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The Week

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He has come to live for purposeless Saturday mornings, particularly those with no ghosts and ghouls, mass murderers, and psychopaths. He can’t remember the last time in his life he enjoyed waking up in that peaceful lull of early dawn light, when the city was as asleep as it would ever be. Fox Mulder can hardly believe his new-found love for sloth, because he was never one comfortable with the anxiety of inaction.

“Favorite hop.” He’s stretched out next to her, propped up above on his right hand, his left fingers lightly wisping the ends of her katana-blade hair.

She’s laying back on stretched arms, hands clasped behind her, no trace of insecurity and looking rather like a canary-eating cat, all closed eyes and sly smile. “Cascade.”

“You know how this goes Scully.” She sighs in a huff of amorous exasperation rather than agitation, though he’s currently obsessed with eliciting both sounds from her as frequently as possible. “You can’t play ‘getting to know your ridiculously good looking partner,’ with one-word answers.” He is always a man on a quest for knowledge.

“Well…” she lightly clears her sleep-rough throat and swallows, “the Cascade was the first commercial hop from the USDA-ARS breeding program. It uh, it was obtained by crossing an English Fuggle with a male plant, which originated from the Russian variety Serebrianka with a Fuggle male plant-“

“Keep saying Fuggle.”

She opens one eye and snorts, reaching up to flick the end of his nose. Eyes closed, she continues, “Anyway, it’s a West Coast kind of hop-“

“Yech… IPAs…”

Another flick, this one landing blindly over the mole on his cheek. “But I like it most because it’s a San Diego beer. And it takes me back.”

He smiles softly. Scully may be stone-cold science, but behind every Britannica fact in the mega-computer of her brain, there is heart.

There is no spiral into San Diego’s trespasses against her body, or Mulder’s trespasses against her family. They’ve somehow attained equilibrium since his expedition to Stonehenge.

He is brought out of poetic waxation by another flick, this time connecting with his earlobe. “Will you-“ a grab of her wrist and a gentle tug back on her own ear, nipping teeth and constrained chuckle, “fucking stop that.”

Her canary eating cat smile has remained in place. “You know the rules, Mulder. Tit for tat.”

He’s dropped his arm down, heavy head resting against his bicep, nose in her neck and he begins to octopus, tossing his leg over her and bringing his other hand up along her chest. “Mmm yeah, I know that game,” he swipes a thumb across her nipple but brings his hand back to her waist after, and cuddles in. He’s not one to rush a Saturday morning.

“Ummm… Hallertau,” he continues their factual expedition.

“Interesting choice.”

This is the part of the game he’s had to get better at. Mulder can recite every ghost story he’s ever heard, can read the genetic makeup of every cryptid, but what he may love most about Scully is that’s she’s forced him to expand into a real-life kind of plane. He’s even replaced a couple of books on his shelves with things like Bringing Fossils to Life or Espresso Coffee: The Science of Quality.

“So the Hallertau,” he continues, “started off in Germany as a land-race hop. It’s perfect for European-style lager, with a mild, spicy flavor.”

Her eyes are still closed as she indulges his cuddling, and her eyebrow is quirked, impressed, as she “Mmms.” She’s found she enjoys being wrapped up in this man, where in every relationship previous, she’s imagined herself a cat, struggling to the out of the clutches of whatever person dare love her.

“But,” he continues to slowly wrap around her, kisses her cheek and lays his head back down in her neck, “the real reason I like Hallertau best is I found an illegally posted recipe online for Shiner, and that’s the hop they recommended.”

Truth be told, she’s charmed. Mulder has become her pint of ice cream, particularly on these lazy mornings where their demons dare not tread. She doesn’t think she could handle him this way, all the time; those demons are the same ones that will purchase a plane ticket and buy-off half a day’s use of a snow-cat, that will walk the fires of hell in the face of fear, to keep her safe. But here, on Saturday mornings, she’s quite content to let him woo her in the way he knows to best, by combining wit with a constant quest for knowledge and a sprinkle of romanticism.

But she also cannot resist the opportunity to give him shit. “You found an illegally posted recipe online?”

“Yes…”

“Mmm-hmm…”

“Oh, fuck off, Scully,” he laughs, and he sandpapers her shoulder roughly with his stubble. “Frohike may or may not have looked it up for me, but last time I mentioned him in bed, you created Rule Number 3.”

Rule Number 2 was that Scully was absolutely not to mention brain matter, intestinal seepage, or bodily functions not limited to but including frothing, vomiting, and urine when discussing a case while having sex. Things normal people do.

Rule Number 1 was that Scully was absolutely never again to shout “Oh my God, Walter!” when she came. Rule Number 1 was created before Mulder had figured out how playful his little spitfire could be in bed.

Her eyes have yet to open. Her smile has yet to dissipate. “Next question.”

“Favorite dinosaur.” He can’t believe he doesn’t know the answer to this question.

She kind of can’t believe it either, and he’s making it very difficult to remember when he’s going at her neck like a horse nibbling sugar cubes. “Um…” she feels his smarmy smile and she gives a sharp tug to his hair in retaliation. He answers with an amused little moan that sends signals straight to her pussy as he goes back to work on her neck, appreciating the little thrust she gives his thigh, still wrapped over her. “I’ve always found the triceratops to be particularly cool.”

Scully vocabulary reduction, point to Mulder. He takes a break from her neck to pull away and look at her. “Particularly cool?”

One eye back open, and a sigh of tolerance. “Okay, look, I saw Land Before Time approximately 17 times with my nephew, and Cera was always my favorite.’

Mulder makes his Tofutti Rice Dreamsicle face. “Scully, Cera was a bitch.”

That earns him a slap to the shoulder. “Not that I want to debate the intricacies of a cartoon with you on a Saturday morning,” her slapping hand disappears below the sheets where he’s been pipe-thick and hard between them for the past several minutes. She begins to tug lightly on him and his hips begin a soft dance. He’s biting his bottom lip in a crooked smile that is driving her quietly mad, but she won’t surrender this game to him. “But, they never would have taken down Sharptooth without Cera, and she was a highly misunderstood character. I mean, look at her father! She never had a chance at being normal.”

He bursts out in a little huffing laugh; at some point during his diatribe, his fingers have begun to slick over and around her – one of his favorite wet hot dances to participate in. “Scully, I am not gonna discuss your daddy issues with you while I’m finger deep in your pussy and you’re giving little Spooky the tug job of his life. I’m not that kind of therapist.”

“Don’t be crass Mulder. My daddy issues and your daddy issues are probably half the reason we’re in bed together,” she shoots him a cocky little grin, telling him simultaneously that his joke was taken in the nature it was meant, and that she knows exactly what she’s doing to him. “Little Spooky, Mulder?”

He’s ready to finish his half of the question, because he’s also ready to throw her back on the bed and pound until he’s finished off in her, so he ignores her and quickly moves on. “Velociraptor.”

She’s fully awake now, and has moved out from under him to straddle his thighs. Her cat ate the canary smile has turned into a wicked cat tortured the canary, pulling out all its feathers before putting it out of its misery kind of grin. She slicks herself down past his knees, headed south, and Mulder finds he does not give a shit that he will absolutely need a shower after this or risk tearing out all his leg hair when he dries, because fuck she is so wet for him.

Scully wraps those blowjob, come fuck me lips around the head of him and he can feel her tongue working against him, soaking him until he’s as wet as her. She pulls off him, wraps her hand around his shaft and glosses him down firmly, then tongues up the underside of him while still gripped at his base.

Mulder’s on his elbows watching, all wildcat hair and slack jaw, intent as ever.

She flicks at the slightness of his frenulum, then again at slit of his urethra, and when he realizes she is fingering herself he drops his head back and lets go of his first guttural groan. “Jeeeeeeesus.”

She continues flicking at him and alternately mouthing his glans. “You’re awfully religious for a Saturday, Mulder.”

“Uh huh,” he can’t help but pant. “And you’re awfully chatty for a woman mouthing my cock.”

She taps said cock twice against the flat of her tongue as punishment, then looks up at him as she begins a steady handpump. “So… why is it your favorite?”

“Huh?” he briefly has time to admire the strength in her thighs, supporting a self-finger fuck and a hand job cum blowjob all at once.

“The velociraptor, Mulder.”

He had a dark feeling they would be mid-sex or mid-something by the time she brought this up, which was specifically why he’d chosen this dinosaur. The answer was easy to spurt out. “Best dino in Jurassic Park. Now get over here, Scully.”

The hand job slows and she grasps him at his base again, thumb and two fingers holding him back, and he swears to her God that he will murder this woman, if she gives him blue balls today. “Not good enough Mulder. Besides. Those aren’t even Velociraptors. They’re ah….” She falls forward for a few seconds and fuck, he can feel her cumming on top of his thigh, flooding across his leg.

He brings his head back up, belly rippling in laughter. “Did… did you just cum talking about dinosaurs, Scully?”

She ignores him and after a moment, slides back down to continue her tease of his dick. “The dinosaurs in Jurassic Park are- “

“Yeah, yeah, Utah raptors, potato fucking potato, it’s only a couple of feet of height difference.”

“Not what you said when I told you Little Spooky was closer to six than eight inches.”

His little smile turns predator snarl and her ass is in his hands in a second. He lifts her and slams her hips home, burying himself in one quick pump. “That feel like six inches to you, Scully?”

“Not- ah… Not at the moment,” she groans into his neck.

He pumps her mercilessly for minutes, alternately holding her fast and grinding against her. His pelvis is soaked, flooded, and he knows he’s made her cum again (well technically she got herself off the first time, but he’s not going to sweat the details).

He’s not doing all the giving. She’s riding him with everything she has. She nips at his jaw, tugs his ear lobe, sinks her teeth into his trap. “C’mon, fuck me, Mulder. Harder, c’mon, fuck me.”

His steady stream of ah’s and uh’s turns guttural, and he’s buried, head in neck, himself in her, and if he can start every Saturday for the rest of his life this way he knows it will have been a life well lived after-all.

He tugs her against him as his breathing slows and he collapses them back on his bed. Once moderate motor function returns he flexes in her once, twice, and grins into her moan. “That feel like six inches to you, Scully?”

She snickers into his pecs, sated and lethargic. “Look, you’re the one that named him Little Spooky.”

“Hmm. You love Little Spooky though, don’t you?”

She lifts her head, and with a simultaneous snort and shake of her head, mutters, “Rule Number 4. We’re forgetting that we ever named your penis.”

“You really are like Cera, you know that? Bossy as fuck.”

That earns him one final slap, this time to his abs as she swings off him. They’re both still sensitive enough to hiss a little. She tosses a t-shirt at him as she heads for his bathroom.

She comes back, leaning for a minute against his doorframe. Mulder is propped up back against the headboard in his plaid pajama pants, shirtless and sex-rumpled, glasses on and armed with what looks to be a crossword puzzle and a government issue black pen he is running back and forth over his bottom lip. Scully’s smile softens, has lost its hunter’s edge.

This man, free from most of his haunted past, who tests and tugs and teases on a Saturday morning… this man, who as little as a year ago tried to convince her it was him by coming up with obscure facts such as her brother’s name was Bill, but now spends hours teasing tendrils of information. This is man is quickly becoming her favorite Mulder.

She slides in next to him, head on his shoulder. “Aviso,” Scully says after a few relaxed and silent moments.

“Mmm?”

“Five down. Aviso. It was a-uh,” she stifles a yawn, “it’s the term the Portuguese used for their dispatch boats. They used two different classes, 1st and 2nd rate. The U.S. used dispatch boats as well. In fact, up through World War 1…”

Mulder smiles as her voice washes over him. It’s April 8 in the year 2000. The world hasn’t ended and he got the girl. Mulder won’t kid himself – he knows their demons lay just outside the salt-line of his bedroom door. But each Saturday they get like this, he’s determined to keep fortifying their foundation, building it brick by brick, reinforcing. He’s determined to build it so strong that death itself won’t be able to crack it, to tear them apart.

Her voice fades back in. “Mulder?”

“Hmm? Aviso. Yeah, got it.”

“Wow you really zoned out.”

He looks her way. “Why, what’d I miss?”

“The part where I said pay attention because I was only gonna say it once.”

“Hmm?”

The cat-canary smirk has come back. She leans over and whispers in his ear. “You’re right. I love your spooky dick.”

It is the last thing that he could have ever expected her to say, and his burst of laughter is enough to make them both jump a little.

Fuck, he loves Saturdays.

Chapter Text

He lives for Saturdays; for that sweet, purposeless innocence of loving and making love to his favorite person on this rock and any other in the universe. He loves Sundays though. Absolutely loves them.

Ten blocks from her apartment, a little market has begun to set up. Scully wrinkled her nose at first.

“It’s a bunch of hippy farmers, Mulder. I don’t need to know my where my chicken was raised, and what its first name was.”

She’s specifically referring to one of the farmers that sells eggs. In each carton, he puts a small sheet of paper like a newsletter, where he refers to the goings-on of his farm. He also names a “hen of the month,” which Mulder found endearing, even as Scully snatched the sheet from his hands.

“That’s completely ridiculous.”

He’d snatched it back, kissed her on her nose. “Yeah, but you’re dating me. You’re completely ridiculous.”

Mulder recognizes these are halcyon days. He knows this life isn’t meant for them, but good fortune and sheer luck have landed him there. And he’s going to take as much advantage as possible because there’s still a whisper, a ghost in the back of his mind telling him to stash sandbags, keep his emergency pack at the ready.

He does.

But in the interim he takes full advantage of the life he’s stumbled into.

So, they spend Saturdays lazing around in bed, eating good food, and arguing over whether they’re going to watch the Yankees or Padres (she did know how to swing a bat).

Sundays are a little different. Scully, he’s found, can’t laze on Sundays. And he’d been just this close to getting kicked out of her bed on Sundays if he kept trying to convince her to stay there. He did, after all, have a very persuasive tongue.

So, four weeks ago, Mulder had decided to live life like a normal guy. They’d gotten dressed, departed the sack for the grocery store. And on the way home, ran into the farmer’s market. She’d stopped specifically for him, but he knows she’s partial to the honey and flowers.

For his part, Mulder loves the little market.

The farmers are eccentric, talking about how this color of carrot is good for your eyes and this one is good for your nails. It’s magic.

“It’s science, Mulder. Beta carotene.”

He will swipe his finger down the line of her nose and kiss her, much to her chagrin. “No one likes a mineralogist, Scully.” But oh, he does. He does very much.

The market feels like an alternate universe, and maybe that’s why he likes it. Couples walking around hand-in-hand, loose sundresses, baggy shorts and loafers. Women with big sunglasses and bigger hair and men shaggy and tousled. Sometimes there’s even a dog or two loping around, and at the end of the day, when everyone is packing up, the butcher will toss them a few scraps.

Mulder likes it because it’s a place The Feds would never go. Untouched by the Bureau or the government. The lady Scully buys her flowers from also sells hemp oil.

It’s a place where he calls her Dana, and they don’t wear their guns.

“C’mon, Dana. This month’s Hen of the Month is Nancy. We gotta buy these eggs. One of them is blue!” It doesn’t matter to him they just bought eggs from the grocery store. He’ll make egg salad if he has to.

He deals with her eye roll because he sees the affectionate indulgence in it.

Mulder’s not an idiot. He knows he’s difficult. A divorced husband, a trail of women slowing to a trail of voicemail as he embarked on his quest. Dead father, dead mother, dead sister. And it’s hard to ignore the hideous scar conveniently right next to his nut sack. Even hookers have a hard time blowing him.

Not Scully. Not Dana. She was there when the scar happened. She kept that right hand buried in his groin, kept him from bleeding out on a dock, kept his artery together long enough for a surgeon to mutilate everything around his leg but his balls. He got lucky.

And so, he deals with eye rolls and affectionate indulgence. Fuck dealing with it, he loves it.

He loves the part after the farmer’s market, too. The part where she lets him haul the heavier grocery bags in while she trims the flowers and stashes them in vases. The part where he puts the sodas away and where she stashes the pasta. Where, after they’re done putting things away, they crash on her couch and she slices an apple from a farm in Virginia.

She feeds him the first slice.

He winces as he bites into it.

“Sour?” she asks, casually.

He shakes his head. “Tart,” he mentions, as he finishes chewing, and she nods.

On T.V., New York has just gone up, 6 to 4 on Baltimore.

“That’s what I’m talkin’ about, Mendoza!” Mulder shouts and Scully shoves another apple slice in his mouth. Kisses him right near the mole on his cheek.

“Baltimore is still gonna win, Mulder. The Yankees suck this year.” She soothes him with another peck, this time near the corner of his jaw, and he marvels at the way his skin prickles and goosebumps break out.

He will never stop feeling this way around this woman.

She tugs his earlobe, and Mendoza, Posada, Rivera, and the rest of the Yankees’ 40-man roster are promptly forgotten.

“Ahh, Scully,” he mumbles as he palms the back of her hair.

She backs him down across the couch and moves astride him and Jesus, he’s a lucky man. He never thought himself as such, but he is. It’s easier to remember when she’s unbuttoning his pants and tearing open the top button of his polo shirt with her teeth.

She draws him out and this is what love is like, Mulder realizes. This easy, lazy comfortable kind of love.

Jesus (he’s become a lot more religious these days), she’s hot and wet, soaking him with her mouth and soothing him with her tongue. He uses everything left in him to hold back a hard thrust but loses a little and lets go a little anyway.

She moans and that’s it. He’s gone.

Mulder pulls her up on him, kisses her and tastes himself.

Halcyon days.

There’s a crack of a bat in the background and he musters enough strength to turn his head.

“Fuck.”

Scully doesn’t even turn to look, snorts a laugh and nips his adam’s apple, then the tendon spanning his neck. “Toldja.”

She’s everything, he realizes. The person that held his femoral artery together and now goes down on him right next to the scar that preserved his life. The person that gave him a scar all her own, right through his shoulder. The woman that knows him, is unafraid of the monsters he holds at bay. The brat that gives him incessant shit, even now, as the Orioles pull up 7-6, and she’s grinding herself up against his thigh.

“That’s a hint, Mulder,” she grins against him, and he knows she knows he has slipped into whimsy.

As always, she pulls him back.

“Aye aye, Captain,” he whispers, before calling to action, scooping her up, and hauling her giggling ass to bed.

Saturdays are perfect. They’re days when he gets to know who Dana Scully really is. Days when he gets to know her favorite hop, or her favorite dinosaur. Saturdays are full of teasing and kissing and licking and sucking… the occasional drunken serenade.

Sundays are different. More sober. Monday looms. Sundays are full of errands and groceries and things Responsible Adults do, of which Mulder is not.

But he loves her. And if he wants to be able to stay around her, he has to bend a little. So, while Saturdays are his, Sundays are hers, and he’s okay with that. She’s let him weird it up a little, farmer’s markets and all.

And at the end of the day, he muses, looking in the bathroom mirror and smiling because he just won an Olympic gold medal in eating pussy, at the end of the day he loves Sundays.

They make him normal. On Sunday, he’s just a boyfriend in a grocery store. She’s just the pretty woman he managed to win over.

“You staying, or do you have to go home?” she asks.

He leans over and kisses her. “Gotta go. Took my other suit home last week.”

She nods and he pretends he doesn’t see the disappointment. Then he decides not to pretend. “Some day, Scully. Some day soon, this is gonna be over. We’re gonna live in a little house in the country and not have to put on suits and I’m not gonna have to leave because my clothes are in a closet a city away.”

She grins then, slaps him lightly and then squishes his cheeks and kisses him back. “Sounds awful. Be safe; call me when you get home.”

Mulder chuckles, but on the way home he thinks, yeah. I’m gonna make that happen.

Much later in life, he’ll think back on that day. It didn’t happen the way he wanted, or in the timeframe he wanted, and there was a lot in the way, but as the bat cracks the ball and the Yankees beat the shit out of the Athletics on a Sunday in 2018, Mulder finally smiles to himself.

He made it happen.

Chapter Text

“Mmm, s’good, let me get that,” she murmurs, slides by him on her way to the coffee and licks a little cream cheese off her finger.

Spills a crumb or two on the counter along the way.

It’s not that he minds.

Per se.

He glances forlornly at the dishes piled in his sink. At the slump of 1980s cookbooks slouching against the fridge. The dust mites filtering through the dawn light.

In the grand scheme of things, two crumbs from an everything-bagel smothered in cream cheese (because jalapeno and garlic and cream cheese go together?) mean nothing.

His apartment is a pig-sty, his kitchen is still knocking off rust from the glory-days of the Mustang GT 5.0, and his sink is currently drowning a fine line of ants from the crumbs he, himself, gathered amongst a slide of dirty dishes.

Two more crumbs on his counter are nothing.

But they are her crumbs.

Scully’s crumbs in Mulder’s apartment at seven in the morning on a Monday.

A Monday morning when he should be in the office already. Opened file cabinet, tie loose, collar unbuttoned and sleeves rolled.

And instead, the fridge is open, the creamer is loose, his sleeves are down, but his collar is still unbuttoned because on the way to the coffee, Scully diverts to the counter and dispatches the bagel before pulling him between her thighs as she mounts his counter.

And him.

Next to the two crumbs.

She’s garlicy and spicy and bagel-fresh in his mouth. And hot. Wet. Everything he needs and askes for and occasionally commands of her: her tongue slipping up between his teeth and lip, nibbling a little on his philtrum and giving a sharp tug before she comes to rest, Chupacabra-like, against the tendons of his throat.

Scully would know the name of those.

And he’d ask her. If he wasn’t busy laying into the helix of her ear. Or busy sliding his hand up to the tippy-tippy top of those tight little thigh highs he watched her slip on just fifteen minutes ago. Or busy running his fingers along the leg edge of her sexy little briefs before debriefing her and grinding the knife-edge of himself against everything he holds dear.

He’d ask her everything. The keys to the universe, if only he doesn’t hear that soft pant as he grips his teeth against her. Doesn’t feel the clinch of her legs around his hips. Doesn’t hear the cinch and clink of his leather belt and brass buckle as she maneuvers them one handed, and dammit.

Dammit.

That’s gonna fuck up his belt buckle, hitting against his counter-top like that.

A button pops off and mother-fucker. Now he needs a new shirt.

“Scully,” he tries to slow her down, and thankfully he can still moan out her name with her earlobe between his incisors. He gives her ear a tug.

“Mmm,” and she pops her hips against his.

Well great, he sighs against her. Glances down at his fly. Pre-cum doesn’t dry without staining, and now the front of his trousers are done, too.

Mulder doesn’t know what is wrong with him, really. And to be honest, it’s probably nothing. It’s a typical Monday but it’s being spent after their first weekend together.

And this morning, he’s there.

In his kitchen.

Hot and sort of hard.

And she is soaked around his fingers like the spring air.

But those… those fucking crumbs.

And the fact that it’s Monday. And instead of being in his office. Being where he is supposed to be. Where she is supposed to be. With the open file cabinet and the rolled sleeves and the sunflower seeds between his teeth…

He’s got her. On his counter, his head diving between her legs, and with her clit being a wonderful substitute for the seeds.

“Jesus Christ, Mulder,” she fists his hair and pulls him up to her, licking herself off his lips and chin.

“Fuck me,” she orders.

“There’s uh…” he pauses and looks down.

Ashamed.

Because while she was coming he was thinking, and the thinking thing diverted the blood from his penis to his head. And when she wanted him to fuck her, he was still doing the thinking thing and he was…

“Oh.”

It’s the last thing he wants to hear. Her voice, sympathetic. Understanding, even.

“I uh…” now she’s embarrassed too and god dammit, he thinks. God fucking dammit. If it hadn’t been for the god damned crumbs. “It’s not uncommon for uh… for men in their-“

“Stop.”

The kitchen is silent and it’s then that Mulder realizes. They both made it to their late thirties without significant others for a reason. Or divorced significant others. It hits him like ice water in a bucket.

“The fuck are we doing, Scully?”

It’s the worst thing he can do, he realizes. With her sitting there, wanton and probably feeling pretty damn vulnerable with her panties around her ankles and sitting on his kitchen counter.

But he can’t stop the words from bursting forth out of his mouth. He can’t even get hard because of two fucking crumbs and he’s not even close to figuring out what the fuck happened to Samantha and there are still men like Donnie Pfaster in the world and instead of Figuring That Shit Out he’s sitting here rutting in his kitchen like there aren’t monsters in the world.

Like he isn’t Monster Boy.

Like she isn’t his Frankenstein’s Bride.

Suddenly, they’re in a fight and it’s unlike anything they’ve ever been in. Because this isn’t just a fight.

This is a Fight.

She excuses herself off the counter and mercifully, unbeknownst to her for being the cause of The Thinking in the first place, she swipes the crumbs off with her as she goes. She adjusts her nylons and slips back into her heels and finishes her fucking bagel.

Stares him down.

Mulder takes it, slumped against his counter with his pants undone and his arms crossed, looking at her under guilty brows and blushing cheeks. He’s never been unable to rise to an occasion.

“It’s called a relationship,” she mumbles with a final swallow of bagel and a rise of her eyebrow. “And it’s not conditional on our blood spilt on the fucking X-files.”

He winces as the phone rings. Goes to voicemail while she tugs on her blazer.

They both know who it’s going to be.

“Mulder, it’s Skinner,” the voicemail calls out, and Skinner clearing his throat echoes. “I wasn’t able to get ahold of Agent Scully, but I’ve already got a travel advancement sitting on my desk. You agents are due in Nevada at Zero-Eight-Hundred tomorrow, and we’ve still got to go through the briefing and get all the rest of the forms filled out for audit.”

A pause and Scully glances up at Mulder from his doorway.

They can leave now. Listen to the rest of what Skinner has to say later, in an hour. In person. In Skinner’s office.

They both wait and their boss continues.

“You’re being watched, Mulder. Finance is on you guys like flies on dog shit. I don’t know where you and Scully are this morning, but get the hell in here, get these fucking forms filled out-“ at that, Scully raises her eyebrows… Skinner would never talk to her like- “And get your God damn asses to Nevada. This one’s non-negotiable.”

The click and beep speak for them. Make their decision.

Scully sighs, turns, and the slam of the door behind her only reminds Mulder his damn bedroom window is open. He rams it closed before leaving for the day.

Separate cars, they’ll get to the office in their own time.

Those fucking… if it hadn’t been for those fucking crumbs.

Fuck.

Mulder hates Mondays.

Chapter Text

“Tuesdays,” Bill Mulder used to say, “are for fixing everything you fucked up on Monday, Fox.”

His father spared few punches before Samantha blinked out of their lives, and after, he spared his son even fewer. As a sullen teenager, young Fox had been prone to acting out on Mondays after being cooped up, enveloped in the smoky haze of his living room, continuously passing by his father’s accusatory glares and his mother’s ever-downward spiral of depression and pills.

His seventh-grade homeroom and English teacher, rightfully scandalized by Mulder’s family and by Mulder himself, wasted no time calling his father every Monday evening. “Fox refused to participate today, Mr. Mulder; Fox didn’t return from his hall pass in Algebra today; Fox laid a right hook into poor Jimmy Culpepper’s face today, Mr. Mulder, and I’m afraid we’re going to have to suspend him.”

Mulder is jarred out of his bitter reminiscence by the smack of the drink cart against his knee as the flight attendant passes by, smiling her false and toothy grin and saying all too brightly, “Oh, I’m so sorry, sir.” Biting his lip against the ache in his leg, he nods.

The remainder of his Monday, after meeting with Skinner and after The Fight, had been spent separately licking their wounds, packing, and getting ready for the horror show that stood in front of them.

Mulder wonders if this is how it will always be: weekend reprieves nestled in their lives; robins’ eggs ready to shatter the moment they’re accidentally pitched from the nest. Mondays spent diving back through the gates of hell guarding their lives, with him trying to pick up the pieces of his dysfunction afterwards.

He wonders if she’ll break up with him.

If what they’re doing is even considered “together,” in the widely understood definition of the term. Saturdays in bed and Sunday farmers markets are suddenly worlds away as they hurtle against gravity and away from the rising sun, seemingly perpetually flying west in this seventh year of partnership.

The case in Nevada hardly matters in the grand scheme. It’s just as horrific as any other they face. And if weekends in bed lead to him treating her the way he did the day before, to her freezing him out the way she now is, Mulder has to wonder if it’s worth it.

Then he has to wonder if he’s weighing the worth of this fragile new journey they’ve undertaken against his own albatross, measured not in a noose around his neck but rather in stacks of files piled in columns nearly six feet high.

He glances down at Scully’s current reading material, wincing as he sees the photographs out of the corner of his eye. The cost of the X-files is sometimes measured in the price other divisions extract from both him and his partner; measured in profiles of men that take pleasure in gutting little girls and boys, measured in the cost of emotional strain it must take to cut those children up in autopsy.

And where Mulder would normally slide his hand over, wrap his pinky and index fingers around hers to face down their demons together, he stays still, unsure if he’s invited.

The plane fights through turbulence, rebounding off the landing strip once and twice before the pilots redirect the engine airflow, dragging the jet to a shuddering traverse across McCarran International.

Scully clears her throat as they stand and he hands her one of their carry-ons. Mulder fights back an amused smile despite himself, watching as she brings herself to full height in the belly of the 737. She may be pissed at him - maybe irreversibly so - but dammit is she adorable. Not that Mulder would ever let her hear that.

Scully catches his eye though, reads his mind and rolls her own eyes at his expression and sentiment, seemingly hearing Mulder making gentle fun of her in his head.

Mulder is heartened to catch the tug at the corner of her lips, to witness her exasperated sigh. He’s not forgiven – not by a long shot. But maybe she’s not quite ready to get rid of him, yet.

“Tuesdays are for fixing everything you fucked up on Monday, Fox.”

Right.

Mulder would do well to teach the Las Vegas Police Department the same thing. Because five hours and the review of five dead kids later, and he’s already netted them a suspect. By the time Scully has finished her last piece of forensic analysis for the day, she’s pretty sure they will return lab results confirming her partner’s suspicions.

Score one for Monster Boy, Mulder thinks. No X-file here, no sir, no way, no how. He and his partner score one for the home team, buy a little more room on the credit debt the Bureau affords the X-files, and head to the hotel. No one back in Washington will bother addressing the extra reel added to his and his partner’s nightmare theater.

For Mulder, fights in relationships have always been synonymous with breakups. When they get to the motel, he decides it’s best to avoid Scully all together. If he doesn’t see her, she can’t say the words. Can’t take back the mistake he’s sure she has realized she’s making by giving him even an inch of her heart.

Restless, Mulder sheds his slacks in favorite of baggy basketball shorts, his shirt and tie in favor of a ratty t-shirt cut so deep he can see his own ribs, and tosses his dress shoes in favor of a pair of beat up Nikes. Knicks hat on backwards and he’s bouncing on the step outside his motel door warming up his calves in the dry, desert heat.

He sets off in a lope but it’s scarcely a minute later when he catches the shock of red in his periphery as Scully joins in on his run. Mulder raises his eyebrows, glancing down at her, but like on the airplane, like all day, her focus is lasered ahead. He mentally shrugs and steps up his jog a notch.

For everything Mulder gets wrong in their partnership, he’s always done one thing right. He’s never treated her as anything less than and he won’t start now. By the end of their run, he’s sure they’ve covered every piece of real estate on South Las Vegas Boulevard and they’re both drenched in sweat. Back at their rooms, Scully leaves him without a word edgewise.

A shower later and Mulder is outside of his room, sitting sprawled on the steps with a Coors’ Light in hand. Scully must have been barefoot, because she catches him completely off guard, sneaking up and landing next to him, capping his beer bottle with her own in the process.

“Shit!” Mulder cries out, rushing to mouth the neck of the bottle and chug off the sudden rush of alcohol.

Scully snickers as she watches him struggle.

Mulder side-eyes her and shoots her a smile when he’s managed to avert crisis. “What the hell was that for?”

Scully’s smile dies down and her words betray the levity of her actions. “You’ve been an asshole. All day, Mulder.”

“I-“ he starts to argue but the words fall silent across his lips and he shrugs. Mulder decides to try for the one thing they’ve typically avoided when talking about this gossamer thing between them. He shoots for the truth. “I figured if I brought us up, brought up yesterday, that was a one-way ticket for you to break up with me.”

Scully bites back her immediate reaction with a sharp sigh, holding her breath and turning away from him. “You can’t…” she starts then stops, taking a sip of her own beer before contemplating the way forward. “We can’t run from this every time one of us pisses the other off, Mulder. We’re never going to make this work, otherwise.”

He stares in the same direction as her, watching the sun creep down behind the skyline as the Strip slowly comes to life in the distance.

“You know who I am,” he mutters without turning her way. “You’ve always known. You know I’m not good at this, Scully.” Mulder sighs and takes a drink, draining the dredges of his lager with a grimace.

“People don’t break up after one fight, Mulder,” she shrugs a shoulder. “If they did, I would have walked out of your office in the first fifteen minutes after I met you.”

He smiles somberly. “I think…” Mulder steels himself for honesty. It’s easier, after all, when they aren’t facing each other. “I think, Dana, you may be the only person who’s ever thought I was worth a second chance.”

His heart aches, to think of himself this way. As the older brother who lost his sister and his parents in the span of hours on a cold Tuesday in November in 1973. As the naive college boy who lost his girlfriend of three years when he dared question her about what she was doing with Jimmy Powell in the alleyway behind their favorite pub. As the ex-husband who was served divorce papers mere weeks after fighting with his wife about her transfer from the X-files to counter-terrorism.

Scully sighs and stands. Runs her fingers through his butchered hair, ruffling as she goes. “Next time, make it up to me like a normal person Mulder. Instead of making me chase you half way across Nevada, or whatever God forsaken state we land in. I can’t chase you everywhere… every time you decide to run. I won’t.”

Mulder stares contemplatively at her motel door long after it slips shut behind her. He takes in a deep breath finally, a cleansing gasp of air when he realizes he hasn’t managed to completely fuck this thing up, yet. Is surprised to feel the hitch in his breath at that realization.

Tuesdays may be for fixing everything you’ve fucked up on Monday, Mulder thinks, but today’s been all about Scully’s efforts to pump, patch, and repair. She deserves better from him.

And so, with that in mind, Mulder hauls himself up to his room, makes a couple of phone calls, then finds the notepad and pen and begins to write.

Later, when she steps out of the shower with white towel in hand, Scully will notice the slim piece of paper stuck under her motel door. Will read it. Will crack a grin and fall asleep as soon as her head hits the pillow, the weight of their argument on Monday beginning to lift.

Scully, I can’t promise I’m ever going to be good at this. But I can promise to try and do better. What do you say to Wednesday date night? Let me treat you like a lady, for once.

There are a few runny ink marks where he was clearly thinking while writing.

I drift easily, and we both know how seasick I get. I trust you to throw me a life ring when I need it, even when it occasionally hits me on the head before landing in the water.

-Mulder.

Chapter Text

Date night.

After a plane ride.

He’s crazy.

Bat-shit, no=go, what the hell are you doing crazy.

But damn, is she dressed nice. And she smells good. So, when she answers the door he decides to go through.

It’s so damn weird to start, Mulder considers it would be a great open to an X-File. “Agents Scully and Mulder go on a date…” And Skinner would have a blast being interviewed for that one.

But even barring the fight, even barring the weirdness of it all, she still comes to the door and he picks her up and it’s heartbreakingly normal.

“Hey.”

“Hey,” he coughs and laughs. “I uh, just. You know. A little early.”

He moves past her, and they bump shoulders.

“Sorry.”

She sighs and closes the door. “I gotta grab some shoes. Take a seat.”

Her sigh as she sits on her couch next to him when she comes back resonates.

“I’m not good at this.”

“Scully-“ He’s not either. She doesn’t have to explain.

“Mulder, I’m not. I’m not good at this, “ and the reiteration breaks his heart. “I should’ve…” she smacks the heels of her shoes together to knock the dirt off and he winces. Typically, Scully is the clean freak and he’s the mess. And now the mess is on her rug and someone should vacuum and why the hell is he thinking about vacuuming on a Wednesday night? He’s acting like a god damn diva.

Still, he grabs her hands, over her shoes. “We aren’t. Good at this.”

Four days ago, he was buried in her root to tip and it was extravagant. On Sunday they were normal and watching baseball and going to a farmer’s market. And forty hours out they were fighting about bagel crumbs.
Mulder tries for a smile. “It’s called a relationship?” he offers, and fuck him running she takes it with a huff and a laugh.

The movie he takes her to see, it so happens, is Gladiator. That, he figures, when Russell Crowe finishes off his last tiger while shirtless, is hilarity. How damn karmic for him to take the one woman he’s interested in to the one movie with the most Alpha dude a person could write. While Mulder wallows in a fight about bagel crumbs.

Her hand in his, credits rolling, he broaches it.

Like an idiot.

“It was never about the crumbs.”

“God dammit.”

“Scully…” She’s Catholic. He’d rather, if she were right, that she not burn in hell for her faith in him.

“No,” she shoves him off and thank goodness there is no one in the theater. “It’s not… I get it, Mulder. It isn’t about the fucking crumbs. It’s…” she paces the aisle and he sits and it’s the most dramatic thing but again…

No one in the theater. No witnesses.

“You’re everything, and I hate it.”

There’s a break in the credit music and he takes a breath. Couldn’t have happened at a worse time.

“I hate it,” she says, and kicks the bag of popcorn. They’ll slip the theater guy a five dollar bill after.

“Dad… Dad was everything for Mom, and now look at her. She’s been lost at Christmas ever since. And you, you’re like that Mulder!”

She picks up and tosses a soda.

They’ll slip the theater guy ten bucks, instead.

“You consume and there’s nothing fucking left.”

The slight weight of her collapsing back into the theater chair is deafening.

Mulder is shaking. But as he stands, he starts, “I uh… I… I get it. I’m… Jesus, Scully, I’m sorry.”

It was bagel crumbs. A perfect weekend and a shitty Monday and it’s this. He’s selfish, too. Stands up and groans. Should’ve never put his dick in her. Should’ve never even tried. The hell was he thinking, thinking she’d want this?

“I love you,” he hears, and it’s a light. A less than brilliant exit light to a shitty day. “I do. You’d end a man, a life for me. I know it’s not easy for either of us, but I’ll love you until the day I die.”

“Yeah. You will.” It’s not a threat or a promise.

He’s a fisherman with a faulty line. Without even casting, he hooked her, and he can’t let her go if he tried, because who can let go of love like that?

Mulder can’t.

“I’m sorry.”

“Don’t apologize.”

His heart breaks. Fuck Farmer’s Markets. It’s not enough.