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Against all odds they were finally dragging their exhausted bodies up the steps to their home, not quite sure what they would find after last nights ambush but Scully feared the worst. She opened the front door carefully, the early morning sun tickling on the back of her neck. She turned her head, looking over her shoulder as if to make sure that Mulder was still right by her side.

She pushed the door open and stepped inside, her gaze slowly wandering and for a few seconds no one said a word. It was quiet inside the house and for the first time they had a chance to grasp the full extent of what had happened last night. It had gone so fast that they barely had had time to blink while they fought for their lives without knowing what the hell was going on - or who was so adamant on taking their lives.

Truth be told, there wasn’t much that still surprised Scully after all these years but sometimes all she wanted was a chance to catch her breath without having to look over her shoulder twice as soon as the sun set on the horizon. She sighed and heard something crush under Mulder’s feet when he walked in behind her. It looks like they had done a pretty good job of turning the place upside down as soon as they’d been able to make a run for it. Every drawer hung open and every piece of furniture, that hadn’t been ruined somehow, was open or pushed out of the way. Cupboards had been emptied and its various contents left scattered on the floor. She didn’t even want to imagine what mess they had made upstairs; the thought of someone going through her most private stuff wasn’t very alluring and it would be incredibly upsetting if she wasn’t so shattered by now.

Some of the files, they had brought home, had been torn apart and the white sheets now evenly layered the floor. It would take ages to piece it back together and establish some sort of order but to her own surprise, Scully thought that she couldn’t care less at the moment. She put her hands on her hips and looked around the house the same way she had just a couple of seconds ago, as if something would change by simply ignoring the obvious chaos. Mulder bent down beside her, reaching for a piece of paper and she crouched down to do the same. Maybe it was best if they simply got it over with now, it had to be done sooner or later. She ignored the fact that every bone in her body was aching and that every fiber in her body was yearning for a good nights sleep - she was getting too old for that shit.

Scully felt her eyes sting at the lack of sleep, stifling a yawn as she reached for a folder. They got up, looking at each other with files in their hands, realizing that their pitiful efforts had been in vain and it had done absolutely nothing to eradicate the mess; maybe it was time to accept that this wouldn’t be a quick matter and getting the house back in shape would take a couple of hours - something she didn’t want on her mind right now.

Without saying a word the papers went flying from their hands, rejoining their companions on the floor. Scully walked over to the couch, which was slightly disarranged, and dropped onto it with a sigh, immediately propping her feet up on the small coffee table. Much to her surprise that one was still intact and she leaned back, closing her eyes for an instant. She had to admit that, despite everything that had happened, she appeared a lot more relaxed than she used to be. Back in the day such a mess would have driven her crazy and she knew that she wouldn’t have been able to sleep and rest until it had all been cleaned and tidied and some sort of order had been re-established but now she didn’t give a shit because there were only two things she needed right now: a beating heart inside her chest and Mulder by her side.

Scully turned her head, a tired smile on her face. She couldn’t imagine her life being any different right now. A few years ago she had left Mulder only to come back not long after, knowing that she couldn’t live without him. She had considered quitting the FBI although it had been her life and, as much as she would try to get away from it, it would always be. She felt utterly content in the chaos though she would never admit to such an atrocity as it would simply present him with another chance to mock her for it.

She could hear him saying „I told you so“ with that smirk on his face that she loved so much but she wouldn’t tell him that either. The couch shifted a little when Mulder dropped down beside her and she took a deep breath.

Now that she felt safe, the repercussions of last nights impromptu field trip slowly caught up with her. She folded her hands around her midsection, head turned towards Mulder. Scully wanted to say something, let him know how grateful she was that he was still by her side and that she was happy that she had decided not to leave him in the first place, that she loved him and that she now had everything she needed but she couldn’t bring herself to speak. She was so tired that she could barely keep her eyes open. She felt Mulder’s gaze on her, a tired smile on his face. All of a sudden the fatigue seized her and, knowing it was a battle she was going to lose, she decided to surrender after all. The last thing she felt before her consciousness ebbed away was Mulder’s hand gently touching her cheek as he brushed a strand of hair away, tucking it behind her ear. Scully felt it, knowing that it had happened before and deep inside she smiled to herself at an ancient memory.

Mulder sat there for a couple of seconds, watching Scully sleep soundly. He remembered what he had said yesterday; he adored Scully and loved her dearly and he would do everything to protect her, just like he always had. He was tired but not enough to join Scully just yet, he wanted to make sure that the house was at least somewhat safe before he got some sleep. Carefully Mulder reached behind Scully and pulled the comforter over her sleeping form. He smiled when she didn’t even stir, her lips slightly parted in her sleep. The freckles were shining through the last remains of makeup on her face and Mulder tried to resist the urge to kiss every single one of them. He tore his gaze away from Scully and got up, placing a soft kiss on her forehead before he wandered off to check the full extent of the damage that had been done.

He quietly wandered through the first floor, picking up bits and pieces here and there. He closed the cupboards in the kitchen and the oven door, laughing at how ridiculous his attempt at hiding the mobile had been; apparently his rational thinking had been wiped off in the heat of the attack. He closed the windows and stepped over shattered cups and plates, laughing at what he had said last night but there was no getting around a trip to IKEA at his point. It almost looked like their attackers had done a pretty thorough job as almost nothing had been left unscathed. He hesitated a moment before he climbed the stairs to the first floor, remembering the guy he had shot last night. He looked at Scully, who was still sleeping on the couch, and thanked whoever had had removed the bodies from their home. There was still a dark red blood stain on the wall where one of their attackers had been shot and he made a note to clean that first thing, wondering if they’d ever be able to erase the stench of blood from their home.

Carefully he climbed the stairs, a few steps gently creaking under his weight. He felt somewhat naked without his gun but the had been assured that their house was safe, completely torn apart but safe nonetheless. He stepped into the bedroom, wanting to be sure that this one was fine at last because he didn’t want Scully to be sleeping on the couch all day. He opened the window to let some fresh air in and the rising sun cast a lovely orange glow into the empty room. He was relieved to find that the bed had not been destroyed but simply been messed up entirely. Mulder put the mattress back in place and picked up the blankets and cushions from the floor. All of the drawers had been opened and various contents had been torn out and left on the floor but it wasn’t nearly as bad as downstairs. He picked up fresh linen and changed it, not knowing who had touched their stuff last night. When he was done he put their underwear back into the drawers, thinking that this would do for today. He quickly stepped into the bathroom, making sure that it was okay to use. He ignored everything else made his way downstairs to wake Scully and take her to bed.

She was still sleeping in the same position she had when he left her and he didn’t really have the heart to wake her. He briefly considered carrying her upstairs but he didn’t want to startle her, not after what they had been through last night. He crouched down in front of her and gently touched her arm.

„Scully,“ he said softly and she stirred a little when she felt the weight of his hand on her arm.

„Scully, wake up,“ he said again. „Let’s go to bed,“ he said and she cracked her eyes open. Scully blinked a few times, raising her head from the couch to look around. He could see that she was momentarily confused, trying to figure out where she was. If it wasn’t so damn cute he would actually feel sorry for waking her up.

„Come on honey, let’s get you to bed,“ he said and held her hand to help her to her feet. Scully kicked off her shoes and leaned against him while they walked upstairs; Mulder put his arms around her.

„How bad is it?“ Scully whispered and looked at her feet while she walked. She felt the sleep lingering inside of her, her entire body felt heavy and she seemed to move as slow as a snail.

„It’ll do,“ Mulder said and guided Scully to their bedroom. „Don’t worry about it,“ he said and Scully took in her surroundings. Her senses slowly came to life and her head was pounding with a dull headache from the lack of sleep. She pinched the back of her nose with two fingers, suddenly becoming aware of how dirty her clothes were and how sweaty and filthy she felt.

„Are you okay?“ Mulder asked and looked at her with a touch of worry on his face.

„Yeah,“ she whispered and stepped closer to him. She had an overwhelming urge to feel him close to her. She needed reassurance that they were still here, knowing that a few hours of sleep wouldn’t do. She needed physical prove that Mulder was still with her and that their hearts were still pounding inside their chests.

She closed the distance between them and put her arms around his neck, craning her neck to look up at him. Mulder snuck his arms around her waist and held her close.

„Just wanna take a shower,“ she whispered, her speech slightly slurred with sleep and he thought that it was adorable.

„Maybe you should just get some sleep, love,“ he said with a smile on his face; he was ready to call it a night himself.

Scully shook her head.

„Shower,“ she said. „Not getting into bed like this,“ she said and he knew that a discussion on this matter would get them nowhere. Nothing he’d say would change her mind and he honestly couldn’t blame her. He couldn’t wait to wash off the remnants of last night and finally get some rest. Scully put her head on Mulder’s chest and closed her eyes. She listened to his heartbeat, quietly soothed by it.

„All right then,“ he said and he effortlessly lifted her up in his arms to carry her to the bathroom. She immediately wrapped his arms around him and he could swear that he heard her giggle for a moment when he lifted her up but she would later insist that such a thing hadn’t happened.

He put her down in the center of the room and suddenly it was quiet. It felt like no one would ever find them in here; hidden from the eyes of the world and everything, or anyone, who could break them apart again. Scully lifted her right hand, gently touching Mulder’s cheek. He stepped a little closer, leaning into the touch; he put his own hand on top of Scully’s and kept it there for a few seconds. Her hand was warm and soft to the touch.

He looked into her blue eyes and felt his heart swell, remembering all the times he had almost lost her, grateful that she was still by his side after everything they had been through. He turned his head and kissed her palm before he put her hand down.

„Let’s get you into the shower,“ he said and she dropped her hands by her side, looking up at him almost expectantly. She was so tired that she suddenly doubted her decision but maybe the warm water would soothe the ache a little. Mulder reached for her grey jacket, slowly sliding it off her shoulders and she let him. He tossed it aside and reached for the hem of her shirt; she lifted her arms and he slid if off, leaving her in front of him in nothing but a lovely black lace bra. She knew how much Mulder liked this one and she would have loved to show him under different circumstances but for now she would take whatever she could get.

She reached for his shirt, knowing that she wouldn’t be able to pull it over his head. She had kicked off her shoes when he had woken her downstairs, leaving her considerably smaller. He wouldn’t make fun of it this time so he bent down a bit to help her out and his shirt joined the growing pile of clothes in the corner. Scully stepped closer, felt the heat radiate off his body. She wanted to get lost in this and kiss him all over his bare chest, run her hands along his back but it had to wait just a little while longer. He opened the zipper of her pants, pushing it down. She stepped out of it, kicking it aside in the process. She did the same with Mulder’s, pushing his boxers off with it in one go and he smiled at her.

„Look at you,“ he said and she smiled. „Turn around,“ he instructed her and Scully couldn’t help but obey his gentle command. She felt him stepping closer, a shiver running down her spine. She bowed her head down and closed her eyes. She knew that he was naked and right behind her and she’d lie saying that it didn’t turn her on in the slightest. Mulder pushed her hair aside and placed a soft kiss between her shoulder blades; it made her gasp but she soon found herself relaxing. She didn’t miss how his fingers brushed over the warm skin of her back, leaving goosebumps in his wake, before he unclasped her bra and she let it slide off her arms. He wasted no time, making quick work of her panties before he pulled her flush against his body. She felt him pressing against her back, a soft moan escaping her lips against her will. She could feel him smile against the crook of her neck, slowly walking them towards the shower.

Mulder turned the water on with one hand, making sure it wouldn’t be too hot while the other one never let go of Scully’s hip. They stepped under the hot torrent and Scully gasped softly until her strained body relaxed with every passing drop of water, slowly getting used to the sensation.

She turned around in the embrace, while the warm water rained down on them, and put a hand in Mulder’s neck, pulling him in for a kiss. She didn’t know how desperately she had wanted to kiss him until their lips met. Her nipples hardened in anticipation and Mulder’s hands tightened around her, holding her as close as possible. Scully parted her lips, deepening the kiss. She slipped her tongue into his mouth, teasing him gently before he broke it.

He knew that she wanted it, he wanted her too but they both knew that at least one of them would quite likely fall asleep half-way through, probably leaving them more frustrated than they now felt.

„Steady there,“ he whispered and kissed the top of her head. Scully put his head against his chest, wrapped her arms around his tummy and leaned in with her eyes closed. It was warm and soothing, a familiar and comforting feeling that lulled her in gently. She could feel the fatigue return instantly, slowly weighing her down and she knew that only a few hours of sleep would alleviate the need.

They stood like this for a couple of moments and neither said a word while the water rained down on them, flushing away the memories of a previous night.

„Are you still awake?“ Mulder asked and ran his hands along her back.

„Mhm,“ Scully hummed, knowing that she wouldn’t be for much longer.

„Come on,“ Mulder said softly. „I’ll wash your back.“

She complied gratefully, turning in front of him. He reached for her favorite peeling, made of sea salt. If he recalled correctly it smelled like lemongrass and he had got used to the sweet and delicate scent that always lingered on her clean skin when she crawled into bed after a shower. The other thing he remembered all too vividly, while he gently ran his hands up and down her back, was how soft it always made her skin feel. He always loved to touch her beautiful skin, when it was still warm after a shower. He loved the feeling of it when he made love to her then and it threatened to overpower his actions so he focussed on the task at hand, gently running his hands along her skin. He could feel her relax into the touch, sighing softly when his hands roamed over her naked body. It didn’t foam like her other shower lotions did but the way she felt, all snuggled up against him in bed, certainly made up for it.

Scully turned around to return the favor, slowly running her hands along his chest, his strong arms and his backside, her fingertips memorizing every inch at turtle speed; on any other day he was certain that he would have been ready to take her back to the bedroom by now and fuck her hard and fast. Knowing that his resistance was slowly faltering he grabbed her by the wrists, kissing each one of her hands, before he dropped them and turned off the shower.
They wrapped towels around their bodies and Scully tried to dry off her hair just a little before she put it in a bun at the base of her neck; she would take care of it after a few hours of sleep. She stood in front of the mirror, removing the last bits of makeup and applied some lotion; Mulder left to give her some privacy.

„Do you need anything?“ Mulder asked when Scully stepped into the bedroom not long after. He stood by the window, looking incredibly handsome with nothing but a towel wrapped around his otherwise naked body, the water still glistening on his chest. She allowed herself to get lost in the sight, realizing that there was nothing but a very comforting bed between them.

„No,“ she said and shook her head, sitting down on the edge of the bed. She turned away from him, blocking out the tempting vision.

„I’ll be right back,“ he said and walked downstairs to get something to drink and make sure that everything was locked.

Scully crawled onto the bed, knowing that this had been a mistake. She had meant to put pj’s on but something inside of her knew that it wouldn’t happen now; there was no way she’d get out of bed again. She smiled into her pillow; it smelled fresh and she knew that he must have changed the sheets while she had been asleep. It was only a matter of seconds, in which she hadn’t even been able to make up her mind, before she drifted off to sleep. She didn’t even hear Mulder coming back.

He smiled when he returned, finding Scully fast asleep on her side of the bed, wearing nothing but the towel. It had slipped off a little, only partially covering her body. She was asleep on her tummy, hugging the pillow with both hands and it made him smile. Quietly he put boxers on and walked over to the bed, tucking her in properly to make sure she wouldn’t be cold before he slipped under the covers beside her.

Mulder kissed her bare shoulder, smiling at the scent that lingered there, and snuggled up to her and finally got some sleep.