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Beyond the Realm of Science

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Dana Scully looked around her living room as she set her keys down on the table. It felt strange to her now, different in a way she couldn’t pinpoint. The events over the last week—the new assignment, the case, her partner—had all left an indelible yet undefinable impression on her. Something deep inside her had been awakened, but whatever that something was defied explanation—Scully was unable to put it in terms with which she was comfortable. Nothing that came before had challenged her quite like the X-Files had, not undergrad or med school or teaching. And personally, no one had challenged her like Agent Fox Mulder. 

 

It was thrilling, and her life up until recently had been seriously lacking in thrills. A strong sense of purpose rallied within her. With school, medicine, and her early career at Quantico, she had always had a sense of purpose, but nothing like what roused her now. She was meant to stare into the mysteries of the universe and find answers, and down in the vast recesses of her soul where these intense feelings had been forged, she knew she was meant to do this with Mulder at her side. 

 

Her quest might not be as personal as his, but she found herself committed to the journey, not knowing where it may take her. She had mapped out her life having a very clear vision of how it should go, but when the opportunity had come to shake all those definitive plans up, Scully had jumped. Rebellious by nature, she was rejecting the neat, little boxes she had made for herself. And now she questioned if she had wanted those things in the first place or if they were just the things she was supposed to want.

 

That was the strangeness she was feeling. The woman who had left this apartment to start her first day as an agent of the X-Files had thought she wanted a stable job with a ladder to climb and a glass ceiling to break. She thought she was happy in her relationship, thought that she and Ethan would get married, have kids, and grow old together. 

 

These life goals now felt foreign to her. With this new job, there was excitement and unpredictability, and there was more to break than glass ceilings—there were conspiracies to break wide open and Mulder’s theories to break down into logic and reason. Working closely with Mulder on this case had brought out feelings she had neglected and ignored, feelings that she was not happy with Ethan, that they were listlessly going through the motions of their expected coupledom. With Mulder she had come alive; with Ethan she was the walking dead. Along the way she had become too complacent with this status quo, and at the moment, she was a little pissed off at herself for falling so easily into something so boring and conventional.

 

An ache throbbed in the arch of her foot. How long had she been standing there contemplating her life choices? Scully eased down onto her sofa and had barely kicked one heel off when she heard the sound of keys in the lock. Disappointment surged inside of her and a different kind of ache permeated from her heart.

 

“Hey, babe,” Ethan said, leaning down to give her a peck on the lips. “You just get in?”

 

“Yeah.” She watched him make himself comfortable in her apartment, his jacket strewn untidily on a chair not even a foot away from the coat rack, his shoes had been toed off and left on the floor in the middle of the walkway between the coffee table and the couch. Irritation flared and she took a deep breath before standing and picking up his shoes to put them neatly by the door. Then she placed his jacket on the rack where it belonged before turning to him and questioning why he was here. “I thought you said you were working late.”

 

“I did. I was. It is late.” He chuckled at her like she was being daft. 

 

“You could’ve called.”

 

Ethan furrowed his brow. “You’re in a mood.”

 

Scully scoffed and resisted a roll of the eyes. His tone was reminiscent of how high school boys used to tease her, saying she must be “on the rag” whenever she dared to stand up for herself. She pushed her desired response of “fuck you” to the back and said, “I had a long, difficult day at work, Ethan. It’s not a ‘mood.’”

 

“Oh well, in that case, let’s crack some beers and relax. I had a long day, too.” He loosened the tie around his neck and put his socked feet up on the coffee table. 

 

Scully opened her mouth and then closed it. She did not want to get into an argument so she said nothing and walked past him down the hallway. He said something about the beers he expected her to retrieve from the fridge, but she ignored it, closing her bedroom door behind her. 

 

Undressing, she played the argument she didn’t want to have in her head. They were so predictable, she knew exactly how it would go. There would be the initial back and forth where he would make seemingly innocent remarks that would lay the foundation of his main contention: that his issues, wants, and needs were more important than hers. Ethan was skilled at debate and not in the fun, easy way she had found that to be with Mulder. Not that arguing with Mulder’s theories was actually easy, but she never felt slighted at their difference of opinion nor did Mulder use underhanded comments or twist her words to make his points. Ethan would often get manipulative whenever he was slightly challenged, and sometimes he would become downright petty and mean. Maybe tonight it wouldn’t have devolved into that, but at the moment she had no patience for even the mildest of bickering. And she really hoped he wouldn’t bring up the subject of their canceled vacation again. She had told him they would reschedule it once she got back from Oregon, but when she did, she found she no longer had the desire to go on a romantic getaway with him.

 

She slipped into her pajamas, the smooth silk feeling cool and soothing against her skin. Ethan knocked lightly before opening the door and coming into the room with two bottles of beer, the necks clasped between his fingers. The semi-polite gesture made her soften and she returned his unassuming smile as she took the proffered beer from him. “How about one of my famous neck rubs?” he suggested in an attempt to solidify the truce he was obviously trying to make. 

 

Scully sat on the bench at the end of her bed and he climbed up behind her. She now held both their beers and she took a long pull from one before settling between his legs. He was really good at giving massages and she was so tense right now. Ethan started at the base of her neck and slowly worked outward and down, stopping to focus on knots when he felt them. One particularly ornery knot near her right shoulder blade required more attention and she could feel his frustration start to build at not being able to work it out. She let out an undetectable sigh and handed him his beer over her shoulder. “Thanks,” she murmured, signaling to him that he could end his efforts. They finished their beers and got ready for bed in silence. It seemed to her that Ethan took this as a comfortable silence, but to Scully, it was not—it was uncomfortable and stifling. Her thoughts from before kept turning over in her head. 

 

When she pictured her future, even just months ahead of her, there was no Ethan. There was, however, her new partner. Mulder had somehow crept into her soul and set up camp. She was already making space for him and doing so willingly—enthusiastically. This had happened easily and rather quickly. They had sparred at their first meeting, but their rapport was amiable and respectful and had developed that way naturally. That connection was only strengthened as they worked the case. Then she had turned to him when she feared she had the marks and he reciprocated that display of trust by confiding in her about his sister and his goals for the X-Files. She felt honored that he trusted her that way and wondered if he felt the same while simultaneously hoping that he didn’t think she was silly for running to him and stripping down over a couple of mosquito bites. Mulder hadn’t made her feel embarrassed about it, quite the contrary, in fact—he had been comforting and reassuring. And maybe a little bit flirtatious? Or perhaps that was her hoping again. 

 

Scully got into bed next to her boyfriend, not the man who had been occupying most of her thoughts tonight. Her thoughts regarding Ethan had not been positive lately and her feelings for him were tepid at best. The cooling of their relationship had started a while ago, her career change and introduction to Fox Mulder simply shined a light on it. A smile played on her lips as an image crossed her mind of the two of them in the rainy Oregon forest, the beams of their flashlights bouncing, flirting, occasionally kissing in the darkness. This memory might be spooky to some, but Scully recalled it with a certain romanticism, and a tingly warmth flooded her chest.

 

The feeling vanished when Ethan cuddled up behind her and she shivered in its absence. “Let me warm you up,” he whispered, thinking she was cold, and Scully stiffened. He started kissing her and touching her, and to her dismay, her body responded. It was a natural, biological response, she reasoned, it had nothing to do with prurient thoughts about her partner that had strayed into inappropriate territory more times than she cared to admit.

 

The kissing turned to sex and it was as mechanical as it had been for months. Her lack of passion did not go unnoticed and they both reached reluctant climaxes with an underlying sadness. She knew this was their last time and she suspected Ethan knew that as well. They didn’t say anything afterward. Ethan pushed the hair on her cheek back and looked deep into her eyes. He must’ve seen it, the end of them—realization was etched onto his face; he nodded solemnly and slid off of her, putting considerable space between them.

 

Not even an hour later he was curled up to her backside with an arm draped over her as he slept soundly, probably out of habit. His presence was heavy to her, and that along with her restless mind made sleep difficult to come by. The bright moon shone through the blinds striping her in dark and light, like bars on a jail cell. In the morning she would break free. Her relationship with Ethan had come to an end. The phone rang and she answered it. Her new beginning was on the line. 

 

Mulder. 

 

Her heart raced. She kept her responses vague. Ethan stirred behind her, asking if it was anyone important. “Just work,” she said, wanting an innocuous answer to lull him back to sleep.

 

Scully got up very early, much earlier than usual. She showered and dressed, ready to make her escape as soon as she ended it with Ethan. Sitting on the edge of the bed, she gently nudged him awake. “Ethan.” He blinked his eyes open. “Ethan, we need to talk.”

 

He sat up, shaking his head. “No, we don’t.” She looked at him quizzically. “I know it’s over,” he said, avoiding her gaze.

 

“I’m sorry,” Scully said, softly.

 

“Me too.” She stood and hesitated, shifting her feet. He released them from the awkwardness. “I’ll, uh, leave my key and lock the door behind me.”

 

Scully nodded. “Take care, Ethan.”

 

“Yeah.” He ran his hand through his sleep-mussed hair and then finally made eye contact with her. “Yeah, Dana, you too.”

 

Bittersweet—light on the bitter, heavy on the sweet. They had been together for almost a year so there were definitely sad feelings, but the relief she felt was incredible. Nothing was holding her back now, not even herself; she was free to go down this new path and see where it might take her. Her future was a mystery, the path before her drenched in blackness, but knowing Mulder would be there to walk alongside her, flashlight in hand, made her feel more confident about her choices.

 

The basement office was dark but not empty when she arrived almost two hours before her scheduled time. Gray light came through the lone window, reflecting a similar clouded expression on the face of Fox Mulder.

 

He looked at her and then at his watch. “I know I’m early,” she said. “Is it… is it okay that I’m early?”

 

“Yeah, Scully, of course.” He watched her set her briefcase down and hang up her coat. Scooting back in his chair, he opened one of the desk drawers. “I cleared out this drawer for you.”

 

“Oh.” She patted the pockets of her blazer as if to find something to put in it. “Uh, thank you.”

 

“Sorry if it was late when I called last night,” he said, standing and coming around the desk.

 

“No, it was fine.” 

 

Mulder nodded, staring at her for a long beat before going to the back corner of the office. Once he was out of her view he called back out to her, “I thought maybe your boyfriend would mind or something.” 

 

That caught her off guard, but she was able to compose her face by the time he came back carrying a chair for her. 

 

“Thank you,” she said, gesturing at the chair. “Uh, I... uh, I don’t have a boyfriend.” His brow furrowed. “Did you..?”

 

He gave her a sheepish look. “I mean, it should come as no surprise that I’m paranoid, right?”

 

Maybe she should’ve been bothered by the fact that he had done some background digging on her, but she wasn’t. She regarded him thoughtfully, noticing a tinge of pink on the apple of his cheeks. “Well, it’s a new development, the no boyfriend thing. As of this morning, in fact.” She could feel her own cheeks coloring now.

 

Mulder’s eyes widened. “It’s because I called, isn’t it?”

 

Scully huffed out a laugh. “No, it was a long time coming.” 

 

“Probably for the best,” he said, resting back on the edge of the desk. “It’s hard to have a life working this detail. I certainly don’t have one.”

 

“That’s supposed to make me feel better?” she joked. 

 

“Guess not,” he said, grinning at her.

 

The air kept changing in the room as they dissipated the awkwardness with their lighthearted banter, but the charged tension would return in the spaces and pauses. They were still in the ‘getting to know one another’ phase although their interactions prior well surpassed such banalities. 

 

They moved at the same time, Scully taking a step toward the chair and Mulder standing away from the desk. He stepped on her toe causing her to fall into him, and then he steadied them both with his hands on her waist. “Shit, sorry,” he said.

 

Scully gripped his forearms, his bare forearms—he had the sleeves of his dress shirt rolled up. “It’s okay. I’m fine.”

 

“You sure?” he asked, leaning back a little to see her face. She nodded and seemed to get lost in his eyes. He noticed this because he found himself lost in hers. “I’m not used to sharing my-- uh, the office,” stumbled Mulder, but he quickly added, “I’m glad you’re here, though.”

 

“Really?” It came out in a self-conscious squeak.

 

“Yeah, Scully, I am,” he said, his voice breathy and low. 

 

If the air felt charged before, it was a full-on electrical storm now. Mulder could swear he saw cracks of white lightning in her midnight blue irises. Neither of them said anything about the way they held each other nor did they make any move to break the contact. He brushed a lock of hair back and tucked it behind her ear.

 

He did start to shift away from her as he felt the evidence of his arousal harden between his legs, but she didn’t let him get far, stretching up on her tiptoes to place a chaste kiss on his lips. Scully gasped against his mouth, shocked at her own audacity but also at how warm and soft and wonderful his lips felt on hers. The thought to pull back and apologize profusely had barely entered her mind when his grip on her waist tightened and he kissed her back.

 

Passion took over for both of them from there. Exes and sneaky background checks and awkward pauses were instantly forgotten. Do you believe in the existence of extraterrestrials? No, she didn’t, but she believed in whatever this was, this chemistry, this connection—it was irrefutable, undeniable. There were, in fact, answers beyond the realm of science, she was in that realm now, inside the hottest, most passionate kiss she had ever had. 

 

He couldn’t believe he was kissing her, that she had kissed him! The urge to feel her lips under his, to taste her, to touch her without the guise of workplace professionalism had plagued him countless times since the moment when he had first shaken her hand—when she was anxious over turbulence on the plane to Oregon, when he caught her nerding out in her room over the evidence but she tried to play it cool, when they lost nine minutes, when she dropped her robe to have him look at some harmless mosquito bites (especially then), when he confided in her about Samantha, when they stood laughing and howling in the rain and the mud, and every time she looked at him like he was crazy but stayed by his side anyway, pushing him to prove his theories.

 

Mulder believed in a lot of things, but his own luck was not one of them. He had never been lucky in love, and whatever was happening here with this beautiful, little, red-headed scientist felt so far beyond luck—it was kismet, fate, and destiny all rolled into one—luck with an out-of-this-world spin on it. “Scully,” he moaned with her bottom lip trapped between his teeth. He kissed down her neck. “Oh my god, Mulder,” she breathed out, her fingers sliding through the soft down of his hair. All coherent thought evaporated along with the heat coming off their skin. That small, lonely, rectangular window would be fogged up in no time. 

 

This was wrong, this was misconduct, she could be fired for this, but Dana Scully was a rebellious rule-follower, meaning that she would skirt law and order only with very good reason, and following her heart was a good and sound reason as any—maybe the most fundamental reason of all. She rarely allowed herself to do it, that was how she had mapped out that boring life which she had only left behind an hour ago; that had been her brain choosing the safe route. She didn’t want safe anymore. She wanted debates over lost time in the pouring rain and late-night talks in crappy motel rooms. She wanted this—the two of them acting on their mutual lust and respect. 

 

Scully had gotten so caught up in these grand, sweeping sentiments that she missed Mulder unbuttoning her blouse, but she was brought back to blissful reality when his mouth closed over her lace-covered nipple, and she hissed loudly, “Fuck!” The sound bounced off the cement surfaces of the basement office, echoing as if the walls were chanting and cheering them on. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.

 

She snuck her hand down between him and palmed his erection. She could feel how hot and hard he was through the layers of fabric. His hips bucked as she scratched her nails across his impressive bulge. This foreplay was intense, but what they hadn’t realized was that almost every minute of their time together from their first meeting until now had been some sort of foreplay, mental and soulful as well as physical. They were both more than ready to become partners on this level, to express their trust in each other through touch. Scully’s sex was dripping wet and Mulder felt as though his dick would rip right through the wool-blend material of his Armani slacks like the goddamn Hulk.

 

They hastily removed just enough clothing so they weren’t restricted, both single-minded with their goal of having Mulder’s cock deep inside Scully. He looped his arm under her knee and pressed her ass against the desk as she lined up his length to her entrance. Teamwork. Mulder made sure their eyes were locked as he pushed himself through her slick, warm folds. It grounded her—she had one unsteady, heeled foot on the floor and her fucking mind was in outer space—she needed that connection and he knew it, he needed it, too.

 

He pounded into her, spurred on by her breathy encouragements. It was mostly “yeses” and her lord’s name in vain, but when she told him “you feel so good inside me” he nearly lost it. Mulder gripped her hard behind the neck and crashed their mouths together, teeth clashing, tongues wet and sliding sloppily around each other. 

 

Sex had never been this good before, not with Ethan, not with anyone. Her analytical mind had trouble fathoming this amount of pleasure. Just add it to the growing list of implausible phenomena she wouldn’t be able to explain but would experience for herself. “Oh god.” Her head fell to his shoulder. “I’m gonna come, oh god, yes, Mulder!”

 

This raspy whispered panting drove him wild. Mulder had developed a certain fondness for her voice already. He liked hearing her spout off scientific lingo and medical jargon even if it was intended to prove him wrong. But, this—throaty, sultry sex talk in the throes of passion—made his balls seize up and his dick harder than it had ever been before. He tried his damnedest to hold off his climax until she was able to first, but one more sentence like that last one would surely send him over the edge.

 

That unbelievable luck of his continued because Scully had become so consumed with her building orgasm that she could no longer complete sentences, she could barely form words. “Muh--”

 

He felt her cunt tighten around him and a gush of warm fluid. Holy shit. He had never experienced a woman coming so fiercely before, feeling every ripple of pleasure coursing through her. It triggered his own intense release and he came inside her, his hips spasming uncontrollably, a primal grunt ripping from his throat. 

 

Mulder held her closely to him as they came down from their shared high, heavy breaths eventually evened out, but he still didn’t want to let her go. He did, though, reluctantly easing off her. Before pulling his pants up, he reached behind her, grabbed a box of tissues, and handed it to her. Then they began redressing in silence, but the shy glances between them served as a form of communication, muted messages to each other that neither of them regretted what had just happened. They were already well-versed in this unspoken eye language they had developed, fluent in loaded looks and candid gazing.

 

“I guess we should get to work,” Scully said; the smirk on her lips was the only thing that gave away that they had just engaged in a torrid sex act in the basement of a federal building. Agent Scully was back and neatly put together in her power suit, not a single red hair out of place. 

 

Mulder admired her natural grace. He didn’t need a mirror to know that he wasn’t quite as composed as she was. His clothes were rumpled, his cheeks still felt hot, and he couldn’t wipe the dopey smile off of his face—he looked how he felt, smitten. “I mean it, Scully. I’m really glad you’re here.”