* We're getting closer to the end here, I promise. Both Mulder and Scully are very tired of talking and they want to take naps. My apologies for the late-night update. I ended up adding a few last minute touch-ups that took longer than expected. At any rate, enjoy the angst, enjoy the humor, and watch out for flesh eating mutants.
Well, you just never know.
HOW I SLEPT WITH MY PARTNER (WITHOUT REALLY TRYING)
By Jaime Lyn
PART FIVE (1/2)
Mulder and Scully:
Woman, Let’s Play Shadow
(Or, How Mulder Lived to Tell the Tale)
TAPE RECORDER STILL NOT ROLLING:
“Okay, so maybe I’m not quite alright,” Scully says, a cold compress pressed over her left eye – the place where her head hit the ground like a rock when she fainted. Her cheek just below the compress is turning an interesting shade of rose and violet. She looks almost as if her face was painted by a carnival clown.
“Right,” I say, my arms crossed over my chest.
Scully blinks her right eye –the good one, and blows a puff of air out of thinned lips. “Oh for Christ sakes, don’t look at me like that.” She adjusts the compress. “I’m not an invalid. I just lost my balance and—“
“You fainted, Scully.”
“Briefly lost consciousness.”
“I blacked out for a second.”
I shake my head in incredulity and wave my hand at her. “You FAINTED!” I explode, for what seems like the fifth time in a row. “God damn, is it that hard to admit?”
Scully narrows her good eye. “I said stop looking at me like that, Mulder.”
“How would you like me to look at you?” I ask, standing up to pace. “Maybe you want me to jump around the room, do a little dance?”
“If you think it would help—“
It’s amazing that my heart’s still beating. Like, really. I thought she was dying. I thought she was dead. I thought the world stopped rotating the second her eyes rolled up into her eyelids and her limbs went slack.
One minute Scully’s arguing with me, giving me dirty looks, and the next minute she’s part of the carpet. How the hell do you justify something like that as “alright” or “not alright.” That’s not a throw-away type of event. That’s just fucking bizarre.
“I’m sorry,” Scully says. And this time when I look at her, she truly does look sorry. Or else, the part of her face that I can see looks sorry.
“I think you need to see a doctor,” I say, taking five steps left, then five steps right. I don’t know what the hell to do with my goddamned hands: put them in my pocket? Leave them out? Wave them around? I just keep picturing her unconscious face, her pale skin, her lips so red, almost out of place against her ivory skin. And then those wires –those ugly, gray hospital wires attached to her nose and her hand.
I’m sorry, Mr. Mulder, but you’ll have to wait outside.
No. Not going to fucking happen. Not on my watch.
I turn my back to Scully and stare at the far wall to try and shake my head clear of disturbing images. I watch slats of sunshine peek through the cracks of the closed living room blinds. The stripes of sunshine make me think of the baby: innocent, tiny William who's asleep in the next room. I imagine the sun bathing him in a protective blanket, sheltering him from nightmares of darkness.
William's blinds are never closed during the day.
Oh god, the baby.
What would happen to Will if Scully got sick? What would happen to me if I couldn’t help her? How could I hold up our family, keep us on track? How could—
“That train wreck of a marriage proposal didn't alleviate matters either, Mulder.”
I turn my head to see Scully staring at me with both blue eyes, the compress lying on the couch beside her. The brow area of one eye is puffy and pinkish-purple, the other eye unmarred by bruising. Her hands are folded in her lap, her shoulders straight and narrow. She looks so honest and open, so incredibly focused that I don’t know what to say to her. I don’t even know why I suggested the idea of marriage in the first place. I suppose it’s what I figured she wanted. Marriage. A legal document to officially bind us together. A traditional lifestyle. Getting married, I assumed--or else I thought--would help her feel more secure in this relationship. Because as of late she's been acting...
I don't know.
Honestly, all I wanted was for her to tell me what was wrong with her. I wanted to capture that sad look in her eyes and bottle it up, then throw the bottle away forever. But I didn’t know how to do that. I never know how to do it--and Scully certainly doesn't make it easy. I can't force Scully to tell me why her feeling sick bothers her so immensely. I can't force her to do anything. And I wouldn't want to. Maybe I thought getting married---
I don’t know. I don’t know what I was thinking.
“It wasn’t a train wreck,” I manage, not knowing what else to say.
Scully sighs, puts one hand to her forehead. “Gee, Scully,” she says, “let’s get married so we can put my name on the lease? This is not a train wreck to you?”
I splay my arms wide, furrow my brow and shake my head. “Well, what did you want me to say? Tell me, for once and for all. Tell me the right thing to say and I'll say it. I thought you wanted practicality. I thought you wanted stability. I thought--”
"I want you to say what you mean." Scully's voice is soft and even. She stares at me with bright blue, shining irises. "I'm not interested in what you think I want to hear. You never patronized me during our partnership and I don't want you to start now."
We stare at each other across what seems (to me) like a distance of a million miles.
She thinks I'm patronizing her? Okay, now I'm totally baffled. I can't remember ever, not in the nine years we've known each other, ever having patronized Scully. That marriage proposal wasn't me trying to please her. Doesn't she understand that? It was me trying to do what's right, me trying to make the best of a strange situation. I had examined all the angles and I decided upon a course of action. Isn't that what people do before they get married?
"That wasn't me humoring you," I say, moving to stand directly in front of her. Frustration drips into my voice. "It was an honest request. Dana Scully, will you marry me? See? It's a perfectly reasonable question."
Scully shakes her head. "That's not what you said."
I have to close my eyes for a second. My head is going to explode. "That's exactly what I said!"
She closes her eyes, wraps her fingers around the rubber compress. “No. I’m not marrying you, Mulder.”
Everything stops. A tear freezes itself on the tip of one of Scully's lashes. Her voice doesn't waver and the tear doesn't move.
“I won't do that to us," she says. "Please believe me when I say I have your best interests at heart. I’m sorry.”
I frown, still baffled by the odd turn of our conversation. "What does that mean?" I ask, kneeling down to stare directly into her eyes. "Tell me."
For a moment, Scully says nothing. Then, with a shaky swipe of her right hand, she brushes away the frozen tear. "It means no." She takes a breath. "All it means is no."
Bullshit, I think. Bullshit, Scully.
I stare at her lips, at the way her bottom lip presses to her top lip when she speaks. God, I love Scully’s lips. I love everything about Scully’s lips… I love the way her neck feels against my fingertips, the way she hums when I kiss her, the way her hands tremble when she’s really angry--
Scully doesn’t want to marry me.
Scully doesn’t want to ever marry me.
Not ever. Christ.
Weren’t we supposed to get married? Isn’t that what happens now? You have a kid, you move in together, one thing leads to another and you get married. Or maybe not. Maybe I’m not suited for marriage, or she’s not suited to be my wife. I can’t even tell if I truly wanted to marry her when I asked her. I just asked her without really considering what I wanted, as opposed to what I thought was “best.” Maybe I don’t want to marry her after all. I don’t know. I don’t know what I want other than for her to see a doctor.
Maybe a clean bill of health from the doctor can make this ugly feeling disappear. Or else I just need something new to occupy my thoughts. Something that isn't going to shatter the remaining pieces of my ego.
“Why don’t we just focus on getting you to the doctor,” I manage, needing to change the subject. Scully’s sick and she won’t marry me. She won’t let me take care of her. I need to--
Jesus, is that what I think I’m doing? Taking care of her?
“Okay,” Scully says, much to my surprise. No argument, no raised eyebrow. Just okay.
Scully’s eyes have that look to them again: wide, blue, shining --almost as if she knows something she’s not telling me because she’s afraid of the implications. Or else she’s afraid of something else. Something I don’t know about. A hundred thoughts flare up in response to Scully's pained expression. I can’t imagine what she must be pondering. I can’t even begin to understand why she’s looking at me that way, like she’s done something wrong and if I discover what that is I’ll never come back to her.
I wonder, in the brief moment that silence overtakes us, whether Scully knows how truly and honestly I care about her. Doesn’t she know I’m not going anywhere?
Even if you get sick, Scully, I think to her. I’m not leaving you. Even if you don’t want to get married. Even if you kick me out of this apartment. Even then. I'm here. I'm sticking around. Please know this.
I should say it out loud, I should say it out loud—
“I think it’s your turn to tell a story,” Scully says, leaning back into the couch. She tries to smile at me but it comes out all wrong-- half-baked.
“I think I should call the doctor,” I say.
“Call Dr. Klausman at Georgetown Medical Center,” Scully says with a yawn. “But then come sit by me. And I’ll turn on the—“
“Who’s Dr. Klausman?” I ask, suspicion creeping into my voice. I remember my recurring vision: Scully’s pale hands unmoving, her chest rising up and falling back, each breath propelled by artificial machines and gray wires.
I’m sorry, Mr. Mulder, but you’ll have to wait outside.
“She’s a friend of mine,” Scully says, unnerved by my tone. “She works in emergency medicine at Georgetown. I shared a lab class with her back in college and when I ran into her last week, she asked me to call her when the mood struck. Not that this is the most appealing of circumstances, but I trust her. Plus, if she's not overrun, I doubt she’ll make me wait an hour to see her.”
I pull myself into a standing position, all the while keeping eye contact with her. Scully, for her part, now seems entrely poised and composed. The facade is something I recognize. “If that’s what you want,” I say, turning towards the phone. “Dr. Klausman, did you say?—“
SCULLY TURNS THE RECORDER BACK ON
“See if you can get us in sometime soon. We need to meet up again with that editor.”
“You know what I’m talking about.”
“You want me to be there with you?”
“You want to come?”
“If your friend's around, I’ll try to make the appointment for a half hour-hour from now, okay?”
“That’s fine, Mulder.”
BACK TO THE STORY:
MULDER TALKS TO PASS THE TIME:
Okay, I never claimed that Scully was a post-partum-blood-sucking monster, as she so articulately put it. I would never claim something like that. I just think she was… weird. Or wierded out, at least, for the first what? Four? Five months?
William was about three months old at this point. It was Wednesday night, my night to bathe him. That was all part of my deal with Scully. And my deal with Scully was all part of Scully’s deal with the FBI. See, as part of Scully’s request for remediation and re-assignment, and as what seemed to be best scenario for her to have a family and to consult on the X Files, she’d requested a desk job –or a sort of desk job. Something with a more accommodating position. Skinner, using nothing but his knowledge of Scully’s brilliant mind and of her competency over other candidates, decided to promote her to head of the Bureau’s pathology department not long after I moved in.
Approximately two weeks after I transferred the mess from my apartment to Scully’s, Deputy Director Alvin Kersh (the dick-head who fired me, on top of some other not-so-nice things) was censured and removed from his position at the FBI for “conspiracy to commit murder;” specifically, the “attempted” murder of Scully, and of Scully’s unborn child. (Secret “audio tapes” had “mysteriously” turned up in the Ops board office a month after William’s birth. I still don’t know what was on the tapes, as they were deemed “classified” and hidden away, but one day I’ll find them. I swear. I will.)
In accordance with Kersh’s censure, all terminations and assignments presented to agents, therein, by him, were re-assessed and re-considered. Thus, my own termination was re-considered and I was asked (by Skinner) to return to work --but not to the X Files. Never again to the X Files. I was asked.instead, to return to behavioral sciences, my old stomping grounds, if I’d be willing to head up part of the department--
And to behave myself. I agreed (with fingers crossed behind my back.)
But because of legalities, my assignment was still in the works. Since Kersh’s case was still pending in the courts and since Scully had returned to work at the FBI early, for the first few months of William’s life I was jobless. And companion-less.
For about two months I stayed at home with the baby and lazed around the apartment while Scully went to work. That really… well, it mostly sucked. Being a sort-of stay at home dad for those first few months was bizarre in many ways – more ways than I can count, but I DID get to watch a lot of midget wrestling, which was cool. And a few times, I got to fool around completely and just be a kid again, which something I hadn’t had the opportunity to do in quite some time.
Like the “water balloon” incident which, as I remember, ended like this:
“Mulder, I just spoke to Mrs. Cassidy across the hall. She says that my ‘husband’ is not allowed to play with her son anymore, because this alleged ‘husband’ of mine is a very bad influence. Add to that the fact that I just hydroplaned twenty feet across a puddle of water that stretched from the elevator to our front door. Would you happen to know anything about this?”
Man, that was some funny shit.
Er, anyway. Where was I?
Oh. Yes. Scully’s schedule.
So Mondays and Tuesdays Scully met with other department heads to review older autopsies –or to do new ones, and she consulted with behavioral sciences as a sort of “forensic profiler.” Thursdays and Fridays were “big autopsy days,” or so Scully’d told me. For whatever reason, a lot of people seemed to die at the beginning of the week, which left the bureau with a slew of victims passed on from the local PD towards the end of the week. But Wednesdays… those were long, tough days that Scully did the grunt work for the bureau’s pathology department. In the mornings she summarized and proofed all the autopsy reports that came through the department the week before. (Sometimes she also had to perform an autopsy or two, depending on who had died, how they had died, and whether or not anyone in the department had called in sick.) Then in the afternoon Scully taught three forensic pathology “field” classes for Quantico. This meant that students (usually the best and brightest from Quantico and from other various military agencies) would bus themselves over to the Hoover Building for a hard nosed glimpse into real pathology work.
Scully’s last class ended at seven pm, and since I still had a week before I was to return to behavioral sciences, this meant that I didn’t get to see her again until she returned between eight and eight thirty. And by this time she only had three words in her vocabulary: “Food… Shower…Baby.”
So on Wednesday nights, I agreed to order dinner, take out the garbage, do the dishes and bathe the baby – such a well-trained, housebroken man I was. And you know, I would have done more for the baby--like feed him dinner-- but, paying heed to my obvious lack of breasts, I left the evening feeding to Scully, who’d missed William ferociously during the day and wanted quality time with him alone. Not time with me, mind you. Just time with the baby. Only the baby. Alone with the baby.
(And I understood that, really. You know, because after a woman has a baby she has absolutely no interest in sex whatsoever. She starts saying things like “bunny wunny” and “tubby wubby,” and she plays “Ducky wucky” games. She thinks about the baby first and her return to work second, and be damned if there’s some pesky male around who’s going fucking stir crazy because he’s bored to death and bad at domestication-- )
“That’s a bad generalization, Mulder.”
“What? I wasn’t generalizing.”
“Then what were you doing?”
“I was just saying.”
“That maybe you aren’t so attentive with the baby around.”
“What then? You want me to breast feed you?”
“If you think it would help.”
“Now you’re just being irrational, Mulder.”
“I was being sarcastic.”
“How about you share your sarcasm with the couch this evening.”
“How about I take it back and you don’t get your scalpel all twisted.”
“That’s -- you know, it’s a good thing I’m in love with you.”
“You really want to know?”
“I really want to know.”
“Then come here –“
“Why? What are you—Hey! Ow! That’s –oh no. Not there. NOT there! Uncle, Scully! Uncle—“
So like I said, it was Wednesday.
I had just walked out of the bathroom with my shirtsleeves rolled up to my elbows, my arms soaked in soapy water practically up to my shoulders. William was all scrubbed and squeaky clean, thanks to my absolute brilliance at the “daddy thing,” and he was fast asleep in the living room play-crib, his fists all curled up, his little feet kicking in the throes of REM sleep, his perfect mouth pursing in and out. (Daddy sidenote: just wait till this kid grows up. He’s gonna be one hell of a ball player, what, with a killer swing, a great arm, four-point-oh grade point average and the girls lining up and all. End Daddy sidenote.)
So I walked into the living room with my shirt half tucked and water dripping from where I’d tried to wring out the hem. Scully was sitting harmlessly on the couch, her eggshell colored robe pooled in folds around her hips. She was squinting her light blue eyes at an X Ray, her silver rimmed glasses perched precariously on the tip of her nose as she bit her fingernail … The X Ray was of… something. Leg bone, arm bone, tibia? I don’t know. It was big and white and um, white--
“Maybe you should change your prescription,” I said, moving absently into the kitchen where a package was waiting for me on the table. It was a manila envelope postmarked from the gunmen, obviously sent by Frohike, who had the handwriting of a homicidal maniac.
I turned to see Scully staring at me with a very dangerous look in her eyes. She’d set down the X Ray and folded her hands in her lap.
I cleared my throat and frowned. “You were squinting,” I said, as if it were the most obvious thing in the world.
Then I turned back to the kitchen table to retrieve the manila envelope. I held the package in front of me and grinned at the site of it. “I was just saying that maybe you should—“
“I heard what you said, Mulder.” Scully’s arms folded stiffly across her chest. Her eyebrow raised, her posture straightened. Sunddenly, Scully wasn't just Scully anymore. She was a horrifying, mutated form of Scully, a you’re-about-to-get-your-ass-kicked-across-the-room-Fox-Mulder-if-I-have-to-come-over-there Scully.
Mutant Scully pursed her lips. “I just want to know what you meant by it.”
Okay, obviously I was on dangerous ground here. Scully had just had a baby a few months before and she’d only recently descended into “hormone hell.” It was kind of funny actually, because she’d somehow managed to suppress most of that post-partum depression for the first few weeks. The first month, even. She’d insisted that she was fine and even returned to work early, (against all advice from her doctors, her mother, Skinner and myself.) And for awhile Scully was just peachy. But at the beginning of the third month, stress from work started getting to her. Or else being away from the baby started getting to her. Or else she started hating me. I don’t know. But it must’ve been something, because all those pent up hormones just… I have no idea. I’m not a woman.
Anyway, like I said, sometime during William’s third or fourth month, post-partum finally hit Scully… hard. I mean, she freaked out. Wigged out. Totally. I don’t—I mean…
She cried. She cried during Kleenex commercials. She cried when the pizza man arrived. She cried when her mother called. She cried while looking at the baby. She cried while talking about the baby. Then after she cried, she’d get all wierded out and tired and angry at herself and she’d not speak to me for hours. When I’d finally ask her what was wrong, she’d throw pillows at me. She’d say things like, “you are always under my feet, Mulder. Quit walking around me like I’m an egg or something.” She even hung up on Skinner once when they’d had a disagreement. I’d only caught the end of the conversation, Scully’s end, which sounded vaguely like, “Blow it out your—“ And then I walked out of the room. After the argument with Skinner she went and watched another Kleenex commercial and cried. It was… it was like living with “alien pod woman” Scully. It was Scully’s body, and sometimes the real Scully, but not always the real Scully. Very odd.
“---if you want your arm back, Miulder, you'd better just say it!”
“--- Uncle, Scully! I said Uncle!”
“No, the other thing –“
“I am NOT saying that–“
“You want to get up?”
“Fine. Then SAY IT!”
“OW! Okay, okay…Scully is right. Scully is always right, Scully is—”
"Mulder! No fair! What the hell?---"
“-- OW! You double crossing--- Cheaters never prosper, you know!”
“I’ll give you ‘cheaters never prosper…”
WHERE WERE WE, AGAIN??
So when Scully asked me what I meant by the glasses thing, I stared at her with apprehension on my face. I swallowed and said the most intelligent thing I could think of, which was:
“Well, you know, squinting’s not good… for you know, your eyes. And when you're writing those… reports... and then there's all the reading, reading autopsy data and – not that your eyes aren’t good or your glasses aren’t… Not that I don’t like the glasses you have now. Not that you can’t keep the frames anyway and get new lenses, because you can get a new prescription and keep the frames, of course you can keep the frames—“
Scully frowned. “You don’t like the frames?” she asked, taking off the glasses and examining them as if she’d never really looked at them.
“No!” I said, backing away. “I mean, yes, yes I like them. You've had them ever since I met you and they’re… becoming, very becoming. I was just concerned with your vision, practically speaking…”
Scully blinked, narrowing her eyes, and she settled her glasses down on the coffee table beside a yellow folder. “I am not going blind, Mulder, if that’s what you’re insinuating. I’m not THAT old,” she said. Then she set the pictures and the reports and the X Rays aside and started to rise from the couch, her lips pursed, her eyebrow raised. She looked… dangerous. Positively murderous. I had obviously said the wrong thing.
I swallowed and held the manila envelope in front of me, a shield against… well, I don’t even know what. “I didn’t… didn’t say you were old, Scully. Or that your vision was--- I was just…trying to be reasonable and practical and say that perhaps you should consider—“
“Oh,” Scully said, moving towards me slowly, methodically, her eyes seeming to throw sparks of fire all over the room. “I get it. Nothing’s wrong with my vision and I’m not getting old, but now you know what I should and should not consider. Oh, sure. Well, let me tell you something, Mr. Know-it-all, I’m-always-right-Fox Mulder. I’ve had a long day. I performed four autopsies in five hours because three people called in sick. All I have to say is that next time they had better call in dead. Then I went through fifteen reports, sat in for three consults, taught three classes and now I have a hundred and fifty papers to grade and review for the Quantico pathology students. I haven’t even been able to spend time with my son –not since yesterday! Plus, you know what I ate today, Mulder? Hmm? A half a cup of yogurt. And it wasn’t even good yogurt, either. It was that plain kind, the fat-free kind with just—“ She paused in mid-rant to form a fist with her hand and swirl it in front of her as if she were mixing something. “You know, the –“
“Vanilla?” I tried, a befuddled expression on my face.
“That’s not the point!” Scully exploded.
I frowned. “Um… What is the point, then?” I asked, confused.
Scully halted her forward movement a few inches from my face. Her cheeks were flushed red and she was panting –almost. She furrowed her brow and folded her arms across her chest as if she were thinking hard about something. Her head cocked to one side and she just stared at me, a faraway look on her face.
Aha! I thought. Finally she sees that I’m right.
Scully should never have gone back to work early, she should never have kept all those whirlwind emotions bottled up and she should have never yelled at me for something that was entirely not my fault. I’ve been waiting for this moment for –
Scully leaned in close, her breath warm on my face. We stared at each other for a heated moment. “I’m tired,” she hissed. “I have every fucking right to squint.”
Then, without warning, she grabbed the soaked center of my shirt and yanked me towards her with such ferocity it nearly left me breathless. My feet stumbled forward awkwardly and I would have fallen on her and knocked both of us to the ground -- if not for the steadying hand Scully placed upon my chest. And then her lips held both of us up, her mouth crushing mine with a bruising intensity I hadn’t seen in Scully since… Well, William was about three months old, so that would make it… a year? Over a year?
Anyway, so instead of kicking my ass, Scully kissed me, long and sweet and hard, her hand smashed between our chests, her fingers gripping my shirt like some sort of psychotic “Mulder handle.”
To say I that I was utterly baffled, that I had no idea what had just happened to make Scully want to kiss me would be an understatement. And to say that I wasn’t at least a little bit scared by the sudden mood shift would be an even bigger understatement. But since I never claimed to fully understand Scully's motivations, let’s just say it was a nice kiss. A really nice kiss. Okay, a fucking amazing kiss.
One of my arms awkwardly found her waist and the other snaked possessively through her hair. Scully's cheeks warmed mine and the air around us seemed to tingle. The rest of the room disappeared. And our lips--my God, our lips were doing things I didn’t even think lips could physically do.
Basically, Scully and I managed to make up for three months of near platonic relations in fifteen seconds. Her mouth was soft and warm and wet and the way she moved with me… God, the way she MOVED with me! Her free hand was on my cheek, her fingers guiding my face to fit her features. We went left, right and back again, the tips of her thumbs brushing my neck, my forehead, and slipping finally into my hair. We tugged at each other and tasted each other until the smell of honeysuckle in her hair made me want to scoop her up off the ground and drag her to the bed and make love to her until I spontaneously combusted.
But before I could wow her with my articulate speech of seduction, which probably would have consisted of, “you woman. Me man. Sex now,” Scully closed her mouth, grabbed my shirt with both hands, and shoved me away so forcefully that I nearly went flying into the kitchen wall.
I gasped and somehow, by the grace of God or SOMETHING, steadied myself with my left foot and my right hand against the kitchen table. “Scully!” I managed.
“Are you interrupting, AGAIN?”
“That’s not the whole truth and you know it. You stepped on my foot.”
“Accidentally stepped on your foot.”
“And I never acted like Frankenstein’s post-partum nightmare, either. That's a bunch of over-exaggerated nonsense.”
“My apologies, Princess Scully.”
“Again with the sarcasm.”
“You know, I wouldn’t have stepped on you if you hadn’t have yanked me.”
“I didn’t YANK. I coaxed. And you tripped.”
“Because you took me by surprise.”
“Please. I kissed you. I didn’t invade France.”
“This is true.”
“And you enjoyed it, didn’t you?”
“Yes, I did.”
Scully stared up at me, a perplexed glint in her eyes for a half a millisecond.
Okay, so maybe she didn’t shove me THAT hard… I mean, I kind of um… I stepped on her foot. A little. And her hands did some sort of shifty thing while we kissed, and when her fingers trickled up my chest she kind of forced me away… It was LIKE a push. And her foot caught on my foot when we disengaged. And I lost my balance. That counts as shoving where I come from.
Scully cleared her throat and smoothed her hair, pulled her robe tighter around herself and stared at me with that raised eyebrow again. We’ll not say I wanted to kill her. We’ll just say that certain parts of my anatomy were having certain bad thoughts about certain women in the room and my brain was a little too foggy for reasoning.
I sputtered. “Scu—I—what are you—how did—why—“
Scully smiled and sighed. “That felt really good,” she said, as she stretched her arms lazily at her sides. She looked dream-like, as if she could have cared less that I was angry, or that she’d nearly sent me careening into the floor.
I mean, I could have died. I could have--
Okay, not died.
That's maybe a tad extreme.
But there could have been a very serious splinter involved.
“Thanks, Mulder. I needed that.”
Mortified, I just stood there, my legs somehow like liquid, my mouth dry, my manila envelope lying on the ground at our feet. “Gee,” I said, annoyed, “So glad I could help—“
“It’s really exhilarating, you know. How the mind goes blank when we do that.” Scully smiled again, stooping to her knees and scooping up the manila envelope with one hand. She looked up and handed it to me.
“Yeah,” I mumbled. “Exhilarating. That’s exactly the word I was thinking of.” I took the envelope quickly, backed away from her and nearly tripped over a kitchen chair in the process. Scully pushed up from her knees and she stood for a few moments, watching me with some sort of weird-womanly-thing in her gaze.
I cleared my throat. "So--"
“Well, I’m heading off to bed,” Scully said , as if nothing had happened. She turned away from me and sauntered into the living room where she picked up the sleeping baby (clad in his little choo-choo-train jammies) and she cradled him against her shoulder. “Hey, sweetheart,” she whispered to him. “Hey little man. You ready for bed? Mommy’s going to put you to bed now, so Daddy can sweep Mommy off her feet with his killer snoring.”
With red hair swept provocatively into her face, Scully turned her head from William to me, an odd sparkle in her luminous blue eyes. Seeing her as this woman, as Scully the Mother, standing there and holding our sleeping child in her arms, she’d perhaps never looked more incredibly beautiful or sexy.
But as a man – a man who knew that Scully had a service weapon on her nightstand, I was absolutely terrified that I wouldn’t survive the night.
“You coming, Mulder?” she called over her shoulder, moving into the hallway, “Or are you going to stay up all night and read through that mysterious envelope Frohike sent you? If you want, I can stay up with you and point out all the scientific anomalies, argue with you over the veracity of Frohike’s conclusions… Brush up on my knowledge of useless trivia.” She paused and added, “That is, unless you think I can’t read the report because my vision’s going.”
Her laughter floated in the air as she left the living room. I sighed and shook my head, perhaps a little more certain now that my Scully would return to me, but a little less positive that I would survive the night regardless. “Scully,” I managed, following her from a safe distance down the hallway, “that’s not what I meant about the squinting thing and you know—“
Scully twisted her head to look back at me. “How do I know that’s not what you meant?” she asked, baby balanced on one hip.
I waved my arms in frustration, trailing her into William’s little, white nursery room. The area was small, not even half the size of our bedroom, and it contained only a crib and a changing table. A bunch of boxes littered the floor, a few stuffed animals here and there, and some odd looking baby things Scully had gotten from her shower.
We weren't decorating connoisuers, Scully and I, so the room looked kind of like "baby limbo."
Scully sighed as we entered and I shook my head at her. I waved my arms and said, “What do you mean ‘how do you know that I know that that’s not what you meant?’ I thought it was obvious what I meant.”
Scully shifted William to her other side and frowned, a confused expression on her face. “What in the world are you talking about, Mulder?”
I frowned back. “Excuse me?”
“I meant…What do you mean?”
More frowning. I answered, “What do you mean what do I mean?”
Scully shook her head and sighed. “Oh brother. I refuse to do this Abbott and Costello thing with you. Not at this hour. Nevermind.”
“Nothing. Forget it.”
Silence for a second. Scully paused in her “baby bed-time ministrations” to face me again. She looked... annoyed.
“Stop that, Mulder,” she said, her hand running up and down Will's back.
“Stop repeating everything I say.”
To that I could only laugh to myself. Scully must have been an easy little sister to irritate, I thought. Then I remembered her rant in living room and the shove she gave me only minutes before. Payback’s a bitch, I said to myself. I raised an eyebrow and folded my arms smugly over my chest as we crossed the room to the crib.
“Stop repeating everything I say,” I said.
As if not believing what she was hearing, Scully’s mouth dropped open and she took a step backwards. “What are you, five years old? Stop that, Mulder. I mean it.”
I grinned. “What are you, five years old? Stop that, Mulder. I mean it.”
“I’m warning you—“
“I’m warning you.”
I snickered (okay I’ll admit it) kind of rudely.
Scully turned away from me with a snort of disgust. She put the baby down and kissed him, carefully touching his hand, then his feet, then rubbing his back softly. I smiled at the sight of her, at Scully acting like a mother. Knowing that I’d had a hand in her happiness sent a sensation like warm, thick soup flowing through my stomach.
A low hum in my ears, I went and stood directly behind her. I wrapped my arms securely around her waist, pressed my chin into her shoulder. I took a breath and kissed Scully’s neck, nuzzling my nose in her thick, auburn hair, luxuriating in the feel of her, the scent of her shampoo—God, that Honeysuckle. I marveled over the way her body felt so familiar, almost like an extension of myself. It was as if we’d been waiting for eight years to do something really big. Like something incredibly huge. We’d hunted aliens and fought monsters all during our careers, but that wasn’t the most incredible thing to ever happen to us. That wasn’t the payoff. William was it. William was the culmination of my search for the truth.
And good Lord, he was beautiful. He was perfect.
“Mark my words, G-Man…” Scully turned her head and sighed into my neck. “I'm gonna kick your ass, first chance I get. Just you wait.” She groaned into my shoulder when I kissed her neck again, her hands squeezing tightly over the arms I’d wrapped around her middle.
I grinned and whispered back into her ear, “Mark my words, G-man. I’m gonna kick your ass, first chance I get. Just you wait.” And then I kissed her earlobe playfully, letting my tongue brush across her neck until--
Something hard and fast stomped down upon my poor little foot, sending shockwaves of pain up my ankle and through my leg. I gasped and lurched away from Scully, hobbling over towards the door on one leg. “Scully!” I managed, grasping the doorjamb with one hand.
Scully grinned smugly, her hands on her hips. “Ow, shit! Scully!” she echoed, a mock whine coloring her voice.
“Shut up,” I growled.
“Shut up,” she parroted.
I groaned and leaned down to rub my aching foot, the sound of Scully’s giggling ringing loudly in my ears. A few moments later I turned and headed off all noble-like towards the bedroom, Scully laughing uproariously as she followed my hoppity bumbling down the hallway. She watched with amusement as I tripped into bed.
“You. Suck.” I mumbled.
“You suck,” she repeated.
Then it was Scully who turned off the lights a minute later, and Scully who cuddled up into my side when I shot her a look of complete disgust and turned to face the wall by the bathroom. Then she kissed my shoulder with a warm, opened mouth. I felt her hand in my hair, her fingers moving down the nape of my neck to massage away the tension. She said nothing. I sighed and shook my head to myself.
“Good night,” I finally mumbled, annoyed.
“Good night,” Scully echoed, and she broke into giggles all over again.
I moaned and pulled away from her, burying my face in the pillow, where I stayed for a very long time.
"What time is it Mulder?"
"Two twenty. I was just going to say--actually, we've got to get on the road."
"So Vicki WAS on duty."
"And she'll see me?"
"She said she had a few people lined up in front of you, but yeah. She'll do her best."
"Alright then. Just let me get the baby---hey, did you call that editor? What's-her name?"
"Jaime? No. Not yet."
"Well, you might want to call her, just to tell her we're not going to make the three-o-clock deadline."
"What time should I tell her then?"
"I don't know."
"You even going to be feeling alright when we get back?"
"Mulder. I thought we went over this. I should be fi---"
"The truth, Scully."
"What? I am telling---"
"I don't know, okay? Honestly. I don't know what's wrong with me. "
"Thank you... "
"No secrets, Mulder. I promise you."
"Alright. Well, I say we take this with us and finish it in the car, and then I'll run it by the publishing house later. Or else we can finish it in the waiting room. We've got some time to kill. At least we'll be occupied. You know it's your turn again, Scully."
"Yes. I suppose it is."
"Then you're positive you want to leave this on?"
"You're okay to keep going?"
"I'm fine. Really."
"Then let's hit the road."
"Don't forget to turn off the air--"
"Good. Let's go. I want to finish this thing already."
MORE TO COME