from behind, she pulled herself up enough to read the time. 3:12 p.m.

 

Oh...shit.

 

Mulder was roused by his partner’s stirring and subsequent swearing. Before he could mumble, “Was it good for you?” Scully was off the bed and hunting down the ball of rolled-up hose hiding under the TV table. Mulder watched as she shook out her skirt and shimmied it over her hips. He didn’t duck in time to miss catching his trousers with his face.

 

Sighing and heaving himself off the mattress, he tried to squelch the anxiety beginning to roil in his gut. “Scully -”

 

“It’s quarter after three, Mulder,” Scully reported in the most neutral and businesslike tone she could muster.

 

Mulder sensed her struggling to reestablish that formidable professional demeanor, but it didn’t quite square with the sight of her glowing bedhead. “I see that...”   He retrieved his boxers from the end of the bed and slipped them on, then shook the wrinkles out of  his pants and pulled them up too. Holding them around his waist so they wouldn’t slide down to his ankles, he searched for his belt. Scully had scampered off to the bathroom muttering something about her hair.

 

She stood motionless in front of the bathroom mirror, surveying the damage. Hair, kinked in some places and limp in others; eye make-up smudged; skin, splotchy; lips, bare but even more bee-stung than usual. She inhaled, feeling inebriated from the smell that clung to her skin - her essence combined with Mulder’s - even as it tied her stomach in knots. And there, staring back at her, was the smoking gun. She could scrub away the ruined make-up and slap on a fresh coat, pull her hair into a ponytail, even take a shower to erase the subtle olfactory evidence, but there was no way to hide the unnaturally brilliant gleam in her eye that was the international symbol of a woman freshly laid. In a detached way, Scully admired the woman in the mirror. She was obviously in love and glorying in it. But, like the faint muscle twinges that remained from their earlier hysterics, the glow surrounding her - she rolled her eyes, thinking that Mulder would’ve called it her aura - was distressingly unfamiliar.

 

Mulder chose that moment to shamble through the bathroom door, shirt and shoes on, but still holding up his beltless trousers. Their eyes met in the mirror, and each noticed the other’s telltale sparkle, though neither was willing to admit seeing it. Scully locked gazes with him, and his heart ached with the conflict he saw raging within her. Mulder held his breath, waiting for what he should have known would be the inevitable.

 

“This can’t happen again,” she said quietly and without rancor. She didn’t wait for his rhetorical “what?” but stabbed an index finger at the couple staring back at them from the glass. “This, Mulder.”  Her voice was tight. Bowing her head, she took a deep breath to steady it. “Not in the middle of the goddamn work day...”  Scully shook her head slowly, almost sadly.

 

Mulder’s mouth dropped open slightly. Was she saying…?...or rather, what wasn’t she saying...or was he just not hearing what he wanted not to hear?  He slipped an arm around her from behind, closing a hand over the opposite shoulder. He lowered his head slightly, still gazing at her reflection and caressing her flushed cheek with his own. “So you’re saying that nooners are strictly out of the question?”  Scully shot him a warning look, but he pressed on. “Even if we make it back to the bullpen in under an hour?”  Scully held a hand up to her eyes and sighed. The Voice of Sex persisted. “What about make-out sessions in the garage before work?”  She clucked her tongue, knowing how he needed to put a sarcastic spin even on this, that cracking wise was how Mulder digested the big, greasy chunks of life that wound up on his plate. But this time, Mulder’s defenses weren’t the driving force. He was just so relieved and thrilled and - happy, maybe - that the wise-ass in him wouldn’t be restrained. “In that case...we’ll have to quit.” 

 

Scully turned to face him. “We may not have to, if we have no explanation for a four-hour absence from our desks,” she retorted in an attempt to bring them back to reality.

 

“We can always say we were doing background checks - deep background - on a couple of Federal employees.”  Shrugging at her non-response, he went on, “Besides, after all those weeks of digging into fertilizer detail, the folks in the bullpen are used to seeing us trail in sweaty and messy and smelling...unusually pungent.”  His word play was rewarded with a reluctant grin. She lay a hand on his chest, and they tacitly understood that there was much more to be discussed. Later. Tonight...or tomorrow morning. Soon.

 

Out of the corner of her eye, she spied the elusive belt peeking out from beneath the comforter that had slipped to the floor at the foot of the bed. Scully strode in that direction, straightening her shoulders and transforming herself back from passionate lover to professional partner. Mulder trailed his eyes after her, marveling at the metamorphosis.

 

They finished dressing without a dozen words passing between them. Scully retrieved Mulder’s tie from where it had landed on top of her dresser and held it out to him. Instead of taking it from her, he flipped his collar, ducked his head, and quirked his brow expectantly. Not bothering to suppress the smile that tugged at the corners of her freshly-lipsticked mouth, she deftly wrapped the elegant silk into a double-windsor knot. As she reached to smooth his collar back into place, Scully let her fingers trail over his jaw, remembering the feel of it pressed against her inner thigh. Mulder clasped her hand to his face and turned slightly to kiss the open palm.  

 

Finally, they could no longer put off rejoining the outside world. Collecting jackets and keys and flipping lights off, they moved through the living room and toward the front door. As she reached for the doorknob, Scully suddenly pivoted back to face him. “Was it worth it?” The words were out of her mouth before she was conscious of uttering them aloud. He rounded his lips as if to ask for clarification, so she continued, stumbling, not sure how to ask for what she needed to know. “Being alone for such a long time...you didn’t have to...I never expected you not to...”  She was rambling and she knew it, and the knowledge made her frustratingly tongue-tied.

 

Mulder’s heart swelled in his chest as he finally caught the drift of her fragmented thoughts. “Every second, every day of every goddamn year I waited,” he croaked. Pulling her close and nuzzling her hair, he added, “And I wouldn’t have waited for anyone but you.”

 

Warmth stole over her, from the crown of her head to the tips of her toes. Scully smiled into his chest, allowing herself one more moment of undiluted security and satisfaction before stepping into the hallway and double-locking the door behind them.

 

 

END