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She’s had a suitcase packed and ready to go for years. It sits in her closet and contains three pairs of pants, two suit jackets, four blouses, three sets of bras and underwear and hose, two pairs of shoes, a rain jacket, one pajama set, travel sized bottles of all her toiletries, a duplicate of her makeup bag, a hair dryer, and an untouched copy of The Joy Luck Club. It sits in her closet, prepared for the 2AM calls from Mulder about their next case, and has saved her many hours of packing over the years.

But tonight she hurries to his apartment after work, arbitrarily throwing together a bag of case files and unmentionables as she hums some tuneless melody, and it is only later that night, as she climbs into Mulder’s bed beside him, that she realizes she has forgotten the one overnight item that she actually needs.

“I forgot my glasses,” she laments, looking over at him and rubbing a palm across the cover of The Joy Luck Club.

“Oh no,” he whispers in mock horror, and leans down to kiss her nose.

“I’m serious, I wanted to finally crack the spine on this thing. Do you know I’ve brought this with me on every case we’ve ever worked on and I haven’t read a single word of it?”

“Maybe you were too busy daydreaming about the hottie in the next room,” he teases, wiggling his eyebrows.

“Maybe I was too busy be dragged to every corner of the continental US by said hottie that I didn’t have time to read this book that Oprah called–” She turns to the back cover but his open mouth on her collarbone stops her.

“Begin examination on white female, thirty-six years old, cause of beauty unknown.”

“Mulder,” she admonishes. But his soft hair is tickling her cheek and happiness bubbles in her stomach.

“Most likely–” He kisses along the wing of her collarbone. “–the perfect blend of genes from Ireland and the Netherlands. Cause of sparkle in her unnaturally blue eyes believed to be one Fox Mulder, formerly known as–”

“I don’t know whether to be turned on or annoyed,” she interrupts, blushing furiously.

“I’ve always thought that flattered was the perfect mix of the two.”

“Can I borrow your glasses? Please?” She holds his head to her chest and runs a hand through his hair. He leans into her touch, tilting his head so she can scratch along the nape of his neck. He gives a contented sigh, not unlike a puppy, she thinks with a smirk.

“You’d rather read about–” He puts a sure hand over hers and flips to the inside jacket cover. “–the exploration of mother/daughter relationships than hear me extol your virtues?”


He nuzzles into her neck briefly and then rolls to the side, rattling around in the bedside table for a moment. When he resurfaces, he’s holding his wire-rimmed glasses aloft. “You know, as much as I’m accused of being myopic, I should just start showing people these suckers. They’d change their tune in a second.”

“Mulder, when has anyone ever accused you of being myopic?” she asks, pushing a piece of still damp hair back behind her ear.

He looks down at the glasses in his hand, his bottom lip pushing out in a teasing pout. “I seem to remember a certain beautiful doctor telling me once that I contorted everything to fit my own warped worldview.”

“I’m sure I didn’t,” she huffs, playing her finger along the tightly pressed pages of her book.

He shrugs, unbelievably boyish for his thirty-nine years. “Well you used better words than me. I think you were trying to flirt.”

“I didn’t know what flirting was back then,” she says, shy all of a sudden. “I still don’t.”

“Oh come on,” he teases, settling down with his head in her lap. He pitches his voice high and breathy. “‘Mulder, I forgot my glasses at home, can I wear yours?’”

She gasps and snatches the glasses from his hand. “That’s not flirting, I legitimately forgot mine!”

“Come on, Scully. Every guy wants to see a girl wear his stuff. His old t-shirts, his bathrobe–”

“His glasses?” she intones, arching an eyebrow.

“Try ‘em on.”

She slips them on, pulling the thin silver wires over her ears and smoothing her hair to cover them. She’s surprised at how similar their prescriptions are, and suddenly remembers a moment very early on in their partnership when she’d asked him to come look at something under the microscope, and he’d picked up her glasses off the counter by mistake. He’d returned them, immediately sheepish, but he’d stretched the legs apart and she’d had to get them resized.

In his bedroom, she blinks once or twice and gives a small smile. “Ta da.”

He props himself up on an elbow, eyes moving across her face with an unreadable expression.

“What?” she asks, beginning to feel embarrassed at having so much attention on her.

He brings a hand to her face and swipes his thumb across her cheekbone, following the path her blush will take in the morning. “You’re so pretty, Scully.”


He shakes his head to quell her protests, then kisses her knuckles and resettles with his head in her lap. “Read me a story, Scully.”

She lets a smile quirk the corner of her mouth but has to bite her tongue to refrain from breaking out into a full grin as she opens The Joy Luck Club to the first page. She clears her throat and begins smoothly, “The old woman remembered a swan she had bought many years ago in Shanghai for a foolish sum…”