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There was something about pulling on an old pair of jeans that made her smile. The jeans that had slid over her hips hundreds of times and never betrayed her by being too small or too tight, too pinched in spots or too stiff. They made her feel perfect, frayed cuffs trailing cotton threads behind shuffling feet, small hole in the back pocket, another on the hip, earned not purchased, worn clean through woven fiber, years of wear evident with hint of skin.

And they were the first things Mulder saw when he arrived at Maggie’s for Sunday dinner.

He would have seen them earlier but when he’d called to ask if Scully wanted him to pick her up, she told him she was already gone, having been at Maggie’s for church earlier that morning. He nearly asked why she hadn’t asked him to go along with her but then refrained, realizing that sounded just damn pathetic on his part. He could make it to her mother’s alone for God’s sake.

Still, he missed her on the ride there, stopping to pick up something along the way that he hoped would make her smile.

Knocking on the front door, he stood rocking on heels, knowing he could just walk in but chose today to be polite about entrance rights. Flowers in hand, he nearly overbalanced clean off the porch when Scully opened the door to let him in.

She stood there in a pair of jeans molded to her curves, hugging and streamlining muscles to speechlessness on his part. Faded, holey, softer than butter, I want to stroke from hip to knee, slide hand in back pocket, peel off with my teeth in the backseat of the thankfully clean car parked at the curb, heaven-sent denim. His eyes, not under complete control of his sluggish brain, dragged from her bare feet, up her legs, slow perusal of her delectable thigh, across zipper, button and waist …

Only to run into a completely non-descript t-shirt tucked in haphazardly crooked behind the front closure of those jeans, bunched then hanging down, swooping over flaired pelvis. Continuing his erratic drifting upwards, he finally ran into her face, having hastily sped over her chest, knowing, even with the small amount of computing power left in his head, that if he hesitated too long there, he’d be killed.

Oh, but he was tempted.

It only took a few seconds for all this to occur but by the time he made it North enough to meet her eyes, she was raising an eyebrow at him, smirk held in, embarrassment warming but luckily not betraying with flaming cheek and bitten lip.

“Hi there.”

Yeah, he stammered, “h … hi … hi.”

Still holding the door, she stepped to the side, giving him room to come in but when he didn’t, she left him there, commenting next on the bouquet in hand, “nice flowers.”

“Oh … um … yeah … I, uh, I …” thrusting the handful in her direction, “I got them for your Maggie … Mom … for your mom, Maggie.”

“Doing okay there, Mulder?”

Dropping his head forward, “fuck … I’m just gonna go home.”

Scully stepped forward, chuckling her amusement, pulling him by his shirt, “get in here. Mom will love them.”

He stabilized for a few minutes, long enough to give all but two flowers in the handful to Maggie, who thanked him with that ‘you are my favorite child right now’ look and disappeared to the pantry to get a vase. The two still in his hand he held out to Scully, shifting back and forth, this time in cute anticipation, “they were actually for you but you threw me off at the door with your whole jeans and a t-shirt thing. I panicked.”

“But I didn’t see the panic face.”

“I’ve gotten better with it.”

Finally, she took them, “by the way, I love crazy daisies. They’re my favorite.”

Twinkling in her general direction as Maggie reappeared with the vase, “I know.”


He’d managed to get himself in proper order, brain working, limbs obeying, English speaking and took over the making of the steaks Maggie had purchased for their evening consumption, given, as she said, since it was just the three of them, they should splurge. He was simply standing at the grill, twirling the spatula absently as he monitored the meat as well as the vegetable and the potatoes cooking on foil. She’d come out the door to ask something or other, she would later remember she wanted to know if he needed another drink but once she stepped out, her senses were overwhelmed with low-riding jeans, tight faded red t-shirt, bare toes and head bent back, neck extended far as he drank the remains of his beer, Adams apple bobbing with each swallow, her eyes tracking intently.

She stared until her mother, amused as all hell at the pair of them as usual, whispered in Scully’s ear, “I once heard someone say you should take a picture, it’ll last longer.”

Mulder glanced towards the two women immediately, catching Scully trying to look everywhere but at him and Maggie grinning like the proverbial fox in a henhouse.

He felt slightly vindicated that Scully was a mere mortal, just as he was.

And he turned back to the food, giving her escape time if she needed it.


Once, Scully’d disappeared to the bathroom and returned a minute later, her shirt tucked in on all sides, no hangover, no bunching, all prim and proper … he wasn’t pleased and as she walked by, he tugged quickly, displacing her shirt back to where he liked it and receiving the smoothest of palms drifting over his 6pm stubble, gentle wisp of Scully appreciation he melted at.

Maggie missed nothing and melted a little as well.

Food finished, table cleaned and kitchen back in order, Scully accepted her container of leftover veggies and they headed for the front door, Mulder carrying her bag of church clothes from earlier as well as her two daisies. Hugging goodbyes, the pair headed towards their cars, Mulder nonchalantly setting her bag in the backseat of her car, “feel like coming over for a little while? Maybe have some coffee? Cupcake?”

Looking up at him through wispy hairs in her eyes, “you have cupcakes?”

“Well, no, but I can stop and get some if you’d like.” Goofy grin abounding suddenly, “I just kinda want to hang out with you some more.”

Returning the goofiness, she nodded towards his car, “let’s go.”


“No. I think I’m good for tonight.”

Once at Mulder’s, she politely stepped out of her flipflops and excused herself to the bathroom, emerging with the shirt tucked in again.

Before another breath could pass, he was there, hands invading waist, tugging until she was properly dressed down again, shirt askew as it was meant to be. This time, however, he left his hands on her, “you’ve gotta stop wearing it like that.”

The goosebumps erupted, spreading like wildfire across her arms and the back of her neck. She didn’t back away from his touch, choosing instead to hold her bare arm up to him, “you did this.”

It was Mulder who stepped away, wondering what he’d done and how to make amends, “what?”

“Gave me goosebumps.”

So she wasn’t going to kill him … good to know, “‘cause I fixed your shirt?”

It wasn’t a hallway but it would have to do and she met his curious gaze, “you are the only one who’s ever given me goosebumps.”


“This is the fourth time tonight that you’ve done it.”

The warm glow that hovered in his chest whenever she was within reaching distance heated considerably, “can I guess?” Seeing her nod, “first was when I gave you the flowers, second was when I defaced your wardrobe the first time, third was when I asked you over and fourth was now?”

Giving less than two shits about personal distance, she slid one foot, then the other, forward, closing the gap, “first was when you called me, second was when I answered the door, third was when you were standing at the grill outside and fourth was now.”

Hand to wrist, then elbow, then neck, then face, “just me?”

“Fifth just now if you’re keeping track.” About to kiss her for all he was worth, his phone went off in his jacket pocket, breaking silence like a freaking freight train whistle, “ignore it?”

“There is nothing on Earth that could make me answer that phone because there’s a 50% chance it’s Skinman.” Not about to waste another second, he moved in, capturing her mouth and smiling in euphoric bliss.

She felt his mouth curve and with a grin so wide it threatened to lose contact with him, “you’re smiling.”

“Damn right.” Diving back in, Scully’s phone ringing in the distance had Mulder’s hands up in her hair, holding her to him, “don’t answer that.”

Scully pulled back enough to speak without fear of biting his lip, “there’s now a 100% chance that call is Skinman.”

Stepping away, he held up his fingers, “hold those goosebumps, please.” Answering her phone, he listened, then waited, then listened some more until, “we will be in tomorrow. I don’t see a need to fly out tonight but we will take a look in the morning.” Pressing ‘end’, he looked at his partner, “where were we?”

Incredulous even as she padded her way back into his arms, “you just shut down Assistant Director Skinner.”

Reaching for her face once again, “sure did. Felt good. Gonna do it more in the future.”

“Awfully sure of yourself.”

“I know.”