Contact High

Rating: NC-17
Classification: S\R, Angst, RST
Spoilers: 6th season, specifically 'Field Trip' written May 1999
Keywords: Mulder-Scully Romance
Summary: Scully drops by Mulder's apartment one evening and one thing sort
of leads to another. Colonization metaphors abound. Mulder's new bed has a
cameo.

XXX

CONTACT HIGH

"At last you know what the ineffable is, and what ecstasy means."
-R.G. Wasson, mycologist,
on discovering psilocybins, 1972

XXX

Mulder and Scully on an emerald lawn near The Mall. Weeks of rain and
then this day of impossible sunlight, into which they emerge at lunchtime,
squinting like subterranean creatures. Lunch on the grass, wind and sun,
cherry trees in bloom, fountains rippling, and then Scully eases down on her
back and falls asleep, her face in the shadow of his body. Mulder hunches,
arms around his splayed knees, and ignores the white hot glare from the
newspaper he holds in favor of perusing her body from the corner of his eye.

Her feet are bare, freed from clompy black shoes. She wears a skirt, but
she keeps her knees together even in sleep, although one leg is slightly
bent, revealing the tender, mysterious inside of her knee, so divine he
imagines it has the texture of a lily. Then there is the flat square of her
pelvis, bracketed by hip bones, the faint rise of her mons veneris. Her
black suit jacket is still neatly buttoned. Her hands lie folded below her
breasts, which rise as she breathes. The sharp white of blouse against the
black suit, the shadow, just an intimation, of cleavage on the velvety bare
skin in the V of her collar. Her hands, which pull triggers and deliver
babies, that heal, cut into corpses, and touch him solicitously, lie
relaxed. Her mouth is soft, her lashes downcast in the blue weight of his
shadow. He looks only briefly at her face, afraid of waking her with his
gaze. He loves how ridiculously easily she falls asleep, how she trusts him
to watch over her. How her nose looks in profile. He has been quietly,
privately in love with her for some time.

Scully is astonished at the lucid detail of his vision. That was weeks
ago; she hardly remembers it. She recalls the deliciousness of the sun,
lying flat to absorb it like a horse in a meadow; Mulder's side above her,
long thigh, wide shoulder, his head black against the wordless sky.
Newspaper crackling in the wind. She doesn't believe she slept, just drifted
in the warmth of ultraviolet radiation, absorbing Vitamin D. She hadn't
known he was looking at her.

After being hauled out of a hole in the ground covered in gastric slime,
detailed attention to hygiene seems a priority. Scully stays in the bubble
bath until her muscles are hot and limp, and her hair has been washed twice.
She manages to ignore Mulder's impinging visions until the vividness of the
one on Constitution Avenue stops her in her tracks on the way to the sofa.
In a way the beauty of it moves her, the beauty of herself, but that is
probably just Mulder's emotion she is experiencing. This ESP thing is so
extreme. She does not think herself beautiful, not in this goddess context
Mulder is suggesting; she is ordinary old Dana Scully, the one who can't get
a date but habitually attracts psychos, the one who spends more time with
people who have ceased to breath than with those who still do.

She pictures Mulder breathing, his chest rising, remembers from an
occasion or two the earthly thump of his heart.

She jump-started his heart once, when he flatlined in Alaska, felt him
come to life under her hands like Frankenstein's monster. A particularly
good-looking and articulate monster. Too articulate sometimes. (She'd seen a
T-shirt once she'd wanted to get him: 'Help! I'm talking and I can't shut
up!' but was afraid he'd take it to heart. She loved how much he talked to
her.)

Once you saved someone's life, weren't they yours forever?

The thought makes something inside her jump. Hers. He certainly feels
like hers. She wants him to be hers. His thoughts about her amaze and excite
her. Twice, as she lays there listening to him, she adjusts herself to
receive his weight. But he is not there, she is alone in her apartment. His
visions reach for her but make no contact.

She lies still, letting him come to her. Escaping digestion at the hands
of a gargantuan mycelium is one thing, escaping its narcotic influences is
quite another. The ceiling undulates gently above her. Her curtains have
changed color, and her hand, when she studies it, is a truly astounding
piece of machinery. She feels pride at her opposable thumb. She sees,
through Mulder's eyes, her body as he imagines it. He is just slightly
generous with her breasts, but for the most part, he seems to know how she
looks naked, although he has forgotten the gunshot scar in her belly.

He relives the memory of having his arms around her from behind, his
hands over hers on the bat, the way her body fits into his. Turning to
inhale her glossy hair. The front of his jeans making unmistakable contact
with her.

The thing she enjoyed most about that evening was the physical unity they
developed as their aim got better and they moved through the swing,
discovering that their bodies collaborated together as well as their minds
did. The power in Mulder's arms as they swung at the pitch, a power
incorporated into her own body. The satisfying crack of contact with the
ball. And talking with him afterwards, sitting on the hood of her car.

The biggest question in her mind was, had it been a date? It was hard to
imagine what else you would call it, except that she and Mulder had been
doing things together for so long it was tricky to discern the line between
a 'date' and just hanging out together. It was also tricky to discern the
difference between the batter's wiggle and shameless frottage, but she
wasn't going to start splitting hairs here, after all she was the one who
had - let's face it - giggled.

Mulder remembered that too. Scully laughing. His arms around her and
Scully laughing.

I guess there's a first time for everything.

Scully stretches, muscles sliding over bone. Her body, painfully alert,
waits. It has been a patient body, she must admit. It waits without much
hope of fulfilment, only her hasty inadequacies when it's too late at night
for guilt. She feels like confronting Mulder. She would like, just once, for
them to admit that what they feel for each other constitutes more than
friendship. He certainly has laid to rest any doubts concerning his
attraction to her. He seems unaware that she is receiving his thoughts, or
of the response he strikes in her being. The hallucinations they shared
underground are fading, but not the connection that mitigated them.

Despite the disapproval of her conscience her physical self has been
preparing for him for years; it expects him the way the jungle expects the
rainy season. Their bodies code-talk their way through elaborate exchanges
as boring old Mulder and Scully chew over the mundanities that foundation
their existence. Their beings cast pheromones in friendly swathes at each
other, trade body language and eye contact, and unload endorphins by the
grateful truckload whenever they're allowed to touch.

Their betrayal is appalling.

He is thinking about kissing her in their office. Actually, he is doing a
little more than just kissing her. He has her up on the counter beside the
stainless steel sinks, his hands under her clothes, his pants unzipped and
him deep inside her, thrusting slowly and sharply; she tries to stifle her
uncontrollable voice in his fragrant neck. The water is running and he wets
his hand and slides his fingers into her mouth, draws a wet line up under
her clothes to her breast. He shifts in and out of her like a tide, lips
scalding hers. He is wearing off her lipstick and rendering her speechless
at 9am on a weekday morning, with the door unlocked and his trench coat
flapping around them like an excited bat.

Holy shit, Mulder! Scully comes back to herself leaning up against the
bathroom wall, her hands braced against the spackle like a landlubber in a
storm. She can almost taste him. She is taut as an instrument that must be
played to maintain its tone. Too turned on to fight it, she draws her hand
down the front of her body, but it's no good; she is immune to her own
touch. She needs him. Limp with the plateau stage, it's hard to gather her
thoughts. She doesn't remember walking to the bathroom. It is so
unbelievable that he feels this way about her. Kissing Mulder in a mutual
hallucination does have its attractions, but now she is desperate for the
real thing, to see him - she needs to look into his eyes.

Just once let her make the right choice, the bold choice, in her
ramshackle life. They've been fighting this for so long because they both
know it's the Big One, and the capitulation will be ultimate. Terrifying,
with no going back.

Skinner made her promise not to drive. He actually confiscated her car
keys as if she were some sullen teenager who had missed a curfew. That
doesn't matter - she has a spare set. In the mushroom cave she had been
rendered complacent, but now she is acting under her own will. She is going
to Mulder. The urge to be near him is more than she can withstand.

Scully's clothes lurk inside her closet like fugitives. They're a gloomy,
earth-tone bunch. They all want out. ('Choose me!' 'No, me!') She liberates
a sweater the color of a weimaraner, long-sleeved, that buttons tightly over
her bare chest. She is in serious violation of the FBI dress code, her
breasts rubbing against their confines like lambs inside a fence, a
dangerous, feisty feeling.

She wonders why she's never noticed how faithful her car is. It waits for
her, crouched on its tires, ready to leap wherever she points it. It comes
to life with an eager animal shiver when she turns the key, emitting music
and light and little dinging bells, harnessing her safely in, plying her
with warm air and air fresheners and a smooth ride.

Traffic is light on the commute to D.C. Scully eases up on the gas at the
most obvious of speed traps; she pilots the rest of the time by radar and
road sense, and ignores the speed. She licks the knuckle of her left
forefinger and draws it down her throat. When she checks in with Mulder he
has her draped across his bed reading National Geographic, wearing nothing
but a pair of his shorts, the waistband gaping loosely across her flat
belly.

He certainly has imagination. Her belly isn't quite that flat. It is hard
to keep her mind on the road.

Over the river and through Alexandria. It's difficult to tell if there
are any lights on in his apartment, or if that is just the glow from the
fish tank. Scully hammers the elevator button impatiently. The pull of
gravity as she rises four stories into the air rushes the blood to the
center of her body. Eyes closed, she leans against the wall until the
elevator jolts and opens, expelling her like a hiccup into the hall. She
traverses the corridor rapidly, going wide around Padgett's hollow door like
a quarterback evading a tackle.

42
She knocks. Shave and a haircut. Melissa would have knocked back: two
bits.

Silence. Should she knock again? Is he ignoring her? She could call him
on her cellphone. Hi, Mulder, I'm out in your hall; answer the damn door!
She could let herself in, and face the consequences.

A scuffling noise. He is padding on his little bare feet. A pause while
he looks through his new peephole. That fish-eye lens shot must be great on
mushrooms. He probably thinks the Chipmunks have stopped by for a late night
party.

Mulder opens the door. He looks sleepy and his hair stands up like a
startled tomcat. He wears plaid pajama bottoms, his hard-on artfully
concealed by an untucked gray T shirt. Appearing surprised to see her, he
holds both the door and the jamb, leans his fine high cheek bone against his
forearm, and studies her thoughtfully.

"You know what they say - North Carolina is a state of mind." he observes
reflectively. He isn't exactly granting her entrance, but Scully walks in
right under his arm - it isn't her fault that he's such a tall drink of
water. How can he fantasize such things about her and then, when face to
face, treat her with the genial casualness he would a partner, a sister, a
friend? And how long has he been doing that?

Behind her, she hears him sigh as he closes the door. The living room is
dark, but a lamp in the bedroom is on, and it draws her like a hawk moth to
a streetlight.

Mulder has a bedroom. Mulder even has a bed. It's a double bed, maybe a
Queen, the down puff kicked to the foot and a pillow tossed to the floor
beside it. He also has a lot of storage, and clothes and stuff, but that
sort of adds to the general theme of bachelor charm. There's the baseball
bat they hit a homer with. She recognizes the suit he wore Tuesday, a few
videotapes that aren't his; a copy of 'The Andromeda Strain'; a file box
marked 'misc' in his maniac scrawl. A dart board, a wicker laundry hamper, a
book on Celtic chieftans, another on Machu Picchu, half a bottle of aspirin.
His running shoes. A rack of CD's he never plays. A basketball. Samantha on
the jungle gym. His Smith & Wesson distorted through a glass of water.

One of Scully's hobbies is trying to figure Mulder out, and she absorbs
all this with a detective's eye and a look of complete disinterest.

Mulder shifts on a throw rug behind her. "Scully? You weren't supposed to
be driving."

"I play by nobody's rules but my own," she says, like a mysterious
stranger in one of those spaghetti westerns her dad used to watch. She feels
curiously free standing in Mulder's bedroom, her knees almost touching his
bed. She spends so much of her life gripping propriety so tightly.

"Scully, are you alright?"

When she turns around he puts his hands on her shoulders, his
forest-colored eyes narrow with uncertainty. She loves how he centers all
his concentration on her as if she is the very core of the universe. He
feels her forehead, her cheek.

"You were thinking about me," she says.

Mulder actually looks alarmed, dropping his hands. "No, I wasn't."

"Yes you were. Mulder, we're still connected, can't you feel it?"

He frowns. "You were in Annapolis. How could you know what I was
thinking? Let's go and make some coffee."

"If you're going to think about me like that, you should be prepared for
repercussions."

He looks impatient. "I wasn't even thinking about you at all, Scully.
Actually, I was asleep. You must be hallucinating."

She feels a wave of frustration at his denial. It isn't fair for him to
hide his feelings from her and screw her in his imagination any old time he
feels like it. Suddenly brazen, she reaches out, holding his eyes with hers,
and cups the front of his pajamas where they bulge enticingly. He is hard,
and he pulses once against her hand, emanating a lot of heat. The contact
with him makes her weak as water.

Mulder jumps and stiff-arms her away from him. "Hey! Jesus, Scully!" He
looks indignant and upset, his hair rumpled, his chin dark with stubble. He
stares at her as if she had shot him, then looks embarrassed, and backs
away.

"Why are you lying about it, Mulder?" She edges backwards, too, so he
won't feel threatened. Mulder looks at her again with wonder, slowly rubbing
his chin. She suddenly sees how wired he is.

"Because it's not appropriate."

"You imagine it, but you don't want it?"

He gives her a quick beseeching look. "Scully, please go home and we'll
talk about this later?" There's little hope in his tone.

She pretends to consider, while she drags her eyes over his body,
drinking him in. "No."

He lowers his head and looks at a sock on the floor.

"Mulder, that one in the basement was pretty hot."

She sees his chest rise quickly, but he avoids her eyes.

"Wasn't it?"

"Probably not worth losing our jobs over," he says moodily, folding his
arms.

"That may have been deemed inconsequential at the time."

"You'd never take that kind of risk," he says with dismissal.

"You may want to avoid road-testing that assumption."

"You're my partner, Scully."

"You probably shouldn't be thinking about your partner that way," she
points out. She is glad she wore the tight sweater; it is beginning to
distract him, where the scooped neck displays the tops of her breasts. It
isn't the kind of thing he's used to seeing her in.

"Scully, I'm not sure you're feeling okay."

"I'm okay."

"I'm not sure this isn't another hallucination."

"It's not," she says decidedly. "If you really believed this was a
hallucination, I doubt you'd be acting so virginal."

"I'm not acting...virginal," Mulder mutters. "Scully, I don't want to
make you mad at me. You're not yourself right now and you'll be sure to
point that out later, when you're blaming me for ruining your reputation,
even though it was you who showed up here looking to get down and do the
gator."

"It felt more like a joint venture."

Mulder rubs his eyes with his hand.

"I won't get mad, Mulder."

Can't you see that this is a culmination? A beginning, not an end?

He looks at her sharply, having heard her thoughts.

Scully finds a pen on the bedside table. She writes 'I won't get mad.
Signed, D.K. Scully' on the back of a video rental receipt.

Mulder watches her warily as though she's signing a pact with the devil
and forging his name. Funny that for all his flirting he's harder to get
into bed than a cranky two-year-old. She folds the slip of paper and slides
it under a stack of pillows on the bed. His sheets are cotton, cool under
her hand.

"Mulder, why are you reluctant to partake of the gator with me?"

"I'm not reluctant, Scully..." he sighs and shifts on his bare feet. "I'm
only cautious. I don't want to screw things up between us. We had a rough
time today and we bonded and everything, but we're both still frying, and it
means too much to me to do the wrong way."

That time he was in Alaska she had gone to his apartment to try and
summon X. Tired and wanting to lie down, she'd opened the door beside his
couch, looking for his bed. She only got the door open about a foot before a
wavering tower of boxes threatened to cascade onto her, and she slammed it
shut. Trust Mulder to have his bedroom crammed with a bunch of ratty crap,
while he slept on the sofa like an unwelcome houseguest.

She'd been trying to figure out his couch habit for years. Perhaps he
found a bed too lonely, or too reminiscent of something he'd had and lost.
Maybe, like a monk, he relinquished physical comforts in favor of the
metaphysical. Maybe having a bedroom made him feel like he should be having
sex, or remind him that he wasn't. Maybe he just didn't want to pay the
storage fee on all those boxes.

Something had changed his mind, though, and he had gotten himself a bed.
Scully pondered what might have instigated the change. Had the couch become
too uncomfortable? Was he thinking of looking for a girlfriend? Maybe he
already had a girlfriend, which would explain his rejection of Scully, but
not why he was thinking of her. It wouldn't be impossible for him to keep a
relationship secret from her, after all, she hadn't known about the dog
woman until after the fact. The thought that he might be involved with
someone made her both rabidly jealous and strangely excited. Curious as she
was about his sexuality, the thought of him getting laid intrigued her.

She looks around the room. "At your wake, your coffin was in here."

"I didn't die, Scully."

"I had to go through it, though." she says. "I had to experience it." The
room sways a little, like the roll of a ship, and she moves with it. "I
actually cried in front of Skinner. Talk about total humiliation...I wrote
up the report, I sat up all night in misery, I donned some widow's weeds and
went to your wake. I resented everyone I met, because none of them deserved
to be alive if you weren't. But the worst part was when someone told me they
knew it was difficult, and I thought, no, it's not difficult, it's
impossible! How am I supposed to survive this? How can it be that I'm still
breathing? The numbness, the emptiness, was intolerable. I really wished
that I had died, too."

Her knees are trembling, and she sits down on the bed.

He is there suddenly, leaning over her, thumbing a tear from her cheek.
"It's okay, Scully. You're okay. You're just having a bad trip. They
shouldn't have left you alone at your apartment like that. Lay down...there.
I'll get you some water."

She lays back and looks up at him, as he takes off her shoes and
straightens her out on the bed. His eyes are jasper in the low light. His
touch on her feet makes the tiny hairs on her arms stand up, like lightening
in the air. He smells like rain on grass, and it's all she can do not to
fold her arms around his neck. In a world of wavering shapes and flashing
colors he is a serene constant, his face as familiar as her own.

"Hey you...please don't go," she whispers. "Everything's moving and only
you hold still."

"I know," he says, low. "I feel the same way about you. But if you can
sleep a little, I'll just be right out there."

"I can't go to sleep," she says, like a child. How has everything
degenerated to this level? An hour ago Mulder had been telepathically
kissing his way down her body, and she'd taken the bait and come prowling
over, hoping for the 3-D version. Apparently he wasn't prepared to walk the
talk; he'd rejected her soundly, and now she is expected to drift through
the roiling night alone in his bed, with the smell of him on the sheets to
add to her insanity.

Mulder walks around to the right side of the bed and stands at one of the
windows that face the street, cracking the blinds with his finger like a
P.I. in a movie. It is too dark outside to see anything.

Mulder.

Her mind feels for his through the whooshing air in the room, and he
shifts as though he's been touched.

"I found an article on the net tonight, pertaining to our little
'situation'," he says, without turning around. "'A Humungous Fungus Among
Us'." his voice begins deep in his chest with a rumble, the way her
attachment to him began, years ago, as a distant, fragile thunder.

Scully feels ridiculous staying there another minute. She can go home and
bury her disappointment under the covers; maybe she'll sleep for a couple of
days.

She stands up, steadying first the room, and then herself.

"Where are you going?"

She stands straight in the purple doorway, feet together. Easier not to
meet his gaze. "I've been presumptuous," she says firmly.

She has forgotten her shoes. Heading back for them, her radar picks up an
obstruction - blue and green plaid pajama bottoms. Brown bare feet. The path
beside the bed is narrow, and she edges around him gingerly. She sits down
to negotiate her shoes. Disappointment hot in her eyes - damn it, damn
it...she's such a fool. She's destructive, she has poor instincts. She's
perverted. She went to Las Vegas and made a fool of herself, and now this -
this huge fiasco. Groping her own partner like a truck stop waitress in
heat.

A crash of noise. Cataclysm to match her mood. Louder than hell,
something is pulverizing the roof, rattling the building. She has the urge
to cover her ears.

The bed sinks as Mulder sits down beside her. "Rain," he says.

It's like a flash flood coming vertically from the sky. Behind the
blinds, the windows are marbled with water. She marvels at the power, the
crushing uproar of it, the room pounding with noise; then she collects her
wits and rises.

"You can't go out in this," he says, raising his voice above the racket.
He has her wrist in his fingers, dark eyes looking up at her. It's late at
night and gushing rain, he's there in his pajamas with his hopeful face, and
she has a quick feeling of the world being in chaos, of emergency and
survivalism. She imagines candle light, bottled water, staying in bed to
conserve warmth and energy.

There's a moment of stillness between them. "I'm sorry I pissed you off,"
he says.

"It's just unresolved vasocongestive distress," she says, standing there
awkwardly, feeling cheap and ill-behaved without her bra. She knows the
medical term for fucking EVERYTHING.

Mulder, let go.

"Sounds like a bitch," he says sympathetically. "Listen..."

Brown eyes, grey eyes, hazel eyes, who knows what color. I remember the
first time he looked at me and he didn't want to like me, but we liked each
other anyway. To hell with everyone else. Just you and me, Mulder, and these
eyes that talk.

Please let go...

Shit.

She's back down beside him, close enough that their shoulders touch. It's
not the first time they've sat this close, companionable in the intimacy of
their partnership. (I'm here. I'm here too.) In a jail cell when he'd had
his skull drilled. In a motel room after her dad died. He slides his fingers
down her wrist and interlocks their hands, and she watches, trying to
comprehend what is happening to her, to them.

"You caught me a little off guard, Scully, and what with the shrooming
and all, I wasn't sure if you wanted me specifically or if I was just the
nearest available hunka burning love. I'm really paranoid that I might not
mean to you what you mean to me."

Scully takes a minute to gather her wits and respond, as the
Mulder-hunka-burnin'-love image is a bit prepossessing. "You really think I
don't care about you?" she asks softly.

"I don't actually think that you don't CARE -"

"Because I do."

"You - do."

"Oh, Mulder..." Eyes hot, she smooths his cheek, her face close to his.
"Jesus, you're an idiot," she mutters tenderly, her throat constricting, his
sandpapery jaw chafing her fingertips.

"I am?" Mulder asks hopefully.

Scully lets her hand drop, but she's still looking into his eyes. His
eyes get so soft when he looks at her like this, and he's gripping her hand
tightly. She looks away quickly, collecting herself.

"I'm sorry I was so forward earlier," she says. "You know me, that was
probably the most impulsive moment of my life, so of course it was a hideous
miscalculation."

"You were just trying to prove a point," says Mulder. "Besides, it
constituted the biggest thrill of my life, so don't apologize."

The biggest thrill of his life was being groped by a whacked-out
pathologist?

Scully tries to pinpoint the biggest thrill of her life. A veteran of
great dry spells of sexual somnambulism, she is periodically plunged into a
vortex of erotic preoccupation by seemingly random strangers. Ed. Padgett.
But, ultimately, it is Mulder who has cornered the market on stroking her
libido to a jagged edge, who prompts cardiac gyrations, breathlessness, and
impromptu daydreams; and it is Mulder who holds the record for the longest
starring run in her late-night fantasy theater, playing a secret agent man
with all the right moves. Typecasting, she suspects.

In the mornings all that is forgotten as she faces off with Daytime
Mulder, who's bossy, busy, argumentative and demanding. Sticking her with
the paperwork. Always wanting to drive. He's flippant and callous and
therefore easily differentiated from Nighttime Mulder, who would rather kiss
her than talk.

And never the twain shall meet.

Right?

"I don't think I've yet had the biggest thrill of my life," she admits.

"Really, Scully?" His voice is low, like a co-conspirator. His thumb
strokes the side of her hand. They stare at his laundry hamper.

She huffs a deep reserve of oxygen. "The truth is, Mulder - absurd cosmic
joke that it appears to be - I think I'm in love with you, and it tends to
play havoc with my forays into dating, hence the dearth of thrills."

She is completely out of her mind, that just makes it official. She's
jumped off the cliff, burned her bridges. There's suddenly a lot of heat
between their hands. Great, now she's sweating.

"What if..." says Mulder unsteadily, "I just might be the lunatic you're
looking for?"

Scully looks at the ceiling to keep her eyes from overflowing. Mulder's
skeleton - she'll never forget that. Before his X-rays came she'd almost
convinced herself that it was too small to be him. Afterwards, she'd wanted
to gather up his bones in her arms and hold him, maybe lie there in the
morgue with him all night with her unbearable homesickness for him. She was
afraid he'd be lonely.

Loneliness is a choice on both their parts, but together they cancel it
out.

Sometimes two wrongs make a right.

No one has ever remotely stirred her as Mulder does with his long, warm
body and the mischief and grief in his eyes, his uneasy quiescence, his
loneliness, his tenderness, his rage. There have been times she's wanted to
kiss the worry out of his face, take him home to her bed and make him forget
the ferment of the world. There have been times she's wanted to do all that
right there in the office, or the car, or where ever they happen to be.
There have been times when she's thought she should quit her job and leave
before association with him removes the last vestiges of her sanity. Then he
does something Mulderish - throws her his reynard grin, offers her Pez,
saves her life; and she's back in the bittersweet thrall of his spooky,
imbroglio world.

"Some things," says Mulder, "don't bear too much scrutiny. Maybe this
isn't the end of the world."

"Just the end of our world?"

"Maybe just the beginning." Lamplight on his flannel knee, on their
clasped hands, on the side of his concerned face, not that she's looking.
"Don't think, Scully. What do you feel?"

"I have to think," she says. "I have to rationalize. I feel daunted."

"It's pretty scary, isn't it? I keep thinking that I need you so bad for
our work that risking all that for my personal interests just seems insane."

"Maybe not insane," she says shyly. "Maybe more of a natural progression
of how we work together."

"If you actually have feelings approximating mine - " He looks dazed.
"The hard part is knowing whether we should gamble with everything that's
important to us. Look, it's just us. The way we feel about each other is
nothing new. It hardly comes as a revelation, even though it still feels
amazing to hear it said."

"Does it?"

"Yeah, thanks for saying it, Scully. I know it's not easy."

"Thanks for saying it to me, too."

She pulls her hand out of his and slides away from him, pulling her leg
underneath her so that she can face him. He looks newly awakened, like a
Christmas child.

They stay like that for awhile. She feels as if they have spent years
building a flying machine together, and finally now it is finished. Nothing
left to do but kick the tires and pull out the chocks, see where the wind
takes them.

But what kind of mileage will it get? What will its range be? Does it
have a good cloaking device? Will they even be able to get it off the
ground?

"You're rationalizing," Mulder says perceptively.

She looks at him without nodding. He puts his hand on top of hers and
looks at her questioningly. If a dog does that to you it indicates
dominance, but if Mulder does that to you it means he's offering you
something important.

"My life has two halves," he says. "Two eras. Before you told me you
loved me, and after. I know I'll look back and see it that way. I'm altered
now, transformed."

His proximity is distracting, the way he is breathing a little too
quickly, the way his eyes catch the light. He is braced on one hand, his
legs bent to the side, and the hand that touches hers contains so much
condensed energy that it sends nerve messages straight up her arm and into
her breast. His tenebrous eyes are filled with love and excitement.

"You know, Mulder, you're strangely optimistic for such a lachrymose
individual," she says shakily, trying to tease him, but he doesn't seem to
hear. He curls his finger to tickle the inside of her wrist, slides his way
up her radius. He explores the fluted bones in her elbow with concentrated
fascination.

"We have some unfinished business, don't we?" he says in a low voice that
makes her stomach flutter. He reaches to cup her chin, and his thumb slides
over her closed lips. Her lips are so sensitive and it's such an intimate
gesture coming from him that she almost shudders. Mulder too registers the
contact. He looks at her lips and his face has the focus he usually reserves
for monkey babies or raving gunmen. His tongue comes out and licks his own
lips, and Scully watches, mesmerized, wondering what it would feel like to
kiss him.

"From last summer," she breathes.

"I've been wondering what it would have been like..."

She feels her breath slide out of her, hot. She's breathing through her
open mouth. Mulder's only about a foot away, his eyes filling her up, and
she wants to slump forward and kiss him and get up and run in equal amounts.

"You too?" he asks.

Scully gulps.

Then he's there, his face against hers, his mouth encountering hers with
the brusque jar of reality, overwhelming and somehow gentle at the same
time. His springy mouth feels as good as it looks. Her brain spins with
over-stimulation, scattered and alive with light, and disappointed when he
pulls back too soon.

"Now I'm definitely a different person," he says, fazed. "It's your turn
Scully; you kiss me."

She feels jarred in her orbit. Gravity, with its chain-reaction finesse,
tips her forward and into him. He's warm as a garden, his arms sliding
around her, his smell instantly equated with comfort, like her father's
smell. His face is suddenly a difficult, unfamiliar terrain - that intrusive
nose, prickly chin, the touch of his breath. She finds his square curved
lips with her sensitive ones, and kisses him awkwardly, then harder, unsure
of what she's doing, only certain that she doesn't want to stop. It's been
so long since she's kissed anyone that the act almost seems alien, a bizarre
ritual unfamiliar to her species. She's up on her knees with her arms around
his neck, letting her trembling weight rest against him, Mulder's arms
around her tight, the front of her body against him. Their mouths suddenly
conform, sinking into each other with dawning comprehension.

God, it's you, Mulder, and you're everything.

She's kissing Mulder, her hands gripping his hair, maneuvering his head
to the right angles, pouring out her affection in poorly-aimed, sloppy,
heartfelt kisses, which he evidently enjoys, since he clutches her fervently
as he kisses her back. She doesn't stop until she's forced to surface for
air, rising with a gasp from his green pond underworld, her fingers tingling
from the flame and friction of his T-shirt.

Having kissed Mulder, she waits for the world to end, waits with a
tremulous smile and her hands on his knees. Her mouth opens as if in hunger,
like a young bird, and he shifts restlessly, his eyes stinging hers. Her
body feels larger, engorged, her fettersome clothes binding her like vines.
She wonders if aspiring to hear your partner moan counts as a career goal.

He stretches his hand out to her, touches her where her trapezius muscle
merges shoulder with neck. "I can see colors," he says. "The hot end of the
spectrum. I can see your hair. It's peculiar, in the oldest sense of the
word. Like marigolds. Like whiskey. Rough-cut cedar. Ossified amber. It's
like a Tequila Sunrise." She knows that hallucinogens can't alter the basic
mechanism of his eye - he has less cones on the retina than her - but that
somewhere in him the genetic memory of color remains.

"Too bad we're partners, huh," he says.

"Yes." Her mouth is dry.

"Too bad you're the only person who does it for me."

"Uh, yeah," she said. "Too bad you're the only one I can imagine myself
with."

"Too bad we never play by the rules." Mulder smiles faintly, as if
uncertain of his statement. He eyes her like a lonely wolf.

She can't remember later what happened. She was dizzy, and then she was
on her back staring at the ceiling, Mulder beside her sideways across his
bed; they were like two monarchs replicated in marble on the floor of a
cathedral, except they were talking, communicating aloud and silently. She
remembers seeing their connected hands above them, stringing circles in the
air as they spoke, leaving trails of light like a kid with a sparkler.

Above Mulder's bed hung a stylized painting of a tree which they looked
at for some time. Mulder's low laugh and his smile warmed the air about him
like a campfire. Sometimes he kissed her, slow, ribald kisses that made her
pant like a werewolf. Mulder felt like giving her presents, and he bestowed
a book upon her, which he managed to reach without even getting off the bed,
just stretching for it upside down, Scully anchoring him with her arms.

"I think you'll like this," he said. "'Kon-Tiki'. They eat krill. You
know, plankton."

She thanked him with her new-found method, which entailed crushing her
lips against his, trying to engage him body and soul. Mulder's mouth opened
beneath her and her tongue ventured inside him, memorizing his taste of
exhaustion and coffee and seasalt.

She thinks that she would know him anywhere just by taste. The Mulder
challenge.

She would definitely know him anywhere by smell, and by the feel of what
she has managed to memorize of his body - his chest, his arms, his hands,
his face. She encounters his mind, the swimming effluvia that is all her,
that rumbles with her imagery. He fixates on her breasts, but doesn't touch
them. He thinks about how close she is, how her hands slide over him. She
can feel that he likes having her stroke his chest, likes it when she
french-kisses him, when her tongue dabbles along his throat.

They lie and talk about other lives they have wanted to live with each
other, if their lives weren't all gloomy offices and take-out coffee and
homicides, long hours and lots of mileage, little sleep, and government
salaries. She discovers that Mulder has imagined they were archaeologists
who had fallen in love in Syria, scientists working together in Borneo,
journalists taken political prisoner in Bosnia, where they fell in love in
prison, and managed to escape together despite Mulder having been horribly
tortured.

Mulder should have been a romance novelist. The mundane scenario she had
imagined simply placed them in different departments, with Scully a
well-paid FBI Director and Mulder the cute but misunderstood X Files guy in
the basement.

It's late in the evening as she leans on her elbow above him, her open
mouth poised above his. He holds his breath, his face tense with arousal as
he waits. She has never seen him look like this, serious with desire, eyes
black and hungry. He waits for the hot blossom of her mouth as though it is
the last thing he hopes to feel in this lifetime, and when she lets him have
it he cups her cranium and presses her into him roughly. He rolls toward her
so that they face each other and breaks his suction on her with a delicate
slurp.

"Scully, would you consider becoming the center of the universe for a guy
who perpetually attracts ghosts, monsters and maniacs, who's consistently in
disfavor at work, and who is desirous of the one person on earth he's not
allowed to fall in love with?"

"Are you asking me to go out with you, Mulder?"

"Is that what they're calling it these days?" He looks anxious, as though
she actually might reject him, she who has her leg entwined with his, who
grips a fistful of his shirt.

"Tell me whether you think this is a yes or a no," Scully says, and she
pushes him onto his back and rises onto him, aligning their bodies. He looks
up at her with wonder before her mouth plows into his and she puts her hands
over his ears to hold his world steady. Her legs grip the outsides of his
thighs, but she's got her knees under her, so that their bodies don't touch.
She wonders if it's as torturous for him as it is for her. She feels a
rhythmic ache for his contact, her uterus rippling like an afterthought.
Mulder grips her back hard, but doesn't force her down. He lures her tongue
into his mouth and sucks it, whispers her name into her lips like a druid at
an altar. Reverent. Sacrosanct. He's like someone with a new found religion.
He's like someone with an addiction. When she finally lets him go there are
tears in his eyes, and he smiles at her faintly, like a winter sun.

"I don't want to be separate," she whispers, barely able to get her arms
around his big rib cage. She presses her face in under his jaw and kisses
him there.

"I know," he says breathlessly. "We're the same thing. We're one thing."

"I want to be you. I want to feel what you feel."

"If we're each other, then who are we?" he asks cryptically.

"Us," she says, as though this is obvious.

Mulder gives a gasp of laughter, his hands possessing her back, his lips
suddenly deep in her hair, brushing over her ear, wringing a shiver from
her. His grunt has a tone of discovery.

The next time that they come to rest he sits up and clears his throat. A
change in the atmosphere in the room, something dangerous settling in the
air, like a warning. He looks at her seriously. "I think you should know
everything about me," he says. "I used to smoke."

Is that all? Hell, even Dr. Scully has smoked a few times. She tries to
imagine Mulder The Smoker. He does tend to fidget, and put things in his
mouth.

"Before I met you." He seems to expect a little lecture about his health,
looks down at his hands.

"I used to have braces," she says reminiscently. Her mouth feels sore at
the memory. Her brothers called her 'The Tin Grin'. She still doesn't smile
much, out of habit.

"I used to be married," says Mulder.

Ice water shock. Disbelief, then a doomed sense of betrayal. It seems
like a joke, that someone would have married Mulder, the bizarre monomaniac
youfer. Then she looks at him, and she coldly knows it's true. He's got that
damnably loveable face, and that sense of tragedy that never fails to move
her. He's a humanitarian, he's brilliant, he's giving and kind, he's
exciting and violent and real. It's painfully easy to imagine someone being
swept up by his passion and mystery. Someone else. Another woman.

She loathes the pain of jealousy, hates herself for feeling it, and him
for having brought it on. Her stomach skids and sinks - she has given up so
much to be his best friend, and he still didn't bother to afford her the
truth? How many people know about it? She must look like a complete fool.
Even Skinner must know about it.

"I'm sorry, Scully." The back of his hand brushes her knee. She's sick
with disillusionment, numb. His hand seems foreign to her; she observes it
with detachment. She's back inside herself, trusting only herself. She must
be some kind of freak, thirty-five and never even been engaged, and the one
man who ostensibly loves her took seven years to get around to mentioning
it. Her body is fruitless, undesirable, her career is a joke.

His soft voice begins to cut through her thoughts, the way Mediterranean
fishermen calm the sea with olive oil. She's still stiff with anger, but she
listens, looking at his knuckles against her knee.

"Scully? The reason I never told you was because it was a painful thing
for me to talk about, or even think about. I needed to put it behind me. You
don't know how much you've helped me through it with your friendship, your
consistency, the way you've taught me to trust another human being again.
You've given me faith, and strength, and pulled me out of it. But now I see
that not telling you was a deception, and I'm really sorry."

A woman he had loved. Who had hurt him. Certainty is heavy upon her.

"It was Agent Fowley, wasn't it?"

"We got divorced in '91," he says, "when I became too obsessive about my
sister and the X Files." He looks depressed. She looks back down the line
and sees the moments this has all been obvious - if only she had recognized
the signs. His rebuff the time she addressed him by his first name. His
traditional Christmas funk, his horror of her walking out on him, his
facility at playing part of a married couple. The way he still defended
Diana and insisted that he knew her better than anyone. Jesus, that damned
couch. The way he slept on the couch - it's so obvious now. She's appalled
at her lack of observance.

"God, I didn't mean to hurt you, Scully." He looks anxious.

"Well, you had no reason to tell me," she says stiffly, her throat rough
and tight. "But she wants you back, Mulder, and I'm not going to be caught
in the middle."

"She doesn't want me back. She cast me off and didn't even bother to keep
in touch. She ruined my life and walked away. I threw my ring in the
Potomac."

"Nevertheless, she has designs on you now."

"It doesn't matter," says Mulder, distressed. "I've learned my lesson.
I'm not interested."

"Am I the rebound, Mulder?"

"No," he says decisively. "There were a few rebounds, but definitely not
you. You're in your own category. In fact, there hasn't been anyone in
years. You've got to understand, Scully, that I have loved you longer than
I've loved anyone in my life; that you strike chords in me I didn't think
anyone would ever find; that just the simple fact that you exist is the
first thing I think of in the morning, that your faith in me, your
understanding of me makes me what I am. You, Dana Scully, and only you."

Her splayed hand is white on the blue cotton sheet, like an evening star.
A tear lands beside it, and leaves a dark spot on the dusty blue. She hates
herself for taking this so poorly.

Mulder swings his legs to the floor and fumbles around as if he owns
slippers, which he does not. He pads away, his fingers grazing the top of
her head as he leaves the room. She understands that that is his way of
emphasizing that he is telling the truth. There's nothing to argue about if
Mulder truly does love her best. She presses her crumpling face to her knees
and struggles with herself.

She feels like a third wheel, picturing Fowley's smugness when she looks
at Scully, the cliqueish air Fowley and Mulder have together, the time she
saw them holding hands. In comparison, she feels like a teenager with little
romantic experience, zero sophistication. Married. They've been married.
They got dressed up in white and black and ceremonially excluded themselves
from the rest of the world. Imagine how many times they've slept together.
Scully hasn't had sex in eight years, let alone got near the altar. Fowley
can probably tell all that in a glance, know that Mulder hasn't ever
bothered to lay a finger on her.

She gets off the bed, because it suddenly seems wrong for her to be on
Mulder's bed. Oh, God, what if Mulder lived in this apartment with Fowley?
He's been here forever. They would have slept in this room.

Her vision bleary, Scully nearly topples a stack of boxes. Mulder's
basketball rolls away across the floor. She jerks the blinds up on the
window and presses her hot face to the black glass. Sheets of rain sluice
down just millimetres from her skin. She spends so much of her life holding
things from herself with a thin, protective layer of glass, only to find
that when something finally gets through to her the pain is severely
multiplied.

Mulder rattles in the kitchen. She wonders numbly what apologetic action
he might be deploying. Knowing Mulder, it could be something as extreme as
cooking a turkey.

Then, like a sound carried through high mountain air, she smells the
distant whiff of coffee.

The mushroom spore had made her lose her appetite; she hasn't eaten all
day. Coffee might give her the energy to face whatever is in store -
probably the cab ride home. She wishes fiercely that she could go back to
the moment when Mulder was kissing her on the bed, but it's gone now, part
of the past.

Mulder is pouring her a cup as she enters the kitchen. He looks at her
quickly, but says nothing. She is glad he doesn't speak, she's still too
benumbed for conversation. At the sink she palms cold water over her eyes
until she's rinsed away the salt. Mulder puts a paper towel into her blind
hand. He stands over the stove with his back to her, fiddling with a carton
of milk. She sniffs and hoists herself onto the counter top beside the sink,
buries her nose in the caustic, earthy steam rising from her coffee cup. Too
late, she remembers his fantasy involving the counter in their office.

If that occurs to Mulder, he gives no sign. He leans against the stove
and looks at her carefully.

Her cup gets too hot, and she can't trust her shaking fingers. The taste
of it reminds her of Padgett. She sets it in the sink. Mulder's eyes are two
dark stars. Depthless. She feels the gravitational pull of his body like a
planet run awry, drifting too close to her sun. In Mulder she always feels
she's met her match, an equal. He's easy to underestimate, difficult to
predict. The challenge of him keeps her on edge, keyed up, wanting more.
Watching him suffer when she was sick was worse than the terror of her own
death, it was the unbearable feeling that she was letting him down. She knew
she was taking his sister from him again, taking his hope, and that he would
blame himself for her death the rest of his life.

They are each other's muses.

He stares at her until she feels she can't take it, and then he leaves
the kitchen, drifting away through the dark rooms. She slides to the floor
and follows him silently.

In the bedroom he is removing his T-shirt, his back to her, the big
muscles in his back shifting as he lifts his arms. It is at once the sexiest
thing she's ever seen, and the most terrifying. He drapes the gray cotton
over the only lamp that is burning, the movement of his long arm implying
finality. The room is muted to drifting dove shadows, the colors scumbling
to orange and rose. Mulder turns, his face taut, looking as abashed as she
feels, and something inside her starts to bloom.

She should have left, she should be in the elevator now, but her need for
him makes her brave. She cannot move, but Mulder can; she blinks and his
presence is suddenly there before her, his hands on her upper arms, and
happiness wells up in her like a thermal spring.

Her face tilts automatically, thirstily, up. His mouth lands on hers
hard, skidding sideways for maximum contact, his sudden body tight against
her. The bare skin of his torso is damp satin under her fingers and he's
much bigger than she realized. He presses her into his kiss, groans in
relief as she locks her arms around him, and his voice in her open mouth
makes her almost too weak to stand.

Distracted by the complexity of his ravenous kisses, it takes her some
time to notice that between them he's hard as a knife, that he's subtly
dry-humping her belly, making a humming noise in his throat. She tries to
comprehend what it means to have all his drive and intensity focused on her.
She's got his saliva in her mouth, his fingers in her hair, his breath in
her lungs, and she wants to gather him under her skin, seal herself around
him. He is hers.

Mulder's hands drop to feel the movement of her hips as she squirms
against him. Her thumb is in his mouth, along with her tongue. It's
surprising how the concerns of their last conversation fade in the face of
this demonstrative love.

There's only this now. Mulder. Scully. Hands and movement. Fluidity.
Delirious kisses. His hardness like concrete evidence. When she blinks she
sees through her tangling hair splinters of light, of his face, shadows
moving, feels his incisors clink like china against hers. He jams himself
against her now as if he's about to come just from holding her, his hands
venturing under her clothes and caressing her back.

Then his fingers find the exit wound scar in the small of her back and he
straightens up, lets out a wordless sound, and sinks down onto the bed,
clutching her hands.

Scully straddles his lap and looks at him. "I'm shot here, too, Mulder,"
she says unsympathetically, and shows him her belly. She wants to shock him,
to make herself feel less of a virgin. She knows he blames himself for not
being there to protect her, which is stupid. She's bullet-scarred, tattooed,
sterilized, tagged with microchips and genetically marked. A woman only
Mulder could love...

Throughout the skewed torture of the summer ahead, as she rattles, lost
inside her hollow bones, dropping weight and mooning up at the metallic sky,
she'll remember this moment of water, rain, their fierceness running like
rivers, the fluids they shed for each other. The embarrassment of coming
just from sitting on his lap. Well, not embarrassment, exactly; after all,
it was a mutual decision. When she straddled his long thighs and realized
suddenly that her partner, good old Mulder, was not only a sexual being, but
also possessed a fine, straight, impossibly hard cock, she was gnawed by a
rough surge of lust.

Mulder was kissing her as if she were a mermaid he'd caught in a tropical
latitude, the first woman he'd ever seen. He pulled away and gritted his
teeth as the hottest parts of their bodies collided.

It was impossible to have spent so many years with a guy and not have
noticed him fighting an erection or two. For him, the vibrations of riding
in the car seemed especially conducive. Scully was too polite to look, not
wanting to embarrass him, but she'd been a little disturbed by the strong
reactions inside herself, her mind embarking on montages of pressure and
sensation, of things both wet and hard, of his hands and mouth. She'd shake
it off within seconds with her characteristic control, and move on to the
case in hand while Mulder shifted and adjusted the drape of his coat, but
the memory of what he had triggered would sit like a pebble in the back of
her mind, consciously ignored.

Now her hand is sliding down his bare belly, over his pajamas, finding
his stiff, tight cock. His mouth descends to her ear, and he lets out a
shaky breath as she squeezes him. She strokes him through his clothing,
kissing his neck, listening to his pulse rattle and pound, surprised at how
good it feels to her, too. In fact, she could almost get off just sitting
there on him, listening to him pant.

She becomes aware of her slippery hood sliding over her ridged clitoris
as she moves against his solid length; despite their clothing she can feel
his vibrant heat. Mulder pulls her hand away from him and shifts her hips
until she is situated over him properly, her hands digging into his
shoulders as she feels him center against her.

The thought of his cock is her undoing - the fact that he is so hard for
her, that he may have been thinking of her in the past when they were
together. She squirms against him and licks his neck and feels his hands on
her bottom pressing her into him, and she's never felt hornier in her life -
just knowing that Fox Mulder wants to fuck her. He is like riding an
earthquake.

Part of her brain goes starry white while she humps raggedly against him,
and then she clamps her teeth on her lip and clutches his shoulders,
struggling to regain some control. She is looking into his eyes as she feels
the bump of his head against the most intimate part of her body, even though
their clothes are still on, even though it should be impossible to feel it,
she does. His eyes contain a look of wonder. He tugs on her hips, grinding
her down on him, watching her reaction closely. He wants to make her lose
it. She's in no shape to resist, and he knows it.

Oh God, Scully, yes. Do it.

All summer she thinks of this. Of Mulder.

She feels the flat of his teeth against her shoulder, remembers how he
looks lying in the morning light, the long narrow sinews in his arm as he
sleeps, his first cheerful smile as he wakes, as he gathers her to him.

Now she turns and slides into his mouth for his tongue. He feels so good
she wants to cry, she feels desperate, combustible, she thinks about the
times in the past she has wanted to yell at him, slap him, and sees now how
sexual her anger at him was. How frustrated. This man makes her completely
insane.

She kisses him now, her lips getting lax with desire as she rubs herself
closer to orgasm against him. He's moaning some sort of encouragement,
pressing his face against hers. Love for him boils up inside her. Her
stomach muscles clench and her face gets hot and she knows that, even though
it's too soon, even though this never happens to her, she's starting to
come, her body grinding desperately against his, and it happens, shattering
as thunder, Mulder under her, hard between her legs, thrusting against her.
She comes in a long rough wave, gives a small yelp after the fact, and bites
his shoulder. Mulder moans and kisses her damp cheek, quivering with
unrealized lust, stroking her back as she comes down.

Sprays of spring rain outside. It is midnight. Mulder's lips leave
feather patterns on her shoulder, moving slowly as if he plans to make love
with her the rest of his life. The phone ringing. He ignores it in favor of
watching Scully tilt her head back and gasp as he nips at her throat. His
nose in her supersternal notch, his tongue in the hollow of her collar bone.
Skinner's voice barking on the answering machine in the living room, his
tone disapproving. Scully looses a nervous giggle into Mulder's neck,
feeling guilty as sin.

Three days later, when they're sitting in Skinner's office, the sound of
Skinner's voice reminds her of this moment, and she touches the base of her
throat. Beside her, Mulder stares sternly, disapprovingly ahead.

"What did he say?" she asks.

"To get my lazy ass to the phone," Mulder breathes, smiling against her
mouth in a way that makes her melt against him.

Mulder's cell phone rings in the pocket of his trench coat out on the
coat rack. When its faint chirps cease, duty finally catches up with him and
he sighs abruptly. "I'd better call him back."

He gropes for the phone by the bed, shifting onto his back with Scully on
top of him.

"Yes," he says into the receiver, smiling up at her above him. "No, not
really. I suppose you want me to patch you through to the Generalissimo? No,
I think she's asleep." He looks up at her with an expression of awe, drawing
his hand down her body, piercing her eyes with his. He seems to have about
2% of his attention on the phone call. "No, she took a cab over." Scully
reaches for the top button of her sweater, the tip of her tongue between her
teeth, his cock hot between her thighs, his cardiovascular system humming
beneath her. Mulder says 'Oh...' silently. "No, that's okay, I wasn't
asleep," he says, swallowing sharply as the first button gives away, leaving
a shadowy window into her cleavage. He draws a hand over his eyes and
blinks. Scully releases another button and her sweater strains at its
moorings, and Mulder bulges beneath her reciprocally. "Yeah, alright, I'll
let you know how we are in the morning," he rasps. "'Night, sir."

He gets the line disconnected before letting out his breath, baring his
lower teeth and grimacing with the nerve-wracking strain of talking to his
boss while his partner, she whom he is not supposed to be dallying with, is
easing her way out of her clothes above him.

"What do you think he thinks?" she asks curiously.

"He thinks I'm damned lucky," says Mulder, his eyes glued to her chest.
"He likes you, you know."

"He does not."

"Believe me, Scully..."

"He's just protective of me. He thinks he's a surrogate father."

"He took you home, didn't he? And what's he doing calling you in the
middle of the night?"

"Are you always this talkative in the sack, Mulder?" She runs her hands
over his scented skin.

"There aren't any recent statistics on the subject," says Mulder. "Field
research was terminated about the time a little red-haired scientist
traipsed into my world and began demanding additional office furniture."

She doesn't exactly believe him, but it's nice to hear all the same.

She unfastens all the buttons before his bony fingers start prowling
north along her abdomen, gathering up the zaftig heaviness of her breasts
with slow reverence, unconsciously licking the groove in his lower lip. He
fingerprints her white skin, thumbs rasping her pinched nipples as he blinks
dreamily, foxily, as though planning long summers in meadows and thickets
with her.

At a silent signal she shrugs off the garment and lowers herself to him,
gripping the headboard, her eyes locked shut with the slavishness of
pleasure. His wet mouth is hot as a neutron star as he clamps down on first
one aureole and then the other, and her body buzzes as her forehead taps the
cold wall, her mouth opening in a silent squeal. She feels tethered to the
earth solely by the hot thread of his touch. She can hardly believe that
it's happening, that for once she's not home in bed like a good little
agent, but is here, in Mulder's apartment in the middle of the night,
grinding herself unsteadily on her partner's substantial cock while he
tongue-fucks her cleavage to a high-gloss finish. And not a piece of latex
in sight.

She's seen enough of his blood work-ups to assume he's clean, and
pregnancy is supposedly not an issue with her, so for the first time in her
life she finds herself anticipating sex without all the trappings of
contraception. She has a vague idea that there is nothing finer than going
bareback; doing so with Mulder seems the culmination of a lifelong quest.

As if he's read her mind - and he probably has - Mulder rolls his head
back to look up at her face. "Do we need to use anything?"

She shakes her head, the top of her skull pivoting against the wall, and
watches happiness wash over him at the prospect. She grabs his head suddenly
and kisses him until their oxygen runs out.

Although she's never had a penchant for oral sex, Mulder makes everything
about sex seem so drastically new and infinitely enjoyable that she finds
herself wanting to taste him. Besides, the pleasure he experiences seems to
directly correlate with her own. She slides his pajamas over his hips and
waits until he's distracted by her hands kneading his thighs, then dips her
head and inserts the tip of her tongue into his ultra-sensitive urethra.
She's not sure where she got the inspiration for that, but Mulder jerks,
gasps, and voices startled amazement. She drops to the mattress and pulls
him onto his side, forcing him into her mouth with a hand on his hip. Mulder
makes a sound of anguish as she clamps down on him, his hand cramping in her
hair. Her mind floats into his and shares the sensation, and it's so
inconceivably piercing that she almost loses her hold on him. She grips him
in her fist and pants for a moment, wondering if the wondrous concentration
they both apply to their work has just been combined into a strumming closed
circuit - binary fission in reverse. His chamfered head is satiny as
quarried talcum under her rough tongue. It's the opportunity of a life time
- to get instant feedback on a difficult skill, and she applies herself to
learning what he likes with the diligence of a piano tuner.
"ScullyScullyScully," he says, and his voice saying her name in this
context, with the hoarseness of arousal, makes her pelvis buck against his
knee.

She learns to gauge his waves of pleasure by the sound of his breath. She
pauses to blow cool air across him, checking out his circumcision scar with
a surgeon's eye. Sloppy, but then they all were. She wonders how careful
those grossly overpaid doctors would be if it was their own penis under the
knife. She hates the idea of a screaming newborn getting cut, of Mulder
being scarred so early in life.

Mulder gulps and sighs when she sucks him in again. He strokes her neck
tenderly. It occurs to her that they have felt this way together before,
sitting together in cars, looking into each others' eyes as they make a
revelatory break in a case. It's solidarity, a deep sense of friendship even
in the middle of making love. Especially in the middle of making love.

When she looks up at Mulder he smiles at her, and scoots down so that he
can kiss her again. They kiss like Colonization is beginning and they might
be torn apart. They kiss as two agents who have been forbidden to fall in
love, and who have cleaved to the rules as long as humanly possible out of
fear and duty and uncertainty. They kiss until Scully wraps her legs around
him and rolls onto her back, pulling him between her thighs as if she's done
this innumerable times, which she hasn't.

The beauty of his face mesmerizes her, especially up this close. His
mosaic eyes are henna and bottle green, stippled with ash, pupils black with
ardor, his expression shy and earnest. He has a curved chipmunk jaw and a
long Grecian nose, and cropped hair that feels like ermine when she rumples
it. His face is her touchstone, a canon against which she measures the
world.

Like the genius he is, he manages to kiss her and extract her from her
clothes at the same time, and kick off his pajamas while still lying on top
of her. The raw bare heat of him pressing against her pelvis makes her hiss
through her teeth.

Mulder lies still, looking into her eyes. "Are we really going to do
this, Scully? You and I?"

"Yes," she says tremulously. "Please."

"It seems we've saved it for a rainy day," he says, brushing his side
burn against her ear. "Scully, you're - so - " He licks his fingers and
applies them to the head of his cock. "You're the best person that's ever
happened to me."

The wetness feels cold for a moment as it presses against her. Their
fingers meet as they reach down to guide him in, Mulder pressing her open
with his thumb. There's a rush of compacted heat as he begins to fill her,
and she grips his shoulders tight. He moves as gingerly as if he expects to
encounter a hymen. His lip curls with lust.

He holds her hair back from her face with two scissored fingers. "God, I
tried not to feel this way about you, Scully," he gasps. She can't stop
trembling; wet as she is, he has a hard time entering her. She feels the
click as their psyches lock permanently, irrevocably into place.

Mulder gives a desperate gasp and pushes again. He freezes.

"I'm hurting you," he breathes, appalled.

"No, don't stop." She's horrified that he might stop. She holds him
around the chest as tight as she can, and inserts her tongue in his ear.
It's something they have to work through. "Come on, slowly..." she coaxes.

Mulder whimpers, both in dismay and desire. He's forcing his way in,
quivering with excitement. There's nothing like holding a man who's so
excited to be screwing you that he can barely control himself. Scully loves
the feeling of the beast within, 2 million years of civilization barely
enough to control it.

Now is wet sliding friction, his nose against hers, his hand polishing
the curve of her hip into his memory. She sees that her life for the last
seven years has consisted of the moments of each day she has spent with him.
That the most significance is drawn from the times they've been together.
That is her true life, her secret life. When she's with Mulder she is more
herself than at any other time. When she's with Mulder the world seems
right, and it's so unbelievable that loving this person could be construed
as insubordinate, as an inappropriate emotion to be suppressed or quelled.
Nothing has ever felt as natural as falling in love with him and feeling him
kiss her as he pushes into her, his weight splaying her thigh muscles, his
hand steadying her bent knee.

Mulder starts to trip and she follows him into the hot green
hallucination, the room around them turning to jungle, the ground beneath
them moist and hard. It's Arecebo, and they're on an itchy wool blanket half
under a pick-up truck that reeks of overheated metal, that radiates heat
like a great mammal. They're broken down and they don't give a damn. Steamy
chlorophyll-laden green layers of vegetation between them and the sun, the
humid air visible, swirling with wet verdant light. The two of them glow
with moisture and frantic lust; she grips Mulder's slippery ribs and twists
herself onto him until they meld like wet seasons and cry out like birds.
They both come so easily that when they rise back up into the reality of
Mulder's bed Scully is not surprised to find out that it didn't actually
happen.

The dream bubble explodes and they're back apart. Mulder lies still on
his side, watching her, his wet erection tight against the fern pattern of
hair on his belly. He tethers her with a finger crooked through the wisp of
chain at her throat and smiles thoughtfully.

"Do you think we've been predestined to this, Scully?"

"Destiny's not something you can substantiate, and my personal
convictions fluctuate as wildly as the purportedly infinite outcomes of
'fate'." She's not about to enter into a philosophical debate with Mulder,
who's just stalling to tease her. She knows his little ways.

"How Zen of you, Scully my love." Mulder grins and pokes her belly. "Only
providence would bring me salvation in the form of an unbeliever."

Only providence would bring her salvation in the form of a moody,
wiseass, ghostbusting superhero. Funny that she still believes he will save
the world, in a good suit and bad tie, armed with his singular convictions.
She is his love.

"You're truthful, you know, Mulder, that's the thing I like best about
you."

He's tugging her towards him. "Really? Not my rapier wit? My boyish good
looks? My rakish charm?"

She smiles and kisses him indulgently. He pulls her leg over his hip and
impales her easily and they sigh, lying facing each other. She's slick and
the going is already easier.

"How can something this good be wrong?" he whispers into her ear.

"It's not wrong, not in the larger scheme of things." She speaks with her
teeth gritted against the pleasure of him, with the warm mass of him in her
and around her, the way the universe contains and permeates itself. It's
hard to imagine Mulder as a separate being, not when she feels what he
feels, has him under her skin, and loves him the way she loves life, oxygen,
sunlight. He's a necessity, as opposed to a desire. Trying to leave him last
summer was like killing herself, not to mention him; cutting off a vital
source, a survival pipeline. You can live without food for weeks, water for
a few days, but how long can you live without Mulder? She hadn't wanted to
find out.

And how long can you live without this? This fervent claiming of each
other, this confirmation of oneness, that there has never been anyone else
but the two of you.

Now is Mulder groaning through his teeth, his body clamped to hers like a
magnet. Now is his trembling lust, his luscious mouth. The descant squeak of
the bed. His rapid breath in her ear. It's wondering if this is real, if
this can possibly be happening to the two of them, to the dreary, prosaic,
outcast pair of them.

Mulder takes her right hand and shoves it down between their bodies,
showing her where he wants her to rub. Herself. For a moment she is
doubtful, but he coaxes her hand into motion with his, and she becomes alert
to the sensation which is augmented by him thrusting into her with his thick
cock. In fact, it's almost too much, the dual sensations, the excitement of
actually getting laid, and the fact that it's Mulder doing the laying. She
feels like paper against a match, she squirms under him with her eyes
closed, afraid to let go all the way, to give herself over to the
impossible. She never wants to be alone again.

Mulder grips her chin in the V of his hand and makes her look at him.
"Let's be each other's forever, Sc - Forever - ." He breaks off, winces as
he feels himself starting to come, his eyes snapping shut, teeth bared, and
she rocks desperately against him, against her fingers that know herself too
well, and climaxes so hard that she sees stars, as he stiffens inside her
and shudders, holding his breath as he comes.

Time lapses. They're in a dewy snarl in the spinning room, shadows lying
blue-edged lilac in the curves of their bodies, Scully with a corner of her
hair stuck in her mouth, Mulder holding his forehead to make sure he's
really there. They glance at each other with awe. Mulder's tongue tests a
sore spot on his lip. Scully puffs out her breath and closes her eyes, tears
sliding from under her lids, but only for a minute, and he catches them with
the warm pads of his fingers. They drag themselves onto the pillows and loll
like tickled salmon, exhausted, triumphant, heads bumping, hands entwined.
Mulder breathes as if he's been running from a swamp monster. Sex has
delivered him a cold weather glow; he has color and a swollen-lipped
sensuality that makes her lean over and nip him in a fresh surge of
interest. Mulder smiles without opening his eyes. She looks at the ceiling,
counts its ridges and valleys, and floats in the unfamiliar haze of utter
contentment.

Mulder sits up and carefully cleans her up with his T-shirt, hot from the
lamp. His sweetness moves her. The resident shadows flip from lavender to
turquoise as he climbs out of bed, his passage among them alchemizing their
make up. He staggers towards the kitchen for water, and she seizes the
opportunity to admire his back view.

She wonders idly what time it is. Mulder's watch lies out of reach on the
floor where it was jostled when his foot hit the bedside table at some
rigorous moment.

Time is measured by movements of sunlight or shadow, sand, water, cogs
and springs, or microchips, but if one ceases to care about it, does it even
exist? She wrote her graduate thesis on time, but now she wonders if that
paper is as empty as a clockless room.

She feels the city stretching out around her, crouching low for the
night, and all the things that reside in it - humans, spiders, cats in the
gutters, pigeons, mice, insects, sparrows, dogs running loose. She feels
the traffic lights and the rain, the open bars and sleeping families. She
hears the sizzle of wet tires on pavement, Mulder's environmentally
conscious belch in the kitchen. Rain sings in the air, tamping down smog and
detritus.

Mulder reappears and tips a cold glass to her lips. Water, sweet as snow
melt, runs down her chin and his hot tongue laps it from her breast bone. He
dips two fingers in the frosty glass and touches her between the legs. "Is
that better?" He knows that she is sore, and also that she doesn't care,
that she will continue to do it with him until he has her completely broken
in. His icy fingers feel marvelous against her swollen labia, and she closes
her eyes. Mulder nibbles her collar bone like a pesky colt.

Mulder, naked, is narrow-hipped, with long thighs and feet, curvy
shoulders and biceps, and a strong stomach. His smooth body seems a dark,
startling gift beside her in the bed, with his sleepy bronze goat-god eyes,
his weight of muscle and bone. She can't stop looking at him. He's larger
than life, steamy, salty, he smells ravishing and looks a feast. She's
having to adjust to her own new-found attractiveness. She stretches, and
Mulder's gaze sharpens with admiration. He plays with her fingertips.

"You've made me believe in mermaids, Scully."

"I would have thought," Scully says slowly, "That you already believed in
mermaids."

"You'd think so, wouldn't you?" Mulder says softly. He looks at her
hungrily, but doesn't touch. "When did you get breasts, Scully?"

"When I was about fourteen."

He absorbs this without comment, save for a deep sound in his throat.
Scully licks her finger and drags it down...

"Where do you want to live when you grow up, Scully?"

"I'd like to live by the ocean," says Scully.

"Which ocean? You're from the West Coast and I'm from the East Coast."

"Oh, so that's why you sound funny."

"I don't sound funny!"

"Sure you do. You can't say 'water' or 'Oregon'."

"Well, nobody can pronounce 'Oregon'."

"I want to live with you," Scully says suddenly.

Deep silence.

"Of course, yes," Mulder says hastily. "Someday we will - "

Scully smiles faintly, grimly, embarrassed to have admitted something he
obviously doesn't want. "There was a note of hesitation there," she points
out delicately.

"There was no note!" he protests, eyebrows slanting earnestly.

"Yes there was." The disappointment is tremendous, making her feel sick.
She hadn't even known she wanted to live with him until she said it, looking
over at him lying peaceful beside her, realizing in a flash that she wanted
to cook with him, shower with him, read the Sunday paper in bed with him.
Rent movies together, give each other neck rubs after work, get a couple of
dogs and watch him throw sticks on the beach. Listen to him spin out his
long-winded theories while they fold the laundry, while they lie in bed,
while they fall asleep together.

"I'm obviously getting ahead of myself," she says, unable to look at him.

"Scully..." he murmurs. He takes her chin. "We're crossing our wires
here. Scully, look at me. I only hesitated because it would mean losing your
partnership."

Scully sits up, covering her breasts with her arms. She looks up at the
painting of the tree. "So you'd rather work with me than be with me," she
states. Typical of Mulder that he'd rather chase grand illusions than have a
normal life.

"I never said that!" he hisses. His hand scrimmages in his hair
distractedly and one of his knees cracks. "You know that my work is
important - it's important to both of us. It's my life. And you know that I
can't do it without you, so you see my quandary. Of course I want to live
with you, Scully. God, I want to so bad. But we're so close to the truth
now. So close..."

Scully moves swiftly, angrily. She's on him, straddling his belly,
grabbing his biceps and pinning him down. "So that entitles you to make the
decisions for both of us?" He looks up at her, but he isn't surprised. She
hyperventilates for a moment. "I concede that your work is important, but we
have lives, you and I! I'm tired of watching you throw yours away, and mine
along with it. There has to be a golden mean, Mulder. I'm perfectly aware of
the logistics of living together right now, but you couldn't even let me
have my little pipe dream, could you?"

Could you?

Mulder narrows his eyes thoughtfully. "This isn't even about living
together, is it? This is about the fact that I've ruined the whole marriage
thing for you, isn't it?"

No. Yes. Damn his perceptive, profiling ass.

Mulder, how could you have entrusted yourself to someone who couldn't
possibly have loved you even a fraction as much as I do?

She bites her lip to keep it from trembling. She gathers his hands and
pins them above his head, holding them one-handed like Tooms the time he
went for her liver. This has the effect of bringing her face closer to his,
and she sees that his eyes have gone dark grey. He plays along as though
she's actually overpowered him. She knots her free hand into his hair.

He swallows. "It's not ruined for me, Scully," he says, quiet as the eye
of a storm. He's getting hard under her, but they both ignore this.

"How do you know?" she whispers. She feels his breath against the wet
parts of her lips.

"Because I've met you," he says simply. "Because of how we are together."

What is he saying? Is this some kind of whacko non-definitive
supernatural Mulder version of proposal? If so, how should one respond? And
why can't he ever act normal?

What's truly frightening is that he always makes perfect, viable sense to
her.

She drops her head and bites his shoulder, his neck, his jaw. Her nips
turn into kisses as her anger segues into tears. Strange, how close love is
to hatred, and anger to love.

Mulder twists his head to intercept her lips, his crossed wrists still
bound in her fingers. They kiss frenziedly. She rises up on her knees and
drives him slowly inside her, wincing against his bulbous pressure. The
potency of experiencing him quickly drives all coherent thought from her
brain. She's filled with his musky body, clutching his rib cage for
balance, her tears leaking onto his chest, and suddenly she's happier than
she's ever been in her life, looking down into his own wet eyes, his
lovesick smile. He stretches her inside just as he is reshaping and changing
her life, a painful, euphoric transformation.

Mulder pierces her to the quick, rolls his head back, and gasps her
name. She still can't believe that they are engaged in this rapturous
transaction, that their conjoining is so fundamental that it strikes both of
them as familiar. She sees it in his eyes. He recognizes her, he knows her
already. Somehow, somewhere, in a different woof of time, they've done this
before, made love through other nights, tasted and held and undergone each
other. She leans down to kiss him, plants her elbows on either side of his
head, and twines her fingers in his hair. He throws his arms around her.
"I'm inside you, Scully," he whispers, and she almost comes just from
hearing him say it. She had forgotten how immediate sex is, how raw and
uncomfortable and wondrous. Or maybe her other times weren't comparable to
this. Nothing is comparable to this. Mulder's eyes, black with love, his
hips jerking under her. He stops her, rolls her over, and lies there looking
at her a moment. She feels him twitch inside her.

His long arm reaches out to switch off the lamp. She hears him take a
gulp of water. He kisses her then, letting a little cold water trickle into
her mouth. She licks his full bottom lip and smiles euphorically into his
kiss, holds his face in her hands.

Mulder in the dark is a tune played by ear, never sight-read. An
unsettling score.

The glass clinks against his tooth and then his cold tongue envelopes her
left nipple, soothing it, rivers of cold pinching her tight, as his fingers
feather down her arm. He sits up and her knees fall open for him like a
flower sensing light. His tongue against her there, chilled with water,
makes her gasp. Mulder kneads her thigh and licks her rhythmically. He stops
and drinks from the glass. The small of her back lifts against him as a
flickering time comes into her mind and then she's digging her fingers into
his shoulders, feeling herself getting hard under his tongue, the muscles in
her thighs jumping. Mulder's long finger eases into her, curves upward and
hits the g-spot. Her whole body jerks, and he murmurs something reverent
against her clit. His cold, stiff tongue vibrates against her until her
unrecognizable voice is forced from her lungs, rising to the ceiling. The
electric wall he probes inside her reduces her to hungry nerve endings,
until she's shaking and grabbing at his head and the water spills, seeping
underneath her, the empty glass rattling against her flank.

Scully bites her lip and whimpers, tries to hold herself still, but she's
out of control, past speaking, gasping through clenched teeth, and when she
comes all she can think about is the fact that she's in his mouth. The
contractions ripple through her endlessly, and it's a long time before she
stops shuddering against him and lays flat on her back, completely finished,
unable even to move her fingers.

"Call me 'Fox'," he says, into the back of her neck. She lies on her
belly, with him on top of her. His weight feels good, almost like a massage.
Their arms are flung before them, his hands laced through hers. Inside her
he moves with a rhythm, rapid thrusts and then slow ones.

"Call me 'Fox'," he says.

"But I think of you as 'Mulder'," she protests.

"Just this once. Please say it just once..."

"Fox," she says. The word has a brittle, sexy feel in her mouth. Mulder
speeds up, his fingers tightening on hers. "Fox," she says, into his bicep.
The world has narrowed to this moment. To only them. "I really love you,
Fox," she says, and he comes suddenly, surprising them both. She kisses his
muscular arm, his semen stinging faintly in the abraided places inside of
her.

In the dark she rubs his calf with the sole of her foot. "When we first
met I thought you were a jerk."

"I was."

"I was too, though. I was bossy."

"You're still bossy."

"Thanks."

"Only the tiniest bit bossy."

"It's not like you listen."

"No," he agrees.

"Mulder?" she says.

"Yes, little Earthling?"

"Did you ever think this would happen?"

"No. Yes. I didn't dare hope."

"If I had left last summer, would you have let me go?"

Mulder sighed. "If it was right for you, what you wanted. I don't know if
I could have let you go, Scully. I'm kind of possessive, you know."

That he was.

"Scully, there's something I want to say to you." He rolls onto his side.
"I've been wanting to apologize for last summer. It was truly knavish of me
to try to make you stay by kissing you. I really didn't have anything to
back it up with; it was just desperation, manipulation, selfish motives. And
I felt like such a bastard for being relieved it didn't happen, although
part of me really did want it to happen, but it was for all the wrong
reasons."

She reaches for the top of his head, and her fingers sink into his hair.
"Well, I had kind of forced your hand. I'd only been thinking of myself, of
my frustration with work, not of how you would feel. I underestimated just
how far you would go to change my mind. But maybe, subconsciously I did want
to push you, to see how much you cared."

"Oh, God, I cared, Scully. You almost brought my world crashing down."

"Later," says Scully, "I think it was in Antarctica, I saw that our
partnership is greater than the sum of its parts. That together we equal
more than we do apart. It was then that I realized I couldn't leave you."

It is raining hard again, water prinking life from storm drains and
meadows, hardwood forests, ditches, and the open, volcanic hills where
mycelium crouch, thrusting up their spongy fruits to the impervious sky.

She sleeps a little, and he holds her, and she never actually forgets
where she is or who she's with. She awakens to kisses on the back of her
neck and rolls onto her back, taking him into the cradle of her thighs.

"Ever slept with an agent before?" he asks.

"Nope, Shaft." She grins as he presses something very hard against her
mons. "I've never slept with an Indian Guide before, either."

"I should hope not!" Mulder says. "I've never slept with a doctor
before."

"Well, thank God you aren't plying me with all those doctor jokes, like
about my bedside manner."

He inserts the tip of his head into her and pushes lightly. "You sure
wake up sweet, Scully," he whispers.

She folds her hands around his neck. "Do you want to call me 'Dana'?"

He pushes harder, his legs trembling. "Just a little bit. Just now and
then." He winces as her wetness clenches him. "I love calling you 'Scully',
though. It's our little thing."

He's shoving into her, gasping into her hair, and it hurts, but she wants
it all the same, wants to feel how real it is, wants to prove that this
moment exists, that there is nothing more painful or tangible than love.

Throughout the next week and a half they spend every night together, in
Mulder's apartment (he has a bigger bed) and in Scully's (she has a cleaner
bathroom). At work they are studiously professional, although she has yet to
discover the bug in the smoke detector. As soon as they get home in their
separate cars they go to bed, work out the kinks, then get up and shower
together, and, if they still have the energy, cook something, although
Mulder has been known to order a pizza without even getting out of bed.
Despite going without it for years, sex has suddenly become a necessity to
both of them, the way heroin is a necessity to a heroin addict.

And after what happens to them in the next week, when Scully is on her
own again, she thinks her body is going to burn up with the nightmare of
withdrawal, to melt away for want of his touch, his intrusions, his
life-giving kisses.

Over the weekend they drive down the Delmarva Peninsula and stay in a bed
and breakfast, watch for eagles and walk on the beach. It is plain to all
who see them that they are in love. They take some case files with them and
call it a working holiday and let the files slip to the floor while they try
out the bed. They have suddenly become connoisseurs of beds. They prefer
hard over soft, not too squeaky, not too high off the ground. They drink
some margaritas in a bar because they want to try doing it drunk, and don't
even make it back to their room. They end up having sex standing up behind a
shed on the beach, which is awkward with their height differences, but not
impossible. Mulder and Scully have always met each other half way. As Mulder
pierces her, panting like a Wanshang Dhole, she throws her head back and
sees the moon, a constant that joins her to other times with Mulder in the
past, and will be there to oversee their reunion in the future.

She wakes in the watery spring light with him hard as chalcedony against
her back, his arm curled tenderly around her waist, unwilling to relinquish
her even in sleep. His slow breaths against her implant scar have the
cadence of the R.E.M. stage.

She dips her finger inside herself and reaches behind to anoint his head
with the fragrant cocktail of whatever has accumulated inside her - saliva,
semen, smegma, and her own lubricating slip, a consumerless product she's
been manufacturing for years. Pushing back onto him is reconnection,
plugging into the Mulder experience.

He stiffens up and groans as his dream punches through into reality, Now
the depth and constriction of Scully's vagina, the back of her neck in his
teeth, the maddening swirl of gilded scarlet cobweb in his eyes. He grips
her nape like a lion and surges into her, breathing her hair, hands
clenching her nipped waist. She feels it through his mind and hers,
gratification squared, motion wrought fundamental.

The middle of the Golden Gate Bridge is like this, all weightless
suspension, tethered flying, the tingle of vertigo, the endless sparkle of
white caps. Rush of salt wind under her body, sunlight pressing her eyes
closed. Happiness is a flash in the pan; without him she stands naked and
looks at herself in the mirror, she drives too fast, stops eating, and wants
to kill herself. With him, she is here, his nose in the periphery of her
vision as he comes to orgasm breathing her name, his arms tight around her.

She is here and she feels him and she smiles in her effervescent way as
she looks ahead to the long summer days that will never be.

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Author's notes:

*The working title for this was 'The Field Where I Tripped'.

*Just for reference, Mulder was wearing the outfit from the end of
'Monday', and Scully was wearing the outfit from the end of 'Small
Potatoes'.

*Not sure about the travel/time logistics - hospital, airport, flight
from N. Carolina to Washington - luckily this is the magical fairyland of
fan fiction.

*I inhabit the state of 'Or-a-gun', so that was just for my own
amusement.

*Not sure I liked the tense it's written in, or the fact that it's only
from Scully's P.O.V. But hey, I'm just the writer. Scully grabbed me and
made me tell her story. Jeez, what could I do? She's FBI!

*'A Humongous Fungus Among Us' was the name of an article I read several
years ago in 'Natural History' magazine, when they'd first discovered that
what was believed to be the biggest living thing on Earth (the Sherman
Sequioa in California) was actually considerably outweighed by an enormous
mycelium network covering dozens of acres in (I think) Montana. They
discovered it was one entity by DNA testing the mushrooms it put up. So cool
that they worked the big guy into an X File!

'You're the best listener I've ever met
You're my best friend
Best friend with benefits'

Alanis always reminds me of these two - but what doesn't, these days?

Thanks for reading!

/email Penumbra