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Hell on the Heart

Chapter Text

So here I was, in the hospital again. However, this time, I wasn't the one hurt. At least not physically. Emotionally, I was broken. Scully was the one in the hospital bed this time, and I didn't like it at all. I was pissed, to be honest. The kid who shot her, was a lucky son of a bitch. Surely, if he had killed her, I would've killed him, and then followed right after. I know its morbid, but its probably the closest thing to the truth that I've ever known. Scully is my life, and I'd be nowhere and nobody, without her. And, there is nobody, except Scully, to disagree with me.

Her temporary partner, Peyton Ritter, shot her. A classic rookie mistake. He didn't follow the rule book. Like I should be the one to talk. But, I've never shot a fellow agent. I've come close.

I remember it clearly. I heard the men from Violent Crimes talking about Scully's luscious lips, and talking about how they'd like to throw her into a head board. I damn near caught myself a murder charge. But... I heard Scully's rational voice saying, "they aren't worth it, Mulder. Let it go." And, what could I really do? She has always been my voice of reason.

Scully liked to stop me from doing ridiculous things, even if it meant doing the right thing.

Like last Friday. Scully scolded me for defending her honor. We were getting on the elevator. Scully had accidently cut in front of a rookie agent, and said her apologies.
And he mumbled. "Don't worry about it, I quite like the view from back here." I turned around so fast, he saw him self out of the elevator. And Scully reminded me of why that was uncalled for, and probably why there were rumors about the two of us. But damn it, nobody disrespects Scully and gets away with it.

I damn near lost my voice of reason. I came incredibly close, and it knocked the wind out of me. I was scared to death. In fact, there was a nurse who made me sit down, because I had turned so damn white. I about fainted. I nearly lost my life. And, I know, its so damn poetic. But, have you ever loved someone so much it physically hurt? Maybe that's true love. Maybe that is what every artist, country song, and poet was trying to tell us. And I finally got it. I felt it in my chest.

And, so back to the present. Scully was in the middle of a disagreement of sorts with her mother. See, Charlie called Mrs. Scully, because Bethany, his wife, went into premature labor. Well, Mrs. Scully was supposed to take care of Scully for the remainder of her recovery period, which was another 2-4 weeks. So Scully was sort of at a fork in the road. And, I saw my moment. Was I going to watch that ship sail by? Absolutely not. I am a lot of things, but stupid is not one of them... Selfish, maybe, but not Stupid.

"Mom, I can take care of myself. I am a doctor, you know. I actually have a diploma and everything," Scully tried to make a point. And, if she had maybe been shot in the arm, I'd see her point. But this was the abdomen. This wasn't something you could just walk away from. I watched Scully cry to herself yesterday, because she couldn't get out of bed herself. She didn't know I was watching, and I just let her have her moment. I wasn't going to make it worse. I know she wants to be strong for me, always. And, she is a strong, independent woman. Needing help getting out of bed was a blow to her ego. I understand.

And so, I make my presence known. "Hey, everyone. How's our cooperative patient today," I say with sarcasm and a large smile.

"Mulder, shut up," she says in that matter of fact tone. And it sends a jolt to my happy, little heart.

"Mrs. Scully, go wherever you need to go. I can take care of Dana," I say. And I inwardly cringe at Scully's first name. It doesn't even feel right. She's Scully to me, and she always will be.

"Mulder, no. My recovery time is 2-4 weeks, and you've got work to do." She says this very firmly. That's my Scully.

"Scully, don't be ridiculous. I have plenty of vacation time. And, I'd love to do this for you." I would, too. Taking care of Scully would be so domestic. My man card would be taken from me, but spending any kind of time with Scully is my definition of a good time. I love her, damn it.

"Mulder, it's just..." and she dies of right there. Mrs. Scully looks at her. Shes begging her to take my offer.

And I can tell she doesn't have any kind of argument left in her, whether she is tired, or maybe she wants to do this just as badly as me. Whatever it is, I have gotten my way, once again. Some things never change.

"Good. It's settled. Mrs. Scully, we will keep in touch," I say proudly, like I've just won a huge stuffed animal at a fair. And really, Scully is the equivalent to finally winning one of those beautifully, large stuffed animals you see hanging. The ones that you spend a lot of time and effort on, and definitely dedication, trying to win. Where you go through a bunch of other stuffed animals, and trade them in to get to the one you really want... And in the end, it was all worth it, without a doubt. Scully is my fair stuffed animal, and just about the same size. But I will keep that to myself.

"Fine. I'll be released tomorrow. But, Mulder, I am saying this now. NO WORK!" And, I think she was serious. Not like I would even dare.

"I cross my heart," I said, using my finger, making a sloppy cross over my heart. And you know what? I meant it, too! I couldn't wait to spend domestic bliss with Scully. There were so many things we knew about each other, but so many things that we didn't know. And we have about four weeks to figure it all out and to figure each other out.

Chapter Text

I was just throwing a pair of sweats in my bag, when my phone rang. I knew who it was though. Who else would be calling me at nine in the morning, on Saturday? Today was Scully's release date from the hospital. I am not sure which one of us was more excited. If I were a betting man, I'd say Scully. She's had it with the nurses. She's had it with her overbearing mother, which I cannot blame Maggie. But, mostly, she has missed her bed.

"Yes, Scully," I say in my best "yes dear" voice. "I am leaving my apartment now. I will see you shortly."

"Drive safely, please," is all I hear on the other line. It's in a motherly tone, but there's a hint of annoyance, mixed with the classic "hurry up" tone. Like she had to tell me. I would teleport if I could.

I check my pockets one last time, and feel for my keys and Scully's cross necklace. I've had it with me, and between all the chaos yesterday, I forgot to give it to her and she hadn't even mentioned losing it. But, I couldn't wait to give it back. For whatever reason, it always finds it's way back to me and I return it to her. It's pretty symbolic, if you ask me.

Eventually, I get to the hospital. Traffic was a nightmare, but I made it. That's all that matters. I stop in the gift store and pick up a single red rose. Finding the elevator, I make it up to her room in record time. That's where I find Scully and Maggie.

Scully's in a pair of jeans that hug her just right and a baggy sweater. Probably because a bra is too abrasive, and a bit of a pointless struggle, right now. But, I am not going to complain. She looks like she is ready to leave this place once and for all. I'm ready too. Her mom and her are having a conversation while Scully sits on the side of the bed.

"Dana, promise me you're going to let Fox take care of you," I heard Maggie plead.

"It's Mulder, Mom," she defends my name. But Maggie Scully can call me whatever she pleases, to be honest. "And, I'll do my best."

"Dana, I can't be with your brother and Bethany, and worrying about you here. I am getting too old for that stress."

"I promise, Mom. I'll be good, and we will call you every day," Scully confirms in a very convincing tone. I even believed it. But, I know Scully. And this is going to be a wild ride. Nothing is easy with my Scully.

I make my presence known, not trying to be caught eavesdropping. "Hey, everyone. How are we doing this fine morning," I say, in a too cheery voice. Scully shoots me the annoyed look.

"Fox, it's good to see you," Maggie comes over and gives me a firm hug. She smells like cookies and home. My mother always smelt like smoke and perfume. It's a bad combination.

"Hi, Mrs. Scully," I smile back at her, giving her my best smile. Because she deserves the best. "Hey, Scully. I have something for you."

I see her eyebrow raise, something she does when her curiosity is peaked. I first pull the rose out from behind my back. "Here you go. It reminded me of you," I turn on the charm. I can be charming.

"Mulder, I am not even going to ask how this red rose reminded you of me," she smiles, clearly delighted but trying to hide it from her mother.

"I'll tell you later," I wiggle my eyebrows, and get a smack to the stomach. "But, I also have one more thing," and I reach into my right, coat pocket for her necklace. Her eyes go wide and grow wet. Mrs. Scully smiles proudly.

"Fox," and that's all Mrs. Scully can say. She says it in wonder. Maybe she realizes how symbolic the necklace is to us, too.

"When you were, um, going in for surgery," I pause, trying to get it together, "one of the nurses thought that maybe I would take comfort in it, so she gave it to me to hold onto. I never did thank her, but it..." and I trail off. How could I even explain the moment to anyone? How could I put it into words. Holding that necklace was the closest thing to holding Scully. I was almost scared to hold it, but terrified to put it down, until she came out of surgery.

I make a twirl motion with my finger, gesturing for her to turn around so that I can put it in its rightful place, and pray that it'll stay there for a very long time. She stands up and turns around. She's the perfect height for me to do this. I bend down a little bit, to see what I am doing, and I get a smell of her. She smells like hospital, but I can detect her shampoo. Her mother must have brought her, her favorite shampoo.

"Thank you, Mulder," she whispers to the wall, while I try to work on the tiny clasp. My hands are shaking. I'm not good at this stuff at all.

"You're all set. It's on there for good," I rub my sweaty palms on my pants, and she reaches out and plants a kiss on my knuckles. It's a very intimate moment. Maggie pretends she didn't just witness it. She's very focused on making sure Scully has everything packed.

"Okay, Dana, Fox, I stocked up the house with bland foods. The doctor doesn't want her eating too heavily. No junk food, Fox Mulder," Maggie points at me, giving me the stern mom look. I throw my hands in surrender. "I've made chicken noodle soup. There is some pasta salad. You're fully stocked on bread, rice, apple sauce, fruits, and salads. You shouldn't need anything for at least a week-."

"Mom," Scully stops her. "Thank you, for everything. We're going to be just fine though. My release forms have everything I need to know for recovery on them, and I am a doctor. I'll be just fine. I just need Mulder to do my light work," she winks over at me. I pretend to be insulted, but I know it's going to be more than light work.

"Okay, well, you behave for Fox," she tells Scully, like I am not even in the room. Scully gives her a sassy nod, a hug goodbye, Mrs. Scully kisses my cheek, and then she's gone. It's just Scully and me in the room. And I smile at her with wonder in my eyes. I finally get to be with her without prying eyes. She walks into my arms, and I hold her tight. No words are needed, but we both know that we need a moment like this one.

"Alright, let's go home," I hear Scully say in the most business like tone. Like we are at a restaurant and she is ready to leave. I won't argue though. What Scully wants, Scully gets, for the next 2-4 weeks.

"As you wish, Princess," I say proudly, letting go of our intimate moment, for now.

"Well, come on farm boy," she retorts back. And that's why I love Scully. She can always match my banter, and she is always on the same page as me.

When we finally get to the car, I load her bag in the trunk, while she gets herself in the passenger seat and buckles up. There's a little bit of a struggle, but I promised not to smother her. She gets in and settled, seemingly frustrated, but when I get into the drivers seat, she shakes it off, not wanting to make a deal of it. I watch her reach out for the radio station, and I don't even bat and eye or make a sound. Usually, I make a couple comments. Not today. Today she gets to do whatever she pleases. She's alive and safe. As long as she is breathing, I can listen to whatever classical music she can throw at me.

And she does too. She found a station that has classic music, no lyrics. But, she seems happy and she's smiling. God she's beautiful. We are at a stop light and I take this moment to just notice her. Her shinny red hair, her freckles and mole are showing today, and god, her pink lips. She's perfect.

"Mulder, you're staring, and the light turned green," she gives me a knowing smile.

"Sorry, I just can't stop looking at you. You're here. You're alive. I'm having a really hard time with that. I thought I lost you, and I am afraid to take my eyes off you," I admit, and as soon as I say it all, I turn beat red. I thoroughly embarrassed myself, giving away too much.

"I understand, but you're going to kill us both if you don't watch the road," she chuckles. "I'm alive and I am not going anywhere." She's gonna let me have this one. Another reason I love Scully. She lets me win sometimes. She just lets things go. So I do as she asks. I focus on the road. It's going to be a wonderful four weeks. I can't wait.

Chapter Text

When we pulled up to Scully's apartment, I jumped out of the car and opened her door for her. But when she looked up at me, I knew that she wasn't getting out herself. My Ford Taurus was too low for her to get out of. Getting in was a different story. She could do that.

"Do you want me to pull you out, or would you like me to pick you up," I asked, knowing it was a blow to her ego, but not having much choice.

"I don't think my stomach is strong enough yet, Mulder," she said, feeling defeated.

"That's okay. That's why I am here," I smiled. "I am totally at your service, Scully. Don't be afraid to use me." When I winked, she blushed. Score for me. Blushing Scully was one of my favorite Scullys.

She smiled up at me, and I reached down to stick an arm under her arm pits. I wasn't sure if lifting her bridal style would hurt her stomach. It was completely awkward.

"Ah, just as I suspected. You're light as a feather," I joked. And she really was light. It took nothing to lift her. But the pained look on her face, broke my heart.

"Thank you, Mulder. I think I got it from here," she smiled, a very shy smile,taking a deep, concentrated breath.

I thoroughly enjoyed holding her close to me. I could smell her hair, and her shirt raised up, so I was touching her bare back. She was soft as silk. She smelled like coconuts, or maybe even a warm day at the beach. That didn't surprise me. She was always fond of the ocean. Plus, Scully was one of Bath and Body Works' frequent flyers.

As we made our way to her front door, I used my own key. She seemed slightly relieved to be on her own, but stayed close to me, leaning into me just enough to stabilize herself.

"Are you hungry, Scully, because I am really good at using the microwave. I don't want to brag, but I am practically an expert," I joked, giving her my best smile.

"Mulder," she cooed, with a huge smile, " don't make me laugh! It hurts too badly." I loved her laugh. It was one of my goals: Make Dana Scully laugh. The day wasn't a success until I got a giggle out of her. I wanted to kill Peyton Ritter.

"Well, I don't know about you, but chicken noodle soup sounds amazing right now," I suggested, knowing Scully hadn't been eating her disgusting, hospital food. And her mom made enough for an army.

She looked at me with a knowing smile, clearly aware of what I was truly up to. But she let it go, probably because she knew that I would fight her. She needed to eat, and we both knew it.

"Heat me up a small bowl. My stomach can't take too much food right now, no matter how much you want me to eat," she said, through a sneaky smile and heavy lashes. God, she was beautiful. I couldn't get enough of her smiles. Don't even get me started on her ocean eyes. I was a sucker for Dana Scully.

"I'd like to go change into something that doesn't smell like hospital. I'll be right out," she let me know, not really giving me an option. And I briefly wondered if she was going to need some help changing. I felt like an ass when I thought about how I would really like to help her change into something that smelt more like her than a hospital.

Unfortunately, for me and my nasty mind, she came out ten minutes later with a button up, silk top, and matching silk pajamas. They were a dark blue, and it brought out those peacock blue eyes orbs, like you wouldn't believe.

I gave her a smile, knowing that I was leering. She knew. Scully always knew when I was checking her out. She never really seemed to care, which made me wonder a bit. The first few times I was caught checking her out, I was a nervous wreck. I thought she'd catch me with her left hook. You know, because she wanted to be my equal. But, she never said anything. She just gave me that knowing smile. The one that says 'I see what you're up to, but I am not going to ask you to stop'. To be fair, I've caught her checking me out too. And we all know why I am okay with that.

"Thanks for heating this up, Mulder. And thank you for being here, with me. You know, you did not have to do this for me," she broke me from my thoughts.

"Wouldn't you do this for me, though," I asked. I was wondering if I overstepped my boundaries with her. I was almost sure I didn't though. Would she rather her mother here. Did I push her into something she didn't want to do?

"I'd do anything for you, Mulder," she said, while her eyes bore into me, and her voice cracked. "You know that." And she didn't elaborate. I knew she would. She's lied for me. She's covered for me. She would've taken a bullet for me. She didn't have to give me an explanation. I already knew. How could she not know I would do anything for her. Was going to Antarctica not enough?

"I am here, because I want to be here, Scully. I am not here out of some loyalty to you. I mean, that's part of it. But, obviously it's because I want to be here. This is what we do, I thought," I answered her, very unsure.

"No, you're right," she quickly replied. "I'm just being ridiculous. I am not use to someone taking care of me. It's different. Just bare with me."

Bare with her? Well, okay. I can't imagine anything I'd rather be doing besides spending time with Scully. I mean, Hawaii sounds nice, but not without Scully. Hell, even Mexico sounded wonderful, but not without Scully. I didn't want to be happy, unless Scully was next to me. Because how could I be happy, without Scully?

And, that's when I knew I had it bad. I couldn't even enjoy a place like Hawaii without Scully. In fact, I really didn't want to do anything without her. I didn't even want to work without her. Honestly, what if she did die? What would I have done?

"Scully, I think I can bare with you. As long as you're here, and getting better, I can handle whatever you throw at me," I teased.

"Yeah, you say that now," she bantered back. And, that made me a little nervous. Was she gonna be difficult? I really hoped not. I wanted this time together to be enjoyable. You know? I wanted this to be a time for us to get to know each other, on a different level.

"Well, I think this time off will be good for us. We can learn things about each other, and maybe we can grow as friends and partners," and maybe something more, I thought to myself.

"Well, we aren't playing truth or dare, if that's where your perverted mind went."

"Not even a little bit?" I pouted. "No, I was thinking more along the lines of twenty questions. Or just simply asking each other mundane things that we want to know about one another, but never asked."

"Well," she said, hesitantly. "I guess. But I won't answer any questions that makes me uncomfortable."

"Of course, Scully. I'd never expect or even ask you do to something that made you uncomfortable. Everything is at your pace. This is your healing process. You make the rules, and I follow the rules."

"You, follow rules," she said, raising that sexy eyebrow of hers.

"Hey, I can play by the rules. I've just never really had a reason to." I didnt want to tell her that she was the only reason I would even try to color in the lines. Before Scully, I was just living on the edge. There'd be nobody to really miss me. But, Scully, she'd miss me. It would hurt her if something happened to me. And, hurting Scully wasn't something that I wanted to do. I am selfish, but not even I am that selfish.

"Earth to Mulder," she waved a hand in front of my face. I must of zoned out.

"What? Sorry, Scully, I must of zoned out."

"Yeah, I guess. Where'd you go," she questioned. But I wasn't going to tell her that I was thinking about dying.

"No where," I lied. " How about that soup," I derailed the conversation. I was kind of an expert at that.

"Yeah, soup sounds good," she admitted, but still wondering what I was thinking about.

After we ate, I did up our dishes, while Scully made herself comfortable on the couch. Earlier, I had run down to the little knock off Block Buster, near Scully's apartment. It was a family owed, hole in the wall, place to rent movies. Scully even had an account there, which I always used. One more movie rental, and we get one for free! We? Where did that come from?

"So what are you thinking, do you want to watch a comedy or a thriller," I quizzed. "Or would you rather lose at Scrabble again," I joked. I barely won last time. I happened to have a "s" and put it at the end of joke, which Scully laid down. It was a triple word. I thought she was going to flip the bored or smack me. Scully hated losing. "Or we could play strip poker," I wiggled my brows, suggestively.

"Mulder, what are you going to do when I take you up on your offer of strip poker one of these days," she giggled. Her pain meds must be kicking in.

"Well, if I don't die of shock, I would make sure I won that game," I said honestly, with a hint of humor so she wouldn't feel uncomfortable.

"Someday..." and that's all she said, with that heartwarming smile. Just a one word answer had left me hanging. She left the door wide open. And I will be spending the rest of the night, hanging on that word, over thinking the whole situation.

"For now," she started, sweetly, "how about we just watch something on T.V. I am afraid my pain meds are kicking in and making me sleepy."

I found the remote and turned on an episode of Friends. Five minutes in to the episode, Scully was passed out on my shoulder. Her mouth gaping open, not snoring, but inhaling very deeply, making tiny little moans. I bent my neck down to kiss her forehead, and she stirred. Opening her eyes, I panicked. But, she seemed none the wiser, just smiling up at me.

"Let's go to bed, Mulder," like we were some married couple. But I helped her off the couch, and helped her gently crawl into bed, pulling the covers back, and then covering her up. I turned her lamp off, and wished her a good night.

"What do you mean? Where are you going?" Her eyebrows knitted together. She was so cute when she looked confused. Scully was smart. It was very rare for her to be confused, but when it happened, my heart missed a beat and I couldn't help but smile.

"Um, to the couch," I pointed to the living room, where I thought I'd be spending the next 2-4 weeks.

"Mulder, that couch is too small for you. You can sleep in here or in my guest room, it's just not quite set up for company yet. I'll set it up tomorrow, but for tonight you can stay in here."

I paused. Was I in an alternate universe? Was this her pain medication talking? Am I taking advantage of her? So many questions.

"Yeah. Okay. If you promise not to get handsy," I winked. I was using my humor again to cover up my discomfort.

"Mulder," she did that whine where she was trying to hide her giggle. The one where she's hiding the laugh but rolls her eyes instead, trying to sound disapproving. I loved that too. Come to think of it, there wasn't anything I didn't love about Scully. I guess there was... no, I loved that too. Was I really that in love with her?

"Go to sleep, Mulder," she cooed. "Don't die on me tonight. I still need someone wash my hair for me tomorrow."

"Shh, Scully, I am trying to sleep. I have a big day ahead of me tomorrow. I get to take care of this pretty, red-head. She's kind of a thorn, but she's totally worth it."

With that, she backed up into me, putting her back into my chest, encouraging me to throw an arm over her waist. And within minutes, we were both out for the count. I was surprised I feel asleep with how happy and excited I was for the next day and the next 2-4 weeks.

 

Chapter Text

"Ugh, I cannot wait until I can stomach coffee again," Scully whined.

It's true, Scully loves her coffee, and she cannot have any until her stomach becomes stronger. She's had as much tea as the Boston Tea Party. Needless to say, she's over it. And crabby.

"It won't be long now. Just think, you've gone so long without it, your tolerance has lowered," I tried to point out the bright side. She wasn't impressed.

"Yeah well," she drops off. She has zero come back. And that has got to be a first. I mentally make a note of this moment.

I begin cleaning up breakfast, cleaning up her plate and tea cup, earning myself a Scully smile.

"Go read or watch some television, while I clean up in here, Scully," I encourage her. She's in recovery mode, and I promised her mom I'd watch over her. And I was gonna make sure I did it right.

Taking care of Scully was quickly becoming one of my favorite past times. And with that thought, I had a brief panic attack. Did I just admit to liking domesticity? I think I did. But if I was going to marry or share my life with any woman, I knew it would be Scully. She was it for me.

"Alright, you win. Maybe after you finish in the kitchen, we can figure out a way to wash my hair. Maybe even a sponge bath," she says, in the most serious tone she could muster.

When she made a comment like that, trying to be cool as a cucumber, I feel in love all over again. And I wanted to make a jab, but she didn't look like one to be messed with.

"Absolutely, there's nothing else I'd rather do," I snickered, because I just couldn't resist. "But I think it's time for your pain pill first."

She smiled over at me, with a moony look in her eyes. I can tell she was impressed with my doctor skills. That's right, Scully, I might not have a diploma, but I can take care of you.

"Thanks for remembering, Mulder. I having a feeling this sponge bath is gonna be a challenge," she grimaced. Turning her stomach in any way, without pain pills seemed like a challenge. Who knew you needed abdominal muscles for just about everything?

After I did the dishes, I came into the living room to see Scully deep into her book. She hadn't noticed me. So I took a quick moment to really study her.

I really was a lucky son of a bitch. This beautiful woman could have so much more of a life, yet she sticks around here, with me, taking bullets like Wonder Woman.

"Take a picture. It'll last longer," she smiled, busting me. But already forgiving me for being a lurker. I didn't mention the fact that I have an edict memory. She knew.

"Sorry, Scully. I am just really happy to be looking at you and talking with you," I said, without thinking. I blushed. She blushed. The room got quiet.

There was a moment when I thought I had lost her. I thought I would never get to see her smile, roll her eyes, banter with her, or just plain look at her ever again. I was counting my blessings.

"Okay. Well, here's the way I see it," she deflected my compliment, or whatever that was that I had said.

"I can take some plastic wrap, and wrap up the wound. I still can't submerge the area in water yet. So, no soaking in the tub. But I figure if I wear my bra, you can kind of work around it," she suggested.

"Whatever you think is gonna work, Scully," I answered back, already going to grab the plastic wrap.

"Okay, well, I am going to need you to be mature about this, Mulder. No jokes."

"Scully, I promise you, nothing about you naked, in a bathtub, is funny to me," I answered back honestly.

She seemed to give my comment some thought before finally moving on to the task at hand.

"Okay. You're going to need to help me put a bra on. I can't twist my stomach at all."

I gulped. Help her put a bra on? I kind of always imagined that I would be taking her bra off. What a joke my life is. But, at last, I'll take what I can get.

"I can do that. Lead the way, Scully."

She walked to her bedroom, with me close behind. Opening her underwear drawer, she dug through it for a second, finding a bra that she saw fit.

"Alright. This one should work. It's strapless and old anyway. You're going to have to take my shirt off. If you aren't comfortable doing this, Mulder, I can call my mother," she offered, giving me an out.

"First of all, I made a promise that I was going to take care of you. Second of all, why would I ever not want to help you undress? I can do this for you, Scully. You can trust me."

"I trust you, Mulder it's just..."

"Turn around, and I will lift the shirt over your head. I won't see a thing," I gently instructed her. I didn't need to hear her reasons for being nervous. I was nervous as hell too. And I couldn't figure out why Scully was so hesitant for me to see her naked. Was she really that shy? Did she think I would be inappropriate about it?

She didn't question me. She turned around, showing her absolute trust in me. Lifting her hands in the air, I slid the sweat shirt up and over her head.

"Okay, so I've only ever taken one of these off. I've never put one on. You're gonna have to cut me some slack," I joked, but not really. She gave a snort.

"I'm gonna cover myself, in the front with the bra, and then you can hook it in the back."

She put the bra against her breasts and I clipped it without a problem. We both took in a breath not realizing we were holding one in.

"I'm going to turn around now. You're going to have to help me with my sweat pants. This is going to get personal, Mulder."

She didn't give me a chance to say anything. And honestly, I've seen Scully naked already. But, she was coherent now. So there was a chance I could get slapped for ogling her.

She turned around, and I looked in her blue, soulful eyes, not daring to look down at the black bra.

"You can look, Mulder."

And I did. I didn't even pause to think about it. I looked. And she was absolutely perfect. The black stood out against her ivory skin, and the bra gave her some cleavage. As soon as I got my fill, I made sure to make eye contact.

"See, Scully, nothing to it," I spoke, maybe a little too breathily.

She chuckled, knowing exactly what I was thinking. Obviously my shaky voice didn't get past her. Nothing really got past Scully.

"My pants are next, Mulder. You can keep my underwear on though. Let's leave a little mystery," she smirked. Was she flirting with me? Oh yeah, that pain pill must be kicking in.

After I slid her pants down her creamy thighs and muscular calves, I had to give my self a quick pep talk. So I told her I would go run the bath water. I needed to think about Skinner in his underwear really quickly.

"Ok, but don't fill it too full. I don't know how well this plastic wrap is going to work," she called out after me.

Once I filled the tub with some bubbles and a reasonable amount of water, I went back out to get Scully. Obviously she knew I needed a little time to myself. And when I walked back into her bedroom, my sexual desire for her came back instantly.

She was only clad in her black bra and black bootie underwear. She was looking out the window, and the sun was shinning in on her. I swear there wasn't a more beautiful sight. I hated myself for all the dirty thoughts I was having.

"Scully, I have the bath water ready."

I saw a flash of panic cross her features. Oh yeah, Donnie Pfaster.

Shit. That was insensitive.

I walked over to her, and put a finger under her chin, forcing her to make eye contact.

"I'm going to take care of you. You can trust me," I whispered, running my thumb along her lips. She gently kissed my thumb pad. And I had a jolt of excitement run straight to my heart.

When we made it to the bathroom, she noticed the bubbles.

"Thank you for the bubbles. That was thoughtful." I smiled back at her, not needing to say a thing.

"Get it, and I will do my best to wash your hair."

"So, I was thinking, maybe for my hair, you could take my detachable shower head, and kind of wash it like they do at the salon," she recommended.

"Yeah, that's actually a really great idea. How about we wash your body first and save the hair for last," I pitched the idea, mostly because I couldn't wait to touch her skin.

"Sure. Here's the body soap. You can use the scrubber or your hands, whichever you prefer."

And I would've been an idiot to use the scrubber. So I squirted a decent amount of floral body wash into my hands and lathered her back, avoiding the wrapped area. And when I touched her, it was like touching silk. She was the softest thing I had ever felt.

"Scully, your skin," I paused, in shock.

"I know, I'm pasty white. I need to get some sun," she tries to hide her insecurity behind a joke.

"I was actually going to say how beautiful it is. It's so soft and, well, perfect," I corrected her in absolute awe. Her skin was literally perfect. It was the whitest and clearest skin I had ever seen. It was the purest thing I ever touched.

"Ha. Not anymore," she tossed back with a sad tone and even sadder expression. And it all made sense now.

"What do you mean, Scully?"

"It's just-well, I can't wear a two piece swimming suit anymore, Mulder. That sucks," she pouted. I was a little amused.

"Scully, you've never worn a two piece for as long as I've know you," I pointed out.

"Well, now I definitely can't. I wasted my perfectly good skin. And-" she paused, turning a pretty red. I stayed silent, knowing she was going to finish her thought.

"Now, I don't even want anyone to ever see me... naked" she whispered out. "Not like anyone has in seven years, but maybe somewhere down the road someone might have. But now, I am going to have this scar. Not one, but two," she said sadly, hating the two new additions to her body.

And a few thoughts ran through my mind. First, who did she think was going to see her naked? Hopefully me. And then, I thought about my anger towards Peyton Ritter, and I almost left Scully in the tub to go kick his ass. And then I remembered Ed Jerse. So she hadn't slept with him. That made me happy. But mostly, I thought about Scully's feelings, and how they were hurt.

Now I understood why she was so hesitant to undress in front of me. She wasn't happy with the way her body looked now. And I felt the need to tell her just what I thought about all that.

"Scully, I am going to say something. And I want you to just listen. And then you can slap me or kick my ass. We can even forget it if you want to, but for now, I need you to listen."

"You, Scully, are beautiful. Not just beautiful, your are breathtaking. Everything about you is perfect. Even your flaws. Poems could be written about you. You had a great surgeon. And the scar isn't going to be noticeable at all. And so what if it is? You survived. It's a battle scar. Nothing has changed. I still think you're the most beautiful woman in the world. You could have twenty bullet hole scars, and I would still be hopelessly in love with you. You'll always be perfect to me," I paused to push her hair behind her ear. I wanted to see her eyes. Her eyes told me everything. "I would have missed you like crazy, Scully. And that's the truth."

There. It was out there. I said it. And I couldn't take it back.

"Mulder-"

"I know exactly how I feel about you, Scully. I'm not on any drugs or consuming any alcohol. And it's okay if you don't feel the same. I just thought that you should know. I don't want you to go another day without knowing."

And I was waiting for her to tell me to pack up and go home, that she'd call her mom. I expected her to tell me she wanted to request for a transfer. I thought she might ask for a new partner, one who wasn't in love with her.

"Mulder, look at me," she said sternly.

I looked at her eyes. They were unreadable. I'd never seen them like they were now.

"That was the sweetest thing anyone has ever said to me, and it's exactly what I needed to hear. I appreciate everything you're doing for me. This goes above and beyond the call of duty."

"But-" I sensed a but coming.

"There are not buts, Mulder. I meant what I said. And I hope you know the feeling is mutual."

"The feeling? You love me too," I squeaked out. She smiled at me and gave me a nod. Obviously she wasnt ready to say it out loud, but an admission was enough for me.

"Okay, that's a relief. I can breathe a little easier now," I smiled.

"Don't you think this is going to complicate things," she quizzed.

"Did you love me a few weeks ago," I asked.

"Yes," her eyebrow shot up

"And everything was okay then. So it seems to me that nothing has changed!"

She seemed happy with my response. The air seemed lighter. Nothing felt too different and the world didn't end. I saw a sly smile on her face. She was playing with the new information.

"Will you love me even if I get fat," she playfully quizzed.

I continued washing her body, giving the question some thought. This is the part where guys ruin everything. And I wasn't going to mess this one up.

"First of all, that is a trick question. And second of all, yes. But, you'd never actually let yourself go. So I'm not worried."

"I'm not sure how to take that answer," she gave me a weary smile.

"Would you love me if I got fat," I changed the tables.

"Yes. But I would make you work out with me!"

"See, we take care of each other, Scully. That's enough. That's more than some people get. I'm lucky I have you," I kissed up.

"I would have to agree with you, Mulder. Now let's try and wash my hair. The water is getting cold."

We spent some time, fumbling around, trying to figure out the best way to wash her hair. We finally found that leaning back and using a cup was actually easier than the sprayer. Who knew?

"Okay, I think we got all the conditioner out. Would you like me to leave, so you can wash the fun parts," I smiled, but was actually trying to be serious.

"You don't have to leave the room, but I would like a little privacy."

"I can respect that. How about I unhook this bra and turn around. You tell me when you're ready for me to pull you out," I sincerely offered up.

"What, you don't wanna see my boobs, Mulder," she joked. But I heard a little sadness in her voice.

"It's not that at all. When I see you naked, and I will, it won't be under these circumstances. It's going to be because we're both happy and healthy, and because we both waited for that moment. And I am not going to be rushed or trying to sneak a peak. Okay?"

"Okay," she whispered out. "Unhook my bra so I can get out of here."

I took her wet bra off and threw it on the hook to dry, hoping we were going to need to use it another time. Behind me, I could hear Scully splashing around. I had to block out all the imagines. But I did it.

"Let me turn around really quick, and then you can help me out," she said, wincing a bit, but I knew the pain pill made it easier.

Once her back was facing me, I counted to three and lifted her out. She was light as a feather. I grabbed a towel and awkwardly wrapped it around her. She turned around and smiled at me. The kind of smile made my whole day.

"Come on. Let's get me dressed and go play some cards," she placed a hand on my chest, over my heart, pulling me from my daydream.

I thought once again how lucky I was to be taking care of her, and how she chose me.