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A Slightly Different Path

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The book slammed down onto the desk with a heavy thud. It registered to him, but only insomuch that he realized he had slid down in his chair and needed to readjust his positioning. He looked over the top of the book and saw Scully. He offered her no words as he pulled himself up into a more comfortable position. 

He saw her in his peripheral, standing up on the desk and looking up through the basement windows. He paid her no attention, but continued to read the book in front of him. 

“Mulder, it is such a gorgeous day outside,” she said with longing. “Do you ever entertain the idea of trying to find life on this planet?” 

“I have seen the life on this planet, Scully, and that is exactly why I am looking elsewhere,” he said, as he turned the page in the book. A crinkling sound got his attention, and he looked over to see Scully taking an ice cream from a brown paper bag, opening it, and taking a bite. 

“Did you bring enough ice cream to share with the rest of the class?” he asked with disbelief as she seemed to have forgotten about him. 

“It's not ice cream,” she said smugly, as though she had bested him. “It's a nonfat tofutti rice dreamsicle.”

“Ugh. Bet the air in my mouth tastes better than that,” he said, with a disgusted face. “You sure know how to live it up, Scully.”

“Oh, you're Mr. Live-it-up,” Scully said as she started to step down off the desk. “Mulder, you're really Mr. “Squeeze every last drop out of this sweet life,” aren’t you?  On this precious Saturday you've got us grabbing life by the testes, stealing reference books from the FBI library in order to go through New Mexico newspaper obituaries for the years 1940 to 1949. And for what joyful purpose?” She stopped speaking and her words amused and aroused him.

“Looking for anomalies, Scully. Do you know how many so-called "flying disc" reports there were in New Mexico in the 1940s?” Ready to tell her, she interrupted him. 

“I don't care. Mulder, this is a needle in a haystack. These poor souls have been dead for 50 years. Let them rest in peace. Let sleeping dogs lie,” she said, and he could hear her silent challenge. 

“Well, I won't sit idly by as you hurl cliches at me. Preparation is the father of inspiration,” he said, throwing it back at her. 

“Necessity is the mother of invention.”

“The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom.”

“Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we may die,” she said, with a mischievous smile as she took another bite. 

“I scream, you scream, we all scream for nonfat tofutti rice dreamsicles,” he said, setting the book down and lunging for the cone. He grabbed her arm and held it as he took a bite. 

“No-ho-ho-ho-ho-ho!” Scully yelled, with laughter in her voice. “Mulder!” The cone broke and fell onto the page of the book as they tussled with it. 

“Mulder!? You cheat,” she said, looking at him with a smile, as she licked the remnants of the dreamsicle off her fingers. “I can't believe that you've been reading about baseball this whole time.” 

“Reading the box scores, Scully. You'd like it. It's like the Pythagorean Theorem for jocks. It distills all the chaos and action of any game in the history of all baseball games into one tiny, perfect, rectangular sequence of numbers,” he told her, trying to explain his fascination to her; to share his passion for something he had loved for so long. “I can look at this box and I can recreate exactly what happened on some sunny summer day back in 1947. It's like the numbers talk to me, they comfort me. They tell me that even though lots of things can change, some things do remain the same. It's...

“Boring.” 

“Boring? How can you say that? Here, look,” he said, quickly wiping off the book and going back a few pages, to one he had been reading a few minutes ago. “Ah, here it is. Look right here. See the runs, hits, the score. Inning 3 was exceptionally interesting. And it went to extra innings. That’s always exciting. Plus, you know it was more … scrappy back then, so I’m sure some kind of fist fight broke out during the course of the game.” He looked at the box score again and he smiled. He could almost smell the grass and feel the heat of the sun on his skin as he watched the game in his mind. 

“So,” Scully said beside him, bringing him back to the present in their air conditioned basement office that smelled of … well, Scully, if he was being honest. He could smell her above anything else, especially standing as close as he was now. “So … I’ve been up and down many flights of stairs, lugging those huge books around, while you’ve been sitting here reading about baseball? Imagining some sunny day as you ate popcorn and watched men hitting balls with sticks? Am I understanding that properly?” Her eyebrows were up and he knew he was in trouble. 

“Not the whole time,” he said, and if it was possible, her eyebrows went up higher. “Really, Scully, I was looking for anomalies. I am looking for them.” 

“Buuut …” she drawled out. 

He sighed and dropped his head. “I was also looking at box scores.” 

“While I …” she prompted. 

“Carried large and heavy books up and down the stairs,” he said as he looked up at her. She nodded, a smile spreading across her lips before her tongue ran across them. He moaned internally as he watched her, wondering how her lips would taste. 

“So,” she said again, stepping away from him and gesturing with her arm for him to walk ahead of her. “You’ve not only made me do most of the work, on a Saturday, in a business suit, but broken up my tofutti rice dreamsicle. You owe me a new one, so let’s do it, Baseball Boy.” She waved her hand again and stared at him, her eyebrows way up. He narrowed his eyes at her and shook his head. She snapped her fingers and pointed, causing him to sigh. 

“Fine,” he said, stepping past her and grabbing his jacket off the coat rack. “But we’re getting real ice cream, because that tofutti shit is awful. I think the air in my mouth actually tastes worse now. How do you eat those? Ugh.” 

“Well, I didn’t really get to eat much of it as you so kindly wrestled it out of my hand,” she snorted, as they walked out the door and she closed and locked it behind her. He nodded at the janitor and heard her say hello again as they made their way to the stairs. 

“Well,” he said, as they then walked to the elevator and he pushed the up button. “I did you a favor then, because that was disgusting and you should never eat it again. Ever.” She smiled at him and once again licked her lips, making him exhale loudly and wish the elevator would hurry the hell up. 

Two elevator rides later, they walked into the parking garage and over to his car, with her telling him he was driving and treating her to an afternoon away from the office. 

“The whole afternoon? You said ice cream,” he deadpanned, having no intention to go back to the office now that they were outside of it, but not wanting her to know just yet. “Scully, there are still two or three books waiting to be gone through on my desk.” She stopped walking and stared at him. Oh, eyebrows down, no smile. 

Backtrack man, backtrack, he thought. 

“Fine, Scully. The afternoon is yours, what do you wish to do?” He bowed slightly and she hummed in the affirmative, her heels clicking along the concrete once again. Raising his head, he grinned at her back as she walked to the passenger side and waited for him to unlock the door. 

He hurried over and unlocked it, both of them getting inside. Putting on their seatbelts, she looked at him with a smirk. “Ice cream first. You need to begin your payment. I carried four books up and down the stairs. If each book weighed about twenty pounds -”

“Twenty pounds,” he snorted. 

“Yeah, twenty pounds,” she insisted as she stared at him, and he looked away with a smile as he shook his head. “That’s eighty pounds total. If you’re going to make it up to me, well, you’re in serious debt right now. So, ice cream first and then we’ll see what else you can do to work off your payment.” He looked at her and she raised one eyebrow, smiling saucily. 

He wondered if she would still be smiling if she could read his mind and see the sudden thoughts running wild in there. Naked thoughts, of his fingers trailing across her soft skin as she moaned into his mouth, her tongue wrapped around his. 

“Mulder?” she said, a curious look on her face. He cleared his throat and turned on the car, backed up, and put it in drive. 

“Ice cream first,” he agreed, hoping the cold treat would lower his temperature. But then she arched her back, sticking out her chest as she adjusted her position. He could picture his face between her breasts as his hands mapped out terrain he never wanted to leave. 

Blood, the smell of the sewer, pustules, he thought, turning out of the parking garage and heading to the nearby ice cream shop, trying to calm his racing pulse. 

___________________

“I won’t be able to finish all of this, Mulder,” she said, looking at her ice cream skeptically. “No chance. So it looks like your debt still holds.” Lifting her spoon to her mouth, she gave him a look as she took a dainty bite. 

“Whatever you don’t eat, I’ll finish, so we’re square,” he said with a wink. She widened her eyes in response, looking at her bowl full of ice cream and then his, shaking her as she did. “You don’t think I can?” 

“I don’t think you should,” she said, shaking her head. “You’ll get a stomach ache for sure.” 

“Well, then I guess you better eat up,” he said, gesturing with his chin for her to get back to her treat. She sighed and took another bite, bigger than the last. He nodded at her and suddenly she reached up and ran her thumb across his lips. He froze at the feel of her warm fingers on his cool mouth and he stared at her as she looked at his lips. 

“You’ve got hot fudge just there,” she told him as she wiped at it and then stuck her finger in her mouth, sucking off the chocolate, humming as she did. His brain short circuited and he forgot to breathe, letting out a large puff of air when he did remember to do so. She looked at him strangely, but said nothing. 

Flukemen, Frohike shirtless, aliens ripping themselves from inside a person's body, he repeated over and over in his mind as he felt his jeans tighten, thoughts of that chocolate sauce being used in different ways firing into his synapses. Scully continued to eat her ice cream, oblivious to any of his discomfort.

When he was sure he could function normally, he began to eat his ice cream, the hot fudge cooled and thicker than it had been at first bite. He ate it all, even lifting the bowl and drinking the melted bit at the bottom, much to Scully’s horror. He set the bowl down and wiped his mouth on a napkin. 

He glanced at Scully’s bowl and raised his eyebrows. “Do you need me to finish that for you or …” She shook her head and ate the last couple of bites. “Aww, Scully, see? I knew you could do it.” He winked at her again and she rubbed her stomach, grimacing as she did. 

“When this inevitably begins to make my stomach hurt, you’re going to hear about it,” she told him, standing up and wiping off her hand. She picked up their trash and disposed of it, walking back to their table. 

He stood up and stretched, rubbing his stomach, and grabbed his jacket. They walked outside and he let her lead the way to their next adventure. 

They found themselves in a park with an open air art festival and she smiled at Mulder as she raised her eyebrows. He shrugged and they continued inside. Music and food was available as well, but the scent of meat and spices made his stomach turn. 

“Best not tell Scully,” he muttered under his breath. She had stopped a few feet from him watching a play some children were performing about the importance of spring. 

They were singing and dancing, dressed as flowers and bees. Mulder had no idea what they were saying, his eyes only on Scully. She was smiling and laughing at the antics of the children and suddenly he saw her bleeding to death on his living room floor, the choking stench of blood overpowering. He shook his head and blinked his eyes as she awwwed at something one of the little flowers did on stage. 

She’s right there. She’s not bleeding out. Touch her and see, he told himself firmly. Reaching for her elbow, he sighed when it was solid and she smiled at him in question. He shook his head and looked at the children, keeping his fingers on her elbow, needing to keep a hold on her to know for certain. 

Applause rang out and he moved his hand to clap along with the crowd. She motioned for them to continue to the art and he nodded. Many different booths were set up, along with portable walls, the art hanging from them. 

Children, animals, fruit, sunsets, beach scenes, and many others were depicted in drawings, paintings, and even small sculptures. Scully’s smile was ever present as she looked at everything, but one in particular he noticed she kept returning to and he stopped to watch her look at it. 

It was a smallish sized painting of a house, nothing special about it, but a house that seemed to draw her eye. The sky was the golden hour of sunset when the air seemed to shine and make everything beautiful; beachgrass bent over in front of the house, as though the wind was pushing it. A rocking chair sat on the porch, a colorful quilt hanging on the back. 

“It’s peaceful, isn’t it?” Scully asked quietly. “It’s like a place where nothing bad could happen. Everyone is probably down at the beach, packing up from their day out in the warm air. The kids are tired and brown from the sun, their hair tousled, feet covered in sand. The adults are wrestling and cursing all the extremely important items they brought with them.” She sighed and smiled softly, staring at the painting. 

Mulder could picture everything she described. The voices calling to one another as they walked the path to the house, tired, but the memories of the day sealed in their minds. They would not remember the exhaustion later, only the fun, and the way the sun bounced off the water. 

“But what we don’t see,” he added softly, “their grandmother, who doesn’t get around as well as she used to, just left that rocking chair to check on the meal she’s been preparing. A delicious garden salad, fried chicken, and an apple pie for dessert.” She turned to him with a smile and he shrugged. “I mean, why not?” He smiled at her and she nodded, her arm looping through his, to his surprise. 

“Mulder, you truly do keep unfolding like a flower,” she teased, and he chuckled softly with a nod. 

They kept on, looking at the paintings, separating as they found different things that drew their eye. When they reached the end of the festival, she motioned for them to keep walking and he nodded. 

“See, Mulder?” Scully said, taking off her blazer and folding it over her arm. “Isn’t this better than being in that stuffy basement office?” He shrugged and she hit his arm with a shake of her head. 

“It’s nice I suppose, not very …” 

“Alien?” she joked, and he shrugged again. “Mulder, not everything has to be an anomaly or unexplainable. Can’t you just enjoy a gorgeous spring day?” 

“I am,” he said defensively, and she laughed. He extended his arm and she took it again as they walked through the park. 

People walked past, children laughing as people picnicked on the grass and on nearby benches. Spying an empty one, she steered them toward the bench and they lay their jackets across the back before they sat down. 

“Life is meant to be lived, Mulder, not only read about in a book. No matter how interesting the box scores may be.” She smiled and he leaned back, crossing his arms with his eyebrows raised. 

“I never said I wouldn’t enjoy being outside, Scully, just that it tended to lack a certain … paranormal bouquet,” he said, his eyes on hers. 

“Mmm-hmm,” she said, smiling at him as she leaned back, closed her eyes, and took a deep breath. 

The warm wind whipped quickly and her hair blew into her face. He reached out before she had a chance and moved it, tucking it behind her ear. Her eyes opened as he did and she stared at him, her expression unreadable. Clearing his throat, he moved his hand and leaned back, his hands in his lap. Her eyes closed again and he watched her relaxing in the warm afternoon sun. 

“What do you say to getting some dinner later?” she asked a little while later, both of them companionably silent. Looking at him, she smiled and he nodded. “I’d like to change first though, as being in a work suit is not my favorite thing to wear on a Saturday,” she said, rising from the bench and giving him a look. 

“No one said you had to wear a suit,” he told her, standing up with her, grabbing both of their jackets. Giving him another look, he nodded, knowing that not appearing professional would not fly with her. “Okay, we’ll head back and, sure, dinner sounds good.” 

Dropping her back at her car, she smiled as she drove away. He decided to go back inside and put away the books they had taken out. No reason to leave them out and hear her complaints about them come Monday. 

He smiled as he began to stack the books, grimacing at the ice cream spots on the pages, hoping they would not get called out on them. 

“Well, not ice cream,” he laughed, reaching to check the pages when he saw a picture that stopped him in his tracks. “Is that Arthur Dales?” Looking closer, he saw that it was. His head snapped up and made sure no one was around before he ripped the page from the book. 

He grabbed his jacket and put the page in his pocket. The books were left on the desk as he walked out the door, Scully’s gasp at him defacing government property almost audible in the empty office. Closing and locking the door, he headed to Arthur’s place, the dinner plans with Scully completely forgotten. 

_____________

Hours later, the story Arthur told him still filling him with bittersweet feelings, he stood in the ball field, the shirt from Arthur worn proudly on his back. The machine he rented was set up and Poorboy stood ready to pitch them out for him, a big smile on his face. 

“Ten bucks an hour, Mister,” he reminded Mulder as he started to walk toward home plate. 

“Sheesh kid, I know. You ain’t cheap,” he said, shaking his head and looking back at Poorboy, who grinned wider. 

Walking on, he glanced around but did not see Scully. He had called her, leaving a message with her answering service. He hoped she would get it and decide to come and meet him. After that story, he wanted to share something he loved with her, as she had done with him today. 

He knew Scully enjoyed nice things. Her apartment was beautifully decorated and comfortable. She liked art museums and old books, but he was not sure if she had ever hit a baseball just for the fun of it. If she had ever experienced the feeling of contact with the ball as it sailed far into the outfield. 

Tonight, he was hoping to share that with her. 

“All right, Poorboy,” Mulder called out, his toes digging at home plate, taking a few practice swings. “I’m ready.” A ball was placed in the machine and it shot out, flying quickly toward him. He swung and missed, digging at home plate again. 

More balls flew his way and he hit and missed them equally, not caring if he did or not. He found that all he zeroed in on was the anticipation of the ball and the feeling of impact when he hit it with the bat. The sound of it was like beautiful music and he got lost in the melody, thoughts of anything else far from his mind. 

“So, uh... I get this message marked "urgent" on my answering service from one Fox Mantle, telling me to come down to the park for a very special, very early or very late birthday present. And, Mulder... I don't see any nicely wrapped presents lying around, so what gives?” He heard Scully saying behind him and he smiled, happy she decided to meet him. 

“You've never hit a baseball, have you, Scully?” he asked her, hitting another ball. 

“No, I guess I have, uh... found more necessary things to do with my time than... slap a piece of horsehide with a stick,” she said rather condescendingly as he hit a foul ball. 

“Get over here, Scully,” he said, turning to look at her over his shoulder. She uncrossed her arms and pushed from the backstop, walking toward him as he held the bat out for her. He stepped behind her, wrapping his arms around her tightly, holding the bat with her as she took it from him. 

“This my birthday present, Mulder?” she asked him warily. “You shouldn't have.”

“This ain't cheap. I'm paying that kid ten bucks an hour to shag balls,” he said, close to her ear, gesturing to Poorboy. 

“Hey, it's not a bad piece of ash, huh?” he teased, and Scully turned to give him a look, one he knew too well. “The bat- talking about the bat.” She turned back slightly and he smiled. 

“Now, don't strangle it. You just want to shake hands with it. "Hello, Mr. Bat. It's a pleasure to make your acquaintance." "Oh, no, no, Ms. Scully. The pleasure's all mine." She laughed his name and he was thrilled by it. 

“Okay, now, we want to... we want to go hips before hands, okay?” he said, moving his hand close to her hip, but careful not to touch her. “We want to stride forward and turn. That's all we're thinking about. So, we go hips... before hands, all right?” This time he did touch her hip lightly with his hand, while using his own hips to turn her body the right way. 

“Okay,” she agreed. 

“One more time,” he said, wanting to see if he could actually get away with being so bold. He touched her hip with more pressure and he would swear on a stack of bibles that he heard her gasp. “Hips... before hands, all right?” Her gasp ringing in his ears and causing his heart to race. 

“Yeah,” she agreed again. 

“What is it?” he asked, wanting to hear her say it. 

“Hips before hands,” she said, and it settled in his memory. 

“Right,” he said, very close to her ear. “We're going to wait on the pitch. We're going to keep our eye on the ball. Then, we're just going to make contact. We're not going to think. We're just going to let it fly, Scully, okay?” 

“Mm-hmm,” she nodded. 

“Ready?” 

He tried to readjust their grip on the bat, moving his hands down to how they should be, while also messing around with her. Both of them struggling for the space and he grinned. 

“I'm in the middle,” Scully said, and he did it a bit more, loving the feeling of not being them for a moment, but silly and free. She got her hands back between his and he could hear her smile and laugh 

“All right, fire away, Poorboy,” he called out and a ball flew their way as they swung at it together. They made contact but it was definitely a foul. 

“Ooh! That's good,” he said, hearing her laugh. “All right, what you may find is you concentrate on hitting that little ball... the rest of the world just fades away, all your everyday, nagging concerns-” Scully giggled as they got ready to hit another ball. 

“The ticking of your biological clock,” he said, as they landed another hit.

“How you probably couldn't afford that nice, new suede coat on a G-Woman's salary,” he said, letting her know he had noticed her new coat, saying without words that it looked nice on her. Another crack of the bat and he felt that happiness he had earlier, but doubled now that she was there with him. 

“How you threw away a promising career in medicine…” he all but whispered into her ear. “To hunt aliens with a crackpot, albeit brilliant, partner.” She turned her head and gave him another patented Scully look. 

“Getting into the heart of a global conspiracy. Your obscenely overdue triple-X bill. Oh, I... I'm sorry, Scully. Those last two problems are mine, not yours,” he said, keeping it light as they hit another ball. 

“Shut up, Mulder,” she said and he could hear the smile in her voice. “I'm playing baseball.” Another swing and she laughed as they hit the ball. Over and over, they did it, her laughter ringing out in the night air. 

His love for baseball had been a part of him most of his life. Now he shared it with her, literally sharing a bat between them as they hit the balls into the middle of the field. He made to step back, giving her a turn on her own, but she gave him another look, and his grip tightened on the bat once again. 

So much had happened recently, their lives flipped upside down, but she was there with him, laughing and enjoying herself. The feel of her in his arms made him happier than he had been in a very long time. 

When the last ball had been hit and Poorboy put up his empty hands, they laughed as they dropped the bat and stepped apart. She pushed her hair out of her face, wearing a huge smile, as she turned to look at Mulder and then out to Poorboy, who was running around collecting the baseballs. 

“We should help him, Mulder,” she said softly, her smile still in place. “He’s a child and that’s a lot of balls.” He grinned at her and she gave him a teasing look as she walked away, her hips swinging more than usual. 

Hips before hands indeed, he thought, his eyes unable to look away until she squatted down to pick up a ball. 

“Jesus,” he muttered, shaking his head as he started to walk out and gather up the balls. 

Back and forth they walked, depositing the balls into the basket. Once it was full, Mulder took out his wallet and handed Poorboy a twenty dollar bill. He looked at it and grinned, taking off at a run. Mulder picked up the basket and pushed the machine toward the backstop.

As they walked to home plate, Scully picked up the bat, smiling at Mulder as she did. They dropped off the machine and the basket of balls at the park office. Walking away, he took the bat from Scully and put his hand out, hoping she would take it. When she did, he smiled and locked their fingers together, his heart pounding. 

They arrived at their cars and he let go of her hand to put the bat in the backseat. Turning back around, he crossed his arms and stared at her. She smiled, the one he loved most: all her teeth showing before she licked her lips. Once again, he groaned internally, imagining how they would taste.

Stepping forward, she put her hand on his arm. “Thank you for my present, Mulder,” she whispered. He nodded and stared into her eyes. She smiled again, pushing on his arms, bringing him closer to her height, her lips on his before he had a chance to think. 

She stepped back and he leaned toward her, dropping his arms and stared at her. He cupped her face, leaning close to kiss her again, her hands coming up to hold onto his forearms. 

Her lips were so soft, their kiss sweet, until she opened her mouth and her tongue licked his lips. He opened his mouth immediately, kissing her deeper, allowing her tongue access to explore. His hands moved to the back of her head and her waist, pulling her closer. She melted into him, holding his shirt as she fell flush against him. 

Pulling back for air, she stumbled backward, and with the tight grip on his shirt, she pulled him with her, crashing into the side of her car. He kissed her again, her hands going around his back, holding him close as their tongues learned each other. 

“Ohhh …” she breathed when he pulled back, staring at her as his lungs burned with the need for oxygen. “We need… we need to go. We should…” She pushed him from her and nervously smoothed her hair and clothes. “I should go. We…” 

She licked her lips and he felt his jeans tighten, no longer wondering how her lips tasted. Peppermint. She tasted of the peppermint tea she drank and he ached for another taste. 

“I should go,” she said, and stepped past him, fumbling with her keys. 

“Scully, wait. Just…” he pleaded and she looked at him and then around the ballpark. 

“We need to go. We, as in both of us,” she said forcefully. “Together.” She smiled and he realized what she was implying. “My place is closer,” she said as she got in the car. Backing up, she nodded with that same big smile, and drove away. 

“Holyyyyyy shiiiiiiit,” he breathed. Standing frozen for what felt like an eternity, he took his keys from his pocket, dropped them with a curse, and picked them up again. He drove away, tires screeching as he did, seatbelt unsecured, a smile plastered on his face as he followed her home. 

______________ 

Arriving at her place, she opened the door and, less than a second later, he had her pressed against the closing door; her arms around his neck and his tongue in her mouth. 

Peppermint. 

She pushed him forward, taking off her jacket when she had the space. It dropped to the floor and she reached for her top, pulling it over her head and dropping it onto the floor. He shook his head at her light pink bra that did nothing to hide her hard nipples. 

She reached around to take it off and it dropped to the floor and so did he, on his knees before the goddess Dana Scully, his face pressing into her stomach, his arms around her, sitting under her ass. 

“Scully,” he murmured, peppering her stomach with kisses. Looking up, he saw her looking down at him, her chest rising and falling. 

“Mulder,” she whispered, arousal but also worry in her eyes. He quickly rose off his knees and kissed her, hoping to waylay any fears. 

“Bedroom,” she whispered against his mouth, and grabbed the front of his shirt, bringing him along. 

Once in her room, it was as though they had danced this dance thousands of time. They fumbled a bit, shoes and socks providing a giggling problem, and buttons sticking as they tried to hurry to get them open. 

But when they came together, flesh to flesh, it was perfect. He leaned over her, kissing her, her tongue sweeter than anything he had ever tasted. Her skin was soft and hot under his fingers, trembling as he touched places that made her moan. He kissed her chest, his mouth worshipping her breasts, paying special attention to the rosy pink nipples begging for his tongue and teeth. 

Her stomach jumped as he licked at her abdomen, the muscles clenching beneath his mouth. He felt her fingers gripping his hair and he grinned, knowing she knew where he was headed, the scent of her arousal intoxicating him. 

“Mulder,” she gasped as he kissed her pubis, the hair sparse. “Oh, yes, Mulder.” She opened her legs wider, her heels on his back as he licked her and she moaned and gripped his hair tighter. “Please…” 

That was the last word he heard her say as he set to work doing just that, pleasing her. Kissing, licking, sucking, he took his cues from her. The way she held his hair, arched into his mouth, and how her legs trembled. He paid attention to it all, learning the way she liked to be loved, the taste of her beyond exquisite. 

“Mulderrrrrr!” she cried, holding his hair tightly, her legs closing around him as she came. “Ohhhhh…” He stayed where he was, softly kissing, until she relaxed around him. 

When he felt her grip loosen, he kissed her inner thigh, finding a freckle there that he wanted to kiss forever. Following a path up, he kissed her hip bones, belly button, the rosy pink nipples, her neck, and finally her lips. 

Her legs wrapped around him, pulling him closer to her, her fingers digging into his arms as he kissed her. He positioned himself at her entrance and pulled back to watch her face as he slid inside of her.

“Oh God, Mulder,” she breathed, and he echoed her words. “Oh… my God…” she said again, staring at him until her eyes rolled back, her legs pulling him even closer to her.  

“Scully… ohhh,” He pulled out and slid back in, the feel of her all around him, enveloping him just as her body was doing. 

She clawed at him, his name tumbling from her lips, her body arching into him. He fell forward, his face at her neck, her breasts pressed into his chest as he went faster, unable to take it slow, the feeling too amazing. 

“Scully, Jesus, you feel so good,” he moaned and she cried out his name. 

“Oh, Christ,” she moaned out in a low voice, the pitch escalating as her hips met his thrusts, crying out his name over and over, their pace hurried as they chased something they had been after for years, the goal finally in sight. He kissed her neck as her cries grew louder, and they crashed over the edge together. 

“Ohhhhh Mulder,” she breathed, her chest rising and falling, arms and legs holding him close, their bodies still rocking slowly. “Mmmmmm, my God …” Her hands ran up and down his back, her nails scratching lightly. 

“Scully, oh, Scully,” he said, pushing up and looking down at her. Her hair spilled across her pillow, sweat beading upon her forehead. She smiled at him, her hands reaching for his face, pushing his hair back. 

“Mulder,” she whispered and he kissed her, rolling them to their sides, keeping them connected. She pulled back and stared at him, her hand on his face once again.  

“Hi,” she whispered, grinning at him as she stroked his face. 

“Hi,” he answered with a matching grin, his hand on her hip. Shaking his head, he opened his mouth and closed it, words failing him. 

“I know,” she whispered with a nod and a shake of her head, causing him to laugh softly. “For the record, while I had fun tonight, this kind of present is one I enjoy much more. I even got to unwrap it.” He laughed again and moved a little, shifting their bodies. “Mulder…” She stared at him and he nodded. 

“I know,” he echoed her words, the humor out of her eyes, the realization of what they had done showing on her face. “Scully, stop those thoughts.” He pushed her hair back and stared at her, shaking his head. “Don’t think right now.” 

“Okay,” she whispered, leaning in to kiss him, and move closer. “That was… oh, Mulder.” She nuzzled into his neck and he felt her shake her head. 

“A home run?” he teased, hoping to halt whatever she might be thinking. She pulled back and looked at him, a huge grin on her face and then she was laughing, her head falling to his neck. 

“Yeah, I’d say it was. And a single as well,” she said, looking at him again. He wiggled his eyebrows and she laughed, shaking her head. Sighing, she snuggled into him again and they were quiet, both thinking about what just happened. 

“Scully,” he began, and she stopped him. 

“Mulder, let’s just…” she said and he nodded, quiet as he held her, his fingers running softly across her back. 

They must have dozed, as he woke some time later on his back, her head on his shoulder. He looked down at her and smiled, not wanting to wake her just yet. He got up carefully to use the bathroom, moving quietly around the room. 

Standing in her doorway watching her sleep, he felt worried. Now that daylight would be breaking soon, what if she told him this was a mistake? What if she regretted this evening and wanted to go back to how things were, forgetting this ever happened? He shook his head and quietly collected his clothes, getting dressed quickly, needing time to think. 

Driving away, he knew he was being a goddamn coward, but that had been a huge step and the repercussions could be astronomical. He was scared, he would admit that, but only in the confines of his car. 

“Jesus Christ, man. Go back,” he muttered, but could not make his body listen. 

Stopped at a red light, he hit the steering wheel, angry at himself. Looking around, he saw a bakery opening and made a quick decision. Picking up a half a dozen bagels and a container of cream cheese, he drove back to her apartment, quietly letting himself in with his key. 

The cream cheese in the fridge, he set the bagels on the counter. Looking in on her once more, he knew this was the right decision. They needed space to think separately and come to terms with tonight. 

Locking the door behind him, he hummed on the way to the car. He knew her, really knew her, and he would give her what she needed. 

Well, more so than I did tonight, he thought, the memory of the taste of her kiss, her skin, of her making him grin. Shaking his head, he got in the car, driving home to use the computer and see if he could find the artist of the painting they saw earlier today. He had a new take on the story and he wanted to find it so he could share it with her. 

The people in that house were not coming back from a day at the beach. No, they were already home. Lying in bed, sated and happy, the basket of baseballs spilled next to the bat that had been dropped on the floor in their haste to get to the bedroom. Grinning at the thought, he sped up, wanting to get home faster, needing something to occupy his mind. 

He knew once she had the painting and heard the updated version of the story, she would accept it with a knowing smile. 

Yeah, he thought with a smile and a nod, his foot pressing harder on the gas, this is a home run of an idea.