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The Route Straight Through by Kate Bond
From: “Kate Bond” <> Date: Wed, 28 Nov 2001 18:23:47 +0000 Subject: The Route Straight Through by Kate L. Bond Source: direct
Title: The Route Straight Through
Author: Kate L. Bond
Feedback: Oh yes … yes … and yes again!
Distribution: No problem, just keep my name and email attached and let me know where it’s going. Thanks.
Rating: PG-13 for some bad language
Classification: MSR Keywords: Mulder/Scully romance
Summary: It’s the end of a long case in England and M/S are on a long coach journey to Heathrow Airport. Written from POV of a passenger.
Disclaimer: Fox Mulder, Dana Scully and all other characters associated with The X-Files belong to 1013 Productions, Fox Television Network and Chris Carter – not me. Please don’t sue me. I’m saving up for the season five box set. Out of curiosity, has anyone ever actually been sued for fanfic???
Author’s notes at the end.
The Route Straight Through by Kate L. Bond
As I walk slowly up the coach aisle I notice there’s hardly anyone on the damn thing. I sigh loudly in frustration – there goes my master-plan.
Okay, so I admit it, I’m a people watcher. Always have been. I am referred to as many other names too, mind, usually along the lines of ‘nosy’ and ‘arsehole.’ Still, it keeps me occupied at least and it provides no end of entertainment. Like one big twenty-four hour soap opera. Which is funny considering I hate the things.
So I have to say, I’m ever so slightly disappointed as I scan the coach. I glance at the seat numbers carefully, the dim aisle lights casting a warm glow over the few tired faces I pass.
I finally find my seat towards the back of the coach and after stuffing the small rucksack I’m carrying into the overhead compartment, I fall into my uncomfortable seat.
I’ve had one hell of a weekend, visiting the world’s most drunken relatives up in the Lake District. They’re almost old age pensioners and I don’t think they were sober once while I was there. Northerners… To be honest, I’d rather not think about it. I’m just glad I’m on my way back home to London, I can’t get there fast enough.
Digging out my crisp, unread book from my rucksack and sitting back down, I turn my back to the window and prop my feet up on the next seat. Well, it’s not like anyone is going to be in desperate need of it in this empty tin-can we call a coach.
I silently curse myself for getting a night journey and open the novel, praying it will be half-decent enough to entertain me for six hours. Here’s hoping.
As I begin to read, low voices drift up the aisle. Two voices talking in soft tones, an accent I can’t place yet, seemingly coming closer. I lift my head from the book and the faces of a man and a woman come into view, conversation now halting. I note they are very smartly dressed, probably both around the age of 35.
The man, leading the way, smiles wearily at me and pushes the two bags he is holding into their seat compartment, directly across from me. I am secretly delighted at this turn-up and I suddenly lose whatever interest I had in my book.
The woman, who is watching the man intently as he closes the compartment, has this amazing auburn colour hair and is quite small in comparison to the man. Although she looks fragile due to her height, I get the feeling that in reality she is anything but.
The man steps back into the aisle and allows the red-head to take the window seat, tenderly touching the small of her back as she passes by him. I am momentarily surprised , the coach is hardly crowded and yet these two seem more than comfortable sitting together.
The man runs a hand through his already tousled hair and settles himself next to the woman, glancing at me as he sits. I hurriedly return to my book, desperately trying to look engrossed but the coach saves me and finally decides to move. Thankfully he turns his eyes away and mine swing automatically back to the couple across from me.
They are now talking to each other in the same soft tones as before and I realise with surprise that the accent is American. On the coach to Heathrow Airport I guess, and I briefly wonder why they’re here in England of all places, smart suits and all.
From the way these two talk to one another, it is clear that they are close friends. I see no wedding bands though so I assume that is all, although something tells me otherwise.
“I’m fine, Mulder,” I hear the woman say, as if she has said it hundreds of times before. Mulder? What kind of a name is that? Oh yeah, these are Americans alright.
The man, Mulder, leans his face towards hers, concerned. “At least try to get some sleep, this case has worn you out, I know it.”
A case? Okay, so I presume they’re some sort of crime investigators or something but in England??? Curiouser and curiouser…
“On a coach?!” she splutters, sounding almost disgusted. “I’d be more comfortable on your couch.”
He grins at her and I find it is infectious, a smile threatening to break out on my own face. “Same spelling apart from one letter and besides, my couch is an acquired taste, Scully.” Scully? I’ve seen a lot of people come and go but never with such absurd names.
I turn my head slightly to examine the outside world for a second. Nothing but cars, streetlights and the black night. Oh joy.
In lower tones now, the man turns serious. “If you want me to move back it’s okay, let you stretch your legs out.”
She immediately looks up to meet his eyes and replies, almost pleadingly. “No. Stay.” I am moved by her words for some reason and spellbound by the scene in front of me. Her fingers search for his and, their eyes not leaving one another, their fingers twine effortlessly together as if they had never been separated.
I’m also a romantic at heart. Which explains why, at this point, I become suddenly emotional and the world automatically becomes a better place. It is now obvious that these two are in love, anyone can see that but deep down I get this feeling that for some unknown reason, they won’t admit it to themselves or to the other. And why do I suspect this? After analyzing thousands of people everyday for most of my life, I just sense these things I suppose.
His thumb begins to draw tender circles over hers and she murmurs something which I don’t catch. Damn this stupid coach engine. Bringing his face down slowly to hers, foreheads touching at an awkward angle, he softly kisses her on the nose and she sighs. Eyelids drooping, her head comes down to rest on his shoulder and he lifts his free hand to brush away an errant strand of auburn hair that has fallen across her face.
My open book lies unread still in my hands, I’m not sure I even remember what it is about. My eyes too are drifting shut now and for the moment at least, I am content. My last thoughts are of the pair in front of me, my sole company for the next six hours. You won’t hear me complaining …
I awaken with a jolt. Jesus. Still half-asleep and momentarily shaken, I grip the edges of my seat to prevent me from falling straight off. What the hell is going on?
Groggily I open my eyes and absorb my surroundings, everything coming flooding back to me.
Across from me the couple are glancing out their window, both looking bothered by something. Curious now, I shift from my awkward sleeping position and turn to the window, groaning inwardly at what I see. Endless rows of traffic, countless headlights beaming through the dark night at me and the coach begins to move forward again, only for it to come to an abrupt stop soon after.
This is all I need, a traffic jam. God only knows what time I’ll be home now.
Out the corner of my eye I see Mulder reach up into their compartment for his bag and I briefly wonder what I may have missed while I was sleeping. I vaguely remember having a dream about tea-bags so whatever I did miss, it was probably a hell of a lot more exciting.
Still, I do feel a little recharged from my nap and resume my previous sitting position with my back against the window, attempting to block out all thoughts of bloody traffic.
Scully is now reading some sort of file. Whatever it is, it looks complicated and plainly Mulder thinks so too, his gaze focused solely on the woman beside him. I watch with interest as he studies her intently, drinking in her every feature. She, meanwhile, is seemingly oblivious to this inspection as she carefully continues to read the document.
He watches with apparent confidence, as if he does this often and is certain she either doesn’t care or simply doesn’t notice.
My thoughts are suddenly interrupted by a blaring horn outside, accompanied by a selection of colourful words courtesy of our driver. Dammit, can’t I even think in peace now?
And, as if on cue, light rain begins to softly patter on the windows. Weather to suit my mood. The headlights outside become streaky and I tut my annoyance.
“Not your day, huh?” I hear from the opposite seat. I turn to find Mulder looking at me, a hint of amusement on his face. I smile and shrug awkwardly.
“More like not my *week*,” I reply and he laughs, drawing the attention of Scully. She shoots me a quick smile and looks up to him. I take this as a sure sign that our little chat is officially over and I rub my eyes wearily.
She succeeds in catching his eye and he turns to her, giving her his full-attention. God, could this guy be any more smitten with her?
She proceeds to hold his gaze for what seems like an eternity, the rain still slowly falling outside in the darkness and for the first time I notice we are moving again. Wonders never cease.
Ever so slowly now, he turns to her so that his back is almost fully facing me and he calmly opens his arms to her. I do start to wonder whether this ‘case’ they have were working on was a particularly distressing one, as Scully does appear a little shaken perhaps. Whatever it was, he’s definitely concerned about her and now, as her lower lip visibly trembles, for the first time ever I feel intrusive.
Never once have I felt guilty or nosy for watching people go about their lives – and yet unexpectedly I am hit by this awful feeling.
I remember my book and hurriedly search for it, discovering it on the floor. I need something, anything, to take me away from this. I open it at a random page and try desperately to concentrate but I find it impossible, my eyes constantly straying to the couple.
Her arms disappear underneath his black jacket and he draws her to him, wrapping his arms so possessively around her that I feel tears pricking my eyes.
So as they embrace each other fiercely, I begin to forget just where each of them begins and ends. Her head is burrowed in his chest and he is running a hand soothingly through her hair, muttering things to her every now and then, which I block out. Hey, I feel intrusive enough as it is.
I slowly turn the page of my book, really trying to remain focussed now but with no avail.
She lifts her head slightly and he lowers his, nudging her face to his. Her eyes staying half-closed and their faces touching, he moves slightly to place a kiss softly on her cheek. He murmurs something again and this time I don’t hear anyway but her immediate response is to return the kiss on his opposite cheek.
Okay, so now I feel like an emotional wreck and if anyone should mention the word ‘love’ I may break down in tears, this is so beautiful.
He leisurely begins to plant light kisses down her cheek and, looking only into his eyes, she moves her face slightly so that her mouth meets his. This first touch is hesitant and gentle, lips drawing away for only a moment, only for them to return and meet again.
Now more confident, this kiss must last over six seconds and I sit here absolutely transfixed. It’s not like I haven’t seen people kissing before, but there’s a tension in the air here and it’s new to me.
Mulder is the first to draw away, and Scully appears to be somewhat reluctant to follow suit. I am, once again, oblivious to the two, both looking considerably dazed.
They both draw their faces slowly and unwillingly away from each other, never breaking the eye contact and Mulder tenderly strokes her cheek with his thumb.
There’s definitely love there. I can see it and by the looks, they can too. I recall my earlier presumption about them being in love but unknown to the other – I now congratulate myself silently. Though right now, I don’t think it’s going to be unknown for much longer.
With Mulder’s thumb still on her cheek, Scully leans forward so shyly that I have to smile and kisses him softly on his lips, an invitation for more maybe. And, hell, he looks only too happy to oblige…
The coach is slowing down I realize suddenly and glance out my window. To my surprise, we have actually arrived, a good half an hour earlier than scheduled. The couple though appear not to notice and I decide, somewhat reluctantly, to leave them to it.
As the blasted coach finally comes to a halt outside Heathrow, I stand and retrieve my rucksack from the compartment, stuffing my book into the side pocket.
The few people on the coach begin to gather their things and disembark so I begin to move from my seat and into the aisle. Taking one last look at the still-seated Mulder and Scully, who are once again surgically attached at the forehead, I sigh softly to myself and walk onwards.
I do hear one last thing though. As I trudge past, yawning, I hear Scully speak so quietly that I find myself straining my ears to hear. Almost a whisper.
“I love you.”
And that’s the last I ever see or hear of them. Not that they would care.
Okay, so I was completely influenced “The Floor Is More Comfortable” by Dsc1110 in this story. But can you blame me?? What a great fic: https://x-libris.xf-redux.com/story/the-floor-is-more-comfortable/
Anyway, just in case any northern Brits are reading this and are a bit peeved that I took the mick – I’m a northerner too my friends, don’t stress! 🙂
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