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-

 

she is so small compared to him. 

the strange feeling that has encompassed him, cloudy and primal and instinctual, hums in satisfaction at the thought. she is so small that she fits just under his chin, as if she is meant to shadow him, be his shadow, a natural extension of his mind and body and soul and he doesn’t much care for the particulars as long as she stays just here, warm and safe and within his reach. 

she might fight the intimate contact, the sheer proximity, but he knows she’s drawn to him the same way he orbits her. her narrow shoulders are lined with tension, but it’s the easiest thing in the world to press his hand to her stomach and his lips to her neck, the vital parts of her he wants to take as his own. she needn’t bear a single burden, not when he can do it for her, not when he can press her underneath him until she comes apart, loose and pliant in his embrace, oh 

Scully-

 

-

 

Fox Mulder wakes with a gasp. 

He’s quite used to dreaming about Scully. Her lips on his, her body under his, on top of his, in the office, in the car, in one of their many motels. He dreams about cuddling her on his couch, gathering her up in an exuberant hug and swinging her around when she tells him it’s a miracle, I’m pregnant-

Okay, so sometimes his imagination gets carried away. The point: he wants the whole nine yards with his beautiful, logical FBI partner slash best friend. He decided a long time ago that the second she gives the signal, he’ll snap up whatever she’s willing to offer him. He hopes it will be everything. 

It’s been surprisingly easy to be patient. He knows he can be reckless, uncaring of regulations and timing and all those little things that can make or break the kind of lifelong relationship he wants with Scully. All the little things that he knows she’ll take into account before giving him an opening or - God help him - making a move herself. 

It takes one morning waking up with her in his arms, her small frame bundled in his shirt, for his patience to rapidly disintegrate. 

Just in time for Scully to make a tactical retreat from their friendship. 

She avoids him, but it's in the quiet, subtle way that makes him really panic. If Scully is angry, she lets him know: pursed lips, noisy door slams, leaving the office at 5pm on the dot in a flurry. He doesn’t mind this kind of avoidance more than the slight perturbation it causes. By that, he means it’s always uncomfortable to be at odds with his partner. He likes to know she’ll receive him at all hours, just in case he needs her for a case, needs her opinion on something, or maybe just needs to hear her voice in the middle of the night when he wakes up, panicked, terrified that she’s not in his immediate line of sight.

Still, the obvious avoidance only lasts for a few days at the most; it’s usually cleared up by a coffee and croissant from her favorite bakery that they both know is far out of his way in the morning, or in extreme cases, a bit of groveling. It’s okay because Scully is relatively fair; she’s only upset if he’s really messed up, and his ego happily stays out of the way when his screw ups are unmistakable. 

But this is not that, because Scully is trying not to let on just how much she doesn’t want to be around him. She forces herself through their usual banter, tight smiles taking the place of warm, hidden ones. She stays past 5pm, but she glances at the door every five minutes until he sighs and leaves first so she feels like she can go. Worst of all, she is fully receptive to his calls but ends them before he can work up the courage to invite her over.  

This strange avoidance is much worse because he’s never seen it before, and therefore he has no idea how to fix it. 

He tries apologizing, but she waves him off after turning an unfamiliar deep red. He gets her a special coffee and croissant three days in a row before she tells him that she’s going on a new diet. He even sends them on two cases where even he isn’t too sure about a paranormal element. They solve both in a few hours, shorter than the time it took them to travel to both locations, and Scully calls him on it immediately. 

“I don’t know what you’re doing,” she tells him, staring at a spot on his forehead, “but it needs to stop.” 

“What do you mean?” He asks, eager to draw her into conversation. 

“These cases were not worth our time, and you know it,” she says, cutting straight through his bullshit. He loves it, leans forward, his ass on the edge of his chair as his whole body betrays him. He’s eager to get through to her. He’s even more eager for her body to be in the orbit of his body; for all their connection is cerebral, there is also a latent, electric physicality to it. His body is aware of hers at all times, and he knows she feels the same. 

“Every one of these cases is worth our time,” he says loftily. “I would’ve thought you’d be happy to find the truth so quickly.” 

Scully doesn’t fight back. “Don’t,” she says softly, and his whole body slumps. “Mulder, I need-” She cuts herself off abruptly. 

“What?” He asks, sensing they are no longer speaking about the case. His tone drops, all traces of playfulness gone in an instant in hopes of getting some answers. “What do you need?” 

“I need you to leave this alone,” she says, meeting his eyes in a flash, her first moment of honesty in weeks. He’s taken aback by all the things he sees in her expression. Frustration, embarrassment… longing. 

He has to crack this. His whole life depends on it. 

 

-

 

he doesn’t know what he wants more: to cover her with his body, or to pull her atop him and bask in her warmth. he settles for arranging her on her side, snuggling up to her back. his breath heats up the back of her neck, remembers another time where he had laid his hand there as she turned her back to him, exposing her nape, vulnerable to his strength. he’s felt the heat of that moment for years now. he grips her with both hands, widening his fingers until they are splayed as far as they can go, digging his nails ever so slightly in the patch of skin between her sternum and clavicle. his other hand finds her hip bone, massaging her hip flexor until she hums. there is a moment of possessive pride when he thinks of just how much of her skin he can cover with only his hands. 

 

-

 

“Can I help you, Agent Mulder?” 

Mulder tears his gaze away from where Scully has just torn out of Skinner’s office like a bat out of hell, perturbed by the case they had just been assigned. Mulder, on the other hand, is thrilled at the idea of being volunteered for a stakeout because it guarantees him hours alone with his partner. Surely he can wear her down with her exits cut off. Of course, he wouldn’t put it past her to single-handedly solve this case in the next twenty-four hours to ensure the need to be with him in close quarters is rendered obsolete. 

“No, Sir,” he tells Skinner, standing with a sigh. 

Skinner leans forward in his chair, clasping his hands on his desk. “Are you sure, Mulder?”

Mulder pauses, turning back to face Skinner. “Actually, could I ask you a question about Scully?”  Skinner looks down at his hands for a long moment before nodding. “You were… there. When we caught Stephenson.” 

If anything, this clarification makes Skinner look even more nervous, clenching his jaw before nodding again. “Scully told me I acted… overprotective.” He hangs a soft question mark on the end of the statement, hoping that Skinner is in a sharing mood. 

Skinner huffs once, but Mulder can’t tell if it’s rooted in humor or frustration. Finally, he presses his hands on the desk, standing. “Agent Mulder… I saw you. You were far more than protective.” 

Mulder isn’t sure what answer he had been expecting, but it certainly isn’t that. “What was it, then?” He asks, trying to read Skinner’s expression and body language for any hints. 

But he just shakes his head once before looking Mulder straight in the eye. “Ask your partner,” he advises.

Mulder scoffs. “You’ve known Dana Scully about as long as I have, Sir.” He sees the reluctant agreement in Skinner’s eyes, and doesn’t feel the need to explain further. They both are intimately familiar with the difficulty of talking to Scully about things that make her uncomfortable or embarrassed. 

Skinner just shrugs. “It’s up to Scully, Mulder. It wasn’t easy for her… what happened,” he admits, and the hairs on Mulder’s arms stand on end. What wasn’t easy? “On this, I plan to follow her lead.”

Mulder glares at him and storms out. It’s times like these where Skinner’s soft spot for his partner is extremely inconvenient. 

 

-

 

Sure enough, Scully does two autopsies for the case they were meant to perform a stakeout for the next day, and when she drops the completed case file on his desk - because of course she cracked the case, of course - Mulder has had enough. As her hand retreats from where she placed the file, he reaches up and strikes, catching her wrist in his grip. 

“Mulder,” she begins, trying to tug her hand from his. 

“I’ll let you go,” he tells her, “but we need to talk. Now.” 

“No,” she bites back. “You can’t… bully me into-” 

He stands, letting go of her wrist, instead moving to subtly block the door. From the red color rising in her cheeks, he is nowhere near subtle enough. “Can’t I?” He says, raising his voice. “You’re driving me crazy, Scully! Something is obviously wrong, and you don’t trust me enough to tell me.” 

“It’s always about trust with you,” she retorts, moving to put their desk between them. She crosses her arms below her bust, and it’s a bit of a struggle not to allow his eyes to drop. She’s wearing one of his favorite suits today: deep maroon with a delicate, silk white top underneath. “I trust you, Mulder. But you’re not entitled to my personal thoughts. You’re not entitled to everything. If you’d just stop pushing, we could go back to normal.” 

But I want everything, he wants to say. I want more than normal. Better than normal. But he knows she’d kick him in the balls, or worse, retreat from him completely. He steps forward, pushing some files onto the floor so he can rest his palms on the other side of the desk, leaning toward her.  “Don't you see? I can’t, Scully. Every time I close my eyes, I remember… waking up with you. Not knowing how is killing me.” 

“I told you how,” she says. “I was worried about you. You weren’t yourself.” 

He’s almost offended that she thinks she can get away with such a half-assed explanation. “Why were you wearing my shirt that morning?” He accuses, blunt and sharp all at once. 

He has to hold back a smirk when her eyes widen, when she sputters in response. Gotcha. “I told you - I didn’t want to go through your things-”

He scoffs. “That’s a lie, Scully.” 

“Mulder-”

“If you’re lying to me, you’re working against me.” 

She rolls her eyes. “Dammit, Mulder, this isn’t about work or trust or anything where I owe you an explanation. There’s no great truth here.”

“Isn’t there?” He says, leaning forward, his eyes alight with mischief. He tamps down on the soft waves of arousal that arise when she swallows hard in response. “I think there is. I think it might be the greatest truth ever discovered in this little office of ours.” 

“What do you want me to say?” Scully says, heated now. “That I was wearing your shirt because I wanted to? Because I almost lost you and I was scared?” 

Mulder’s heart rises to his throat, and a small smile begins to spread across his face.

“What about that you forced it into my hands and watched me change into it?” 

His smile falters as a bolt of icy horror travels up his spine.   “Scully, I - I would never -”

“Well, you did, Mulder,” she interrupts. She’s not looking at him, but he can see tears burning in the corners of her eyes and a red flush spread across her cheekbones. He wishes he could feel heat, even if it’s the heat of embarrassment. Instead, he’s frozen. “And you know what else?” She continues, speaking around a lump in her throat. “I let you.” 

He stumbles back at that revelation, and she takes the opportunity to dart around the desk and out the door, leaving her coat and purse. He can hardly breathe.

That’s what this is. She’s afraid of him. 

He’s made her afraid. 

 

-

 

He contemplates a few things that afternoon. He tries to imagine what this basement office would look like without a partner. He stares at Scully’s area, mentally removing her things until his eyes water and his knuckles hurt from the tight fists he presses into the armrests of his chair. Because if Scully fears him… truly… she won’t stay. She’ll leave him.

Nausea clogs his throat and airways, choking him. Scully. Gone. The words trigger something in him, something horrible that has taken hold of him every time she has been stolen from him. The slight comfort that he knows she’s not in immediate danger is cancelled out by the fact that, this time, she will be gone of her own volition. 

God, no wonder she left. He’s such a selfish bastard that for the briefest moment, he imagines it would be better for her to be in danger than just gone because she hates him. He doesn’t deserve her. 

Sure, Scully hasn’t acted afraid of him the past few weeks. Nervous and uncertain and sometimes cold, but he hasn’t read that white hot fear in her eyes that blazes out at him in his worst nightmares. Then again, he’s proven before that he’s not always the best at reading Scully. Every time he’s certain she could do nothing to surprise him, she reminds him that he could spend the rest of his life figuring out Dana Scully. 

Could? He scoffs at the thought. He’s going to spend the rest of his life figuring out Scully. He’d just prefer to do it at her side, in her bed, in their home - a dream that’s growing less and less likely. 

He really thought they were inevitable. No, he knows they were. Now he’s ruined it all. 

He goes through the rest of the day in absent motion, deciding after staring at the ceiling for six hours that his only recourse is to beg her forgiveness and do his level best to earn it, even if that means supporting her if she needs to report him. Whatever it means as long as she doesn’t leave him permanently. He spends three of those six hours with her coat in his lap, stroking the fabric like he’ll never get to stroke her skin. He stops short of bringing said coat to his nose, trying to inhale as much of her scent as possible. He doesn’t deserve to have that soft, strawberry aroma floating around in his head, blocking out the destructive thoughts that clamor for attention. 

He’s selfish enough to beg her to stay, but he loves her enough that he’ll respect her wishes. Even if it means that he loses everything. 

The living room lights are on when he parks his car outside her building; he tightens his hands on the steering wheel for a painful five seconds, releasing it and exiting the car before he chickens out. He grabs her purse and coat and makes for her door, suppressing the urge to run a staying hand through his hair or straighten his coat. He comes to her as he is, as he always does. 

Scully is still dressed when she answers the door, but her makeup has been wiped off and her eyes are faintly red. He swallows hard at the implication that she’s been crying. Her suit jacket is hanging over the back of the couch, uncharacteristically not tucked away in her closet. Her eyes don’t meet his, but she does take her things from his loose grip, draping them over the kitchen chair. She leaves the door wide open, so he takes the implied invitation and walks a few paces inside his favorite location in the world, shutting the door gently behind him. 

He eyes her quietly for a moment until she turns to face him, his hands at his sides, palms forward. He is torn between supplication and taking her into his arms, and this is the middle ground. “You should report me,” he says finally. “I-”

“No, Mulder,” She says, emphatic, her eyes wide with honesty, and he’s overcome with sheer relief that at least she isn’t looking at him with betrayal and horror. “You didn’t have any control over your actions.” She pauses, the passion with which she tried to exonerate him fading. “Can’t we just-” 

He’s afraid to push her, but he won’t let her walk away until they’ve fixed this. He refuses to live in the world they’ve inhabited the past few weeks. “I’m sorry I hurt you,” he interrupts, cutting off her plea to leave this alone. “You have to know… you’re the one person in the world I never want to hurt.” 

She sighs, padding back into the kitchen. “Would you like some coffee?” He shakes his head, and she purses her lips. He trails her into the kitchen, watching as she puts the kettle on. Her back is to him, and he keeps his distance, leaning against the counter and watching her. Finally, she turns back to him, though she keeps her eyes at a distant point behind him. “You didn’t hurt me,” she says, like that admittance should be the end of it. 

He scoffs. “You didn’t feel like you could turn me away!” He resists the impulse to pound his fist on the countertop, throw up his hands, anything to deal with the sickly sensation that he might’ve put his hands on her without her permission. From his dreams, he knows he enjoyed it regardless of consent, and it makes him want to throw up. 

She shakes her head. “That’s not it,” she says, turning to pull a mug out of the cabinet.

“Then what is it, Scully?” He pushes.  

A long pause, then: “I felt weak,” she whispers. 

Mulder feels dizzy. “I made you… weak?” 

“No, Mulder, I can’t let you think -” She stops, thinks, as she turns to fix her coffee. He stares at her profile, hoping her face will give him the answers she won’t. “You were practically docile,” she confesses, a strange light in her eyes. A faint blush spreads across her high cheekbones. “Of course I was slightly uncomfortable, but you didn’t make me do anything. You stopped when I asked you to.”

“Stopped what?” He asks, quiet and low. 

She clutches the mug like it’s a lifeline. “Oh, um, when we were in bed, you were behind me and you… you.”

Oh. Oh. “We did that and I can’t even remember?” He blurts, kicking himself at the words that spill from his mouth. 

“Mulder, the point is that you thought I was in danger, and you reacted. But it was in front of our colleagues, and Skinner, and I’m not comfortable with that.”

She exits the kitchen, and he follows closely. “And when we got home?” It all feels a bit like he’s interrogating a suspect, but it’s not his fault the truth needs to be dragged out of her. 

She stops by the coffee table, looking truly confused for the first time tonight. “What do you mean?” 

He ignores her gesture for him to sit; he won’t pretend this is like the normal conversations they have at opposite ends of her couch. His refusal to comply off-balances her, and she leans over to deposit her mug on the coffee table. Then, just like he anticipated, she straightens and faces him head on. That’s his Scully. 

He stops at the arm of the couch, allowing her a few feet of distance. “Scully,” he entreats, shoving his hands into his pockets. He pins her with puppy dog eyes, and he can tell from the way she purses her lips that she’s doing her best to resist him. “Look - I recognize how hard you work to make sure no one in the FBI sees you as...  lesser. But it’s me, Scully. I would never treat you differently.”

“It’s not you, it’s me!” He raises an eyebrow at the cliche, and she closes her eyes briefly, trying to gather herself. Flustered Scully is such a rare creature, and he drinks her in. “You were… you…” She blushes again, and in a brief moment of clarity, the world grinds to a halt. The embarrassment, the careful avoidance, the dance she’s doing to keep him from the truth - it only adds up in one way. 

She isn’t angry that he did these things. She’s angry that she liked it. 

“Scully,” he whispers, leaning in her direction. He can’t help it; his whole body warms with hope. “I don’t remember it, but I’ve dreamt… I think I’ve dreamt about it.” He catches her eye. “And Scully, it felt so good to hold you.” She turns bright red, and a smirk steals across his face. “I know.” He doesn’t recognize the sound of his own voice, cajoling and careful and anticipatory. “I liked it too.” He holds his breath and waits. 

She doesn’t burst in anger at his presumption like he fears, but she also doesn’t jump into his arms like he wants. Well, he can admit that would’ve been a bit of a stretch. “I don’t like… needing people,” she admits, slow and quiet, like the mere admittance hurts her. She doesn’t say it like it’s a revelation. She knows he knows this. He’d be the worst profiler, the worst best friend, the worst man-in-love if he didn’t know this about her.

He studies her for a long moment. “I like the idea of you needing me.” He pauses, letting his words sink in until he realizes he wants to take it a step further. “No, Scully, that’s - it’s more than that. I think I need you to need me.” 

Scully exhales. “Mulder…” 

“No, Scully, let me-” He sucks in a breath. “You let yourself rely on me. Do you know how many times you’ve allowed me to hold you? I can count them on my fingers. And they were the best moments of my life. Not because you were hurt, or scared, but because you’re only vulnerable with me when you’re hurt or scared.” 

“I always tell you the truth,” she argues, eyes darting to the mug, clearly wanting a distraction. In lieu of something to hold, her arms fold across her chest. The resigned look in her eyes tells him that she knows he’s reading her body language like a cartographer reads a map. 

He laughs helplessly, shaking his head. “Sure, with work. But not about you .” He pauses here, taking one step back. Briefly, he allows himself to recognize that he’s placing himself closer and closer to her bedroom, even as Scully herself is physically further away. 

He suppresses a smile at her wide eyes, knowing she expected him to go on the offensive. Well, he’s not a caveman anymore. He’s an FBI agent, a renowned profiler and psychologist, and most important of all, he’s Dana Scully’s best friend. All the protective instincts in the world aren’t enough to seal the deal, but he thinks he might be. “You’ve been my best friend, my partner, for years. There’s nothing in this world I wouldn’t do for you. Be for you.” He gives her a meaningful look, and she inhales sharply. Yeah, Scully. Back down now. I dare you. “But if you can’t let yourself need me, then I should leave. We can pretend this conversation never happened.” 

There is a long silence; something unfamiliar working behind Scully’s eyes. “I did show you,” she barely whispers. 

He tries to tamp down on his frustration and anger, but it still leaks into his voice. “I don’t remember it! God, don’t you think I want it all to come back to me?” He rubs a hand across his face, trying to hide his excessive reaction at the idea of a night in Scully’s arms. It’s been what he’s wanted for so long that the knowledge he had it and can’t remember is actually painful. She’d be so soft. So warm. “I spent a whole night holding your body against mine, and I only remember waking up,” he says, torn on whether he hopes she picks up on the traces of arousal in his voice. “According to Skinner’s face, I must’ve done even more than that in front of the FBI and DCPD!”

“Don’t remind me,” Scully mutters, and she’s adorable but he can’t allow himself to melt now. 

“Give me that opportunity again and I won’t let you down.” He lowers his tone, making it soft and rumbly, relishing in her involuntary shiver. “Scully, you know we’d be so good.” 

She visibly swallows. It’s a little indecent how long it takes for him to tear his gaze from her throat back to her eyes. “For how long?”

His eyes search hers for a long moment, reveling in the way she stares back, right into the very heart of him. There’s no hiding anymore. Not for him. “Forever,” he swears, and his heart thumps hard when she barely blinks. “If you’ll have me.” 

Scully inhales sharply, her arms dropping from their folded posture. Her mouth is moving silently, and he cheers her on in his head. “Mulder… I do need you.” She says it with her eyes closed, her body tense, and he knows she’s preparing for him to stomp over there and take her as his. 

Nope.

“Prove it.” 

Her eyes crack open. “What?”

He opens his arms, arching his eyebrows. “You heard me. Prove it.” 

She hesitates, like he knew she would. And if it were anyone other than Scully, he would be afraid. Would feel unadulterated terror at not only putting himself out there this way, but also demanding more than an answer. Demanding a choice. One that can’t later be written off when their world falls off its axis, as it so often does. He should be paralyzed. 

But this is Scully. The first person to ever hold him and not hurt him. He trusts her with everything he is. His life. His heart. Jesus, she’s held his heart for years now; it’s only right that she knows it.  

So really, standing here with all his cards on the table, Mulder feels at peace. 

Scully rocks back on her heels, just barely - if he were not a trained investigator, he wouldn’t have noticed a thing. 

But then she takes a step in his direction. 

He resists the urge to tease her, to press her forward with his words, knowing he’s perfectly capable of silencing the mental calculus performing gymnastics in her head. No, he forces himself to stillness, arms and expression open, easily vulnerable. 

He needn’t have worried. Scully’s first step is her hardest. Then her hands twitch. Then a step. Then two more. Then he gets a whiff of her sweet perfume as she collides with his chest, one hand clutching the front of his shirt and the other winding around his waist. 

In return, he happily folds his body around hers, enveloping her against him until the only visible part of her is the bright auburn of her hair. “See,” he rumbles, trying to ignore the jolt of arousal her clear admission has inspired in him. Nothing, nothing in his life has ever felt as good as Scully choosing him with arms and eyes open. “Nothing to it,” he adds lightly, like this hasn’t come at the end of weeks of angst and pain.  

She shakes, laughs wetly against his chest. He’d be worried if she wasn’t clutching him so tightly. “It’s just a hug, Mulder.” 

He is almost angry until the tease in her tone registers. “And on the bed the other week?” He can be playful too. “Was that just a hug?” He asks, mouthing very different words against her hair. I love you I love you thank you for choosing me choosing us I love you. 

“Mmm,” she hums, unaware of the praises he is singing into her hair, curling against him like a contented kitten. “No. You made it very clear you were coming onto me. After feeding me a banana.” 

He huffs out a laugh against her, loving the way her body melts even more into his in every passing moment. That is not a confession he had expected. “Sounds sexy,” he says, fighting the urge to go get another banana from the kitchen. He wonders if she’d be interested in a do-over. He’d love to lie Scully down, drape her across the bed, and feed her all sorts of food. Bananas, oysters, chocolate-covered strawberries; hell, just chocolate syrup…

He clears his throat, shaking away that train of thought. Scully has all but admitted her feelings for him. He should be able to prove to her that he has more than one thing on his mind. Even if that one thing has been years overdue. 

She shifts against him, brushing very purposefully against a certain part of his body. Okay, maybe waiting isn’t in her cards either. “In the interest of… disclosure,” she replies, low and warm, “it was actually very thoughtful. Even in that state, my needs mattered.” 

“Your needs always matter, Scully,” he tells her, serious for a moment. “So we spooned, freaked out Skinner and the DCPD, and I fed you a banana. Anything else I should know?” He murmurs against her hair.

She burrows closer to him, a sure sign he’s onto something. “Scully?”

“You, well, you called me yours.” 

He suppresses his gut instinct immediately. Aren’t you? He thinks helplessly, challenging words that he knows he can’t speak. Aren’t you mine, Scully? Who else could you ever belong to?

Who else could I ever belong to? 

“And how did that make you feel?” 

“Mulder…” 

The hug has been enough, he figures. It’s his turn. “Did it make you feel good, Scully?” He says lowly. “Did you like it?” 

“Mulder,” she warns again. 

He pulls back, taking one hand away from her low back to tilt her chin up. Her eyes are a deep emerald green, darker than he’s ever seen them, and the involuntary moan that escapes his lips is a little embarrassing. “This is your show, Scully,” he tells her. She nods, and a spark of understanding jumps between them. She knows he’ll stop if she’s uncomfortable. 

Okay then. Time to have some fun. 

He tilts her chin up a little more, bending over until their foreheads meet. Scully’s shoulders hitch as she takes a deep breath, and he grins. “You don’t have to tell me, you know,” he says, dragging his nose along hers. God, her skin is so soft, he thinks, as his other hand finds the bare skin between her skirt and pants.“You don’t have to tell me what you like,” he adds, soft and intense, “I know.” 

Her breath hitches, but she still makes an effort to regain the upper hand. “If I’m such an open book,” she retaliates, “why did it take being drugged by a serial killer for you to come onto me?” 

“Good question,” he says, releasing her chin and tucking her further into his body. “Better question: did you like it when I called you mine?” 

She lets out a soft sound that is somewhere between protest and surrender. He drops his hands to her hips and pulls her up and closer, dropping open mouthed kisses along her hairline. “I get it, Scully,” he breathes, pressing his thumbs into her waist to anchor them both. “I’ve asked a lot from you tonight. Let me take the driver’s seat, hm?” He hums against the skin of her temple, hands tightening on her hips when she lets out a soft, involuntary moan. 

“I know you liked it, honey,” he whispers, answering his own question as he trails kisses down her face and to the right. “Because it’s true,” he rasps directly in her ear. 

Then she moans his name, and suddenly his hands are on her ass and he’s hoisting her into his arms and her fingers are raking through his hair and his tongue is inside her mouth and he’s in a place that must be better than Heaven because Scully’s mouth on his is divinity. Her body beneath his hands is holy. 

“No. One. Owns. Me,” she struggles to say between wet kisses. 

He spins and presses her against the wall, pulling back so they’re panting into each other's mouths. “Oh Scully,” he breathes. This is important. “We belong to each other,” he says fiercely. “We need each other. That doesn’t make you weak; it makes us strong.” 

She whimpers at that, eyes glassy with affectionate tears as she presses soft kisses to his face, petting his hair and stroking his shoulders. He happily allows this, content to put the growing heat in the pit in his stomach on hold while she showers him with the kind of love he hasn’t seen in decades. The kind of eternal love between two people pursuing life as one. 

He barely notices the tears running down his cheeks until she stops them with her kisses, and oh, it’s time, he can’t hold back any longer:

“I love you, Scully.” She gasps, meeting his eyes. “It’s not the kind of love that goes away, or wavers, or sours. You’re it for me.” His voice fades as she stares at him in shock. “I just… thought you should know.” 

“Oh Mulder,” she murmurs before kissing him again.

He nips at her lower lip. “You’re the strongest person I know.” He waits for her to nod. “But…” 

“But…?” She presses, giggling when he peels them off the wall and stumbles into her bedroom. 

He thinks Scully’s delirious-with-happiness giggles are actually making him harder than anything else has in his entire life. He wonders if that’s the sort of half inappropriate, half sappy thing she wants to hear, deciding to hold off until he really needs to earn some points. He deposits her onto the bed, stripping off his jacket and belt as she watches with hungry eyes. “I’m going to turn that brilliant mind off for a while,” he announces, rolling up his sleeves, waiting for her to reach the last button on her shirt before helping her tug it down and off her arms. 

She smirks up at him, rolling her shoulders back. His vision is filled with white lace, a far cry from the cotton bra of that night so long ago in Oregon. “And how…” she begins, low and sultry, looking up at him from underneath her eyelashes. 

He doesn’t let her finish, moving quickly to press her hands above her head and circle her wrists together in one hand. He runs the other down her body, relishing in her soft, frequent gasps. She’s tiny underneath him, hot and yielding. It might be vaguely unseemly, but he likes the way it makes him feel, like she’s his woman, along with all of the civilized love and affection and respect and awe pouring out of him. From her wide, dark eyes, he knows he’s hit the mark with her too. 

He trails kisses down her body, undoing her slacks with his free hand. “Like this.” He murmurs his reply into the skin just below her navel. He chances one last look up at her eyes, wide and dark with anticipation and arousal, before releasing her hands and pressing her hips to the bed to keep her still. 

Then, to a chorus of whimpers and pleas and moans of his name, he sets about making her forget there’s anything left in the world but them two.

 

-

 

Skinner receives a two sentence email on Monday morning excusing both Mulder and Scully from work. It’s devoid of Scully’s thorough explanations, Mulder waxing poetic. Nothing more than a line about catching something from each other, and a request for the week off to recover. 

He grants it; they both have enough time saved for a month off. The X-Files will stand for a week, and if he’s reading the situation correctly, he’s not sure he wants them back until they can control themselves in the office. 

God knows, if he were Fox Mulder, he’d want everyone to know Dana Scully is unavailable - if it were ever in doubt. 

“Lucky bastard,” he mutters, but he smiles nonetheless.

About time.