Romantic by Mariacomet

Romantic cover


Romantic by Mariacomet

Romantic cover

Date: Tue, 03 Mar 1998 23:47:18 -0500 From: Agent DM <> Subject: EP> Romantic 1/4

ROMANTIC by Mariacomet

Summary: After her cancer goes into remission, Scully begins to question the direction of her life. Mulder confronts his feelings as she turns to another man. The partners conduct a ‘romantic’ experiment and realize that the answer to Scully’s restlessness may not be farther than her best friend.

Archive: Yes. Keep me as the writer and let me know is all I ask.

Rating: Parts 1 to 3 – PG. Part 4 is NC-17. WARNING. GRAPHIC, LOVING SEX BETWEEN ADULTS AHEAD. (In Caps, even) Let me make that perfectly clear. WARNING. GRAPHIC, LOVING SEX BETWEEN ADULTS AHEAD.

To that end, by the way, I can only say that this is my first attempt at writing anything NC-17. I can only hope: 1. That I didn’t flub too terribly and 2: My mother NEVER reads this. (I can hear it now…“I carried you in my womb for nine months and THIS…THIS is how you repay me.”) Sorry mom.

Category: MSR. If your a non-shipper, re-read the title and run for your life. 🙂

Timeline: Spoilers for Detour and Post Prometheus. Basically this continues after those episodes as if Christmas Carol never happened.

Disclaimer: Come on now if I owned the rights on Mulder….er…WOW….(getting totally distracted by that thought.) As I was saying, If I owned the rights on Mulder…Mulder…Oh boy. Okay, so I didn’t create the X-files or any of the characters there-in. All the rights of said t.v. series belong to Fox, Mr. Carter, and 1013 Productions. Special Kudos to D.D. and G.A. for their extreme talents, without which I’d have zero inspiration. Not making money on this. Ya-da, ya-da, ya-da.


Good evening ladies and gentleman. Welcome! This is a writer’s plea for feedback. To induce, you, the audience to write and tell the author what ya think…I have the following LIFE or MAIL challenge.

(Announcer holds up a small glass cage with a brown lizard in it.)

This is Skippy. Skippy is your typical garden variety lizard. Say hello Skippy!

(Holds up lizard, who remains silent but does flick out his tongue)

Now if you folks will notice, in the corner over there we have Postman Donnie.

(A tall man with a mustache in a postman’s uniform waves to the crowd)

The writer has determined that if she gets no feedback, we will mail Skippy one way to….ANTARCTICA. So, if your interested in joining the “Save Skippy Crusade,” please send your letters to:

Write a letter and make a difference. Save Skippy.


Romantic ♥ Part 1

If you love something set it…

Better to have loved and lost than never to…

Some sayings were overused. Terms existed that bleed of abuse. The meaning of the word love, for example. SoulMates. That was another one. Just a speck compared to what it had once meant, now tossed around freely by dreamers searching for meaning. But they couldn’t be blamed, it was human nature to strive against being alone. To reach outside the self and seek connection. It was as much an instinct of survival {and}[AS] staking out shelter and food.

Fox Mulder’s feet rose and fell in an even rhythm, his breath falling in and out of him with steady control. It was usual to think of her as he took his morning jog. His body was engaged in rigorous motion around the long circular track of the YMCA, but he allowed his mind complete freedom during this time. It gave him at least an hour every day of total self honesty. His dark hair was damp with sweat, his eyes concentrating on nothing in particular, non-seeing.

Thinking of her was as natural as breathing. It seemed a part of her lived in everything he did, each thought that he had, each beat of his heart – everything. What did you do when the woman of your dreams was right in front of you…It wasn’t that Scully fit any mold or pattern in his mind. Rather she filled gaps that he’d always felt would remain empty. He knew she could bring to his life all the joy of love he’d been denied. But that wasn’t going to happen. It was a pipe dream. What did you do when the woman of your dreams was right in front of you… and you couldn’t have her?

You became her best friend. You lived inside small fantasies when it was just the two of you. You jogged an hour or two every morning to keep yourself from losing your mind. You cracked witticisms every time things became too serious, lest you reveal too much. You smiled at her as she lay dying of cancer trying to provide strength. Even if watching her die was slowly killing you as well. You cried with relief, thanking God or fate or whoever when her life was restored. You watched her blossoming back to full health, your soul rejoicing at every sign that she really would be okay. Mostly, though, you learned to set your feelings aside.

Dana was feeling restless, Mulder knew that. Five months ago she’d been given her life again and now she questioned the value of the life she was living. Mulder wondered what had taken her so long. She deserved so much more than to be trapped in a dusty basement office with the Bureau’s favorite loony tune. Working with Dana Scully was inspiring. She challenged and revived him. She matched him, argument for argument, theory for theory. She had brought the fire back to his quest for the truth. She’d made the loneliness dissipate like a bad dream. Without her in his life, the sun had no substance. The world was cold. The truth was still there in the midst, still worth seeking, but he could no longer be content with seeking it alone.

Mulder was no expert at being in love. He believed it to be a matter of putting her above himself. The rest was a mystery. What lived in his heart for Scully was both lust[-]filled and innocent. Greedy and Giving. Courageous and terrified. And he’d never told her. Some words had the power to make people disappear.

Poof. Presto, chango. She’d be gone. One way or another.

Better to not rock the boat. She was his friend. That was good enough. It was more from life than he’d every expected. A true, heartfelt companion who had never let him down. He could live with that. He’d have to.

The wind blew over his face, cooling the sweat as he continued to jog. In a little over an hour he’d be ready to face Scully as just her pal. He’d be in control again. And she’d never, ever know.


If Mulder was the type to lie to himself, he could say that Scully’s extension into a romantic relationship was an inconvenience. After all, he and Scully had fallen into a habit for going on two years now. Their habitual hangout time had been initiated by Mulder’s need to make sure she was truly ok. Like all things with Scully, it had developed into something more. Something stronger. It had become routine. As instinctual as working with her on a case. Mulder hadn’t thought he’d have much of a life besides his work. But he made room for certain things: basketball games, really good jazz music…and after Tooms, he’d made room for Scully. But Since Mr. Wonderful had shown up, she’d canceled on Mulder four times.

If the gifts and flowers she was receiving regularly were any indication, this fellow appreciated her. It was true that Dana wasn’t wearing the love-sick glow that other women sometimes did at the start of a relationship, but then she tended to be a private person. Scully kept her emotions reined in tightly. Just like Mulder did.

He rested his chin on his hand, observing her for a long moment before speaking. “Scully?” Mulder called.

Scully’s brow was pinched as she looked over the pictures she had downloaded from the FBI mainframe. It was the same focused expression she wore when she was performing an autopsy. “Mmm.” The distracted Scully hum. He didn’t really have her attention yet.

Mulder needed something absurd to say, something that would tear her away from the task at hand. He approached on the pretense of laying a file on her desk. “He drives a Volvo doesn’t he?”

Her sea blue eyes snapped up to those of her partner. She clearly hadn’t been expecting the statement. “What?”

“Aaron.” Mulder said by way of explanation. He was putting forth a good front, conveying only amusement in his expression. “You’ve had 7 dates with him in the last three months.” A wry smile. “Must be some kind of record for the X-files team.” Mulder himself counted three ‘dates’ in five years. In three months, Scully had more than doubled his X-files era romantic history. “I’m just curious about the man who’s stolen the heart of the enigmatic Dr. Scully.” Mulder tried to leave no trace of hardness in his words. Humor. When pain was clawing at his heart, he always turned to a joke.

“My heart thanks you for the concern, but it remains intact where it always has been.” Then more quietly. “Though I could do worse.”

“He’s not good enough for you.” Mulder said after a moment but there was a smile in his hazel eyes.

“Mulder you’ve never met him.” She made no attempt to hide the rolling of her eyes. “I think the concept of good enough is a rather outdated and chauvinist.” Her chin jutted up, stubbornly. “By what moral or personal set of scales can you weigh what ‘good’ is? Much less good enough?” Even when she was matching facetiousness with facetiousness, she was always the reasonable one.

Mulder nodded, “I agree. Chauvinist and outdated.” Mulder leaned in and nudged her with his elbow lightly. It was a light tap just enough to make sure she knew that his next words were a joke. “Except in this case.” Scully nudged him back, accepting the teasing as par for the course.

Mulder returned to his chair, leaning back, his arms crossed over his chest. “In the absence of your father and brothers, I feel a certain obligation to ascertain this man’s intentions.” Besides that, Mulder thought sarcastically to himself, I am glutton for punishment.

“Are you saying your feeling parental compulsions toward me, Agent Mulder?” Asked Scully, taking her place in the light-hearted banter. When she was amused, the tint of it was subtle. A lightening of her eyes, a quirk of one mouth corner, a slight tilt of her head. Mulder had grown to know the expression well. He knew all of her facial meters like the back of his hand. “The psych profile department would have a field day with that one.”

“Oh, I’ve been their poster boy for years.” Mulder taunted. “And Scully, be good or I’ll send you to bed without any supper.”

Her warm chuckle filled the room. The sound was one that he’d once rarely had the pleasure of hearing, but he’d become attuned to finding ways to coax it from her. It was as if she used a fragile layer of ice to shield herself in. Every now and again, she allowed it to melt, revealing who she really was. Mulder liked being in on the secret.

Scully sobered and regarded her friend with a pained expression. “I don’t know if I’m ready for him to meet you.”

Mulder lifted a pencil from a small round ceramic jar. The blue and white pencil holder had been a gift from his partner after a discussion about how despite numerous request from the supply office, they never seemed to have a pen around they needed one. Yep, Mulder was to blame for that, and rightly so. Organization simply wasn’t one of his priorities. “Any particular reason why not?”

“That kind of introduction assumes a more permanent commitment. I don’t know that Aaron and I have reached that stage.” She made an off-hand gesture, waving her prior words away as if they were unimportant. “I haven’t introduced him to anyone, Mulder.”

So her family hadn’t met the mystery man either. He wondered if Maggie Scully wasn’t chomping at the bit over that one. “You know,” Mulder began conversationally, as he drummed the pencil’s eraser lightly against his desk top. “As an FBI agent, I do have the ability to find out his address.” Inwardly Mulder cursed himself. Why was he pushing this? Because, dammit, I’m her friend. Looking out for her is what I’m supposed to do.

A raised eyebrow in response to the challenge. “I think I should remind you that if you take any such action…” She smiled coolly. “I already know your address.” Mirth danced back and forth between the two partners. Scully dropped her gaze and shook her head. “Actually he’s been wanting to meet you too.”

“You’ve told him about me?”

Scully frowned as if she suspected he was reading more into that than he should. “Only the basics.”

“Name. Rank. Serial Number. “

A not-quite hidden grin. “Right.” She was clicking the mouse again, eyes on her computer, still trying to keep to task. That was Scully. Nose to the grindstone.

Mulder wasn’t willing to drop the subject. “Wellllll?”



Her blue eyes flashed up at him, letting him know that she knew she’d been caught trying to let the whole thing slide. “I’ll see what I can do.” Scully relenting should have made Mulder feel triumphant. Instead he felt like he’d just made a big mistake. “Promise me… you’ll… behave.”

“Who, me?” Mulder gave a crooked grin and crossed his heart with his index finger. His eyes still on hers, he walked over to lean on the side of her desk. “I’m just looking out for you, partner.” She folded her hands before her and looked up at him, giving up on the work for now.

“I know that Mulder.” She reassured him fondly, and briefly reached out to touch his hand. The ‘I’m glad I have to put up with you,’ look was on her face. The same one she might give a brother.

It was fine that she only categorized him as a best friend, but his pride didn’t have the pliancy to be written off as a sibling. Mulder took hold of her arm stopping her just as she started to turn away from him. Scully waited, looking to him expectantly. Mulder leaned his head down slowly and brushed his mouth tenderly against her brow, lingering a bit longer than he should have. Her eyes automatically fluttered shut with the gesture. She bore a slight attraction to him, Mulder knew. It was inconsequential in her mind and it would never go anywhere. But it was a useful bit of information to have. “Nothing and no one will ever be good enough for my Scully.” He whispered and then drew away.


My Scully, Dana thought, that really hadn’t been fair. Her poker face was a matter of habit and she was glad that it was. If he could see the turmoil his one thoughtless act had created…The feel of his soft mouth against her skin…Damm…That kettle of worms was closed, she reminded herself.

For a long time she’d felt uncertainty about what exactly it was that she shared with her partner. But she’d ignored the confusion, thinking probing could only bring destructive questions. Then cancer had closed in and she had been glad that her questions had remained silent. Mulder had already lost so much…and the disease was forcing him to deal with losing his best friend as well. If they’d been more than partners…

Then all at once, five months ago…the Future with it’s indefinite warmth had been returned to her. She was going to live. Which brought to her gratitude for all she would continue to hold and the wondering of all she had missed when her appreciation had been more casual. Meaning. Her life was her work. The truth was a worthwhile quest, yes. But was truth she may never find really all she wanted? She wondered about the gaps in her life. She wondered about Mulder.

Her return as an agent had been heralded by an FBI conference. It was an easy assignment. A way that she could get back into the groove of things, without overt amounts of stress. That had been why Skinner had ordered it. Mulder had gone along without argument for similar reasons. When he’d found a way out of it though, he’d jumped. Scully had considered it an opportunity. It might be a nice interlude. When she and Mulder were together away from work, it always had an overtly ‘just pals’ tone.

Maybe if she…explored a more flexible avenue. A small bottle of wine, a hotel room…It had not been a seduction attempt. Just an exploration. She’d just wanted a hint if they could have…more. It had taken her five years to get up the courage to conduct this experiment. It would be trial and error, that’s all. Despite her inward insistentce that she was expecting nothing, Scully had placed a small piece of her heart on the line testing his reaction. Dana wasn’t used to taking risks. Wasn’t particularly good at it. In this situation she had tried to do her best without overtly blurring the lines.

Mulder had bolted just a few minutes after she’d come in. He hadn’t touched the wine and he’d gone on and on about Predators in the wild. A Rejection?


Then again maybe not…

Mulder was distractiable, especially when he thought he was on to something. Perhaps it wasn’t really a rebuff. So to a lesser degree in the woods, she’d tested the waters again. Flirting in answer to his innuendoes. It wasn’t the normal scope of their banter. Mulder spouted flirtation left and right, and she normally tried to ignore it. After all, it wasn’t serious. It was just Mulder. This time, she had answered him tit for tat. What she received for her efforts was an uncertain look. Allllllrigggghhtttyy then.

Dana had given up, written her emotions off as one sided. Yet the feeling that empty pieces existed in her life hadn’t left her. Six months ago, before the cancer had gone into remission, a family friend had begun asking her to dinner. Initially Scully had refused because of the cancer. After, she’d wanted to see what – if anything – would develop between herself and her partner. In the end, she had no reason to continue saying no, wasn’t sure she even wanted to. Aaron was an intelligent and warm. He was handsome in every classical sense and he seemed more than ready to commit. Yet she’d asked him to think of the relationship as a casual one. Despite the cancer, even with her resolve to fill the gaps, Dana wasn’t certain Aaron could help her find and maintain the meaning she was desperately beginning to crave.

Yet in exactly two hours Aaron Cope would meet with her partner and best friend for the first time.

Scully had suggested that she make dinner at her apartment for the three of them. It was an intimate but neutral location. Both men had agreed, and Mulder had insisting on showing up early to go shopping with her. Now they walked beside one another, talking about nothing in particular. Scully went straight down the list of the items she needed. It was the way she preferred to do things. Mulder, on the other hand, was bored. She could tell by the way he was picking things up and playing with them before setting them back down. To try and accommodate him, Scully was hurrying as best she could. It was a nice feeling, not having to do something as mundane as grocery shopping alone. She’d been cheerfully surprised that he’d offered. It wasn’t like him to be that thoughtful. Certainly he could be caring and supportive, but this was above and beyond. She suspected though she’d been careful not to let it show, he knew on some level that she was nervous about the meeting tonight.

Aaron was a new facet of her life. Mulder had, in the brief time she and Aaron had been dating, interrupted their relationship more than once. They’d be at dinner and the cell-phone would ring. Mulder, calling about a case, and Scully would be off like wind. She’d be apologetic, but she also didn’t hint that her reaction to a call from her partner would ever change. It was something she had no intention of altering. If Mulder needed her, she’d be there and that was that. No matter what.

Dana suddenly felt her feet leave the floor. Mulder lifted his distracted partner into his arms. He set her in the grocery cart before she was able to utter a protest. “Mulder…Mulder.”

“What do we need Scully?” His hands were at the bar behind the cart, and she fell to an awkward sitting position as he began to wheel forward.

Dana struggled to get up, but her heel was caught inside the wire frame. “Mulder, get me out of this thing.”

“What do we need?” He persisted.

“I need a new partner.” She muttered. “You need…would you like that listed alphabetically?”

“I was talking about dinner.” He leaned over her and grabbed her list from her startled grasp. “Lettuce?”

“Yeah but…” Without another word, he was walking her rapidly toward the produce aisle. He took the corners far more sharply than would have eased her state of mind. “MULDER!”

But in an instant they were there, near mounds and mound of Iceberg green fluffy produce. Mulder tossed her a head of lettuce. “Lettuce.” He said in a tone stating that the mission was accomplished. His smile was devilish as he returned the piece of paper with her carefully chosen ingredients. “What else?” He queried.

“Mulder.” Dana’s tone was a warning.

Mulder was immune. “What else?” His voice was more insistent.

He watched the change in her eyes, from serious and disapproving to mischievous. And he fell in love with her all over again. “Tomatoes.” She said.

“Tomatoes.” Again Mulder operated the cart and started for their goal. People were staring at them. Neither cared.

It was odd. Scully was the one with close friends other than her true blue partner. She was the one with the close family life. Yet it was Mulder who’d one day looked up after 12 hours on the job and had said ‘Let’s play hooky, Scully.’ It had surprised her. If anything, Mulder always wished for more time to work, not less. If he hadn’t look so exhausted and she hadn’t felt a large strain of the weariness as well, she might have protested. But she didn’t. They’d gone to a movie that night. Mulder had slid his arm easily around her shoulders as they’d lost themselves in the unfolding pictures on the screen. Since then those four words had become an extension of their efforts to take care of each other.

‘Let’s play hooky, Mulder.’ or ‘Let’s play hooky, Scully.’

Always the same play of expression afterward between the one approached and the approachee. A look, an unresolved protest from the partner determined to stay at task. ‘This is important.’

A gaze mirrored back, an insistence. ‘So is this,’ Communication without a word ushering back and forth between them.

There were always plenty of X-files, some dating back thirty years. In a country where the media had immeasurable freedom, where the inter{-}net had been invented, mysteries were still available in surplus. Almost all of their cases involved travel. Since the bureau was skeptical of the X-files to begin with, Mulder tended to choose cases where a death had occurred. This gave their cases a high priority. Not much time left for a social life.

But moments came where they had to wait for lab results from potential clues. Times when after a case was solved, they had interrogations to conduct, paper work to complete, A.D. Skinner to brief. Mulder would sometimes be called upon to prove a case warranted bureau involvement. They’d both be trapped behind a mountain of research. In a sense this was relaxing for Scully. Mulder loathed it. He’d rather be in the field. There were bureau obligations too that also forced them to stay in town from nine to five, thus keeping their evenings free. Occasionally Assistant Director Skinner simply wouldn’t approve a case – any case – for several days. Then suddenly a break and at a moments notice, they’d be let off their leash.

So they had no set schedule or routine for spending their down time together. More often than not, it just seemed to happen. Scully tried to see her mother regularly and Mulder’s obsession often had him running off at short notice to meet with an informant. Yet they both seemed resolute to clear time with one another away from work. Just a few hours where they could stop being special agents and be best friends instead. Enjoy each other’s company. Play hooky.

Mulder made her laugh, tugged at her sense of concrete definitions, inspired her with his passion. She, on the other hand, gave him the complete acceptance that he’d never had. She gave him a sense of ‘home,’ a port in the storm. And maybe that was his gift to her as well. With no other person did she feel so remarkably un-alone. They enjoyed their differences in one another. Reveled in them. They were, in every way that mattered, evenly matched. And both of them felt relief that they’d found their equal.


“Onions!” Mulder echoed. It had become a joyous proclamation and they were both laughing. Scully was just on the edge of giggling, in fact, by the time she said ‘bread.’ Giggling? What did one do with a giggling Dana Scully? It was very un-Scully like, this girlish sound of delight coming from deep in her chest. Mulder had the urge to lower his head and taste her laughter, pressing it inside him. Stop it, he ordered himself.

“Garlic!” Scully called out.

“Garlic on aisle eight.” Mulder replied and proceeded to make airplane sounds as he pushed her along. But this time as they rounded a corner a large man in a security uniform peered down at them ominously.

“You’ll never take us alive, copper.” Mulder said, so that only Scully could hear him. Scully reached out and smacked his chest lightly.

“Excuse me,” The security officer began. “Those carts really aren’t meant for that. Could you get out of it…please?”

Dana tried to get up, but was still trapped. “I’m sorry.” An apologetic look. “It’s been a long day, we were just working off a little stress.” Mulder seeing her difficulty, lifted her up into his strong arms. For just a moment he cherished the feeling of her body pressed to his. Then he set her safely on the ground again. She straightened her shirt, pulling on the bottom of it. The guard still was watching the two as if they’d escaped from the local mental institution. “Sorry.” She said again, but she was fighting a smile. With a great deal of dignity, she started away, pushing the cart with one hand and hauling Mulder with the other. When she was out of sight of security, she gave her partner a fond look and began chuckling. Mulder enjoyed the moment, watching the joy shimmer in her clear eyes.

He gave a soft grin and leaned down, his mouth just near her ear. “I like being a bad influence on you.” Scully fought against the shiver caused by his tickling breath. Mulder was a delicious contradiction; he looked like the boy next door but he had the heart of a rebel.

***LATER that night…***

“Ow….” Scully grumbled and sucked in a breath as the small cut was led to water again by her partner. Aaron would be there in less than thirty minutes. She was categorically -an idiot – for suggesting this.

“I think you should have just told me you don’t want to have dinner with Aaron and me.” Fox Mulder remarked, his fingers lightly holding her wrist as he toweled the injured area dry. “Impaling yourself to get out of it was excessive.”

“Mulder? I don’t want to have dinner with Aaron and you.” She answered, deadpan.

Scully had been chopping tomatoes, basking in Mulder’s easy company as she worked in the kitchen. Then Mulder had lay his hands on her shoulders and began massaging. His proximity had bugged her, had down right distracted her. His strong hands were working at the skin of her shoulders, stroking over her back. If she turned, she’d be in his arms. What would he do, then? Panic? Her dreams had started out this way once or twice. Her invitation to Mulder understood and accepted. More often than not, though, in her fantasies over the years, he that was the instigator. She knew why. Deep down, brave as she was, she doubted she’d ever have that kind of courage. It didn’t matter. Things were fine as they were. The sharp pain of a fresh cut on her index finger jerked her out of her reverie.

Mulder had taken her hand in concern and lead her to the bathroom. He was sometimes over attentive to the point of madness. Other times he was lost in his obsessions and practically ignored her. First sign of injury though and there was Mulder ready to put her arm in a cast to get rid of a splinter in her finger. She got the feeling that as long as he had his lopsided grin in place, she’d let him play nursemaid anytime. Who was she kidding? She liked it, this side of him. No one else in her life had ever tried to take care of her. Dana Scully was nothing if not independent. Always strong. Be strong. The first lesson her father had taught her. She sighed at herself. Had she become too strong? Unable to let her walls down, even when she desperately wanted to.

She had the same desires as any other woman. To be held and to hold, to be cared for and to provide care. She wanted, on some elemental level, to be in the kitchen and fix dinner for someone. Definitely not every day, but at least every once in a while. She wanted to wake up and snuggle closer to a warm sleeping body. Scully dreamed of being distracted from her laptop as she was hard at work looking over a report. More often than not, those silent wishes held Mulder’s face. But that was ridiculous…she and Mulder?

“Ow.” Mulder had a cotton ball in hand and was applying disinfectant. The bathroom had been large enough to put in a tub and all the basic necessities, but with she and Mulder inside it seemed very cramped. He was in front of her, blocking the door and there was no way to delicately push past him. She started to take her hand back. “I can do this myself.” A grumble. Once again, he was too close to her. It was making her feel edgy and crowded.

Mulder’s mouth twitched but he didn’t dare smile. He leaned his head down and blew lightly over her fingers, teasing over the cut. “Better?” She couldn’t speak. Her mouth had gone dry. Mulder let his breath caress her skin again. “You know my sister used to bring me her Barbie dolls to patch up. It was a lot like this.” A slanted look of amusement. “Except the Barbie was a lot less trouble and my sister used to give me a kiss as payment.” He tapped his cheek with his free hand, meaningfully.

The twinkle in his eyes was irresistible. Scully relented and leaned up just an inch or two. It was all the distance that really separated them. She brushed her mouth quickly over his smooth cheek, just to the left of his chin. She would have pulled back with minimal effort, until she made the mistake of breathing him in. So close. Just a slight movement and their lips would brush. She could feel her body urging her to lean into him. Her heart beat with the fluttery quickness of butterfly wings. So close.

“Funny,” His gaze were hooded. The heat from his cheek hovered just near hers. “That was nothing like I remember it being with my sister.” A husky whisper, so strangled with emotion Dana barely recognized it as Mulder’s voice. He still refused to meet her eyes. “Feel better?”

What was he talking about? She couldn’t bring a full thought together in her mind. “No.”

“Me neither.” Everything inside her, her very blood cells seemed to be reaching out…toward him. Please. Another shaky intake of breath. Air and old spice mixed drowning her.


The doorbell.

The two partners froze. Mulder jerked back, his hands moving to rest on the sink behind him. Scully came to herself once again and scurried from the bathroom toward the front door. Her fingers combed over her hair as if by smoothing it away from her face, she could make sense of the world. What had she been about to do? Giving in to that one little fantasy could ruin everything, both professionally and personally. Mulder was her best friend. Her FRIEND. She was acting like a hormone crazed teenager. ‘I’m sorry Mulder,’ She told him in her heart. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.

She unlocked the door without bothering to check the peephole. A smiling pair of dark eyes greeted her. Aaron. She was almost grateful for the hug he gave her. Mulder’s hugs always felt so reassuring and so tempting. She always had to fight with herself to give up his warmth. But with Aaron there was no inner conflict.

“Hiya,” Mulder greeted, emerging into the living room. He didn’t look entirely surprised by the sight of Aaron Cope. Aaron wrapped his arms around Scully’s waist and gave a nod to Mulder. Being held by Aaron had suddenly become uncomfortable. Dana wasn’t sure if the discomfort was caused by Mulder’s presence or not.

Scully introduced the two men. She had briefed Mulder on Aaron Cope earlier in the car. Cope’s family apparently had money going back two generations. Aaron himself was a surgeon. A young up and coming doctor that everyone seemed to think the world of. Cope was just slightly taller than Mulder. His sandy blond hair was feathered away from his face and dark dancing eyes. Dr. Cope didn’t walk, he sauntered. He had that much confidence. It didn’t come off as ego either. It was just that he had talent and money and was somewhat fearless in his approach to life. It annoyed Mulder. Cope was a G.Q. model come to life, with money and brains to boot. Mulder wanted to be able to give Scully his blessing and be all smiles. She deserved his support. But his intentions were being shot to hell. Aaron was holding her as if…

No, not that. Not yet. Right? She’d have told him[,] wouldn’t she?

He chewed on his lower lip. Oh sure, when exactly would that subject have come up? Mulder, this is clearly the markings of an insect larve, nothing paranormal at all…by the way, want to know how sex with Aaron rates on a scale from one to ten? Before now, Aaron had been a phantom, an idea in the fog. He had suddenly become all too real.

“Glad to finally meet you, doc.” Mulder managed.

Aaron gave a polite smile and then turned his attention back to Scully. “How was your day?”

“Hectic.” Dana answered truthfully and accepted his lingering kiss dutifully. “Would you like some wine? I have to check on a few things in the kitchen.”

Aaron nodded pleasantly and watched her as she started away. Mulder wanted to fluster the guy a little. He considered it his duty as Dana’s partner. Mulder dropped into interrogation mode. Ten minutes later he was still asking questions. He’d been firing questions at Aaron the entire time nonstop.

“And where did you two meet precisely?”

“Mr. Mulder,” Aaron said with a strained smile. “I must say I find your interest in our relationship to be unexpected.”

Mulder had to give him credit. This way the first real objection Cope had raised. “I find it fascinating.”

“Perhaps my surprise is that Dana hasn’t already told you some of these answers herself.” He was still being polite but Aaron’s expression had narrowed into the beginnings of somber contemplation. Mulder knew what was going on, he was being sized up as either a threat or just an annoyance. The special agent didn’t like it.

“No.” Fox Mulder was all innocence. “Scully hasn’t told me much about you at all.”

Aaron’s eyes hardened, hearing the unspoken challenge, even if he really didn’t understand the reason behind it. “She’s told me about you.” Cope remarked casually, but his next words were meant to cut. “Is it true they call you ‘Spooky’ around the Bureau?”

Mulder supposed he deserved that one. He’d been on the attack since seeing Aaron Cope. Cope was just reacting to the verbal flexing Dana’s friend had been doing since they’d met. “I have a high solve rate. People can be rather petty when confronted with talents they themselves don’t possess.”

“Or perhaps relationships they themselves don’t possess?”

Touché. The fun was draining from this little game only to be replaced by bitterness. “I was just thinking the same thing. Scully and I are very close. It must be intimidating at times.”

“More so for you, I would imagine. After all, I’m not used to having her completely to myself.” The words hung in the air and Mulder had to stop himself from flinching. “I’ve often commented to her how much I admire her dedication to you.”

Back off, he warned himself, this is getting a little out of hand. If Scully found out about this conversation, it would be a an icy week at the office. He was way out of his depth here, yet he couldn’t seem to back down. “Scully is admirable in a lot of ways.” Mulder said softly and at the mention of her name, his eyes automatically flickered toward the opening of the kitchen. “I’m sure you’ll soon find that out.” The Implication was the golden surgeon beside hadn’t even begun to scratch the surface of Dr. Dana Scully. “If she wasn’t, I wouldn’t be able to commit myself to watching her back. Partners have a…special duty to protect each other.”

A snort and Cope set his hands on his hips. “But surely your prepared for when, at least in her personal life, that privilege and responsibility may be taken off your hands.”

Mulder raised his dark eyebrows. Oh really? By you and what army pal? “I’m not aware of any such limitations between Scully and me.”

“Time is bound to test that, don’t you think?” The light haired man turned as the lady in question called his name. Scully had poked her head out of the kitchen and had seen the pair glowering at one another. She was returning, a glass of wine in each hand, to check everything out. Mulder painted on a smile and noted that Aaron did the same.

But there was time for one last barb. “Aaron…you don’t smoke do you?”

“No.” The question had obviously thrown the wealthy man for a loop. Why?”

“Just curious.”

____ ♡ ____

Clouds had been forming in the sky for hours, black thick masses that rumbled softly. It wasn’t quite daybreak which was just as well, the morning was dark and over cast anyway. Mulder sat alone in his apartment. Scully and Aaron. He’d known that eventually…he’d just hadn’t thought it would be so soon.

Mulder stalked to his closet grabbing a pair of sweat pants and a sweatshirt. Five minutes later, he was at the YMCA, moving into an easy jog. His feet pounded against the clay track and he maintained his breathing with strict control. Control.

He loved Scully. He shut his eyes a moment and let the rhythm of his feet rein the feelings in. Scully and Aaron. Scully and Aaron. Scully and…He felt his pace falter and picked it back up again.

Yearning lashed inside of him, refusing to calm, to go back into hiding. Control. Scully’s head on his shoulder as they sat together eating popcorn and watching a video. Her eyes luminous as she tossed popcorn in her partners mouth. The feel of her soft hair against his neck. Her perfume, a soft floral bouquet and then the fresh smell of shampoo. Her full mouth sliding upwards slowly into an unwilling smile.

It had begun to drizzle. A couple more minutes, Mulder promised himself and then he’d go.

Scully bathed in fire light in the woods, looking so mysterious and desirable that he’d forgotten all about being injured. Flirting with him. Lord, how much control did she think he had? Showing up in his hotel room with wine and an inviting look on her face. She’d scared the hell out of him. They were alone together all the time. But something about this offer of company and alcohol had seemed too…too near and dear to what he has always wanted. Too tempting. He was just a man. Leaving had seemed the best option.

His pushed his muscles harder. The rain touched him lightly, sliding over him. He didn’t care.


Where was she now? With Aaron? Mulder had left them the night before just after she’d brought out dessert. Left them In Scully’s apartment. Together. He gritted his teeth and pumped his strong legs faster. The golden boy with his arms around Dana Scully. And they had looked right together. The rain, once light, had become large sloppy drops, falling harder and harder. Mulder could feel his shirt beginning to soak through to his skin. Mulder, get a hold of yourself. He had to find a way to deal with this. It was her right to be happy. No matter what the hell it did to him.


His clothes were sticking to his body now. His hair trickled water down over his face. It felt good. Like nature was in accord with the timbre of his soul. Control.


He’d taken what he could get. Aaron simply had a gift that Mulder had never been offered. The chance at Scully’s heart. Rage at the life he’d been handed. Fury at the injustice of it. Anger at Aaron Cope for being so dammed perfect. And at Scully for…for not missing him as much as he missed her. Scully. He lifted his face toward heaven and felt rain seep through his parted lips.

He spurned himself on, feeling the extreme pace begin to wear him down. He pushed harder, forcing himself to keep running.

____ ♡ ____

Romantic ♥ Part 2

“This case…”

Scully cut him off. “Is six years old.” Mulder was standing in a dark suit with a red and purple plaid tie looking at her with a superior expression. Scully normally tried to be tactful, careful not to ruffle his feathers overtly. But not now. “Has no new leads. Is never going to get past Skinner’s rejection pile.”

Mulder hopped up on the edge of his desk and watched her, his face alive with irritation. Fire met fire as their eyes locked. “I’m so glad you’ve become an expert on these things.”

Scully was standing in front of her desk, her arms crossed in a classic defense pose over her chest. She was just a few feet from him. With Mulder seated on the desk, she gained height over him – barely. “I am trying,” She stressed the word. “To carry out my job.” They were both ignoring the way the air had become charged around them.

His hands curled and uncurled around the edge of the desk. He noticed suddenly that their office was far too dark. Two desk lamps in a basement, for goodness sakes? The lack of light made the shadows around the room seem too…private. His jaw clenched as he bit out his next words. “Nowhere in our job description does it say to quit a case because the paper work is exhausting.”

“And nowhere in our job description does it list making up excuses to go on wild goose chases.” She growled.

Something had been wrong for nearly two weeks. Mulder had been inexpressive of his usual maverick sense of humor. Instead he was more sarcastic, as if he was lying in wait for the opportunity to lash out. Over the last fourteen days or so he’d snapped at her frequently. Not understanding his behavior, she’d snapped back in kind. At least once it had turned a bit ugly, leading him to storm from the office, closing the door firmly behind him. They hadn’t spoken about the blow-up, pretending instead to go on as if it had never happened. Now, once again, they were at that line. Both of them glaring at one another. “What irritates you,” Mulder’s voice rose to counter hers. “Is that this doesn’t fit into your category of worthwhile causes.” He paused, wanting his next words to hit home. “The scope of which has gotten much narrower in recent months.”

Scully gathered in her temper, careful not to miss a strand before continuing. She took a step towards him, keeping her arms crossed. “Have I done something to offend you, Mulder?” This was a demand for an answer. A resolution.

“Other than second guessing my every decision?”

Her full mouth pressed into a line and then relaxed. “I don’t believe this is solely a work related issue.” Dana was regarding him neutrally, waiting for him to make his case. If he had one. “Is something wrong, Agent Mulder?” Such a simple question. She should have asked it days ago. “I think I have a right to know.”

Feelings were never effectively hidden from those closest to you. As a man who’d had training as a psychologist, he should have been the first to know that. Now he was stuck trying to explain actions that couldn’t possibly make any sense, unless one specific word was used to describe them. Love.

Over a week ago Scully and he had returned from a strange little town with a monster that wasn’t a monster and a Cher concert. That had been interesting to explain to Skinner.

And the suspect wasn’t brought into immediate custody because you were…where?

Mulder had raised his voice, ready to go round and round with his boss as he had numerous times before. Scully had stepped in, his staunch defender, insisting that the FBI. was at it’s heart a division of justice. It was in that capacity that they had made their unorthodox decision. To give a man who’d been deprived of kindness, a chance to witness that side of human nature.

Scully had a large heart. It wasn’t her logic that she first filtered the world with when tragedy struck, it was her compassion. Mulder would occasionally get caught up in the chase, the bigger scheme, and then…he’d look at the softness in his friend’s eyes and be reminded that these were people’s lives they were dealing in. Good or bad. Wrong or right.

He’d danced with her at the concert. Finally. It had only taken him five years. They’d been surrounded by a cheering crowd. Between the music and the spectators, the noise in the place had been deafening. He’d held out his hand and she’d come to his arms and then everything…everything had faded away. He was lost and found. Fire danced lightly up and down Mulder’s body as she followed his fluid movements, brushing her hips with his. Her arms around him. His arms sheltering her. The feel of her warm petite body against his. They’d both smiled as if they shared a secret that no one else in the world knew. Why had it taken them so long to get here, he’d wondered. A sentimental thought from a not so terribly sentimental guy. Then he’d reminded himself – ‘here’ wasn’t anywhere. Just friends. Just friends. Just friends.

“I’m worried about you.” It was the closest answer to the truth that Mulder dared give. Her regard was boring into him with a stark frankness. “I didn’t expect this thing with Aaron to be so…consuming.” He was no longer the sarcastic, over motivated partner who kept her at arms length. Mulder wore the face of her friend again.

Scully moved to sit beside him on the desk. It had been three weeks since they’d had any down time together. As so often happened in their occupation, free time had recently become a rare occurrence. Only in the last few days had things slowed down enough for Dana to catch her breath. And when she did have time, she felt so guilty about all the last minute cancellations with Aaron, she felt she owed him a call first.

“Are you under the impression I can’t take care of myself?” Dana asked quietly.

“I trust your ability to kick ass and take names, completely.” A casual response, as if he had not a care in the world. “With the possible exception of Human conundrums that have taken on my appearance. In that case, a little wine throws you totally off.”

Scully had the good grace to blush and instantly avoided his gaze. Good Ol’ Eddie Van Blundht. Currently ranked no. 3 on the list of things he and Scully would never discuss. It ranked just under the death of her sister and the involvement of his father in the conspiracy. “I wouldn’t go there. Your record of distractions with the opposite sex is legendary.”

“Legendary?” He raised his eyebrows. “Do tell.” He squared his shoulders in a not quite effective show of bravado. “Least none of my dates have never rendered me unconscious and considered throwing me in a furnace.” The other Ed, number 6 on the list of non-discussible topics, but Mulder was in a reckless mood. “Must be your perfume.”

“And my dates don’t require touch tone phones and a major credit card number.” Mulder’s tactics didn’t always work. Scully was far too sharp not to notice when she was being steered away from an area of conversation. “I think…the truth is that you miss me.”

Too close to home. Mulder paced away from the desk over to a file cabinet. He rested one arm over the top of it, staring anywhere but at his best friend. “I’m not used to feeling like an intruder in your life…as you partner or your friend.” He raised his head. His words were rough, just louder than a whisper, ladden with inner strain. “How the hell do you expect me to act?”

“I expect you to communicate with me.” She shot back immediately.

“You didn’t get my singing telegram?”

“Mulder…” A request that he be serious. She crossed her arms over her chest again. “Aaron believes he threatens the influence you have over me. That you resent that possibility. He thinks your used to having me at your beck and call.” She paused, searching his expression. “I’ve never thought of it that way, but based on your recent actions…”

A scowl wrinkled his forehead. “If that’s what he said, then in my opinion as a profiler, Aaron is an ass.”

A snort form his diminutive partner. “You seem to have left an indelible impression on him as well.” He observed her closed mouthed. He clearly had no intention of saying much else. “Mulder…let’s play hooky.”

This time the normal interplay was out loud. “We don’t have time.” Mulder replied gesturing to the case file.

“We’ll make time.” Scully was bending down and searching in the bottom drawer of her desk. When she straightened again she had an athletic bag in hand and Mulder knew what she had in mind. “We need fresh air, Mulder.” Two years ago, during a nerve wracking case full of dead ends, Scully had surprised her co-worker with a gift. She’d gone out for an hour leaving Mulder alone with gruesome pictures he’d already been staring at all day. He’d barely noticed that she’d left. When she’d returned, she was carrying a large plastic bag from an athletic store. She opened the bag and tossed him a baseball glove from with-in. Scully had bought one for herself as well…and a baseball. Playing catch was something Mulder and his sister had done on a regular basis. It was something he had once loved. Scully was giving it back to him.

Occasionally he and Scully would venture to a park with-in walking distance and exchange ideas as they tossed a baseball back and forth. He’d abandon his jacket on the grass, roll up his sleeves and try and look as natural as possible. Scully used much the same approach. Even if they didn’t come up with any brilliant conclusions, at least they were smiling again by the time they went back to the basement.

Throw. Catch. Throw. Catch. The male agent stood, glove on one fist, sleeves rolled up to reveal his muscular arms, waiting for her throw. The rhythm between the two agents was easy and effortless. She lobed the ball. He caught it, then brought his arm around in a fluid motion to toss it back. Catch. Throw.

“Let me ask you something.” The baseball landed in Mulder’s glove and he took a moment to trace the curve of it with his two index fingers. “Is there any time of the day or night that I can’t count on you no matter what the circumstances?”

“You know I’m more than willing to be there for you if you need me.” Throw. Catch. “I’d feel alienated if you didn’t turn to me.” Throw.

“I feel the same way.” Mulder slammed the baseball into his glove a few times to build the pocket. His eyes sidled up and met the Dana’s speculative look. She was listening. Concentrating on what he was saying as if it was a hypothesis it was her duty to analyze. “It’s not my fault your boyfriend is threatened by our relationship. He’ll have to get used to it and to me.”

“This is not a competition.” Dana insisted, the irritation seeping from her. “Mulder, you were the one that wanted to meet him.” She felt the glove in her hand pound with the acceptance of Mulder’s throw. “I don’t understand your attitude.”

Mulder offered half a smile. “You’d be surprised how often people say that to me.”

Scully bent down to re-tie her tennis shoes. Her heels had been abandoned in the athletic bag when she’d arrived. It was a move designed to give her a moment to her collect her thoughts. She was keeping a lot from him. She’d never discussed Aaron with him before the meeting. Scully had likewise not told her friend about all the feelings of emptiness that she’d been trying to dissuade. Maybe it was a form of denial. She’d hoped the emotions would fade and everything would return to normal. Certainly this wasn’t the first time she felt as if something was missing from her life. But unlike before, it wasn’t going away.

The wind curled a lock of fiery hair into her face and she brushed it away. The day, like most of the other fall days in D.C. could have been sunnier. It had been overcast for days and now was no exception. The air paraded over the earth lightly, shifting multicolored leaves near the ground of the trees they’d abandoned. The sun peaked through the darkness of the clouds above.

Scully stood. “Mulder, I learned a lot about life when I was close to death. But I learned a lot more when life was once again handed to me.” She met Mulder’s eyes, linking her to him, refusing to let him go until he heard her out. “I’ve received a second chance. I don’t want to dismiss it.” Scully held the ball, concentrating on what she was saying. Trying to find the right words. “I’ve been…restless lately.”

He knew what she was feeling. An empty ringing had sounded shrilly in his life long ago. Only he knew exactly what he was missing. “You think I haven’t realized that?”

“I’m not sure – even you – understand all the implications.” She answered softly, not wanting to hurt him. “I need to explore my options.” Options like Aaron Cope, Mulder wanted to ask, but kept wisely silent. “Mulder, I need your support.” Her voice held a slight quiver, letting him know the measure of importance she placed in having him on her side. “Your my best friend.”

She was admitting that she needed him, and Scully didn’t admit to needing anyone. At certain moments a case would finally…finally push her toward her breaking point. Mulder would want to…help. He wasn’t entirely certain how to offer a shoulder to lean on. Mentally, it was an easy concept. But if it was a talent, he had never displayed any skill at it. If it was learned…well, they didn’t teach ‘comfort’ at Oxford. For she sake, he wanted to try. Nine times out of ten, before he could move, Scully would pull her arms in tight around herself and go rigid. Her body language clearly expressing she wanted to handle matters on her own. Right now, she was letting him in.

Some silences were as binding as the most poignant promises. The tilt of Mulder’s head. The faithful fire that that made his eyes turn from hazel to almost green. They told her his answer. Dana captivated by the depth of the feelings that twirled in his stare. Still partners. Now and always. That feeling was echoed in her own silent response. Always, Mulder. Promise. It was enough of a reassurance for them both to move on. Dana felt relief soak over her.

“Scully…you…have plans tonight?”

“No.” Her attention was instant. “Why, did you need me?”

Always, Mulder’s heart answered and the agent ordered his higher emotions to simmer down and shut up. “Can you define ‘need’?”

She was ready with the text book answer, an appealing curve tilting up her mouth. “A state of necessity or urgency.”

“What I need is a million dollars, a trip to Europe and Drew Barrymore’s phone number…” He caught the glove she playfully tossed at him just seconds before it crashed into his chest. “…but I’ll settle for dinner with you.”

“I’m flattered.” She responded with a healthy dose or sarcasm. “I accept if your buying.”

“Hey…” She waited, watching a strange play of emotions cross his face. “Invite Aaron to join us.” He paused. “Okay?”

Dana took some measure of approval from Mulder’s invitation. He was trying. “Okay.”

____ ♡ ____

“So you believe that the Pyramids were built by aliens then?”

Mulder looked to Scully for help. She’d had her hand pressed to her cheek and now raised it in a powerless gesture. Seeing no quarter, the agent turned back to Aaron Cope. “No one has a clear cut understanding of how some of the intricacies of the pyramids were constructed. I’m …” He sank his straw in his drink, pulled it out and then sank it again. “…not willing to deny or accept any possibility.”

Cope leaned forward, setting his elbows on the table. He’d insisted on having one hand around Scully the entire night. Now was the only exception to that rule. “What your saying is that an extremely advanced culture, landed a thousands years ago and they left us pyramids as what – souvenirs?”

Mulder glanced again to his partner. How did I get myself into this, his expression seemd to be asking. Her rounded chin lowered and she pursed her lips, barely trying to hide her humor. Wellll, Mulder? Her eyes broached a challenge for him to answer Aaron’s question. She and Mulder had been catching each other’s eyes all through the conversation, conveying mixed levels of dry merriment from the context.

“Aaron,” Mulder began with the calm voice of someone who’d had this argument a million times before. “Have you ever seen anything that defied all medical bounds?”

He darted a look at Dana and apparently, realizing his lapse, moved his hand to twine with hers. “In college I once examined the autopsy report of a boy who’d lived to be eight years old before dying of complications.” Cope rubbed his free hand across his face as he tried to regain the memory. “He had two brains. No one could explain how he lived to be eight or how…both brains seemed to be partially active. Connected in some way.”

Dana decided that her time of silence was at an end. Aaron had accused Mulder of attacking him the night they’d first met. Scully saw that her date was repaying the favor tonight. “I myself have seen miraculous things happen. People with no chance of recovery suddenly…healed.” Scully hadn’t told Cope about the cancer. She’d asked Mulder to respect that decison. For her, the hardest part of having the cancer was looking into the eyes of strangers. Finding there not respect or curiousity, but coddling for a weakness she could do nothing about. “People who’ve been told they can never walk again, walking again. I would say that religion combined with human will holds powerful but often unthought of venues.”

Relgion. It made them flip roles so that he became the skeptic and she the believer. Yet, as she had become open to his beliefs, he had found himself questioning the plauisbilty of hers. She’d spoken to purposefully throw her friend a bone. Mulder knew it and let a momentary flash of appreciation show. He winked.

“I agree that – no answer – no matter how extreme should be initially set aside when trying to find answers for the unexplainable.” He was playing with his straw again, twisting the top of it back and forth. “If your trying to seek the truth. But most people aren’t, doc.”

“And what is it that most people are seeking, Mulder?” Aaron asked coolly.

Scully, on her worst day, was open minded enough to at least hear him out. She judged what she heard afterward, but held back long enough for him to finish. Cope, on the other hand, wasn’t listening. Mulder felt an obligation to answer, anyway. “To feel safe and comfortable with the world around them. With themselves.”

Aaron stared at him a long moment, as if deciding whether or not he’d just been insulted. “And you think this is cowardly?”

Mulder sat back, biting down on his reply. “I think that this is broaching close to talking about work. Scully intended for us all to relax.” A grateful look from his partner. Mulder wasn’t one to let this type of discussions die easily.

The dark eyes of Aaron Cope immediately swept to his date apologetically. “He’s right. I’m sorry.”

Dana accepted the apology with her usual grace. “It’s all right. I know first hand how interesting Mulder’s theories can be. And he’s adept at discussing them…at length…” She shot him a glance to let him know that the veiled insult was just a joke. Mulder felt chagrined enough to let his eyes fall toward the table top, almost shyly. When he raised his head again, he and Scully shared a smile. He wasn’t a traditionally handsome man, but when he smiled something about him was decidely appealing. A soild click heralded inside her at the shared amusement.

“But…speaking of relaxation…” Aaron began. Scully tore her eyes from Mulder. They communicated without speaking all the time. The gift and curse of being partners. “I don’t know if this is the time or place…” Aaron glanced doubtfully at Mulder. Apparently any qualms he had didn’t last because he went on. “But I…I’ve arranged it so I have this weekend completely free.” The usually confident man seemed nervous and she found the change in him intriguing. “I know it’s short notice but…I saw an ad for a Bahamas weekend and I thought of you…” He reached his pocket and produced an envelope. “I was hoping you’d join me.”

It was the last thing in the world she’d expected. It was sweet and impulsive and…she wasn’t ready. A weekend meant the possibility of intimacy. A deeper exploration of their relationship. Scully had asked him to keep it casual. She had been honest about her reservations from the beginning. Yet accepting this offer and expecting things to continue casually seemed, in her mind, a lie. “I explained to you, Aaron, that my occupation isn’t one where I can simply pick up and disappear on short notice. Even if I want to at times.”

Cope was nonplused. “I arranged my paging system to be able to reach us. If there’s an emergency we’ll get you back.” He stroked his hand over her cheek. It was a pleasant sensation. “Dana, you deserve to pamper yourself every now and again.”

She shook her head and gave a rueful smile. “It looks like you thought of everything.”

“Well?” Aaron probed. Scully glanced over his head at Mulder who was staring at the wall to the left of him as if he expected it to come to life at any moment. Seeking one another’s opinion through a shared look had become second nature. This time, apparently, Mulder was opting for neutrality. Her eyes came back to the dark pools of the man offering her a vacation. “Can I think it over for a night…a weekend get away seems intriguing, but I…”

He lifted his palms before him to quiet her. His face was still brimming with good cheer. “I’ll call you tomorrow.” Aaron was easy to get along with. Very different from her argumentative partner. And that’s the problem, a little voice inside Dana insisted. “Speaking of which, I have an early morning.” Cope extended his hand to Mulder who took it briefly. “I trust you’ll see Dana home?” A wordless nod. Aaron turned again to Scully and cupped her chin in his hand, lowering his mouth to hers. A brief but intimate kiss. Not quite willing to give up the closeness, Aaron dropped a kiss on her brow as well. “Talk to you tomorrow, angel.”

“Night Aaron.” Dana murmured with an upturned mouth. Aaron had a way of making her feel entirely feminine. Entirely appreciated. She watched him as he moved away. He had a nice physique. Strong. When he kissed her, she did feel a ginger rush of pleasure. But…She sighed to herself. But…

Fox Mulder’s expression was strained as he watched Dana leering after Cope’s retreating form. He’d counted three kisses at dinner. Not to mention Cope’s constant groping of Scully’s hand, shoulders and back. Mulder had bore it all with a smile, turning a blind eye. Refusing to break his unspoken promise to her. His eyes remained fixed on the table for a long moment and then rose to give her a pointed look.

Scully was already breaking down the Bahamas question, but she didn’t miss the feeling behind the stare. “What?”

Mulder unbuttoned the top button of his white collared shirt and loosened his tie. “Nothing.”

A flash of agitation. What the heck was it with him? Was he incapable of giving a straight answer anymore? “No.” She admonished. “What?”

A shrug. “Nothing.” Dana didn’t bother to say anything this time, she just folded her hands before her and gave him ‘the look.’ The one that said he had better start making sense and soon. “Okay, let’s break down the list.” He ticked off the objects on his fingers as he spoke. “Chocolate, perfume, flowers…” He paused there, “Lots of flowers.” He noted. “…and now a cruise.”

The atmosphere around them changed instanta[N]eously. Tension. Again. It was a common theme lately. One minute everything would be okay and the next it was as if they were two bowstrings that had been pulled too tightly. Both of straining for control of pressure that was seething between them.

Here we go again, thought Dana. She’d been rather impressed with him at dinner. He’d been extraordinarily cordial. Aaron had purposefully tried to provoke him several times. Mulder had backed down each time. She was going to have a talk with Aaron about that the next time they were alone. “So?”

Mulder gave her an incredulous look. It was if he’d expected her to read his mind and was surprised that she hadn’t. “Don’t you find this obvious manufacturing of romantic moments a bit… tedious?”

Dana Scully felt herself switch into defensive mode. No reason existed for him to talk down to her. “You wouldn’t know a romantic moment if it crawled up your underwear.”


Mulder pursed his lips, pausing before speaking his thoughts. “I just wouldn’t have believed you to be so gullible.”


She blinked twice slowly trying to recover from his words. “Because I sometimes appreciate being treated like a lady?”

More tension.

“Have you considered that sometimes being treated like a lady comes very close to being treated as an adornment?” He pressed his finger tips to his chest, gesturing toward himself. “I guess I just don’t see things the way good Ol’ Aaron does.”

She felt irritation descending all over her. She tried to hold it in check. “Mulder, I awoke from a coma and you gave me a football video. You don’t see anything the way anyone does.”

Pain flashed in his eyes. Somehow the off[-]hand remark had hit him with more force than she’d intended. “I wanted to make you smile.” He said tightly.

The answer figuratively almost knocked her over. “What?”

Mulder gave a slow shake of his head. “I needed to make you to smile at me.” He wrapped the straw he’d been playing with earlier around his index finger. “I believed if I could, everything would be fine. I needed to know it would be.” She had smiled. It had been okay. She’d felt safe again the moment he’d unveiled his present. Same old Mulder. She couldn’t remember what had happened, but she was protected. Surrounded by those she…What may have been a tender moment turned on them in the next instant. He let go of the straw and rapped the table top lightly. “You scared the hell out of me, Scully. Then you did it again with the cancer.”

It wasn’t what he wanted to say. Or the way he wanted to say it. They never talked about things like fear. Now that he finally managed to bring it up, he’d thrown it into her face like an accusation.

Was he blaming her for having cancer? Oh sure, she’d done that just to worry him. It was all a master plot designed to get him give her that sad puppy dog look every time he looked at her. Jerk. “And you in the Arctic and in Russia…and with Roche and….”

He was still tense. So much so that he couldn’t seem to sit still. “I think if we’re going to rehash ancient history you should shoot me now and save us both some time.”

If he was going to keep acting that way, she might consider it. What was it with him lately? For that matter, since when was her temper a match ready to be spark instead of a long steady line leading to a dynamite of ice? Something about these recent bouts with Mulder was beginning to make her feel out of control. She pushed herself back into reasoning mode decisively. “Mulder, Aaron is an intelligent, generous, romantic man…”

“Back to ‘r’ word again?”

He made it sound as if it was a disease. “I happen to consider it a positive trait.”

“You think I don’t?” She didn’t bother to answer. So, Scully didn’t believe him capable of the sentiment good Ol’ Dr. Cope exhibited. Mulder felt his tightly pushed down frustrations buck forward, threatening to jump his well contructed inner fences. He hunched his body over the table toward her, close enough so that he could speak with total privacy. “You interested in conducting a little experiment, Special Agent Scully?”

Instantly Dana felt weariness sink over her. She wanted to sit back, away from him. She forced herself to stay as she was. “What kind of experiment?”

“My assertion is there’s more to romance than the show and tell gimmick method.” The challenge was clear in his eyes. “You want to prove me wrong?”

“If Aaron were being insincere, then maybe I’d agreed with you.” Aaron saw other women. He was just as extravagant in his gifts to them. He simply liked being generous.

“You didn’t answer my question.”

It had stopped being an arguement about Aaron. Dana understood that. She wasn’t certain it had ever truly been about Aaron. She also wasn’t sure she knew what it was about. Dana gritted her teeth. “I didn’t realize you were serious.”

His countenance was one hundred percent mocking. “One night to prove my hypothesis.” His vocal inflection was just above a purr in her ears. She had to force herself not to drop her gaze to his mouth. “That there’s different kinds of romance and that I’m not a total loser. “

That was old ground. “I never said…”

He finally leaned back, casually laying one arm around the seat beside him. “Do we have a deal or not?”

His attitude was driving her crazy. “Fine.”

He nodded, refusing to look away despite her glare. “How’s tomorrow? You have any plans with Aaron or anyone else?”

Ice was coming off of Scully in waves. “Tomorrow night’s free.” “Then I’ll pick you up at 7:30.”

Their drinks were finished in silence. As was the car ride back to Scully’s apartment. Mulder walked her up, as he normally did when he drove her, but maintained a wordless vigil. She didn’t invite him in. Inside Scully sank into an old comfortable chair and wondered what on earth she’d just gotten herself into.

____ ♡ ____

Date. When a man asks a woman…No that wasn’t politically correct at all. After all, women asked men out all the time in this day and age. Better try again.

When one member of the opposite sex asks another member of the opposite sex…

No, still not P.C. enough. Okay, when one individual asks another individual…

Unless you were married and into the swinging scene. Which would mean two individuals asking one individual…

Ah, the hell with it.

Mulder’s sneakers pounded into the track in even strides as thoughts twirled of the night to come. He was a bit later than usual this morning. A purposeful effort to stall going into the office. He wasn’t sure he was ready to face Scully so soon after his hasty words the night before.

Dew sparkled in the grass near the track. The entire morning was wet and misty, clinging to Mulder’s face and bare arms as he moved. The fall air was brisk but Mulder barely felt it. Too much was on his mind.

Jogging, porn and an obsession for the truth: his three major vices. Unless you counted a auburn haired scientist with a calm demeanor and one hell of a heart, a vice. Mulder jerked his wrist up so he could look at his watch, not once breaking the form of his motion.

His frustration had gotten him into this. Five long years of silence. His words had been quick and unplanned. They’d rushed out and he’d been unable to stop them. Her acceptance was as ill advised and irrational as the offer itself. It had all happened too dammed fast. Looking back, it was as if he’d stepped outside of himself.

Scully, the aliens made me do it

He would never get closer to living out his fantasies than he would tonight. It would mean everything. And it would mean nothing. It would be a blip in a bigger picture. It would have the floating feel of a a dream, and then he’d wake up. The night would end. He’d go on. He’d let her go on. The memory would be his. To hold on to.

He was heading into his fifth lap. Normally by lap five, he’d slowed his jog, or even fallen into a walk. To work the kinks out before he headed home. Still stalling, Mulder he asked himself, dammed right I am.

Twelve laps later, he was standing at his apartment door, hurrying to get it open. The phone was ringing. Probably Scully wondering where on earth he was. He left the door open in his haste. Mulder snatched the phone to his ear and muttered a greeting.

The voice on the other end wasn’t familiar. Keeping phone in hand, Mulder went to his door and shut it, listening.


He sat, feeling his couch give under his weight. The caller was a man who had information, so he said. Even as Mulder felt the familiar pulse of excitement rush in his veins, another part of him rebelled. The man on the other line was explaining about the existence of a series of photographs.

Hang up Mulder.

The photos had been taken by a journalist trying to uncover dirt on a United States Senator.

No, No, No.

What the photos apparently showed was military and government officials engaged in the clearing of what looked to be wreckage of an unidentified flying object…and several small thin bodies.

Hang up, Mulder.

The man on the phone simply wanted to get rid of the pictures. The journalist was dead. This man was his brother. He had a family. Didn’t want them to be in danger. The original photographer had died in car accident while apparently drunk. Only the journalist had never had more than root beer his entire life. A history of parental alcohol abuse had cleared both brothers of the compulsion.

Could Mulder meet with him tonight?


Mulder sank a hand into his hair. He asked a few more questions. The voice on the other line became more urgent.

A moment later, Mulder was setting the phone down quietly. He sat back, leaning his head against the wall behind him.

____ ♡ ____

Mulder set a small bag on Scully’s desk as he walked into thier office. “I got you a danish.” In all the time, they’d been working together, Mulder had never brought her breakfast. If they were following true to form, the night before was forgiven and forgotten. They would pretend the arguement had never happened.

“Thanks…” Scully said uncertainly. Something In Mulder’s expression tipped her off. He was biting his lower lip, looking slightly disconcerted. “Everything okay?”

He looked decidedly uncomfortable. “Could you check the main frame for a photographer on the Utah Daily Journal called Simon Kasdan?”

Scully turn toward her computer and began moving her mouse. She gave Mulder a glance while seeking the information. “What’s going on?”

He leaned on edge of her desk as she worked, watching her pull up the information. “That’s what I’m trying to find out.”

“Well apparently the name is real.” Scully concluded, still not sure what Mulder was up to, but willing to play along silently for the time being. “He was a freelancer but he’s here. Several of his pictures even made the front page.”

“Can you find out if there’s any records of his death? Or if he has a brother?”

Scully watched the screen intently, her fingers flying over the keyboard as if she was a maestro at a piano. “He died a week ago. There was a small tribute article in the Journal.” Her eyes stole up to his. “We could probably find out about his family. That would take a little more time.”

Mulder stood and paced the length of the office. “Does it say how he died?”

“Car accident.” Mulder felt his interest double. Enough facts corroborated the caller’s story to warrant looking at the photos. Moreover Mulder believed the man on the phone had been sincere. “Mulder.” Her partner’s head jerked toward her. “Are we there yet?” A joke. An attempt at levity in the frame of a question she had every right to ask.

Time to ante up, Mulder thought reluctantly. “I received a call this morning from a man claiming to be Simon Kasdan’s brother. He has some photographic evidence he wants me to take off his hands.”

“Evidence of what?”

“A United States Senator and an aircraft of unknown origin. Not to mention three bodies, also of unknown origin.” Try as he might he couldn’t keep the excitement from his voice and face.

“I thought you weren’t sure you believed in that stuff anymore?” A direct quote from him, not her.

“I guess old habits die hard.” He mused lightly. “He wants to meet with me tonight.” Scully suddenly understood the significance of the danish. It was an atonement. Silence ruled the room for a long moment. “Look, I’m sorry I…”

“I’m not really surprised.” She said, cutting him off.

His brows drew down hard over his eyes. “What’s that supposed to mean?”

She shrugged. Well, you always wondered what it would be like to be involved with Mulder, Dana reminded herself. Welcome to the real world. “Well it’s always something with you, Mulder.”

He got the distinct feeling that this conversation was about to take a nasty turn. “You think I should put the warrants of our little experiment above something that could lead us a step closer to the truth?”

Under normal circumstances she would never hold his search for the truth against him. She understood this side of him. Respected it. Yet in this case, she couldn’t help feeling like she’d been pushed aside. Again. “Have you ever noticed that every time I come close to seeing sides of your personality you aren’t comfortable with, something comes up.”

“I don’t recall ever weaving any illusions about who I am.” She was acting spurned. It was beyond his comprehension of the woman before him. “I’m not the one who keeps all my fears inside till the last possible moment. I’m not the one who seems completely dissatisfied with the job as of late and refuses to talk about it.”

“I’m not dissatisfied.” She corrected angrily. He made her sound like a flippant teenager. She was looking straight at him, unabashed. “I’ve thought about leaving, is that what you want to talk about?”

Mulder felt everything stop. As well as he knew her, he hadn’t realized. His Adam’s apple worked with emotion. Hurt. Dull stabbing pain. Cold shock. Emptiness. Rage. Rage won out over everything else in his heart. “Why start now?” He said distantly. He straightened, eyeing her without a shred of emotion. “I need to do a background check on Simon Kasdan and his brother.”

Without another word, Scully turned back to the computer screen, her own poker face an equal match to his. “I’ll see what else I can find.”

____ ♡ ____

Romantic ♥ Part 3

The world could not fall apart. Not for her. If her life wasn’t simplistic, then Dana Scully took great comfort in the fact that it was contained. Even in the realm of the X-files, she had found, as she always did – a normalcy to the pattern of her days. A consistency. Sanity with-in the insanity. Her world maintained itself carefully. It did not falter, no more than Scully herself did.

Yet the world had fallen apart. At least once. Her core had been abruptly pulled from under her. By a death that should have been hers and the lost of a sister who had not believed in restraint. Dana had been the overachiever. Except for brief periods of rebellion, the ‘good’ one. Melissa, on the other hand, was the black sheep. The rebel. She’d loved life, wanting to squeeze all she could from it. Melissa had been better at living than Scully. She’d experienced more. She’d been unafraid. Yet Melissa was gone and the sister that had always been held captive by her fears was the one that remained.

When Dana had first been assigned to the X-files, she had stayed because her superiors had asked it of her. Eventually she had come to believe that there were forces whose concealment caused the past to have an undue hold on the present. Puppet masters who manipulated the justice she had vowed to protect. She came to have faith, not in Mulder’s theories, but in his quest. In turn, she also came to trust in the man himself. After her abduction, she had been infuriated. The work was a pacifier. She fought through her confusion by diving into the science of each case. When her sister had died, the X-files had become a path for her grief. A method of keeping the promise to herself, her sister and her family, to bring Melissa’s killers into the light. To take the silence that was so precious to them. To find answers. The list of reasons had once seemed substantial and they had held her relentlessly by Mulder’s side. Yet Dana felt her resolve faltering more with each day. Her sister would probably say that there was more to life…more than one truth and more than one way to seek it.

Dana Scully sat down beside the headstone of the grave, pulling up her knees under her and staring into the distance. Melissa would have liked the graveyard that lay between the two churches. It had an antique feel to it. Tall oak trees stretched their limbs out everywhere, shading the graves and serving as their protectors. The yard was well maintained. Dana hadn’t been to visit the grave in over a year. Yet in the last two weeks she had come almost every day.

Melissa’s grave had a small headstone bearing an angel and her name. A quote from one of their mother’s favorite poems was the only other marking other than the date of her birth and her death. “She sleeps with angels,” the marker read.

Dana shut her eyes feeling a strain of tears come to her. Only now as she sat alone did she allow her defenses to crumble. The strong veneer gave way to vulnerability. Is this what it had come to? Was the living seeking advice from the dead on how to live? It was a pathetic irony. Melissa had always been able to see through Dana. Her eyes had easily beheld the self doubts that every one else seemed blind to.

Scully felt words rise in her. Words she had shoved down again and again for a long time. Avenues she was fearful to take. Choices that lay unresolved in her heart, taking her concentration and withholding her joy. ” They have stolen you, and three months of memories…five years of work…and almost my life.” Scully began. The beginning was never easy, but once started, it became a current that was nearly impossible to stop. “I feel…trapped. Walled in by the hands of strangers. I don’t want to disappoint anyone. Not you…mom…Mulder….or even myself.” Dana felt tears of frustration begin to course slowly over her cheek. “How did I get here?” She shook her head and felt her shoulder begin to tremble. Scully’s head tilted so that it was resting against the grave marker. “Can I let go now, Missy? Will it be okay if I let go?”

The trees yielded no answers and swayed without sound in the wind. From the grave, Melissa had no comfort to offer.

____ ♡ ____

Aaron’s golden eyes were on hers, and he was holding her hand as they stood on the veranda of his apartment. Her attention should have been on him. Yet she found herself unable to kept her gaze from the stars.



Aaron leaned in and set his head on her shoulder. “You don’t really believe everything this partner of yours does?”

Dana felt her mouth corners twitch upward, yet she didn’t look from the sky. It was a cloudy night, but she could still spot occasional points of light. “Mulder and I shared a certain odd unity. Not in belief but in purpose.”

“It’s just that, what I can tell of him …” Now Dana did turn, drawing away. Uncertain she was going to like what he would tell her. “I know you’re close…but he isn’t exactly on the fast track.” Aaron hesitated, obviously uncomfortable with what he was about to say, but pressing on anyway. “Eventually he might stand in the way of your career.”

Dana hadn’t spoken ill of her partner to anyone in years. Somehow, even when she was angriest at him, it seemed important to show a unified front. “I don’t consider Mulder a hindrance in any way.”

“Well, I’ll tell you that even in your personal life…well…he does make his presence felt.”

She eyed him coolly. “Like you made yours felt the other night at dinner?” Not a judgment. Not even a rebuke. Just a fact and a request for an explanation.

He shook his head with an embarrassed smile. “I thought you were acting a little upset with me.” Her date acknowledged. “I just…” His eyes met hers helplessly. “You put everything on hold for him.”

Maybe she did. Or maybe she put everything aside for the FBI. Maybe it was her own search for answers that had lead her to be so uninvolved in her own life. Sometimes the border between the three became blurred. “Your always defending him. To me…you said your family…”

“My brother.” She corrected. Her mother felt a great deal of compassion for Mulder. Dana suspected that on some level Maggie Scully pitied her partner. Such a brilliant man wasting his life. But her mother didn’t know him. Too few people had ever been given that particular gift. Even with all her recent irritation with him, the bond they had formed was more important than any personality flaws. More important than either of them individually ever could be.

“You’re a special woman. I want to see to it that your treated that way.” Aaron meant what he said. She could see something dark and intense in his stare. An unspoken question.

Dana felt a jump pass through her as she recognized that he was holding his heart in his eyes. His feelings for her were becoming far more than casual. He made no attempt to hide it. He slowly reached forward and took each of her hands in his. “You still haven’t answered me about the trip to the Bahamas.”

No, she hadn’t. She could be happy with Aaron. She saw that path so clearly. He was a good man. Descent in every way that she’d ever wanted. Ahab, her father, would have loved him. Bill would love him. Scully wasn’t sure about herself. Two months and she felt…lukewarm. Scully wondered if she was capable of falling in love. If anyone seemed a proper candidate it was Aaron. Yet there she was, as in control and logical as always. Her heart remaining just where it was. Intact. “Aaron,” Scully began gently. “I think that you’ll tell me – if I ask – that this trip has no strings attached to it. That I’m free to make of it whatever I want to.” He started to speak, but she didn’t let him. “But I don’t believe that would be the truth. Not for me. And not for you.” She hesitated. “I’m going to request a reassignment at work – just for a few days. I need to time to make some decisions.” She wasn’t just requesting time away from the X-files, she needed Aaron to give her room as well.

He seemed to understand. “Any of those decisions about me?”

“Most importantly,” Dana gave a soft smile. She meant no offense with her next words. “All of them…are about me.”

“You all right?” A wave of concern was coming from Aaron, as if he knew something was lay deeper than her words, but he couldn’t place his finger on it.

Scully said what she always did. “I’m fine.”

____ ♡ ____

Three and a half hours. In the rain. A hour drive there. An hour back. In the fucking rain. All time wasted. The informant, a.k.a. Louis Kasdan, had never showed. It wasn’t the first false lead he’d ever had. Far from it. Yet this one left him feeling more discouraged than usual.

His sneakers pounded at the clay track mercilessly. He was dressed in his oxford sweater and shorts. The items had been quickest to grab. He hadn’t slept much the night before. That was hardly unusual. Scully always seemed to sleep like a log, rarely complaining of nightmares. Or maybe she just didn’t tell him. That was possible too.

Scully. His breathing didn’t have the normal flow to it that it normally did. It didn’t have the right pattern. Damm. Chasing shadows again. Did he believe in aliens? Mulder faltered and then cursed at himself. A poster in his office still proclaimed proudly “I want to believe.” It was still there. Not taken down as a relic. Yet Mulder hadn’t looked at it in quite some time. He’d refused to look at it. Lies. Double talk. Informants in the mist, intruding on his life. The truth. Men or extraterrestrial?

Did he believe? Kasdan had been the latest in a career’s worth of the equivalent to Mulder chasing after his own tail. Round and round. Getting nowhere. Scully had accused him of being afraid. Maybe he was. Mulder was never good at admitting defeat. Especially not in front of his partner. He was only on his second lap. He couldn’t seem to let his mind go. Not today.

To hell with it. It was going to be a long day at the office what with the most recent cold war between him and his partner. The sooner he got it started, the sooner it would be over with. Hopefully by tomorrow things would thaw. Mulder walked half a lap to try and work out any cramps that would result from a sudden slowing of his muscles. Then he went home to shower and grab a suit.

He came into the basement with a mask of self righteous. Ready to dare her to be angry at him when all he’d done was pursue the truth. He held his own agitation toward her lack of support in check, waiting to see her reaction. She wasn’t at her desk when he came in as he expected her to be. Scully was always there before he was.

The only thing that waited for him in the office was a note. From her. Mulder read it and then read it again, thinking there must be a mistake. He crumbled the note into a ball and started for the door, moving in quick strides. His jaw was locked as he walked toward the elevators. It took him twenty minutes to find Scully, but find her he did. She was in a lab coat holding up a small vial of bluish chemical and examining a small object with-in it.


Another lab rat approached. An older man of some years. “Can I help you?” Mulder ignored him. “Scully.” He repeated.

Scully looked at her partner and sighed softly. She didn’t bother to step toward him. “What are you doing here Mulder?”

Mulder held up the crumpled piece of paper. “May I ask when you requested this change of scenery?”

She tugged off her lab goggles and brushed past him, heading into the back room to wash her hands. “Yesterday. I felt that my talents could best be used elsewhere for a while.”

Talk to me Scully, Mulder thought almost violently, what the hell is going on? This wasn’t about the fact that he’d gone running off after answers once again. He’d seen that anger. This was something else entirely. It wasn’t a reaction of temper, it was one of weariness. Restless. This was about the future. Her future. It was her fucking life, right? Her choice. Nothing to do with him, right? She was withdrawing. Cutting him out. “And you didn’t feel the need to discuss this with me before you made your decision?”

“Mulder, we’re in the same building.” She answered ever patient. “If you need me, all you have to do is pick up a phone.”

A pause and then he nodded. In other words, she wasn’t going to talk about it. Not any more than she already had. “I guess I’m just not used to you acting petty.”

It was like being slapped when he spoke to her so carelessly. She didn’t let it show. Another stare between them, a meeting of wills. “I think you can do without me for a few days.”

“And what do they have you doing up here, exactly?” His voice was condescending. Bitterness filled his palette.

“At the moment, I’m trying to pinpoint a time of death.” Funny, Mulder thought to himself, that sort of feels like what I’m trying to do. “What happened with your meeting?”

He pinched the bridge of his nose. He wasn’t in the mood to try and make excuses. “I was stood up.”

“I’m sorry.” She meant it. That was Scully. Then more quietly, as she dried her hands. “I’ll see you in a few days.”

A dismissal. “Anything you want, Scully.” He muttered and then pivoted away from her and made his exit. Dana felt an urge to go after him. She just wasn’t sure what she’d say if she caught up to him. Keeping her calm posture, she dabbed the towel at her face, then headed back out to the laboratory.

____ ♡ ____

He hadn’t seen her in two days. Hadn’t talked to her. She wanted space. Fine. He gave it to her. The days didn’t pass as quickly. The work was just as absorbing, but not as fulfilling. The fuel for the fire was gone. It stilled burned, but the kindling was much darker, less full of heat. Insistent as always, but offering no sense of joy. Only one of need. It had been five years since he’d willingly been without her. He was used to looking to her desk and finding thoughtfulness embodied in her person. Knowing that she was there. Five years. Always. The second day dragged on.

He went to an adult theater after work. That was a past time he hadn’t taken in for a while. Why go out when you had video? It was easy to loose himself on the lust-filled images. It was a week night so the place was deserted. He sat through one features, then another. Arousal tugged at him. It was an effective drug. One that made him feel, but not on a personal level. It absorbed him. His mind was blocked out by it. His past. His guilt. His heart. Mulder wasn’t sure what had made him drive to her apartment so obscenely late at night. Or what prompted his fingers to snap off a flower from a bush was he started the stoop to her apartment building. He hesitated before her door, then fumbled for the key on his key ring that was marked as hers. With a click the lock gave and he moved inside. Everything was dark. The only sound was a soft classical music flowing from the stereo near Scully’s couch. Mozart. Scully had once confided in him that it helped her sleep when nothing else would.

She always kept a tablet of paper by her phone in the kitchen. He searched for it, not bothering to turn on the light. For some reason it felt wrong to disturb anything from it’s natural state. He removed a pen from his coat pocket and turned on his flashlight. A brief note and he’d lay the flower atop it in hopes that she’d take it for what it was – a request to end the silence.

Scully, Brought you a patient. It was drowning out there in the rain. It would have been irresponsible for me to leave it behind. See you soon.


Then he drew a check sized scrap of paper from his shirt pocket and lay it atop the note. Written in Mulder’s sloppy cursive handwriting was “One Romantic Evening…” And along the top it was marked in larger neat letters: “IOU” Not an apology. Not exactly. He wasn’t sure he’d done anything wrong. A peace offering.

Suddenly light flood the room, and Scully stood there gun out stretched before her. If it was possible to be sexy and armed she was managing it. She stood there in a long night shirt that ran just to mid-thigh. Her hair was rumpled with sleep, her eyes not quite alert. Realizing who the intruder was, she set down he gun on the counter with a curse. “We’ve got to stop meeting like this.” Mulder remarked with a smile.

Scully took in the presence of his flashlight and then the flower. “What’s that?”

Mulder didn’t answer. He let the note speak for him.

She read. It almost drew a smile from her, but not quite. It was a nice gesture certainly, but there was still so much left unsaid. The last two days had added to the strain. Dana didn’t know what had prompted this visit, but she did know she wasn’t emotionally ready for another argument. Especially not now. “Mulder, it’s after two in the morning.” She looked him over. He was still dressed as he had been at work. But his hair was ruffled and slightly damp from the rain. He wore black trench coat over his suit, unbuttoned. She felt the urge to nag him for that, but didn’t.

“I didn’t mean to wake you.” Her eyes were so soft and tired all at the same time. It hurt him to see her looking at him like that. As if he was snake that might bite her. Mulder stroked a fallen lock of hair away from her eyes with one finger, not daring to touch her more than that. He summoned the briefest sliver of humor. “You know…I’m beginning to feel like all I do is let you down.”

Dana’s hands reached out to him, feeling he was about to pull away. She didn’t want him to just yet. She took his fingers in her own. “I think lately we’ve let each other down.” She answered, honest as always.

A crack started in the walls between them.

Mulder moved forward slowly and set the flower behind her ear. Her eyes leapt to his. He smiled. A beautiful, heartfelt smile. Carefully, Mulder reached out and toyed with the fragile petals that now rested just above the shell of her ear. “It’s late.” He tilted his head to one side, his eyes glowed with warmth, inviting her inside them. You know, with all my talk the other night. I forgot to ask you what you consider romantic.”

Once again, they were sweeping everything under the proverbial rug. Ignoring the deeper topics at hand. Always ready to let silence and time heal all the bruises laying in wait between them. Scully knew she should talk to him. Explain. Yet she found herself unable to. In the end, she didn’t try. Dana remained somber, divided by the struggles with-in her. Eager to move on past the moment so that she could shut her feelings away again in a safe place. “I’ll show you.” Scully started toward the living room, motioning that he should follow. In the darkened room, the only light was coming from the kitchen. Dana positioned one of his hands on her waist. She drew his other arm out straight. “You know how to waltz?”

Mulder tried to keep from looking overly surprised. “I haven’t since my eighth birthday party with my Aunt Grace.” He was willing to try. Starting out, they were awkward. Mulder was a graceful man, normally. It was just that he wasn’t entirely comfortable with what he was now doing. In the background, the strains of Mozart were soft and steady acting, as their balance and time keeper. Suddenly a smile broke over her lips. “What?” He asked, feigning insult.

“I can see your lips moving as you count.”

He made face and stopped his movements. His eyes squinted defiantly at her. “And this is what you consider romantic?”

She drew away from him and headed toward the stereo. “It’s one possibility.” Carefully she removed the c.d. from the player, put it back in it’s case and chose another one. The past few days were all but forgotten now. They both had drifted into their more customary roles and attitudes. “So is this.” The soft chords of a saxophone began to fill the room. Mulder recognized the music. “After the eight or ninth time you forced me to listen to this, it grew on me.” She started back to him, the pajama top swaying loosely against her legs as she moved.

“A woman after my own heart.” It was meant to be glib, but Mulder didn’t quite pull it off.

This time the dance was far less formal. Much more dangerous. Mulder’s arms came around her automatically. Her bare legs shifted against his own. His fingers trailed up and down her back. He felt her spine adjust to the contact.

“I always thought your type of woman to be more…Leggy.” He raised an inquisitive eyebrow. Under his trench coat, his shirt still felt crisp and warm to the touch. She slide her hands up, moving over his stomach and then his ribs. His heart beat teased under her fingers. “Like Bambi – the entomologist. You know…leggy.”

The teasing was good natured. “Even I get lonesome.” It was his defense and his excuse. It was also true. She had been attractive. Mulder had been tempted. He’d loved Dana even then, but it was one sided. Yet what Mulder had discovered was that he derived more pleasure from Scully’s irritated reaction to Bambi, than out of Bambi herself.

“I never think of you that way.” Dana tilted her head back slightly. Bangs had fallen lazily unto his forehead. His eyes had turned a shade darker, almost emerald in color. He smelled of sweat and rain and cologne. Mulder the rebel, she mused. “I’ve worried that you seemed alone at times, but not that you were lonely.”

“That’s cause I’m such a tough guy.” He quipped in a low voice. His large hand was splayed over the small of her back, stroking up slowly.

His fingertips were causing shivers everywhere. All over her back where he was touching. All over her body where he wasn’t. “I can’t tell – is this where I inflate or deflate your ego?” Scully tried to sound as normal as possible.

“You know, I find that statement strangely arousing.” That long suffering look from her. The one that said she wasn’t taking him seriously. Good.

He lowered his head, setting his cheek against hers. A light bit scruff was doting over his chin. Five O’clock shadow. The feel of it brushing over her neck was amazing. Her mouth had gone dry. Her lips parted, watching his own, now so close to hers once again.

So easy to give in, Mulder considered. They were both lonely. He could make her want him. Fulfill everything their bodies were teasing each other with and more. Not a night of love, not on Dana’s part. Not even one of need. Simply one fueled by want. Whatever she desire was feeling now, would fall empty between them afterward. Used up. That was the way lust was. Mulder did what he always did, he tried to protect her. Even from themselves. He stilled his hands and brought her head to rest on his shoulder. Gently, he continued to move with her. Mulder let the desire fall away and just held her. Carefully. Protective.

Dana was motionless for a moment but then relaxed. Her body was still craving his but the urgency was beginning to calm, settling into dull throbbing place inside of her. Not completely fading, simply retreating. She realized that was the way it was with her feelings for Mulder. The attraction was becoming as constant as the affection. She’d become adept at regulating her feelings long ago. Not just with her partner, but with most men. With most people. Control meant strength. Strength meant safety. More and more she was beginning to feel defenseless around Mulder. It terrified her.

The unsettled core that had lately become such a large focus of her life, gnawed at her heart again. Refusing to let her have peace. She suddenly needed her best friend. Not her co-worker. Not a potential lover. Her best friend. She needed him and he was there. She gave in to the comfort of his embrace.

They danced.

____ ♡ ____

Scully heard her cell phone ring and peered one more long moment into the lab microscope before breaking away. “Dana Scully.” She answered.

“I called Louis Kasdan’s house just after I left last night.”

Mulder. She almost felt herself smile. She fought the urge. It wasn’t entirely surprising that Mulder hadn’t let the matter of the photographs go. He had never been one to give up easily. She did smiled at the thought. It was the understatement of the century. “You left my apartment at after three a.m.” Sometimes she wondered if he had any true concept of time after five p.m.

That didn’t seem to bother her fellow agent. “Based on the information we found out about him, we know he has two kids.” ‘We’ Mulder had said. He was including her despite her reassignment. Just as he’d once sought to include her – long ago when the X-files had shut down. For Mulder it was the ultimate sign of affection. “It’s a school night. I figured someone was bound to be home.”

A subtle peak of interest made her brow pinch. “And?”

“No answer.”

Unusual, but not unexplainable, Scully considered. She let her mind dissect the information, before filing it away. “Mulder…the investigation in which I’ve been gathering forensic evidence is going to last a few days longer.” Dana was supposed to have been back in the X-files yesterday according to the original request. But they needed her medical background and an extra set of hands. “They want to serve a warrant this weekend and we still don’t have anything conclusive.”

The silence lasted too long. “Yeah well…You’ll get him, Scully.”

Scully thanked him in her heart. He was trying to understand. He didn’t, but he was trying. This isn’t personal, Mulder, she thought, please don’t think it is. The truths in the lab were more definite. Positive or negative. Yes or no. She had always relished the investigative process. Being allowed to deal with human beings that were alive and well instead of only being content with piecing together what they left behind. Making a difference. Putting herself on the line. Pushing the limits of her abilities. Her goals had been every different five years ago, her ambitions bright and burning like an orb in front of her. Were things really so different? Her focus had changed from promotions and titles to unmasking devils with human faces. Lately she felt a pull to make her objectives more rudimentary. Yet she still wanted what she had long ago…to make a difference.

“I appreciate the vote of confidence.” She murmured quietly.

For once, it seemed, he’d said the right thing. “I’m gonna see what else, if anything, I can find out about Kasdan.”

Scully could feel a sense of good humor drowning her trepidation. She was more than familiar with this side of him. She was about to issue her obligatory warning, which he would, of course, ignore. “Don’t you feel, perhaps, your becoming overly immersed on the basis of one phone call?”

“You know me, Scully.” Mulder rocked back and forth on the balls of his office chair and chuckled. “I obsess; therefore I am.”

____ ♡ ____

Mulder felt the freedom to call her later. The next day he stopped by and dragged her to lunch with him. He showed up, for no real reason, watching her work as they spoke lightly. Scully seemed to feel the same lack of constraint. She would pop down to the basement toward the end of the day to check on him. She left a note one morning that basically consisted of her itinerary for that day. And she called. They talked. She hadn’t as of yet mentioned the IOU. Then again, since giving it to her, neither had Mulder. Admittedly, everything still wasn’t perfect. A feeling of walking on egg shells sometimes settled over the partners. Neither wanted to step on the other’s toes. More importantly, both of them wanted to keep the peace.

Scully opened the basement door and stood in the door way, waiting to be acknowledged. It was early afternoon. He hadn’t called her all day, hadn’t made one of his usual unwarranted trips to the lab. She was just as guilty, she admitted to herself. She’d made it a practice in the last several days to make multiple trips to the X-files division, all of them unfounded. Unless you counted missing your partner, as a reasonable excuse to go six floors out of your way.

Mulder was wearing thin wire frame glasses as he read over a file. He’d been leaning one hand on his head as he read, which left his haircut a bit ruffled. Mulder grinned at the sight of her. He’d taken off his suit jacket, and loosened his tie. “Tell me you’ve come to rescue me and take me away from all this.”

Scully’s eyes swept around the office quickly before she returned his greeting. She never thought she’d miss the cramped office, but she did. “No, I came to tell you I’ll be back tomorrow.”

“Would it be unprofessional of me to do a jig right now?” He’d made her laugh. Good. Mulder lifted up a small piece of paper and fanned it near his face. “I found this on my desk when I came in.”

The IOU. Scully lifted her shoulders as if it was a mystery. It wasn’t. She’d placed it on his desk earlier. She’d dreamed of him the night before. Not erotica. This was something else. In the dream, she kept telling him she loved him. Over and over like a mantra. Scully wasn’t sure that revelations could be found in dreams. She’d been haunted by the feeling of waking up alone. She lay wondering if he was asleep. Two risks. That was all she’d ever taken on him. Two small risks. A slight opening of her heart, ready to slam shut again at his rejection. She’d always assumed that the feelings were hers alone. She still believed that. But what if…To shut herself up, to lay her doubts to rest…to reach out…one last risk.

He walked toward her, stopping just enough to keep the corner of his desk between them. He felt nervous. It was one of the first times he could ever remember feeling that particular sensation in her company. He intensified his own teasing bravado so that she wouldn’t know. “You trying to cash this in?” He asked, gesturing to her with the IOU.

Scully reached out and their fingers brushed as examined document he was holding. Hazel eyes danced at her from behind the glasses he wore. “That depends. What do you have in mind?”

“Always a dangerous question.” Mulder remarked lightly. He started to say more but his cell phone rang. His eyes were still merrily on hers as he reached in his jacket and brought the phone to his ear. They were both somewhat used to interruptions. “Don Juan, speaking.” The smile instantly faded from him. “Hello Mr. Kasdan…”

Just her luck. She had finally gathered the courage to play the IOU card and Kasdan decided to stop playing ostrich and show his face again. Dana knew what would happen now. Five years as Mulder’s partner, how could she not?

Mulder made no attempt to turn his back to her or move outside and keep the conversation private. “Maybe you didn’t remember that we had an appointment the other night.” His eyes glanced to her as he continued. His way of telling her that he wasn’t going to keep anything from her. “It wasn’t practical for me to spend three hours in the rain either.”

Dana watched Mulder’s jaw lock with whatever answer he received. He set his free hand on his hip and paced the office one way and then back again, listening intently. “Listen, you want my help?” Mulder growled. “You give me a time and an address that you’ll be at in the next…” He checked his watch. “…two hours. This is the last offer your going to get. I don’t like playing games.”

Kasdan apparently gave the right reply, Mulder’s temper eased into a slow simmer. Mulder pivoted back to Scully and grabbed a pen from her desk. He looked around frantically for free piece of paper and then finding none, he scribbled on his hand. “1121 Ruoma Lane. Room 516.” Mulder nodded, although Kasdan couldn’t see him. “I’ll be there.”

Mulder hung up slowly and then looked mournfully at his partner. Neither of them spoke. “I’d invite you along….”

“I need to get back to the lab.” She answered quietly. It was okay this time, she read it in his eyes. Mulder had accepted this reassignment as something she needed to do. Scully slowly started to take the IOU back. “Maybe I better keep this.”

Mulder stopped her, taking her wrist lightly. “Tonight.” The word was firm.


“Don’t start going deaf on me, Scully.” He commented wryly. “Tonight. 7:30.” She suddenly understood. The experiment. He wanted to make it happen tonight.

“It’s unrealistic for you to make plans with me when you can’t be sure…”

“Yes or no?” It was yet more bravado. More nervousness. He felt like he didn’t have the first clue what the hell he was doing. He was coming off as too abrupt. He just wasn’t sure what to do to change it.

Mulder was a lot of things. Stubborn. Overbearing. Complicated. But not a bully. Not until recently. Dana wasn’t sure that she liked the change. “Fine.”

He exhaled loudly. Relief, then a nod. “Good.” He grabbed for his jacket, slipped it over his arms and was off. Dana shook her head and for the second time since making agreeing to this experiment, wondered what she’d gotten herself into.

____ ♡ ____

He was late. Five minutes. But still late. Scully paced and then reprimanded herself. Mulder was the pacer, not her. The least he could have done is call and let her know where they were going. She couldn’t remember the last time she’d spent an hour worrying about what she would be wearing. But what on earth did a romantic evening with Fox Mulder entail? For knowing him as well as she did, this was completely new ground.

Lord. She shook her head at herself. She settled on a suit. Royal blue in color like her eyes. With strands of white lace over the jacket lapels and at her throat. Skirt or pants? Darn it Mulder. Why couldn’t you have called? Pants were safer choice for an unknown location. Pearls earrings hung in small bunches from each ear. A matching bracelet fit loosely around her wrist.

For the millionth time, Scully second guessed herself. Maybe a dress? She ran her fingers through her hair. She was making herself crazy with this. Just Mulder, she reminded herself. He’d seen her in her bath robe, for goodness sake.

Makeup? Just a little. As usual. Around her eyes. Lipstick. Her eyes absorbed the reflection in the mirror.

It was no use. She still looked like an FBI agent.

Still like Mulder’s partner. She wanted to dazzle him. To stun him. To show off a softer side. She’d intended for him to see her as a beautiful woman tonight, not Dr. Dana Scully, the partner he’d had for five years. With Aaron she always felt that her femininity was completely appreciated. Aaron made her believe that he was proud to have her on his arm. In short, she felt like a different person. Capable of having a life. A family. A husband.

The doorbell rang.

Romantic ♥ Part 4

Warning. Warning. Warning.
IF YOU’RE NOT ABOVE THE AGE OF 18, turn back now.
Did I mention this part contains…. GRAPHIC LOVING SEX BETWEEN ADULTS AHEAD.

The three “Scrabble” block letters Mulder had laid across Scully’s kitchen table didn’t make any sense. An ‘F’ and an ‘A’ and a ‘W.’ FAW. Scully looked from the small wooden chips to her partner then back again. When he’d first started unveiling the letters she had thought that it would be his initials. FWM…The Last letter being an “A,” had thrown her. Mulder had assured her that the letters were not the initials of anything or any one, nor were the letters some sort of strange anagram. Well that was good to know, but it didn’t tell her exactly what was going on.

“Go ahead, ” Mulder prompted her again. “Pick one.”

He’d arrived just over ten minutes ago. He was dressed slightly more casual than Scully was. He wore an off-white cotton sweater. It was button down and collar less. He’d tucked it into his dark slacks. A leather belt was around his waist, and hanging over everything as usual was the long black trench coat. It wasn’t raining that night. Mulder thanked his lucky stars for that. Earlier Kasdan had finally shown. With photographs. But for once he didn’t want to think about work. Or talk about it. What he wanted was exactly what he had, a chance to have the woman he loved all to himself. Just for one night. Mulder was inwardly prickling with nervousness. Excited agitation. It wasn’t an unpleasant feeling, but it did make him a bit more jumpy than usual.

Scully was beautiful. He hadn’t told her so, but it was the truth. Of course, it always had been the truth. When she was angry. Or asleep. Or in a lab coat with a scalpel in one hand. Or standing there looking at him as if he was out of his mind.

“Go on,” He urged again, nudging her toward the letters.

“Are you going to tell me the significance of this choice?”

“Each letter represents a possible destination. We will visit all of them tonight. You’re deciding the order in which we go.”

“But I’m not allowed to know what these places are?” She queried.

Hell, he was trying to be mysterious here. She wasn’t helping. The letters had been a flash of inspiration that had come to him just as he was on his way to get her. “Scully.” He groaned, in a voice telling her that he needed her to play along.

She sighed softly relenting and let her small fingers push around the letters a moment before selecting the ‘A.’

____ ♡ ____


The room was filled with machines, children and noise. Lots of noise. Lots of children. Not small cute little boys and girls, who had a tendency to cry, but otherwise were redeeming in many other ways, but teenagers. It wasn’t that Scully had anything against teens, it was just that she hadn’t thought to spend a night surrounded by them. Mulder looked utterly content. He had taken her hand in his and was now guiding her through the crowd.

They were in an arcade. A two story pinnacle of digitized technology and sound. “What are we doing here?” She had to speak in a voice slightly louder than her normal one to beat back the noise.

Mulder swiveled his head over his shoulder. “I’ve just always been curious about something.” Finally they came to a large monitor that was as big as a wide screen t.v. Before the monitor was a stand which held a slot to place quarters in and two holsters. In each holster was a plastic gun, weighed and fashioned to be the right size, but one a bright color orange and the other a light colored blue. The whole apparatus was a shooting game called “House of the Dead.” Scully watched the demo for the game run. Trying to navigate through a house full of strange zombie-like creatures seemed to be the object.

She turned to her best friend. “Your kidding.”

He gave a grin. “I realize that on marksmanship testing you have constantly ranked above me. But those aren’t true to life conditions.” “And this is?” She raised her brows. “Duck Hunt meets Night of the Living Dead?”

Mulder pumping quarters in the machine, his eyes staying firmly on hers. A good humored contest was being offered in the gaze. A challenge. Scully had never been one to walk away from a challenge. With a deft move she unbuttoned the two buttons of her jacket, making herself more comfortable. Scully set her purse at her feet and drew the blue gun from it’s resting place. A smirk played at the corners of her mouth. “You’re on.”

There was no search for deeper questions. Not here. Not now. No worrying about the future. No real sense of time at all. Right now, it was just she and Mulder. A caring and sense of joy burning between them that they only seemed to find in one another. In the background, as if the place wasn’t loud enough[,] a song by a popular band had begun to play,

**I get knocked down, but I get up again.** **No your never gonna keep me down.** **I get knocked down, but I get up again.** **No your never gonna keep me down.**

Mulder unholstered the orange gun keeping her stare for just one more moment before hitting the ‘start’ button. Both of them took their stance and waited. With the first shot Scully realized that the plastic weapon had been set up with a slight recoil. She hadn’t expected that and it took her a moment to adjust.

“Realistic.” She noted.

“I think the bureau should make these gun colors the standard.” He teased. If it had been people Scully was firing at, even in a game, she might have hesitated. After all she’d seen, even simulations could bring a rush of adrenaline to her. Yet this was nothing like reality. There was not attempt at it, save the way the guns felt. It was as if she’d stepped into one of the low budget horror films she as so fond of and was playing the heroine. Five minutes into the game, Scully realized that just like in real life, Mulder had a tendency to be slightly bossy and overprotective.

“Watch the bushes, Scully. On your flank. Careful.” Scully ignored him. Mulder was just being Mulder. Irritating and endearing all at the same time.

She corrected him once or twice. “Mulder? I have done this before.”

But two minutes later he’d be calling out warnings again. This fell into the category of their banter and they both knew it. The mock irritation from her and his attitude of over concern. He knew she could hold her own, and she knew that he partly got a kick out of annoying her as they played on. As in real life, they worked well together. They kept flickering their attention from themselves to see how the other was doing and the result made them less susceptible to digital harm.

Each time they came across a field of mutants and destroyed all of them Scully would call out. “Clear.”

Mulder would check the screen for himself and then agree. “Clear.”

At the end of each stage, the statistics rose. Consistently Scully was the more accurate shot. But according to the time, Mulder was faster. They fought two machine gun marauders at the end of level two.

“Clear.” Mulder said when he’d finished off his opponent.

A moment later Scully had dispatched her zombie as well. “Clear.”

Two hours later they had beat the game. They did so by the skin of their teeth, but victory was still victory. Each of them had started with three lives. Both ended the game with only one. It seemed that when ever one of them was killed, the other soon followed. The first time Mulder went down first. The second time it was Scully.

They both put away the plastic weapons and waited for the final statistics. Mulder scored an 87.2 accuracy rating. Scully’s skill set was 93.6. On the other hand Mulder was about one full second faster than Scully was when it came to firing his gun.

“Mulder, what’s the use of speed when you don’t hit what you fire at?” Scully pointed out.

“What’s the use of accuracy when you’re already dead?” Mulder answered back with a smile.

Her cell-phone rang out. Once and then again. Mulder pursed his lips and turned away, with a look of trepidation. Scully answered by simply saying her name. As usual. She had tensed and notably relaxed a moment later. “Hello Aaron.” She listened for a few moments as Mulder waiting. “I’m afraid tonight’s not good for me.”

“You just got called in to work. A relative came in from out of town.” Mulder whispered lowly. She gave him a glare meant to be stern, but somehow her own amusement dulled it. “You need to rearrange your sock drawer. Your not feeling well. You have to go visit a sick friend.” Mulder relayed all the excuses he could think of, with a mischievous grin.

Scully ignored him, moving a few paces away. “I have plans with Mulder.” His brows rose. He hadn’t expected the admission. Not that they had anything to hide. It was just the calm, no nonsense way she said it. “Yes, Mulder.” She confirmed. “Well, right now we’re at an arcade.” She moved yet another step away from her date. “I don’t know. He hasn’t told me.” A pause. “Me too. I’ll see you soon.” Dana returned to Mulder’s side, slipping the phone back into her purse. Mulder fought the surge of ego that was swelling over him. He managed not to say a word, but that was about all. Scully gave him a long disapproving look. “Stop looking so pleased with yourself.”

He shrugged, but couldn’t keep the grin from his face. Mulder reached into his trench coat and pulled out the two remaining letters. He held them in his palm before her, giving no clue as to which she should pick. She studied him a moment and then her index finger and thumb lifted up the “W.”

Mulder closed the remaining letter in his fist and slipped it back into his pocket. Then he held out his hand to her. Slowly their fingers twined together and they moved toward the exit.

____ ♡ ____

The sign on above the front door of the small house proclaimed “Madame Ebur, Professional Psychic – Knows all.” Scully read and arched an eyebrow at her partner.

“Mulder, tell me your not trying contact with Elvis again.”

He bristled slightly at the joke. They were still holding hands and he didn’t pull away. She took that as a sign that she hadn’t truly offended him. “Despite my lack of endeavors in the field of dating – I am aware that historically – a gift is considered a good idea.”

Scully couldn’t help the grin that curled her full mouth.” Did you answer my question?”

“Madame Ebur reads palms for 25 dollars a reading.” He relayed his pleasant demeanor undampened again. “For ten, she’ll answer one question involving you deepest wish and the future.”

Suddenly Scully understood. ‘W.’ Wish.

Some men gave jewelry. Some brought roses. Mulder gave her football tapes, drowning flowers and wishes. He’d always been a man of extremes. Mulder’s idea of commitment was to offer his life for hers. To be willing to trade his sister for his captured partner. It was also to almost offer his soul when he believed she was dying. Her eyes fell on him, and despite being his partner for five years, she saw him for the first time.

Inconsiderate? Yes, but when he gave…when he gave he held nothing back. Obsessive. Yes, but trying to keep her from paying the price for those demons that clawed at him. Self absorbed. The truth was the larger picture. In the pursuit of it, he was often uncaring of his safety, and to be honest sometimes of hers as well. It swept him up in his tide, driving him. Always threatening to crash him full force into the beach head.

But not unromantic. Not unsentimental. Not unloving. He’d give up everything for her, except the search for unknown truths. It was not a reflection of his lack of feelings. It was simply that to ask him to walk away from that was to ask him to be someone other than Fox Mulder. It was so inherently ingrained in him that no separation existed between the two. Mulder was searcher. One who didn’t settle for the label unknown and turn a blind eye. Most people didn’t allow themselves the questions that she and Mulder dealt with on an every day basis. About the government, death, the limits of the human mind, the dark boundlessness of the human soul…about God…about what was beyond this world laying in wait in others. Mulder not only asked the question. He demanded the answers.

And who are you Scully, she asked herself. The question was shoved away for now. Just for now.

“Mulder,” Dana began carefully. “You know I don’t believe in this.”

Yeah, he did know. They’d had too many cases that claimed to be psychic in nature for him to be unaware of her thoughts on the subject. He, himself, was certain that most of the fortunetellers he’d ever been exposed to were con men and con women. He simply wasn’t willing to write the entire idea off. They stood where they always did. Mulder viewed the world as ‘Prove to me I shouldn’t believe.’ Scully’s ideology argued, ‘Prove to me I should.’ Heaven help him though, he loved playing with that line. Enjoyed watching her scientific nature at work. “People have premonitions all the time.” He pointed out. “From dreams to bad feelings to hunches.”

“Which can be explained for multiple reasons.” Scully countered. “Including everything from the sub conscious mind to indigestion.” Mulder didn’t object. “I believe, just as you do, that most of these prestidigitators are counterfeit. Chances are we’ll go in there, and she’ll tell you precisely what you want to hear about whatever you ask her.”

“Then why….”

“Because no matter how much or how little you believe in this woman, if she agrees some part of you will feel reassured. Whether you want to or not. And with that reassurance, you’ll be one step closer to making whatever wish you hold come true.” He cocked his head to one side. “Or at least, that’s the plan.”

“Your saying that belief defines destiny. That by some outside source coddling a fabrication that I hold, it will make the ideology reality.”

“Does it hold comfort for you that other people besides yourself believe in God?”

“I’m not sure comfort is the right word.” She countered, settling her arms over her chest.

Ah, the skeptic mode. Mulder knew it well. “But if no one else believed? If no one else was willing to consider the slightest inkling of a God in heaven? If only a friend defended you, what would make you certain that it wasn’t out of concern, or even indulgence? How would you maintain faith in an idea that’s yours and your alone? How would you continue on?” Mulder looked down and gave half a smile. “As wild as some of my theories are, I can’t even claim that kind of faith. ” Mulder leaned in and rang the doorbell.

Not more than ten seconds passed before there was the rattling of locks. Many locks. “You couldn’t have just gotten me a Hallmark?” Scully remarked apprehensively.

Finally a young busty blonde came to the door and peered out at them carefully. Scully expected someone older. Someone dressed in a cloak, hoards of chains, and with a wart on her nose. But this smiling female in jeans and a low cut black top was a surprise.

“Hello.” Greeted the blonde. No accent, Scully mused.

Mulder stepped forward. “We’re looking for Madame Ebur.” He greeted.

He had that stupid grin on his face that he always did when he met up with someone unexpectedly attractive.

“It’s E. Bur. The sign painter got it wrong. But my friend, he did it for free so…”

“Did he get the ‘knows all’ part right?” Scully wondered aloud.

“I’m Fox Mulder. This is Dana Scully.” Mulder winced at himself. It had been a fight not to mention they were FBI agents. He really…really…needed to get out more. Especially with his partner. Don’t start going there pal, Mulder warned himself, you’ll get your heart broken. “We were interested in the Wish offer you made a few weeks ago in the paper.” At times like chasing a serial killer and planning a date…EXPERIMENT…that his photographic memory was particularly useful. The experiment he was conducting in tandem with Scully hadn’t been a blip in his mind three weeks ago, but here they were.

A beaming smile and her gaze swept over the pair. They were being sized up. “Please come in.”

“So have long have you been in the prediction business?” Scully asked.

“In a way, since I was a baby.” E. Bur examined Dana’s features steadfastly. “I see we have a disbeliever with us.” The fortune teller turned to Mulder. “But then, you don’t entirely believe either. In the ability perhaps. Not in me.” She motioned for them to follow taking them into a sitting room with a oak and velvet coach. A small coffee table sat before the couch and in front of it sat a large chair the same deep blue as the sofa. Several book shelves made of old darkened oak lay at the room’s far corner. An antique brass chandelier hung from the ceiling. The room was elegant and from another century. It didn’t fit the woman they’d come to see.

Scully noticed as they were entering the room, that their guide had a slight limp “Please….sit.” Made E. Bur said and waved them toward the couch. “Would you like anything to drink?”

“Nothing for me.” Mulder stated and glanced to his partner who also shook her head. The Madame excused herself, returning with a steaming cup of tea. She sat across from the partners and sipped at the tea idly for long moment.

“I will tell you a little about me.” When the fortune teller began it was in a quiet steady tone, neither hurried or slow. “My first name is Elaine. I have been ‘in the business’ officially since I was eighteen. I am the first in my family to hold this…line of work.” She smiled, checking the couple before her. They were holding hands but the man’s grip was a bit too tight. They were new at this. And yet the two shared a great familiarity. Odd. “My father is a construction worker from Ohio and my mother was a secretary. I’ve always had a gift. The ability to have flashes…insights, if you will, into the things around me. I have learned to interpret these flashes. It is not a true prediction in the sense I can look at you and know what you will do tomorrow.” She brushed the very idea of that away. “But If you ask me a question – a nonspecific one – I’ll know the direction of your answer. Not when will you be married, but if will you be. You understand?” She didn’t truly wait for a reply here. She trusted that she’d made herself clear. “This is my standard speech. It isn’t what some people are looking for.”

“If you don’t mind my asking,” Mulder interrupted, leaning forward. “Why did you choose this particular career?”

“Laziness.” Scully remembered another psychic she had once met with a sudden rush of fondness. He had the same kind of directness, but he would have hated to be called a Psychic. “And money. Oh, not from one timers like you. But there are people who don’t make a move without consulting me. Some that I see on a regular basis.”

The partners exchanged a look. “That kind of responsibility must be quite a burden.” Scully noted.

She shrugged. “It helps pay the bills.” Mulder shook his head and produced his wallet, laying a ten on the coffee table before them.

Another shared gaze between the two agents. Scully was giving him that ‘suuucckker’ look. Mulder had been called much worse. The Madame frowned. “Are you the one with the wish?” She addressed the question to Mulder.

“No. She is.”

“Then you go over there.” Elaine motioned to a corner. “Your energy is disturbing my focus.”

Mulder tilted his head close to his best friend’s. “Is this where I say: nobody loves me, everybody hates me, I’m gonna go eat worms.” Scully held back a laugh and squeezed Mulder’s hand as he moved from the couch.

Elaine left her eyes on the auburn haired doctor, taking in her features. The Madame stretched her hand to Dana. “Take my hand.” Scully reached forward with her pale fingers. She fought the urge to glance at Mulder again. She could hear him milling around uncomfortably in the corner. Elaine’s dark eyes locked with Scully’s. Dana felt an odd sensation, as if she was momentarily bond to this other woman in some tangible way. Her body began to feel heavier. Her breathing slowed. “Now ask.”

She should have asked something light hearted. Would Mulder ever have any fashion sense? Would she get a birthday card this year from her brother? Would she ever get offered another chance to go to the Bahamas?

Yet what came out was anything but light. It was as if the words were pushed from her. “Will I find what I’m searching for?”

“You certainly did take the non-specific question part to heart.” Even Mulder had to chuckle at that one. Madame E. Bur shut her eyes and her chin lifted slightly. “You have already found part of what you seek.” She began slowly. “The rest will come only in time.” Her forehead wrinkled in concentration and her eyes squeezed shut more tightly. “I see a hand holding yours into your old age.” A frown and then her dark eyes fluttered open. Confusion lined the Psychic’s features. The woman shook her head in diversion. “With most I see a blackness in the future. A marking of a place where this life comes to an end.” Another shaking of her head. “But not with you.” Seeming to push that aside, the blonde let her eyes close once again. “You are now at a place where two roads diverge into a yellow wood before you.” Scully knew the words. It was a quote from Robert Frost’s ‘The Road Not Taken.’ Everyone who’d ever gone to high school knew that poem. Scully hadn’t read it in years. Still, it wasn’t a very original device to use. “You must make your choice.” Elaine pulled away, dropping Dana’s hand and sitting back. “I saw one other image. It bore signs of great evil. And you were a light. You and a small cross round your neck.” Dana froze. She was wearing the crucifix. She almost always did. But it was inside her shirt. She wasn’t sure how the other woman knew of its existence. An indention. Had by be an indention. Or it showed somehow. “The circle of illumination does not hold you alone, but do not believe that you are not needed.” Elaine gave a soft sigh and dropping her gaze, took up her cup of tea. “That’s what I see.” She sipped at the liquid as Scully contemplated her. The room was silent seemed overly still. Too quiet.

Suddenly Scully began digging through her purse. Mulder stepped forward. “What are you looking for?”

“I’m sure I have a ten in here somewhere, Mulder.” Scully had a determined expression on her face.

He had a bad feeling about this. “Why?”

“This was your idea.” Almost an accusation. If she had to go through the grinder, then so did he.

“It’s your gift.” Mulder pointed out.

She finally found the money and set it before her with a flourish. “So I’m giving your your gift.”

“Scully.” Her partner protested.

His partner matched his tone. “Mulder.”

He gave a smile, one hand on his hip, pushing back his coat slightly. “I wouldn’t know what to ask for.” Since when, she wanted to ask her partner, but the words died away. So much sadness in his eyes, even as he tried to hold a mask of humor. The boundless pain she read, despite his efforts to hide it, caused a shock to rippled through her. Scully had known that his beliefs were shaken but until this moment she hadn’t realized the depth of the cracks he bore. While she was dying, in his effort to bind her to him, he’d torn his own world apart. Her potential cure had been the hammer which pounded at him, shattering that which had once driven him. Mulder was a good solider. Even with the tide of the war changing, he did not falter.

Who are you Scully?

Mulder words came back to her. ‘Chances are we’ll go in there, and she’ll tell you precisely what you want to hear…no matter how much or how little you believe in this woman, if she agrees some part of you will feel reassured. And with that reassurance, you’ll be one step closer to making whatever wish you hold come true.’

“I know what to ask.” Scully reached out her hand to him. Mulder reluctantly moved forward. Scully pulled his hand to Madame E. Bur’s. Her eyes met Elaine’s “Will he ever find out what happened to his sister?”

Mulder’s shoulder slumped slightly and he gave a soft exhale. “Scully.” He tried to pull away but Scully caught his hand again and brought it back to the Psychic. Mulder’s eyes locked with those of the woman he loved. She let her gaze tell him that it was okay, reassuring him. A moment later she stood and started to the corner Mulder had retreated from. Dana listened rather than watched the next exchange. It suddenly seemed intrusive to be there. She wanted to afford him some privacy if he required it.

“Ask me.” Elaine requested softly.

“Will I…” A flash of a smile. That was Mulder. Always a joke or a grin. Always trying to protect those closest to him from his inner struggles. Never did he invite anyone into his personal battles. Scully had simply refused to leave his side when those moments came. “Will I find out what happened to Samantha?”

This time her eyes focused on a point. The glint coming from a brass ashtray on the table before her. She let hers eyes fall closed as she breathed in and out trying to grasp a vision. “I see someone you once knew. A stranger, yet someone as familiar to you as yourself. You will find her. OR she will find you. You come to her, holding out your hand. She does not see the world as you do. She will leave you. But she will not go far.” A frown crossed her features. “Do not forget who you trust. You will not be alone when that moment comes.” She lay her other hand over his and he fought to keep his face passive. “I have very rarely encountered such strength of heart. I see a face never far from your thoughts. Such fear and yet such passion…” At this she faltered and Mulder tensed almost violently.

So far the woman was spouting all but gibberish. He had taken very little in, but now she was treading to close to a fine line. The last thing in the world he wanted, whether in jest or coincidence, were his feelings for Scully to be placed in an open forum.

Madame E.Bur shook her head. “The vision is gone.” She let the agent go and took a steadying breath before once again reaching for her tea.

Scully came toward them. “Thank you for your time.” She started to the entrance to the sitting room, waiting for the others to join her.

It was a cue that the sessions were over. Mulder rose and moved to follow. Scully turned her back on him, sure that he was right behind her. Elaine caught his elbow a moment. “You’re being foolish, but your secret is safe. Knows all, doesn’t mean tells all Mr. Mulder.” It was all she had time to say before Scully looked over her shoulder and noticed the lapse of space. Madame E. Bur walked them to the door and bid them goodnight.

After they were alone again on the stoop, Scully looked to her partner. Mulder had begun walking toward his car, only half paying attention to what he was doing, his mind in a daze. “Why didn’t you tell me that you’d lost hope?” She had no right to feel the frustration she did, she was guilty of the same withholding that he was. She should have realized. And then what? What would she tell him? Nothing. Scully had no true words of comfort and yet it bothered her that he hadn’t told her. Why couldn’t they discuss the things that mattered?

He halted and pivoted to her. “I haven’t.” Mulder insisted. He met her gaze dead on. “I’m just no longer sure what to hope for.” Mulder shook his head slowly. He wasn’t about to let this night become about him and his quest to find his sister. Scully had meant well inside. The gesture she’d given had not been insignificant to him. But for once, he wanted to feel that he was giving to her instead of taking. He was firm in that resolve. “Tonight is not about me.” He removed a small peg from his pocket. The one with the ‘F.’ He approached and pressed it in her hand. The glow returned to his eyes. He slid his arm around her shoulders easily. “One more stop.”

Scully hesitated to even breathe, afraid if she did, he might move away and break the sweet contact. “Where to next, the circus?” He was pushing her along. She allowed it.

“That doesn’t begin with an ‘F.’” He answered, deadpan.

____ ♡ ____

The park was a nice surprise. It was a starry night. No sign of rain or clouds. Mulder had brought and blanket and had found a spot that was relatively unlumpy in a field of thick grass. Under one arm he held a small cooler and in the other was a rather ominous looking brown paper bag. The cooler held wine and two Styrofoam cups. He pulled two small red candles complete with black holders from the bag, and had to search his pockets for matches. He set up the candles about mid-blanket and then handed her the pack of matches.

“You want to do the honors?” His voice sounded unusually loud in the quiet air. “I’ll be right back.”

Scully gave him a questioning look, but lit the first candle then the other. He moved away disappearing farther and farther into the distance, until he moved down a hill and she could no longer see him at all. Dana gave a drawn out sign and lay back on the blanket, staring up into the heavens. Mulder returned, a domed silver platter balanced in his hand, fifteen minutes later. He unveiled the lid and she grinned. Pizza.

“Aw, hell, Scully, you know I can’t cook.” He muttered. A candlelight pizza dinner – who else but Mulder.

“Tell me this hasn’t been sitting in your car this whole time?”

“Frohike just got here with it.” Mulder winked. “I hope you appreciate the effort. It cost me a bullet from the spare clip you keep in your desk.” She gave him a look. Mulder lifted his shoulders in a small shrug. “What can I say? Frohike’s a sick little man.”

“Actually, I was wondering what I would have found missing if you’d told him to bring dessert too.”

Mulder smiled. He sat down beside her and handed her the first piece. He had napkins in a small plastic bag atop the pizza, but no plates.

Looking back it was hard to say what they talked about. Simple things like college professors. Days at the academy and the moment they knew it wasn’t as easy as they thought it was going to be. They’d talked like this before. It was familiar. Yet it wasn’t. Not at all. There was something decidedly sexy about Mulder tonight. Maybe it was the way the wind kept blowing the hair in his eyes. Or the constant half smile that pushed at his mouth. He made no move to touch her or sit any nearer to her than his side of the blanket, yet she felt as if he was very close. That any second she could reach up her hand, tug on his coat lapels and pull him down to her arms. Taste his breath. Let her hands soak in the warmth of his body, run over his back and arms. His eyes reflected the candle light back at her. He’d given her a wish as a gift. He’d given her a smile when she had awoken for the deepest darkest sleep of her life. Her heart churned with-in her chest. For him. It was too scary to contemplate. Her and Mulder?

He was the last one in the world to offer her stability. He had less of a clue about how to live life than she did. His quest was the only thing that mattered to him. Mulder?! She was out of her mind. It made no sense. Her partner was damaged goods. Unable to trust. Held captive by his past. Haunted by the mounds of guilt he seemed to purposefully hang on to. Not Mulder. It was true that she’d considered it before. But she’d also been glad it had gone no further than a few – all right, quite a few erotic fantasies and daydreams. They worked together. She’d reasoned all of this out. She’d decided that platonic was definitely for the best. Dana hated confusion. She denied it, choosing to focus on anything else instead.

“I don’t get it.” Mulder was on his third piece of pizza, and paused in his chewing. To explain what she meant, she removed the ‘F’ from her purse. “The ‘F’. I don’t get it.”

“The ‘F…’” Mulder began and dabbed at his mouth corners. “Refers to the evening’s entertainment.” He leaned forward, stretching his upper body over each candle in turn as he blew them out. Mulder moved from the blanket, grabbing the paper bag as he did so. He had his back to her, but she could hear the rustling of the bag as he removed items from it. Dana moved so that she was leaning on one elbow, peering at him seriously. A spark from a match, a soft hiss heading into the night air and suddenly the sky above them cracked with light. It was like the sky was raining red and gold sparks just above them.

‘F’ She grinned slowly. Fireworks. Mulder shifted so that she could now see what he was doing. He was on one knee, hovering over an empty Coke bottle. Inside the bottle was a small rocket and he lit a fresh match, applying it to the fuse. Another hiss, but this time a whistle as the fireworks launched themselves. This firecracker made a hum and flashed multicolored curls over the sky. Dana looked to her partner. His face was illuminated in the flashes of light, then went dark. In the wind, his coat billowed behind him in slow waves, his hair was brushed from his face.

Mulder withdrew another bottle rocket from the bag. This one was less complex, launching a string of golden light behind itself as it exploded. Mulder was looking rather pleased with himself, his eyes slanted to her. “Want to try one?” He asked quietly.

Dana made her way to his side, sitting on both knees next to him. He gave her the matches and handed her the bag so she could chose from with-in.

In a moment they were both looking up from their places beside one another as the night filled with dancing colors and soft pops. Mulder watched her as she picked another rocket from the bag. Firelight touched over her and then the magical glow from the lights artificially illuminating the sky. Her eyes shone, filled with peace and contentment. It was a simple moment. Her mouth lifting in a smile as she looked upward. Her knees brushing his. For the rest of his life, he’d have this. The sight of the woman he loved bathed in magic, soaking it in with her upturned face. His heart was so full of his feelings that he thought it would no longer be able to hold together. Yet it did and he remained silent. Dreaming was fine. As long as you remembered that it was just a dream when you woke up.

His cell-phone rang breaking the spell. Cursing around Scully was never really an option. She dealt with it when it happened, still she didn’t really like it and they both knew it. Still at this point Mulder wasn’t sure he cared. “Fuck.” He pulled the phone from his jacket and jabbed at the button that allowed him to answer. “Mulder.” Scully sighed. Five minutes later he hung up, looking enthusiastic. His eyes had a fire of determination burning in them. She knew that look. He felt a hunt brewing. “Early scanning and isolation of the pictures Kasdan gave me depict them to be genuine.” Mulder reported.

Scully got the feeling that she’d just lost him for the night. “Mulder, all those tests can verify is the photograph isn’t an overt forgery. Not that the picture shows anything extraterrestrial.”

He held up his hands, holding off her objections. “I’m not making any assumptions, except that a United States Senator has been involved in activities as of late that might bear further investigation.”

She looked so weary suddenly. She was humoring him. Heck he was used to that. But this time it was different, as if the very act was causing her pain. “I think I should suggest at this time that barging in on a United States Senator waving around pictures of unknown origin might be exceedingly detrimental to your career.”

“Yeah, but it wouldn’t be the first time.” He pointed out. It was hard not to smile when faced with so blatant a truth and Dana couldn’t help it. “Don’t you believe his involvement warrants – at the very least – an explanation?”

She allowed the question to tumble over her mind. A moment later her arms rose to cross over her chest. “I believe that we have no real evidence that a crime has been committed.”

“We have a body.” Dana had read the autopsy report days ago at his request. “That was a victim of crashing into a railing and over a crevice – while exceeding speeds of 75 miles per hour. Not to mention the inclusion of alcohol.”

“You don’t have to go.”

She turned to him abruptly, her eyes narrowing. “I never said I wouldn’t…”

“I’m admit I’m wondering at your state of readiness to return to the X-files.” Her face hardened. It struck him that he sounded as if he was questioning her abilities. It hadn’t been what he’d meant to say. They were at the edge of anger again. So quick, this tension that sometimes sprung up between them. And it wasn’t about the job, or Mulder’s stubbornness or Aaron Cope. It was too tightly coiled, too charged with feeling. “I just want to know what you’re thinking.”

Dana shook her head. Such a simple request. Yet she couldn’t answer him. “I’ll give you my decision by week’s end.”

“And that’s it?” Mulder probed, his gaze stormy on hers.

“Your photos.” She reminded.

Mulder was incredulous. He had never treated her THAT insensitively. “I’ll spare a few minutes.”

Her chin dropped. She couldn’t look at him, not when she regarded any admission of doubt in the quest they’d made together, a betrayal. She felt that way and was desperately afraid that he did as well.

WHO are you, Scully?


The question came again from nowhere yet it had been one that she’d been asking herself a long time.

Are you caught up in the ride, trapped in Mulder’s whirlwind? Or are you a searcher too?

And if you have been as dedicated to the study of truth as your partner, are you willing to walk away?

NOT walk away, she corrected herself. Change avenues. “I’m afraid my life is passing me by, Mulder.” Her hands folded in her lap, a physical manifestation of the attempt to unite her divided halves. “I don’t want that. And…” She looked at him again. “I don’t want to leave your side.”

“You’re afraid it’s come to choice?” Her partner asked quietly.

Her mouth twisted wryly. “Every door we’ve opened has lead to a hundred others. I feel like I’m in maze with no real end. No real beginning.”

He stared at her. So capable. Strong, but…now so much doubt. His love for her had made him a coward in some ways. And it had made him brave. It was time to find the courage again. It was time to grow up. Grow up and let go, if that’s what she wanted. Or he’d lose her completely. And if she wanted to leave the X-files, or even the bureau, he’d have to swallow hard and stand behind the decision. As her friend. Scully was a door to different dimensions. A second pair of eyes, another pair of hands, in perfect concert with his own. Without her, he’d be crippled. But he’d go on.

If you loved something…

“I have dedicated my life to lifting the curtain away from secrets.” Mulder whispered. “There are men out there, toying with the future and yet accountable to no one. I believe that I will bring them to justice and that I will find out what happened to my sister. And to you.” He rose his hands to cup her face gently. And just like that, Mulder go of her in his heart. “If I have to, I can do this alone, this journey of mine.” His thumb traced the smoothness of her cheek. “I want you to be happy. Whatever you need to do…” His words drifted off and he released her.

Scully stared up into his dear face and felt something click softly. Dana Scully saw her reflection in the depth of her partner’s hazel stare. Who are you, Scully?

“I’ll take you home.” Mulder said, regret making his features seem almost tender in the star light. She gave a wordless nod and helped him gather up the blanket and the other supplies. The car ride was just as silent as their departure had been, both of them lost in their own thoughts. Mulder parked on the street and walked her to the front door of her apartment building. His hand had held her elbow, guiding her as they walked, but now it fell away.

“You gonna get in okay?” Normally he walked her up, but it didn’t surprise her that he didn’t this time. He was eager to get going. To begin the hunt.

“I’ll manage.” He gave an awkward wave and started off. “Mulder…” She called, pursuing him. Mulder turned toward her. Your a hopeless case. An idiot. I think I’m falling in love with you. She wanted to say all of the above, but couldn’t seem to force herself. She was left staring at him in the moonlight, thinking to herself that it wasn’t fair over and over.

Scully’s face was softer than he’d ever seen it. More vulnerable. The hell with it. The hell with everything. He was tired of fighting the good fight. Of denying himself. Of being afraid. Damm it. He strided back to her, caught her upper arms in both hands and crushed his mouth to hers. Dana stiffened at the contact. Finesse, you jerk, Mulder raged at himself. He gentled and teased at her mouth with his own. One brush, then another. He was kissing her. Finally. It sweltered in his brain. The tip of his tongue teased at one corner of her mouth and then the other. Dana’s arms drew around him and she met his explorations with her own. She allowed him to enter her mouth, moaning at the contact. Mulder drank of her: her breath, her softness, her taste. He couldn’t get enough. His heartbeat quickened. This was crazy. Certifiable. Heaven help him. Scully leaned up, curling her fists around his coat lapels and pulling closer. Their mouths met again. Hungry. Hard. Clinging as the night air continued to wash over them.

“The photos.” She murmured when she was finally able to break away. Her body complained. Objected. Whined. She was taunt and shivering.

Dana Scully, trembling? Lord, he’d made her shiver. Just by kissing her.

“Huh?” He whispered back, their breaths mingled. Mulder took her mouth again. Had she just made Mulder forget about work? Was it possible? Oh, this was defiantly good for her ego. She drowned in the plunging of his tongue the feel of his firm body flexing against her own. Yearning tickled over her skin. She lifted herself on her tip-toes to be better able to prolong the contact. She’d dreamed of this. Of him like this. About her. She was falling in… She forced herself away again. This was it…if she didn’t stop this now, she wasn’t sure she wouldn’t be pulling him into his car…the alleyway…her apartment if she could make it that far. “Kasdan’s photos.” Scully repeated, her breathing overly rapid. Her voice unsteady, even to her own ears.

He jerked back. A wave of shock like cold water hit him. Mulder had finally once and for all crossed the line. He started to apologize but couldn’t. He wouldn’t have meant a word. At least now, when all was said and done, he knew what this was like. After so many times dreaming, imaging, he finally knew. And his imagination had nothing on the reality. “Good night…Dana.” He hesitated. The next words stumbled from his tongue. “I’ll see you tomorrow.”

____ ♡ ____

((Excerpt from the Journal Entry of Dr. Dana Scully))

Two roads diverging into a yellow wood. The grave of my sister standing alone in the morning sun. A golden cross hanging ever before me in the distance. These are the images that I wake to. Emerson wrote that there are two paths, one well trod , and the other less traveled by. I have walked a road over grown and choked with weeds. I have bore this as all things: my duty, my job, my obligation….but never as my choice. I awoke after four years, realizing that time was sweeping me ever forward. Looking back through the mist of a life reborn, I came to desire the fullness of life that I have seen in others. I began to crave the easier way. I nearly fooled myself into the acceptance that I may fight the battle and yet not bear the scars. When my conscience did not allow peace, I tried to mold the truth into a dark creature of impossibility. One that could never be tamed or revealed.

I have allowed the shackles of joylessness to bind my hands. With-in this decision were the small mutinies where I declared myself, for one moment, free. Always I returned, confining my wishes to a field of waiting. Assuring myself that this justice we have been seeking, upon its discovery, would become the beginning of my life. I had forgotten Mulder’s cardinal rule. I opened myself to the possibilities in my search but not with-in my life. This was an error both in judgment and in belief. Dreams held with-in too long will wither away.

Scully tossed down her pen in frustration. Restless. Again, so restless. Normally writing in her journal helped. She paced into the kitchen, pouring herself a glass of water. She’d come straight how after the park. She’d watched t.v. She’d checked her e-mail. Then, no longer to delay the inevitable, she’d pulled her journal from her desk and began writing. She finished the water quickly as if it was some sort of lifeline.

That poem.

The need to find it and read quickly grew into a compulsion. It had to be in one of her college texts, didn’t it? She went to her closet, removing the first of several boxes with-in. She searched each one meticulously. She found nothing of any value. Dana sat back among the boxes, trying to remember where – if anywhere – the poem might be. She was on her feet again and moving into her bedroom. Several abandoned text books lay in the bottom of her night chest, but not the one she sought.

Atop the closet shelf in her bedroom were yet more boxes. Her mother never threw anything away. When Dana had moved in she’d been given box upon box of memorabilia from her childhood. Scully had for a long time intended on going through the boxes, but could never seem to find the time or energy. And perhaps, deep down, she felt that since her mother had kept these treasures all this time, she should too. She set each cardboard box down on her bed and rifled through them. Ten minutes later her fingers paused on a green-blue cover. Her college literature book. She gave a soft snort of amusement. Her mom really, really was a pack rat, she thought fondly. Thank God.

Scully searched the table of contents and found the poem. Her fingers tugged at the pages, turning them until she found it. Scully had changed as soon as she’d arrived home, choosing to wear a pair of gray sweat pants a size too large and a soft cotton white pajama top. She propped a pillow behind her and curled back against the headboard of her queen-sized bed. She began to read.

“Two road diverged into a yellow wood. And sorry I could not travel both And be one traveler, long I stood And looked down one as far as I could To where it bent into the undergrowth;

Dana skipped down, not knowing why. Following her instincts. Perhaps it was because some part of her already knew this part, that the path she had traveled in the last four years was free from the wear of footsteps. Scientists, as a rule, had guidelines. The works of others always lead the way. Natural law and probability always lit the path forward. Mulder’s journey was uncharted. Unknown in every extreme. He seemed content here. But to Dana it warred with every principle she understood.

“Yet knowing how way leads on to way, I doubted I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh Somewhere ages and ages hence; Two roads diverged in a wood, and I — I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.”

Dana pushed a hand trough her hair, holding it back from her oval shaped face. She let the book fall closed and in that moment, she found peace. n several long drawn out moments of though, she found who she was again. She was an FBI agent, a doctor, a friend, a daughter, a sister….and the woman who was in love with Fox Mulder. But mostly…mostly…she was Dana Scully.

((Continuation of Excerpt From the Journal of Dana Scully))

Knowing what I feel for my partner is not the completeness that I have sought. It is a part of a bigger whole. The conspiracy does not seek to cloak one truth in the midst of nothingness. Rather it desires to replaces a portion of many truths. Keeping them hidden, performing slights of hand. We are in the end, what we choose to be. Believers or non-believers. I believe in the search. I believe in my partner. Mulder will be by my side, insistent on shining his light over that which others refuse to see. I will be by Mulder’s side, separating the fiction from the reality, ever balancing, ever vigilant. In this tangling of lives, we have become linked. We have stood strong. Because of this my meaning…Our meaning ultimately lies within one another. I have looked at the two paths and have made my choice.

____ ♡ ____

The next morning Mulder jogged as per his usual. Five laps and he didn’t feel a thing. He didn’t feel the shower as it rushed over him, drowning his body in warmth. Mulder got dressed, got in his car and still couldn’t feel anything. Anything except the memory of her lips parting beneath his. Her hands clutching at him. His arms around her.

She was at her desk, as he came in. Mulder gave her a long look, but

said nothing. She returned the gaze, but likewise didn’t say a word. “I’m gonna try and set up a meeting with the senator.” Mulder said finally and moved to do so. An hour later they were facing down the hostile member of Congress. They were ejected a full second after Mulder brought out the photographs. It was about the reaction that he expected.

“Scully, I’m going to ask that the body of Simon Kasdan be exhumed. I’d like you to perform another autopsy.”

“Mulder with the condition that the body must be in…”

“Just take a look.” Mulder requested. Not an bullying tone. A respectful one. The same one he’d been using all morning. “See if you find anything.”

It was one of the few exchanges they’d had since the night before, They were both as nervous as two pacing cats. Unsure of the other’s reaction. Uncertain where to go from here. The day dragged on.

Scully left early. At around four, not explaining to Mulder where she was going or why. Some things she still, despite herself, felt she should handle on her own. Aaron Cope was one of those things.

Dana wasn’t sure that she wasn’t making a mistake. She may look back on this moment with regret if she were alone…later. But Aaron and the future he offered wasn’t the meaning she sought. It was grabbing at straws. She wanted a life with someone. Not a lie.

“This is about Mulder.” Aaron bit out. “You have feelings for him.”

“Your reducing this to over simplistic terms. With or without Mulder, continuing wouldn’t be fair. Not to either of us.” Scully squeezed his arm lightly. “Your a very worthwhile man.” A quiet, compassionate expression on her face. “But I believe you have other prospects that would yield better answers than I can.”

“Well,” He mused. Aaron stepped back from her, taking a moment to collect himself. “I hope you find what your looking for Dana.” He murmured after a long moment. “But I admit…I don’t think you’ll find it in Fox Mulder.” He turned his head so she could see his face. He was sincere. Sad, perhaps, but without any real malice.

“I’m sorry if I’ve hurt you.” Dana answered. “But Mulder isn’t to blame for that. I am.”

She touched his arm again. Aaron nodded in an unspoken agreement with her gesture of farewell. He turned to her, taking her in his arms. Aaron Cope held her for just a moment before letting her go.

____ ♡ ____

She waited a full week before seeing Mulder again outside of work. Some outdated view of respect for Aaron held her back. She wasn’t the type to jump from the arms of one man into the arms of another. Besides, she was terrified. Mulder had kissed her. She just wasn’t sure what on earth that meant. They worked side by side with so much unsaid. Mulder kept things light, as was his talent and she let him. Yet every now and again, she would catch him staring at her. Several times, he’d looked up and found her staring at him. He was her best friend. And he was a stranger.

Dana Scully’s life had changed with the realization of her feelings for her partner. Scully loved Mulder. No, more than that. She loved working with him. She loved the X-files. He needed her, and she…needed him back, she needed the quest and the answers and every other damnable thing that he did. Most of all she needed to know that he was by her side. Dana had always been very articulate. But how did you put your heart into words? She didn’t know. Had never known.

Then it came to her, what Missy would have said. ‘Actions speak louder than words, kiddo,’

She showed up at his apartment near eleven one night after they’d put in a twelve hour day. Scully was holding a bag of unpopped popcorn and a video as a peace offering. She was trying desperately to control her fluttering pulse. Mulder opened the door.

“Hiya.” Mulder greeted, his eyes uncertain. He looked surprised but stepped back to let her in.

“You busy?”

Mulder had been checking into the good Senator’s background via the internet. “Not at the moment.” He took the popcorn and jerked his head toward the kitchen, instructing her to follow him. This place was almost as familiar as her own apartment. She slipped the tape onto the small kitchen table and pulled out a chair for herself. Mulder was setting the timer on the microwave.

Mulder opened his fridge and fished out some butter. She peered at him closely trying to see how much he was using. He threw close to a quarter of a stick in a small bowl. “Easy on the butter.” Scully instructed. She swore one day that man’s arteries were simply going to spontaneously combust. Mulder cut what he’d been about to use in half and set the bowl on the counter till the microwave was free. Mulder took the seat opposite her a few moments later. They talked about Skinner’s latest reprimand as the popcorn made banging sounds in the background.

“Senators are so sensitive nowadays.” Mulder commented mockingly.

“Mulder, about the other night…” She began.

His countenance was practically made of stone. It was that hard to read. He stood and removed the popcorn from the microwave, setting the bowl of butter in its place. The aroma of the freshly popped kernels filled the kitchen. He punched in thirty second on the clocked and then pressed start firmly. “I thought we were pretending that didn’t happen.”

“Why would we do that?”

“Why wouldn’t we?” The only thing that broke the battle of will they were developing was the microwave dinging in it’s time. He reached for the butter, pouring it over the popcorn liberally. He shook the bag to stir its contents.

Great. She had come over to tell him how she felt and instead she was playing twenty questions. “I want you to answer my question.”

He was lounging back against the counter. He dug into the bag and tossed a white puffy piece into his mouth, trying his best to ignore her. “Just let it go.”

That answer seared through her. Wasn’t that their answer to almost everything? To every argument, every area of discomfort? Anything personal. Bury it, don’t talk about it. Lean on one another if need be, but never…never mention it past the moment. “I’m tired of letting things go.” Scully insisted. No reaction from him. “Mulder, we need to confront this.”

“That’s a bad idea.” He insisted.

Scully kept at him. “Mulder…”:

“I said, leave it alone Scully.” He growled. His voice had been loud enough to echo gingerly around the kitchen.

“The hell I will.” She snapped, refusing to be intimidated. “Why did it happen?” He didn’t want to lose her. Couldn’t. Yet here she was asking him, and he’d never lied to her. He’d kept things from her, but when she asked…he’d never betrayed her with his words. Only with his silence. Her eyes softened as she watched him struggle. “Just tell me.”

He struggled for words, felt them choking in his throat. “There’s…no comfortable way to say this. I can only tell you that I have always held you in the highest possible regard.” She was giving him a blank look. He was babbling. Or at least he suspected he was. He couldn’t be sure. “I would never infringe on you in any way. I just…Scully…” He couldn’t do it. Not with her so close to him. So close and yet… He grimaced. “Stay here.”

Dana blinked. He had all but marched from the room without bothering to set down the popcorn. In the time she’s known him, they’d had some strange conversations. This one had to rank in the top ten. She was going to give him three minutes to get back in there and tell her what on earth was going on or else…or else…she was going to jump him.

Two minutes later from inside her purse came a ring. Oh, you have got to be kidding me, Scully groaned inwardly. Skinner or Aaron or her mother seemed the most likely candidates to blame for the interruption. None of those people was particularly welcome at this moment. Dutifully she lifted it to her ear and answered. “Dana Scully.”

“What I was trying to say…” Between words she could hear the crunching of popcorn.


“Hi.” He greeted. More of the soft rustling as he munched slowly.

“Where are you?”

“In the living room.” Dana started to go and look for herself. He was kidding, right? As if he could read her mind, he said, “Stay where you are, FBI woman.” He paused. “In a strange way, it seems almost appropriate to have this conversation on the phone with you.”

“Mulder…is this a phone sex thing?”

In any other circumstances he would have laughed. But not today. “No, this is a clear and blatant act of cowardice. You asked. I couldn’t say it in there.”

“Couldn’t you say what?” Scully asked him quietly.

“There’s a lot of things. But it all comes back to…I love you. No strings attached. I…I’ve been in love with you for a long time.” Nothing from the other line. Mulder’s jaw tensed forming a hard knot. It was possible that he’d just killed them. Scully had asked of him the one thing that he’d been unwilling to give. Some words had the power to make people disappear. “I know they say silence is golden but…”

“I love you too.” She said softly.

Mulder’s heart stopped. He was hearing things. He had to be. He tried to find words. Silence hung between them. No, no. no. She meant as a friend. As a partner. Mulder forced his hopes back down inside him. She meant anything…anything but what he thought she did. He heard her footfalls coming closer. He looked up to find her standing before him, cell-phone still in hand but now hanging limply at her side. Mulder was at a loss at to what to do now. He offered her the popcorn bag. “Popcorn?”

Scully stifled a grin. She sat down next to him and leaned forward, opening her mouth slightly. Mulder raised a kernel to her lips and pressed it inside. Her tongue flickered out and licked at the butter on his fingertips. Teasing him with the velvet wetness of her mouth before she drew back and chewed on the midnight snack.

Scully let her mouth open again, proffering for more. Mulder complied, but this time she captured his thumb and sucked softly, twirling her tongue on the ball of it. Desire pounded through him like a cannon. He was already rock hard, just by the fleeting provocations. This fire had burned bright and hot for a long time. It wouldn’t take much for it’s jaws to swallow them, devouring them whole. Mulder’s gaze darkened and he ran a white kernel around the edge of the bowl, coating butter over it. He shifted his hand and grazed the kernel over the tip of her ear. He bent toward her, breaking their eye contact at the last possible moment before nibbling at her. She tasted salty and sweet all at the same time. Her lightly perfumed scent filled his senses.

Still he felt uncertainty. This was Scully. “I can’t…I’m offering you all I’ve got here, Scully.” He murmured in her ear. He sounded almost hoarse. “You know that, right?” Dana leaned forward and pressed a kiss to one of his eyelids and then the other. He was so still. Refusing to come to her as she wanted.

She brushed her mouth over his brow. “I know.”

Finally that famous cocky smile that she knew so well. Again Mulder dipped and traced, this time using the kernel as a brush and trailing it down her neck. She arched her neck, surrendering to the feel of his kiss. His mouth followed the buttery path, licking at the sensitive skin, grazing his teeth there. “You know,” His tone was low and husky. “This has been one of my fantasies with regards to you for awhile.”

“Fantasies? As in more than one?”

He soaked butter into another piece if popcorn and painted the ‘v’ of her neck line. “Definitely plural.” He claimed her lips with his own, exploring, tangling his tongue with hers. His hand slide from her waist and teased over her stomach before cupping her breast. Her fingers were working at his shirt, unlocking the buttons from their place, pushing it from his shoulders.

Dana leaned in and tasted the hollow of his shoulder. “Was this your favorite?”

“My favorite involves…” He groaned and pulled her atop him, shifting his thighs between hers. He pressed against her, grinding slowly. “I don’t really want to go into the details at the moment, but suffice to say, it involves you in a lab coat with nothing underneath.”

She laughed shakily as he’d intended. “I’m nervous.”

He was nervous too, but didn’t admit it. He felt like a kid copping his first feel. That innocent. That young. So darned sure that he was going to get this wrong. “Just like riding a bike Scully.” He rolled so that he was on top of her and tugged her shirt over her head. He let his eyes feast on her pale flesh, tracing the strap of her bra with one finger.

“That’s not what I meant.” She sat up slightly, halting his hand with her own. “What if we’re disastrous at this?”

“Then we’ll have to keep trying till we get it right.” He wriggled his eyebrows and got her to smile. “Scully…let me see you.”

She unhooked her bra and let it fall away. More nervously, she watched him. “Ta-da.”

He let his eyes say everything. His look of tender desire melted with her own. Everything he’d ever imagined was true. His fingers caressed the curve of her and then flicked over her nipples slowly. Mulder watched the flush rise over her face. He touched her again, harder. Pressing her hardening nub back and forth. Faster. Mulder’s alternate hand was still clasping the popcorn bag and he slowly poured some of it’s contents over her chest and stomach. It would have been funny if his mouth hadn’t instantly, hungrily, followed. He sucked her skin, letting each piece melt in his mouth as he laved the butter and salt left behind by the contact. He poured again, concentrating on her breasts this time. Eating over and around her nipples before sucking hard and deep on her. The bag tumbled from his grasp to the floor, spilling. His mouth devoured hers and as both his hands rose to manipulate the tender flesh.

“Don’t stop talking to me.” She rasped. “It makes me feel…safer.”

“You are safe.” He lightened his kisses, just touching her mouth. “I feel…shaky…” His hand was working at pushing inside her pants. He needed more of her. “Really shaky.”

“Really, really shaky?” Mulder breathed in her ear just as his fingers found her hot center.

She bucked against him. “Mulder.”

“I love you Scully.” He slid two fingers in now. Scully was wet and pulsing, closing so tightly around him. He felt as if he was dying at the contact. “Always have.” Mulder kept his fingers working slow and steady. She was moving with him now. He lapped at her nipple, still watching her face. Her mouth was contorting. Her body writhing. Mulder felt like he was being granted a miracle. “Since you gave me that skeptical look when I first asked you if you believed in extraterrestrials.”

“Mulder.” He was stroking over her clit with his thumb now, timing it with the thrust of his hand.

“Dana, look at me.” She did, her eyes almost sightless, heavy with passion. “Say my name. Call out to me.” He moved faster over the center of her pleasure, increasing the steady penetration even more.


“Again.” He ordered and pulled strongly at her breast with his hot mouth.


Mulder ran kisses her stomach, pushing her pants away from her legs and then her panties. White underwear. Lacy. Silk. He caressed her legs. “Tell me what you want.”


“What, sweetheart, what?” His breath hovered over her now, cooling her wetness, infuriating her senses further. His smile was curved wickedly. He was ever her rogue, ever the rebel who pushed her past her common sense. “What do you want?” He nuzzled her with his chin, teasing her with the point of his soft tongue. “What can I do for you?”

“Make me…”

He was actively licking now. Quick, but light. Still teasing. Killing her. “Mm?”

“Make me come….Mulder.”

His hands returned to her emptiness. Playing over her. “You’re so beautiful. I’ve never told you.”

“I love you.” She rasped as she felt her body halt at a wide prepice.

“Now.” It was half begging. Half a command. But his mouth was on her again. Loud sucking sounds, as he moaned at the taste of her. He laved over her, swallowing her whole. Making her feel as if the world centered on his mouth and what he was doing to her. She felt so on fire. Out of control. It scared her. It thrilled her. “Now.” He told her again. The heavens tumbled down around her. Blackness enveloped her. She spasmed. Again. Again. He didn’t stop the slow deep thrusting of his tongue, tasting her orgasm, following her through it.

“Mulder. I need you.”

Her friend and partner rose his mouth to hers. She was the one now who was desperate to feel his skin. To have nothing between them. She tore his clothes away, feeling bolder and more aroused than she ever had. Her hands ran over his arms, testing the muscles there. His chest was solid, barely sprinkled with hair. His was stomach flat and hard. Fox Mulder was beautiful. Always had been. Always would be. She was losing herself in the feel of him.

She took his hardness in her hands, cupping him. Mulder growled and pushed her thighs apart gently. His eyes jumped to hers. A last chance for her to refuse him. To push him away. She reached for him, tugging his head down to hers via his neck. Mulder pushed inside her slowly. Her body gave way to him. His breath caught. He was feeling perfection. He wanted to be tender with all his heart, but his body was on a much faster race and she was egging it on. Digging her nails into his back, lifting her hips, murmuring her need for him to be deeper…harder in his ear. He was already so close. The patience of four years of emotional foreplay was wearing very thin.

He could feel her all around him, holding him with-in her [tightly. The friction took him deeper. Deeper. He gritted his teeth against the pleasure. They were one. One soul, one heart, one body…everything. So much so that he was sure that they would never be truly separated again. “You’re mine now.” He told her fiercely. “Better or worse…”

“So are you.” Scully’s voice was a cry in his ear. His pistoning body was stroking hers with insistent seduction, restoring her fires. Her legs wrapped around his hips and she moaned as he drove in even deeper. He felt himself smile. They were dead even in their want of one another. In their need. He could do this to her. Take the ice she used as a shield and melt it, make her wild.

He let her have everything she asked of his body. “That’s right, Scully.” Mulder whispered as she snapped her hips to his. Too fast, too soon, too sudden. And there nothing he could do about it.

He moved his body against hers harder….demanding everything she had to give. She quaked around him once again, falling over the cliff. Shutting his eyes he whispered her name and surrendered, falling off the edge after her. Mulder held her tightly as the world came apart. He gave her everything, holding nothing back. No longer afraid. When time slowed and he felt her planting kisses all over his face and neck, he came back to himself. She was still there, looking at him with her soul in those sparkling eyes. Mulder realized that he was looking into forever. They exchanged soft touches, saying nothing. Both of them scared. Both of them hopeful.

He awoke with his body curled protectively over hers. Her hair was fanned out over his chest and it made his heart ache to see her looking so peaceful. He stroked her face. It would be another hour until she woke. Mulder lay there, watching the rise and fall of her breathing. studying her mouth and the way she felt in his arms.

“Mulder?” She murmured and lifted her head. She gave him a dazzling smile as she saw that he was awake. “What time is it?”

“Early.” He answered. It was just near five, and the sun still hadn’t shown itself. She hummed in answered and snuggled down against him again.

“Got to do that autopsy today.” She muttered, yawning as she spoke.

It was strange that her thoughts had strayed in that direction. But he supposed that thinking about work had long become second nature to them both. “I was just thinking about the X-files.” He admitted.

She tilted her head up giving a wry look. “Is there ever a time you aren’t thinking about the X-files?”

He lifted his chin obstinately. “Given the events of the last few hours, I think I can safely abstain from that question.” He settled one arm behind his head, so he could look down at her face a bit easier. “We’re breaking the rules, here, sweetheart.” He didn’t sound as if he had any regrets. As a matter of fact by the intense satisfaction in his eyes, she read him to feel just the opposite.

“You always have been a bad influence.” She gave him a soft peck, enjoying the relaxed shimmering in his eyes. If she didn’t know any better, she’d say that right now Mr. Guilt was feeling happy. Give him an hour and he’d probably be back to his normal self. But that was okay. “Whether we’re together like this or not, I love you. Whether there’s a bureau watching our every move or not, I love you. I have to put some measure of trust in that.”

That sounded like a good enough plan to him. “I don’t want you to think that I think this changes anything. This is separate from work. If you decide to transfer…”

“I’m not.” She cut him off. That was news to him. He was having a hard time putting two and two together. “I lost faith that I was making a difference.” She explained. “I’m sorry.”

He stared into her eyes, bringing his hand to her hair and brushing it back from her face. “Am I still your best friend?”

She hugged him tightly and nodded against his bare chest. “Always.”

“Scully,” He grimaced, his forehead wrinkling in thought. “You know, I’m not the easiest guy in the world to get along with.”

He was giving her a warning. This…they…probably wouldn’t be easy. Big surprise. Since when was anything ever easy for them? Your stuck with me, She thought to him and she knew that her face was echoing as much. “I’ll manage.” She said. His chest rumbled with laughter. He completely believed her.

____ ♡ ____

She went home to change and Mulder set about his daily routine. His

feet lifted and fell on the clay ground. The air had a dampness to it. The rain was threatening again. But it was still a few hours off. Jogging had been the haven for his thoughts for a long time. He didn’t know how to be happy any more than he knew how to love. It was all new, this thing he was going to try to build with Scully. Who else on earth would have him? His speed was steady as he rounded a corner. Even. Scully made him feel that way. As if he might just win the race after all. And have a life in the bargain? MAKE a life…with her. His feet tred lightly, making soft scratching sounds as he moved. He sure the heck hoped that he’d made himself clear on that point. He was in this for good. Better or worse. If you loved something…

Some words had been cheapened by time. Others sat in isolation. Just as lasting in meaning as they ever had been. Untouched by human frailty. Protected by some force much greater than thousands of years and a million perversions of the well-spring. The foundation, despite everything, inevitably still flowed pure. Still real. Believing in love and believing that love could be returned was still a miracle. It challenged the concept of impossibility. Which was as it should be.

She loved him. It wasn’t raining. Mulder picked up his pace. He suddenly wanted to be done with his laps as quickly as possible. Scully would be waiting for him at the office.



Archivist’s Note: I edited the following notes and pleas for feedback from the main part of the story so as not to disrupt the flow. The remainder of the story of Skippy the Lizard couldn’t be left untold, so I’ve posted it below, along with general thanks & credits.

Part 2:


(In Narrator’s voice)

Antarctic land of the white plains. Home of iceBand more iceBand then in a twist of irony, yet more ice.

(The Movie Changes to show a brown, garden variety lizard)

Skippy. A lizard at a time of crisis. Will he remain home, safe in his little cage? Or will he be sent to bravely go where no lizard has gone before.

It’s up to you. Join the SAVE SKIPPY CRUSADE now. The writer has determined that if she gets no feedback, she will use the U.S. Postal System and send the little reptile on a long journey.

You can make a difference.

Send all requests to SAVE SKIPPY to:


Part 3:

Thanks: To Amber for the Expense Account Wars. Which kept me laughing. To all the people who gave a little lizard a second chance and helped me keep writing.

__________ WRITER’S PLEA FOR FEEDBACK _________

The evil Miestro sat in his arctic castle and watched the view screen eagerly. On the screen a brown, garden variety lizard sat in a glass cage eating a bagel. The cage lay just next to a computer where a young would- be writer was typing feverishly.

“Bring me the cookbooks.” The evil one bade one of his nearby servants. The small goblin like creature hobbled off and then summarily returned with a book entitled “101 Ways to Cook a Lizard.” Miestro licked his lips and rubbed his hands together.

WAIT. (Suddenly a friend of the writer barges in her room. )

Friend: Just HANG on.

Me: Huh?

Friend: This is getting really twisted. Your losing it. There are laws against this kind of inhumane treatment of animals. You can’t send the lizard to Antarctica. Do you want the National Society for Protecting Lizards in here? I don’t think so.

Me: (thinking that over) Can we send a spider?

Friend: NO!

Me: How about a flea?

Friend: Never mind. Just never mind.

Me: A caterpillar? (Friend barges out of room, mumbling under her breath)

Send all requests to SAVE CANDICE THE CATERPILLAR to:


Part 4:

Thanks: Huge, gigantic thanks to the two Vickies. One who is a fine writer in her own right, even if she does write Mulder/other stories. (sticking my tongue out) And the other the Australian queen of story line support (Special ‘hi’ to Kav.) To everyone who wrote in saying ‘okay, where’s the rest?’ – I couldn’t have been paid a deeper compliment. And ESPECIALLY to Mary – Okay, okay…I’m done now. (wink) ALSO gotta throw in a standing ovation for Michelle and Nikki who wade through my junk and make the grammar and spelling look like this wasn’t written by a five year old.

Disclaimer: See part 1. I have to note here that “Tub Thumping,” a song from which I quote from isn’t mine. Also ‘House of the Dead.’ Not mine. Rights aren’t mine, etc, etc.

End Notes:

_________Writer’s Plea For Feedback_________

The writer stood with an X-files cap on her head and took the small garden variety lizard from the postman. Postman Donnie gave a frustrated sigh, walking away sullenly. “If you leave,” The writer conveyed to the lizard who was dressed in a small parka and earmuffs. “You’ll regret it. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow. But soon. Everyday for the rest of your life.”

The lizard said nothing, but flickered his tongue and gave a soft sneeze. The writer set the little fellow on her shoulder. “You know Skippy, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”

Together, the writer and the reptile walked into the sunset.

If you approve of silly rip-offs of classic movies, please write to .

If you think that all writers who employee both the use of imaginary lizards and classic movies are really kind of silly, please write


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