Title: Life As We Live It
Author: Jaime Lyn
Email: Leiaj21@hotmail.com OR UCFGuardgirl@aol.com
Category: MSR, Post-Requiem, fluff/angst of sorts
Rated: R, just below NC-17 (this is about as close to NC-17 as I
Feedback:  Yes, of course.  Cure me of my "end of The X Files" blues.
Disclaimer:  I own nothing.  No, really.  Nothing.  No--seriously?
Archive:  If it makes you happy. ;-) Just drop me a line and let me

Note: This is my way, way (did I say "way" yet?)overdue post-Requiem
fic.  I had started it last year, but never felt, until now, the
desire to finish it.  Now just felt like the right time, I guess.
Actually, that's not the truest-truth. (Had to use that one--sorry.)
This is my "during-Requiem" fic, not "post-Requiem" fic.  Takes place
immediately following the "bedroom scene."  So it's not post-episode.
It's more....during episode?  missing scene?  I don't know.  It makes
more sense after you read it.  ;-)

Life as We Live It
By Jaime Lyn

"I feel like Dorothy in that rickety clapboard house. In fact that
analogy is more apt than I realized. First of all, I am not in Kansas
anymore and second of all, when I finally land and crack open the door
of my future, a whole new and wonderfully foreign world will span out
before me. And in technicolor no doubt... Come Friday there will be
but one answer, one ultimate truth. And it will come in the form of
------> Gillian Anderson

"I'm not frightened.  We're wide awake, the rain hits now, we will
be slow and careful.  If I thought this would never happen again I
would die.  But this is wrong, nobody dies from lack of sex.  It's
lack of love we die from."
-----> "The Handmaid's Tale, Margaret Atwood

Bellefleur, Oregon

She picked up the motel phone on the first ring; she hadn't been
sleeping anyway.

"How are you feeling?"  Mulder's voice on the other end: his
tone a deep vibrato, like he had been considering sleep as an option
but then thought better of himself.

"Fine."  Scully lied.  She lied and then she yawned, and then she
heard nothing but stagnation on Mulder's end for a good solid

The motel bed was like a stiff mattress made of oak, and
Scully's back tingled in a bad way.  If she rested all her
weight on her hip then she could pretend that the nausea had passed,
that there was no mushroom-pepper pizza taste rising up to a certain
point in her throat, and then sliding back down as if someone had
pressed a pump in her stomach.


Scully swallowed back the sting of churning acid and sighed.  Mulder
always knew when she lied; he prided himself on it.  "Actually..."
Scully closed her eyes, cleared her throat.  "Still a bit of acid
reflux, indigestion, something, what have you--no more dizziness
though, not now anyway, but it';s really not that bad.
I'll see a doctor when we get back."

"Not that bad," Mulder echoed.  He had more on his mind.  Whenever
Mulder repeated something Scully said it was silent commentary on her
decision-making process in general.

"I'm not picking up and going home," she said, recalling their
earlier conversation.  "I thought about it--what you said.  And
my answer is no."

The two of them hours ago, lying together like silverware rolled up in
a napkin. They'd reminisced about their past and argued over their
future--him rubbing his hands roughly down her arms to make her
warm, she fighting nausea and vertigo and the dusty scent of mostly
unused wool. Mulder, of course, he tried his best to make her feel
normal.  He held her and whispered to her and kissed her cheek, his
breath warm on her ear.  And, as was generally the case when she
wasn't feeling well, he asked her to go home, to abandon the
case, to become a doctor, and to never return to the X Files again.
It was yet another one of Mulder's egomaniacal, self-referential
requests, because he was somehow convinced that every suffering, every
bruise, even if she only stubbed her toe on the corner of his desk,
was some sort of bizarre, mutant side-effect of her having worked with
him on the X files for so many years.  God forbid she should get a
little dizzy.  Lord knew that in her seven years with the X Files
she'd run in enough circles to make an entire trailer park worth
of people dizzy.

Scully stretched her arm out in front of her face and counted her
fingers in the dark.  One, two, three--how many bones were in
each finger?  She could barely see her hand in the slats of moonlight
that peeked into her window, but she needed some sort of distraction.
She tried to remember the exact number of bones...But the rock in her
stomach came and went, throbbing, pulsing, twisting, blocking her.
She had a tuning fork in her abdomen...or something.

"It wasn't a request, Scully."

"Ah, I see.  Then it was an order."

"It wasn't."

"Then what, Mulder?"

"You know the drill," said Mulder.  "As my partner, as my only ally, I
need you on The X Files.  You know how much I need you on this.   But
I'd rather have you alive.  I'd rather see you...happy."

Scully grimaced and turned further onto her hip. Damn the pain.  Damn
the case.  Damn Mulder.  What made him think he could send her away?
Just like that.  Just like a package sent to the wrong address.

"What makes you think I'm unhappy?" she asked.  "I'm not a
wind-up doll, Mulder.  I don't just sit wherever you put me.  If
I wasn't happy, if I didn't feel that the work we do is
important, I would have left the division years ago.  This
job...it' important to me."

"I know."

"Do you?"

"Scully, I don't want you to think that I'm ordering you
to go home, or that I'm trying to pretend that I'm your
superior or--" Mulder sighed.  "Or something.  Because
that's not what this is about."

Scully took a breath: four fingers and a thumb, no rings, no glimmer,
no glory.  Some women had gold bands with pear-shaped diamonds as
proof of commitment.  Scully had a rusty file cabinet and an out of
date lap-top and four X-files with her name on them.

"Then what is it about?" Scully asked.

"You know what it's about," said Mulder.

Scully knew, of course, how Mulder felt about her outside the work.
She knew from his touch, from his lips on the back of her neck, from
his hands--gentle and smooth-- whenever he carefully edged her
blouse over the backs of her bare shoulders.

On her couch, he often whispered her name in his sleep.  Scully,
Scully, Scully.  Just like that.  In the hospital, he mumbled for her
help over the delirious fog of illness.  Scully, he mumbled.  I
don't need you taking my temperature. Scully, tell the doctor I
can go home...

But in her bed...he devoured her.  He sang her name over and over,
jibber-jabbered to her in monosyllables while engulfed in the wave of
a powerful climax.  Scully are you sure, can you, am I hurting you,
you want me to stop?  He promised her in broken words that he would
try to give her a baby. A baby, he stammered, a baby.  Because damn it
all to Hell, I'm your partner and your friend and I don't
know what else to do to keep you from sobbing and from wondering and
from...from what?  He'd never finished the last part of the
sentence, as he'd pulsed one final time inside of her and
collapsed in exhaustion, but Scully spent the rest of the night
wondering.  To keep her from hating him? To keep her from leaving?  To
keep her from going out of her mind with grief? She just didn't know.


Scully took a breath, positive now that she knew what she wanted to
say.  She started, "Us sleeping together doesn't give you the
right to edge me out of the work, Mulder."

But that was...not what she wanted to say.

She winced and kept going: "I know that you think you're
protecting me by asking me to step back.  And I...admire that the
request is well-intentioned.  But you and I both know that I'm
just as capable now as I was three weeks ago.  The only difference now

"The only difference is you, Scully."

Mulder was shaking his head at her; she couldn't physically see
him shaking his head and yet she knew he was doing it.  He was like a
hologram wavering in and out of focus in front of her.

"And what the hell does that mean?"  Not curt, but resigned.  She
wasn't angry with him, just...sad.  Out of gas.  She was like a
car sputtering into the garage for the last tune-up.

"Maybe a year ago it would have been different, Scully.  But
things...things aren't the same as they were then and you know
it.  You told me so yourself.  The truth is that you want...you
deserve...more than this.  You're capable, I';ve never
questioned that, but you can't bring a baby into this equation
unless you step away.  It's too dangerous.  You know---"

"Oh... Mulder--"

She tried to finish right away but couldn't..

The truth was that Scully harbored secret fantasies about little bunny
hats and sparkly star mobiles. She had black and white dreams about
the life that never was.  She imagined being pregnant, buying a crib,
strolling through Central Park on a Saturday afternoon with a stroller
and a diaper bag and not...not a stack of reference books on the
occult dated from the 1950's, and a dozen bruises peppered up
and down her arms.

To quell her pain, Scully went through her entire bank
account--over twenty thousand dollars accumulated from her ten
years with the bureau--and she abandoned the last shred of
normalcy she had ever shared with her partner.  Frazzled and at the
end of her rope, she consulted with Mulder, met with half a dozen
experts and scientists.  Please tell me, she said, that you can help
me have a baby.  I need to know if this...if this is my only option.
I need to know the truth.

They told her they would work on it.  Whatever I can do, said Mulder.
You just let me know.

She was poked, prodded, jabbed, and injected, and all because she
needed to realize her silly dreams of musical mobiles, of Sunday
school plays, of bumper stickers from the local elementary school.
She did it all in the name of proving to herself, to Mulder, to her
family, that for once, there was something more important to her than
medical science.  Physics, the exact nature of mathematical equations,
chemistry--all of it random bullshit.  Biology was wrong this
time, and it had failed her miserably.  In her heart, she wanted to be
a mother.  She deserved to be a mother. She had so much love to give a
child.  So much, so very, very much love...

"A baby isn't part of the equation anymore," Scully said, and
she gripped her stomach to suck back a sudden pang of nausea.  She
wouldn't vomit again.   Not tonight.  There wasn't
anything left in her stomach.  She vowed silently to never eat again.

"How is it not?" asked Mulder.

A cramp stung her from the inside out; Scully winced at both the pain
and at Mulder's question.

"Obviously, I'm not pregnant, Mulder." She felt herself say the
words more than she heard herself speak them.  The sting in her belly
throbbed for another moment before it subsided.  "My wanting a child
is not going to magically give me one.  I'm barren, but
I'm not broken. And I'm not dying.  This is the life I
chose and I don't regret that choice."

Mulder was always her giver of miracles, even when he played the
reluctant hero; You know, Scully, he said, his head poking above some
errant X File.  If you have a kid then it means I get a new audience.
I can talk about telekinesis and extra terrestrials until my head pops
off.  And to not get contradicted?  I think...I'm starting to
like the sound of that.

Scully knew, of course, that Mulder had wanted to say no to her when
she'd first asked for his help.  Her having a baby was a
terrible, ridiculous idea in the grand scheme of things.  Their lives
were too complicated, their work was too dangerous, and her life was
too hard. He knew it.  She knew it.  But losing the power to choose
her own fate, to make her own happiness---that was unbearable and
unacceptable.  She was thirty-six years old for Christssakes, and she
had nothing to show for herself.  How could she have no accumulation
of experience after thirty-six years?

Not that fantasies and naïve wishing mattered in the eyes of fate.  In
the bitter end, her treatment hadn't worked and she'd had
to face the ultimate, terrible truth.  Scully would forever be a
barren woman.

No, Dr. Parenti, it's...okay, was all she'd said when the
last embryo didn't take.  She shrugged on her coat and sucked
back tears.  No, truly.  It's fine.  I'll just have to
go...I have to tell the father.  But he wasn't the father, was
he?  Because there was no child.  There was only an un-child.  A thing
that would never be born.

"You've given up," said Mulder.

"You say that as if I have a choice," said Scully.

"There's always a choice," said Mulder.  "There's always a
chance." He sounded hopeful.  Jesus, he sounded so hopeful.  It was
almost funny how a man who never wanted a child in the first place,
who couldn't even take care of his own fish, who knew he could
lose his partner to the possibility of such a child, could sound that
hopeful about fathering one.

"The truth is that my chances went out the window about three years
ago," Scully said.  "I just didn't want to face it."

"You never know," said Mulder.  "After we--"

"I know," said Scully,  "what you're going to say.  But
it's not possible.  We've both seen the truth here.  So
now...now we just go back to life as we always live it.  I'm not
going anywhere, Mulder.  I'm not leaving you and I'm not
leaving this case.  We're going to figure out what's going
on here in Bellefluer, we're going to search the woods,
we're going to bag some more evidence--hopefully, without
it getting burned to the ground this time--and then we're
going back to D.C to get our asses chewed by accounting for wasting
yet another gross amount of bureau dollars.  You know, I can waste
money just as expediently as you can."

A pause on the line.  The moonlight threw a shadow on the pillow above
Scully's head.  Revealed just a small slice of white.  She
waited for Mulder to make a crack about the little bald man in
accounting, and how Mulder had threatened to bust open the guy's
skull like a peanut only a few days earlier.

"You know you can't predict the future," said Mulder, and the
weight in his voice took her by surprise.  "Sometimes the outcome
isn't what you expected, or the truth is different than what you
thought it could be.  You know, Scully, it's like having 19 and
telling the dealer to hit you up one last time.  We could have talked
about...I don't know.  I wanted to try and work my way up to the
part about miracles happening--miracles like the cure for your
cancer--and when have I ever been wrong?  About the weird shit, I
mean...but you didn't stay long enough."

Scully sucked in a large breath.  She hadn't been expecting
that.  Not now, not after months of unspoken agreements to "not stay."

"You're talking about...about tonight."  She ended her words
with a lilt.

"Yeah," said Mulder.  "Why?  What did you think I was talking about?"

"I...Nothing," said Scully, and she shook her head.  "Nothing."

Two months earlier, she and Mulder came to a sort of "new
understanding" on the floor of his living room.  They had spent hours
talking about fate and free will and revelations and the Universe,
which wasn't anything more exciting than what they normally
discussed.  Scully's eyelids had grown hot and weary.  The
warmth and the heat from chamomile did it.  She fell asleep by
accident, and only after the tea and late-night discussion tired her
eyes well past the point of exhaustion.   As for Mulder...well, he
covered her up with an old afghan that smelled vaguely of herbs and
spice, and he went somewhere that wasn't his couch.  He'd
started mumbling the word "a lot" over and over, and then the words
wavered, and then quieted, and then he was just gone.

Mulder didn't return until well after three am, well after his
apartment had gone still and silent except for the humming blurps of
his fishtank.  Scully had been asleep for a good solid hour when
Mulder got up for orange juice or milk or something liquid he intended
to slurp right out of the carton.  He crept past her-- graceful as a
blind, dizzied cat, and he tripped over his shoes, fell to the floor,
got back up, banged his foot on the coffee table, cursed, and finally
hobbled over to the fridge on one foot.  Scully heard the first crash
and her eyes fluttered open; she thought the apartment was being
bombed.  She reached for her gun in a haze of groggy, post-sleep
paranoia, and paused.  Mulder was tripping over himself.

She wasn't sure what to think.  Beneath the fog of half-sleep, of
unreality, there was Mulder, straight-backed and quiet, alit by the
glow of an open refrigerator. He wore a gray t-shirt and black sweat
shorts, and he stood on one leg like a tall, sweat-suited flamingo.  His hair prickled and
spiked towards the ceiling.  His arms were thick and bare.  He looked
good.  He looked so good that the sight of him standing there
in something other than a suit kept Scully from laughing.  Because
otherwise, he really did look like a bruised, haughty flamingo.

After a moment of staring, she called out to him: Mulder, I think I
should get going.  We have work tomorrow and I need to...that is...I
wanted to thank you for the tea.  But I should get home. She stretched
her arms to try and pull herself together.  She didn't want
Mulder to know how jumpy she'd been feeling, and that in her
frenzied haste to regain her bearings, she'd come this close to
blowing his brains out because she thought he was robbing his own

Unstartled by the sound of her voice, Mulder turned to face her.  He
nodded and dropped the carton of juice to the counter.  Yeah, he
agreed, his voice scratchy.  It's late anyway. I'll just
get...your shoes and all...

She rose, and Mulder's wool afghan dripped from her shoulders to
the floor.  Mulder crept towards the couch and held up a hand; he told
her to get her shoes while he folded the blanket.  No, seriously,
Scully.  You kicked them under the couch.  They argued: I got it.  No,
I got it.  No, really-- I dropped it, I can fold it, Mulder--let
me.  I have it, Scully, I--

Their first kiss happened on accident--a surprise meeting of
lips.  Their second kiss was deeper, and a reasonable physiological
response to the first.  His fingers suddenly found her belly, the
untouched skin beneath her breasts. He rubbed and caressed her in
soft, wet places that made her eyes roll back into their sockets.  She
had his shirt and shorts off in under three minutes, not counting the
ungraceful thirty seconds that Mulder got caught in his own sleeves.
She didn't even know what the hell she was doing but she
just...she wanted more. For once in her life, she wanted what she
wanted, and instead of crying over not ever getting it, she wanted to
seize what she wanted the moment she wanted it.

And so she did.

Their first time was hard and fast, and right there on the floor of
Mulder's living room.  Slightly overzealous, Mulder knocked over
the coffee table with his long legs. Scully banged her head twice
against the foot of the couch as she tried to find rhythm with him;
they were both excited, but sloppy and unpracticed.  Mulder babbled
her name, asked her if he should stop.  I will, he said, in huffs, in
chant.  If you want me to, if you need me to stop, just tell me and I
will.  Say, say...what you want.  Say it and I will. I'll do it.
  I will I will.

Afterwards, Scully sobbed.  Not because it hadn't been good, but
because it had been so much better than good.  Embarrassed and
terrified, she buried her face in her hands and continued to sob.
Mulder, in his post-coital, confused and yet well-meaning state,
carried her to the bed and refrained from asking her questions.  He
laid her down and rubbed her back and let her cry.

Their second time was intentional and slow, their third time slower.
Their fourth time was silent until the very end, when Mulder whispered
her name and kissed her neck and panted out how, I want to...give you
a baby.  I want to give you...a baby.  If I believe it, if I believe
in it, Scully, I can...I can...And then he came, and she came, and her
mouth over his mouth silenced anything further.

She finally left him around five in the morning.  He was asleep, of
course, and she was glad for that, because she cried all the way home.
 And then she cried all the way up the steps to her apartment
building. She cried and cried until all the tears left inside of her
dried up like an old well spent from years of misuse.  And then she
just...stopped crying.

The phone crackled and Mulder took a breath.  "You're the one
who knocked, Scully.  I don't understand why you-;-"

"I was sick, I was cold, I-- I needed to get warm," said Scully.  "I
wasn't going to stay all night. Not on assignment.  Not like
that, Mulder."

"You could have stayed," he insisted.

"I couldn't have."

"We were just talking, Scully."

Scully sighed.  "I know."

What in the hell was wrong with them?  The silence, the avoidance, the
boycott on personal commentary... They consistently walked a fine line
through an emotional minefield; any minute there would be an
explosion, a mushroom cloud of catastrophe.  And in the wake of this
brilliant flash of light their world would end.  It just...would.
Bottom line was that neither she nor Mulder ever spoke about what
happened in Mulder's apartment.  Not once, not even in passing.
Mulder didn't ask her why she left so suddenly, and Scully never
asked Mulder why he'd promised, mid-climax, that he would give
her a baby.  It was just...too much for both of them.

And then one night, about a week after that first time, Scully invited
Mulder over for a pot of leftover spaghetti.  They kept themselves
cloaked; they spoke from a distance and danced back and forth, around
and around each other to the tune of some deranged, silent music. It
was strictly professional, a merging of minds--a meeting to
discuss their future course of investigation.  They were still dressed
for work: she in her suit, Mulder in his coat.  She was about ready to
get out a requisition form, was handing Mulder a file from her
dresser, when he just touched her shoulder and asked her, You want me
to put up the sauce, Scully? I'm closer to the kitchen and I...

An hour later and Scully was gasping, panting, clawing her fingers
down Mulder's sweaty, nude back; in her zeal, she accidentally
scratched a bloody line across Mulder's arm.  And Mulder, during
their second go-around, accidentally bit her shoulder.  Both fell
mercifully asleep after a loud, draining, almost simultaneous climax,
their legs and arms tangled in her dampened, expensive silk sheets.
What would become of those sheets?  How could she ever lie on them
again?  She'd know he'd been there.  She'd feel him,
smell him every time she...Jesus.  She'd tossed that night and
had horrible nightmares.

Mulder left before sunrise the next morning and Scully never asked him
why.  Neither of them brought it up at work.  They just left the sex
at that.  Sex.  What was done was...done.

"Mulder--" As always, he was breathing into the phone.  Really
loudly.  Scully pursed her lips.  "I'm not excusing myself from
responsibility, here. And I'm not trying to insult the nature of
your intentions.  But the reality is that the bureau has strict rules
on these types of things and we've already got enough roadblocks
in our way to fill a warehouse.  I wasn't going to stay.  That
would have...that would have made things worse."

"How?" asked Mulder.  "I mean, since you just threw the rule book at
me.  Didn't I tell you once that I'd kick your ass for

"You know how," said Scully.

After the slip at Scully's apartment, there seemed to be no
stopping the sexual indiscretions that continually rose up between
them.  A week later and they were back at Mulder's apartment.
The last night of it, of the sexual acrobatics, that is, and they were
watching a movie--a bad movie about Bill Murray and a gofer and
some people...Scully wasn't sure.

You want another? said Mulder, and he yanked off the cap of a beer.

I'm game if you are, said Scully, and the beer caps accumulated.
 They'd both had one beer, which turned into two beers, which
turned into three beers, which turned into random shots of Vodka and
Cranberry-juice after Mulder mentioned a drinking game he'd
played back in college.  You got game, Scully? He asked.  He smiled.
She liked his smile.

They say you shouldn't play with the bigwigs if you can't
hold your liquor, Mulder slurred, and Scully thought him the funniest
thing she'd ever seen.  Something about wigs.  Why would he talk
about wigs?  She doubled over laughing and tried to out-drink him but
failed.  Miserably.

I'm winning, said Mulder.  You're a shot and a half behind
me and now I--

Scully grabbed Mulder and decided to taste him as he was preparing her
a fourth shot.  His skin was warm, his hair smooth, and his mouth,
bitter.  Again they fell to the floor by accident, by complete and
total accident, and again, Mulder knocked over the coffee table with
his long legs.  But this time they both had a reasonable excuse; they
were clearly confused, tipsy, and very much out of sorts--Mulder
more than she.

Mulder, as he always did when the clothes came off, started talking.
He liked to talk her through it, liked to ask her questions.  About
everything.  About nothing.  Maybe the talking made him feel safer,
like he could pretend that nothing between them had changed at all.
They weren't fucking each other, they were just...talking.  As
always.  Just talking.

He mumbled incoherently about every single office indiscretion he had
perpetuated against her throughout their seven years
together--right down to the false excuses he'd used to get
out of doing paperwork.

You know Scully, about that time with the phone call and I said it was
a wrong number but it was really Skinner who called us up and he said
we never filed the return on that missing cow case, well that was my
fault because I didn't feel like doing it and you know, you
looked really nice that day--something about your hair that you
were doing differently but I never said anything because you said
something, something about growing it out, I don't know--

He said strange things about her eyes and her hair she couldn't
quite remember.  He used the word beautiful and he used the word
frustrating.  He talked and mumbled and whispered as he kissed her, as
he entered her.   Do you need me to stop, want me to stop?  Just say
so and I will.  I will I will.  He always said that when he entered

And then, right before he came, right before Mulder exploded inside of
her for the second time in one night, he burst out in a flurry of
ScullyScullyScullyScully, and then he kissed her neck, and then he
whispered, I love you.  He whispered I love you over and over, until
he had to start breathing again and stop whispering it.  And then, of
course, he passed out.

Two minutes later, and Scully felt her insides twist like burning tin.
 She extracted herself from Mulder's unconscious body and ran to
the bathroom where she vomited until she was sure her ribs cracked.
She closed her eyes and whispered nonsense and babbled on and on for
hours until she could breathe properly again.  Oh I shouldn't
don't ever drink like this and what was I thinking that I should
fuck him when I feel like I feel and he feels oh God oh Shit What have
I done?  Please don't love me.  Oh God Mulder.  Please
don't love me.

Funny how love didn't seem to care what Scully thought about it.
 And Mulder, from what Scully understood, couldn't even remember
anything that was said or done after he'd imbibed his second
red-eyed-slut.  Convenient, in terms of memory loss.  And
motherfucking annoying, after the fifth time Mulder breezily asked
her, So you say I had how many?  Really?  Haven't had that much
since college.

"I'm not talking about sex, Scully." Mulder's baritone
vibrated through the phone line.    "Jesus.  You come to me
complaining that you're sick and you think all I care about is
fucking you?"

"That's not what I meant, Mulder."

"Then you might want to clarify, at least for my sake.  Jesus.
You're my friend, Scully.  I just thought I'd lie there with
you, help you out, make you laugh.   It's been known to happen."

Scully felt like smiling, but she kept picturing herself bowled over
Mulder's toilet.  He either loved her and meant it or had
seriously deluded himself into thinking that he did.  Either way, his
zeal in forgetting that he'd said "I love you" did nothing to
negate her feelings for him.  And if it truly was love that she felt,
then love would have been wonderful if not for the fact that
everything else she'd ever loved or wanted died or disappeared.

"You're talking about cuddling," said Scully, bemused after a
moment.  She shook her head, her lips upturned.

"What?  Too girly?"

A pause.

"Seriously, Mulder.  Why did you call?  It's almost three am.  I
left an hour ago."

"Just doing some thinking," said Mulder.  "And you weren't
feeling so great when you left."

"I needed sleep," said Scully.

"And I would have prevented it," said Mulder.  Offended.  He was

"Would you have?"  Scully breathed and her voice cracked.  "Or would I


Scully shook her head, rubbed the back of her neck where she'd
banged herself on the edge of Mulder's couch.  Maybe she should
have told him up front that she loved him.  She wanted to tell him the
truth.  All of it.  But the words came out all wrong:

"How do you know nothing would have happened?"  Scully took a breath.
"I don't know what this is, Mulder, what's going on
between us, but we haven't exactly been...professional, lately,
in the self-control department."

"You mean the sex," said Mulder.

"No, I mean using the photocopier to fax post-it notes to Frohike,"
said Scully.  A pause.  Then: "Yes, I mean the sex, Mulder."

"What about it?  It was some damn good sex."

"It...it was."

"Scully..." Mulder took a breath and let it out right into the
receiver.  Scully flinched.  "I'm not asking you to leave
because of some sort of post-coital, Neanderthal desire to protect the
woman I'm fucking.  If that's what you think.  I'm
asking you because I'm afraid.  I'm afraid of...losing
you.  And I just think...I just think you're better than all
this.  You should have been running the bureau years ago."

"Better than what?"

Mulder breathed into the receiver again, which invoked in Scully the
sudden desire to slap him.  Then there was a small measure of silence
before Mulder voiced what Scully already knew he had been thinking:



"No, You should have that baby, Scully.  You should have...I
don't know.  More than a fast, hard fuck on a living room

Scully smiled to herself, at the harsh yet well-intentioned sentiment.
 "Mulder.  No offense, but it takes two people to fuck," she said.
"Besides that, it was some damn good...fucking.  I don't regret
any of it.  Well, except for the part when I banged my head.  I could
have done without that."

A pause.

"Wow," breathed Mulder.  "Say that word again."

"Say what word again?"

"You know..."

"Oh Jesus, Mulder."

"That wasn't the one I wanted to hear.  But I like that one,
too.  And I also like the constant string of yesses.   The only time
you ever agree with me is when I've got you horizontal."

Scully grinned, her cheeks suddenly hot.  "Your theories are easier
for me to grasp when they're jutting from your zipper and not
hanging from some silver Frisbee with the word UFO painted on it."

Mulder chuckled.  "Ah, yes.  At least now I know where to write them
so I'll have your undivided attention.   And you calling me God,
that works out just fine, too."

"No, no, Mulder--I didn't call you God.  I only referred
to God."

"You either invoked his name or you tried to ordain me. I'm
still not sure which."

A pause.

"Scully, I just...I don't want things to change between us.  But
I can't see how they can stay the way they are."

Scully nodded at nobody.  She felt Mulder in the room, and despite
herself, wanted him next to her.  She could hear his voice in her ear:
if you want me to stop, if you need me to, just ask, just say so, say
what you want.  Tell me and I will.  I will I will.

"We're a team, you and I," was what she eventually said.

"I know."

"And I wouldn't change a day--I told you that."

"I know."

"And we're going to be alright," she said.

"I wish I could promise you that," said Mulder.  He sounded small and
monotone, as if he stood on the edge of everything he believed in and
looked down at the life that could have been--and thought of

Scully felt a chill as she pictured this, her umpteenth chill for that
evening, and she brought the blankets up tighter around herself.  She
just...needed to get warm.  "No," she said, as she pulled the
comforter up around her ears.  "You know...that's not what
you're supposed to say at this point.  You're supposed to
say, 'I know, Scully.'"  She paused.  "And then
you're supposed to say, 'Scully is always right.'"

"I said that already," said Mulder.

"You didn't say that last part."

Mulder chuckled, and the sound was like music.  "I'll say it
when it's true."

Scully sighed, a smile tugging at the corners of her lips.  "I'm
going to try and get some sleep," she said.

"I know," said Mulder, and this time it was Scully's turn to
chuckle.  The line went silent again for a slow three seconds, and
with the blanket pulled up tight around the phone, the conversation
felt suddenly much more intimate.  Scully could imagine that Mulder
was lying there with her, rubbing her back as he did that first time
when she cried.  He was there, his arms wrapped tight around her
middle, his voice in her ear.  Scully, remember that one time we went
looking for vampires in Texas?  Do you really think that Ronnie
Strickland came back to life or do you still subscribe to this theory
that it was all--what do you mean he must not have been dead?
He was dead.  He had a stake through his heart. We both saw it.  We
both--tell me when you want me to stop, Scully--we both
saw what happened.  It--seriously, Scully, if you want me to
stop, I will.  I will I will.

She wouldn't leave him right away this time.  He wouldn't
leave her either.  For the first time, both would stay until the sun

"Say, Scully," said Mulder.

Scully closed her eyes against her fantasy and murmured, "Hm?"

"Don't hang up."

She opened her eyes, managed,  "Mulder?" and frowned.  "What do you
mean, 'don't hang up?’ I'm about ready to fall

"I mean keep the line open," he said.

Scully examined the corner of her blanket alit by moonlight.  She
fingered the stitching and shivered, again taken by a disturbing chill
that ran up and through her spine, and then out her toes.  "Why?" she
asked quietly.

"Because you didn't stay," said Mulder just as quietly.  "And I
wanted you to."

Scully pulled the phone from her ear and stared at the receiver for a
long while.  She ran her finger around the circumference of the
mouthpiece as if the piece of plastic were Mulder's lips.
Nothing was said after that.  Nothing needed to be said.

Scully set the phone on the pillow by her head and fell asleep to the
sounds of Mulder breathing into the receiver.

Scully kept the line open until morning, when she heard Mulder's
alarm clock going off in muted bleeps and pings next to her ear.  She
opened her eyes and smiled, her fingers tickling the pillowcase where
the phone rested.  On the other end, the sounds of shifting sheets and
errant thuds and fifty's doo-wap filled the air.  Mulder was
singing, "Build me Up Buttercup" along with the radio even though he
didn't know all the words:

"I'll be over a stem, you tell me...something...and
phlegm...and I'm late.  I wait around the bend..."

Scully took the phone in her hands and turned it over and over.  She
shook her head and set it back down on the receiver and smiled to
herself.  There was a tingling in her stomach, a bizarre rumbling and
squirming that she didn't recognize.  Probably because she
hadn't eaten anything since yesterday.  But at least her
appetite was back, and that was good.  As soon as Mulder was done with
his floorshow, Scully would have to run over and ask him to go get her

"I do think we're going to be alright," she said out
loud--to nobody.  She had a good feeling about things.  About
Mulder.  She felt calm.  She felt good.  For the first time in a week,
she felt almost at ease.  She chuckled to herself and nodded.  "Yeah,"
she said.  "I think we're going to be alright."


Well, we all know what happened after that.  Too bad Scully doesn't
have better instincts.  ;-)

Anyway, thanks to all my readers, of course, with a special shout-out
to the stalkers over at the Haven.  My favorite quote from 'Steel
Magnolias:' "I love you more than my luggage."  And an extra special
shout-out to Amy at the Haven for keeping up the boards that have
saved my sanity the past few weeks. I know it's not money, but do you
accept payment in fic?  <grin>

And here, at the end, my special thanks to the cast and crew of The X
Files.  I wouldn't be the person I am today without this show.  And
here at the end, I find myself grateful beyond words for the
experience. Thanks for the memories.  And David?  Thanks for coming
back.  I love you.  Call me!  ;-)