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Cold. Silver. Sterile.

Sharp, hard edges clashing against the soft, malleable flesh of the dead.

One moment she’s filling out information for a toe tag and the next he is behind her, warmth pressed flush against her body. Life seeking her out, finding her here in this cold chamber of death.

His hand finds its way to her stomach as he hovers near her ear, his hot breath warming her. Dr. Dana Scully has always been comfortable in the autopsy bay, it was her domain long before the first time Mulder would even have considered behaving this way. It isn’t the kind of environment in which she typically thinks about sex, especially when she’s working.

But she’s thinking about it now. Mulder is her weakness. He always has been.

“Are you finished yet?” he whispers, more softly than necessary. He caps this question with a hard nip to her earlobe and she stiffens.

“Can you wait?” she asks. She doesn’t want him to wait and he knows it.

His hand slides up her body to find her face mask dangling around her neck  and his fingers wrap around it, pulling it off her. She hears it crinkle and her body responds to the noise as if he’d uttered something filthy into her ear instead. It doesn’t take much with him; the crinkle of a paper mask is the same as a promise, one that makes her tremble with anticipation.

“Mulder, I-“

She trails off. I what? She doesn’t plan to protest. He can do whatever he wants to her, and she will never brook refusal.

“You completely dismissed me out there, in front of the coroner,” he says quietly. He sounds disappointed, almost sad. She knows it had been a mistake. She’d regretted it as soon as the words left her mouth.

His comment had been benign, harmless. But this aspect of their relationship is still so new. She hadn’t been planning for it to bleed over into her professional world and she wasn’t sure if she’d liked it. Outing them as partners who were sexually involved in front of another professional had taken her off guard.

His hand slips beneath the waist of her scrub pants, inside her underwear, directly between her legs, and as he curls his middle finger up inside her without any preamble at all she lets out a shuddering sigh.

“I was trying to do my job. You embarrassed me,” she manages to get out. “This is exactly why we said no fraternizing, Mulder.” She’s trying to be firm but her traitorous body is responding to his every movement. Her legs part automatically, granting him all the access he needs as her hands slap against the hard metal surface of the gurney, gripping the edges.

“What exactly embarrassed you, Scully?” he asks. “That a man could find you so arousing in this context or that the man was me?”

She can’t think, she can barely breathe. None of it seems to matter now.

“We’re never going to see that coroner again, Scully,” he whispers into her ear. “Who cares what she thinks?”

She knows he’s right. Maintaining a professional veneer in front of strangers has always been important to Scully but is it, anymore? Right now, when she has Fox Mulder completely at her disposal?

“You’re right,” she breathes, eyes closed.

“Who cares what she… hears,” he continues. And it’s at this precise moment she stops caring, too.

His movements are slow at first but soon he’s swirling around inside her, making her rise onto the balls of her feet and throw her head back against his shoulder ohhhmygodmulder as she thinks it, maybe moans it. His breath is hot against her neck and she can feel him smiling triumphantly as she writhes beneath his skilled touch. His tongue darts out and chases the tendons along the back of her neck, its journey brief but effective. Showing no mercy whatsoever he inserts another finger inside her and the fluorescent lights above her disappear behind her own flashpoint as he gently lifts her up, her feet barely touching the ground.

“Jesus…” she breathes, sweat beads forming at her temple. Jesus. He always makes her come so fast, so fast… it’s not fair on one hand, and perfectly welcomed on the other. Apropos. Cosmic karma for years of waiting. She never has to wait long anymore.

His thumb moves relentlessly against her clit even though he must know she’s still recovering. He doesn’t plan to let her rest, he plans to wear her out. It’s just like him. He behaves the same in the bedroom as he does anywhere.

His other hand reaches in front of her, inside her top, into her bra. She recoils briefly; his hand is chilled from the air in the room.

“Cold… it’s cold in here…” she says, still woozy from her first orgasm.

“It won’t be for long.”

He yanks the cup of her bra down along with her shirt, exposing her hardened bud to the frigid air. His hand covers it for a moment but only a moment. He removes his hand and drags his index finger softly across her nipple, back and forth. His other hand is working madly inside her underwear and she’s amazed at how quickly this routine autopsy has turned into the actual best day of her life.

Her arousal is beyond measure, but the cold in the air is making this all tortuous. A sharp intake of breath hisses between her teeth as he flicks and pinches and fuck does it feel good.

“Do you like that, Scully?”

She can’t speak. She nods. Yes , is all she needs to communicate.

He spins her around and backs her up against the edge of the gurney, a cold line pressing into her lower back above her waistline, and his hot mouth descends upon her aching nipple, heat radiating all the way down to her very core. There’s no more pain, only pleasure. The immense, divine pleasure of Mulder’s beautiful lips suckling at her.

She went so many years listening to him work magic with that mouth of his. Why did she wait so long to feel it?

He removes his hand from her pants and pulls the neck of her scrub shirt down just enough to free the other breast, moving back and forth between them with intensity. Her eyes roll back into her head as she arches her back, almost all the way down onto the empty gurney as her hands move to grip his scalp. She inhales his scent, his wonderful Mulder scent that once could only tease her whenever they were in close quarters; on an airplane, or reading the same file. She couldn’t breathe it in before the way she’s allowed to now. So she does, and it’s absolute heaven.

He shifts upward to kiss her deeply, his hands now supporting her back. She tries desperately to stay upright as her legs turn to jelly. She’s so, so weak. He makes her this way.

He grips the waistband of her pants and underwear together, pulling them down to her knees. She kicks her shoes off and wriggles free, virtually naked now. Suddenly her rational Scully brain activates again.

We are on the clock.

The coroner is just outside.

We didn’t even lock the fucking door.

“The door, Mulder,” she says, breathless, as he lifts her onto the gurney. The cold metal makes her yelp and he lifts an eyebrow.

“One step ahead of you, Scully,” he grins. Of course he already locked it. She’s baffled at how she hadn’t even thought of it before now.

Cognizant of her nakedness she throws her arms around his neck and pulls him close to her body, the fabric of his dress shirt against her front the only source of warmth.

“It’s freezing in here,” she says, and her teeth chatter more with anxious excitement than discomfort. “I want to get warm.” She peels off his clothing piece by piece, ripping his shirt open with gusto, buttons flying everywhere, plink plink against the cold storage doors.

“You tore my shirt,” he says, unnecessarily.

“Shut up, Mulder,” she says huskily. “I’ll fix it for you later.”

“You sew, Scully?” he grins. She doesn’t want to tell him she doesn’t, not really, but how different can it be from sewing up dead bodies? Surely a mood killer, though. So she grins and pulls him close, taking his bottom lip securely between her own. He groans as he furiously unbuckles his belt, sliding everything off in one fell swoop, and then they are two warm bodies tangled together on a single gurney, emulating death but oh, so alive.

He settles on top of her, and although her back feels only cold metal her body is warm, hot, on fire with only him. She wraps her legs around him and as he slowly pushes inside her she arches up further, angling her body to accept as much of him as she possibly can.

“Ow,” she says as her scapula aggressively presses against the hard metal surface.

“Too much?” Mulder asks with a grimace. He’s not small and he knows it. She loves that he knows it.

“No,” she smiles, shaking her head. “Never enough.”

He grins and leans down to taste her lips again and she clutches two fistfuls of his ass, pulling him in tight. She looks into his eyes, so dilated with lust she can see the reflection of the bay around them.

“Move,” she commands.

He does.

The gurney creaks and moves as he pumps and she marvels at how good he feels, how right this is. They fit together so perfectly she wants to weep. Why haven’t they done this in every single autopsy bay they’ve ever been in? It seems like such a fucking waste.

Overcome with ecstasy her fingernails scratch over his shoulders and down his pectorals much harder than she intends, leaving twin trails of red grooves along his chest. His very own Y-incision, she muses. He yelps, gripping her wrist hard, and in retaliation leans down to bite the tender flesh at her collarbone.

The cold beneath her and the heat above her and the clanging of metal overwhelms her senses and she starts to moan yeah, oh god… although… the noise they must be making ...

His hand drifts down to her thigh and he slowly unbends her leg, ghosting his fingers up and up until her leg is straight up in the air and he’s hitting her at some kind of angle that feels so fucking good it’s as unexplainable as whatever X File they’re here for. It doesn’t matter. Right now she believes in the paranormal because he’s making it happen between her thighs.

Mul- “ she begins to scream but he leans down and quiets her cries with his lips, and as he moves his mouth over his she hears the echo of her own cry within the bay. Surely someone can hear them, surely someone is listening. But she’s surfing the crest of her release and has no desire to stop; her last vestige of rationality left the building with her inhibitions.

They must finish. They will finish.

“Shhh…” Mulder whispers against her lips. She’s so close, and he’s frantically thrusting, chasing his own conclusion, when he suddenly finds it, spilling into her with a grunt and more whispers into her ear, all the things she loves to hear from him in these moments. She’s past the point of no return and at the moment his hand darts down to help her along she follows, breathing heavily as he kisses her eyelids and cradles her head in his hands.

The look they share now is like so many others that have come before, different while he’s inside her but still the same, still exactly the same as that night they laughed in the rain and the mud together all those years ago. He brushes a strand of sweaty hair out of her eyes and drags his lips softly across her forehead as she wraps her arms around his neck, hugging him close. He is her blanket, keeping her warm and safe in this cold, bleak space.

“We should go,” she says as he pulls a medical tarp over them.

“Just a minute,” he says. “I just want to hold you for a minute, okay?”

She smiles in contentment and lets him slow down. She loves when he slows down. It’s the never-ending complexity of Fox Mulder, his ability to slow down when she needs him to despite his tendency to barrel ahead as his gut leads him forward, unstoppable. She never thought him capable of stopping for anything until they started doing this, started being with each other this way and now he stops. Now he holds her tenderly, careful while she’s here in his arms.

I wouldn’t know what I’d be missing.

He’s aware now, of what he’d miss if he didn’t stop. So she lets him hold her and they lie here, suspended in time in a place where time does not matter.

 

***

 

“What the hell are you doing, George?”

The assistant pulled away from the door, more embarrassed at being caught than for anything he’d heard in the last ten minutes.

“Those FBI agents are fucking in there,” he said, as if that explained everything.

“You’re disgusting,” the coroner replied, her ponytail swishing behind her as she continued down the hall. George watched her for a second, shrugged, then pressed his ear back to the door. This job sucked anyway.  

 

Chapter Text

 

 

Confusion is the first thing Gibson hears.

The man with blue eyes holds Agent Scully tightly, and his thoughts don’t know where to go. They are only fragments; no beginning and no end, just bits and pieces of things he cannot or will not understand. The lengths his mind go to now to justify what he’s seen are far more incredible than anything he’s actually witnessed.

Confusion is tricky for a mind reader. It’s hard to know what the person truly feels, and where they will land.

Fear is much easier. This is what he hears from Agent Scully. At first he thinks she’s afraid of the bounty hunter, or of having almost killed her friend. Or maybe that she’ll never see her partner again. These are the things that anyone would assume watching her now.

But then, as happens on occasion, he hears a very specific thought.

How can I do this, Mulder? How will I protect our child without you? I can’t keep anyone safe. I can’t even keep Gibson safe.

For a moment he feels incredibly guilty for saying what he did before, for putting that responsibility on her. She’s always been kind to him, always. Even back when he first met her she had a softness about her, a warmth. She was interested and curious about him but that’s exactly how he knew she was a good person; she was always more concerned for his well being than anything he could possibly teach her.

Our child. What child? Does she have a child with Agent Mulder?

He knew these two were in love with each other from the day he met them. It was impossible not to know. And Gibson understands love in a way no one else can. He hears all the things people do not say; the things they are dying to say but don’t, for whatever reason. And there are always lots of reasons.

He heard it from Agent Mulder when he first met him, the silent plea he repeated to himself.

Scully can’t know, she can’t know about Diana… fuck… how am I going to explain this… she’s never going to forgive me...

Gibson didn’t know who any of them were at the time, but he hadn’t needed to in order to piece everything together.

That fucking bee... why didn’t I try again sooner… why didn’t I tell Scully the truth...

The bee part was unclear, but it hadn’t been for long. When he’d been alone with Agent Scully that particular event had been explained with alarming detail. He tried not to listen, he really tried. But it was all she could think about.

The blue eyed agent is screaming for help as the rest of the agents trickle out of the room. Agent Scully says with her mouth “I’m fine Agent Doggett, I’m fine,” but with her mind I am not fine. I will never be fine until I find him.

It’s easier to focus now with just the two agents in the room. He hears the fear again, and the terror. He wants it to stop. Agent Scully is a nice person, and she doesn’t deserve this. He steels himself, knowing she is not fine, knowing Agent Doggett should not leave her alone. The fear, the confusion. Two voices now. He can deal with two voices.

But then her left hand moves to her abdomen. Agent Doggett doesn’t see, but Gibson does.

And he hears another voice.

It isn’t words, it’s more of a feeling, a soothing presence that seems to calm Agent Scully. She takes deep breaths, and he can tell Agent Doggett thinks he’s calming her down but it isn’t him, it’s something else. It’s someone else.

Suddenly he understands. He’s hearing her child. Mulder’s child.

“Go, help Skinner,” Agent Scully says to Agent Doggett. He helps her to her feet and with further insistence she’s fine, although Agent Doggett knows better, he begrudgingly acquiesces and leaves them alone in the room.

Gibson knows his abilities are unique to humans. Although he’s able to distinguish that which is human from that which is alien it hasn’t changed the fact that he’s always felt so, so alone. But as he looks at Agent Scully now, her hand hovering over the child he’s now aware exists, he feels less so. He’s never been able to communicate with a baby before and immediately knows this child is different, special.

Just like him.

He touches her arm. “Agent Scully?” She looks at him as if she’s noticing him there for the first time.

“Gibson… are you all right?” Her lip trembles and he can tell she’s trying to keep it together but her brain is on fire with emotion. He nods, trying to put her at ease.

“I’m so sorry, Gibson… I’m sorry I couldn’t keep you safe.”

He shakes his head. “I’m sorry I said what I did. You did the best you could.” He looks at her meaningfully. “And I know you will for your kid, too.”

She looks up at him, taken aback. “How do you…?”

“I can hear it. Right now.”

She lets out a tiny gasp and moves her hand protectively to her stomach again. “What… do you hear?”

“Just a feeling. It’s hard to describe. Safety. Comfort.”

Her eyes well up and she nods ever so slightly. She looks so, so sad, and he can hear her gratitude for telling her this. But he also hears other, more complex thoughts swirling around her brain; thoughts of despair, of heartache. Of love.

Mulder.

“He’s looking for you too, you know,” Gibson says softly. It’s all he can give her right now: hope.

“What do you mean?”

“It’s what I heard. It’s how I know for sure it was him up there.”

Scully blinks. “What did you hear?”

Gibson shrugs. “Just your name. Just Scully.

She smiles. He doesn’t remember ever seeing her smile before, and he’s happy to be the one to have made it happen.

“Thank you, Gibson.”

She takes his arm and he leads her out of this room, the alien bounty hunter having dissolved into nothingness by now. Back to reality. But the fear is gone now. Certainty is what he hears from Agent Scully; not doubt, not hesitation. But utter certainty that her partner is alive, somewhere out there.

And she will find him.

 

Chapter Text




She hears the boom outside and the screen door slams, and she knows Mulder is already out front. She smiles at the reminder, that today is actually a holiday. He’s free now. They should celebrate independence.

She can see his silhouette through the door, perched on the top step with his back to her. Red, white and blue explode in the sky, far away but perfectly within view. She watches the show for a moment and then her eyes return to him, staring, staring. Up towards the heavens, space, all of the things that hold Mulder’s gaze. But she is certain of one thing that can pull it away.

“Happy Independence Day,” she says, sinking down onto the step to sit beside him, giving him a peck on the cheek. She takes his arm and leans against him, watching the unauthorized spectacle, knowing it probably won’t last long considering Virginia state laws.

“I forgot,” he says, his eyes never leaving the sky. The flashes illuminate the flicker in his left pupil, that thing that happens when he’s focused. “I’m still getting used to the days not being a complete blur, you know?” He still rarely leaves the house; six years into this routine it’s a tough habit to break.

“Did you celebrate it much as a family? I mean… before,” she clarifies. Before Samantha remains unsaid.

He shakes his head. “Not really. My father was a bit disillusioned, I suppose, with the patriotism stuff. Now it’s easy to see why.”

Scully nods. “My father always did it up,” she says with a smile, switching gears. “Barbecues, sparklers. A bunch of the neighborhood kids on the base decorated our bikes and wagons and we had parades. They were happy times.”

“That sounds really nice, Scully,” he says softly. “I’m sorry we can’t have the same.”

She shakes her head against his shirt. It smells like laundry detergent and home. She doesn’t want to think about all they’ve lost. She only wants to think about how it makes the things they do have all the more profound.

“I don’t want the same, Mulder,” she says in reply. “What I want is right here.”

He turns to look at her for the first time. “You sure?” he asks. He asks often. She hates when he doubts any of it but she’s confident he believes her every time.

Her head moves to rest against his shoulder and her lips find the place where his t shirt meets the warm skin of his bicep. “Big time,” she mumbles against him, kissing him there almost mindlessly.

He cocks his head to the side with a smirk and leans in with purpose, and she tilts her head to meet him. Their lips touch as the fizz and crackle echo around the yard, between the dogwoods and through the high grasses. It’s hot outside even though it’s almost ten, but a breeze still weaves around their house.

His lips massage hers gently, softly at first until she knows she wants to taste him, all of him, fireworks be damned. She holds him by the face, his scruff growing in again, and she can feel the corners of her mouth turn up into a smile as they kiss.

“You don’t want to watch?” he murmurs against her mouth. He doesn’t care anymore, not really, and she knows it.

“Mm-mm,” she responds in the negative. She pulls back for a moment. “Seen one fireworks show, seen them all.”

“You could say the same about kissing,” he points out playfully. But she shakes her head.

“No… it’s definitely not the same. Fireworks have rules, boundaries. They can’t transcend the laws of science.”

“Science, huh?” he says, leaning in again. “You know I love it when you talk dirty, Scully.”

“Mmm,” she says as he kisses her again. “It’s the chemicals and certain metals creating oxidation…”

“That’s it,” he says with a grin. “Keep it going.”

“It creates an explosion,” she continues. “Any time you have a fast…” kiss… “and intense burning event you’re going to get an explosion.”

“I can verify that statement,” he agrees, working his way down her neck.

“And Mulder,” she goes on, a bit excited now, “the different metals are what make the colors different. Did you know that?”

“I wish I cared,” he mumbles into her neck, moving a long strand of hair out of his path.

“Orange is from sodium, Green is from strontium…” he’s tilting her back now, softly biting her earlobe... “Red is…” oh god… “copper, I think? Actually I think I got those mixed up.”

“It all sounds good to me,” he says, working at her earlobe as he whispers directly into it.

“I didn’t mention blue, though. Blue is the hardest color to make,” she explains, her eyes closing. “The temperature has to be just… right… to get the perfect hue. Certain... specific conditions have to be met. The timing has to be perfect.”

“Sounds… familiar, Scully,” he growls into her ear. It does. She’d never before had the opportunity to compare their relationship to exploding sulfur, but she can see it now.

She definitely sees it now.

“But it always works the same, without fail, Mulder. It’s a scientific process. So… predictable. Not like a kiss.”

He pulls back, his eyes black with lust. “And what’s so different about a kiss?”

She combs her fingers through his hair and looks into his eyes. The booms and crackles and whistling echo somewhere far away and the colors reflect onto his beautiful face. Red. White.

Blue.

“Kisses have no rules,” she grins. He smiles back and goes in again, gently laying her down onto the porch. It isn’t the first time they’ve let themselves go out here and it won’t be the last.

She revels in his touch as his lips move over hers. It’s just a kiss, but it’s more. America. God. Love.

It’s just a kiss, but for them, right now, it’s everything.


Chapter Text


It just slips out.

“Can you hand me that pen, babe?”

Her fingers are extended towards him, her face buried in a file at a small table in her motel room and a white-hot rush of embarrassment courses through her veins. She retracts her hand and looks up, eyes wide. Her face turns as pink as the tongue she can now see in Mulder’s mouth as his jaw drops.

She’s only known him for a few months and before that had broken up with her boyfriend so recently. It’s the only way she can account for it.

“Um. I mean… uh, Mulder.” She cringes. “Sorry.”

His face is shocked at first but soon the corner of his mouth twitches and curves upward until he’s smiling broadly, a twinkle in his eye.

“Sure… babe ,” he replies playfully from the edge of her bed, handing her the pen.

“That was… I don’t know where that came from,” she mumbles as she takes it. “I think… I guess... I broke up with my boyfriend pretty recently, that’s all.”

Babe. Babe. Oh my god, she just called Mulder “babe.”

He nods. “And the layers keep on peeling back,” he says with a smile. “So what you’re saying is, you think I’m boyfriend material?”

She scoffs, rolling her eyes. “Don’t flatter yourself. It was a slip of the tongue.” She tries to change the subject. “So these murders, I’m not seeing a common thread so far, other than location.”

Mulder purses his lips and nods. She’s trying hard not to associate Fox Mulder with the term “babe” but it’s virtually impossible not to while he’s sitting on the edge of her bed with his sleeves rolled up, grinning at her in that dangerous way she always tries to ignore.

“I see, I see,” he says thoughtfully, tapping his index finger against his bottom lip. That goddamn bottom lip. “What’s your theory then, babe?” He grins again.

“Stop it,” she says. She feels her face flush again. Why is this bothering her so much?

“Stop what?” he asks, hands spread. “You started it.”

“It was an accident, okay? Can we just forget it?” She doesn’t mean for it to come out so abruptly. From the hurt look on his face she worries she’s treating this as a much bigger deal than it is. It means nothing, nothing. So she looks down intently at the file.

He’s quiet for a few moments and the air in the room is still and tense.

“Maybe we’ve been spending a little too much time together, Scully,” he says softly. He stands up and walks over to the door to grab his jacket. “I’ll go.”

“Mulder, I-“ she looks up at him. He’s wearing that puppy dog face she hates to see. “I’m sorry. It’s not a big deal. Please stay.”

“Are you sure?”

She can tell he doesn’t think it’s a big deal. One thing she’s learned about him is that he likes to be funny. He is funny. All he’s doing is being funny.

“Yes, I’m sorry.”

“It happens, you know,” he says. “If it makes you feel better, while you went to park the car and I was checking in, the guy at the front desk thought you were my wife.”

She feels embarrassed on both of their behalfs, but he smiles gently, and she smiles back. “What did you say?”

“I told him you were out of my league.”

Her gut tightens in that uncomfortable way it does when she feels seen. Is he merely paying her a compliment, or does he really feel that way?

I think it’s remotely plausible someone might think you’re hot.

“Never would have pegged you as the pet name type, though, Scully,” he continues, perhaps not wanting to hear her response. Maybe she’s taken too long already.

He sits down on her bed and leans back against the headboard, stuffing a pillow behind him. He does that all the time. She knows she’ll have her face buried in it later, inhaling his scent, feeling pathetic for missing him after spending every waking second with him today.

“I’m not the type, usually. They... slipped out,” she says honestly. “From time to time. Whenever I got… comfortable.”

He nods, his eyes soft. He blinks a couple times and if she could physically tear her gaze away from his she would but she cannot. She does not. Their eyes have a conversation like they always do, no words.

Comfortable .

“I’m hungry,” she finally says after what feels like a dozen lifetimes. “Want to eat?”

“Sure. I’ll go pick something up.” It’s an olive branch and she nods, gratefully accepting it. “What are you in the mood for?”

“You pick, Mulder.”

He nods and picks up his jacket again, this time leaving without the awkwardness. And just before the door closes he leans back in, flashes the kind of smile that indeed makes him boyfriend material, and delivers a final blow.

“Back in a flash, honeybunch.”

Chapter Text

She’d never used the word svelte in her life. But it was the only word that leapt to mind when she entered the FBI fitness facility and watched him swim. His lean form cut through the water like a dolphin, up and down, glistening.

He told her to meet her at the pool, and she’d lingered in the front area near the locker rooms for a while before she realized he’d actually meant at the pool. She felt more exposed than the swimmers standing there in her work clothes, clutching her briefcase to her chest. She couldn’t decide if it were discomfort at waiting or sheer curiosity that drew her into the pool area, the splashing and echoing of voices and smell of chlorine reminding her of college.

Now she found herself gaping at her new partner as his tanned shoulders presented themselves to her as an offering.

He finished his laps and swam to the edge of the pool, gripping the edge and lifting himself up, catching her eye.

“Hey, Scully.”

The way he said it sent shivers down her spine, like pretty much every time.

“This couldn’t wait until work?” she asked.

He supported himself by his elbows and pushed his goggles to the top of his head. “I’m a fan of efficiency,” he shrugged. She could see him preparing to push himself up onto the ledge and willed herself not to look, not to even steal a glance but her supply of willpower was ill-equipped.

He was not.

She was certain her eyes bulged more than whatever he was packing underneath what must have been the smallest red speedo she’d ever seen in her life. She couldn’t tear her eyes away from it and she tried, she really did.

He didn’t seem to notice as he crossed in front of her to the bench and picked up his waiting towel, drying himself off. It didn’t matter; he looked just as good going as he had coming.

He saw her practically naked in his motel room a few weeks ago, she figured. Sure, it was to properly identify some mosquito bites but this felt only fair.

She thought instantly of the magazines Mulder kept in the bottom drawer of his desk. How she’d mercilessly teased him on several occasions, and now she found herself in the same situation: ogling. Admiring.

Desiring.

She couldn’t help herself. “How’s the water?”

He rubbed the towel on his face, leaving her free to stare. And she did.

“Colder than usual,” he answered, still apparently oblivious to her gawking. Her mind immediately raced to the most obvious conclusion, which was that if he looked this way now, she had a great desire to see him exiting water that was not cold.

“Do you swim, Scully?” he asked with a grin, as the towel left his face.

“No,” she responded instantly. “I mean, I do, just not...here.” He looked at her curiously. A few seconds went by. “I know how to swim,” she clarified.

God, he’s attractive, she thought, hating the thought. She’d never felt so caught off guard with him before. If there was a point system keeping track of who was more attracted to whom, she was certain she was losing spectacularly.

He wrapped the towel around his waist and it made her sad in spite of herself. The mere act of closing himself off to her gave her a mild depression.

“So what have you got?” she said, her mind back on work. Where it should be. Where it must stay.



***



Skinner had never invited Mulder to his place before. It was a fairly new building, and he hadn’t wanted to go. Social gatherings weren’t his favorite thing.

Friday afternoon he’d asked Scully if she was planning to go, and she’d said yes. When he saw “pool” in the description, his first thought, his only thought, was the possibility he’d get to see Scully in a bathing suit. He felt like kind of a creep for thinking this, but they’d been working together for five years now and such an opportunity hadn’t presented itself to them before.

So now he was standing next to a chaise lounge holding a cold Bud Light, which was crap beer, looking around for her, wondering if he’d turned up for nothing. Fucking Skinner and his domestic beer.

Then out of the corner of his eye he saw a familiar shock of red hair in the water, coming close to the edge, up the ladder. Suddenly she was standing in front of him, hair wet and slick, wearing a black two piece bikini. He didn’t even have a moment to inwardly utter “jackpot” because his eye was drawn to a small silver ring in her navel.

What. The. Fuck.

His jaw dropped, literally dropped, of its own accord. She noticed.

“Penny for your thoughts, Mulder?” she grinned, hands on hips. She knew what she was doing.

“That’s… surprising, Scully,” he said, gesturing to her belly button. “Seems a bit unlike you.”

“And you would know that how?” she said, impishly.

She had him there. “You’re right. I don’t.” But I wish I did.

He smiled, loving the banter. Scully’d become more open to his flirtations since her cancer had gone into remission and he was enjoying the reciprocity. It struck him now how healthy she looked again. Her body was supple and curvy. Nothing like how pale and withdrawn she’d become during those harrowing final days.

Just as he felt like he might be leering, she seemed to get shy, dropping her hands to her sides and casually turning to the side. It gave him a great view of her profile, so if her attempt was to make herself less exposed, her efforts were for naught.

Just as he expected her to change the subject to dying or something, as was her wont, his eye caught sight of something he’d wanted to forget about: her tattoo.

Nestled on her lower back a bit off center, there it was, in the flesh. He’d seen the crime scene photos, the hospital records he was able to get ahold of before she’d made everything having to do with Ed Jerse disappear. But he’d never seen it up close and personal.

She caught him watching. Rather than address it she spun back around and walked to the lounge chair across from him, sitting down. That conversation would have to wait for another time, another place. Or not.

She started toweling herself off, then picked up a nearby tube of sunscreen. Her fair skin was no doubt in need of reapplication. He didn’t want to stare so he turned to look out at the pool, seeing some people he recognized, some people he didn’t. He could really only think about Scully in a two piece with a belly button ring. He started to zone out a bit when he heard her talking again.

“-Mulder?” she was saying. He turned. “Huh?”

“Can you get my back?”

She may as well have asked him do you want to go UFO hunting?

He didn’t even answer, he wordlessly took the bottle with a smile and squirted some of the cream into his hand before she could change her mind.

Suddenly his hands were on her bare skin, and he rubbed the sunscreen into her shoulders carefully, making sure to cover every inch. He didn’t want her to get burned, sure, but he also wanted to be touching her as long as humanly possible.

“Get underneath the straps, too,” she said.

“Did anyone ever tell you you’re bossy, Scully?” he responded with a chuckle.

“Sorry, I just… I always get burned there. No one does it right.”

He would do it right, and they both knew it. He dipped his hand beneath her halter strap, cupping her entire neck with his palm. He thought of the Arctic Circle. He thought of trust.

As he rubbed the cream over her shoulders and down her back she leaned forward, exposing the ouroboros. He covered it too, and couldn’t help himself from tracing the circle with his finger. He wasn’t sure if she could tell but when she shivered he knew.

“There you go,” he said. And before he lost his nerve he added, “Can you do me?”

She raised an eyebrow at the double entendre and twirled a finger, gesturing for him to turn. He did, and felt her get behind him on the chair, rising up onto her knees. He didn’t realize he was doing it but he closed his eyes when she began. He just let her rub his back and pictured her hands on him, enjoying this touch he’d never felt from her before in any capacity.

Hours might have passed, for all he knew, when her hands came to rest on the tops of his shoulders and he felt her lean in behind him, close to his ear.

“No speedo today, huh?”

His lips curved into a smile. A memory stirred, when he’d made her meet him at the pool years ago. He’d always wondered what she made of that.

He mindlessly picked at his green swim trunks. “Neither the time nor place.” The words had deeper meaning, and they both knew it.

“Ah, I see.”

She squeezed his shoulders gently and got up off the chair. She faced him again and this time the navel ring was directly in his eye line. 

“Wanna go for a swim, Mulder?” she asked.

He nodded, grinning. “Yes, I do.”

As they walked to the pool his hand went automatically to the spot on her back with the tattoo. The spot they never talked about.

Another time, another place.





Chapter Text

“Tell me.”

Monica Reyes plunked the glass of amber liquid in front of Dana, removing her brown leather jacket and hanging it on the back of her chair.

Dana looked down at the drink and raised an eyebrow. “Tell you what?”

“Everything, Dana.” Monica sat on the chair and propped her feet on the footrest, spinning the chair to face her.

Dana furrowed her brow. Monica expected this; she was a tough nut to crack and hadn’t opened up much at all in the year or so they’d known each other.

Dana swirled the whiskey around in her glass and took a tentative sip. She coughed a bit and her eyes widened.

“I figured it was a whiskey kind of night,” Monica said.

“It is.” Dana took a more confident sip, and Monica followed suit. The alcohol burned all the way down. It felt great. “So what is it you want to know?”

“You and Mulder. What’s the scoop?”

Dana shifted a bit, perhaps shocked at her forwardness, perhaps relieved. “The scoop?”

Monica raised an eyebrow. “Come on. When did it happen for you two? How long did it take to make that move from just partners?”

“How do you know we did?” Dana replied playfully.

“Oh, come on,” Monica said, giving her a huge eye roll. Sure, she and Mulder had never demonstrated a thing before her eyes but William had to have come from somewhere. And from the way those two looked at each other… well, it was enough to make anyone certain.

Dana laughed. “I’m sorry, it’s just… been a while since I’ve done the girl talk thing.”

“Let’s remedy that, shall we?” Monica grinned.

“Fine. But you have to promise not to judge too much.”

“Scouts’ honor,” Monica said, even though she’d never actually been a scout.

Dana leaned into her drink and her eyes darted to the other woman. “Seven years.” She whispered it quietly to her drink, as if the glass of whiskey were the only thing in the room that wouldn’t judge her for such a harrowing admission.

“Seven years?!” Monica’s jaw dropped. She felt bad for breaking her promise so quickly, but… shit.

Dana rolled her eyes and took another sip. “Not an uncommon reaction.”

“Wow.”

“You said you wouldn’t judge.”

“No, I mean… I’m just impressed. I wish I had that kind of restraint. I’ve been in far too many office romances,” Monica admitted.

“I suppose our particular office is... a bit unusual,” Dana explained.

Monica shook her head. “But... I mean… how?” was all she could get out. My god, these were two extremely attractive people. What could possibly have prevented them from breaking the rules? Just a little bit? “How is that possible? Not even a slip? A drunken night, a rough case? Never?”

“Well, when you put it like that, now I’m judging me too,” she chuckled.

“Did you ever want to?”

Dana’s eyes softened, perhaps remembering a thousand such moments. “For the longest time I avoided thinking about it entirely,” she said. “Our partnership began under such intense circumstances. Before we knew it we relied on each other so utterly… it terrified me to imagine risking that for something that could’ve been fleeting, meaningless.”

“But it wouldn’t have been, surely,” Monica reasoned.

“I guess you’re right,” Dana said. “I can agree with you in hindsight.”

“How did it end up happening, finally?”

“I honestly don’t know,” Dana said. “I think about that a lot, how it happened without much consideration or preamble. I just… knew. I couldn’t wait anymore.” She looked up at Monica with a small smile. “I’ve never actually talked to anyone about this before.”

“Give me all the dirty details, Dana,” Monica said, propping her chin up on her elbow. “I think you need this.” Dana raised an eyebrow. “Okay, I need it,” Monica laughed. She wouldn’t admit the unspoken; she’d been experiencing a bit of a dry spell.

Dana sighed. “It was at his place. I remember it was raining.” Her eyes looked far away, deep in reflection. “I fell asleep on his couch, and when I woke up, I saw that he had covered me with a blanket. I just remember feeling so safe, and cared for.” She looked up at her friend. “I felt loved.”

“Then what happened?” Monica asked, eyes wide. This felt like getting the secrets to the pyramids.

“Then… I just decided. I wanted it to happen. It was going to happen.” She took a sip, then swirled the whiskey around. She’d almost reached the bottom. “And it did.”

“Was it good?” Monica asked, rapt, like a kid at story time. “I bet it was good.”

Dana looked at her with a smile. “ So good.”

Monica smiled. “Can you see the hearts in my eyes? My god, Dana.”

Dana grinned and downed the rest of her drink. “You want more?”

“Uh, yeah,” Monica said, taking another drink herself. Duh.

“I will tell you, he’s very, very good… you know.” She leaned in and whispered. “With his mouth.”

“That does not surprise me one bit,” Monica said. “The man has quite the obsessive nature.”

Dana laughed. “He certainly does,” she said, shaking her head. “I used to wonder so often, how it would go between us, what it would be like. And it exceeded every single one of my extremely high expectations.”

“You’re really lucky it did, after so many years of wondering,” Monica pointed out.

“It didn’t surprise me, actually. We work so well together in every other way. It was just… you know. Perfect.”

Monica sighed, heart eyes back in action. Dana got the attention of the bartender and gestured for another round. They were both quiet for a moment.

“I miss him so much, Monica,” she said. Her voice hitched a bit. Monica’s heart suddenly dropped into her stomach, the smile disappearing from her face. She hadn’t meant to upset her.

She scooted her chair closer and put her arm around her friend, and Dana let her. She leaned her head on her shoulder and took a few deep breaths.

Dana hadn’t talked about William at all since she’d given him up weeks ago, but Monica knew she was thinking about him now as well. How could she not? The love of her life was gone, her son had followed not long afterwards. She didn’t have anyone anymore.

But she had her. And Monica wanted to be there for her, to be the friend she so desperately needed.

“You’ll be together again soon, I know it. I’ve never seen two people so clearly made for each other,” Monica said.

Dana blushed a bit, sitting up. “Well, I’m glad you see it. Looking back now I wish we’d seen it sooner.”

Monica nodded. “I truly believe everything happens for a reason,” she said. “You weren’t ready for each other yet. That’s all there is to it.”

Dana looked at her, and there was something new in her eyes, like a recognition. A comfort. “You really do remind me so much of my sister,” she said softly. “I think that a lot. It’s like every time is a gift, a tiny piece of her I’m getting back.”

Monica had read every X File in the basement since Dana first compared her to her sister. She knew what had happened to Melissa Scully, and it was obviously a very painful memory.

A silence hung between them, only the voices of patrons and clinking of shot glasses permeating the air. Monica reached out a hand and touched Dana’s, resting next to her drink.

“I’m so sorry,” she said. “About everything.”

Dana wiped a small tear. “Don’t be,” she said, a smile peeking through. “I should be sorry. I don’t want to talk about sad things tonight, okay?”

“Okay.”

The bartender set the new drinks down in front of them. Monica held up her glass and clinked it against Dana’s, who then proceeded to take a huge swig.

“Now,” Dana said, settling the glass in front of her. “You tell me. What the hell is going on between you and Agent Doggett?”

Monica nearly spit out her drink. “Wow, you really go for the jugular, don’t you?”

“Turnabout is fair play,” she grinned. “Now, spill.”

An eyebrow lifted, in tandem with her drink. She threw it back. “Well… um, I don’t know. John is… well, John.”

“That he is,” Dana smiled. “And you’ve known him how long?”

Monica grimaced. “Um. Seven years…?” She made a face that could only be described as properly chastised. Dana’s teeth showed for the first time that evening in a wide, toothy grin.

“Ha! Seven years!”

“It’s not the same!” Monica protested with a smile. “We fell out of touch. And the circumstances when we met were… well, terrible.”

Dana nodded, easing back. John’s son had been murdered. It was certainly no time for the two of them, either.

“Like you said. Maybe you’re just not ready for each other yet,” she said gently.

“Maybe,” Monica grinned.

Dana leaned back into her chair, and she seemed comfortable. It was exactly what Monica had been aiming for. “Thanks for doing this, Monica. I needed it.”

“You’re welcome,” she replied. Dana smiled, and she smiled back. She sipped her whiskey and it warmed her insides. Like friendship.




Chapter Text

She’s just drifting off when she hears it. Feels it.

Her eyes fly open and she turns, horrified, to her partner sitting across the trashed, disgusting walk-up they’ve been posted in for three days now. Maybe he didn’t hear.

He heard.

“Why, Dana Scully!” he says with delight.

She draws her knees up to her chest in the chair she’d nearly fallen asleep in. They’d been on stakeout detail and she must have dozed off.

“What?” she asks.

“Did I just hear what I think I just heard?”

Fucking Mediterranean food. Deny, deny, deny.

“What do you mean?” she says innocently.

He grins. “Oh, you’re going to play it that way?”

She shrugs. “I don’t have any clue what you’re talking about.”

Mulder assumes his best Rod Serling pose. “Submitted for your approval: one Dana Scully, a distinguished federal agent. And, though she’d love to claim otherwise, has an errant wish to appear perfect to her less-than-perfect partner.”

“Mulder.”

“But on one fine summer evening arrives a sound known as... a fart. A toot, one might say. A left cheek sneak.”

“Mulder, shut up.”

“Agent Dana Scully, homo sapiens, who is soon to discover that sometimes the passing of gas does indeed happen, and there can be no stopping it.”

She stares at him. “Are you done?”

He pauses, then finishes quickly. “...Said lesson to be learned in The Twilight Zone.”

“I am mortified.”

“Don’t be. It’s a perfectly natural biological process, which I’m sure you could explain to me in great detail.”

“I could, but I will not.”

“Scully, relax,” he chuckles. “Half the time you’re wound so tight I’m worried you’ll snap in two.”

This makes her uncomfortable. “Is that what you think of me?”

“No, not really. But I do think you’re too hard on yourself.”

“Because I don’t want you to hear me fart?!” she says, incredulous.

“So you admit you farted.”

“Never, you’ll have to prove it,” she says playfully. “I can’t see it, I can’t hear it. It never happened.” It’s not as if she hasn’t used this approach with him before.

“Ah,” he says, getting up from his perch on the chair across from her. “What if we apply the scientific method, Doctor Scully?” He tiptoes towards her and begins softly sniffing the air around her.

“Don’t do that, you’re disgusting,” she laughs.

He shrugs. “I’m just gathering evidence. Like my sexy, intelligent partner would.”

“Mulder, there are some things that should remain a mystery between us. This is definitely one of them.”

“I don’t want any more mysteries between us,” he says, making his way over to her, kneeling in front of her. He pulls her legs down, situating them on either side of him.

She stares at him, so goddamn relaxed, so attractive in his gray T shirt. They only started sleeping together very recently. Fart or no fart, she wants to jump his bones right now. They’re supposed to be working, damnit.

He runs his hands up her thighs, his thumbs tracing circles as they travel. They rest at her iliac crest; he can almost completely encircle her waist with his large hands. He stands, leans in. “You’re cute when you’re embarrassed,” he says.

“So what you’re saying is I’ve never been cuter.”

“Never,” he assures her, as he presses his lips to hers. She knows he wouldn’t have called attention to it if it weren’t the truth.

“Let’s never speak of this again, then, please,” she says quietly when he pulls away.

He grins. “What, you think this has never happened before?”

She’s stunned. “I… wait, what?”

He leans back onto his haunches, hands grasping the tops of her thighs. “First time was another stakeout, long time ago. You were asleep in the car. I remember I had binoculars glued to my face watching out the window and then I heard it, ever so quietly, from the passenger seat.”

Her eyes darken, warningly. “Mulder….”

“I thought I was dreaming. It was like a tiny, adorable trumpet.”

Her jaw drops in abject horror.

“And then,” he says gleefully, “again at The Falls a couple times, but we were married then, so that sort of doesn’t count, does it?”

She holds her face in her hands. “Oh, my god.”

“And just the other night, Scully. You fell asleep after… well, you know. I was watching you. You looked so peaceful, everything was so romantic, and then-“

“Okay, stop. This is my worst nightmare.”

He shrugs. “Doesn’t change the fact that you’re the most gorgeous, amazing woman I’ve ever had the pleasure to hear all of her sounds.”

“I am horrified by this,” she admits. “And you’re not helping.”

“Would it help if I kissed you again?”

“That’s it. I can’t ever look you in the face again. I’m quitting the FBI and you can find me at home, under the bed.”

“I’d much rather find you on top of it.”

She gets up to look for her jacket. “I’m leaving.”

“Where are you going?”

“To get some air.”

It was the wrong thing to say.

“Leave the door open, will you?” he calls after her.





Chapter Text

“I’m sorry I keep dragging you out on these cases, Scully,” he says.

The rain pitter patters against the windshield, the wipers beating back and forth frantically like a dog’s tail. She can feel the storm approaching, like a torrent of unspoken feelings mirroring those inside their beat-up rental car. Half of her hopes they’ll get out of Florida in one piece before the second hurricane hits and the other half wouldn’t mind getting cooped up with Mulder in what would surely be a hard-won single motel room.

They’ve been here before, on some ridiculous adventure that either pans out or doesn’t. He always asks her to go with him. She always goes.

But this time it’s different. This time it’s personal.

Without the FBI personal interest is all I have. And if you take that away from me, there is no reason for me to continue.

The words echo inside her head, loaded. Angry. Things have simmered down in their usual way, but there are things left unsaid, feelings left unexpressed.

In their usual way.

She would go with him anyway, though; she always does.

She doesn’t want to admit that she’s terrified if she doesn’t go he’ll move down the list to the next best thing. She’s terrified he’ll ask someone else.

She’s terrified he’ll ask her.

“I don’t want you to stop,” she says softly, her breath hitching in her throat.

She reaches out and takes his hand, wet from the rain, but warm around hers nonetheless. It’s her truth, and will be forever, because the truth is if he stops taking her with him she might stop breathing altogether.

Chapter Text

 

It feels good to be back at work again. His fingers fly across the keys as he transcribes Scully’s field notes. Mindless, monotonous. He wishes he didn’t have to think about anything else.

But he does have something to think about, something he’s been thinking about for some time: the fact that, ever so surely, since he’d been operated on by the cancer man his brain has been slowly dying. As if tiny lights are going out inside his head one by one, and he is powerless to keep them alight.

His breath escapes in ragged wheezes, still affected by the beetle larvae, and he stares at the insides of his own brain. He requested the scans his last day in North Carolina, after Scully had gone home. 

This is the moment his death sentence becomes real, in laser sharp detail glaring out at him from the surface of a light box. These scans cannot hide what is happening to him. 

It feels illicit doing this in the office, in Scully’s space, no less, but he’s nothing if not a masochist. They only started sleeping together a couple weeks ago and he’s been in a hospital bed most of that time, rather than in hers. Every day that passes feels like such a waste. 

He wants to tell her but he doesn’t. She’d only worry, she’d only spend every second of every day trying to cure that which cannot be cured. He knows this as surely as he knows he’d feel the same, because he has felt it. He did feel the same when she told him of her own illness. The similarities are striking.

I refuse to believe that. 

I don’t accept that. 

His own words echo in his ears as he remembers vividly his own denial, his own determination to save her. 

His own failure when he knew he couldn’t.

He doesn’t wish that upon her. He can’t bring himself to bequeath her this burden. There are no doctors of this earth that can help him, not even Scully.

After he’s gone he wants her to know the things he cannot say to her. But even now, he isn’t certain what those things are.

He’s stopped typing without realizing it, deep in thought. He rips a piece of paper off a nearby scratch pad and stares at the blank page. Limitless potential, the type he and Scully no longer have. It’s a cruel irony.

Dear Dana, he writes. 

 

No, that doesn’t sound right. It isn’t enough. He crosses it out. 

Dearest Dana,

 

Is it wrong, too, somehow? She’s the dearest person in the world to him and if he’s too chicken shit to tell her with his mouth she should know it somehow, someday.

But it still isn’t right. Not like this. It doesn’t feel like him. He strikes through the sentiment and it hurts as he does. He begins the letter the only way he’s used to.

Scully,

 

 ...and then his mind goes completely blank. As if the deadly alien disease inside it is robbing him of reason and will, as well as his memories. What does he want her to know? That he’s dying? She won’t need a note to know that when one day, very soon, they spend the night making love and he doesn’t wake up the next morning. Just the thought makes him ill.

He opts for honesty.

Scully,

I don’t know where to start. I

 

He pauses, because how does one begin a letter like this?

I love you, is what he wants to say. If you find this after I’m gone, just know that I loved you. 

Why are the words so hard to write? It’s as if putting pen to paper, committing those three words to history makes this all real. And it will make it even harder for her to move on from him when the inevitable occurs. 

So much has been taken away from her since she met him all those years ago. Now he will be removing himself from her life as well. 

He pictures her smile, her eyes. He imagines the various curves of her body he’s seen so few times as he presses his fingers into her flesh, hearing her cry out his name, knowing every time might be the last time. 

He isn’t ready to do this, not yet.

He folds up the note and puts it in his pocket. He’ll finish it as soon as he figures out what the hell he’s going to say to her.

Recalibrating, he turns back to the work, back to the job at hand. In a few minutes she’ll show up and will never notice the scans, never think twice that they might be his, that there might be something wrong. He will feel guilty when he wraps himself around her in his bed tonight and thinks of what to tell her, what to say, how to say it, when to say it.

There has to be an end , Scully, he thinks. 

It’s the right thing to say. But she moves against him and sighs contentedly. She’s happy, and when she’s happy, he is, too. 

Soon he’ll have to break her heart, shatter it into a million pieces. 

But not tonight.


Chapter Text

 


“I can hear you, you know.”

His voice comes without warning, her own silence the only sound, deafening in her ears. She’s been laying in the dark for several minutes, chirping crickets outside, the big tree next to the house scraping its branches along the weathered exterior. Mulder’s soft breathing next to her.

“I didn’t say anything,” she points out.

“I know. But I can still hear you. I can feel you thinking.” He brings his face close, his warm breath at her neck. “You’re not as quiet as you think you are.”

He drags his lips across her tiny scar, breathing in deeply. 

She knows she isn’t fooling him, not entirely. The sound of her own reticence is as familiar to her ears as they are to his. But she doesn’t know what to say so she says nothing.

She really hopes he can’t hear what she’s thinking about. How he’d welcomed death so easily in that jail cell, as if she weren’t enough for him to simply live. How she feels as empty as their new house. 

How she can’t stop thinking about the extra room at the end of the hall; the room neither of them have mentioned yet.

How afraid she is that he doesn’t forgive her. 

She shivers, even though spring has certainly sprung and no more than a gentle breeze flutters the drapes against the open window. He pulls her closer.

“Everything okay?” he asks softly.

His arms wrap tightly around her. She pulls his hand to her lips, presses them against it.

“Everything is perfect,” she replies.

She lays nestled in his arms, in the still of the night, and tries to think more quietly.

 

Chapter Text

2008

 

“For better or for worse, as long as we both shall live.”

They say the words in a courthouse, little fanfare. Just another day, another step forward in their journey. 

Marriage has never really been off the table, but it’s a decadence; like caviar or a bottle of Dom. They’ll indulge, but uncomfortably, eyeing each other as they eye the door, waiting for some other normal couple to come in and take their place, shooing them away. 

It isn’t them, not really, but something about it tastes so good. 

No other couple interferes, however, as this moment belongs to them. Finally. The merging of two souls, before God for her, before the District of Columbia for him. 

It’s exactly the way they want it.

I now pronounce you husband and wife ” echoes inside the nearly empty room as she—breaking the standard protocol—cannot keep herself from him a moment longer and flings her arms around his neck, hugging him tightly. 

Mine, she tells him with her eyes as she leans back to look at him, smiling. 

And the words “kiss the bride ” barely escape the officiant’s lips before Mulder’s are on Scully’s, finally and insurmountably. 

The kiss is slow, passionate, his lips drinking from hers like that glass of champagne to which they are so unaccustomed. But they fall into it, taking their time, because in this moment there are no monsters, there are no aliens.

There is no darkness.

There is only the two of them and this kiss, the truth they both know. The truth they will always share.

It’s a million untaken chances, unfinished moments, the slowest of burns. It’s years of holding back truth while insisting to one another the truth is all they ever sought. 

It’s knowing that, although they have so much yet to face, in this moment they can finally begin anew together. 

There’s no way to know how much time has passed but the proverbial pin drops in the quiet room as Margaret Scully lets out a tiny gasp of delight, bringing her hands immediately to her mouth to stifle it, reticent to mar a moment such as this. She’s never seen these two so exposed; proclaimed to the world as one another’s, as if they haven’t already been for sixteen years.

They sink into the kiss as Mulder brings a hand up to Scully’s cheek, tenderly stroking the edge of her jaw with his thumb. The sleeve of his jacket tickles her neck and she laughs, her arms still around him, unwilling to let go, never, ever going to let go.

This is it, he tells her with his kiss. You and me, she tells him back. 

They walked into this courthouse as partners. They will walk out of it as partners.

Chapter Text

 

 

“Baby’s asleep, finally,” Mulder says, collapsing onto the bed facedown with a heavy sigh. Scully’s propped up against the headboard, furiously surfing her phone for baby sleep technique sites.

She sets the phone down and reaches out to rub his back, back and forth, across heather gray cotton. A tiny splotch of spit-up is nestled near his collar and scratchy stubble stealthily creeps down his neck towards scraggly ends that scream desperately needs a haircut.

To her, he’s never looked sexier.

“For now,” she groans. She hears a contented mmm into the comforter and the edge of his mouth quirks up.

“We should, too,” he mumbles, the sound muffled.

He’s right, so she shifts in the bed, gathering the sheets to let him slip underneath next to her, his arm automatically curling around her waist, his head nestled next to her chest, his soft breaths warm against her abdomen.

“Six weeks,” he moans. “I haven’t gone without a good night’s sleep in this long since…”

“…Ever?” she finishes for him, turning out the light. She snuggles down next to him as the room is plunged into darkness, holding his head close against her chest.

“Ha,” he replies half-heartedly. She knows as much as anyone he’s always been a troubled sleeper, although going strong at six weeks, their baby is giving him a run for his money. “You know what I mean. Stakeouts, even deep profiling. It was never like this.” 

“It’s got to be soon,” she says, shaking her head. “It was around six weeks with William.”

They’d been trudging through the so-called fourth trimester with as much aplomb as possible for autumn-aged parents. After the first few days her references to their son had stopped stinging and began actually helping. In any event, the baby still hadn’t slept through the night, and at the end of every day, they’d both silently wonder will this be the night?

“Let’s hope so,” he says. He’s so tired it comes out “lezzhopesuhhhh…” and she’s certain he’ll be snoring softly within minutes.

Absently, he traces circles on her rib cage, barely grazing the bottom part of her T-shirt which is riding high on her belly at the moment. She knows he isn’t intending it, but suddenly a desire awakens within her she hasn’t felt since before the birth.

His scent is overpowering, the heady fragrance of maleness washing over her and she thinks it entirely possible she’s never been so turned on by Fox Mulder in her life. 

Her nipples harden and a wave of arousal paints her inner thighs. Six weeks. Exactly what her doctor had told her. Goddamn, she thinks, it’s like clockwork.

“Mulder.”

Her voice isn’t as laced with urgency as she feels, and he seems to agree as he merely mmmms into her breast, although the vibrations only heighten her desire. 

She slides down in bed until they are face to face in the dark, and her hands grope in the blackness to find him, blindly planting soft kisses along his jawline, down to his neck. Her hands roam across his T shirt and she slips one underneath, desperate to feel his hot skin. 

He’s definitely awake now. “…Scully?”

She doesn’t answer but throws a leg over him, suddenly grinding her pelvis against his like a horny teenager, only slowly.

He slides her sleeve up her arm, baring it to the moonlight, tracing the curve with his fingers. He leans forward to kiss her shoulder, once, twice; tentative, as if asking permission.

“Yes,” she breathes in reply to his unspoken question. His hand travels down her body, carefully cupping the swell of a full breast, and she gasps in brief discomfort but only for a moment.

“Is this okay?” he asks. In answer she takes his hand and presses it more firmly against her, the pressure becoming part of her pleasure. It’s nice, so nice to grant him access again after weeks of her body being off limits.

“Just go slow,” she instructs.

His large hand palms her breast through the shirt, his fingers curving delicately, softly teasing a sore nipple. She moans softly, loving this, the feel of his hands on her again. She’s been so busy with the baby she’s barely had time to miss this, to miss sex. But God, she’s missed sex. She’s practically desperate for him. 

She knows they should go slow, her healing body demands it. But her desire is threatening to override her senses.

He seems to notice this incongruity and again pulls away at her sounds, mistaking her pleasure for pain. 

“It’s okay,” she whispers in the dark, the square of his jaw finally somewhat visible to her steadily adjusting eyes. He leans forward and plants a kiss to the center of her forehead.

“Tell me to stop,” he says, the “if it hurts” left unsaid.

“Don’t.”

His hand dips down, down, beneath the fabric of what she now remembers is his own T-shirt, until it finds the waistband of her panties, and she arches her body towards him, widening her legs as he slips inside so, so easily.

“Ready, are you?” she hears him grinning.

“Shut up, Mulder,” she gasps as he explores her with a single finger, sounds of an almost embarrassing slickness puckering around the tip. Oh God… she thinks, as he circles her most sensitive spot, so close to her apex already. It should hurt; she expected it to hurt but it doesn’t. 

Her hand shoots out to feel his throbbing erection through his shorts and he groans, “Fuck…” 

He needs this just as much as she does and she wants him to have it. She can’t go slow anymore.

She pushes down the waist of his shorts and grabs him fully, amazed at how hard he can still get so quickly; the seemingly endless virility of this man one of her very favorite blessings in an infrequently charmed life.

He removes his finger from her aching clit and plants both hands on either side of her head as he hovers above her. She reaches up to bring him down on top of her, taking a pull on his succulent bottom lip, enjoying the feel of his weight upon her. She coats her fingers with her own arousal, then strokes him as well, guiding him to where she knows he wants to go, to what she knows they both need badly.

“I’ve missed this,” she says, “even though it may not have seemed that way.”

“God, I know, Scully,” he replies, his tongue in her mouth. “I’ve missed you, too.” He pulls away briefly. “Maybe more than sleep, even.”

“Definitely more,” she agrees. “Now stop talking, Mulder.”

He grins, his familiar lopsided grin she can now see much more clearly in the moonlight, and gently drags the tip of his cock along her slit, testing her reaction. It doesn’t hurt.

“Oh,” she says, for no reason whatsoever other than her absolute surprise at this turn of events.

“Does that hurt?” he asks.

“No, please just do it,” she says, and he begins to slide into her slowly, almost excruciatingly slowly, not because he doesn’t trust her but because he doesn’t trust himself. She loves him for that.

Soon enough he is fully sheathed inside her and it’s as if she didn’t just give birth six weeks ago, as if nothing at all has changed, except there is a sleeping infant down the hall now that might wake up at any moment.

She grabs the flesh of his ass and pulls him into her, the urgency returning. He doesn’t seem to take the hint, however, as he leans down to kiss her again, sweeping her long hair out of her face, his kisses soft and tender. He pulls away to look into her eyes, and she can finally see his own reflecting the moonlight, and in this moment she pauses.

There is no urgency. The baby is sleeping, the man she loves is inside her and he wants to reconnect. 

She thinks of last time: how desperately they’d both needed this and neither could have it. 

Maybe slow is best.

She takes his face in her hands and pulls him down to pay him back in kind; kisses small but exquisite, as he moves within her, languid strokes. Heaven. 

There is no pain, only his love.

They finish uninterrupted, spasms rocking her quivering body and his own release following soon after. They lay tangled and sweaty in each other’s arms, even more exhausted than before.

She pants heavily for a moment, then declares, “We should probably go to sleep now,” rather unnecessarily.

He chuckles tiredly, kissing the top of her head, holding her close. “I don’t think that’s going to be a problem.” 

They drift off together, bathed in luminescence, and aren’t awakened by the baby until the sun is up.

Chapter Text




The wailing has been going on for hours. 

Maybe not hours, but to new parents minutes feel like hours; hours feel like days. 

Scully holds William close, tears forming in her eyes. She’s exhausted. She’s tried shushing, she’s tried swaddling, she’s tried soothing. The only “S” in this particular baby’s vernacular is apparently “screaming.”

She tries to nurse for the dozenth time, to no avail. He’s simply not having it right now.

“Shhh, there, there,” she whispers, closing her eyes to contain the tears, bouncing him on her shoulder. 

Shh, bounce . Shh, bounce . Shhhh…

“Give him to me,” Mulder’s voice comes, and he’s suddenly there, arms outstretched.

“It’s fine, Mulder, it’s okay.”

“Did you try the bullfrog song?”

“Yes, I tried the bullfrog song,” she snaps. He recoils at her abrupt tone. “I’m sorry, Mulder,” she says immediately, tears actively streaming. “This is just so hard… everyone tells you how hard this is but nothing can possibly prepare you for it.”

Mulder crouches down in front of her. “I know. Believe me, I had no idea, either.” He strokes the tiny infant’s head and smiles at her. “I think you’re doing an incredible job.”

She reaches out to touch his face. She can feel the scratchy stubble, smell his new-Dad scent. “You’ve been amazing,” she says, her voice hitching with emotion.

He smiles again and leans in to talk to William. “You know how brave your mom is?” he says, eyes flickering up to Scully. He winks. “She’s saved my ass so many times.”

“Mulder!” she scolds.

“Sorry, my… booty … so many times. From military bases, from monsters. From serial killers...” She gives him a stern look, you’ll give the kid nightmares , but realizes the impossibility of that happening and lets his voice do the magic it’s so often done on her. William’s fussing has subsided considerably.

“...And you know what, little guy? She did all of that on her own.”

Scully’s tears still stream, but they are happy tears now. Mulder has that power. 

He looks right at her. “She did it by herself. All by herself. Because she’s the bravest person I’ve ever met.”

Scully nods in understanding. Mulder stands slowly and leans in to kiss her, and she can almost feel the softness of his lips against hers when her eyes fly open and she is alone.

Mulder isn’t here. He hasn’t been here in weeks.

It’s okay, she thinks. I can do this. I’m the bravest person he’s ever met.