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I wake up feeling woozy. Muffled. Sticky-brained.

I am lying on my right side, folded up in a somewhat fetal position. Heat against my back. Cool air at my front, but not a lot of it. Not a lot of air of any sort in here. Wherever here is.

I open my eyes to blackness. I see nothing at all when I blink, not even trailing stars behind my eyelids. Complete darkness greets me, and all of a sudden I feel like I'm trapped in a coffin.

I take a deep breath, and nearly choke. The air is slightly musty, and vaguely familiar. I resist the urge to cough as I gulp the air.

And then I realize that I am not alone.

Someone's arm is draped over me from behind, and a hand has wrapped itself around my left wrist. I feel for the arm with my right hand. Yes, those are fingers, I discover, and they probably belong to Mulder, although he usually wears a watch on his left hand. It is a man, definitely, and he is decidedly Mulder-scented. His soft breathing, warm on the top of my head, sounds like that of a sleeping Mulder. I hope to God it'is Mulder, because if it isn't I'm in even bigger trouble than was immediately apparent.

Even as blurry and confused as I feel, questions form in my mind, racing through so quickly I can barely comprehend them, much less answer them. Where are we, how did we get here, what time is it, what day is it?

Maybe Mulder has some answers.

I nudge him gently, careful to keep my voice level as I speak. "Mulder."

After a lag of two seconds or so, he suddenly sits up. Well, not all the way up. I hear a thump and a yelp as the roof, or whatever it is, stops his progress on the way up and he comes crashing back down all of a foot or so. "Owww!"

His hand never leaves its spot, remaining around my wrist like a warm bracelet.

For a moment, I forget my own anxiety about our situation. "Mulder!" I exclaim. "You okay?"


"Yes, it's me ... any ideas as to where we are?"

"Give me a second..." he coughs. "Where are we, anyway?"

Okay, my partner isn't quite lucid yet either. "Mulder ... can you remember anything about how we got here?"

He squirms around at my back, apparently not finding a lot of room behind him, already knowing there is none above him.

"I think ... I think it's the trunk of a car. But it's at least mid-sized," he muses. "I'm scrunched up as it is, but if this were a compact I'd be rolled up in a ball."

I rub my fingers against thin felt carpet. "I think you're right, Mulder. This is a trunk."

For a moment, I hear only his breathing. "Shit, Scully, I forgot..." His voice catches, and I just know that his darkness has been temporarily interrupted by a mental picture of me, fear in my eyes, bound and gagged after I'd been kidnapped by Duane Barry. "Are you ... okay?" he asks.

I don't really remember all the details of my abduction, but I've seen the photo in my file, and it's not pretty. I don't need Mulder freaking out here. I have enough sense, even in the midst of my panic, to know that he's going to be the one to get us through this, because I just don't feel up to it right now. If I can keep him above water, he'll get me out of here.

"Yes, Mulder, I'm okay for the time being." I try to sound reassuring, but the words aren't entirely true. I'm feeling more than a twinge of panic at this all-too-familiar situation. And I swallow it. There's no room in this trunk for my anxieties. On the plus side, Mulder is here with me, and I don't have anywhere near the same level of fear as I did with Duane Barry.

God, my head hurts, though. I struggle against the urge to sleep, deciding to concentrate on my partner.

"Are you okay, Mulder?"

He moans. "Yeah, I think, except for the bump that's forming as we speak from hitting my head just now." He reaches up and touches it, I think; I hear him wince, or maybe I just feel it. "What about you? Are you in any pain, Scully?"

"Um, no. I'm stiff, though. Dizziness and a slight headache. It could have been chloroform, or a form of ether..." I pause, taking a deep breath. "I wouldn't mind getting out of here as quickly as possible, though," I add, hoping I don't sound too scared.

"No shit," he answers.

I know that if I keep him talking I'll have a better idea of his condition; I'm hoping that if I keep myself talking it'll hopefully distract me, as well.

God, he must be uncomfortable. At five-foot-three, I can't stretch out. He just hit his head pretty hard, too. I wish I could see him, check his pupils, examine the bump on his head. He could have a concussion. If not from just now, perhaps from earlier, when we may have taken blows to the head, or been drugged.

I wish I could remember how this happened.

Just keep him talking, make sure he's alert. "Mulder," I say, "do you have your flashlight, by any chance?"

"I don't think so," he replies, shifting around behind me. His hand disappears from around my wrist. "I don't think my jacket's here... What about you? Do you have your gun? Your phone? Anything?"

I do a small bit of investigation and realize my jacket is missing also. "I doubt it," I say. "My phone was in my jacket pocket ... but if I have my gun it's in my waistband, at my back."

"Hold on, Agent Scully," he says, and I swear I can feel him leering at me. "Let me check for you." He wraps his left arm around me and pulls me snugly against him. "Nope, you're clean."

"Gee, thanks," I quip. "What about you? Do you have your weapon?"

"You didn't feel my weapon just then, Scully?"

Damn him for flirting at a time like this. "Mulder."

"Sorry," he says, sounding almost contrite. "I think it's safe to say we have been relieved of our weapons."

"There must be a way out," I say, squirming slightly to loosen his grasp. "A trunk latch, maybe."

"Well," he answers, "I think you're closer to the latch, if there is one. Why don't you check it out?"

"I'd kill for a flashlight," I mumble as I lean forward, feeling for a latch with my hands.

"Jesus, Scully!"

Oops. I still myself, immediately realizing that I've folded my rear end right into Mulder's crotch.

"Sorry, Mulder. Didn't mean to disturb your weapon." He quietly laughs, and I continue my search for a latch, sadly coming up empty. I let loose a sigh of epic proportions.

"No luck, huh?"

"No, Mulder, no luck. We've got no way out that I can see," I say, my breath quickening. "You're not wearing your watch, and neither am I ... we've got no identification, no weapons, no food or water. We're probably in the middle of nowhere and we've got nothing, Mulder."

I am getting panicky again as I speak. I feel my heart start to beat faster, and wonder if Mulder caught my voice rising slightly just then. I take a deep breath.

"Scully, we have each other," he whispers. "That's not nothing."

His voice sounds soothing, serious. Sexy. Bless him for flirting at a time like this. Even though I know he's just doing it to take my mind off our troubles, it's still an effective tactic. I can feel myself calming down and my heart rate and breathing getting back to normal. I assume he senses it too.

"Scully, did they take your necklace?" he asks, concern in his voice. I feel for it before remembering I left it at home with a sticky clasp yesterday. That poor little cross has been through a lot in the past twenty years, I think.

"No, it's at home," I tell him.

"Good," he says, obviously relieved. "You know," he says, a change of subject clear in his tone, "I've imagined being in a tight, dark place with you, Scully ... actually I imagined you were the tight dark place..."

"Shut up, Mulder," I say, and he does.

After another minute, a useful thought finally enters my head. "Mulder?"


"What about the back seat? Can you kick it in or something? Maybe we can get out through the vehicle."

"Let me check..." He jostles me, and I realize he must be trying to roll himself over to face the front of the car. "Oww, shit!"


"I, uh ... As it turns out, I don't really bend that way, Scully."

I find that extraordinarily funny, for some reason. I can't stop myself from absolutely snorting out a laugh. God, I wish I could see him, all six feet of him, pretzeled. I remember him once referring to the sex act as "the naked pretzel," and this makes me laugh even harder.

"Laugh it up," he says.

Still laughing, I choke out a most insincere "Sorry, Mulder."

I try to get a little more comfortable, twisting so that I'm lying on my back, still giggling slightly. "Really, I am. I'm sorry," I say, struggling to keep my mirth in check. "Are you okay?"

I can imagine Mulder's face as he sighs. Exasperated. Unhappy. Stuck.

"Fine," he spits out, and I realize our regular roles have been reversed. My sense of humor has overridden my usual practicality, and for once Mulder has a partner who's not taking a serious situation, well, seriously. Serves him right. Even if my laughter is some strange coping mechanism for incipient hysteria.



"Whose car do you think this is, anyway?"

"Well," I begin, thinking as I go, "I'm assuming it's neither of ours. If it was mine, there'd be a rolling suitcase back here, and I don't think my trunk is this big, anyway. And if it was yours ... what would be in here with us, Mulder? X-Files? A smelly gym bag? What?"

"I think it's safe to say it's not my car, Scully. Let's just leave it at that." He shifts his weight, and from the sound of his voice I can tell he's facing me once again. He's close but not touching me, except for his knees, which graze my left leg. "Maybe it's a rental," he adds. "It's got that new car smell ... What's in your suitcase?"

"Everything I would need if, for instance, my over-enthusiastic partner dragged me off at a moment's notice on a case," I say.

"Is that why you're always so prepared, Scully? Were you a Girl Scout?"

"Isn't it the Boy Scouts who are prepared?" I ask.

"It's a little-known fact that the Girl Scouts' motto is also 'Be Prepared.'" He says this with great conviction.

"Why on earth would you know this, Mulder?"

There's a pause, and then he whispers, "I ... I just know."

Thud. Any and all quips I was about to make settle deep in my stomach like a dull ache as I realize ... "I'm sorry, Mulder, I ... I ..." I stutter, until he stops me, fumbling around until he touches my arm.

"Don't worry about it," he says quietly. "Samantha was a Brownie." He pauses. "Why weren't you a Girl Scout, Scully?"

"A couple of reasons," I say, thinking back twenty-five years or so. "We moved so much that school was always the first priority, then we could do activities after we were settled in, but I just never..." I realize I'm sounding a bit like my childhood was pathetic, and as I don't especially want Mulder turning his profiling abilities on the life of Young Dana Scully, I decide to lighten things up. "Anyway," I continue, "it's a little-known fact that I hated wearing a dress when I was eight or nine. I'd only wear a dress to church, nowhere else. The Girl Scouts always wore their uniforms to school, and I wanted nothing to do with that."

He laughs. "Little Dana, rebelling against femininity. Hard to imagine."

"Feminine?" I snort, trying in vain to ignore his hand on my arm, warming me through my sleeve. "I've always been a bit of a tomboy, Mulder."

"That may be, Scully," he says, his voice taking on that calming sexy timbre again. "But you're all woman now."

This conversation has suddenly taken a turn for the dangerous. His calming tone is making me feel everything but calm. And maybe I'm more girly than I thought, because I want him to keep talking.

"What exactly do you mean by that, Mulder?" Oh, God. Was that my voice, dipping a half-octave into the Sultry Zone?

His breath warms my face as he leans in closer. He seems to be hovering over me, his face no more than a few inches from mine. "I mean, Scully, that you are confident ... and smart ... and ... soft in all the right places."

"Mulder..." I say, a warning in my voice. I don't even know why I'm bothering. We'll probably die in this trunk anyway. Keep talking, keep talking, keep talking.

"What?" says Mr. Innocence.

I go on the offensive. "You think I'm soft, Agent Mulder?"

"Don't go twisting a compliment into an insult, Agent Scully," he says, his voice a little rough around the edges. "I said soft in all the right places."

This is all I need. Mulder whispering sweet nothings in my ear when I can't get more than a foot away from him without cold steel digging into my gut.

I'm trying to think of something brilliant to say when I feel Mulder snuggle in even closer to me. Neither of us speaks for a minute or so. I don't know his reason for staying silent, but as for me, I just can't think of anything to say that wouldn't ruin the moment -- or make it drastically better at a time when we are in no position to take advantage of the situation.

So I lie here, listening to Mulder breathe, feeling him all around me, even where we're not touching. His thumb makes small circles on my wrist beneath the cuff of my sleeve, and his breath warms my neck, he's so close.

Finally, he speaks. "Scully, did you shower before you went to bed on Tuesday?"

I'm not sure why he's asking, but I can almost see the light bulb over his head, so I answer without questioning him.

"No, I always shower in the morning."

"Okay, then. It's still Wednesday," he states categorically.

"Go ahead, Mulder," I sigh. "Tell me how you know this."

There's a smile in his voice as he explains. "Because you still smell like you, Scully."

I shouldn't have asked, I think, but now it's out there. "Who else would I smell like?"

"No, no, you don't get it," he says. "Your perfume, that stuff you wear, it's usually worn off by the time we leave the office. But I can still smell it. So if you showered this morning, it's still ... today. It's still Wednesday."

He sounds proud of himself.

"Mulder," I venture, "I don't usually wear perfume."

"Whatever it is, your soap, then. Whatever makes you smell like comfort food."

"Pardon me?"

"Scully, you smell like brownies," he says, unabashedly sniffing at me. He nuzzles into my neck, and I feel rather alarmingly like a brownie - all warm and gooey inside. This is ridiculous. And even worse, with him in such close proximity, I can't help but notice how good he smells.

He continues on his quest to arouse me, or distract me, or whatever the hell it is he's trying to do to me. "You smell like ... sugar and spice, and--"

"Don't even think it," I interrupt, trying to sound stern.

"--Everything nice," he continues, sighing into my ear. I'm powerless to stop the shiver or sharp intake of breath that immediately follows.

If it turns out that he's kidding about any of this, or that his sweet-talk is just a way to keep me from panicking, I will kill him. It's actually a good thing he can't see me at this point, because I feel myself blushing six ways to Sunday.

"It's vanilla," I mutter, and God help me, but I nuzzle him right back. He's always flirted with me, but the last few weeks it's gotten more intense. I've done my level best to resist his obvious charms, but now I literally can't escape him. Or the feel of him. Or his scent. Mulder's always smelled good, but he smells absolutely amazing now that I'm inhaling him at close range.

"Scully," he says quietly, "listen."

Now that I've given up all pretense of ignoring him, I openly breathe him in. I'm not really paying attention to what he's saying, as a matter of fact, I'm so caught up in his scent...

"Scully!" It's not the sharpness in his voice that jars me back to reality -- it's the fact that he is physically moving himself away from me. Not that he goes very far. An inch or two, maybe. But his hand on my waist holds me still as he leans back.

"What?" I manage to exhale, sounding very wanton. God, I'm really embarrassing myself here, aren't I? He was probably just playing his little Mulder games and I jumped in without a life preserver like an idiot. I mentally berate myself for a moment until he interrupts me.

"Listen for a second, Scully," he says quietly.

So I listen, and I wait for him to dazzle me with his brilliance. It doesn't happen.

"Mulder, what did you want to tell me?" I finally say.

"No, I mean listen ... outside. Maybe we can figure out where we are from the sounds outside."

He's right. If we're in the city, we'll hear traffic noises, or people walking by, and then we can simply knock on the trunk and someone will hear us. If this vehicle is abandoned on the highway, it might take longer but someone should eventually happen upon us. Of course, that's if the car is in plain sight. For all we know we're in the woods somewhere, or on a rarely traveled road, or...

With my mind going so fast with ideas and worries, it dawns on me that I'm not even listening for anything yet. So I stop, and I listen. I don't hear anything -- not a bird singing, not the steady whir of cars driving by. The only sounds are Mulder's steady breathing, still close enough to warm my face, and the steady tha-thump of his heartbeat.

Scratch that. I can feel his heartbeat. My right hand has placed itself directly over Mulder's heart, I think. I have no idea how long it's been there, or if he minds, and frankly I don't care if he does.

I realize that I have been turned to mush simply from the sound of Mulder's voice, and that any panic buttons won't need to be pushed for the time being. I won't be screaming or hyperventilating or panicking in any way. Right now, I am actually perfectly content to be trapped in the trunk of a car with my partner.

Honestly, I don't know what's come over me. I've been in worse situations than this and managed to maintain my professional demeanor. I've seen him naked a handful of times and have never had any problem patching him up and sending him on his way. And if I did want to have any sort of romantic relationship with Mulder, why would the trunk of a car be the place to start it? Good God. I know I must have been drugged. I don't think this way, and I don't act this way. This isn't me.

I gently remove my hand from Mulder's chest. "Mulder, do you hear anything?"

"Not a thing," he says, his voice betraying only a sliver of defeat. "You?"

"No," I sigh.

"Wherever we are, it's quiet. Or maybe it's just the middle of the night."

I shift positions, or try to, but find no relief for my discomfort. "What are you doing, Scully?" Mulder asks.

"I'm just ... I don't know," I admit. "I'm sure this sounds ridiculous, but I'm trying to get more comfortable..."

"Tell me about it," he interrupts.

"I know it must be worse for you, Mulder." But that doesn't help me any right now. The knowledge that he too is suffering doesn't take the cramp out of my leg, or the stiffness out of my neck. God, I'm selfish.

"Were you more comfortable before, Scully?"

"What do you mean?"

"When we woke up, you seemed comfortable," he says slowly. "And now you're not. What hurts, exactly?"

"Mulder, I appreciate it, but there's not much we can do about it while we're stuck here..."

"Just tell Doctor Mulder where it hurts, little girl," he says, and I laugh.

I figure we'll spend a few minutes or so talking about it, and if nothing else, a few minutes will have passed. "Well, I have a cramp in my left leg which isn't much fun, and my neck is stiff. What about you?"

"Don't worry about me," he says. "Just come here."

"Come where, Mulder?"

He surprises me with a feather-light touch on my stomach, and I immediately flinch. He's tickling me, though I doubt it was intentional. "S-stop it!" I gasp through embarrassingly loud giggles.

He stills his hand, but doesn't remove it. He actually increases the pressure, rightly thinking it won't tickle me as much. "Sorry, Scully," he says. It sounds as if he's trying not to laugh himself.

As my laughter dies down yet again, it occurs to me that in the short time since we've been conscious, Mulder's probably heard me laugh more than in the entire six years we've known each other. How pathetic.

"C'mere," he finally whispers, and he moves around a bit as he gathers me into him, spooning me like he had before. I hadn't realized how cold I was, but now Mulder's presence is making me feel distinctly warm.

In another circumstance, this would be incredibly romantic, the two of us snuggled together like this. I find myself drifting a little, imagining that we're curled up on his sofa, a late movie on the TV, a bowl of popcorn on the floor next to us --

Whoa, stop right there! I'm sure we must have been drugged, because it sure isn't me thinking these things. All of a sudden I feel the need to be as far from Mulder as possible, but despite the darkness there's nowhere to hide. Besides, he's so warm, so solid against my back, and he just smells so damn good...

My brain simply can't handle all this information. If I were just scared, or just worried, or just thinking of a way out of here, I'd be all right. But add the Mulder factor, and I'm on sensory overload. I'm not just thinking of our predicament. I'm thinking of Mulder. I'm feeling and hearing and smelling Mulder. He's got me completely surrounded, and I'm about to wave a white flag.

Not that he'd see it in here, but somehow I think he'd get the picture.

His silence gives me time to think. I've never had any problem defending myself against his innuendoes before, so what is it about this situation that's weakened my resistance? Is it the darkness, or the close proximity, or simply that I find the way he's thinking only of me endearing? Certainly he's put my safety before his in the past, and actually risked life and limb to keep me alive.

My musings on my partner's heroic nature are interrupted by his voice, soft and sweet in my ear. "Hey," he says, nudging me from behind, "I've got an extra arm here; you need a pillow?"

"I'd love one," I say before I give myself the chance to think about it. He gently lifts my head and slips his arm beneath it.

"Make yourself comfortable, madam," he says. I don't bother speaking and just do as he says. His bicep and the crook of his elbow make me a thousand times more comfortable than I was before.

"Mulder, you'll tell me if this makes you uncomfortable, right? I mean, more uncomfortable than you already were?"

"I'd tell you," he says, "but I'm fine. Now what about your leg?"

"You've got a hell of a bedside manner, Doctor Mulder," I say with a laugh, but I mean it. There's nobody I'd rather be trapped in a trunk with than Mulder. I've never trusted anyone the way I trust him, and I assume he feels the same about me, although right now I know I'm no help.

"All the better to cure you with," he says, and I can hear the smile in his voice. I can see it, too, even here in the dark with my eyes closed.

Sarcasm oozes out of me. "Ha ha," I deadpan. "It's my left leg, my quadricep. It's just cramping, Mulder, it's not anything serious--" I'm stunned into silence when his hand travels from my waist, past my hipbone, lightly stroking toward my knee. I'm vaguely aware that this should tickle, but it doesn't. I tense up as he reaches the part that hurts.

"There?" he asks, starting to massage the area, about halfway between my knee and thigh. His touch is firm, strong.

"Mm-hmmm..." is about all I can muster. Good pain -- nice pain, actually -- spreads throughout my leg, reaching parts of me I'd rather not think about right now. Mulder seems to know exactly where it hurts, and precisely how to touch me to relieve the ache. He alternates between kneading with his fingers and applying pressure with the heel of his hand, and though it's not exactly the first time he's ever touched me, now it feels intimate and loving.

When we were posing as husband and wife in that not-so-normal housing tract in California, Mulder was all over me, pawing at me constantly just to get a reaction, I think. But he's never touched me the way he is now. He's flirted, he's teased, and he's nearly kissed me, but he has never made me feel like this. Never. I want to escape, and I want to sleep, and I want to never leave this trunk, and I want to kiss him, and I want to kill him for making me want him this way.

I'm jarred back to reality by a sound, and I'm about to tell Mulder I've heard something, when I realize to my great embarrassment that it came from me. It's been years since I've made a noise like that, somewhere between a sigh and a moan, and I think it actually echoed.

But Mulder hasn't been dissuaded from his task; he's still massaging my thigh for all he's worth, and doing a damn fine job. I think the cramp is actually gone, as a matter of fact, but I'm not about to tell him that. Not when I feel his breath hot on my neck, and his heart beating into my back, and his hand heading for my ... I shiver at the thought.

Then his fingers falter. "Scully? You okay?"

"I-I'm fine," I manage to stutter out. Don't stop, Mulder, I want to add, but I don't. And I don't have to, since his fingers start up again anyway. Now that the pain is gone, I'm swimming in pure pleasure. How pathetic, I think. He's just touching my leg.

Damn him.

"Hey Scully..." he says, a slight question in his raspy voice.

My response is just a hum, really, but he understands, and continues. "What's your favorite part of me?" he asks.

Well, that got my attention. "What do you mean, Mulder?" My voice sounds breathy and tremulous. Damn him again.

"Physically, I mean. What do you consider to be my best feature?" His voice is hushed and sensual, and it takes me a minute to realize that those sounds actually have some meaning.

I shift slightly as I find myself considering his question. I know I must not be thinking rationally, or I wouldn't let myself be sucked into a conversation like this. But it's too late and my mind is already hard at work, picturing my partner.

Mulder's best feature? His ass comes to mind. His eyes. His lips. He has nice hands, even nicer now that I've felt them on me. I've seen his penis and it's quite ... impressive. Hmmm. I don't think I'll be telling him that any time soon. Way too dangerous. What else? Despite the fact that I know he doesn't like it, I think his nose is perfect for him.

I come to my senses, at least slightly, and choose a safe answer. "Can I say your brain?" I ask, already wishing I hadn't phrased it in the form of a question. This isn't "Jeopardy," after all.

Then again, maybe it is.

"No, you can't," he answers without missing a beat. "Come on, Scully, pick a part, any part. And it has to be something you can see without using a scalpel."

"Fine," I mutter in mock indignation. I think a moment, and finally choose. "Your lips, I think. Your bottom lip, especially. It's...." My voice trails off; I'm unwilling to verbalize the rest of my thoughts. Thoughts of those lips swiping at my earlobe, lapping at the hollow of my neck, dragging across my nipple...

No. No. No. I can't go there. I won't. Time to turn the tables on him and go on the offensive.

"Okay, I answered, Mulder. It's your turn."

I feel his hand come to rest on my hip, his thumb tracing small circles on my hipbone. He can't possibly know how this is affecting me, or he wouldn't be doing it. Would he?

I close my eyes in anticipation. I don't know why, since we're in total darkness, but this is sweet torture, and I just can't bear to look.

I've been told my eyes or my lips are my best features. And men in particular seem to like the red hair ... but I doubt Mulder would go with something so obvious. He'll probably choose the small of my back, that spot he touches every day in that casually chivalrous way. Or maybe it's not so chivalrous.

I wait, and I listen to him breathe, and I relish the feel of his hand through the soft wool of my slacks, his thumb continuing to swirl tiny circular patterns on my hip. My mind drifts, to another time and place where it's soft and watery and smooth, and nothing else exists except the two of us. I feel myself sinking, even as he rises up to meet me --

His voice drags me back from wherever it is I have gone. "I think you'll be surprised," he whispers.

"Try me, Mulder," I whisper back. I've given up fighting this. I just want to know.

"Well," he continues, "it's not your lips, although they're about the best lips I've ever seen in my life."


"Blow job lips," I whisper, almost to myself.

I'd think he missed it, if it weren't for the fact that his whole body shuddered against mine.

After we're still again, I can almost hear his eyebrows raise, so I explain. "When I was a teenager I heard a boy call them that once, when he didn't realize I was listening. He said I have blow job lips."

"I wouldn't say that, Scully," he says, and now I can hear his huge smile. "At least, not to your face."

We both laugh, and rock against each other, and I can't believe I'm actually having fun here. All of a sudden this has turned into the best date of my life. Granted, we're trapped in the trunk of a car, but it feels like a date. So there was no dinner. So there was no movie. There's been conversation, flirting, a little groping... Yeah, it's a date.

Considering how long it's been since I've been on a real date, my parameters have widened to include extreme possibilities. And considering who my 'date' is, I'd expect nothing less.

He's stopped laughing, and he clears his throat before speaking again. "Anyway, no, it's not your blow job lips, although I reserve the right to change my answer at a later date."

"In your dreams, Mulder," I say automatically.

"Definitely," he answers with such confidence I nearly reach over to smack him. "Okay, moving on. It's also not your eyes, although they're a close second."

"Keep talking, Mulder," I say, hearing my voice turn low and sultry. "You can't even see my eyes."

"I can always see your eyes, Scully," he whispers. "I can see them at will. I can see little galaxies of gold that fade out into big blue skies."

I have no idea where he got that; I don't know if he made it up, or if he's reciting poetry to me. It doesn't matter.

He leans a little closer -- which I wouldn't have thought was possible -- and I realize we've reached the moment of truth.

I was right. It's the small of my back; it has to be. As a matter of fact, I feel his left hand move over my hip, and I'm sure he's going to use it to illustrate his point, but the hand unexpectedly skims up my arm, past my shoulder, and tangles in my hair.

"Scully," he says, his voice finally betraying his arousal, "it's also not your hair, although I've made a permanent switch from brunettes to redheads." For some reason, the feel of Mulder's fingers in my hair just sends me over the edge. I can't take much more of this without touching him back. But I lie still and I wait.

"Can I show you instead of telling you?" he whispers, and the combination of his lips grazing against my earlobe and the thought of him demonstrating his answer is even more powerful than I could have imagined.

"Show me?" I murmur, and I turn my head toward him.

"No, don't move," he says, as he gently turns my face away from him, "I can get there from here." His voice has deepened to a near-growl. "And I can use your favorite part to show you."

Oh my.

That means that Mulder's lips will be on me any second now. I have the vague notion that it can't possibly be the small of my back, but the thought swirls away as a feeling of absolute happiness washes over me. He'll be kissing me soon. Kissing me.

His breath is searing hot on the back of my neck, as he pushes my hair out of the way.

My neck? He's just hovering there, breathing hard, almost panting, moist hot Mulder air warming the nape of my neck.

I think I'm panting too.

Oh, God. His favorite part. I know it now.

Oh God.

And his lips softly touch it, the tiny white scar. Even though he can't see it here in the dark, he knows the exact location of the chip that's keeping me alive.

I'm crying before I know it, even though I don't want to, and his lips feel so good on me that I don't want him to stop. He kisses and kisses it, humming against me, and his hand strokes from my ear to my shoulder and back up again, but his lips and tongue never leave the small spot on my neck that covers the implant.

Before I know it my left hand is joined with his right, the one he was so kind to offer as a pillow earlier. I'm so overcome with emotion right now that I'm powerless to do anything else, but I squeeze his hand for dear life and he squeezes back, and he kisses the back of my neck as if he's been waiting years to do it.

His humming has turned to words, though I can't make them out yet. Whatever he's saying, his voice is soothing.

"Don't..." he says, finally lifting his mouth off of me for a moment between kisses. "Don't cry..."

He has got to be kidding. How can I possibly not cry? My body convulses in silent laughter through my tears, and Mulder hangs on tightly for the ride, kissing and whispering nonsense and kissing some more.

His lips finally travel away from the implant, and oh, he's right below my ear, and his voice is my whole world for a moment.

"You taste like brownies, too, Scully," he's saying. "You taste so good..."

This is not at all fair, I think. And I'm just about to say it. I start to twist so that I can get a taste of him too, when something clicks. Literally.

It's a clicking noise. A gun being cocked. We both freeze.

Suddenly there is a loud crack, and blinding white light, and cool fresh air, and Mulder literally throws himself on me and I can't see anything but I hear more click-click-clicking and then a man yelling. "It's them!"

Mulder finally rolls off me with a sigh which seems to be equal parts relief and regret. I open my eyes again and the sunshine is warm and bright, and there are about ten FBI agents in their windbreakers, with rifles trained on us. Jesus.

"Didn't know firing squads took their act on the road," Mulder mutters. "Hey, guys," he says louder, "do you mind?"

Realizing we're no threat, they lower their guns and step back.

"Thank you," Mulder says, his sarcastic tone hiding the underlying sincerity that only I know is there.

"I'm SAC Morrison," the lead agent yells. "Are either of you injured? We've got full medical backup..."

"No," I say, "that won't be necessary."

"We're fine," Mulder says. "But I for one wouldn't mind stretching my legs."

SAC Morrison laughs and reaches for my hand. "Of course," he says, "Let's get you two out of there."

Despite our protests, within five minutes we're on the way to the hospital, sharing yet another ambulance ride as EMTs take our vitals. They've obviously been briefed by Morrison, who's riding along in the front seat and calling for tox screens and fluids and special handling at the hospital...

The light still hurts my eyes, but I open them to check on Mulder. His eyes are already open and he's staring at me. We haven't spoken since we got out of that trunk, and even though I should be worrying about dehydration and shock and post-traumatic stress, all I can think of is the feel of Mulder's lips on my neck. I lay my head down and actually fall asleep for the rest of the ride.

As tired as I am, nobody could sleep through the din of the emergency room. A few questions have been answered, at least. We're in Baltimore. And we were locked in that trunk for somewhere between three and four hours, from what SAC Morrison tells us. He's barking orders to the hospital staff as if we were his own children.

We're poked and prodded and rehydrated, and blood is drawn and questions are asked. We don't have any answers.

Finally I'm moved out of the ER into a room and I sleep. I'm sure Mulder's nearby somewhere, maybe even in the next room, and I vow to check on him as soon as I wake back up...

But I don't have to. I wake up in his arms, still in my hospital bed. We're in nearly the same position as we were in the trunk, though now I'm much more comfortable. I could get used to this, I think.

"Me too," Mulder murmurs in my ear.

"I said that out loud?"

"Mmm," he says. "Out loud."

I look over at the bed next to mine. It's been slept in; they've obviously put us in the same room.

"Mulder," I say as I twist in his arms to face him, "do you think the next time we sleep together we can go to dinner and a movie first?"

I think he must be too tired to laugh, because he just looks at me and reaches out to stroke my hair. "It's a date, Scully," he says.

And we sleep.

** END 1/1 **