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Midnight Mark-Up by Louise Marin
From: Louise Marin <>
Date: Sun, 16 Jan 2000 22:06:05 -0800
Subject: NEW: Midnight Mark-up (1/2) by Louise Marin
Title: Midnight Mark-up
Author: Louise Marin
Rating: R (language and mild friskiness)
Keywords: M/S UST; MSR; Angst; Humor
Spoilers: Season Six, nothing major, cept A.D. Kersh is a big old meany
Disclaimer: Dana Scully, Fox Mulder, and everyone else belong to CC, 1013, and Fox. Uhmmm…don’tsueme.
Archive: Sure. Just please let me know where it is.
Feedback: Yes, please.
Summary: Drunken fools, black ink, and territoriality…
Little Notes: This is mostly silliness, with a tiny dash of angst. I was up very, very late one night…
Midnight Mark-up By Louise Marin
Scully had always wondered what would happen in this unlikely situation, and now she finally knew — she and Mulder both got goofy when they were drunk and together. Go figure.
As she lifted her fourth or fifth margarita from the bar and tipped it up to her mouth, Scully congratulated herself on the amount of motor function she had managed to retain. She felt dizzy in just the right way; the world around her — the club, the lights, the crowd, the music, her partner — was tilted but not spinning. At least, not yet.
Obviously the alcohol could have been confusing her perception, but she swore that Mulder’s stool, along with his body, had been scooting closer and closer to her own since they had sat down at the bar, whenever that was. Now he wiggled his little butt on his seat as he giggled in her ear. He was relating some story about the last time he’d gotten drunk and acted, not surprisingly, stupid.
“And there were dogs, Scully,” he was saying. “Real, honest to goodness, living, breathing, I-saw-them-with-my-own-two-eyes Dogs. Right there in the alley!”
“Really?!” Scully gasped, and then she fell into a fit of giggles herself. “God, Mulder, that’s just…unbelievable! Dogs in an alley!”
“Scuh-leee, I’m telling a stor-eeee!” Mulder whined, and then he took a sip of his eighth or ninth whatever-the-hell-it-was — brown water in a double shot glass. After returning the glass, with a bang, to the bar, he cocked his head and grinned into Scully’s face. His eyes were round and dreamy, as if he just could not understand why she would want to do anything but gaze at him and listen with rapture to every word that spilled from his mouth.
And then, without even the bat of an eyelash, he slid his fingers lightly onto Scully’s stocking-covered knee. An electric heat shimmied up the inside of her thigh. All the way up.
Scully stiffened. She sat poker-straight, folded her hands on her lap — consequently trapping Mulder’s hand between her wrist and her knee — and tried but failed to be serious and appropriately businesslike. “Okay, Mulder, I’m captivated,” she said, licking her lips. “How many dogs did you see?”
Mulder, however, seemed too distracted now to go on with his story. Instead, his face slowly floated even closer to Scully’s. His mouth was open, his breath soft, and his eyes were fixed on her lips.
Shifting on her stool, Scully stuck her leg out and kicked him in the shin with the pointy tip of one of the new heels she had worn to work.
“Ow!” he yelped. Pouting, he reached down with the hand that was not on Scully’s knee and rubbed his injured leg.
“The dogs, Mulder,” Scully demanded
“Oh, right! The dogs,” he said, the smile returning to his face.
He’d shed his jacket and his tie and unbuttoned the top buttons of his white dress shirt sometime before they had left the office. As he righted himself now, his shirt shifted, and Scully found herself entranced by the light wisps of brown hair that poked out from his collar. When he finally continued his story, she was only half-listening.
“Anyway, there were three dogs. And I was peeing, cuz I mean what’s the alley behind a bar for, anyway?” he rambled. “So I was peeing and then all of a sudden the dogs were peeing too. But it wasn’t normal fire-hydrant peeing. They were peeing on each other, Scully. On each other. Scully? Hey, earth to Scully… Hey.”
Scully finally blinked when she felt him squeeze her knee. His touch felt pleasant but…strange, and she recognized that he shouldn’t have had his hand there in the first place. But in the same second she told herself it was okay because what the hell, she was drunk. So she turned her gaze up to his face. He smiled at her, and she smiled back, and a lazy wave of delight passed between them.
“What happened next, Mulder?” Scully eventually managed to ask, her voice oddly husky.
“The dogs. Right. Well, I was just completely taken aback and so I went home and I emailed an animal behaviorist about it, and do you know what she said?”
“Dogs pee on each other when they want to mark their mate?” Scully offered with a smirk.
“Yes! How did you know that?
Scully laughed. “You must have been pretty drunk that night, Mulder.”
He nodded. “Mmmm hmmm.”
“More drunk than you are tonight?
“Why?” Scully’s voice was quiet, and her eyes were locked with his. His face seemed to bob forward and back, toward and then away from her, over and over, in slow motion, leaving blurry, white and green trails in its wake.
She blinked and tried to remember how many drinks she had consumed. When she failed, she decided she would just grab Mulder by the cheeks and hold him still. And then, since she was going to be holding him anyway, and since his lips looked so soft and wet and she had always wondered what it would be like to touch them, she decided she would give him a little kiss.
But before Scully could move, and before Mulder could tell her why he’d gotten so drunk the night he saw the dogs peeing on each other in the alley, the agents were shoved apart by — again not surprisingly — another woman.
Mulder’s hand fell unceremoniously from Scully’s knee as the woman wedged herself between their stools and called for the bartender. The woman ordered a drink, and then without missing a beat she turned and shoved her bountiful, half-covered breasts in Mulder’s face.
“Hello,” Scully heard Mulder say. He sounded amused, but she could not see his face because the woman was tall, of course, and her fluffy brown hair was in the way.
Scully liked to imagine that an aggressive woman like this one scared Mulder to death. But deep down — or maybe not so deep, now that she was drunk — she was afraid that he was excited and pleased by this stranger’s attention and her big breasts, long legs, and hooker-red lipstick.
Suddenly, Scully wanted the woman out of the way. Yesterday. She threw back the rest of her drink and then pulled at the woman’s shoulder. “Excuse me.”
Ms. Look-At-My-Breasts turned to Scully, looked her up and down, and then shot her a disapproving grimace that made Scully’s heart burn. Then the woman turned back to Mulder and pressed her lips to his ear.
“I can tell you’re a gentleman and you’d never ditch Plain Jane over there,” the woman whispered loudly enough for half the bar to hear, “but the second you’re done with her, I think you should give me a call.”
A moment later, the woman’s arms began to move. She was doing something between her own body and Mulder’s which Scully could not see. Just as Scully was about to attack the woman for making a move on her man…uh, partner, she saw the usurper slide her hand down Mulder’s back to cup his ass and squeeze his left butt cheek.
Scully’s jaw dropped. She sat there and blinked. And blinked. And then in a flash of fluffy brown hair and irritatingly strong perfume, the woman was gone, disappeared back into the crowd, and Scully could see Mulder again.
He sat unusually still, staring at the back of his hand, his mouth hanging unattractively open. But then, with a sudden burst of giggles, he turned his hand to Scully to show her the phone number written there on his skin in black ball-point ink.
Scully felt the ridiculous urge to throw her drink in his ridiculous face. But her glass was empty, and instead she crossed her arms over her chest and took a minute to wonder at her own fit of jealousy. That last swig of margarita was hitting her hard, and she was glad. She would be berating herself so hard, were she sober, because she knew that were she sober, she would never think of Mulder as hers. Would she?
She shook her head, trying to clear it, but succeeded only in making the room finally start to spin. Then she cursed herself for having sworn up and down to Mulder that she could hold her liquor as staunchly as any true sailor’s daughter.
Trying to focus on him, Scully saw that Mulder was still admiring his conquest. “This never happens to me,” he said in a bewildered tone that Scully didn’t buy for a second.
“Suuuure it doesn’t,” she said, wishing he would put his hovering hand back on her knee. But then she figured it would be for the best if he did not. He was tainted now with Ms. Breasts’ damned black ink.
Finally, finally he dropped his hand to his own knee. When he looked up at Scully, it was with shock and a tiny bit of torment over her skepticism. She could also see that his eyes were beginning to droop and she guessed that his ‘limit’ had been hit, probably twice thus far.
The room was still spinning and swaying, but Scully swore that Mulder and his stool scooted again towards her and hers. He dipped his head down to hers conspiratorially.
“Really,” he insisted. “I don’t understand where you gets this idea that women are always throwing themselves at me, Scully, and that I’m always throwing myself at thems.”
Scully tried not to laugh. The man actually seemed serious, in his own ridiculously inebriated way.
“AhemKersh’sSecretary,” she muttered, clearing her throat.
“What?!” Mulder’s head perked up and he hit her with a befuddled little grin. “I never…”
“Maybe not, but she seems pretty convinced that you have.”
He shook his head, and Scully swore she saw his eyes spinning in their sockets. “I never,” he said again. “She’s not even my type.”
“Shut up, Mulder. I saw a picture of her twin on the cover of one of those videos that aren’t yours.”
“Ahh, Scully…” he sighed. Then he swayed forward until his forehead landed on Scully’s shoulder, making her teeter.
She grabbed onto the bar to keep them both from toppling to the floor. Rolling her eyes, Scully decided Mulder had had enough. She took his half-empty shot glass from the bar and downed what was left of whatever it was.
“Big piles of manure. That fucker,” she said into Mulder’s hair, which was, by the way, soft and sweet-smelling and delicious.
“Yeah, Kersh. That fucker…fucker. Fucker Kersh. Fuck,” Mulder mumbled. Then he turned his face towards Scully’s, rubbed his cheek against her shoulder, settled in, and closed his eyes. “Fucker.”
Feeling both wistful and queasy, Scully gazed down at him and smiled. “I think it’s time to go home, Mulder,” she said, her lips fluttering against his cheek.
By the time they both scrambled into a cab, falling over and around and into each other in the process, Mulder had perked up again and was giggling like never before.
“Where we goin’, Scully?” he asked when she told the cabby her address.
“Why your place?” Grinning, he slid across the cab’s leather seat-back to rest heavily against her. Scully pushed her hand into his hair and scratched his scalp. “Cuz I want to.”
With a growl, Mulder then turned towards Scully and buried his face again in her neck. She kissed his temple, ignoring the warning bell sounding in the only tiny part of her brain that remembered who they were when the sun was out. Then, tormented by the nauseating bounce and sway of the taxi, she let her head fall back against the seat and she closed her eyes.
Twenty minutes later, they entered Scully’s apartment with their arms around each other’s waists. For support, Scully remembered to tell herself. Then she and Mulder made a beeline for the couch, where they both collapsed.
Scully found herself lying on her side, sandwiched between Mulder’s back and the sofa. She held him in the cocoon of her arms and legs, realizing suddenly that she had neither the energy nor the desire to let him go.
Turning her head, she stared at the ceiling and tried to remember to keep breathing. Her stomach was spinning, and her head was spinning, and the room was spinning. But Mulder, thank God, was not. He was just a warm heartbeat thrumming against her chest.
“Scully, did your mom sew your name into your underwear when you were a kid?” he mumbled out of nowhere.
Scully felt proud that she wasn’t too drunk to raise an eyebrow, but then she giggled against the back of Mulder’s head. “Um, no. She wrote my initials on the tags with a black magic marker. Why?”
“I dunno. Why do you think moms do that, Scully?”
She knew that in the morning she’d be ashamed she had to think about this one. “Hmm. I think they did it in case if we went over to a friend’s house or something to spend the night our underwear wouldn’t get mixed up with any of the other kids’.”
“Mm. Prolly. It’s time to sleep, isn’t it, Scully?”
“I think so, Mulder.”
“M’kay,” Mulder sighed.
Scully closed her eyes, but for reasons she would not and could not consider, her mind kept flashing back to the woman in the bar. The image of the woman’s long hand fondling Mulder tortured her. She ached as the trespass played over and over and over…
Dipping her chin, Scully sniffed the back of Mulder’s neck only to find that the woman’s bad perfume still clung to him. To keep herself from retching, she came up with an idea.
“Let me up, Mulder.”
“I need to get something. Over there,” she said, and then she rolled over, dumping Mulder onto the floor. He hit with a thud and then bellowed his discomfort, but Scully simply climbed over him and scrambled to her desk.
“Hi-Liter, ball point, ball point, pencil… Ah ha!” Scully took the fat, black Sharpie from her desk drawer, held it up, and licked her lips.
Then she bounced across the room to find Mulder settling back onto the couch. He was on his back, his eyes closed and his lips curled up in a blissful little smile. Without a second thought, Scully straddled his hips, her skirt riding up around her waist.
Mulder gasped, but then his smile grew into a frisky grin and his eyes slipped slowly open. “Mmm, hi Scully.”
“Hi, Mulder,” Scully purred with a smile of her own.
“What’cha doin’?” Putting his hands on her hips, he eased her down onto his lap, and she felt the hard arc of his erection press between her legs.
Scully giggled. “What are YOU doing, Mulder?”
“Mmm, feelin’ good.”
“I’ll bet.” Telling herself she only meant to tease him, she rubbed herself against the bulge in his pants, giving him one long stroke. But God he felt good, and God did she want him, and oh how she wanted to hear him moan like that again.
But she knew that if she tried to make love to him right now, she would probably throw up. So instead she settled back down on his lap, took his hand, and began to use the Sharpie to black out the numbers inscribed there.
“Hey! That’s mine,” he whined. “That never happens. Wanted to show the guys.” He popped out his bottom lip to pout at her.
“Awww,” Scully said. Her tone was patronizing, but she did lift the marker from Mulder’s skin. Then she cocked her head as a truly naughty thought struck her. “Okay, Mulder.”
“Okay?” His eyes widened but then quickly drooped again. She guessed he had about five more minutes of consciousness left in him.
“I gotta better idea,” Scully said, giggling and bumping against his erection again — just because she could, of course. “And you don’t have to worry, Mulder, because your idiot bimbo actually wrote a ‘1’ before her area code, and that was the only thing I scribbled out.”
She shoved his hand in his face so he could see, but he pulled from her grasp and slid his palm back onto her hip. Scully shrugged. His eyes were almost closed anyway, so she turned her attention to her new project: his forehead.
Mulder, however, seemed to have other ideas. Scully felt him slowly slip his hands around to cup her ass. She hesitated for a moment, enjoying how warm and how nice it felt to have him touching her and pressing against her. There were other places she would like to feel his firm but gentle contact, but her mission was too important for her to spend much time wishing his hands would go there.
Just as she was fumbling again to fix the pen properly in her grip, however, Mulder began to sit up, squeezing her ass and leering naughtily.
“No, you don’t,” she said, pushing and pinning him down with her free arm as she raised the pen above his forehead.
“Unpf… Scully? What are you doing?”
Scully giggled. “I’m putting my name in my underwear, silly.”
“What?!” He scrunched his eyes shut and shook his head petulantly. “Nooooo…”
Scully rolled her eyes and huffed a strand of hair from her face. “I gotta do this, Mulder, so just shut up and lay still,” she commanded. And then she pressed her rear back firmly against his palms in an attempt to distract him. It worked — he settled right down and began to knead her pliant bottom.
A moment later, Mulder’s eyes slipped blissfully shut. Scully bent forward, kissed his forehead, and then began to write as slowly and carefully and clearly as she could, dizzy as she was.
“Scully, I didn’t stay at friends’ houses much when I was little,” Mulder murmured as she worked. “But my mom still put my name in. Why?”
“I dunno, Mulder. Maybe she was hoping, for you,” Scully suggested. Then she capped her pen and smiled. “There, all done. Just right.”
He cracked his eyes open. “Whaduz it say?”
“I’ll let you read it yourself, Mulder.”
Mulder shifted beneath her, trying to get up. “I wanna see,” he said, but Scully held him down. He didn’t put up much of a fight.
“You can’t read it right now, anyway, Mulder. Cuz you’re stupid,” she said confidently.
“I am not ssoopid.”
“Yes, you are.”
“Mmmmm.” He turned his head to the side and closed his eyes.
Scully giggled one last time at the cleverness of what she had written on Mulder’s forehead. Then she collapsed down on top of him, settled her head on his shoulder, and passed out.
She awoke to the feel of something tickling her nose. She sniffled and twitched, but the tickling just got worse. It felt like hair, soft and feathery, teasing her face.
And it smelled like…
It smelled like…
Scully’s eyes snapped open. The world was bathed in the hazy dark gray of pre-dawn. As her vision cleared, she found she was looking at a sideburn. Mulder’s sideburn. She was wondering if he was ever going to get those silly things trimmed when she realized she was drooling in his ear.
“Sorry, Mulder,” she murmured and then closed her mouth.
At least, she tried to rationalize, she no longer had to wonder why her mattress was breathing. Not to mention what the hard…thing was that was poking the thigh she seemed to have wedged between Mulder’s legs.
Scully bit her lip, stifling a fierce laugh. Her mind was foggy and her humor wry, but the horror running through her was real and profound. Their current…entanglement, however it had come about, was unacceptable.
She needed to get up, to move away from him. For a thousand personal and work related reasons, they weren’t supposed to get this close to each other. Ever. Such intense intimacy would be far too dangerous to the partnership they’d spent years building and protecting.
But Scully’s body felt like a block of lead, and Mulder’s body was supple and warm beneath her. His abrasive cheek pressing against her chin and lips felt pleasantly masculine. So, too sore, stiff, and oddly comfortable to stretch or roll or sit up, she lay still and wondered what the hell they had done last night.
She remembered drinking. Getting more drunk, in fact, than Scully had been since college. She had no idea how long it had been for Mulder. Her nose twitched again against his hair, but he remained dead to the world; it must have been a while.
Scully also had a vague memory of collapsing with Mulder on what seemed to be, now upon closer consideration, not her bed, but her couch. She was unsure, however, how long she and Mulder had taken to pass out. Or what they had done in between.
Dangerous territory, Scully told herself. Fighting a surge of frustration, she swallowed hard, expecting to find her throat dry and sour.
Her mouth did taste like three day old beer, but it was wet. Too wet. She swallowed again. A wave of nausea enveloped her.
“Shit,” she murmured. Then she finally rolled off of Mulder and slunk through the shadows to the bathroom. She threw herself at the toilet just as her stomach lurched, twisted, and then exploded, luckily, into the basin.
Despite her petite size and her puny stomach, Scully’s retching was loud, and tempestuous, and well out of her control. She prayed that Mulder was too far gone to hear her and realize that she couldn’t hold her liquor after all. He would come running to hold her hair back like the mother-hen he could be, the one she hated to indulge. The one who would, like her, be reminded of her cancer.
“Oh God,” she rasped when the heaving finally slowed. At least, she told herself, the darkness of the little room spared her a good look at the mess she had made.
Expelling a deep breath, she leaned heavily on the toilet seat. The porcelain was cool against her sweaty palms. Acid burned her throat and tears stung her eyes. Her head was throbbing. But her stomach felt so much better.
With a sigh, Scully concluded she wasn’t going to die. She just had to get cleaned up and changed, throw Mulder out of her apartment, and then sleep the rest of this misery off. She was reaching up to flush, thanking God that Mulder hadn’t awakened, when the bathroom light flicked on.
Pain lanced straight through Scully’s eyes to the back of her head. She shielded her eyes as Mulder’s groggy voice called out from behind her, “Scully? You okay?”
Scully opened her mouth to speak, but before she could find her own voice she made the mistake of glancing down into the toilet bowl. The sight and aroma of regurgitated alcohol mixed with last night’s dinner sent her stomach into a tailspin.
She heaved again. Right there. With Mulder looking on over her shoulder. At least, she thought, he had the courtesy not to touch her.
When there was finally nothing left in Scully’s belly to expel, she hung her head in the toilet. Her cheeks were on fire. She could feel Mulder standing next to her, watching her, pitying her. Laughing at her. When she glanced over she found his knees just inches from her face. She dared not look up at him.
As she spit into the toilet one last time, Scully wondered if the voluptuous woman she suddenly remembered hitting on Mulder the night before could vomit daintily, like a lady.
“I’m fine, Muller,” she murmured impatiently, hoping he would go away. To underscore her statement, she flushed the toilet.
Still hiding her face, Scully moved to the sink and began to wash up. Mulder remained silent and still next to her. She braced herself for the wholly inappropriate joke she was sure would be flying from his mouth any second now…
But he said nothing.
“Mulder, some privacy, please? I can do this myself,” Scully growled.
Still he said nothing and did nothing. He was standing just behind her, and as she sucked water into her mouth, swished, and spit, she fought the urge to elbow him in the stomach.
“Mulderrrr, go,” she groaned when her mouth was empty.
With sharp movements, Scully slathered Crest onto her toothbrush. “Really, Mulder, this is a fun game, but you don’t need to be here while I brush my teeth. In fact, I think it would be best if you went home now and got ready for work and we forgot this ever happened.”
She heard Mulder gasp behind her. “Work,” he whispered, as if speaking the word aloud would usher in the apocalypse.
“Yes, Mulder, work. That place we have to be in ohhh ninety minutes or so.”
“Scully,” he said again.
Scowling, Scully finally turned her eyes up to the big mirror over the sink. When she saw Mulder’s reflection, she dropped her toothbrush and brought her hand up to her mouth. “What the…” she began to ask. And then she remembered everything.
Her first impulse was to laugh, which she did, giggling through her fingers. Her second impulse was to pack a bag, catch a plane to anywhere-but-here, and never look back. But just about all she really could do was stare. And stare. At Mulder’s forehead.
“Oh my God,” she whispered. Oh my God.
Mulder’s face was blank and pale, stark in contrast to the black letters. The words were backwards in the mirror but written in two neat rows of her own big block print:
Property of Dana Scully. Abruptly, Scully spun around and looked up at Mulder. As she shook her head, her mouth fell open. But she quickly found that she had nothing to say for herself. What had she done?
“Scully, you marked me,” Mulder declared.
“What?” Scully had a flashing vision of dogs cavorting in an alley. It was harmless enough, until this same vision proceeded to blend seamlessly into one of herself straddling Mulder’s dangerously aroused lap and tagging his forehead. Shit.
“You pissed on my head!” he asserted, his voice cracking.
“You let me.”
“I was drunk!”
“So was I!”
Mulder looked at his hand and the phone number Scully had begun to scratch out. “Yeah, drunk and jealous, I’d say,” he mumbled.
A speck of anger had flared in his eyes, but the corner of his mouth quirked up in an infuriating little smirk that made Scully want to give him a black eye to go with his branded forehead. Her face burned like the sun, her stomach churned, and she thought she was going to throw up yet again.
What have I done? she wondered again. Mulder was amused, the bastard, and Scully had revealed too much with her drunken but perfectly clear penmanship. The memory of his erection feeling hard and oh-so-good pressed between her thighs last night came unbidden to the front of her mind.
Mulder’s erection! Good God. Scully struggled in vain to push the memory away, thinking that maybe she was indeed a dog in heat, after all. She remembered last night far too well, now. She remembered her spinning head, her hypersensitive skin, her jealousy, her arousal, her desire to…kiss…
“Hey! Scully! Hellooooo.” Mulder waved his hand in front of her, pulling her back to the present. He had been alternately ranting and laughing just a few inches from her face for some time, his own face candy-apple red. And black, of course. But Scully had hardly heard a word, so lost was she in her battle with her own unacceptable truth.
“What…what, Mulder?” she asked, trying to look anywhere but at him and her revealing handywork.
“I said, you say you weren’t trying to mark me, to claim me. If that’s the case, are you going to explain this or what?” Bending low, his eyes roguishly twinkling, he shoved his marred forehead in Scully’s face.
Scully winced. She could hardly look at him, and yet she could hardly not. The letters on his skin were so…big. So obvious. Possessive. How could she even begin to explain? How could she take back this confession she had not meant to make, even to herself? How long would Mulder laugh at her?
“Mulder,” Scully finally began as calmly as she could. “We were both very, very drunk, and…ah…together. And I don’t see why we have to make a mountain out of this. It was a silly drunken prank, and I just… I don’t know what I was thinking when I wrote that. I wasn’t thinking at all.”
“Weren’t you?” Mulder asked quietly. His tone was skeptical, but his voice was low, dark. Scully wondered if it was disappointment she heard. His face wasn’t laughing anymore.
For a long moment, Mulder searched Scully’s eyes. He seared her with the same dark green intensity he reserved for The Truth. He was waiting for her to give more of it away. As if she hadn’t done enough damage already. And Scully wasn’t even an alien or mutant. Well, for the most part, anyway.
Eventually the tall devil saw something he liked amidst the humiliation and frustration rippling through Scully’s body. His eyes began to twinkle again, and he grinned — a big, fat, pompous, I’m-the-man Muldergrin.
Great. Scully wondered why she even bothered trying to lie to him anymore. She knew exactly what she’d been thinking when she put her name on him. And he knew it, too.
Contemplating escape, Scully glanced at the open bathroom door. But Mulder saw and scowled. Before she could make a break for it, he leaned forward and placed his palms firmly on the edge of the sink, trapping her between his arms. Scully’s heart sank a few inches, but she had known there was no way he was going to let this go.
“Really, Scully,” Mulder drawled impishly, “I’m flattered, but couldn’t you have just sent me a valentine? Maybe one with a nice removable name tag inside?”
Scully felt a sudden, ridiculous urge to growl and snap at him. “A valentine? Mulder, I’m gonna… I’m…” In one fluid movement, she pushed from the trap of Mulder’s arms, grabbed him by the ear, and shoved his head into the sink.
Scully ignored his protest. She reached around and held him firmly by the scruff of his annoying neck. Then she turned on the faucet.
“That’s hot!” he complained.
Scully tested the water to find that it was warm, at worst. “Baby,” she muttered.
A moment later the water ran down Mulder’s face and into his mouth, muffling his protests. Scully rubbed soap over her hand and began to scrub his forehead.
His skin and hair were soft and warm, and Scully felt distressed at how much she liked touching him this way, washing him. And despite his grumbling and the fact that he was sputtering water all over the front of her blouse, Mulder’s body had relaxed under her firm caress.
Shaking her head, Scully tried to ignore the intimacy of their contact, concentrating hard on erasing the offending statement.
Property of Dana Scully.
Scully half-chuckled. Fat chance. This was Mulder the Unruly. Mulder the Ditcher. Mulder the Breaker of Protocol. Mulder the Tease. Mulder the Flirt. Mulder the Master of Shallow Sexual Innuendo. If he was truly hers — if he would ever be hers — Scully thought she could at least get him to behave every now and then. But when had that ever happened?
Property of Dana Scully, indeed.
♥ Midnight Mark-up (2/2) by Louise Marin ♥
After a few minutes of Scully’s scrubbing, Mulder cracked open his watery eyes and peered up at her. “It’s not coming off, is it?” he garbled.
“It is,” Scully lied through clenched teeth.
Mulder frowned. He pushed her hands away, rinsed the soap from his forehead, then looked up into the mirror. The letters had faded only slightly.
“Scuuuuuully? What exactly did you use on my head last night?” Mulder asked slowly, as though he were afraid of the answer.
Scully bit her lip and considered lying, since Mulder didn’t seem to remember all the details of her crime. But then she looked at the useless soap still dripping from her hand. Who was she kidding? “Ah, I guess we’d better call Sharpie.”
Mulder’s eyes widened. “Sharpie! Shit, Scully, that stuff takes weeks to come off! What the hell were you thinking?”
“I told you, Mulder, I was drunk. I wasn’t thinking. At all.”
Mulder folded his arms across his chest and looked down his nose at her. His eyes were dark, but his lips twitched as if he was trying to hold back another infuriating grin. “I guess that means you weren’t thinking about this morning’s staff meeting either, huh, Scully?”
Scully gasped. Somewhere between her drunken stupor and her desperate attempt to undo what she had done to Mulder’s forehead and to their friendship, she had forgotten the early morning meeting their boss had demanded they attend. “Oh my God. Everyone will…”
“See.” Mulder rubbed his forehead. His face turned serious, and soft. “I didn’t know… But last night we… You marked me, Scully,” he said quietly.
“I did no such thing,” Scully snapped. God, why did he have to bring that up again? And why did he have to find so much amusement in her humiliation? Even now she tingled with the memory of him hard and strong between her legs, of his warm hands on her hips and then later her ass, his fingertips sliding up and down the sensitive crevice…
Scully shook her head. She had an unwanted vision of herself and Mulder walking into FBI headquarters with her heart on his forehead. Their colleagues, friends and enemies alike, would see just how much she needed her partner, how much she wanted him. How vulnerable she was in front of him. She looked down at herself, and despite her skirt and her albeit wet blouse, she felt naked, peeled, like a fruit, all tender flesh and fragile sinew.
“I have to go,” she blurted, afraid he would embarrass her further by insisting they discuss her ‘feelings.’ Without looking at him, she fled into the living room to gather her purse and her jacket.
“What?” Mulder stormed after her. She could almost feel his breath on the back of her neck. “Scully, wait. I thought we were going to call Sharpie. Where are you going?”
“Away…home,” Scully said absently as she opened the front door.
“But Scully, you are home.”
Scully stopped. “You’re right, Mulder. You leave.”
“You. Out.” Dropping her purse, Scully placed her palms on Mulder’s stomach and pushed him toward the open door. She got him backed up to the threshold before he firmly planted his feet and grabbed onto the doorjamb.
“Mulder, go,” Scully insisted.
“Yes.” She gave him an ineffective shove.
Mulder rolled his eyes. “No way, Scully. You put this on me,” he smirked, dipping his head, “and I’m not going anywhere until you get it off. Unless, of course, you want me to go in like this.”
Scully sighed, her body sagging with resignation and sudden exhaustion. Behind his air of amusement, Mulder’s eyes were pleading with her — as usual — to clean up the mess they’d made.
“Fine, let’s call Sharpie,” she said as she turned and walked away from him.
A moment later Scully frowned out her living room window as she waited to be connected to the Sharpie company. The sun was only just beginning to rise, and she was not surprised to hear a recorded voice tell her that the Sharpie customer service lines wouldn’t be open for another hour and a half.
“Not open,” Mulder said for her as she hung up the phone.
“Not until about the time we’re due at that meeting.” Scully slumped into her big easy chair, feeling defeated. She watched Mulder as he pursed his lips, the gears beginning to spin in his head.
“The Internet, then,” he said after a moment. Then he launched himself at Scully’s computer.
Scully read over Mulder’s shoulder as he sat at her desk and searched the Sharpie official website. There was plenty of information on how and where to buy Sharpie products, as well as what they were good for, but there appeared to be nothing about how to remove the stubborn ink from skin.
“You’re not coming up with anything,” Scully stated.
Mulder grunted and continued his search, spreading out now to sites about household cleaning products as well as pens in general. Scully let him ignore her for another minute or two and then she headed back into the bathroom. After a lot of rummaging through drawers and a little comparing of colors, she thought she had found a solution to their…problem.
“Anything?” she asked Mulder as she returned to the living room.
He pushed the mouse away from him, turned, and pouted at Scully over his shoulder. She took that as a ‘no’ and plunked her bottle of Loreal No. 15 Cover-up down on the desk in front of him.
“No way, Scully,” he said instantly. “No makeup.”
The foundation, a color called Autumn Bronze, was too dark for Scully. It was the one she hadn’t used since long before she started on the X-files, the one she had been saving on the off chance she’d ever end up vacationing at the beach again in her lifetime.
Scully held the bottle up next to Mulder’s face. He grimaced, but Autumn Bronze would look, well, almost fine on him.
“Come on, Mulder,” Scully said, tugging on his shoulder.
“Scully, what part of ‘no way’ didn’t you understand? Ow!”
Scully had grabbed him by the ear again the moment the obnoxious question flew from his mouth. She dug her fingers in and dragged him whimpering back into the bathroom.
“Shower, Mulder,” she commanded as she let go of him and stepped back into the doorway.
Mulder rubbed his ear, pouting at her in an obvious play for sympathy he was not going to get. Scully glared at him; she hadn’t pulled him that hard.
“Yes, master,” he muttered.
Scully frowned at his forlorn tone but nodded over his compliance. She knew she should go now so he could undress, but she hovered in the doorway. Mulder’s eyes, still twinkling with mischief, locked with hers as he reached down to undo his pants.
Scully’s mouth dropped open rather wantonly, and her heart did a little flip-flop in her chest. Swiftly she stepped backward into the hallway, pulling the bathroom door closed in front of her before she could see anything she shouldn’t.
She spent the ten minutes Mulder was in the shower telling her body to behave itself. Their friendship couldn’t get any better, only more complicated. Too complicated. Romance was out of the question.
But, when the water had shut off and he called for her, Scully pushed the bathroom door open to find him naked from the waist up. He wore his work slacks, but the rest of him was all shiny hair, lean muscle, and glistening skin.
She wondered for a moment if he realized they were just going to put the makeup on his forehead. Then she saw the smallest hint of a smirk on his face and figured he had remained half dressed simply to remind her of what she had all but admitted. The bastard was teasing her, even now. She wanted to strangle him, but when she dragged her eyes away from his chest and looked up at what she had done to his forehead, she supposed she deserved the torment.
“Well, what now, Scully?” Mulder asked, his muscles rippling as he planted his hands on his hips.
Scully lowered the toilet lid and told Mulder to sit. “The ink faded a bit more while you were in the shower,” she said as she stood between his legs and inspected his forehead. “Tomorrow is Saturday. Let’s just get through this meeting, keep our jobs, and then if all else fails you can stand in the shower until Monday.”
Mulder glanced at Scully’s shower. “Be careful what you wish for,” he warned with a naughty leer.
Scully felt her cheeks heat up again. She clenched her teeth and narrowed her eyes at Mulder in a warning of her own. With a dramatic sigh, he plunked his chin into his palm, supporting his head as he tilted his face up to the light.
Using a sponge, Scully began to dab the makeup onto Mulder’s forehead. She worked clinically, with sharp movements, like the responsible doctor she’d always thought she was. But it took effort to ignore the heat coming off his bare chest and the sweet, clean Mulder-smell that surrounded her.
“Do we really have to do this?” Mulder asked, his frown depending every time she touched him. “The makeup’s gonna show, Scully. People will talk.”
“As if that’s ever stopped you before, Spooky,” Scully said, chuckling despite herself.
“Try Spookette, Scully,” he grumbled, touching his forehead and looking less than amused.
“Oh, Mulder, it’s just a little cover-up,” Scully sighed. “Look, if someone asks, tell them you were in an accident and I said it would be better to cover up the damage than to show up battered and bruised at work. Or tell them a suspect beat you up. Hell, tell them I beat you up.”
Mulder snickered. “You think I look whipped now,” he said sarcastically.
Scully shrugged and continued applying the makeup, trying not to analyze this act of covering up her claim on her partner. For a few hours her stalwart denial had been broken. She had been as nearly naked in front of him as he was now in front of her.
Maybe — okay, certainly — some part of her did want to have him, to mark him as hers and no one else’s. He was a brilliant, noble, gorgeous man. He was her best friend. But some things were simply not to be, and words — of love, of desire — no matter how indelible the ink, would eventually fade away to nothing, over time or death or disappointment. She had to take these words back. Before anyone got hurt.
“At least,” Scully said for Mulder’s sake, “the makeup is covering it. And as long as you stay out of bright lights, I doubt anyone will notice.”
“Sure,” Mulder mumbled, sounding completely unconvinced.
“You look fine, Mulder. Trust me,” Scully said without thinking.
Mulder snorted. “Scully, have you seen my forehead??”
Scully tried not to flinch. “I was drunk!” she insisted again. “And you let me do it.”
“Hey, I said no!”
Scully frowned, silently admitting and regretting that she had violated him. But then she remembered Inebriated-Mulder pawing at her throughout the evening. “You didn’t put up much of a fight, though, did you, Mulder?”
Mulder cocked his head and then looked down at his upturned hands. He clenched his fingers a few times as though he could still feel her flesh pressed into his palms, distracting him. “I didn’t, did I?” he said with a grin and a leer.
“Mulderrr,” Scully warned.
“And neither did you,” he said quietly.
“Mulder! I. Was. Drunk!” Scully barked.
Hardly noticing that Mulder’s face had fallen, she slapped some powder on his forehead to set the makeup, and then she turned and walked away from him. When she came out of her bedroom dressed in her robe and ready to take her own shower, he was gone.
The day they’d been informed of its time and location, Scully and Mulder had agreed to stay quiet during this morning’s informational meeting regarding the new travel expense policies about to be applied to all FBI mobile divisions. Scully figured they had suffered enough reprimands for ‘unnecessary’ expenses since the X-files had been snatched away from them and Mulder had been left to his own devices.
Characteristically, she arrived at the meeting precisely on time. The first thing she noticed about the giant, crowded conference room was that the air inside was hot. Too hot. People were complaining, and she overheard some chatter about the heater being stuck on high.
Sighing, she scanned the room’s huge oval table. Mulder was already there. He had, thank God, positioned himself with his back to the windows so that his body was lightly silhouetted, a dusky shadow falling across his all-important forehead.
Though Scully refused to look anyone in the eye as she took a seat near A.D. Skinner, Mulder and the agents around him seemed calm and together. Keeping her fingers crossed, she concluded that her partner hadn’t been noticed and hassled about his made-up face. At least, not yet.
The meeting began and, as expected, turned out to be a grand example of bureaucratic tedium. Scully tried to pay attention, but as the minutes and then hours passed, the heat in the room continued to rise. Her eyes flashed constantly to her partner.
By ten o’clock she could feel her pantyhose sticking to the backs of her knees. But that was, of course, the least of her worries.
Though everyone was sweating, no one looked as wet or as miserable as Mulder. His blue shirt was damp around the collar and down the center of his chest. His short hair was beginning to look rather soggy, and beads of sweat visible from where Scully sat across the big table had gathered on his brow and were trickling down into his eyes. He sat with his hands on the table, his fists clenched, as if he was trying with all his Mulderness not to fidget. Or not to throw himself across the table and ring Scully’s neck. Or… or… he was trying not to reach up and wipe the sweat — and the makeup — from his forehead.
Oh, God. And judging by the constipated look on his face, he was about to cave.
Feeling dizzy, Scully turned to her left and gave Skinner a discreetly pleading look. It was ridiculous to keep them all in the meeting when the heat was so miserable.
If Skinner saw Scully’s plea, his reaction was undetectable. However, a few minutes later when there was a break in the discussion of yet another new policy she was sure her partner would insist on disregarding at every turn, Skinner rose and cleared his throat. When all eyes in the room were on him, he suggested that if no one had any urgent information to share, they would continue with the meeting after the heater had been fixed.
Scully saw Mulder breathe a sigh of relief and reach for his briefcase. As he pushed his chair back from the table and began to rise, Kersh — that fucker — said, “Before we go, Agent Mulder, why don’t you tell the group about some of the creative punishments I’ve handed out in response to your incessant breakage of some of our most important travel regulations. As an example to the others. Please.”
Mulder, visibly startled, stuttered rather uncharacteristically. “I… Uh, I mean, you, Sir… Uh, you… Um, big piles of manure?” he whimpered. Then he shook his head in silent apology, which consequently released a big ball of sweat from his brow. The drop slid down into his eye, making him blink as though he were batting his eyelashes at A.D. Kersh. Urgently, Mulder reached up and wiped the sweat — along with most of the makeup — from his forehead.
The murmuring began almost instantly. “What’s on his head?” Scully heard people asking. “What does it say?” they wanted to know.
“Oh, Mulder,” she whispered, dropping her chin to her chest and rubbing her own sweaty temples.
After several long seconds, Mulder recovered his wits and smacked his palm over the letters just as some young agent called out, “Property of Dana Scully! It says Property of Dana Scully!”
Jeffrey Spender jumped up from his seat next to Diana Fowley. Dizzy as she was — again — Scully thought she heard him exclaim, “Well, no shit!”
And the room erupted in laughter.
Scully looked around at her colleagues and her bosses. Most of them had respected her. Now some, especially the younger agents, were laughing at her outright, practically in tears. Some agents pointed. Others looked embarrassed as they giggled, and they wouldn’t meet her eyes.
Several of the bosses and a couple of female agents, however, weren’t laughing at all. Diana, in particular, gave Scully the evil eye, looking as though she were about to whip out her claws, spring across the table, and shred her into little bits of humiliated woman-flesh. And Scully almost had a mind to let her.
Amidst the chaos, she heard the word property whispered and shouted a hundred times. Her face had turned to fire, and now the room started to spin. Faces were distorted by ridicule and her own humiliation. The door looked so far away and the path to it was blocked by a sea of bodies.
She looked at Mulder, as if he could bail her out. He was slouched in his seat, scratching his head. She wondered if he was going to even try to explain this one. After a moment, he looked up at her with a shrug and a sheepish little grin.
One of the younger agents followed Mulder’s gaze. “Yeah! Go Scully, go Scully,” the man started to chant when he saw her.
Mulder’s cheeks turned pink. He bowed his head in apology for the young agent and the rest of the circus, but Scully couldn’t accept. Furious and humiliated, she forced her way through the crowd of special-agents-turned-pre-pubescent-imbeciles, wrenched the door open, and slipped out into the hall.
“As if anyone didn’t already know who belongs to who around here, Mulder,” was the last loud, laughing comment she heard before the conference room door clicked closed behind her.
She went straight to her desk in the bull pen. She would bury herself in background checks and expense reports. She would forget the words she had written, the words that she knew weren’t even true. Everyone knew. And they had laughed.
It didn’t take long for other agents to begin trickling in. As far as Scully could tell, they were ignoring her, returning to their own work. For just a moment she talked herself into believing that the events of last night and this morning would be forgotten, like a nightmare receding through the monotony of just another workday.
She was wondering where Mulder had ended up when she raised her head to see him coming down the hallway. On his heels stalked an entourage of snickering agents and administrators.
Scully rose when Mulder came around her desk. His eyes were hot with mischief, but they were also dark…dark with hurt. She had hurt him. “How?” she asked quietly.
Mulder didn’t respond, didn’t act as though she had even spoken. Instead, he clamped a hard hand down on her shoulder. With his free hand, he scooped up — of all things — a Sharpie from her desktop. He opened the pen with his teeth, then spit the cap over Scully’s shoulder.
Scully’s eyes widened as he held the Sharpie up to her head. Using his pinky he pushed her hair away to clearly expose her forehead.
“Mulder, don’t,” Scully said as she wondered what God-awful statement he planned to brand her with.
His eyes narrowed. “Five years, Scully. How could you not know?”
“This,” he growled. Then he lowered the pen to her head.
Scully waited to accept her punishment, but before the tip of the pen could touch her skin, Mulder stopped. “Oh, hell,” he said and tossed the Sharpie back over his shoulder. His hand crept around to cup the back of Scully’s neck. His head, his face, moved slowly closer to hers, as it had done the night before but without the drunken confusion that had seemed to always make him miss his mark.
Scully gasped, her chest swelling as his lips touched the corner of her mouth. “Mulder, what are you doing?”
“Revenge, Scully,” he whispered against her skin. “Sweet revenge.” And then he tilted his head and devoured her mouth.
His kiss clawed at her as possessively as his grip was tight on her neck, holding her to him. All Scully could do was curl her hands over his shoulders and hold on for the ride as he traced the word ‘mine’ over and over on the flat of her tongue and the roof of her mouth. He had said revenge, but this felt more like a promise, a true branding, flesh searing flesh, binding them together, for all to see.
When his tongue finally retreated, he pulled away with a quick nip to her bottom lip. “Now everyone knows,” he said breathlessly into her ear. “Now you know.” Then he pushed past her to his own desk, ignoring the applauding crowd gathered around them.
Scully closed her eyes, trying rather unsuccessfully to block out the spectators. She could still hear them. The roar of their cheers, laughter and catcalls hit her in waves. What the hell had just happened?
When she opened her eyes, even Skinner was flashing a grin her way. Pleased? How could most of the bureau — save, of course, one hideously scowling Diana Fowley — be pleased that right there in the middle of the bullpen she and her partner had… She and her partner had…
Scully sank slowly down into her chair, then swiveled around to face Mulder across his desk. “Mulder, did you just pee on me?”
Mulder looked up from the report he had been — supposedly — working on. His eyes were twinkling but unreadable as he studied her face.
“Fair’s fair, Scully,” he finally said with a smirk and a shrug.
Scully blinked. “W-what?” she asked around the lump lodged in her throat. Mulder the Tease had struck again. She licked her lips. She could still taste him there.
Mulder sighed and shook his head slightly. Then he leaned across the desk, his face coming to hers, his breath brushing her mouth. “Was it as good for you as it was for me?” he whispered. His eyes had gone feral and — finally — serious, and she feared as well as desired that he would devour her.
Just to torture him, however, Scully leaned back in her chair and pretended to think until a worry line spread across his forehead, underlining her claim on him. She felt the corners of her mouth curl up despite herself.
“I hear there’s a nice alley behind Casey’s Pub,” she said.
Mulder’s eyes widened. Then he flashed her a genuine, comfortable smile — a rarity. “Is it lunch time yet?” he asked excitedly.
Scully smiled back, and she could feel something like contentment touching her eyes, her lips, her heart. Taking his hand across the desk, she caressed the backs of his fingers and then, turning him over, the inside of his wrist. Satisfied with the little gasp of pleasure her touch pulled from him, she reached into the Styrofoam cup that held his pens and retrieved another Sharpie.
With a shaking hand, she wrote on his palm: I Want to Believe.
End Notes: This is what happens when you stay up till 4:30 in the morning extolling the virtues, or lack thereof, of Mulder/Other stories with Ropobop. Thanks, Robbie! Ahem. Anyway, this was my first and quite possibly my last attempt at humor. It was a lot harder than it had looked. Feedback? “Yes! Yes! Yes!” Scully said to Mulder. In my dreams.
Check out my other fic here: www.angelfire.com/la/xspot
Special Thanks: Robbie, Jen, ytwolf, Lisa, Lena and anyone else with whom I might have discussed this with over the last four months.
Thanks for reading!
Louise Marin – – www.angelfire.com/la/xspot
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