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Chapter Ten

 

Sunday

Apartment forty-two held no light other than the soft blue coming from the television. Every now and then the screen would fade to black for a split second as the channels changed, the room fading to black right along with it.

Mulder couldn’t help the chuckle that left his mouth when he spotted QVC selling dream catchers, the irony not lost on him given the events of the last week. The hand-made pieces of art and folklore rotated on the screen, a woman with a painted-on smile being brought into the frame once in a while to talk with the caller on the phone.

It was hard for Mulder to believe that it was only 9:00pm. The weekend had been dragging since he got back from New York; he hadn’t seen Scully since Friday.

For observation, the hospital had kept Scully overnight, letting her leave with Mulder Friday morning. There had been no strain on her heart from the attack, but they’d given her some pain medication just in case and the prescription of plenty of rest. Scully had finished her report on the plane and faxed to Gavin and Trisha as soon as they’d landed then had Mulder drop her off. She hadn’t called about any problems, so Mulder figured no news was good news.

As he changed the channel to Discovery, his phone rang. Reaching to his coffee table, he answered, "I was wondering when you’d finally call."

"Miss me that much, huh, Foxy?" Gavin answered back.

"Oh, hey, Badge." Mulder sat up on his couch, muting his television and settling his elbow on his knees.

"I was just calling to let you know that we got Scully’s report and everything is ship shape. Also, this particular case is the top of conversation around here. They’re even thinking about letting Trish and me take on these types of cases, kind of our own little X-Files division, if you can believe that; the Mulder and Scully of the NYPD."

"Wow." Mulder stood up and wandered to the kitchen. He opened the refrigerator, finding only a half carton of milk and some old lunch meat. Shutting the door, he settled for making some coffee.

"So, how is Scully? Though, given how you answered, I guess you know about as much as I do."

"I think she’s doing fine. I mean she seemed fine when we got back." Mulder walked back into his living room and threw himself back on the couch.

"And what about you and Scully?" Gavin said this in almost a teasing manner. Despite that, Mulder could tell Gavin wanted answers.

"What about me and Scully?" he said instead, evading the question.

"You know what I mean."

Mulder sighed heavily and turned toward the television in time to see a cheetah chasing an antelope. "I know . . ."

Gavin cleared his throat on the other side of the phone. "Well, before we get into this–-and trust me, we *will* get into this–-I just want to point out that, well, to be honest . . . She doesn’t seem like your type."

Mulder grinned, but said in all seriousness, "Well, to be honest, Gavin, I don’t think I knew what my type was until I met her."

"Also," Gavin started, seeming to have not even heard what Mulder had said, "you two don’t exactly see eye to eye."

"She’s almost a foot shorter than me, Gav. That’s kind of expected," Mulder said dryly.

"All right, all right," he started, after receiving no reply from Gavin. I’ve caught on to that, believe you me. And I can promise you you’re not the only one who has picked up on that little ‘flaw.’ In fact, there were some people, when we were first partnered, relying on that destroying the X-Files. But I think all it did was make it better. It’s what’s made us last so long. She makes me work. Hard. Really really hard. That’s a good thing."

This time he received a chuckled in response.

"You trying to avoid this, this *amazing* thing between you and Scully is like trying to hold water in your hands forever. It’s impossible. And ridiculous.

"Pretending to be in love is easy, Foxy. People do it everyday. Pretending not to be? That’s a hard one. That’s the real challenge. And I hate to break it to you, man, but you really suck at it."

Mulder cachinnated at the last comment, but Gavin kept going.

"So tell me: What do you want?"

The question hit Mulder in the gut and ceased his laughter. He chewed on the inside of his lip for a moment, mulling the inquiry over.

Finally, just above a whisper, he answered, "I want it all. Or at least, as much as I can get. But . . ."

"But?"

"But we’re years away from taking that step. Things that have to be done before we can cross that line. I mean, why hasn’t she said anything to me?"

"She’s waiting for you. She has her doubts, her insecurities, even I can see that. However, once she knows you’re ready . . ." he trailed off, Mulder filling in the possibilities for himself. He was good at that–-coming up with far-fetched possibilities.

"And you’re not years from taking that step, Mulder. Two seconds, if that. If you’re going to save the world, together, you might as well reap the benefits."

Mulder sat up and turned his television off, thoughts swimming endlessly through his mind. He started slipping his shoes on then said, "Okay."

Gavin unleashed quite possibly the most jovial laugh Mulder had ever heard. It wouldn’t surprise him if his old friend was dancing a jig.

"Do me a favor, though, Badger."

The laughter was still evident in Gavin’s voice when he asked, "What?"

"Take your own advice." The laughter died completely and without another word, Mulder hung up the phone and sped out the door; before he could change his mind.

 

Scully’s Apartment

10:30pm

 

Taking a peek through the peephole then glancing at the clock, Scully opened the door confused, but pleased, by the late night visit from Mulder.

"Hi," she greeted. She offered an ushering hand to welcome him inside. Silently she wondered why he wasn’t wearing a coat. It was freezing outside. Even more strange was the fact his shoes were untied.

He walked in, hesitantly, and began to pace in front of the couch. He ran one hand haphazardly through his hair, deep in thought. Scully watched him from the door, her eyebrows knitting together, wondering what on earth had him so frazzled. Finally, he came to a halt directly in front of her, making eye contact immediately.

"How are you feeling?" he asked, suddenly.

She looked at him for a fleeting moment, an amused expression crossing her face at his peculiar behavior and, purposely avoiding the f-word, she answered simply, "Great. I feel great."

In response he gave one big nod, convinced. His eyes swept over her entire body in one fluid motion then, his attention settling on her lips.

It didn’t even register that he was going to kiss her until his lips crashed against hers, hard and beautifully. She was rigid at first and knew he felt her tense up at the unexpected act, but once his tongue pushed into her mouth, tickling the roof of it, her knees turned to jello. She brought both hands up to wrap around the back of his neck–-partly because she needed to hold herself up, but mostly because she needed to pull him as close as possible until she wasn’t sure she knew were she ended and he began.

He pulled away first.

Her eyes flew open to see him standing a few inches away from her, both of them breathing hard. She licked her now dry lips and couldn’t do anything else but stare at him. She could hear her heart pounding in her ears, but unlike her experience with Luke Vicors, she welcomed the sound; encouraged it.

Scully opened her mouth to say something, but he beat her to it.

"I’m sorry, but I needed to do that. I had to do that because . . ." She watched him mentally struggle for the words. "Because if I didn’t feel *that* as soon as possible, I would have chickened out. I knew that if I kissed you then nothing could stop me from telling you what I should have told you a long time ago."

She knew she should be listening. She was trying with everything in her to listen, but she was distracted by the incessant, unbelievably rapid beating of her heart and the realization that if she didn’t kiss him again, soon, she could very well lose her mind right then and there.

She knew what he was going to say. He was going to tell her he loved her. But she knew that. He told her everyday; his eyes, his smile, the way he found any excuse to touch her. She could do without the words at the moment. The fact that he was finally here meant more to her than three simple words ever could. It meant that he was ready.

"I’m horrible with words, Scully, so you’re going to have to bear with me on this one. I guess what it all boils down to is–"

"No, Mulder."

Panic hit his face as soon as ‘no’ escaped her lips. Though she knew she should make her point more clear, it amused her.

You’re a wicked, wicked woman, Dana.

However, once his shoulders started to slump, she took one small step, closing the distance between them, and repaid the favor of his unexpected kiss with one of her own. Placing her hands on the side of his face, she languidly kissed him; thoroughly, extremely thoroughly. She heard herself moan against his lips as his arms encircled her waist securely, her feet leaving the ground. Her hands left his face and her arms wrapped around his neck. Pulling away first this time, Scully pecked him twice on the lips before resting her forehead against his, completely breathless.

"Don’t tell me, Mulder," she whispered. Her lips began to trail along his hairline until she reached his ear, planting an opened mouthed kiss right behind it. Mulder’s entire body shivered and she almost laughed with delight. Instead, she kept her lips where they were, nuzzling his temple with her nose. "Show me," she added huskily.

Mulder placed her gingerly back down to the ground and searched her face. Yes, she said with her eyes; and he smiled then grinned. He was close to tears and his eyes were a remarkable shade of green.

Taking his hand in hers, Scully led them down the hallway to her bedroom. The lamps on both night stands were on and an open book lay faced down beside one of them. Seeing the bed caused both of them pause. Scully, ever the brave one, took a deep breath and lead them the rest of the way until they were standing at the foot of her neatly made bed.

Turning to him, she dropped his hand but began to trail her own up his arm, admiring his arms. She continued the movement until her hand was resting on his shoulder. Undressing him would be quick and painless, was the first thing she observed.

He was wearing one of his gray tee-shirts. She figured he owned a twelve pack set of them, along with an equal amount of white and black ones. She smiled at her thoughts. Her hand traced back over his biceps as she thought to herself how wonderfully the plain shirts accentuated this part of his anatomy. She brought her other hand up from her side and placed her palm against his chest. When she finally decided to look up, she saw that his eyes were twinkling in amusement, but there was no trace of the usual Mulder cockiness; he was nervous. She could see that in his eyes as well and feel his heart racing. Heat radiating off his body hit her like a wave and she could feel her core tremble at the sensation.

Mulder finally brought his callused hand up to meet the silk skin of her neck. She closed her eyes at the gesture and sighed. She felt his hand trail from her neck to begin undoing the pearl buttons of her cardigan with shaky hands.

"God, I’m so nervous," he admitted with a whisper. She opened her eyes and saw him eyeing the buttons, struggling for control just so he could release her from the confines of her cashmere prison.

"Me too," she whispered back with a reassuring smile.

Bringing her hands away from him, she grabbed him by the wrists gently and brought his hands to her mouth. She brushed her lips over them lightly before guiding them back down to continue their task. Slowly, Mulder released one round button after another until he could push the sweater from Scully’s shoulders, watching as the fabric fluttered to the ground. Abandoning her assistance, he grabbed the bottom of the matching green tank top and pulled it over her head, quickly leaving her hair beautifully mussed.

His hands flew up to trace the contours of the tops of her breasts, admiration in his eyes. Scully’s hands left his wrists as she reached to remove his cotton shirt. It took a few tugs to convince Mulder to abandon the ogling of her breasts and allow her to see more of him.

Flat-footed, without three inch heels to give her any advantage, Scully struggled to get the shirt over his head. During the process, Mulder started to smile, evidently amused yet ultimately aroused by this labor of love. Finally, the shirt cooperated--with no assistance from Mulder other than freeing his arms from the sleeves--and it slipped off his body.

She was about to dryly thank him for his help in the matter when she felt his lips assaulting hers with fervor. Immediately her hands sprung to his belt buckle and she began to urgently liberate him from his jeans. Her fingers fumbled, but she kept her lips locked to his, unwilling to let go; unwilling to break the connection.

Mulder, however, was proving to be quite the multitasker. While his lips continued their sensual assault, his hands attacked the single button on her trousers and, while he successfully toed off his shoes and socks.

Once free from their pants, their underwear was the only remaining barrier. They gazed at one another for a moment, taking in each others’ bodies. Mulder opened his arms and she leaned into him, his arms–-the arms she’d sought refuge in a thousand times over–-now enveloping her body in a warm, loving embrace.

She brushed her cheek over his chest hair as she listened to his heartbeat, fast but steady. A puff of air on her scalp told her he was breathing her in. His lips brushed over the copper top of her head and she heard him mumble something into it.

Turning her face up to him, her eyes asked the question.

"I said: God, you’re so beautiful," he answered hoarsely as passion stole his voice.

She felt color rise in her cheeks and, to hide it, she leaned her forehead against the center of his breastbone. His hands glided over her back, causing a shiver down her spine. Instead of doing what she expected him to do–-unclasp her bra–-he began to lower her onto the bed. She landed with a sigh as his lips latched onto her earlobe, moving slowly and strategically down her neck. The warmth of his tongue found her clavicle, a moan escaping her throat.

"I can’t believe this is happening," she barely whispered into the air.

No words followed the statement in reply, but she felt him smile against her skin and his response was clear. It was happening. It was happening and it felt indescribably wonderful. Scully’s hands curled into his hair as he continued the journey down her body. Her back arched to allow him better access once he reached the sensitive spot just above her belly button.

Suddenly he stopped his ministrations and looked up at her. Locking eyes, she felt one of his hand’s come up to rest on her thigh, but just as soon as it was there, it began to move over the curves of her legs, stroking and memorizing with just his mere touch as they never broke eye contact. His fingers found the top of her sock and began to slide the soft cotton from her foot, eliciting a sigh from her. He repeated the process on her other leg and his eyes sparkled in delight as he witnessed the effect it had on her.

Finally, his hands caressing over her side, around her back, he unclasped her bra in one snap and removed it from her chest. His hands were hovering over the soft flesh, when he heard her say, "Turn off the lights, Mulder." He stared at her a moment, confused by the request, but she answered him with a purr in her voice. "We have forever to look, Mulder. Tonight, I just want to feel; to know each other by touch alone." The emotion in her voice had him clicking the lamps off and finding his way back over her body in two seconds flat.

And they did feel.

She felt him worship her breasts with his mouth and hands. She felt him slip his hands between the elastic of her cotton panties as he removed the last restraint. She felt his firm chest as it crushed her body and she welcomed the weight. And she felt that chest rumble in a moan as she removed his boxers.

She felt him suck and nibble every inch of her body. And she felt how hot his skin was when her lips lingered along his jaw and neck; over his chest and shoulders.

She felt the pain then pleasure as they joined together, at last.

Then, they felt everything in unison. Their emotions and feelings, along with their bodies, mingled and intertwined. They felt each other’s hands travel every inch of every curve and crevice. And she knew they both felt the world shake as blessed release washed over their bodies.

It was like pouring night into a glass . . .

And drinking in the stars.

 

XxX

The pre-dawn light trickled in through the half-open blinds. He knew he’d only slept fifteen minutes, if that, the entire night and even that had been involuntary. He couldn’t take his eyes off her. Her back was curled against his chest and although this was not the first time he’d awakened with her in his arms, this experience was different. No clothing separated him from her bare perfection. And he wasn’t holding her because she needed protection from demons of the night, but because it was as natural as breathing.

They were lovers now.

The thought made him smile. Burrowing his nose into the hair over her neck, he breathed her in, wishing the scent could be bottled. Moving his face, he was able to nudge some of her hair away and capture her ear with his mouth.

She stirred and he heard a content hum rise from her throat. He followed the sound with his lips.

"What are you doing?" she sleepily asked.

"Shhh, I’m conducting an investigation. I need to test a theory."

He felt her smile and wiggle closer to his body. Once he reached his destination, he paused the shortest of moments before taking a nip at that special place where the shoulder and neck meet. A deep, sensual moan was his reward.

"Case solved," he mumbled, moving to rest his cheek against hers.

"That has to be a record, Agent Mulder."

"Well, the subject was very interesting. Always a plus."

Scully rolled over so that their chests pressed together, entangling their legs once she was comfortable. She rubbed her nose against his in an Eskimo kiss.

"Scully?"

"Hm?"

He wrapped his arms tightly around her, a signal that what he was about to say was serious. She brought her hand to rest over his head, combing her fingers through the strands of dark hair. Their eyes met and she didn’t dare look away.

"I know . . . I know that saying it is kind of moot now, but . . .it’s something that I need to say, even if you already know. Can I tell you I love you?" The proclamation was lined with tears that didn’t leave his eyes.

"You just did," she whispered, fighting back her own tears. She obviously hadn’t realized how much those words actually meant to her until she heard them.

"Can I tell you again?"

"Please."

"I love you, Scully," and he followed it with a kiss.

"I haven’t told many people that in my life," he said once they pulled away from each other. "I can’t even remember if I ever told Samantha."

"She knew, Mulder. Whether you ever told her or not, she knew."

"Yeah, I guess so." He studied her face for a second. "Were you," he paused, giving the question a second thought before deciding he needed to know. "Were you able to tell Emily that you loved her?"

A sad smile played across her lips and he regretted the inquiry. "Yes, actually," she answered. "When I . . . When I was with her, before she died, I whispered it in her ear as she slept. It wasn’t two minutes later that she slipped away."

Mulder opened his mouth to say something, but instead hugged her to him. She broke the embrace to lay her palm on his cheek, her thumb brushing against the stubble.

"I love you, Mulder."

Their bodies molded together as they encircled their arms around the other’s waist and further entangled their legs. Mulder felt her sigh and he breathed her in as he felt her relax against him.

"So what happens now?" she whispered, her voice lazy but laced with concern. "When we wake up . . . what happens?"

Mulder rubbed her bare back gently, soothing her with his touch. He honestly wasn’t sure what would happen next. The odds were against them and what they were to each other, to say the least. He knew this was only the beginning. This was the easy part.

He also knew that they would have to take everything as it came; their lives were that unpredictable. So, placing a kiss on her cheek, Mulder softly uttered the only assurance he could offer, "Close your eyes, Scully. I’ll wake you when we get there."

Fini