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Five Years and a Lifetime

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“They slipped briskly into an intimacy from which they never recovered.” 

-F. Scott Fitzgerald



HOTEL HILTON

BELLEFLEUR, OR

LOBBY LOUNGE BAR 

AUGUST, 1993

Fox Mulder has had a long day. 

A physically frustrating and mentally grating eight hours spent criticising lectures and verbally sparring with keynote speakers that has left him with an overwhelming need for alcohol. He runs a hand through his thick floppy hair and sighs. Though an enormous amount of amusement has been garnered by thoroughly flustering one of Psychology Today’s big men on campus in front of hundreds of the greatests minds in medicine, the last thing Mulder wants to do is socially congregate with fellow colleagues, as the evening's agenda instructs all participants to do.

“Medical conferences,” he scoffs. “The last place on this planet I wanna be.” Or any other for that matter, he thinks, deciding to keep the heated “Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus” debate from an earlier speech to himself. 

Making his way through the throng of people, Mulder sees his reflection in the glass hallway that leads to the bar. His old, wire-rimmed glasses make him look more studious than he’d hoped after the unfortunate mishap with his contacts and the hotel’s toilet this morning. He looks twenty-three again: just another nerd with his nose stuck in a book and his head in the clouds. Not that he cares what his psych department colleagues think of him. In fact, he has no intention of associating with that group for another minute. Maybe someone tonight in this sea of like-minds will look at him and see something more than that for once. Tonight, he doesn’t want to be Fox Mulder, PhD golden boy of Child Psychology. 

Tonight, he wants to just be

His eyes scan the multiple tabletops of the convention’s advertised specialities, each one covered in name tags separated by departmental factions. Mulder happily dismisses his own department before honing in on a table closest to the bar. Mulder grabs a blank tag labeled OBGYN. Sounds fun, he thinks as he scribbles his surname on the tag and slaps the sticker on his chest. 

“Doctor Mulder, is it?” A vendor with a stethoscope slung around her neck and a bright smile plastered on her face stares up at him, offering him a plastic baggie full of gynecological goodies. “This is a gift bag from the Obstetrics and Gynecology department heads for you to peruse and include in any research you do with the new products. Just don’t forget to read the information packet provided beforehand.”

Mulder glances inside the bag and gives it a curious shake. He chuckles at the three-pack of Med-Grade Barely There Ultra Thin condoms laying at the bottom. “Research, indeed,” he mumbles.

“Physicians specializing in Women and Children are gathering in the bar to your right, and the Psychology and Internal Medicine departments are enjoying dessert down to your left,” the woman says, gesturing him away from his usual department. “Enjoy your time mingling in the bar.” 

Mulder happily maneuvers through the hoard of medical professionals and orders himself a drink. Next to him, several others seem to be drowning their sorrows into their glasses rather than making professional connections. He tosses back a mouthful of the strongest mixed drink he’s ever tasted and catches a glimpse of the most gorgeous woman he’s ever seen. Her face is like sculpted porcelain, sparking blue eyes staring at him from the back corner of the room.

Immediately, he’s drawn to her, practically floating towards her table. 

Her elbows are propped up on the lacquered wood as she tucks her fiery hair behind her ears. Her arms are muscular and hands delicate, the soft edges of her sleeves skimming across her willowy wrists. She’s breathtaking.

“Hello,” Mulder greets, moving closer into her secluded orbit. “Mind if I join you?”

She looks up at him, her eyes critically roving over him like a specimen in a lab. Judging by her lack of name tag and unamused air about her, she’s done this to more than one doctor tonight. A lit cigarette sits burning in an ashtray next to two empty liquor glasses with the same shade of pale pink lipstick stained along the rim.

“Depends,” she answers. “Are you just another egotistical man out for himself and not your patients like the rest of my male counterparts, or are you the only other person in this room without their head up their boss’s ass?”

Mulder grins.

“Honestly, I’ve been told my head is likely to be found up in the clouds rather than up anyone’s ass,” he jokes, leaning in so he’s sure she sees how serious he is before firmly adding, “But anyone out to put themselves first before their patient is doing it all wrong.”

She bites back a smile. “Then sit, please.”

“Smoking at a medical convention,” Mulder teases, feeling confident it’s something she enjoys. “I'm guessing you’re not an active member of the lung association, or don’t plan to be.” 

“Nope.” She takes a drag from the cigarette now cinched between her fingers. “You?”

“The latter,” Mulder answers honestly. “Truth is, I don’t really subscribe to being an active member of anything.”

“Rebel,” she teases, offering him the cigarette. 

“Not quite, it’s Mulder. See?” He taps the name tag stuck to his shirt which states he’s a board certified physician in Obstetrics and Gynecology. A lie, of course, but somehow he doesn’t think she’ll mind. 

“Smooth.” She shakes her head, pulling out her crumpled name tag from her purse and sliding it across the tabletop. 

“Dr. Dana Scully, Pediatrics,” Mulder reads, mulling over her name. “Wait, I’ve heard of you before. You won the 1992’s award for Best New Doctor, right? Don’t you specialize in-”

“Adolescent Neurology,” she finishes. “That’s me.”

“Your work is impressive. I’ve read a recent JAMA article on your experimental treatment plans and it’s refreshing, to say the least.”

Dana scoffs. “You and I seem to be the only ones in this room who happen to agree.” 

“They’re jealous,” he dismisses. “But I’m a fan.” A comfortable camaraderie that Mulder isn’t used to settles between the two strangers. But he likes it, a lot. 

Through the stormcloud plume he can see her eyes honing in on the dwindling Morleys between her fingers. He respects her. Likes her, even. His heart begins to race when he realizes how easily he could feel more than just like

She smiles as if she’s read his mind, the soft curl of her mouth warming him better than any liquor ever could. And the way her small hand caresses his larger one as she plucks the cigarette from his fingertips has him thinking that she might be interested in “more than liking” him, too.

“Buy you another?” He nods to the half-empty liquor glass next to the ashtray. 

“Sure, I prefer drinking anyway. Though I rarely do.” She waves the lit cigarette in front of her nose before snuffing it out, letting the smoke curl around her face. “I haven’t smoked in years and forgot how fleeting the nicotine buzz can be.”

“And I don’t smoke at all,” Mulder shrugs as he waves down a waiter, ordering them both two more rounds a piece. He wants to assure her she’s unjudged and free to just be right along with him. A feeling he rarely gets to experience for himself. 

“Hope my old habit doesn’t get you hooked.”

“Nah.” But starkly, he realizes getting hooked by Dana Scully is a very real possibility. “I‘m always open to new experiences.”

“That so?” She quirks a brow. Intrigued, he can tell.

“Mm. I take it you have a particular reason you’re indulging in old habits tonight?”

“Just another long and irritating story of dumping my boyfriend after he refused to support my interest in bettering my career,” she says, running her pink tongue across her teeth and shaking her head. “Not that I should be shocked.”

“I am, if that matters,” Mulder nudges her playfully. It earns him a nudge in return. “Some men have internalized issues with strong women whose intelligence overshadows their own. And that never fails to shock me, considering how much I appreciate the attraction an intelligent mind brings.”

“So, not an OBGYN after all,” she comments. 

Sheepish, Mulder rips off his name tag. “Dr. Fox Mulder, Child Psychologist.”

She looks pleased at this. “You really are a rebel, Fox .”

He cringes and she chuckles as the waiter sets down their gin and tonics. A comfortable silence forms.

“All right then, Dr. Mulder,” she begins after a moment, chasing an ice cube around her glass with a straw. 

“Just Mulder,” he insists. “The ‘doctor’ thing makes me feel like I’m at work.”

“Well, Mulder , we are at work,” she spars. “At least we’re supposed to be working.”

“Technically, according to the conference’s agenda, we’re supposed to be mingling. Or I should say, ‘making life-long connections with fellow healthcare professionals’ before we’re kicked to the curb come morning,” he mocks.

“Isn’t that what we’re doing now, mingling?”

“I don’t know, Dana, you tell me.” The husk in his voice does not go unnoticed. “Are we making a life-long connection?”

Dana huffs and arches a brow, eying him with increased interest. “Let’s forgo the formalities shall we, since we’re clearly not hiding in this darkened corner of the bar to be professional?”

“Well, Dana-”

“If you insist I call you Mulder, it’s only fair you call me Scully.”

Mulder smiles, coyly tucking her name tag into his pocket. “Well then, Scully, let’s be rebels together.”

Scully smiles right back, and his world stops spinning. 

They get comfortable, spending hours talking about their careers, about medicine, about the sick and innocent children they see suffering on a daily basis. She removes his glasses “to get a better look at him,” she says coyly, tucking them into his gift bag. He loses his jacket, rolling up his shirt sleeves when she can’t stop touching them. They grumble about their lackluster love lives, or lack thereof. They lean into one another, speak in hushed tones, allowing temporary intimacy of secrets they wouldn’t reveal to other people  flow as easily as the alcohol. 

Mulder considers why he has a sudden urge to display his innermost thoughts to this woman. To so freely offer himself up like an open bar, ready to be consumed. It’s not something he does - after being romantically burned too many times to count - and it sure as shit isn’t something he’s ever felt so damn good while doing. 

It’s as if he trusts her.

His stomach swoops. He doesn’t trust anyone. And out of nowhere, he feels bashful by her own brazen trust in him. By how much he finds himself caring for her, this enigmatic woman. 

“...Which doesn’t account for the continuous brain development in a child, so that theory of yours - while an excellent one - simply does not fit in adolescence,” she continues with confidence as she dispels his theory on memory regression. 

There’s a hot pang at the base of his spine and it’s spreading rapidly to his groin with every arched brow and verbal spar she slaps him with. He nods and absorbs each blow gracefully, bowing down to her competitive nature on a figurative bent knee. When she leans his way and slyly grins into yet another empty glass, Mulder can’t help but lean in right back. 

She swipes her tongue across her plush lips and looks up to his eyes which he knows are overrunning with sheer lust. Any common sense or rational thought is no longer lingering between them. Only the fog of booze and raw desire superseding potential consequences of mutual attraction cocoons them now.

It’s a thrilling and electrifying sensation. 

Undeniably arousing.

And undeniably aroused is exactly what Mulder is when she suddenly stretches upwards and kisses him soundly, her mouth sweet under the juniper taste of gin. They’ve had too many drinks and not enough food and when his hand cups her warm cheek, hers does the same to the back of his neck, pulling him closer to boldly suck on his lips and tongue for what feels like hours.

Suddenly she pulls back, pushes her drink away, and stands. “I think I should go.”

Panic sets in at the thought of her walking away without him. “Oh. I… okay. I understand.”

The din of the bar filters back in alongside reality that this is a medical conference and they work on opposite sides of the country. Reluctantly, he stands too, reaching out to steady her with a palm to her lower back. They face each other, taking their time memorizing the moment. He can barely breathe when she rocks into him and she continues to touch him. His chest, his biceps, his abs, then back to his hands where they seductively dance over one another to the rhythm of the bar’s music.

“Come up with me?” she blurts, her chest flushed and heaving, pupils blown black and locked daringly with his own. 

Relief washes over. “Oh Scully, please...”

“Say it again?”

“Please,” he repeats shamelessly. And this time, both he and the unmistakable bulge below his belt are absolutely pleading. He idly wonders if she can smell the pathetic scent of loneliness and desperation oozing from him like blood in water.

“No,” she chuckles huskily, her pillowy lip caught between two pearly whites. “I like the way you say my name.”

“Scully,” he purrs into her ear. “Scully. Scully. Scully .”

“Yeah,” she breathes, feeling her shudder beneath his touch. “ Mulder .” It’s his turn to shudder as she pants hotly into the curve of his neck before stepping away. “Pay the tab and meet me in room 1013.”

She doesn’t have to say it twice.



***

Dana Scully does not do one night stands. 

Her mother would be appalled, but her father would be ashamed. She scoffs, pacing by her hotel room door, her stomach tumbling with anticipation. Let him be ashamed, she thinks, this is my life . She is tired of being judged for her decisions, whether it be by her father or the ex she’d finally kicked to the curb three days ago. 

She makes her own choices. And if she wants to fuck Fox Mulder tonight, that’s a choice she’s thrilled to be making.

A triple knock vibrates the door she’s leaning against and eagerly looks through the peephole to see Mulder bouncing anxiously on his toes. She smiles and swings the door open.

“I’m glad you came,” she says, already breathless under his heavy-lidded gaze.

His eyes flutter as she impatiently kicks off her heels. “Trust me, it’s my pleasure.”

“Show me it is,” she nearly begs, and that’s all it takes.

Full and ravenous, his mouth covers hers, and the weakening of her knees would send her melting to the floor were it not for him holding her up.

They tumble into the dark room, kissing hungrily. She grabs his jacket and shoves him back against the door, slamming it shut with the combined weight of their bodies. She grabs hold of his gaudy tie and tugs it free as they pant into each other’s mouths. His hands tangle in the back of her hair as she makes quick work of unbuttoning his shirt. In a blur, clothes are hastily torn from limbs and flung across the room within a whirlwind of desire.

“Hurry,” she says at the same time he tells her she’s beautiful. Her heart swells when she can tell he means it. 

They stumble and she laughs because it’s all so funny and intense and so fucking hot. And then God , he’s laughing too, frantically kicking out of his pants as their mouths meet and teeth clash. 

“This still okay?” he questions, pulling back to search for any hint of hesitancy within her eyes. He’s confirming the consent she’d given eagerly several times over, and the fact that her intuition of him being a good man is correct only turns her on more.

“Uh-huh,” she nods. “Definitely.”

He’s bursting with arousal as his gorgeous mouth latches onto her throat while his lanky frame bends her backwards. She’s never been more turned on as the backs of her thighs collide with the bed.

“Scully,” he exhales, and she loves it. Loves the way her surname rolls off his tongue and settles somewhere softly beneath her skin. 

“Fuck,” he groans and her panties are yanked down her legs, rubber-banding against her calves as she steps out of them, pressing her body against the head of his cock poking her belly through his boxers. Even in the dark she can see the rigid outline of him straining against the cotton. 

Her mouth waters.

“Are you sure sure?” he prods again. “Because as badly as I want to stay here and do this with you - more than once - my flight leaves at eight a.m. and-”

She twists around and pushes him onto his back, straddling him as they laugh at how loud the bed squeaks. 

“Do I seem unsure?” 

She knows he’s leaving in the morning. That she is too. That they won’t ever be able to do this again, and even knows it’s a fact she may regret ignoring in the future. But as she leans down and finds his perfect lips already seeking hers in the dark, sealing this one lonely night together with a firm kiss, all she knows for certain is she wants him here and now. 

No regrets. She’s never been more sure in her life. A possible later wish for more than here and now is a problem for another day.

“No, you seem pretty damn sure to me.” Mulder arches up into her, his hardness and heat already overwhelming. She can feel herself gush, the flush rising in her cheeks.

Enjoying a heated bout of intimacy she’s experienced so little of in recent months, she lets him touch her wherever and however he wants. And oh God , it’s exactly the way she likes it. His kisses are soft and firm and taste so damn good. His touch is much the same yet feels even better, and the way he says her name… 

No, even drunk she knows not to dive any deeper. Because there are advantages to a night like this. The advantage of a fling, a wild night of passion, a one night stand with a gorgeous man is both thrilling and risky: Thrilling because there are no strings. Risky because she might end the night wishing there were.

Under the torrid drag of Mulder’s teeth, Dana can feel those advantages fall into an alluring alignment down the arched curve of her spine and he is all too happy to oblige, sinking his teeth into the sensitive skin of her neck, her capillaries screaming in delight. 

“Please,” she breathes into his ear. “Touch me.”

“Fuck.” In one swift move, Mulder flips her onto her back, hovering over her as two long fingers swipe at her swollen folds. 

“Oh!” Her entrance is slick and fluttering under his fingertips. He swirls once, twice, before dipping his fingers into her three knuckles deep. “Oh yes…

She feels like warm liquid under his touch. Molten lava, willing to surrender and sway whichever way he chooses. This spontaneous coupling may have been her idea from the moment he spoke to her like a woman with intelligence as great as his own, an equal. A high praise she’d instantly realized, even through intoxication. But it’s clear by the way his hand grips her hip and the way her body melts around his pumping fingers that he is in control now. And she likes it, trusts him without thought. 

Foolish , she thinks, all the while her swelling heart beating in time with the thrum between her thighs says otherwise.

“Off,” she orders. “Boxers, off.” He’s reduced her to incoherent speech, but all she seems to care about is making him feel as good as she does right now. 

“Bossy. I like it,” he grins, quickly removing his fingers, then his boxers in one fluid motion. 

Headlights flashing through the window briefly illuminate the erotic tableau taking place in her second story hotel room. Her eyes widen as she watches him hold the base of his swollen flesh, jaw slack, dark eyes sparkling in the passing light. He’s huge, thick and throbbing for her. All of that is for her , she thinks, her clit pulsing in tandem with the prominent veins in his shaft.

“Like what you see?” he rasps.

Mouth dry, she can only nod as she pulls him down for a kiss, eagerly taking his cock in hand. He gasps her name into her mouth as she slides his shaft through the liquid heat between her legs, gliding the crown of him across the hood of her clit again and again and again, tantalizingly coating the length of him in her desire.

“Condom!” she suddenly shouts against his lips. Jesus, Dana, think! “You have one, right?”

“Shit! Yeah, yeah. Got a few free ones earlier in this thing,” he says breathlessly, pulling away to sift through the small plastic bag with the caduceus symbol stamped on the front. 

“Oh?” Dana arches a brow as Mulder grabs out a condom and tosses the gift bag over his shoulder. “Didn’t know this was a convention promoting safe sex.”

“Gynecologist approved,” he chuckles, tearing the wrapper open with his teeth and hastily rolling the taut latex down every throbbing swell and curve of his penis. Jesus, the condom is nearly invisible. The room spins as her arousal skyrockets at the sight.

Gently, he looms over her and laces his fingers within hers. Her heart races anew as he presses the crown of his cock against her, seeking entrance and finding it easily through her slick folds. He dips his head to kiss her softly yet with a fervor she’s never experienced with Ethan, or with anyone, for that matter. Their tongues tangle until he's settled deep inside of her, and her breath hisses out like a boiling teapot. He’s set her aflame so she sure as hell hopes he can handle the heat. 

“You feel so good,” he groans as her hips widen, welcoming the fullness. “So good.”

“Oh...” His girth stretches and burns as he moves inside her. Her body feels the ache of a man who is built longer and thicker than she’s experienced before. It feels on the borderline of painful, but exquisitely so. The twinge of it tingles down to her curling toes as his hips snap flush to her own. “ Oh, my God!

He moans and she breathes it in, tongues exposed, licking and dragging over lips and pushing into one another’s mouths. Messy and fevered and imprecise. 

Exactly what she needs.

She claws at his shoulders creating half moons in his muscles, collecting layers of his bronze skin under her nails. When he disappears tomorrow, leaving her the way she’ll be forced to leave him, she selfishly hopes to have physical proof of how much she enjoyed him while she had him.

The bed whines under his thrusts as he cleaves smoothly into her like hot steel through butter. Cock somewhere between her lungs now, Dana gasps into the soft arc of his throat, his stubble scratching her face, a juxtaposition that sends an euphoric fizzle bubbling across her skin.

“You like that?” His teeth scrape across her shoulder as he pushes into her again and again. 

“Yes,” she keens, and she knows the crimson flush of her arousal must’ve spread down to her hardened nipples dragging across chest by now. “Yes, more. Please, I–”

The fervid impact of him slamming into her makes her whole body shake, and she heaves, the breath escaping her chest with one spine-rattling snap of his hips.

“Come, Scully.” Suddenly he slides her legs over his shoulders, pinning her there. Her body’s like an open book no one has been intelligent enough to read correctly until tonight. She smiles and boldly lifts her hips further, giving him more, giving it all to him. “Come for me.”

Their sweat-slicked bodies slap lewdly against each other, the headboard violently banging into the wall with the force of their efforts.

“Yes, yes right there, right there, right there…” She’s babbling now, reveling in the way his hips roll in time with her own.

Her thighs burn and her pelvis bubbles with the delicious promise of climax. She sucks Mulder’s lip between her own, sweeping her tongue into his mouth and instantly she is coming. 

He groans and melts into her, his scent pouring over her like the curtain of Bellefleur rainwater outside the windowpane. And she knows him this way now, trusts him with her body. Maybe more, if by some one in five billion chance they ever meet again.

The outrageous thought of doing this with him more than once ignites a flame at the base of her spine, flaring hotly with need. She whimpers, greedy for it, swirling her hips as her climax tapers.

With two more powerful thrusts coupled with a guttural howl, he swells to an impossible size and shudders above, grinding his hips against hers. She’s been fucked close to unconsciousness for the last ten minutes so when his intense orgasm sparks her second, she’s unfazed by the fierce shake of her legs and swift backward roll of her eyes. 

Oh God!

And she’s crying. 

Oh shit!

Hot tears leak down her temples and melt into her wild hair. 

“Scully, you okay?” Mulder tenderly swipes her face clean, leaning down to press his warm lips to each clenched eyelid. It’s sweet and thoughtful and feels so good. Naturally, it only makes her cry more. “Dana?”

“Yeah, yes, I’m fine,” she lies. Truth is, it’s been months since she’s felt this cared for. This safe and sated while wrapped within a man’s arms. Fucking Ethan… “It’s just a lot, and the alcohol…”

“Okay, if you’re sure?” 

She waves him off, embarrassed. “I’m sure.” 

He continues to stroke her face as his erection softens inside her. Her hand covers his, and he takes her cue to move. 

He stares down at her for a few moments before rolling off the bed and fumbling for a handful of tissues on the side table. She wants to thank him for being so gentle and attentive. And for, well, for fucking her so damn good her orgasms sent surges of emotion through her entire body that poured out of her tear ducts. 

But as she rolls over and watches Mulder cover her up with a sheet, her mind is suddenly fuzzy and her eyes feel incredibly heavy. 

“That was… wow,” he says, wrapping his warm arm around her.

She nods because wow just about covers it. Then it’s the awkward sound of them breathing and shifting in the dark. The noise of the fan kicking on in the corner. The faraway slam of another room’s door. 

But as soon as he rubs her back slowly, sweetly, her cheek pressing against his arm, it’s not awkward at all.

“This feels good,” he slurs.

“Yes, it does.” 

He feels good. So good. They feel so, so good. 

But when her eyes fall shut, she wonders if she’ll ever feel this good again.

~

Dana jolts awake. A stiff mattress that smells of bleach creaks beneath her body. Naked, she’s naked. White light sears her eyes the moment she opens them. 

For a moment, she panics. Her head is pounding, brain fuzzy. The inside of her mouth feels like it’s recently been carpeted. 

She slams her eyes shut. She’d had several drinks, and from the way her body feels now, far too many. Mind racing as events of the night before tumble to the forefront of her mind. She’d consumed a lot of drinks - a multitude, in fact. She was at the crowded bar after the conference, her male colleagues expressing their chauvinistic tendencies in full force, and the irritation of how much that reminded her of Ethan had thoroughly pissed her off.

Dana grunts, cracking open one mascara-crusted eye to check the time on the alarm clock, and gasps at the empty condom wrapper resting on top. Instantly she remembers everything with startling clarity: a sudden sweeping attraction to a rather mysterious man, handsome and sweet. She can still feel how her heart had pounded beneath her breast the moment her eyes locked with his and invited him to her bed. Can recall how her fingernails had scraped down his sinewy back while she proudly admired how amazing his cock felt as it slid through her folds. 

She flushes.

My God.

Too embarrassed to turn around and look for her lover, she instead trails a hand across the rumpled sheets behind her for a warm and welcoming body of the man she barely knows. A man her heart had already seemed to know the moment she met him. 

Mulder.

She finds the other side empty and cold. 

He’s gone, just like he said he would be, she recalls. There were to be no numbers exchanged, no false promises made: they’d agreed they’d leave the conference with the comfort of a few hours stolen in the arms of someone else who also knows what this life can be like. Who makes them feel complete in a way they never knew they could. 

She sweeps two fingers under her eyes, blinks away the blur. She doesn’t do this . Doesn’t do what her sister calls a “one and done arrangement.” She doesn’t act rashly. She doesn’t smoke and drink like a fish. Doesn’t bring a man she’s known for mere hours into her bed, strip him bare and come for him when he asks… 

“Shit…” Dana shivers as she stands and shuffles to the bathroom, legs weak and pelvis throbbing. 

“Jesus,” she groans. Her bruised lips, wild hair, and raccoon-eyed reflection stares back at her in the mirror. 

She looks sex-mussed and well-fucked. Hung over and about to miss her flight, but well-fucked indeed. 

And she regrets nothing.

She splashes cool water on her face and soaks a washcloth to run over the back of her neck, and her sticky, stinging thighs. After she uses the bathroom, Dana hastily flits about the room, slipping on her scattered articles of clothing from the frantic strip tease just hours earlier before stuffing her belongings into her suitcase. 

Before she leaves, she remembers the condom wrapper and races back to conceal it within a tissue and toss it in the trash so the maid doesn’t have to. It’s an odd brand she doesn’t recognize, and judging by the memory of the weight of him in her hand and the profound ache between her thighs, she’d have assumed Magnums were Mulder’s brand of choice. However she does notice her lover is tactful enough to at least wrap the used condom itself, even closing the bin afterward. 

Both courteous and cock-heavy - a dangerously addictive combination.

Dana’s cheeks burn at the same moment her phone chimes. It echoes loudly off the bathroom walls, and she cringes. No time to dwell on her tryst now. Not that it matters anyway, she never plans to have another one night stand again, positive there could never be another experience quite like the one she just had barely four hours ago. 

She swiftly exits the room that forever holds the secret of her eye-rolling indiscretion. She can only hope that by the time her mother picks her up after church in three hours time her skin no longer smells of Mulder’s woodsy cologne, the strong scent of gin and tonics, and the salty tang of sins of the flesh. 

Dana pockets the key to room 1013 and walks away. The resounding noise of the door slamming shut echoes from behind.

~

Six Weeks Later.

 

“Shit…”

Wearing just a towel, wet hair dripping down her back, Dana hovers over a multitude of white sticks spread haphazardly across her bathroom sink with pink lines and plus signs screaming up at her. Heart pounding, eyes burning with hot tears, she melts weak-kneed onto the cold floor with her head in her hands. 

Pregnant. 

Shit, shit, shit.

She peeks through her fingers and glares accusingly at a pack of birth control she’d tossed in the trash with three missed pills from last month still inside. As useless now as they were weeks ago when she’d forgotten to take them. 

Damn Ethan and his sensitivity to latex. And damn herself for not insisting his cheap-ass invest in hypoallergenic condoms instead of relying on the memory of her sleep-deprived brain everyday as a sole method of birth control. At least during her one night whirlwind with Mulder she can’t stop thinking about the condom that was used or things would be twice as complicated. Even that seems impossible at the moment.

Fuck. 

It’s not that she doesn’t want kids or doesn’t want this baby or any other. But a baby was never part of her plan at this stage in life, and certainly not with this man. She’s just starting out. She has plans, well-thought-out plans that do not include any surprises. 

Surprise, Dana, your life will never be the same. Now what?

She scrunches her eyes shut and hesitantly palms her belly beneath her towel, fingers splaying protectively over what lay beneath. 

“Dana?” Ethan’s muffled voice drifts through the locked door. “You pee on the stick yet?”

Silence...

“Jesus Dana, I’m going crazy out here. You okay in there?”

“I’m fine,” she lies. She’s anything but. 

Staring at the door and envisioning Ethan pacing behind it, Dana wonders if her notoriously irresponsible ex she’d mistakenly given “goodbye sex” to the week she left for Oregon is ready to be a father or not…