Title: Z Is For Zero
Author: Donnilee
Spoilers: Little ones for Fire, 3, Millenium, FTF.
Disclaimer: All characters belong to Chris Carter, Ten Thirteen Productions and Fox Broadcasting.
Rating: NC-17

Summary: An FBI ball, two understanding colleagues, a misunderstanding, a fight and some soul searching. Oh, and course, ... the naked pretzel.

Author's Note:

Kimpa/Orange Tabby Cat Challenge
Scully/Other-Mulder/Other - Check!
Late night phone chat - Check!
Orange Tabby Cat named Kathy - Check!
M or S saying 'C'mere' - Check!
Lime Green VW Bug - Check!
Skinner in an ugly tie - Check!
Yellow rubber ducky - Check!
Product/person, etc. named Kimpa - Check!

The New Lexicon Webster's Dictionary of the English Language

Ze-ro (zierous) 1.n.pl. ze-ros, ze-roes. The numerical symbol 0 denoting absence of value (*NUMBER TABLE) || the beginning of a numerical scale (of distance, time, tmeperature, etc.) || the temperature of pure melting ice under standard atmopheric pressure on th Centigrad eand Teaumur scales || *ABSOLUTE ZERO || (gunnery) a sight setting which allows for elevation and wind deflection || (fig.) the lowest point || a non entity 2. V.t. (with "in") to adjust the sights of (a rifle) by calibrated firing under conditions of no wind || to adjust (an instrument, etc.) to a zero point, or to a point representing zero || to zero in on to adjust fire on (a target) || to move in close to || to concentrate on 3. Adj. having the value of zero || (meteor.) *ZERO VISIBILITY


J. EDGAR HOOVER BUILDING
BASEMENT Office
Washington, D.C.
Thursday, April 5, 2001
3:00 PM

We'd been doing paperwork for hours and my eyes were going blurry. I took my glasses off and rubbed my eyes. My partner hadn't spoken in hours. She startled me when her voice came drifting across the office.

"Are you all right, Mulder?" Her voice was laced with concern.

"Yeah, just tired. My eyes hurt."

"You should take a break," she suggested.

"I was thinking about knocking off early."

"Oh." She sounded disappointed.

"Why, was there something you needed me to do?" I asked.

"No, no. Maybe I'll leave early too."

"We've been working hard, I think we could both use the break," I replied.

She sighed. "Speaking of breaks, are you going to the FBI Spring Ball tomorrow night?"

"I wasn't planning on it. Why?"

"I just wondered."

"Are you going Scully?"

"Um, I wasn't sure, but I got invited earlier today."

My gut twisted into a little knot. "By ... by who ... whom?" Great, I was stuttering.

She looked up and met my eyes then. "Agent O'Reilly."

"Patrick? That red-headed guy from Bank Robbery division?"

"Yeah." She looked at her lap.

"And you said yes." It was a statement.

"Not yet."

"Why?" My voice was a whisper now.

"I was waiting to see if I got a better offer."

"Oh." Did she want me to ask her? No way. She knew I hated those things. I don't know why I said it. "I hate those things."

"I know, but ... we never go anywhere and ..."

"And?"

"And I'm tired of spending weekends at home."

"Oh."

"That's all, just 'oh'?" She looked at me again.

We looked at each other in silence and I licked my lips. "Did you ... are you saying you want me to ask you ..."

She slid out of her chair abruptly. "No, of course not." Her voice was clipped and curt. "Obviously, it's not your thing. I'll just go with Patrick."

She walked to the door and swung her trench coat around her like a cloud as her arms slipped into the arm holes. "I'll see you on Monday, Mulder."

"Scully, wait!" She had opened the door and taken a step through it. She stopped and turned to me. I stood up.

"I'll take you if you really want to go." I looked at her and then at my shoes.

"Don't bother, Mulder. I know you hate those things. I wouldn't want you to put yourself out." She whirled and was gone, her high heels clicking on the cement floor of the hall way.

"Shit!" I shouted, and banged my fist on the desk. I heard her clicking heels halt for about three seconds and then they continued down the hall to the elevator. I heard the ding of its arrival and then she was gone.

I flopped into the chair behind me and sighed loudly. "Damn it!"

What the hell was wrong with me? She obviously wanted me to take her. So what if I didn't like these things. I could put up with it for Scully. So what held me back? Now she was going to go with Agent O'Reilly. Great, he was Irish too. Why did that thought make me sick to my stomach?

I dialed her cell phone and got a busy signal. I leaped out of the chair and went for my coat. I was yanking it on as I dialed her home number. I got the machine almost immediately. "This is 555-2083, please leave a message and I'll get back to you." Beeeep.

"Scully, it's me. Look, I'm sorry. I'd love to take you to the ball. I don't know what the hell was the matter with me. It wouldn't be 'putting me out' at all. I don't know why I hesitated. I guess it just surprised me ... not that you wanted to go, but that you wanted to go with ME." I paused. "Call me, I'm sorry if I made you angry."

I hung up and brooded all the way home. Shit. Shit. Shit. Scully never asked me to anywhere with her. I mean, sometimes she invited me over for pizza and a movie. But she never invited me out in public. She'd rebuffed every hint I'd tried to give her. Damn her! Why did she have to be so sensitive? She couldn't give me a minute to respond?

God, I really hated those things. But now she was going, with or without me.


FOX MULDER'S APARTMENT
ARLINGTON, VA
4:00 PM

I'd stopped off to get some take out Chinese food for dinner. I was unlocking my door as I heard her voice on the answering machine.

"...so, I'll see you on Monday. Bye."

I ran to the phone, dropping my food on the coffee table and nearly dumping the whole mess on the floor. I snatched up the receiver. "Scully! I'm here!"

The dial tone buzzed in my ear. "Shit!"

I pressed the play button and listened. "It's me. Got your message. I already told Agent O'Reilly that I would go with him. So you're off the hook, Mulder ... so, I'll see you Monday. Bye."

"No!" I said out loud to the empty room. "Damn it!"

I dialed her number and waited anxiously while it rang. I got the machine. "Scully, I just heard you on my machine. I know you're there. Please pick up."

One second. Two seconds. Three seconds. "Damn it, Scully, come on, give me a break. Pick up."

Nothing. "All right, listen. Break your date with O'Reilly. Tell him it was a misunderstanding. I'll take you Scully. I WANT to take you. Please call me. Damn it, don't do this! Pleeaassee, pick up! Please call me. I'm sorry, Scully. Pleease." My voice trailed off on the last and I hung up.

"Shit!"


DANA SCULLY'S APARTMENT

GEORGETOWN, VA

4:05 PM

He sounded so dejected on the answering machine, but I refused to give in. Bullshit. Now he just wanted to take me because he knew I was irritated. Well, I didn't want him to take me because he felt obligated, or just to keep the peace. He thought I was mad. Mad! What an idiot! God, for a brilliant man he could be thick as a brick.

I'd been humiliated. What the hell made me think that Mulder would want to go to the ball with me anyway? He'd never asked me to go out in public off the job. And I did know that he hated these formal functions. Why did I even try? My irritated comment had been meant to salvage my wounded pride. I mean we were friends, but we didn't need to feed the rumor mill. It had taken me all day to get up the courage to suggest it and then he'd looked at me like I had two heads. Like the idea of going with me was ridiculous. Why the hell did it hurt so much?!

What had he been thinking? He just didn't want to go, period? Or he didn't want to go with me?

"Damn you, Mulder!" I shouted to the empty room. Great, now I was talking out loud to people who weren't there.


FOX MULDER'S APARTMENT
ARLINGTON, VA
11:00 PM

It was 11:00 PM. I knew she wasn't going to call back. I had to be at that stupid party. I knew it was wrong. But I had to see if there was anything going on between her and Agent O'Reilly. I wondered if this was their first date.

Date? Was it a date? It was just an FBI function. Who was I kidding? It was a date. Had Scully been asking me out on a date? What an idiot, I am! Jesus! And she thought I'd rejected her. She thought that I didn't want ...

Maybe I was jumping to conclusions. Oh Scully, if you only knew how much I wanted from you. But it never occurred to me that you would want it too, not from me. Did you want it from Agent Carrot Top O'Reilly?

If he touches her, I'll have to kill him! She's MINE!

No, she's not. Oh God. I sobbed into my hands once and then shook myself. Quit being an emotional cripple and do what you have to do. I thumbed through my address book and picked up the phone, dialing the first number I came to. Kimpa Leaman. She was the secretary with the brown hair, wasn't she? I tried to picture her face as I dialed. Yes, she was the brunette, tall. She worked for VCS.

A tired voice answered the phone. "Hello? Johnny, if this is you, I'm going to kill you for waking me up."

"Uh, no, it's not Johnny. Sorry to wake you, maybe I shouldn't have called. I didn't realize it was so late." That's a lie. I just forgot that not everyone stays up half the night brooding like I do, I thought.

"Who is this?" she asked, her voice now wary.

"Uh, Kimpa, it's Agent Mulder."

"Fox Mulder?!"

"Yeah, sorry I woke you."

"No problem. What's the matter? I haven't heard from you in ages."

I'd taken her out on a few dates when I first joined the Bureau and was working as a profiler in VCS. That was back in the days when the secretarial pool looked like Heffner's playground to a rookie like me. She'd always been sweet on me. And now I was going to take advantage of that. Of course, a lot of time had gone by. She must have a boyfriend now. I didn't even think of that.

"I know this is really short notice, but I wondered if you were going to the FBI ball tomorrow?"

"No! I ..."

"Johnny's not taking you?"

"Johnny! Johnny's my brother." She giggled.

"Oh, duh," I replied. Oh, that sounded intelligent. I really didn't care. She giggled again. It was an irritating high sound.

"Would you like to go ... with me?" I asked quickly before I lost my nerve to do this.

"I'd love to!" she squealed. I was already regretting this decision.

"Great, um, I'll pick you up at 7:00 PM. You still live in the same place?"

"You bet, good old Waterville Apartments."

"Great, I'll see you then."

"Oh, this is so great. I'm so glad you called. We can catch up on old times."

"Yeah, yeah. I'll see you tomorrow, O.K.?"

"Sure thing! I can't wait."

I hung up the phone feeling like a first class heel. Old times. Yeah, I fucked her brains out a couple of times and could barely remember her face now. Then Diana came along and was assigned as my partner, and it was bye, bye, Kimpa.

I'd apologized about a year later, whatever good that had done. She'd been with someone else by then and had obviously gotten over it. But she'd been with the Bureau longer than I had. I'd still run into her sometimes and catch her looking at me with this wistful expression on her face. It was good for my ego. But there was just nothing there. There hadn't been anything for anyone since Scully walked into my office.

Oh, I'd tried here and there. I'd been stupid enough to think that maybe Phoebe had good intentions the second time around. What a joke. And for a moment there, I'd almost been stupid enough to trust Diana again. But God, I was so lonely.

The reality was there was no one but Scully that I trusted. And without trust, I couldn't give my heart. Scully had owned it for too long anyway. So what the hell was I doing? Proving that I could get a date too? How childish. And yet, I couldn't stand the thought of not being there to see. See what? Torture myself. I was one masochistic bastard.

My mind flashed back to that New Year's Eve kiss. It had been chaste and silly, but so sweet. It had lasted longer than maybe two 'friends' should have kissed. I wanted to lay her mouth open under mine, but I hadn't dared. One hint from her and I wouldn't have been able to help myself. But she gave none, just stood frozen, and closed her eyes, not pulling away but not encouraging.

Had she been waiting for a sign from me? If that wasn't a sign, I don't know what was! I tried to kiss her in my hallway that time before that stupid bee almost ripped my life away by stinging her. She'd never mentioned it, but she probably figured I'd just been trying to make her stay. I'd gone all the way to the fucking Antarctica to get her back. Wasn't that a fucking sign, Scully?! God, how dense can you be? I wouldn't have done that for anyone else. No one except the one person who was more precious to me than my own life.

God, I needed to get laid, really badly. It had been so long. And I could too. I knew I could.

I also knew why I hadn't. No woman but Scully had turned my head in years. Now I was stuck. She'd cracked the door open and I'd been too stunned to react, and stick my foot inside. Had I missed my chance? Shit!


D.C. HILTON
Washington, D.C.
Friday - April 6, 2001
8:00 PM

I was eating my dinner when I saw him walk in with that brunette bimbo on his arm. God! Could he insult me any worse? He wouldn't take me to this ball, but he would take her! That bastard! Had he already asked her when I mentioned it? How embarrassing! Instead of telling me, he'd said he hated these things. And I'd believed him!

I knew the minute he'd spotted me. I could feel it. What the hell was that all about anyway? I always knew when he was in a room and I always knew when his eyes were on me. At that moment, I made a show of smiling at Patrick. I elbowed him to get his attention.

He turned to me and saw my smile, and automatically smiled in return. He was glad to be here with me. I knew he'd been surprised I'd accepted. He'd even said, 'I figured ol' spooky would take you, if you went at all.'

I'd almost said, 'Me too,' but stopped myself at the last moment. "What are you smiling about?" he asked innocently.

My cheeks hurt from the effort. "I don't know. I'm just having a good time, I guess. I haven't been to one of these things since my second year in the academy."

"Since the X-Files, huh?"

"Yeah." My smile faded and a lump formed in my throat. A lot of things had come to an abrupt halt when I joined the X-Files. I'd lost so much. Damn him! No, that wasn't fair. I could have left at any time, but I stayed. Why the hell did I stay?

I couldn't be around my partner anymore without having lurid thoughts that I shouldn't be having. And he obviously didn't want me. He wanted bimbo brunettes with long legs like that vulture that was hanging on his arm now as they sat down and began their dinner. He was seated about four tables away.

I found my eyes drifting to him and our eyes locked. He looked sad. He was giving me the puppy dog look. Oh, no buster, not this time. It won't work this time! I got a small amount of satisfaction, when I saw her tugging on his sleeve. I glanced to her and back to him. His eyes were still on me.

She finally reached up and fluttered her purple finger nails in front of his face. He shook his head slightly and turned to her. I could tell his smile was forced. I looked at my plate again, moving my food around with my fork. I had suddenly lost my appetite.

"Hey," Patrick said softly. "I didn't mean to dampen the mood by mentioning the X-Files. What's wrong?"

"Nothing." I forced a smile and looked at him. He was a handsome man with a square jaw and curly red hair. I'd never gone for redheads. Maybe because I was one. You always want the opposite of what you are, right? Opposites attract. I was light, so I liked dark. I was short so I like tall. Patrick was muscular and about 5' 10", not as tall as Mulder. He didn't have that lanky grace that Mulder had.

Stop comparing! I shouted to myself inside my head. That wasn't fair! I couldn't help it. Damn him. I compared every man in the world to him and somehow, they just didn't do it for me. God, I had it bad. I needed to get laid, badly.

I could too, I knew I could. So what was stopping me? I could take Agent O'Reilly home tonight and no doubt get him to screw my brains out. But that wasn't what I wanted. I wanted to make love, not get screwed.

Reality check up from the neck up. There was only one person that was going to happen with and he was sitting four tables away with Kimpa of the wonder nails, practically sitting in his lap. Had he dated her before? I wondered.

Rumor had it that he had been through three quarters of the secretarial pool. I found that hard to credit since I knew he didn't have much of a social life since I'd been with him on the X-Files. Neither one of us did. If he'd done it, he must have done it before I came along.

Wait a minute. I wonder why that was? I had wanted to believe it was because he felt something for me beyond friendship, but obviously, I was sadly mistaken.

"Patrick?"

"Yeah?"

"Can I ask you a question? And I don't want you to take it the wrong way. I'm just curious and ..."

"Ask away."

"Did you know Mulder before I came to the Bureau?"

"Yes, I knew him when he was in VCS. He was a hot shot profiler then until he decided to throw his life away on the ..."

He trailed off and I stuck my tongue in my cheek. "Oh my God, Dana! I'm so sorry. I didn't mean it that way!"

"Yes you did and that's O.K."

"No, it's not O.K., and I didn't mean that reflects on you."

I raised my eyebrow at him. "I mean it. He chose the X-Files, you were assigned to them. You had no choice."

"I had a choice."

"Hard to turn down the Section Chief of the Bureau. Everybody knows that you were sent there to debunk Mulder's craziness. No one blames you."

"Blames me, for what?"

"Exactly. Nothing. They don't blame you for ..."

"Being on the X-Files? Why would they?"

"They don't."

I sighed loudly. "Look Patrick. Let's get this straight," I was angry despite my best attempts to enjoy my evening and not take these stupid comments by people to heart. I couldn't help it. The X-Files was my work too. "I love the X-Files. The work I do is interesting and infinitely more challenging than anything I could do anywhere else. Frankly, most of you have no idea what's out there in the world. If you did, you'd probably shit your pants."

"I may have been sent to debunk Mulder, but I ended up giving him credibility and I'm proud of that."

He was staring at me now with that look like I was suddenly another creature, inhuman. It enflamed me even more. "The X-Files have become my quest too. I've lost a lot, but I've gained a lot too."

Quietly he asked just the wrong question. "What could you have possibly gained?"

I glared at him. "My self-respect. My entire religious belief system. Mulder is a crusader. He's brave. You have to be brave to go against the grain. Being different isn't for pussies."

He choked. "Pardon me, but it's true. Look around." I waived my hand over the ball room. "A ballroom full of little FBI automatons! Freakin' robots who do whatever they're told and believe whatever they are told to believe!"

"Whoa, whoa, Dana. Easy now. You're getting too upset. You took this all the wrong way!"

"I don't think so. Not one person in this room knows what it's like to really stand up for something they believe in ... something that everyone else thinks is wrong. It takes a special kind of courage and not many people have it."

"And you do."

"I don't know. But Mulder does." Why the hell was I defending him? Wasn't I supposed to be mad at the son of a bitch?

Was it his fault that he didn't want me? How could I blame him for that? I mean, you're attracted to who you are attracted to, right? You can't help it. And I was attracted to him and he wasn't attracted to me and I was holding that against him. How childish! But damn, it hurt! I should just leave right now.

"It's evident that you admire your partner, Dana. And I truly didn't mean to insult him. I really didn't. People are sometimes ... cruel when they run into something they don't understand. Putting others down is just a good way to make them feel better about themselves. I guess I'm not any better than the next guy. But I'd like to be."

I turned to him, my anger suddenly leaving, my indignant stance deflating. "Sorry I got worked up, Patrick. I guess I just get tired of always defending myself and Mulder."

"Against what?"

"People, my family, the Bureau, are always questioning my decision to be on the X-Files. To stay on the X-Files. I'm tired of it is all, I guess."

"Why do you stay?"

I felt a flash of anger again but realized he was really genuinely interested. I'd forgotten what I'd originally been going to ask him about. He wasn't being facetious or flippant. I took a deep breath. "Sometimes I don't know. Maybe because as strange as it sounds, I feel like I make a difference there. I give credibility to something that does exist and needs all the support it can get."

"The paranormal, you mean?" he asked lightly.

I nodded.

"Or do you mean, Mulder?"

I snapped my eyes up to his and he smiled gently at me. I looked at my lap, unsure how to answer that. "Yeah, I guess Mulder needs me too. Or maybe I just want to think so."

"And you make a difference to him ... and his work."

"I try to. Sometimes I think he doesn't need me and he would be better off without me. I hold him back sometimes I think."

Patrick chuckled and I looked up at him. "I doubt it."

"What do you mean by that?"

"I mean that I know Fox Mulder. Well, not like you know him. But I know what kind of man he is and I like him. I really do. He's very determined and he's very single minded. I doubt there is anyone in the world that could hold him back if he didn't want to be held back."

"Maybe."

"Maybe nothing. He's a good man. He's a little off center and he's a little arrogant, but he's not a bad man."

"No, he's not."

"Then why are you so pissed off at him?"

"What do you mean? I just spent the last ten minutes defending him." I looked up and met Mulder's stare again. He'd been watching us.

He looked at me strangely and asked, softly, "I saw you glare at him when he came in. You want to be resolving whatever pissing contest is going on between you and him. You don't want to be here with me tonight, do you?"

I dragged my eyes away from Mulder and looked at him. "Of course I do."

He smiled gently. "It's O.K., Dana. I didn't really think I ever stood a chance."

I opened my mouth but then closed it again. He was right. And he was giving me an out. The smart thing to do would be to take it. Patrick was a nice man, a good man. But what did I feel when I looked at him?

Nothing.

Zero.

Less than zero.

But then I looked up and saw Kimpa giggling as she leaned over and planted a kiss on Mulder's cheek. She left a big red splotch of lipstick on his cheek. He grabbed a napkin and frantically swiped at his cheek. She giggled some more.

I turned to Patrick. "Let's dance."

"Dance?"

"Yeah, you know how, don't you?"

"Yes."

"Well, they've started playing. Let's dance."

"Dana, really, if you'd rather..."

"I'd rather dance, is what I'd rather do. I'm here now and there's no reason not to enjoy the evening."

"Is this the 'we'll still be friends' talk?" he asked. He was teasing, but I could hear the note of hurt in his voice. I was truly contrite but I couldn't lie to him and let him believe something that wasn't true.

"I'm afraid it is, but we can still have fun tonight, can't we?"

Just because I didn't want to get romantic with Patrick, didn't mean that I wanted to look dejected in front of Mulder. I was using him a bit but couldn't seem to stop myself. He glanced at Mulder and Kimpa and back at me. He knew what I was doing.

"All right. I'll play." Then I knew he understood what I was doing. His eyes told me it was all right and I felt even worse.

"Look Patrick, I'm sorry. I shouldn't have ..."

"It's O.K. Let's do it." He stood and grabbed my hand, tugging me gently to my feet. I trailed him out to the dance floor as they started up a waltz.


D.C. HILTON
Washington, D.C.
Friday - April 6, 2001
9:00 PM

I think I'm going to be sick. For more than one reason. Kimpa is driving me crazy. She's hanging on me like a barnacle. It's driving me nuts. That's number one. Number two is I just saw Scully smiling and gesticulating over there, obviously enjoying herself and involved in a conversation with Carrot Top boy.

It didn't help that she looks like a vision in black silk. Her dress ended above her knee and clung to her every curve like a second skin. Her cleavage was displayed in a V neck line that showed a great expanse of her chest and milky white shoulders under tiny spaghetti straps.

Her hair was pulled up on the back of her head with ringlets falling softly around her face. I just watched him tug her to her feet and drag her out onto the dance floor. I didn't want to see this as he put his arms around her and pulled her close. But I couldn't take my eyes off her. She was smiling up at him as they begin to sway to the waltz.

Kimpa was tugging on my sleeve again like a needy child and I turned to her suddenly with a frown. She backed away upon seeing the look on my face. "What?" I nearly barked at her.

Tears filled her eyes and she looked away, wringing her hands. "Sorry. God! What the hell did you bring me here for if you were just going to stare at your partner all night?!" She was nearly yelling and attracting the attention of the others at the table.

Gently, I said, "Keep your voice down." She scowled.

"I'm sorry, Kimpa, you're right. I'm not being much of a date, am I?" I reached up and wiped the tear out of the corner of her eye. I felt like a heel. She was a nice girl and she was all dressed up and looked beautiful. Any man would love to be with her ... except me. I just didn't feel anything when I looked at her. And it wasn't her fault.

I felt ... zero, nothing.

She sniffled and smiled a sad smile. "You want to be with her, don't you?" she asked quietly.

I didn't see any point in lying to her. "I guess I do."

"Then why aren't you?"

Good question, I thought. "Because I blew it."

"What do you mean?"

"She hinted that she wanted me to bring her here and I ... hesitated too long and then told her I would bring her if she really wanted me to, like it was some big inconvenience for me. I didn't mean it that way, but that's the way it came out. By the time I called to apologize, she'd already accepted a better offer. And now she's pissed off at me. And it drives me crazy when she won't talk to me."

Why the hell was I telling her this? She said, "I thought this was too good to be true." She sighed. "I've always had a thing for you, you know."

I nodded. "Yeah, I'm sorry, Kimpa. You're good for my ego though. Most women run screaming."

She chuckled then, all her coquettish behavior gone. "I was surprised when you called me. I thought the two of you were involved."

"You did?"

"Of course, everyone does. Everyone assumes you've been involved for years. Everyone except Agent O'Reilly, apparently. That's why I was so surprised when you called."

"No, we're best friends, very close. But we're not involved ... romantically."

I looked out on the floor again and winced internally. She was pressed up against him, smiling up at him. I saw her eyes catch mine for a moment and her smile flickered but then was back in place and she laughed at something he said.

I hung my head.

"But you want to be, don't you?" she asked.

I looked up at her. How did I answer this? I didn't know. So I didn't say anything, just looked at her. Finally I said, "I don't think I should be discussing this with you."

She smiled. "Who else are you going to discuss it with? I'll be honest, Fox."

"Mulder."

"Huh?"

"I make everyone call me Mulder now."

"Oh, O.K., Mulder. I'll be honest. I'm disappointed. I'd hoped that you wanted to rekindle something. But that's all it is, disappointment. I'm not angry, I'm not heart broken. I'm a big girl."

I smiled at her and took her hand in mine, letting it rest lightly on my thigh. "Thanks, Kimpa. You could have been really nasty about this and I wouldn't have blamed you one bit. I've been a horrible date."

She smiled. "It's all right. You want to dance?"

"No."

"Do you want to dance with her?"

"I think that's out of the question."

"Why?"

"What do you mean, why?"

"Go cut in."

"No way, she'll kill me."

"O.K., what if I cut in?"

"You'd do that?" I asked, really impressed with how sporting she was being about all this.

She grinned. "I'm always up for a little game of switcheroo!"

I laughed out loud then. Her innuendo was clear and it was clearly just a good natured tease. She laughed back. "Excuse me a minute."

She got up and went to the bathroom. Another waltz started right after the first and Patrick kept dancing with Scully. I didn't even see her return, but suddenly she was there, tapping Dana on the shoulder. I watched her surprised look turn to suspicious. Patrick shrugged, leaned down and whispered in her ear. She smirked in return and nodded at Kimpa. As she made her way off the floor, I sprung out of my chair and cut her off half way back to her table. "Scully."

I reached out and took her lightly by the elbow. She spun around, wrenching her arm out of my light grasp. "What do you want, Mulder?" Her voice was clipped and irritated.

"I hoped I could talk to you."

"Now is not the time. You're obviously having fun, laughing it up with what's her name."

She'd noticed us laughing. If she only knew what a lousy time I was having. "Dance with me, Scully."

"Are you crazy?"

"No, I'm not." I took her by the elbow. She tried to pull away and I tightened my grip. I didn't want to hurt her but I wanted her to know I was serious.

"One dance, Scully."

Just then, Skinner approached us wearing the most God awful tie I had ever seen. His suit was an immaculate navy blue as usual and his dress shirt was crisp white, but the tie! It was some puke orange color with blue swirl patterns in it. I thought my ties were bad.

"Agents." He nodded at us. "I didn't expect to see you two here."

Scully looked at Clara, his girlfriend and said, "Good to see you again, Clara."

She smiled that mega-watt smile she has, dimples and all. She looked gorgeous in a blood red dinner dress that hugged her curves and went to mid-calf. She was wearing a necklace of what looked like real rubies. Her dark skin was accented with just a touch of rouge and lip gloss and her long, kinky, black hair hung loose down her back. She was a gorgeous woman and she and Skinner made a handsome couple.

"Hey there!" she exclaimed. "You too, Agent Mulder, it's been a while."

I smiled at her, trying to curb my impatience. "Good to see you, Clara. You look gorgeous tonight."

Was I mistaken or did Scully just give me a dirty look. It was too quick to be sure. I looked at Skinner, "Sir, have you been raiding my tie collection?" I deadpanned.

He looked down and frowned. Clara and Scully both burst out giggling. I rarely heard Scully giggle and it was a wonderful sound. When she giggled, I loved it. When Kimpa giggled, it had sent a shiver up my spine and off the top of my head. Must be about the pitch of it or something, I thought.

"What's wrong with my tie?" he asked.

I raised my eyebrows at him as if to say 'you don't know?' He didn't respond, so I said, "It's hideous."

Scully and Clara giggled again. "Why thank you, Agent Mulder," he replied, all serious. "It's nice to see you too!"

Clara tugged on his arm to get his attention. "Come on, Walter, let's go dance."

He smiled at her and nodded at us. "Later, Agents. Have a good time."

He obviously thought we were together and that didn't bother me a bit. I looked down at Scully and said, "I wasn't side tracked. Let's dance, Scully."

"I don't want to dance."

"Well, you're going to, at least one."

She must have seen the determination on my face because she nodded curtly and I led her onto the floor. One hand went to my shoulder and the other went into my hand which she raised. I was having none of that prim dancing bullshit. If O'Reilly could hold her close, so could I.

I pulled her hand in and laid both of our hands on my chest. My arm around her low back pulled her into me so she was flush with my chest. She gasped lightly but I wasn't giving her time to respond. I slid my other arm down and banded it around her waist too, holding her to me. Her free hand laid on my chest, palm down. I leaned down a little and lowered my voice so no one would hear me.

"Scully, I tried to call you. Why didn't you call me back?"

"Because I'd had enough of you for the day, Mulder!" I felt her stiffen in my arms. I just squeezed a little tighter.

"I know I can be hard to take, Scully. I know I'm no good with words most of the time. I stumble over them all the time."

She made a clucking sound of incredulity with her tongue. "You're better with words than any man I know, Mulder. Please!"

"No I'm not. Not when it comes to ... emotions. And definitely not when it comes to you."

She stiffened again but I squeezed again, letting her know she wasn't getting away with it. She relaxed and took a deep breath. "What are you talking about, Mulder?"

"I screwed up this afternoon. I wasn't sure what you were hinting at, at first. Then I did and I was ... confused, a little stunned that you would ask me."

"Why would that stun you, Mulder?" She sounded genuinely confused now.

"Because you never invite me to go anywhere in public. I mean sometimes we have a beer and some pizza at your apartment or mine, but off the job, we never go out really."

"I thought you didn't want to," she said softly.

"I thought you didn't want to," I repeated.

She looked up at me then. "Mulder, this is really not the place to have this conversation." She glanced over at Patrick and Kimpa. Kimpa had plastered herself to Patrick and he seemed to be enjoying himself.

"I know, but I couldn't let this go any longer. I didn't want to let it go last night. I hate it when we have a misunderstanding or a fight and you won't even give me a chance to apologize or talk to you about it. I can't think about anything else until it's resolved."

"Can we talk tomorrow?"

I glanced at them as well. "I know you came with him, Scully. I know you have to go home with him. But, please ..."

She looked at me queerly then. "Please what?"

"I have no right to say this." I stopped.

She was still looking at me strangely. "Say it."

"Please don't start anything with him ..."

"Mulder!" she hissed, already pissed off.

"Let me finish!" I hissed, just as forcefully.

She huffed but went silent. "Please don't start anything until we've had a chance to talk ... please. That's all I'm asking."

She faced my chest, unwilling to look up at me. I had been slowly making our way to the edge of the dance floor. The double doors out onto the balcony terrace was a mere 10 feet away. I spun her off the floor and grabbed her hand, tugging her toward the balcony. "Mulder, what are you doing?!" She said it loud enough to turn a couple of heads.

I jerked the door open and spun her through it, closing it behind me. She lunged for it and I simply wrapped my arms around her and lifted her off the ground. She squealed, "Put me down this instant, Mulder. What the hell is wrong with you?!"

I stopped when I had her pressed against the railing of the balcony and out of sight of the doors. I let her slid down my body until her high heeled feet touched the flagstone. She was huffing and I couldn't help watching her breasts heave with indignation. I put my hands on the railing on either side of her, trapping her.

I was angry now. God, I was trying to apologize and she wouldn't even let me do that. "I'll tell you what's wrong with me! I took a few too many seconds to answer my partner yesterday and she stormed off in a huff, assuming the worst! Then I call her to apologize and all she has to say is 'see you on Monday, bye.' And when I know I just missed her and call her, she IGNORES me and won't even pick up the phone!"

I dragged a huge lungful of air into my chest and continued. I was on a roll now. "I beg her, fucking beg her to call me and she IGNORES me and leaves me sitting home waiting for her to call until 11:00 at night!"

I felt a lump forming in my throat. I knew I was making a total ass of myself. Her hands came to my chest as if she were going to push me away. "No!" I shouted right into her face.

"You're going to listen to me now! Since you didn't have the decency to call me back."

"The decency!" she shouted. "You arrogant bastard!"

"I'm not finished!"

"I am!" she shouted. She ducked and tried to dart out under my arm. I was too quick for her and caught her around the waist.

There was a little high shelf of stone a little further down the metal railing. It was meant to be a sort of bench. I carried her over there. She went to bolt when I set her down again, but I leaned down and grabbed the backs of her thighs, lifting her into the air. She had to grab me or go over backwards.

"Mulder! What the hell?!" she shouted. I plunked her down on the shelf and stepped between her legs, once again putting my hands on either side of her. This put us face to face.

I lowered my voice to a growl. I rarely used my physical strength against her. I only did it when I was VERY serious and she knew it. She hated it too. But I started this now and I decided I was going to finish it. No more screwing around. "You are going to sit here and you are going to listen to me. And you are going to listen to me until I'm finished. Is that clear?!"

"Crystal clear," she said through clenched teeth.

She dropped her hands from my shoulders. "At least back up a little," she said, pushing on my chest. I held firm.

"No."

She looked at me and sighed. "Fine then, say what you have to say. I have to get back to my date!"

I knew she was trying to hurt me and it was working. Maybe I was trying to hurt her too. I shouldn't be. Change directions, Mulder. I took a deep breathe. "Look Scully. I'm sorry. I'm sorry I was an ass yesterday. I'm sorry I called Kimpa and dragged her out here just so I could see you. I'm sorry I dragged you out here on this terrace and I'm fucking sorry that you're so upset." I paused, then shouted, in spite of my resolve to stay calm. "But damn it, woman, you drive me fucking nuts sometimes!"

"I drive YOU fucking nuts?!"

"YES! I go crazy when you won't talk to me, Scully. I go nuts when you pull away from me, AND YOU KNOW IT!"

I gulped against the tears that were springing up and stinging the back of my eyes. She saw them too and seemed to deflate a little. I made eye contact. My voice was barely above a whisper. "You know it, Scully. Damn you. You know it and you do it anyway."

My head dipped down and I rested my forehead lightly on her shoulder. I couldn't look at her right now. Silence reigned for about two minutes and then her voice was low and soft when she asked, "What the hell is this all about, Mulder? This isn't about this ball is it?"

"No, Yes, No." I mumbled.

"Then why don't you tell what it IS about."

I lifted my head and took a half step into her, hugging her to me. Her hands touched down lightly on my shoulders. She wasn't returning the embrace, but she wasn't pulling out of it either. I leaned my chin on her shoulder. She felt so tiny and soft in my arms. I turned just slightly and whispered into her ear. I swear I saw her shiver.

"You're right. This isn't the place to tell you, but I don't even care any more."

"Mulder? You've lost me ... as usual," she said quietly.

I chuckled a sad little sound. "I don't care if this isn't the time."

She didn't respond so I kept going. "Scully, I don't like these formal functions. You know that."

"Yeah, I know. I don't know why I asked ..."

I cut her off. "But I'd put up with it for you. You should have known that too. You just surprised me. You should have given me a chance. You know I'm not good with hints. Why didn't you just come out and ask me to take you if that's what you wanted."

"I don't know," she answered.

"We're friends, aren't we, Scully?"

"Of course."

"Then why would you be afraid to just ask me, instead of all this hinting bullshit."

She sighed. "I don't know."

"I'd do anything for you, Scully. Even come to one of these stupid affairs if it will make you happy. And I ended up coming here anyway, because I couldn't stand the idea of you being with Agent Carrot Top in there."

"Mulder!"

"I don't mean to insult him, Scully. He could be anybody and I'd resent him."

"Why?"

"You don't get it yet, do you?" I sounded exasperated even to myself. God, I sucked at this expressing myself bullshit.

"Maybe," was her only reply.

"I'd resent him, whoever he was because he is with you, and I'm ... not."

I chanced lifting my chin from her shoulder and glancing at her face. Our eyes met and we stared in silence at one another for what seemed like ages but was probably only seconds. Finally, she said, "What exactly are you saying?"

"If I had taken you here, would you have considered it a date? Or were you just asking because you'd rather go with your SAFE partner than with some guy who might take escorting you the wrong way?"

She didn't answer right away and I focused on a lighted building over her shoulder. Her voice was low and soft when she said, "I'm not sure."

"I'm hearing you say I'm not sure and I don't know a lot tonight, Scully."

"Yeah, I guess you are."

"You guess? What are you sure about?"

"I'm sure that I was embarrassed when you acted like I'd made a remarkable request."

"You thought I was saying no."

She nodded. "I wasn't sure what was going on in your head but you certainly weren't jumping at the offer. Then suddenly I was horribly embarrassed."

"I said I would take you."

"Like I was asking you to swallow something vile."

"I didn't mean for it to sound that way, Scully. I was surprised."

"I guess I did spring it on you."

I stepped back a bit and the mere inch between us seemed like the grand canyon. I hugged her to me again, wanting to feel her against me. "Truce, Scully?"

"Truce," she said, her voice barely above a whisper.

Over my shoulder, I heard someone clear their throat. We both jumped slightly and turned to see who was seeing us in this compromising position, with me standing between Scully's spread legs. I felt her try to close them, but my body was blocking that maneuver.

It was Kimpa, smiling slyly. "Patrick is going to take me home, Mulder," she said quietly.

"Kimpa, I'm sorry. I can take you home." I stepped away from Scully and she snapped her legs together.

Kimpa smiled. "It's all right."

Scully was blushing furiously. She bravely faced Kimpa. "I should say something to Patrick. He did bring me here and I agreed to come with him."

Kimpa said, "It's all right, Agent Scully. He understands, so do I. Neither of us really thought we stood a chance with you two. And you may have done us a favor."

I asked, "A favor? What do you mean?"

She smiled that sly smile again. "We seem to be hitting it off."

Scully and I both smiled now. Scully asked, "Are you sure? We can still go home with our respective dates. It's not as though Mulder and I aren't going to see each other in the near future."

Kimpa laughed, not giggled, laughed. "No, I think I want him all to myself now if you don't mind."

Scully smiled. "He's all yours."

I said, "Scully, I'll go get our coats. We're not done. Let's get out of here." I turned to Kimpa. "I'm sorry, Kimpa. Thanks for being so good about this.

Scully hopped down, landing lightly. I'd never understood how women tottered around in those spike heels. Scully moved in them like she was cat. Scully made to follow me, but Kimpa put her hand out and touched Scully's arm.

"Agent Scully, can I have a quick word with you," Kimpa asked.

Scully stopped, "Sure." She waved me on. "I'll meet you by the door to the ballroom, Mulder. I know we still need to talk."

"I know." I hurried off, a little worried about what Kimpa was going to say to Scully.


D.C. HILTON
Washington, D.C.
Friday - April 6, 2001
10:00 PM

Kimpa really was a lovely girl. I couldn't take that away from her. She was exactly what I'd come to think of as Mulder's type. Tall with long, brunette hair, good size chest and brown eyes. She had to be hugging 5' 9".

"What did you want to talk to me about?" I asked cautiously. I was still embarrassed being caught with Mulder standing between my legs.

I couldn't exactly remember how he'd maneuvered himself into that position in the first place. More mysterious was why I hadn't insisted he move. It had felt a little too good to be in his arms.

I was still confused as to what Mulder was trying to tell me. Was he saying he wanted more from me? Or was he simply saying he was a protective idiot? I still didn't know.

Kimpa looked down at me from her exalted height. Christ, she had to be hugging six foot in those heels. "Agent Scully, do you have any idea what you mean to him?"

"Mulder?"

She laughed. "Who else did you think I meant?"

I looked at the flagstone. "What do you want, Kimpa?"

"I don't need to be a rocket scientist to figure out that he asked me to come here simply so he could keep his eye on you."

"He hadn't asked you to come ... before?"

"He called me at 11:00 PM last night, woke me out of a sound sleep."

"Oh."

"He's in love with you."

My eyes snapped up to hers. "No, you misunderstand. We're close friends." I waved at the stone bench. "And despite what you might think having seen that ... we don't usually even hug like that. He was just so upset with ... me." Why was I defending us? I didn't owe her an explanation. Maybe Mulder did, but not me.

"No," she said firmly. "He was upset that you were here with Patrick. And he was upset that he had 'blown it' yesterday with you."

"Did he say that?"

"Yes, in so many words. Actually he did use the phrase 'blew it'. I told him that I thought you two were involved for some time now and he said you weren't romantically involved."

"We're not."

"You should be."

"We're partners!"

"So what?" she asked blandly. "There's no rule against it as long as it doesn't interfere with your work. And frankly, by the looks of things, the fact that you AREN'T together IS interfering with your work. If it isn't, it will soon."

"How do you know this? What did he say to you?" I was suddenly unreasonably anxious over what Mulder may have said to her.

"Relax. He didn't tell me anything really personal. I just asked him if he wanted to be here with you and he said he did. He did nothing but stare at you since we got here. He apologized for being a lousy date."

I chuckled. "He is a pretty lousy date sometimes. You should go on the road with him."

We both chuckled now, the tension eased. "Take a little unsolicited advice?" she asked softly.

I nodded.

"Follow your heart, Agent Scully. I know you have a formidable thinker setting on your shoulders. But that's not what is required here. You need to listen to your heart. And if I'm not mistaken, from what Patrick said, you are going to find the same thing in yours that Mulder has in his."

"What's that?" I asked, my voice almost a whisper.

"You're in love. Don't let it get away. Some people never find it."

She smiled sadly and turned to walk away. She waved over her shoulder and reentered the ballroom. I followed slowly, letting her words sink in. Was she right? Was I in love with Mulder? I loved him, sure. How could I not love my best friend, my partner, after all we had been through?

But was I in love with him? Well, I wasn't sure. I knew I'd never felt the things that I felt with him. I knew no one could infuriate me like he could so quickly. And why was that? Because I cared what he thought. I cared how he treated me ... and I wanted more from him than what I had.

Was this just lust talking though? No, I could lust after Patrick if I wanted to. He was good looking man and certainly liked me. Then I remembered thinking about making love at the dinner table and thinking that the only person I would make love with would be Mulder. Why?

Because I was in love with him. With anyone else it would just be sex.

Oh God. I saw him standing by the door with our coats. He had donned his and had mine slung over his arm. He smiled cautiously as I approached. I gave him a smile of reassurance and turned around as he held my coat up for me. He guided me out to his car with his hand in it's usual spot on the back of my neck. I stopped by the car while he unlocked and then gasped when I looked over a row.

"Mulder look!"

Patrick had Kimpa pinned with her back against his car. He was kissing her with enthusiasm and she didn't seem to mind.

Mulder looked at me and smiled. "He drives a VW Bug, Scully?"

"What's wrong with a Bug, Mulder?"

"Scully, a BUG?"

"I like Bugs!"

"Yeah, they're great, if you want to fry one foot and freeze the other."

We both laughed. "Yeah, the heat does leave something to be desired."

"And could he have picked a worse color? Lime green? Paaleezze!"

I laughed again. "Get in the car, Mulder."

He shook his head as if amazed that anyone would have the bad taste to not only drive a VW Bug, but one that was lime green as well.


DANA SCULLY'S APARTMENT
GEORGETOWN, VA
11:00 PM

Mulder followed me up without being asked and I figured there was no way I was getting rid of him until we talked. My emotions were all balled up and I wished I had one more night to think about this. I was so confused now.

I hung up our coats and made my way to kitchen, mumbling that I was going to start some coffee. I turned when I was finished to find him standing in the kitchen doorway, leaning on the door jam.

His hair was a bit rumpled, an errant lock falling across his forehead. He'd loosened his tie and removed his jacket, rolling his shirt sleeves up to uncover his forearms. God, he looked good.

"What?" I asked.

"Nothing, just watching you."

"Why?"

"I like to watch you move. Have I ever told you how graceful you are? Even in those modern day torture devices you have on your feet."

I smiled despite my best efforts to remain serious. "Thank you, I think," I replied.

Our eyes met and he smiled softly at me. "You look so beautiful tonight, Scully," he said, his voice low and rough. "Take my breath away beautiful."

I felt an involuntary shiver go down my spine at the tone of his voice. "Uh, you ... you look nice too, Mulder. Tonight, even your tie was nice."

He smiled at that. He had worn a charcoal suit with a thin black, silk tie, matching, for once. His light gray silk shirt fit him just right. He had unbuttoned the top three buttons and I could see a wisp of chest chair above the open V on his chest.

"Thanks. It wouldn't have been hard to beat Skinner's tie tonight."

We both smiled at that. The coffee chugged in the pot and let out an indignant puff of steam. We watched it drip in silence. Usually, I was not uncomfortable with silences around Mulder. But tonight was different. I was nervous as hell and didn't really know why. We were still partners, we were still friends. But something was happening here. The air was charged between us.

Finally, the coffee was done and I fixed a mug for each of us. I held his out and he stepped into the kitchen to take it from me. Our fingers brushed and I pulled away as though I'd been burned. I saw the corners of his mouth twitch.

Was he amused that I was nervous? That would be the last straw. I looked up at him and he wasn't amused. He was staring at me. He sipped his coffee, never losing eye contact over the rim of the mug. Finally, he said, "Do you want to talk in here or would you rather hang out on the couch."

"More comfortable on the couch," I said.

He nodded and turned back into the living room. I followed him and we both sat on opposite ends of the couch, kicking our shoes off and lounging back. Once we were comfortable I decided I couldn't stand the silence anymore.

"O.K., I'll start."

He lifted one corner of his mouth as though amused again for a second, then let it drop. "O.K., shoot."

"You're behavior was totally unacceptable tonight."

"You're right."

"Huh?" I asked, startled that he had agreed with me.

"You're right, Scully. I was a caveman."

"Well, I don't know about that, but you certainly weren't a gentleman."

He hung his head. "What do you want me to say, Scully? I'm sorry? Well, I am. I'll never do it again? I can't promise you that."

"I guess I owe you an apology too. I was too sensitive yesterday when I asked if you were going. I had been ... thinking of asking you all day ... but ... "

"But what?" He was looking at me now and it made me feel funny, uncomfortable somehow. His intense regard could be unnerving sometimes.

I gathered my courage to make my admission. "It took me all day to work up the courage to ask you if you were going and ..."

"Hint that you wanted me to take you."

I nodded. "Again, I have no idea why you would be afraid to ask me. And I really have no idea why you would feel the need to hint around."

"I didn't know how you would react."

"To what? You asking me to escort you to an FBI ball?"

I looked up and met his gaze. "To asking you on what would amount to ... or could be construed as ... could look like ..."

"Spit it out, Scully, I'm not going to bite you."

"It would have been ... could have been ... a date," I blurted out. "Or, it could have been seen as ... if you'd wanted ..."

Softly, he asked, "Is that what YOU wanted?"

My eyes darted away and then moved back. "Yes." This time I did whisper.

He blinked slowly and licked the corner of his mouth with the tip of his tongue. He caught my eyes again and said, "Oh Scully, you have no idea ..."

"What? No idea about what?"

"Scully, C'mere."

"What do you mean, C'mere?"

He waved me toward him. "I mean, C'mere."

I set my mug down on the coffee table and scooted down the couch closer to him. When I was within grabbing distance, that's exactly what he did. He grabbed me around the waist and hauled me into his lap without warning.

My legs spread and I was straddling his lap, my hands on the back of the couch for balance. "Mulder, what are you doing?!" I nearly shouted.

He didn't answer me. He just slowly grasped my hands which were up behind his head and drew them down to rest on his shoulders. We were nose to nose in this position. "Mulder?" I asked, feeling extremely anxious. I went to back off his lap and his hands flew to my lower back and tugged. I slid along the couch cushion and my juncture landed firmly on ...

His erection.

OHMYGOD!

He was aroused? What had aroused him? Is that what I wanted. I was talking about a date! That's all! How did I get here?

He still hadn't said a word. He pressed his large hands against the back of my hips and crushed me into his groin, slowly grinding himself between my legs.

I gasped at the bolt of tingling sensation that ripped from my clit and spread a pool of warmth in my abdomen. What the hell was happening here? His voice was rough with desire when he met my eyes again. He repeated, "You had no idea."

"What is going on here? What the hell are you saying?"

"You had no idea how silly it was to be afraid to ask me out on a date. No idea what you do to me." He was swiveling his hips gently, pressing himself into me again and moaned softly. "But you do now," he finished.

"What were you trying to tell me at the hotel?"

He lifted his torso slightly and brought his nose within a centimeter of mine. "This," was all he said, before he leaned forward and slid his lips over mine.

My whole torso tingled at that first touch of his warm, soft lips. He tugged gently on my lower lip. "Oh my God!" I gasped.

"I don't want to hide anymore, Scully."

"Hide? Hide from what?" His lips were still unbearably close.

"I went crazy when you wouldn't call me. I almost came over here, but I knew you'd kill me."

"I would have, you're right." My voice sounded breathy and I cursed it. I had to get away from his body. I couldn't think.

"We need to talk more, Mulder." I firmly pushed away and slid out of his lap and stood. He immediately stood in front of me, making no effort to hide his erection.

Had he had them before because of me? How could I have not noticed? That looked like a difficult thing to hide! My God, it looked ... huge.

I stepped back and he stepped into me, not allowing it and cradling my face in his hands. His voice was low and intense.

"I went crazy knowing you were going to that damn party with Patrick. I thought of him kissing you and I felt sick to my stomach!" He was talking through clenched teeth.

"Mulder ..."

"I gotta tell you, Scully. The thought of another man touching you makes me see red. I makes me insane!"

"Another man? Mulder, were not ..."

"No, were not. But I think of you as mine anyway. How messed up is that?"

"Yours? I'm not yours!" My voice was clogged with anxiety and indignation combined.

"I KNOW, AND IT'S KILLING ME!" he nearly shouted.

He stepped back suddenly and sunk onto the couch, putting his head in his hands. I watched his shoulders heave for a few seconds then go still. When he spoke, I could hear the tears in his throat.

"This is it, Scully. I'm putting it all on the line. I know you're not mine. But God, how I want you to be."

He snapped his head up suddenly. Wet tracks could still be seen on his cheeks. He looked me straight in the eye. "I want you, Scully. I want you to be mine."

"Mulder, I don't know what to say. Where is this coming from?"

He held a hand up. "Don't say anything." He rocked slightly and then met my eyes again. He bottom lip quivered slightly. "Could you do it, Scully? Is it even a consideration for you?"

"Could I do WHAT?! Mulder, make sense!"

"Could you ever be mine? Would you consider it? Do I even stand a chance with you? Or am I just whistling Dixie? What would you do if I really kissed you?"

I shook my head as if to say 'I don't know'. I was so mixed up right now. Mulder wanted me? Mulder wanted me to be his. His what? Girlfriend? Secret lover?

"What exactly is it that you want from me?"

"Everything," he said, suddenly calm.

"Define everything." I regretted it as soon as the words were out of my mouth. He wasn't holding back like he usually did. He was laying it all on the line and I wasn't sure if I was ready for that.

I could still feel my hardened nipples from that brief contact. I was acutely aware of him in a way I had never been before. He looked calm, but slightly feral, like he might pounce at any moment and I was wary.

"Everything," he said again. "I want to call you mine. I want the right to touch you just because I feel like it. I want the right be jealous. I want to make love to you until you can't remember your own name."

I gasped. He chuckled a humorless, self deprecating sound. "Oh God, Scully." He leaned back on the couch and his head flopped back, his face to the ceiling. He closed his eyes.

"I've dreamed of so many things," he said, as if he were talking to himself.

I inched back over to the couch and sat down gingerly on my end, far enough away so that I couldn't be grabbed. "What things?" I asked, tentatively. Mulder wanted to make love to me? Good lord. How many more confessions could I handle tonight?

"I've dreamed of living with you," he said softly.

I gasped again.

"I've dreamed of making love to you and sharing all my secrets."

"Secrets?" My voice sounded small even to me.

He opened his eyes and rolled his head on the backrest, not lifting it up and looked at me. He grinned. "Believe it or not, there are still things about me that you don't know."

"I believe it," I said softly. "You're such a mystery to me most of the time, Mulder."

"Really? I wouldn't have thought I was a mystery. But there are definitely things about me and my life that I never shared with you."

"Why not?"

"I don't know. Maybe I thought they were irrelevant to our relationship. Maybe I thought you wouldn't give a damn."

"I always give a damn."

He was silent for several moments and then asked, "Can you look me in the eye and tell me that you don't ever think about touching me?"

I could feel my face crumpling and I looked away. How could I answer this? "No," said, sounding miserable.

"Look at me, Scully."

I did but it was an effort. I was once again snagged by those green eyes with the gold flecks swirling in them. "Have you ever fantasized about me? Fantasized about me touching you?"

"Mulder! Why are you asking ..."

"Because I need to know."

"You don't need to know! That's private."

"Yes, I do," he said calmly. "I need to know if this is a one way street. All in my head. I need to know if I've imagined this feeling between us. I need to know if I've just made the biggest mistake of my life."

Whew. How could I respond to that? He continued. "I know it's private. I want to share lots of private things with you, Scully. Don't you get it?"

I felt like my head was about to explode. One minute he was seemingly frustrated and angry. The next minute he seemed calm and in control. He acted like he'd just asked me a simple question, like what suit are you going to wear tomorrow?

I nearly wailed, "NO! I DON'T GET IT!"

I angrily swiped at the tears I just noticed on my cheeks. He stood up suddenly and whirled on me, his eyes flashing. I gasped, ready to spring up.

He shouted, really shouted, "I'M IN LOVE WITH YOU! DAMN IT, SCULLY! Do you understand THAT? I'M IN LOVE WITH YOU! Does that clear it up for you?"

He stalked toward the door then turned to me again. "And I need to know if you feel the same way. If you're ready to talk, call me."

I sat there with my mouth hanging open as he punched his arms into his jacket and his trench coat swirled around him. He jerked the door open and stopped, turning to me. "Call me. This time I mean it. Call me when you're ready to talk. I'm through pussy footing around. I'm not playing games anymore, Scully. When you're through with the games, call me."

I was frozen in shock, his shouted words ringing like an echo in my head. ' I'M IN LOVE WITH YOU! DAMN IT, SCULLY! Do you understand THAT? I'M IN LOVE WITH YOU! Does that clear it up for you?'

The sound of the door closing jerked me out of my shocked stupor and I leaped off the couch yelling, "Mulder, wait!"

I ran to the door and flung it open, stepping into the hall. I shouted again, "Mulder!"

He was gone. I covered my face with my hands and let the tears come. "Damn it, Mulder! Now who's not giving who any time to respond!"

I sank to my knees on the carpet in the hallway. This was ridiculous. Anyone could see me here. I got up with a little help from Mr. Door Knob and felt something furry against my leg.

I glanced down to see a gigantic orange tabby cat, weaving her way in and out of my legs, purring. I smiled through my tears. "Hey, where did you come from?"

I squatted down and scratched behind her ears. She gave a purr burst and lifted her chin in the air in ecstasy. "Yeah, I wish it was that easy for me," I said.

"God, I'm talking to a cat."

I scooped her up gingerly. God, she was heavy. She must be over 10 pounds. I carried her inside. I'd never had a cat before. She must belong to someone though. She was entirely too well fed to be a stray! Once inside, I sat down on the couch with her in my lap.

She curled up and began kneading on my bare leg. "Ouch! Easy with the claws!" I dumped her unceremoniously on the floor and went to the bedroom. I yanked my dress over my head and pulled off my undies and bra. I slipped into a fresh pair of underwear and a tee shirt and some sweat pants and returned to the living room. I picked the cat up again and she flattened herself against my chest, flexing her claws in my tee shirt. It was bearable so I let her continue. I walked to the window and peered down at the street.

I breathed in sharply when I saw Mulder's car parked across the street. He hadn't left yet. I could see his outline sitting in the car. Did he plan on spending the night there? What if I didn't call till tomorrow. Which had been my plan. I wandered back to the phone and picked it up.

But instead of calling Mulder, I called my mother. It was late and I knew I'd be waking her up, but I had to bounce this off someone. I glanced at the clock. 12:30 AM.


FOX MULDER'S APARTMENT
Saturday, April 7, 2001
1:30 AM

I sat out there for the better part of an hour before I headed home. I was afraid to drive because my head was banging and I was so distracted.

I was finally home and I stripped off my clothes and flopped into the bed. I didn't want to sleep on the couch tonight. I was too exhausted. And it looked like I was in for the long haul. She obviously wasn't going to call me tonight. I might as well try to get some sleep.

I couldn't have been in bed a half an hour when the shrill ring of the telephone jerked me upright in bed. I stared at it a moment in the darkness before realizing it was the phone. Only one person would call at this time of night. I glanced a the digital clock. 2:00 AM.

I rolled over and snatched up the receiver. Before I could say anything her low alto floated into my ear, "Mulder, it's me."

"Hey."

"Hey yourself. Sorry to call so late."

"No, it's all right. Although I'd given up you would call tonight. I figured it might be days!"

She chuckled. "No, I'm sorry I was so ..."

"Don't worry about it, Scully. I'm the one who's sorry. I shouldn't have stormed out like that, but I couldn't take it anymore."

"Take what?"

"Looking at you, trying to make you understand, ... not being able to touch you."

She sighed. "This time it was you who didn't give me time to respond."

"I know. I'm sorry. I guess I was afraid to hear your response right then. I'm sorry I shouted. That was a fucked up way to say it, to tell you."

"I should have guessed what you were trying to say to me, but ... "

I didn't know what to say to that so I said nothing.

She continued. "I just didn't want to assume anything and find out I was wrong. Then I would look and feel like the world's largest boob."

I chuckled. "Are we as fucked up as I think we are, Scully?"

She chuckled now. "Yeah, I'm afraid we are." She paused. "I've never been good at expressing my feelings."

"You do pretty good with me most of the time. You don't have any qualms about telling me how way out my theories are."

"I'm not talking about that. That's work. And that's about what I THINK. I'm talking about what I feel."

"Do you know what you feel?" My heart was beginning to bang against my ribcage again.

"Yeah, I do now."

"Would you like to share with the class?" I quipped. It fell flat and I fell silent.

"Yeah, give me a second."

I nodded as though she could see me and then remembered she couldn't. "Take your time, Scully."

After several moments, she said, "I wish you were still here. But maybe it's better this way."

My stomach came up in my throat. Was she going to tell me we couldn't work together anymore. Better this way? What was better this way?

"Scully?" I sounded strangled and I felt that way too.

"I mean it's a little easier to talk to you when you're not staring me in the face. You unnerve me with that stare of yours sometimes."

"Sorry." I breathed a sigh of relief. She was saying it was more comfortable not to see me while she talked. I knew the feeling. But God how I wished she was there now. She was silent for several more moments and I waited them out.

"Mulder."

"Yeah, Scully, I'm here."

More silence. Finally, I asked, "What's wrong, Scully?"

"Nothing," she said a little too quickly.

"It's not nothing. I can hear it in your voice. You're afraid to tell me something again, aren't you?"

"Yeah."

"Don't be. Even if it's not what I want to hear, I started this and I know I have to swallow the consequences, whatever they may be. I just couldn't stand the limbo anymore. Does that make sense?"

"Perfect sense."

"PPUUUHHHEERRFECT SENSE! And the debate team judges give him ALL TENS! AHHHHHHH!" I cupped the phone and made the sound of crowd roaring. This was no time to be joking but I couldn't seem to help myself. It was what I did whenever the pressure was on.

She began to laugh and I delighted in the sound of it. As her laughter wound down she said, clear as a bell, "I love you, Mulder."

All the air suddenly got sucked out of the room. I heard my own noisy intake of air as I gasped. Time stood still, suspended as I waited to see if she would say anything else. Did I really hear it or did I imagine it? She hadn't said anything else. Maybe I imagined it. Just as I was about to ask she said.

"The response is overwhelming, Mulder."

I started laughing. "Oh Scully. I'm just shocked. I thought for sure I'd finally ruined everything. It's such a relief to be able to tell you." I paused, overwhelmed for a second. "Oh Jesus, I'm so in love with you."

The relief that swept over me in that moment was life defining. I had one of those moments where you know your life just changed forever. For the first time in my life I was in love with someone who loved me back.

And I'd never loved anyone the way I loved Scully. I loved her totally, unconditionally, without any reservations or doubts. She owned me, body and soul. That sentiment might have been a little sappy for her to handle at that moment so I kept it to myself.

"Mulder."

"Yeah."

"Now that we have that cleared up ..."

I started to laugh again.

"Hey, get serious, will ya?" she teased.

I gulped down my laughter and said, "Yes, ma'am."

"Can I come see you tomorrow?"

"Of course. Would you rather I come there?"

"Yeah, actually, if you don't mind. I have to figure out who this cat belongs to."

"Cat? What cat?"

"I found a cat in my hallway after you left."

"What were you doing in your hallway?"

Silence for a few seconds and then, "I was ... trying to stop you."

I swallowed heavily. Scully had run after me? Oh God, I wish I'd known. I'd wanted to go back in there so bad. But I'd stormed out and couldn't bring myself to do it. I'd laid the gauntlet at her feet. My pride wouldn't let me grovel.

I had regretted leaving the moment I closed the door, knowing I was throwing it all in her face at once and then running like a coward, but my feet moved anyway and took me out of there. Then I sat like a frozen statue for nearly an hour before summoning the ability to drive home.

"I'm sorry I left like that, Scully."

"It's O.K. I found this enormous orange tabby cat in the hall. She must belong to someone. She's definitely a pet. She has a collar on with one of those little brass plates with a phone number on it."

"You haven't called them?"

"Mulder, I don't know if you've noticed, but it's after two o'clock in the morning. I don't think whoever they are, that they would appreciate a call at this hour, even for their cat!"

"Oh yeah, I didn't think of that."

"You wouldn't."

"Hey, no mud slinging!"

"So what do we do tomorrow?"

"I don't know. We can talk some more, go get something to eat in a nice restaurant." I was thinking, 'how about I jump your bones and we screw until neither of us can move anymore?' But I didn't think that was the best approach right then.

"During the day?"

"Sure, why not? Lots of places serve brunch."

"I'm sleepy, Mulder."

"Get some sleep, Scully."

"O.K., me and tabby are going to bunk up together tonight, I think."

"I'll call you tomorrow when I rise from the dead."

"Until then, Mulder."

"Night, Scully." I waited for her to hang up before replacing the receiver.

I flopped back down on the bed and sighed the most gigantic sigh of relief of my entire life. I smiled, a big grin. It was going to be all right. I couldn't believe after all that bruhaha, how calmly we'd talked just now. Like we were discussing what to make for dinner, not a life altering admission of love.

It was life altering to me anyway. I didn't know about her, but I was willing to bet that she was as excited and profoundly effected as I was. She wasn't Ms. Gushy either.

I closed my eyes and remembered the feel of her pressed against me on that stone bench. I moaned lightly, feeling my dick harden at the memory. Then I remembered her in my lap. Christ! I'd pulled her into my lap like some crazed animal! It's a wonder she didn't shoot me! Not a smart thing to do to a woman who knew how to use a gun!

But her body, pressed into my erection had been heaven and torture all at the same time. What had possessed me? I wasn't usually so clumsy or crude with women. But this was Scully and I'd always been clumsy with her. Like the class geek in love with the Prom Queen, I'd always been all thumbs when it came to being close and personal with Scully. A look from her could reduce my I.Q. into the double digits.

I vowed that was going to change as I took myself in hand to relieve some tension. I stroked myself quick and hard, not wanting to draw it out. With any luck at all, I'd have the real thing tomorrow. God, I hoped so.

But I would let her decide.


DANA SCULLY'S APARTMENT
Saturday, April 7, 2001
10:00 AM

I woke to the feel of tiny feet in my hair. I was startled but then settled back down. The cat was on my pillow. She had taken up residence there sometime during the night as though she belonged there. At the moment, she was kneading in my hair which was spread out on the pillow behind my head.

As she worked her paws back and forth, my hair was being carefully tucked under my scalp. The mild sensation of moving hair was divine and I hated to break up the party, but I had to get up. I opened one eye and saw the clock and nearly bolted upright. The cat leaped straight up into the air and off the bed.

"Sorry, kitty. Didn't mean to startle you."

She gave me a dirty look and went out into the hall and into the bathroom. Oh boy. I bet she has to go and she probably has a litter box in the bathroom at home. I leaped up and trotted into the bathroom, prepared to scoop her up and take her outside.

I stopped short with my mouth hanging open as I eyed the sight in front of me. Here was tubby the tabby cat, back legs spread eagle on the toilet, tinkling away.

I clapped a hand over my mouth and tittered like an idiot. I'd never seen such a thing! I'd heard about cats being able to be taught to do this, but I'd never actually seen it.

I picked up my toothbrush and said, "Good girl, good kitty."

She meowed and jumped down, having apparently finished her business and stalked out. I brushed my teeth and jumped into the shower. Mulder must have slept late too since he hadn't called yet.

He said he would call first. I hope so. I want to be prepared. Prepared for what? I got out and dried off, slipping into my robe.

I went back into the bedroom and yanked the sheets off the bed, throwing them in the hamper. I put new sheets on the bed, telling myself it was in case there was any cat hair on it. I knew the real reason I was changing the sheets.

Hope.

I felt a little flutter in my stomach. Oh God, would it happen today? Tonight? Could I jump into that part of it that fast?

Fast? It had been over seven years, for Christ's sake. Enough was enough. I wanted him. I was in love with him. And if he didn't make the move, I would. Before this night was over, I was going to have Fox Mulder naked in my bed if it was the last thing I did.

If that hard bulge in his pants last night was anything to go by, it shouldn't be a huge problem. I smiled smugly, hardly wanting to believe it had come to this finally. He loved me. He wanted me. Not some tall brunette ... me, little short, pale, red headed, Scully. Me.

Not Dana.

I was Scully to him, and he was Mulder to me. That's the way it would always be. Our surnames had become a more personal and intimate form of address than our first names over the years.

I found myself becoming excited with anticipation. I went to the closet to begin the agonizing decision of what to wear. I didn't want to look too casual, but I didn't want to look like I'd done anything special either. But I wanted to look good.

For God sakes, this was Mulder! What the hell was I thinking?

I wanted to look good to him, plain and simple.


DANA SCULLY'S APARTMENT
Saturday, April 7, 2001
11:00 AM

He called at 10:30 to say he was leaving and to put the coffee on. He was bringing pastries from Cosmo's Bakery. I loved their stuff and he knew it.

The doorbell range and I literally jumped. This was ridiculous. I had to calm down. I took a deep breath approaching the door. Everything was same, I kept telling myself. But it wasn't.

We'd both said the dreaded three words. 'Oh Jesus, I'm so in love with you.' I could still hear his voice in my head. I looked out the peephole, even knowing it was him.

I unlatched the door and swung it open. He looked up from his boots and met my eyes. "Hey, Scully."

He looked down again. "Hey, Mulder, come in."

He nodded, still looking down and it hit me like wave. My God! He was acting shy! I'd seen him act a lot of things before, but shy was not one of his problems. He absently waved the large white bag at me as I closed the door and turned around. I pointed to the kitchen.

He turned and made his way there, dumping his bomber jacket over the back of a dinette chair. I watched his rear end move under his snug, but worn black jeans. He saw the plate I'd set out and started unloading the bag. He'd bought cheese and lemon Danish as well as cinnamon rolls. They smelled divine. They must still be warm. I went to stand beside him and peered over his arm onto the plate, making a show of it.

He suddenly became still with a roll in his hand and turned his head down to look at me, smiling a big, toothy smile. "Hungry, Scully?"

I smiled back and nodded. His smile faded and he licked his lips. My eyes were drawn to that plumb lower lip that had fascinated me for so many years. I could remember the feel of it, brief as it was, sliding over mine. I realized I was staring and shook myself internally. "I'll get you some coffee. It's ready. I spun away, feeling heat rise in my neck and hoping I could get it under control before it hit my face. I poured two mugs without turning around.

Before I could pick them up and turn around, his arms came down beside me, his hands flat on the counter. I jumped slightly and spun around and found myself nose to nose with Mulder, leaning down, towering over me. "Oh!" I gasped out.

One hand trailed up my bare arm. I was wearing a tank top. I shivered and pulled away. He didn't stop but ran the backs of his fingers over my collar bone and up my neck. I bent my head down to try and dislodge his fingers.

What the hell was he doing? His hand slid around the back of my neck and cupped the base of my skull, his fingers burrowing into my hair. He caught my eye and just looked.

He blinked rapidly a couple of times. "Mulder, what are you doing?" I finally managed to ask.

His voice was low and raspy and he spoke slowly. "I told myself I was going to be normal." He took a deep breath.

"Normal? What do you mean normal?" I realized my hands were gripping the edge of the counter in a death grip and I consciously loosened my fingers.

"I was going to act normal. I was going to be calm and nonchalant."

"You were thinking about how you were going to behave?"

His skin flushed slightly. I don't remember ever seeing him blush but this was close. "Yeah, is that silly?"

His fingers started rubbing gently back and forth in my hair and I shivered again. "No," I squeaked out. I was having a little difficulty forming sentences right now.

"But the second I saw you, Scully ..."

"What?"

"It's different now, isn't it?"

I swallowed then and looked him in the eye and nodded. "Yeah, I guess it is. It shouldn't be really, but it is."

He licked his lips again. "I can't wait."

"What do you mean?"

His answer was to bring his other hand to my jaw, tip my head gently and cover my mouth with his, sweeping his tongue over my lips.

I groaned as the flash of instant arousal swept through me. My nipples hardened against my flimsy stretch bra, and heat pooled between my legs.

I opened my mouth in silent invitation and his tongue swept inside, lazily licking the inside of my teeth and then rolling over my tongue. I moaned into his mouth. I couldn't believe it but I felt his whole body shudder and his hands dropped around my back and he pulled me against him.

He deepened the kiss, crushing my lips against my teeth, his tongue threatening to block my wind entirely. Then he pulled back and began kissing me softly.

I sucked in air as he licked my lips that were throbbing slightly and swollen from the attack. I whimpered, knowing I had never done that before in my life. Dana Scully did not whimper.

He sucked my lower lip into his mouth gently and then dragged those hot, wet, soft lips over mine as he backed away and sure enough, I whimpered again.

He rested his forehead on mine, panting softly. "God help me, Scully."

"Yeah, huh?" Oh yeah, Dana, that was intelligent.

He chuckled. "Sorry, I couldn't wait."

"Ss'Okaay," I nearly slurred.

He visibly shook himself. "Are we going to eat something now?"

My hands had somehow found their way to his shoulders. I lowered them to grab the counter and hoisted myself up onto it, pushing our coffee mugs aside. I stared him in the eye as I opened my legs. I was wearing only black leggings and I was barefoot.

He smiled a slow, lazy smile and stepped between my legs. His hands came down on my rear end and he tugged me to the edge, pressing his hips into mine. I could feel him, hot and hard through his jeans. I leaned my head on his shoulder and he hugged me tight. "So," he said.

"So," I repeated. We both chuckled at our mutual inability to talk to each other.

"Why is this so hard?"

"I don't know, that was pretty easy."

"Yeah, it was." I could hear the smile in his voice. I tongued the rim of his ear and he grunted, pulling his head away.

"What?" I asked innocently, teasing him.

He grinned. "Don't do that unless your serious. I'm very sensitive there, my neck too."

"Oh really?"

"Yes, really."

"Is that like playing with fire, Agent Mulder?" I couldn't believe I was teasing him, flirting with him. I hadn't flirted in years. Not seriously.

He replied, "Definitely playing with fire."

"What will happen if I play with fire?"

He leaned his lips over and spoke directly into my ear. "I'll throw you over my shoulder and carry you into your bedroom right now."

Now it was my turn to shudder. "Oh, guess I better be careful then."

He chuckled. "You better ... if you want to eat first."

"And if I don't want to eat first?" Was I really doing this? I'd lost my appetite. For food, anyway. I could feel the heat rolling off him in waves. His light blue tee shirt was no barrier.

"If you don't want to eat first, then keep doing what you're doing."

"My call, huh?"

"Yup, totally. I promised myself I wouldn't push, that you would set the pace. You deserve to be courted, Scully. You deserve to have romance. And I know that right up through last night, I've been an ass. I don't treat you well a lot of the time, but I swear that's going to change."

Could I start this? Was I ready? Did I want to eat first? Get some distance.

He nuzzled my neck and his hot breath cascaded over my skin, causing my breasts to tingle. His hands were rubbing gently up and down on my sides as he waited patiently for me to give the word, one way another.

Wait or go for broke? He nuzzled me again, this time his lips latching lightly onto the spot just below my ear. I gasped. Apparently pleased with the reaction, he sucked gently and swirled his tongue around in a circle on my sensitive skin.

I moaned, low and loud. "Jesus, Scully," he mumbled.

Fuck it. I wanted this too bad. And I'd waited long enough. I eyed his ear, and decided to see if I could pay him back for that little stunt he'd just pulled.

I ran my tongue around the shell of his ear again, plunging inside once and then backing up to latch onto his earlobe and suck it gently into my mouth.

"Scully!" he barked out.

I didn't want to do it on my kitchen counter. Not the first time anyway! I whispered one word in his ear. "Bedroom."

He groaned and lifting me into his arms. My legs went around his waist. He spun around and carried me as if I weighed nothing. I guess to him, I didn't. I forgot how strong he was sometimes. I felt so small in his arms like this. But somehow it didn't bother me.

He strode purposefully to the bedroom and kicked the door closed behind him. He didn't stop until he lowered me gently to the bed. He looked at me for about two seconds. Then he reached out and grabbed the hem of my shirt and ripped it over my head. I raised my arms to assist. He tossed it on the floor and eyed the front clasp to my bra. His eyes went from me to it and back to me, asking permission.

I nodded and he reached up to unclasp it. His hands were shaking! My God, he seemed so in control walking in here. Was he as nervous and excited as I was? He smiled ruefully at his hands and held them out so I could see them trembling. He shrugged, giving me that quirky, self deprecating grin. Somehow it made me feel better that he was as nervous as I was.

I smiled. He gently peeled the bra back off my breasts and down my arms. I tossed it on the floor. I felt horribly exposed, my breasts now on display. His mouth was open and he was staring at my chest. One hand came up tentatively and cupped me from underneath. He squeezed gently and I hummed. God it felt so good and he really hadn't done anything yet. His hands were large and hot.

He mumbled something like, "Oh God, perfect." Without warning he leaned over and took my already hardened nipple into his mouth. He laved it roughly with his tongue and then began to suckle slowly. I moaned and my head fell back on my shoulders.

"Mulder, feels so good," I murmured.

He hummed his agreement and suckled harder. I moaned. He left off and trailed kisses across my chest until he reached the other breast and then treated it the same as the first.

I was enjoying the hell out of this but I was impatient to see him, feel his skin.

I pushed him gently away and he frowned. I smiled at his look of disappointment. I reached down and yanked his shirt. He helped me pull it off. I laid back and pulled my leggings and panties off in one sweep, dumping them on the floor.

He grunted and I looked up to find him standing in front of me staring at my body. The top button of his jeans was undone and his hands rested on his waistband, frozen there. His eyes swept me up and down a couple of times. I blushed ferociously and turned my head away when he chuckled.

Then he whispered, "So damn beautiful, Scully."

"Eh hem," I coughed and waved at his jeans. He smiled and yanked down the zipper and pulled them down his legs, taking his shoes and socks with them. He stood up wearing only his boxer briefs and I raised my eyebrow at him. "Keep going," I prompted.

He smiled again, and pulled his boxers down. He let them fall around his ankles, pulled his socks off and then kicked them all away. I returned the favor as I stared unfettered for the first time at his body. I found myself whispering the same sentiment he'd just given me, "Mulder, you're beautiful."

He chuckled again, self-consciously this time. He walked to me, and crawled up onto the bed. We got in the middle, facing each other on our sides and spent several minutes just looking and running our hands over chests, bellies and legs. It was all over when his hand ran up the inside of my thigh, nudging my legs apart. His fingers slid up and came in contact with my juncture.

I was embarrassed at how wet I was as he swept the sides of his fingers over me and back again. He gasped at the feel of how swollen and ripe I was. I moaned again. Seemed we were destined to echo each other today and that suited me fine.

"I can't wait, Mulder."

I rolled onto my back. His eyes widened for a second and then he slowly rolled over, coming to rest on top of me, supporting his weight on his elbows.

"Do you want me to ..." He trailed off. "I was going to do ..."

I grinned. "Later. I've waited so long."

"Tell me what you want me to do."

"You don't know?" I teased, as I raised my legs to wrap them around his waist. My heels dug into his rear end, urging him down closer to me.

He grunted softly and I felt the tip of his cock nudge my swollen folds. "Yeesss!" I hissed.

He smiled. "I meant, HOW do you like it? Slow and easy? Fast and hard?"

I groaned. "Any way. Just do it, Mulder. God, I need you so bad!" I whined.

I heard him gasp slightly and he braced himself and slid inside in one smooth, slow, strong stroke. We both groaned and clung to each other for several seconds.

I felt so full it was unbelievable. I flexed my hips and he moaned. "God, Mulder, you're big!" That sounded stupid, I thought immediately.

He just chuckled and said, "I'm glad you think so. I think you're just small."

"You feel fantastic, oh God, better than I'd dreamed." I saw his eyes flash wide for a second at this admission, before I pulled his head down and kissed him.

He joined me eagerly in the kiss, but finally let go and began to stroke into me slowly. In and out, so slow. He found a rhythm and I matched him, lifting myself into him, moving to get the best angle.

Ripples of excitement rolled through me and I began to pant and moan. He sped up some and I kept time with him. He was saying something and I had to concentrate and tune in to understand him. Under his breath, he was saying, "Too good, awww, it's too good, never been this good."

I panted out, "No such thing as too good, Mulder."

I jerked into him and he took the hint beginning to stroke harder and faster. I was building quickly and could feel the twinges in my abdomen and uterus. He was so big that every stroke pulled the hood of my clitoris down and then up and he brushed along the bottom as he stroked into me. My clit was buzzing and jumping. I'd never had that happen before.

Without warning, my orgasm hit. I screamed as it waved through me, my walls gripping him so tight. "Aaaahhhh, Mulder! Yyyyeeeesss!"

I was stretched to the limit and could feel him throbbing inside me as my muscles spasmed around him. "Oh God, right there, oh God, Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwww, Mulder!"

He was so hard. He began slam into me hard and fast. A half a dozen strokes and he wailed my name and emptied into me. His seed was hot as it splashed my insides and coated them with warmth. "Scccuuulllyyy! God, oh God, Awwwwwww, Scully!"

He collapsed like a boneless heap on top of me. We were both sweaty and gulping for air. He raised his head off my shoulder after a minute and gazed at me. He kissed me tenderly. "I love you."

"I love you too."

He smiled. "I never imagined it could be that good."

"Me neither."

He rolled off me. I curled up to his side and pulled the comforter up over our cooling skin.

"Are you hungry?" he asked.

"A little. I better eat and keep my strength up if you're going to give me a work out like that all the time."

He laughed and it was a wondrous sound. "Every chance I get," he quipped. "You're stuck with me now."

"Good."

He hugged me tight and kissed my forehead. "I can't believe I'm here, in your bed."

I smiled. "Me neither."

"I don't ever want to leave."

"We have to."

"Bummer," he deadpanned and I laughed.


I guess we fell asleep. Because the next thing I knew, I was waking up. And there was a weight on my chest.

I cracked one eye open and nearly vaulted off the bed. A huge orange ball of fur was curled up on my breastbone. My movement roused it and it leaped up giving me a dirty look and stomped to the foot of the bed where it turned around in circles several times before making itself at home again.

I looked to the side to see Scully's eyes were open. She was grinning from ear to ear. "Oh yeah, I forgot about the cat."

"Scared the hell out of me!"

She giggled. I better call that number on her collar. I wrote it down earlier. She slid out of bed and walked stark naked into the bathroom. I admired her heart shaped derriere as she went.

I sighed and slid over to sit on the edge of the bed, searching the floor for my underwear. I yanked them on and then felt a soft fur sliding across my back. I patted the bed beside me and the cat sat primly at my side. I scratched behind one ear and then the other, amused as her head listed dramatically to each side trying to increase the pressure.

Her purr could have woken the dead. If this cat looked any more like Garfield it would be hysterical. I chuckled at that thought. Too bad Scully couldn't keep her. I continued to pet her from the crown of her head to the tip of her tail as she walked under my hand over and over, raising her rear end in the air at the end of every swipe. Scully emerged from the bathroom wearing a terry cloth robe.

She went to the closet and pulled out a huge robe, obviously a man's and tossed it to me on the bed. I looked at her, wondering where that had come from. I didn't want to be wearing some old boyfriend's bathrobe. I knew that was silly, but I couldn't help it.

She smiled. "It was my father's. Mom gave me some of his things when he died."

I smiled at her softly, feeling like a jerk and picked up the robe and slid into it. "Thanks, Scully."

"No problem. I'm going to call that number."

She walked out into the living and I stood to follow her, deciding to go to the bathroom first.

I walked into the living room in time to see Scully holding the receiver away from her ear as a woman nearly screamed on the other end. I could hear her from half way across the living room.

[Oh my God! You found my precious Kathy! God Bless you. Oh, God Bless you! Now where do you live? Oh, this is fantastic!]

I grinned at Scully and made my way into the kitchen, deciding one of those Danish was looking pretty good right now.

Scully joined me shortly thereafter and we ate and drank coffee, just enjoying each other's company.


We both felt grubby after our little afternoon siesta and so decided to take a shower. I got in first while he was rummaging for some of his emergency clothes in the bottom of my closet.

I felt the cold air rush into the bathroom as he opened the door.

"Scully, did I leave a toothbrush here?"

"Yeah, I think you did one time. Check under the sink. There's a little shelf on the left where I keep miscellaneous things."

I heard the cupboard bang open, wincing as it crashed against the wall. I heard him utter, "Oops," and smiled in spite of myself.

Then he exclaimed, "Scully! Oh my God! Look what I found!"

"What?"

I watched his blurry outline approach the frosted glass door of my shower. He cracked it open and I waited with anticipation for him to climb in with me. Instead, just his arm shot into the shower, the door opened just wide enough for his arm to go through. He had my yellow rubber duck grasped firmly by its butt. He tilted it back and forth clearing his throat dramatically.

"Mulder! That's here for my nephews!"

He started to sing, "Ohhh, Ruuubbbeer Ducky, ... you're the one! You make my bath time ... LOTS of fun. Ohhhh, Rubber Ducky, I'm awfully fond of...Rubber Ducky, I'm awfully FOND OFFFFF! Rubber Ducky I'm awfully fond of you!"

This little serenade was done while he wiggled the duck back and forth as though it were doing the singing. I was nearly doubled over by the time he finally stepped into the shower, putting the duck on the narrow ledge at the edge of the tub. I was holding my sides, laughing harder than I had in ages.

"Oh God, Oh God, Mulder, ... geez, I haven't heard that song since I was ... since I was ..." I was gasping for breath, trying to get my mirth under control. I rarely saw Mulder in such a playful mood.

"Six years old?" he offered. I nodded, still grinning from ear to ear.

"Yeah, was that from a commercial?"

"I honestly don't remember."

I sputtered out a few residual giggles.

He was grinning as well and said, "God, you're so beautiful when you laugh."

That brought my mirth under control instantly as I saw the expression on his face turn from playful to lustful.

"Of course," he continued, "nothing beats seeing you naked."

We smiled at each other and I stepped behind him so he could get wet. He shampooed and I took the opportunity to soap up his entire torso. He returned the favor when he was done with his hair. We explored, enjoying the soft caresses and looking openly at one another. The water started to run cold and we got out and quickly dried off.


I made love to her again that night after we'd spent the afternoon watching a movie and cuddling on the couch. A woman, Mrs. Hartwright, showed up at the door and retrieved her cat. I thought she was going to break Scully in half the way she hugged her, obviously delighted to have her cat back.

We were lying in bed now, spent, and I watched her sleeping, a small smile playing at the corners of her mouth. I brushed an errant lock of hair off her forehead and she stirred, opening her eyes. "Hmm, what time is it?

"It's 11:00 PM," I said softly.

"Early for you," she muttered.

I smiled. "Go back to sleep, Scully."

"You too."

"Can't yet."

She rolled onto her side facing away from me and mumbled, "Spoon me."

I eagerly slid up behind her and wrapped an arm around her waist. She fit perfectly into the curve of my body. We both sighed loudly at the same time, contentment stealing over us and then we both chuckled.

"Scully?"

"Mmm?"

"Promise me something."

"What?"

"No matter what happens, never be afraid to tell me things, or ask me things. I need to know what's going on in your head."

"Only if you promise the same thing."

"I promise."

"No more secrets, Mulder, none."

"Zero secrets, Scully."

"Zero secrets, Mulder."

"I love you."

"Love you too, Scully. Sleep now."

"No regrets?" she mumbled.

"Zero regrets, Scully."

She snuggled in tight and drifted off to sleep. I continued with my newest favorite habit ... watching her sleep.

~The end.~


"The armchair is the neurotics spaceship." B.Earle

"They say when you talk to God, it's called prayer. When God talks to you, it's schizophrenia." - Fox Mulder

 

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