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Vista Motel

 

Mulder woke up to a tingling pain across his back but a tingling warmth fluttering down his front from his cheek, which he realised was pressed to the top curve of her breast, his chest which was leaning against her torso, his groin, nestled snugly against her hip, and his leg, draped over one of hers and under the other.

He kept his eyes closed, took in a long slow deep breath and held it for a moment. He felt one of her hands cupping the back of his head and her face rested against the top. Her other hand covered his which was low on her stomach, under her tank top, heavy against her warm skin.

Everything from the night before was starting to come back to him. The mirrors in both their bathrooms. The event at the dorm. Eric’s confrontation at the hospital. His stitches and medication then losing some of his usually contained reserve as he got more and more handsy with her. He tried not to smile but if it resulted in him waking up like this, curled around her, having her hold him, grip him against her, then maybe the emergency room visit was a small price to pay.

But whatever he was feeling right now, he didn't want to curl up next to her with anything but the bare naked truth between them. The more naked the better, he thought with a smirk and he started to figure out how to extract himself without waking her.

“Morning,” she muttered and Mulder started at the sound in the cool silence of the morning.

He rolled his head against her breast to look up at her and she leaned back a little to reciprocate the gaze. He smiled then pulled his eyes away from her sleep rumpled face before he did something she might regret. Fuck knows he definitely wouldn't, he thought.

“Morning.”

He slowly extracted his hand from beneath hers on her stomach, his fingers dragged across her skin and left a trail of goosebumps in their wake. He tried to sit up and move away but the pain in his back spiked and he winced.

“Your back?” She sat up and urged him to lie on his front so she could see.

The bandages were all still in place, clean with no seepage. She moved her hand across the skin around them and hummed in concern at the heat she felt there.

“I have painkillers for you.” She moved away from his side and Mulder let out a long breath. She hurried over to the desk to open his pills, got him a glass of water then gave him the right dosage.

“Thanks.” He swallowed the pills and took another long drink of water to wash them down then moved to sit on the edge of the bed. “You sleep ok?” he asked, as vestiges of their conservation from the night before came back to him.

“Yeah, ok,” she said, admitting to not the most restful sleep but not wanting to dwell on it. “We should get back to the hospital-”

She was cut off by the sound of her phone ringing in the other room. She hurried through to answer it and Mulder looked around his room at his discarded clothes. He moved to his case to find more clothes to wear and turned when he heard her coming back into the room. She was still on the phone, but the soft tousled sleepy look she wore moments before was replaced by a deep frown, thin lips and worried eyes.

“When?” She shook her head as she approached him. “But she came through the surgery ok?”

He realised now something had happened with Maria. Scully saw the question in his eyes and slowly shook her head.

“Who found her?...ok, we’ll be right there.”

She hung up the phone and looked up at him. “Maria was found hanged this morning. She used cords from the blinds to hang herself in the bathroom.”

“Herself? Suicide?”

Scully nodded. “That's what Eric said.”

“In the bathroom…was the mirror broken?”

“I don't know. We should get over there.” Mulder nodded and took clothes out of his case.

“Can I shower with this?” he said and jerked his thumb over his shoulder, and down his back.

“Not yet, no, you should just take a sponge bath,” she said as she turned to go back to her own room to change.

“A sponge bath, was that an offer?” he called after her but she just waved her hand at him and kept walking.

 


 

St Michael’s Hospital

 

Eric met them outside the room and looked between them as they approached. His face was rigid, pale and closed of all emotion.

“We’ve processed the scene,” he said and he led them through to the bathroom where Maria was found. “In here.”

Mulder stepped in first and his eyes immediately went to the mirror. Just like in both of their hotel rooms the mirror had a crack from one edge to the other though this time it was vertical, from top to bottom and when Mulder moved into position behind where Maria was still hanging from a beam in the room, the crack lined up exactly with the cord she used.

“Jesus,” he muttered and pulled his eyes away. “Scully, come take a look at this.”

Scully hesitated by the door then stepped into the room and walked over to where Mulder was standing.

“See it?” he asked without clarifying what he meant but he didn't need to.

She saw it. How the crack lined up with the cord. Just like how the one in her bathroom lined up against her throat, or the one in his bathroom lined up with Mulder's back. She tried her best to suppress the shudder she felt building up along her spine but Mulder saw the tail end of it and put a hand on her forearm to offer her his strength.

“You agree it's suicide?” Eric asked.

Mulder looked over at him. No he didn't. He thought whatever arrangement Maria had made with whatever entity she was using to exact her revenge had taken it's final payment. He glanced at Scully who had paled considerably since they got there and slowly nodded and he moved his eyes back to Eric.

“Yes.”

Eric nodded too, almost seeming relieved that this had reached an end, even if that end felt unfinished, unsatisfying, uncertain.

Mulder moved his hand to Scully’s back and guided her towards the exit. “We’ll prepare our statements from the incident in the dorm last night,” he said. “And file our reports in a few days from DC.”

“You’re both going back to DC?” Eric asked and Mulder didn't miss how his eyes moved to Scully but she remained stoic by his side and didn't look up.

“Yeah,” Mulder confirmed. “We’ll try to catch a flight this afternoon if we can.”

Eric’s lips disappeared into a thin line as he watched Mulder guide Scully out of the room, one hand on her shoulder, the other on the small of her back. Mulder glanced back at him as he hit the elevator button but Scully kept her eyes forward, then lowered them as they stepped into the elevator and faced forward.

 


 

Dulles Airport

 

Mulder hefted her bag off the carousel and looped the strap over his shoulder. He ignored the shooting pain across his back and reached for his own bag too.

“Mulder!” She admonished and took his bag off him. “Your back, you’ll rip your stitches out.”

“It's fine.”

“Yeah sure, till you come banging on my door to stitch you back up.” She tugged the strap on his other shoulder but he wouldn't let her take it.

“No Scully, it's fine.”

“I swear Mulder, if you do rip a stitch…”

“What?” He teased as he leaned down to her. “You wouldn't let me suffer would you?”

“I just might,” she muttered and turned to head for the parking garage.

She had been quiet since they left the hospital. While she packed up her things and argued with the motel manager over the extra payment for broken windows, he rang the airline and got them a flight home within a couple of hours. She feigned sleep for the duration of the flight but he could tell by the way she was so still with even breathing she wasn't actually sleeping.

She was a mover when she slept, she twisted and turned, snuggled and sighed and he loved it. It was the best part of flying. When she would start off curled against the window and end up curled against him, he would ignore his own weariness to bask in her closeness for as long as she offered it.

In his car he settled in against the seat and fixed his seatbelt then glanced over at her. He started the engine and started the long journey into Georgetown to her apartment.

“Hey,” he said when they got onto the highway. “You ok?”

“Yeah, I was just thinking about Maria.”

“How so?”

“It just all feels so…”

“Unfinished?”

“Unsatisfying.” She looked over at him. “What do you think actually happened?”

Mulder glanced at her but quickly turned his eyes back to the road. “I think...Maria Carson used catoptromancy to harness some...power...and hurt people, make it look like they hurt themselves.”

“How?”

“I found some books in her dorm. Latin books, myths and legends, medical textbooks.”

“And you think she used these to learn...catoptromancy?”

“It's the only explanation I can come up with, the only one that makes sense, the only one that fits all pieces of evidence we collected.”

Scully hummed and looked back out the window. Mulder wanted to say something else but her phone rang and cut off his thoughts. She took it out and answered it without looking at the caller ID.

“Scully...Oh, Hi Matt.”

Mulder whipped his head around to look at her but quickly turned back to the road. Matt? Fuck, he had forgotten about Matt, he realised.

“No, I just got back into DC, we’re on our way in from the airport...No, I can't this evening...yeah maybe tomorrow.”

Mulder tried not to listen but with her sitting a mere two feet away from her it was impossible not to. He could even hear some of Matt’s side of the call. He heard the word lunch, he heard the word dinner, he heard soft laughter.

“Okay, I’ll call you and we can sort something out...yeah, bye.”

She hung up the phone and Mulder watched her look down at her in her hands with a soft smile.

“Hot date?” he asked before he could stop himself.

“Hmm?” she looked up at him as she put her phone into her pocket. “No, no, just a...colleague.”

Colleague? Mulder wondered if that was the whole truth. He didn't think she looked at the phone like that after hanging up on him.

“I spoke with Skinner earlier,” he said in a swift change of subject. “He said he set time up in the morning for a debrief.”

“You think Eric filed his report yet?” Scully frowned at the thought of being disparaged in a report for the shooting at the university.

“No, and I don't think he will.”

“Why?”

“Because I’m not sure he knows what to make of the whole thing.” Mulder shrugged and shook his head. “He was in a rage last night, but this morning he seemed confused.”

“It was a confusing series of events,” Scully said.

“That it was.”

They fell into an uneasy silence as Mulder navigated off the highway and through the city streets and finally pulled up outside her apartment. He killed the engine and climbed out of the car with her. At the trunk he tried to lift her bag but she put a hand on his arm and stopped him. She took her own bag and rubbed his lower back.

“It's fine, I can take it from here.”

Mulder nodded. Now with no reason to walk her in he found himself standing by the driver's door, his keys twirling in his hands as she crossed the lawn to her door.

“See you in the morning?” he called out, unable to fully let her go just yet. She nodded and waved then disappeared inside.

 


 

FBI Basement Office

 

Mulder swung the door open and tossed his notes onto his desk as he rounded it and dropped into the chair with a sigh. Scully who was right behind him saw him sit then wince and lean forward to protect his back.

“Careful,” she chided as she walked to the edge of the desk and leaned against it. She put a hand on his back, smoothed it gently over his injury as if testing his dressing. “Did you take your painkillers?”

“No.” He shook his head and sat up, forcing her hand off his back. “They make me loopy.”

Scully smiled. “You don't want to be loopy?”

“No, not while I’m working. I’ll take a double dose at the weekend,” he said with a chuckle. “I don't think Skinner would handle me being handsy and full of hyperbole as well as you do.”

Scully laughed and patted his shoulder. “He took the debrief really well.”

Mulder nodded. He reached for his notes and moved to the cabinet to file them away. “How about you?”

“How about me, what?”

“How do you feel about it? The debrief? Final report? Police statements?”

Scully looked away. She wasn't sure how she felt about it. She was glad to be home. She was glad it was over, everything else she was still processing. She didn't mention how she hadn't looked in a mirror since she got home. How she draped a sheet over the standing mirror in her bedroom. How she smeared lathered soap over the mirror in her bathroom. How she hadn't slept a wink the night before and spent the whole time staring at the covered mirror, waiting for something to happen. She definitely didn't mention how she was almost disappointed when nothing did.

“I think it's another case, with a difficult ending, but that's par for the course.”

Mulder nodded slowly. He came to stand beside her and put his hands on his hips. “Difficult is one word that works.” He looked at his watch and saw it was close to 1pm. “Let’s break for lunch.”

“Lunch?” she said and looked at her watch too. “Oh, crap, no I can't.”

“Oh?”

“I’m meeting someone for lunch, I’m already late.” She grabbed her jacket from the hook behind the door and disappeared. Mulder watched after her, listened to the elevator arrive and leave and slumped back into his chair with a sigh, and another wince.

Matt.

By the time Scully got back from lunch he was knee deep in distractions. Or case files if she asked but he knew the truth. Distractions. He had finished their case report and expense sheet. He had completed his own statement for the police report on the shooting at the university dorm and left it aside for her to review if needed.

As she slipped her jacket off and hung it up on the hook he sat back in his chair. He didn't mean to stare, but he couldn't help it. Her cheeks were a little flushed and her eyes glassy. He wasn't sure but he thought she stumbled as she moved to take her seat.

“Good lunch?” he asked.

She glanced up and blushed and his smile widened. Was she drunk? She definitely had a drink at lunch.

“Yeah, it was nice.”

Mulder nodded and narrowed his eyes as he watched her shrewdly. She coughed lightly, her eyes darted around the room as she tried to focus on one thing but couldn't decide what.

“Scully?” he asked and her eyes came right back to him. “Are you drunk?”

It wasn't an accusatory tone in his voice, it was filled with amusement and Scully smiled.

“Not drunk...tipsy maybe!”

“Wow…” he teased her and shook his head in mock disappointment. “On a work day? In the middle of the week? What would Margret Scully say?”

Scully barked out a laugh and leaned back in her chair. “She would be pleased to see her daughter taking advantage of a two for one cocktail offer.”

Mulder smiled and waved his pencil at her. “Go home Scully, take the rest of the day off and don't let those cocktails go to waste by hanging around here all afternoon.”

“No, I couldn't,” she said with a wave of her hand. “I want to finish up the expense sheet-”

“Done.”

“And the case report-”

“Done.”

“And my statement for Eric.”

“I sent mine in already, it's right there, if you need it.”

“You did all that?” She frowned as he nodded with a wide smile. “Didn't you go for lunch?”

“I grabbed a wrap,” he said with a shrug. “Go Scully, enjoy the day.”

Scully looked at him carefully. He seemed relaxed, almost eager for her to leave. Almost too eager as if he was trying to get rid of her. She expected him to be a little tense after she skipped out on his lunch invitation and went to meet Matt. It wasn't a date, it was lunch with a colleague, discussing the progress of her lectures in Quantico, and his companion lectures in the University of Virginia.

She knew he thought it was a date, and she let him. After the fiasco with Eric in the diner, how Mulder set it up and ditched her as if she was incapable of arranging her own dates, she wanted to let him think her lunch with Matt was a date. And when Matt convinced her to share a 2 for 1 cocktail it turned into buying three rounds of mojitos and she found herself wobbling back to the office and giggling in the elevator at the thought of Mulder's reaction.

“Okay, I think I will.”

She stood and packed her bag, scanned the room to be sure she had everything then snagged her coat from the hook.

“You’re not driving right?” he asked as she reached for the door.

She shook her head with a crooked smile. Then waved and left.

Mulder found himself listening to the elevator arrive and leave again. He wanted to know everything about her lunch date. Every second, every utterance, every morsel of food and drink that passed her lips. He wanted to curl up on the couch with a bottle of wine and convince her to tell him everything. Then he could be sure if Matt was worth worrying about.

Alternatively he could wait her out. See how many dates with Matt he would hear about. Listen to them get more and more serious then get to the stage where he was waiting to hear about her wedding.

Mulder groaned. Leaned back to face the ceiling and covered his face with his hands to reign in his rampant imagination. It was lunch. With a colleague. Was it even a date? He realised he wasn't going to get any work done in the basement office, and felt like he had already done a full day's work with all the paperwork he kept busy with.

He picked up the phone and dialled Skinner's number. Confirmed receipt of the expense sheet and the filled case report then packed his stuff up and went home.

 


 

Mulder’s Apartment

 

Getting home at 3pm on a Thursday afternoon was an unusual situation for Mulder. He had gone for a run. He’d showered, careful to keep his back dry, and changed. He called the gunman and dissected the Arizona case again in great detail, too much detail and left him with a growing headache. He wandered into the kitchen and thought about making food but nothing appealed.

Back in the living room his eyes went to the computer and he thought about hunting leads on the case in Maine he picked at this morning but he had already spent a couple of hours on it and didn't think he would make any more progress until the local PD sent over the files he requested. He looked at the TV and his eyes fell on the haphazardly piled stack of videos next to it but even they didn't draw him in.

He took a few steps into the bedroom and started picking up clothes from the floor, the damp towels from his shower and even went so far as changing the bed sheets. When that room was clean he brought his cleaning energy into the living room and soon had the coffee table clear of clutter, and his desk organised enough to be actually able to work on it. Finally in the kitchen he wiped surfaces, though the room was so little used there wasn't enough mess to keep him busy for long.

He fell onto the couch and lifted his feet onto the newly cleaned coffee table, picked up the remote and started to channel surf. He felt a heaviness settle in his stomach. He didn't usually get to this point of idle surfing until much later in the night. Hell, he didn't usually get to this level of surfing on a week night ever.

He tried not to think about it. But there was no stopping the rampaging thoughts of drunk Scully wobbling into the office, her cheeks warm, her eyes shining, her smile loose. This trip to Arizona was tumultuous. Her mood after the lecture was high, and she took part in the storytelling and even played Bloody Mary with him, though that didn't end well. He grimaced at the memory of her face when her mirror cracked, and then again when his mirror cracked. It was almost as bad as her face when she called him on ditching her at the diner with Eric.

Mulder let his head fall back onto the couch and draped his arms over his face. Just when he thought they were getting back on track, or better yet, making progress to something else, something softer, no sharper, definitely sharper. It was like drinking a glass of orange juice after brushing his teeth. An all consuming sensation that he could feel in every nerve in his body and caused him to shudder. Though with Scully it was pure raw desire that rattled through his body and made him wish he had the balls to step up and make a move.

He wondered what she was doing right now. Sleeping off her midday buzz? Enhancing it? Maybe she called Matt and went out to meet him again.

“Fuck.”

His voice was low but resonated around the empty, recently cleaned room. Mulder chuckled sadly at the sound and reached for the remote to turn off the shopping channel and find something more distracting. In a few hours he would order a pizza. A few hours after that he could climb into bed. Then tomorrow he will go to the office. Ask Scully to lunch. Ask her to go for a drink. Ask her if she wanted to kiss him. Ask if she wanted to fuck.

Mulder chuckled again. And then he would ask her if she wanted to move to Montana and live on a ranch. He figured he had just as much chance of getting that to happen.

Irritated now, Mulder flicked off the TV and reached for his phone. Maybe the gunmen had something he could chew on and keep busy with. Anything would be better than this. He dialled the number, cursing them for not letting him store it in his speed dial. After a few rings Frohike picked up with the usual gunman greeting.

“Hey, it's Mulder.”

“Hey Mulder, glad you called, I have a theory about the case in Arizona.”

“Yeah?” Mulder settled back into the couch, happy to let Frohike spin whatever yarn he was about to share and keep his mind off Scully, and whatever Scully might be doing right now. Whoever. Mulder screwed his eyes shut to ignore that thought, and focused on what Frohike was saying.

A knock at his door sounded and he looked over at it, as if he expected it to open. He wasn't expecting anyone but perhaps that knock was on his neighbours door. He waited, focused on Frohike again but then there was another knock on the door so he climbed off the sofa and walked over. He leaned to look through the peephole and saw Scully on the other side.

“Frohike, I gotta call you back.”

He hung up without waiting for a response then looked through the peephole once more as if to be sure it was her. She had changed out of her work clothes, and wore a plain white v-neck tee half tucked into a pair of faded jeans. He stepped back, took a shaky breath then pulled the door open.

“Scully, hey,” he said and leaned one arm high on the door frame.

“You’re home,” she said simply.

“Yeah.”

“I thought you’d be at work.”

“Then why are you knocking on my door?” Scully smiled and moved her eyebrows once. “You wanna come in?” he asked and pushed the door open. She nodded and moved into his apartment unnecessarily bending her head to go under his arm. He closed the door and followed her into the living room. She kicked off her sneakers, and sat on the centre of his couch with a sigh then propped her feet on his coffee table and sighed again.

“Make yourself at home,” he said and moved to sit next to her, forced to sit right up against her because of the position she picked.

“This place looks different,” she said and she looked around the room with a slight frown as if trying to figure it out. “Wait...did you clean?”

“What? No.” Mulder looked around the room again and realised he had definitely gone too far with his cleaning spree. “It's always like this.”

She jabbed him in the ribs with her elbow and smiled.

After a moment of silence, Mulder coughed lightly then spoke up. “What brings you here Scully?”

“I was at home, on the couch, and I realised I owe you something.”

“Owe me?” Mulder looked down at her with a frown.

She leaned away from him and made a show of rummaging in her pocket for a moment then pulled out a crumpled twenty dollar bill.

“I owe you twenty bucks.”

“Do you?” He took the note from her fingers and straightened it out then held it up to the light as if checking it's authenticity.

“You were right. Eric asked me out.”

“He did?” Mulder wasn't sure he wanted to wander down that alley of conversation again.

“He asked me out the next morning on the phone when he told me about the older case files.”

“Ah.” Mulder said. “And then I...ditched you later that day in the diner.”

Scully grunted in acknowledgement and shook her head. “I’m glad you finally agree that you did ditch me.”

“Sorry about that,” he said and hoped they wouldn't go through that argument again. “So he did actually ask you out huh?”

“Yep,” she said, making the end of the word pop.

“And you said no?”

“Yep.”

“Because you worked together?”

“Nope.” Still making her words pop and he smiled.

He was relieved to hear that the working relationship wasn't the reason for her refusal to go out with Eric. Then another reason occurred to him and he frowned.

“Because of Matt?” he said carefully.

Scully smiled and laughed softly. “No. Definitely not because of Matt.”

“Who is Matt?” he asked, unable to stop himself. His fingers worked the bill against his thigh as he tried to smoothen out the crinkled note.

“Matt, is a colleague. Didn't I tell you that?”

“Yeah, a colleague. Like me.”

Scully laughed again, this time a little louder, a little more mirth in the sound and Mulder wanted to shake her and demand she tell him why she was laughing.

“Like you?” She nudged him again. “No, not like you.”

“Oh.”

“Mulder, no one is like you, you’re one of a kind.”

“Great.” He frowned. “I think.”

“Matt is a pathologist, he sometimes works in Quantico. He is doing the same lectures as me except he is hosting them at the University of Virginia.”

“Oh.”

“We’re basically glorified recruiters for the FBI, we’re swapping notes, and comparing feedback.”

“Right.”

“Mulder, did you think-”

“No, I didn't think anything. I think I thought I shouldn't think.” He winced at his lack of command of the English language. “After what I thought about Eric, I thought it was better not to think those thoughts.”

Scully smiled, took a deep breath and slowly released it. “You should think some thoughts, just not those thoughts.”

“What, um, what thoughts should I be thinking?” Mulder was sure he was going to sweat through his tshirt. He felt warm, constricted, heavy air breathing in and out of his lungs. He had no idea what direction she was choosing with this conversation and he had no idea how to proceed.

“Thoughts about me are ok, just not thoughts about me with other men.”

Mulder barked a laugh out and covered his mouth to try and stop another from following. “Trust me Scully, thinking about you with other men are not thoughts I want to think.”

“Why?”

“Well...it's your private life right?” he said, though it came out like a question as if he was unsure if that was the right response. He wasn't sure where they were going with this conversation and part of him wanted to race away from it, back to neutral ground, back to when they were talking about Bloody Mary and the hook man.

Or quit this teasing bullshit and kiss her, his mind screamed and it was almost strong enough to make him move his arm from his lap to her shoulder and pull her against him.

“Yeah, it is.” Scully spoke after a brief pause and he had to think back to what he last said to understand her context. “But that's never stopped you before.”

“Well, let me take this twenty dollars,” he said and waved it in front of her face. “And buy you dinner.”

“I’d like that.” She patted his leg and snuggled into the couch deeper, like she was planning to stay a while.

Mulder reached for the phone. “Pizza ok?” She nodded. He dialled the local pizza place, ordered their usual then tossed the phone back on to his desk. “You want a drink? Or is that buzz from lunch still working for you?”

Scully smiled. “I could take a drink.”

Mulder jumped up and hurried out to the fridge. He brought back two bottles of beer, opened one and handed it to her, then opened the next and held the bottom out towards her. She clinked her bottle against it and they both took long drinks.

“I chatted with the gunmen earlier, they found three more instances of deaths that could potentially be linked to urban legends.”

“In Arizona?”

“Yeah. There was one student killed in the dorm fifteen years ago but it was ruled as a suicide.”

“But you disagree with that assessment?”

Mulder nodded. “The mirror was broken, there was gunpowder in the crack.”

“The mirror?” Some of the mirth was gone from her voice and she sat forward a little.

“Yeah, I sent the gunmen some of the glass shards from Maria’s dorm. And I found transcripts of some of the books she had in her dorm, so Langly is looking into the text to see if there is anything there that might explain how she did it.”

Scully nodded and her eyes quickly scanned the room for reflective surfaces. Mulder watched her eyes linger for a moment on the art he had hung up on the wall across the room and knew immediately what she was thinking of. He reached down and covered her hand with his and gently squeezed her fingers.

“When I got home yesterday,” she said, her voice low, “I covered the mirrors in the house.”

“Why?”

“I guess I wanted to make sure…” she sat back again and rolled her eyes with a crooked smile. “I just didn't want to tempt fate.”

“She believes!” he whispered. “Be still my heart…” He squeezed her fingers then released her hand and lifted his beer for a drink.

“A temporary lapse in my otherwise impeccable judgement,” she said and nudged his ribs with her elbow.

“Impeccable.”

Scully tipped her head to look at him with a smile and he looked down at her. He realised how close they were and how simple it would be to lean in, press his lips to hers and finally kiss her. Her eyes flicked to his mouth and he couldn't help it when his tongue came out to wet his lips. When she looked back up at him and her lips curved into a slow smile he lost the ability to breathe.

“Scully…”

“Yeah?”

“Can...I kiss you?”

“You want to kiss me?” she whispered, the question hanging in the air, the intention, the tease, all making his blood swiftly flow to one spot.

“If you don't let me kiss you right now I'm going to lose my fucking mind…” he spoke on a shaky breath as if unable to believe the words were coming out of his mouth but had no power to stop them.

Scully’s smile spread further across her lips and made her eyes shine more than the cocktails she had at lunch and Mulder felt a pressure in his chest slowly start to release. He leaned in, his hands tightened on his beer bottle and he pressed his lips to hers.

He was immediately struck by how soft they were and he wanted more, so much more. He leaned in further, parted his lips, ran his tongue against hers until they parted on a sigh and he plunged his tongue into her mouth with a grown.

He wished he had put his beer down, wished he had taken hers out of her hands, he wanted to touch her, feel her hands on him. He leaned back, broke the kiss with a soft pop and looked at her. She was smiling, her lips parted, her breath coming in short sharp pants and it melted his heart.

“Feel better?” she whispered.

He slowly shook his head. “No. I feel worse.”

Her smile faltered. He glanced down and took her beer out of her hand and put it and his own drink on the coffee table then turned back to her. He draped one arm along the back of the couch, his hand rested on her shoulder, his fingers tenderly stroked soft circles into her warm skin. His other hand went to her knee and slowly ran up her thigh to rest on her hip.

“I’m a mess.” He whispered softly, his words barely audible even though there was no competing sound. “I’ve been thinking about kissing you for longer than I should admit. I thought it would be better if I ignored that urge, pushed my feelings away. Push you towards other options...other men.”

“Eric?”

Mulder nodded. “I figured it would be better...easier.” He scoffed softly and closed his eyes as his head shook again. “I was very fucking wrong. It wasn't easy.”

“Shhhh,” She said and she leaned in and kissed him. When she felt his fingers tighten on her hip and on her shoulder she leaned forward to deepen the kiss, brushed her tongue against his lips and he opened his mouth with a sigh. She found his mouth warm, wet, inviting, his tongue still at first came to life when she sucked on it gently.

His hand moved up her arm over her shoulder, brushed her neck and cupped her face as he leaned into her and started to devour her and to his utter surprise and delight she reciprocated. She gripped his shoulders, pushed him back onto the couch and moved to straddle him. Mulder whimpered when she sat on his lap, his hands moved to her hips and he pulled her against him.

“Mulder,” she moaned as her hips moved against him and he dropped his forehead to her shoulder and groaned back.

“Scully, is this happening?” he said, then lifted his head and suckled on one of her earlobes. “Tell me to stop, Scully god,” his voice was hoarse with need, his breath panting against her ear made her move her hips harder against him.

Her hands ran into his hair, grabbed fistfuls of it and pulled his head back as she lifted up onto her knees, away from his lap and looked down at his face. His eyes were wide, his mouth agape. She searched his face for something, she wasn't sure what.

“This is happening,” she whispered. “I don't want you to stop.”

“Thank fuck!”

He gripped her hips and pulled her back down onto his lap. They both moaned but he covered her face in wet open mouth kisses until he ran his tongue into her mouth and tried to explore every corner of it. When her hips started to move again he encouraged her with his hands and it wasn't until he felt his hips thrust up into her that he realised how close he was to losing it.

“Scully,” he moaned, and moved his hands to scoop up her tshirt so he could put his hands on her skin, the soft satin warm skin on her back. Mulder moaned into her mouth as he ran his hands up to her shoulders, then hesitated only a second before he brought them higher and lifted the tshirt over her head.

He tried not to gasp, or stare but he couldn't help it. He leaned back to look down at her chest. Her bra was a simple pale blue cotton tshirt bra but he thought he had never seen anything so beautiful. He leaned his head down and kissed the top curves of her breasts that were threatening to spill out of the bra cups and moaned against her chest when it moved against his face as she inhaled sharply.

He moved one hand down her back and slipped it into her jeans to cup her ass, as his other hand moved between her shoulders to hold her against him.

“Mulder,” she moaned, his name a sigh on her tongue and Scully almost jerked away from him at the sound of it. She hadn't heard a sound like that come out of her mouth in a long time. No matter what angle she tried herself, what added extras she used, she never managed to extract those sounds, even when she moaned his name.

“Scully…” He tugged her bra cup down and covered her nipple with his lips then flicked his tongue over it.

“Oh!”

He flicked it again then sucked it into his mouth with a moan and he pressed his head against her as her hips jerked against him.

He tugged the other bra cup down and did the same and her hips moved again. While his lips learned everything they could about her breasts his hand moved to the front of her jeans and he popped the button. She gasped, and he wasn't sure if it was because of his hands or his lips so he kept going with both in the hope he could hear that sound again.

He pulled down her zip as much as he could with her legs splayed over his lap but it was enough so he could slip his hands in and cup her.

“Mul-'' she gasped but bit the word off when her teeth jammed onto her bottom lip. She lifted off his lap to make room for his hand and he took the hint. He moved his hand to slide into her panties and they both moaned at the skin on skin contact this time.

“Scully, fuck…” She was wet and swollen, filled with desire for him and when he moved one finger past her folds to touch her entrance she moved her hips and he slipped right in. “Oh god!”

He buried his face into the crook of her neck, kissed it where it met her shoulder and held her tightly as her hips moved against his hand. He added another finger, and his thumb reached to brush her clit.

“Mulder, yes,” she panted against the crown of his head as her hips sped up.

“Keep going Scully, please,” he begged, urging her to keep fucking his hand as he was contricted in his movements because she was still wearing her jeans. He didn't care if it meant he would come in his jeans. He would keep her entertained until he could get it up again if he had to but nothing in the world should stop what was happening right now.

He moved his mouth off her shoulder to capture her nipple again. He crooked his fingers against her front wall, stroking that very spot that made her shudder and his other hand tightened on her ass and encouraged her movements.

“Oh, oh god, oh…” she chanted into his hair.

“Yes!” he whispered against her breast when he felt her inner walls start to flutter against his fingers. His thumb quickened against her clit. “Fuck Scully, you’re so hot.”

“Mulder,” she panted and lowered her head as she tugged on his hair to tip his head up to crash her lips against his as she came.

He swallowed her moans, encouraged her hips, sucked on her tongue and squeezed her ass for the full duration of her orgasm. When she started to come down he slipped his fingers out of her, moved his hand out of her panties and slipped it into the back of her jeans to cup the cheek of her ass.

She dropped her forehead onto his shoulder as she struggled to catch her breath. He peppered the side of her face with soft kisses as his hands stroked her ass and pulled her against him making her moan.

“Mulder,” she whispered.

“Mmm?”

“The other day,” she said, and he could tell she was smiling by the playful tone in her voice. “When I said you shouldn't put your fingers in places…”

Mulder chuckled. “Yeah?”

“You shouldn't listen to me.”

Mulder’s chuckle turned into a laugh and he kissed her neck.

“Next time though-”

“Next time?”

“You should take off my jeans.”

“Next time, I want to take off more than your jeans.”

“I approve that approach,” she said with a chuckle and she leaned back a little to look down at his face.

He looked up in wonder at her flushed skin, her parted lips, her glassy eyes, her tousled eyes and he couldn't wait to kiss her again. He leaned in but just as his lips touched hers there was a knock at the door.

“No!” he cursed and tried to ignore it but Scully pulled away.

“Pizza.”

“I don't care,” he said and he tried to kiss her again but the knocking at the door sounded again and he moaned. “God dammit.”

Scully moved off him and he grunted. He looked down at his lap. His tented jeans told a story all of their own and he tugged on them as he stood in an effort to maintain some dignity. When he heard Scully chuckle behind him he looked over his shoulder at her and shook his head with a frown.

“This is your fault!” he cursed as he hurried to answer the door when there was another knock. “Coming, coming,” he yelled out as he grabbed his wallet from the dining table then tugged on his jeans again and pulled his tshirt over the protuberance.

He pulled the door open, paid for the pizza and closed the door as quickly as he could. Scully chuckled as he carried the food over to the table and she lifted the two beer bottles to make room. He stepped over her outstretched legs and took his seat again with a sigh. He looked over at her and took in her self satisfied smile as she sipped her beer and handed his bottle out to him. He took it wordlessly and sipped it.

“So…” he said as he lowered his hand, and let the bottle dangle from his fingers between his legs. He looked down at her jeans and saw she had fixed them closed. Her tshirt was still somewhere across the room, though she had pulled the cups of her bra back over her breasts. “That was…”

“Fucking incredible,” she finished for him and sipped her beer again.

“Yeah,” he said with a sigh.

“You hungry?” she said and her eyes flicked from his lips to the pizza, to his lap and back to his lips.

“No.”

“It'd be a shame to…”

Her eyes flicked around again and he wondered what she was going to say. Let the pizza go cold?

“...let that go to waste,” she said eventually and her eyes landed on his lap.

Just when he thought his cock was starting to soften, it surged right back to full attention and his breath caught in his throat.

“Shame.” was all he could manage as he noticed she started to move. He felt her press his shoulders again but this time he fell back to lie on the couch and she followed and draped herself over him. She pressed her hands into the cushion either side of his head.

“And this time…” her hand moved down to his hip and ran up his side under his tshirt, over the ripple of his ribs.

“Yeah?”

“You should definitely take this off,” she tugged on his tshirt and he leaned up enough to pull it off over his head. She tossed it away then leaned back and started to tug on his sweats. “And you should absolutely take these off.” She shimmied lower on her legs then stepped off the couch to pull them down entirely but before she could climb back onto him he sat up and gripped her hips.

“And you should take these off…” he popped her jeans open again and this time pulled them down until she could kick her legs free then he fell back onto the couch and brought her with him.

She was lying on top of him and felt his warm skin all over. His hands roamed over her back, her ass, her sides, cupped her breasts, gripped her shoulders, pulled her against his cock.

“This...us.” he said and she lifted her head out of the crook of his neck to smile down at him. “Us. New us. Different us.”

“Same us,” she said and tilted her head a little. “ Same us, different angle.”

“Angle?” he said with a crooked smile and lifted his hips into her to make her smile back.

She moaned softly so he did it again and this time moved his hand into her panties, onto her ass and rolled her against him. This time her moan was more guttural and her eyes fluttered closed so he did it again and again until she was writhing on top of him.

“Mulder,” she moaned and he saw her bite her lip. He leaned up to kiss her, rubbed his tongue against her teeth until she released her lip and he shoved his tongue into her mouth as his hands gripped her panties and pulled them down.

Somehow, without breaking their kiss she helped him get her panties off completely but when her fingers went to grip his boxers they had to separate to rid him of them. He moaned when his cock sprang free and bounced against his stomach. She didn't have his boxers off completely when one hand continued to drag them down his legs and the other hand moved to grip his cock.

Mulder inhaled sharply and half sat up as she worked his shaft in slow loose strokes. “Scully, shit,” he gasped and his hand moved to grip her wrist though he didn't pull her off him. When she finally had his boxers discarded she climbed back on to straddle his legs and her other hand moved to his cock to join in the motions there.

“Scully scully scully scully,” he chanted and fell back onto the couch then sat up abruptly and pulled her hands off him. “Stop, shit.” he closed his eyes and clenched his jaw then felt her kissing his neck and nearly lost it.

“I want you inside me,” she whispered and his eyes flung open to look at her face and see if she actually said that or he imagined it.

She pushed him back into the couch and moved further up his lap. She twisted her hands to grip his wrists instead and held them against the arm of the couch above his head as she lowered her hips and grinded her folds against his cock, coating him in her arousal as she kissed him deeply.

“Are you ready?” she asked and he scoffed a sharp laugh then nodded but as she lifted her hips and one hand gripped him to line him against her entrance, he half sat up.

“Shit wait!” he said and circled her wrist to stop her. “Condom, I should get a condom.”

“Oh...yeah,” she looked down between them. “It's been a while for me...I’m clean.”

Mulder’s brain froze. Fuck he wanted to be buried inside her without any barrier but was she suggesting what he thought she was?

“Are you? Um...clean?” she asked.

Mulder laughed again. “Fucking squeaky clean,” he said with a grin. “It's been a while for me too,” he added with a half shrug. “Are you sure?” he asked, his voice lowered to a whisper and he caught her eyes, needing to be sure too. “We can-”

“I’m sure Mulder, I’m sure. Are you?”

He nodded. He loosened his grip on her wrist and moved his hand to her hip and squeezed. Their eyes connected and he held his breath as she slowly slid onto him.

“Oh christ,” he grunted and clenched his teeth but before he could prepare himself she lifted off him and slowly lowered onto him again.

“Mulder,” she moaned out his name, letting her head fall back and just basked in the sensation of pure fullness. She felt her body stretch and move around him and every stroke into her filled her further. She kept a glacial pace as she moved her hips taking him in as deep as she could, then pulling off until only his tip was in her entrance.

“Scully, christ, I can't hold it.”

“Wait for me, Mulder,” she moaned and the hand on her hip moved to her front to encourage her to move faster. His thumb brushed her clit in ever quickening circles and soon her hips followed suit.

She braced herself off his shoulders and leaned forward enough to take him in even deeper and they both moaned.

“Scully,” he warned. “Now, fuck!”

“Yes, oh god, oh, oh,” she chanted as she moved like a blur above him.

Mulder struggled to keep his eyes open. Everything in him was moving south, swelling in his cock racing to break free in what felt like was going to be an explosion he might not be able to contain. But he wanted to see her. Needed to see her come when he was buried inside her, feel her break apart around him, hear her moan and pant.

“Now Mulder,” she cried out and Mulder felt a bolt of lightning shoot through his body and reverate inside hers.

“Oh god,” he grunted as his hips pushed up into her, eager to be as deep as he could as his cock spasmed, emptied into her and continued to pound against her inner walls as she convulsed around him, until she was a trembling, quivering mess and fell on top of him, panting and laughing.

Mulder closed his eyes and soaked it all in for a few minutes and took stock of everything he could feel. Her body against him, around him. Her breath on his shoulder. Her heart hammering in her chest, against his. Her laughter, soft, enticing, filled the room. Eventually when their breathing slowed and some blood came back to his brain Mulder blinked his eyes open and kissed the top of her head.

“I said it's been a while,” he uttered. “But I don’t remember laughter being the traditional response.”

Scully laughed more then slowly sat up and looked into his face. Her smile was wide and she curled her hair behind her ears.

“It's a laughter of relief,” she said with one flick of her eyebrows.

“Relief?” He frowned lightly and tried to smile around his minor wave of confusion which only made Scully smile more.

“Relieved we’re good at that, at this,” she said and she clenched her inner muscles around his softened cock.

Mulder’s frown disappeared and he smiled. “Did you think we wouldn't be?”

“I hoped we would be.”

“Hoped?” His hands moved off her hips and up her back and when he met the barrier of her bra he glanced down then slipped his hand over to the clasp to undo it. “Thought about it often?” he asked as he slowly dragged the straps down her arms and took it off her completely.

She nodded her head and smiled as his hands moved over her ribs and he cupped her breasts, gently squeezed and ran his thumbs over her nipples. She sighed and her eyes slowly closed over.

“Yeah,” she panted the word out, half in response to what his hands were doing, half in response to his question.

“I never doubted we’d be good at this.” He squeezed her breasts a little harder, then pinched her nipples a little rougher and she moaned then rolled her hips against him. “Not for a second. I only doubted that you would let me.”

“Let you?” She leaned forward, cupped his face and ran her thumbs over his cheeks. “Mulder…” She kissed his lips tenderly. “I’ve been craving you for longer than you could ever believe,” she whispered then kissed him, this time more thoroughly and he was lost in her all over again.

Her tongue lapped his, her hands moved over his ears into his hair and his hands started moving again on her breasts. She circled her hips against him, slowly grinding and moving against him until she felt him stirring inside her.

“Oh,” she said and broke the kiss to look down at him with a wicked smile. “An impressive recovery Mulder.”

“Can you blame me?” he whispered and his eyes roamed over her as his thumbs brushed her nipples again.

Scully chuckled. Mulder gripped her shoulders and pulled her down to kiss her gruffly then rolled them on the couch so she was against the back of it. He pulled her leg over his hip and drove into her. He wasn't fully erect yet but he was growing inside her and he made sure every stroke into her rubbed on her clit. Her chuckling stopped, and her breathing became ragged.

His hand cupped her ass, his fingers moved along the crease between her cheeks and held her in place as his hips sped up. His mouth moved against her neck and he bit down as he felt a particularly powerful surge of desire course through him. Finally his cock was fully hard and this time he was the one who was laughing with relief.

“Harder,” she panted against his ear and gripped fistfuls of his hair.

He pounded against her harder on her request, trying to retain some level of control. He couldn't believe he was so close to coming again, so soon after what felt like a life changing orgasm mere moments ago. Now he was on the brink, ready to explode without preamble, without her, without restraint.

“Scully, come for me, fuck!”

“I’m close,” she said, a promise he needed her to fulfil in seconds. Sooner even, he realised as he felt that familiar tightening in his balls, his cock strained and pulsated, grew inside her then spasmed and jerked as he came hard with a guttural moan and jagged jerks of his hips.

His own movements were so erratic he couldn't tell if she was convulsing with him but he couldn't stop his own progress, his own ending.

“Scully!” he urged, his hips still moving against her. “Scully!”

“So close Mulder,” she cried out. He pushed her into the couch, pulled out which made her gasp then swiftly moved down her body and buried his face between her legs. “Oh god!” she howled.

He went straight for her clit, sucked it into his mouth, flicked it with his tongue and suckled on it gruffly. Scully gripped his head and held him against her as her hips jerked against him. He hummed around her clit and finally she broke with a wail.

He started to slow down but didn’t release her until her panting subsided and she started to squirm away from him. He kissed her inner thighs, the soft curve of her belly, up to her breasts where he suckled on her nipples, kissed the curve of her breasts, the long slender column of her throat, the soft skin under her ear, her lobes, along her jaw to her mouth where his kisses became greedy. Scully chuckled when he broke away from her and looked down at her with a smug smile.

“What?” he asked.

“Guess you were hungry after all,” she said.

Mulder grinned and dropped his forehead to her collarbone as he chuckled. He nestled into her with a contented sigh and her hands brushed over the top of his shoulders in slow tender circles around the light bandages he still had in place there. She kissed the crown of his head and sighed.

“I’m dead,” he muttered. “I’m too old for two shows in quick succession.”

Scully grinned and kissed his head again. “I thought you did a good job.”

“Just good?” he asked and tipped his head up to look at her.

“Pretty good.” She lifted her head to kiss him and he hummed against her lips. “But you need to move, I need to pee.”

Mulder grunted, then kissed her again before he pushed away from her and moved to sit up on the edge of the couch. He reached for his tshirt and handed it back to her then dry washed his face and ran his hands through his hair. Scully was thankful for the shirt, pulled it on then climbed off the couch and hurried to the bathroom.

When she was gone, Mulder pulled on his sweats, then grabbed them each a fresh bottle of beer and opened the pizza box. It was still warm enough to not need reheating.

In the bathroom Scully used the toilet, washed her hands all while avoiding the mirror then took a deep breath and looked up. She stared at her own reflection, almost waiting for something to happen then took a moment to stare at the mirror and flashed back to everything that happened over the last week. Broken mirrors, scary stories. She shook her head and looked away. As she came out of the bathroom she passed Mulder who was going in.

He used the toilet, washed his hands then looked up at his reflection and couldn't stop grinning. He covered his face with both hands, then pulled at his cheeks, this way and that. No matter which way he pulled his grin was unmistakable. He cupped his hands under the tap, splashed water on his face then patted it dry with a towel before he went back out to her.

“Pizza is still good,” she said around a mouthful and grinned as he sat down and kissed her neck just under her ear.

She was still wearing only his tshirt. He spied her bra, panties and clothing in a pile by his TV. He picked up his beer and took a long drink then grabbed a slice and ate alongside her.

“This pizza is phenomenal,” he said and took another bite.

“Biased.”

“Huh?”

“Everything tastes like that after great sex.”

“Great sex?” he said and wagged his eyebrows at her.

“You disagree?” she challenged.

“Fuck no!” He responded quickly and made her laugh.

They ate in silence for a few moments then as she reached for another slice she chuckled. “I can't believe you tried to set me up with the Chief of Police.”

“It wasn't like that!” He protested again and his head fell onto the back of the couch.

“Did you think he was my type?”

“Did you see him?” Mulder rolled his head towards her and gave her an incredulous look. “He is everybody's type. Hell if I thought I had a chance…” Mulder bit his pizza again and Scully poked his side with two fingers.

“What is your type?” she asked in a playful tone and turned on the couch to drape her legs over his lap. His hand came to her shin and his thumb rubbed her gently in a similar motion to the caressing gesture from the foot rub he gave her the other day.

“Short, redheads, with a propensity to question everything I say.” He bit his pizza crust and grinned at her then squeezed her shin. “What about you?”

“What about me?”

“What’s your type?” He finished his crust and turned his body to face her a little more, but kept his hand on her leg, higher now as it caressed her thigh.

“Tall, brunettes that can’t open their mouths without spouting out some crazy theory or another.”

“How fortuitous,” he said and leaned towards her. She met him half way and kissed him on the lips.

Mulder pulled her against him and hugged her tight. He inhaled deeply, soaking it all in, soaking her all in then pulled her onto his lap to hold her more securely.

“This,” he whispered against her ear. “This right here is exactly my type.”

Scully smiled and tipped her head back to look at him. She nodded and kissed his temple “Mine too,” she whispered back and dropped her head to his shoulder and hugged him back.

The End
Skinfull 2021.