TITLE: Tlaloc's Time
SPOILERS: The Rain King, little bits of other episodes that come before it
ARCHIVE: Gossamer okay, anywhere else just let me know.
SUMMARY: The events during Rain King lead M/S to revelations about their relationship and finally ... to action ;)
DISCLAIMER: Not mine, no money, belong to Chris Carter, 1013, Fox, GA and DD. Please don't sue. No infringement intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTES: This was partly inspired by Amanda Rex's story 'Perfectly Happy' - go read it, it's good! Thanks to CarrieK for the transcript of the episode. Thanks too go to my beta Bugs who put a lot of time and effort into this story and saved me from some embarrassing mistakes. :)


Cool View Motor Court

I can't sleep.

I've been lying in bed for the past half-hour or so, listening to the storm build outside my motel room. There's an annoying rhythmic banging in tune with the gusts of wind. For a moment I'm tempted to get out of bed and shoot the source of the sound that woke me. That'd teach them, it ... whatever.

It sounds like it's going to be a good storm too. The wind is picking up. I wonder if it'll rain. Now *that* would be too funny, considering why we're here.

Hoo boy. Kroner, Kansas. What *was* Mulder thinking? Actually, I know what he was thinking. A man who could control the rain? Oh please. As if. And my endearingly irritating partner - and yes, he is both - knew the only way he could get me to agree to go - heck, to let *him* go -was to tell me as little as possible about this so-called X-file. And I let him get away with it, of course. I usually do, except every once in a while, just to keep him in line or because he's pissing me off, I make him work for it. Really work for it.

That's not to say I don't enjoy these strange little trips with Mulder. I just don't let him know it. There are things that man does not need to know. For the greater good and all that.

I wriggle over in bed again and groan. Now the damned cows have started up their contribution to my sleep-interrupted night. Fuck. Who made up that crap about the country being quiet and peaceful? I never realized cows could make such a racket. Moo to them too.

Actually, despite the cows, Kroner is not too bad. Lately, we seem to be visiting a lot of small towns like this one. The Mayor, what was his name, Gilbert, Gilmore or something? It wasn't really that surprising that he thought I was Mulder's 'missus'. After all, this is a small town. Sometimes small town attitudes, especially at times from men can be, well, small town. Old-fashioned.

It's not the first time someone has presumed that Mulder and I were a couple. I don't even blush now or get flustered; I'm so used to it. Of course, though, as soon as the words had left the Mayor's mouth, Mulder couldn't stop grinning. What an idiot. God only knows what pictures he was conjuring up. No, strike that, I think I do know. After all, he has got a well-stocked video collection and a good imagination.

But he did have to get his straight face back fast when the Mayor started on about the Rain King. He knows me. I've shot him once; I could do it again. I still can't believe that Mulder thinks there is a case here. Sometimes I wonder if even he believes all this stuff, or whether he does it so I'll argue with him because he's bored and because he likes it, or lately, something to stick up Kersh's nose.

*What time is it now?* I roll over and turn on the lamp beside my bed to see the ugly motel clock radio. Jeez, it's 3:00am. I shut off the light again and sigh.

I wonder if Mulder is awake?

Cool View Motor Court
8.03am, same day

Ah, Scully. I love this town. And really, if the truth could be known ... and it can't actually be told this time, even though I always tell you it's out there and I'm looking for it ... well, the point is, and there is one in case you were wondering ... the truth is, I love the people in this town because they all seem to think we're a couple. You and me. Together. And all that it entails.

It's a shame though, that a poor cow had to sacrifice its life for the chance for you and I to share a bedroom. And a bathroom. I can imagine what you would look like wearing wet hair, a towel, and nothing else. I know what sort of pajamas you wear. And I would like to see you in them again, without a dead cow as a witness, honestly I would. I'd like to see you without them too.

Maybe I'll become a vegetarian for the next ten years to make up for this opportunity - you know, the dead cow sacrifice thing. Do they have some sort of Greenpeace organization for defenders of cows? I could join, really, I wouldn't mind. I could make up banners and go to demonstrations. I could speak at rallies. I'm a Federal Agent, that's pretty respectable. They'd welcome me. Think that'd compensate for one little dead cow?

"Ouch." I mumble under my breath, but the doctor hears, and lets go of my arm for a minute. Scully was talking to the motel manager, but now she's making her way across the parking lot to me. At last.

Though, she was at my door pretty fast last night when she heard the cow crash through my roof. I don't know what she thought had happened, but she was pretty worried. I guess it *was* a very loud noise, and she *was* right next-door. She didn't see me when she first barged into my room; her eyes were fixed on my bed and I saw a definite moment of shock, terror, and something that might have been anguish on her face. Might have been.

She was wearing a pair of navy blue satin pajamas, and her hair was mused. She hadn't even put on her robe. I must have made some sort of noise as I got up from the wreckage of the table I'd jumped on, because she turned around and saw me. Relief filled her face.

"Mulder," she'd said as she rushed over to me, hardly noticing the messy remains of the roof on the floor. I was worried that she'd cut her feet. "Are you okay? Are you hurt?" Her hands ran over my scalp, across my chest, and over my bare arms and legs, checking for herself that I was still in one piece.

I had stood up carefully. There was a cut on my arm, but that was nothing much, and everything else seemed to be in working order. "I'm okay, Scully. Good thing I'm not a heavy sleeper," I'd joked, motioning towards the cow in my bed. Her eyes had suddenly misted over. She'd looked down quickly, but I wouldn't let it go.

"Hey," I'd said to her softly as I pulled her against my chest, careful not to get my blood on her. I cupped her head with one hand and buried my face in her hair. Her arms slipped around me. She'd hugged me back. I love it when she lets me do that. I must have really scared her. She smelled so good.

"I'm okay, Scully," I'd repeated, my voice muffled, my mouth nestled in her hair. I dropped a light kiss near her ear, so soft that she probably didn't even feel it, and then pulled away slightly so I could see her face.

For a moment she wouldn't look up at me, but when she did, she was composed again. "Good," she'd said and I heard the forced briskness in her tone.

She was back in Agent Scully mode. Agent Scully in flimsy silk pajamas. I smiled and she noticed. I knew she was wondering what I was thinking about this time, but she didn't ask.

It was a good thing anyway, my boxers didn't hide much and I didn't really want to get an erection right then. I realized I'd better put on a pair of jeans. And it was a bit chilly with this large hole in my roof, wouldn't you say?

Surprisingly enough, the cow crash didn't seem to have woken anyone else. I managed to persuade Scully to leave everything to a more decent hour and go back to bed. She insisted I go back to her room and stay there, which was fine by me. And it's not what you're thinking, I mean, would you want to share your room with a dead cow, a dead cow that - and I don't mean to be too graphic here - isn't really in one piece anymore? I thought not.

Scully's room has a narrow double bed. She was looking fairly tired but I was still wide-awake. "Go back to bed, Scully," I told her. "I'm gonna stay up a bit longer and look though my notes."

Strangely enough, I'd managed to rescue most of them from my room. They must have blown off the bed as the cow landed.

She yawned and fussed a bit, and insisted on putting some sort of temporary bandage on my arm.

She got into bed and eventually rolled over onto her side with her back to me. I turned on a dim light at the table on the other side of the room and sat down with my notes. I heard her sigh.

"Go to sleep, Scully," I murmured.

She mumbled back, "Okay, but you'd better wake me if you think there's another cow coming."

I chuffed softly and turned back to my notes. It was almost 4:00am and I had definitely no intention of sleeping the rest of the night.

There was absolutely nowhere but the bed to lie down upon. The chairs were basic chair-table chairs, not lounge-chairs. I knew Scully was aware of this. But she didn't push me. She knew I'd lie down beside her if I needed to.

After all, we're partners. She can trust me. But what she doesn't know is that I'm not sure if I can trust myself at present. It's the middle of the night, a weird time by anyone's reckoning, she's tired, and I've... well, I've just hugged her, felt her warm body crushed against mine, her breasts against my chest. There was no way I was going to try to go to sleep beside her. I couldn't, I wouldn't.

After I was sure she was asleep, I turned off my light and watched her as she slumbered. Stupid and sappy, but hey, no one knew. She'd turned over in her sleep so she was facing me again. She had one hand nestled under the pillow, and her face was partly covered by the crook of her arm. There was a lock of hair brushing her cheek.

I really wanted to sit down on the floor beside the bed so I could watch her closely, but that would have been embarrassing if she woke up, so I didn't. I decided to go for a run instead. A long one. I could do a tour of the whole town.

In the end, I didn't manage the entire town, but by the time I arrived back at the motel, it was a respectable enough hour for others to be awake. Scully was still sleeping. I was hot and sweaty. I decided to shower in my room so I didn't wake her.

I didn't go back into her room when I was through; I decided to start making a few phone calls to get this cow to disappear. The motel manager could hardly believe what I was telling her. For a moment I thought of Scully - I don't know why. There is nothing really similar about the manager or the situation to my partner. Eventually the woman took a look in my room, and I swore she almost had a coronary.

Over the next hour, everything started to happen and we gathered quite a crowd. Scully didn't come out of her room until almost 8:00am, although I could hear her moving about, presumably showering and getting dressed.


I am snapped back to the painful present when the doctor who is not Scully, presses against the cut on my arm. "We can just butterfly it," he tells me. "I've got my kit over in the car."

He leaves and I don't care. I want Scully out here playing doctor with me. I like it when she plays doctor. Her whole demeanor softens, and she touches me. Unnecessary touches, as if to reassure herself that I'm okay.

I especially like it when she does the head trauma check. Her hands are so small, so soft and warm, and when she runs them though my hair, ah, that's bliss. I either want to curl up like a cat and purr, or fall on her and rip her clothes off like a caveman. It almost makes me wish I needed medical attention more often.

Ah. She's here. Just to prove to myself that I am focused on this case and not her, I tell her that I don't think this drop-dead cow is the result of a mere accident. Either she thinks I'm concussed or she's not listening, because she does that head trauma check thing - again by the way, she'd already done this last night - and I have to concentrate very hard, if you know what I mean, on the situation at hand. It's caveman day today. Yes, Scully, I'm fine, as you like to say.

Finally, a few hours later, I'm finished with the doctor, we've assured Sheila that she ain't no cow killer, and we've had enough weather-talk with Holman to last this lifetime and the next. What else can we do today? You might think that we work 12-hour days when we're out in the field, and it's true, sometimes we do. But there are days when a case is slow, or there's nothing much to follow up on, like today, so with a bit of luck, we get some time to ourselves.

It's not quite noon, and I really don't feel like following up any more leads - not that we really have any - and I bet Scully isn't interested in trailing the Rain King, although I personally think that could be fun. I could learn some interesting dance steps if nothing else. That man has talent.

I wonder if Scully would play hooky with me?


I'm beginning to *really* dislike this town.

Yesterday, I was pissed at Mulder for dragging me out here, and pissed at this town for ... well, its existence was enough for me to dislike it. Then one of its cows almost kills my partner.

I'm looking at the cow right now. It's still on Mulder's bed. It's very dead, and about to be chainsawed into 'hamburger'. Lovely. I don't want to witness that.

With one last glance at the caved-in ceiling, I step out onto the veranda as the chainsaw starts up behind me. I'm still worried about Mulder. He's seated on the folded-down back of a truck, and the town's sole doctor is with him, checking his arm.

The motel manager catches up with me as I step down the walkway. "Oh, miss, we moved your boyfriend's things into your room".

Uh oh, no thanks. "He's my partner, and we prefer separate rooms." I've shared a motel room a handful of times with Mulder and it's not an experience I want to repeat in a hurry. He's a slob, a messy pig. Clothes on the floor, case notes between the bed sheets and in damp piles in the bathroom. Once I even found his cell phone in the soap dish in the shower stall. Luckily for him I saw it before I turned the water on.

And he leaves sunflower seeds everywhere. It drives me nuts. I've found them in my jacket pockets, my toiletries bag, and mixed in with the lingerie in my suitcase. I'm sure there's a logical, rational explanation as to why they surface in almost everything I own, although I acknowledge there could be an X-file involved somewhere. Maybe.

The motel manager shrugs at me, the rollers in her hair bobbing slightly. "Oh, old-fashioned are you, huh? Well, we're booked solid with the high school reunion. You can take it or leave it."

I sigh and don't bother to correct her. Or argue. Screw being worried. Dammit, Mulder. This is all your fault.

I reach my partner just as the doctor moves away and he squints at me. I don't know why Mulder doesn't wear sunglasses more often if he doesn't like the glare of the sun.

"Scully, I don't think it's a coincidence that a cow gets hurled at me just as we're down here investigating the weather."

*Whaaaat?* Oh God, maybe he did get concussed last night. Now I feel guilty. I'm ashamed for not examining him more thoroughly earlier. He *said* he'd only got a cut on his arm and a bruise on his hip, but I should have known better. It's an understatement to say Mulder can be paranoid, but surely he can't think that a *cow* was out to get him? How could I have missed a head injury on him? Shit.

I move closer. "Mulder, did they check you for head trauma?" I gently probe his skull with the tips of my fingers. I'm thorough. I watch his face carefully. He doesn't flinch from my touch; that's a good sign. He does seem okay. No obvious cuts or contusions.

"I'm telling you, that cow had my name on it," he reiterates emphatically.

Uh huh.

I see it now.

He's okay.

*Perfectly* fine, in fact.

But really, Mulder. There's a time and place for everything.

He's feeding me this assassin-cow crap in the hopes of distracting me into not noticing the erection he's sporting. How could I not notice, Mulder? Those jeans are *tight*.

I wonder what set him off this time. His penis does seem to pop up at the most inopportune moments. You'd think with all those videos he watches he'd manage to keep it under tighter control. But no, it's up again; the third time I've caught it so far this week.

Not that I'm keeping track.

I'm *not*.

I'm a doctor, I notice these things.

Fortunately or otherwise, my reverie is interrupted by Holman's flustered arrival.

"Agent Mulder, are you all right? I feel terrible. If there's anything I can do, please don't hesitate."

I watch with detachment as Mulder's penis shrinks again. I say to Holman, "Perhaps there is. Mr Hardt, would you please reassure Agent Mulder that this cow incident was, in fact, a natural phenomenon?"

Holman stumbles through his words, "With pleasure. Uh, it's my belief that a mini-twister picked that poor creature up, lifted it about 12,000 feet where the air cooled and, uh... I'm just grateful you weren't hurt any worse."

Got that, Mulder? Haven't you heard the nursery rhyme? It's nothing out of the ordinary for a cow to fall from the sky. Can we please leave here soon?

We don't.

We endure an extremely bizarre interview with Sheila Fontaine. She's convinced *she* caused the twister and the resultant cow-drop. I'm professional; I manage not to give Mulder too many incredulous, accusing, or pointed stares. Then my damn partner has the hide to ask me if I want to 'play hooky'. Grrr. Very bad timing, Mulder.

I leave him to sulk in our motel room while I take my laptop and sit out by the motel's pool. No one is there besides me - probably because the pool is has just a few inches of stagnant water in it. I sit down on one of the plastic lounges under an gaudy umbrella that's far enough away from the water so as not to smell it. It's nice to get away from this whole exasperating situation and have some time alone for a few hours. And I am left alone. Sometimes even Mulder knows when to back off.

Cool View Motor Court
Scully's room

Oh God. It's time, the time that normal people - such as Scully for instance - usually go to bed. It's late, and she's wearing those damn pajamas again. I've had my cold shower. It didn't seem to work. There is no way I am going to strip down to my boxers until all the lights are off. I might just stand near the window a bit longer and watch those cows. Someone should. You just never know. There could be another freak storm and you can never be too careful, right?

She's in bed. Our bed. She's watching me. Shit. Maybe I *should* try and sleep in that cot thing. I unfolded it earlier and set it up on the floor. It's very short though. When I lay down on it to test it out, my feet hung over the metal bar at one end, and my neck rested on the bar on the other end. It was too small. The floor would be more comfortable.

"Mulder, are you coming to bed or do you want to stay up and watch TV or something for a while?" What's this, Scully? You keen? *Want* me?

I look at her, and I can't help but smirk. "Is that an invitation honey?" Oops, I can't believe I called her that. I meant to tease her, but I didn't mean to let that *honey* bit slip out.

She raises her eyebrows and manages to keep the neutral expression on her face as she pulls up the sheets.

It suddenly strikes me that she looks tense, although I doubt anyone but myself would be able to read it. I wonder if she's feeling as nervous as I am. Oh God. Instantly, I'm ashamed at my behavior, the 'invitation' thing, the thoughtless innuendo I threw at her. I don't want Scully to ever feel uneasy around me.

I hook my thumb in the waistband of my jeans and slouch against the window ledge. "Look ... I'll take the cot, Scully," I say by way of apology, gesturing at it with my free hand, but she cuts me off.

"Don't be ridiculous, Mulder. It's too small for you and I'm not sleeping on it. Come on." She moves a bit, patting the other side of the bed. "I don't mind if you keep the TV on. It won't bother me. I'm tired and I'll go right to sleep." She snapped off the light on the bedside table. Evidently, our conversation was over.

I hesitate for a moment by the window. My eyes are still accustomed to the light so I can't easily see her face as she lay in bed ... our bed, the bed we're going to share. God ... I can't do this. I'm standing in the dim moonlight and I'm sure she can read every expression flittering across face.

Quietly, she asks, "Mulder?" Her voice is calm and questioning, but nothing more.

I throw caution to the winds - not that I'm much of a planner anyway - and move to sit on my side of the bed, grabbing the remote for the TV on my way. I don't look at her. I click the TV on, muting the volume. There's nothing much to watch.

"Night, Scully," I say and she murmurs a 'Goodnight' back to me. I surf for a while, but surprisingly enough, for me anyway, I start to feel sleepy. I could actually go to sleep here beside my partner, no problem, no problem at all.

I don't really want to take my jeans off, but sleeping in them is not very comfortable. Scully's turned away from me so I pull them off quickly and slide between the sheets, careful to keep my distance from her. I click the TV off and drop the remote on the carpet beside the bed. 

I wonder if she's asleep?

Cool View Motor Court
Next morning 

I come to consciousness gradually. There's a man sleeping beside me, with his arm slung carelessly around my waist. He smells and feels familiar and comfortable. Mmmm, Mulder.

I don't want to wake up properly yet, I feel so warm and secure. I think we're spooning, yes, we definitely are, that's the proper term for it. My back is pressed up against his chest, one of his bare legs is tangled in mine, and his arm, the one that's around my waist, has slipped under my pajama top. I can feel one of his fingers - actually, I think it's a finger and thumb - resting lightly against the skin of my belly.

This is a little erotic, although it shouldn't be. It's perfectly innocent after all. He's my partner. I repeat that to myself. Innocent. Partner. It should become my mantra. 

Mulder mumbles something in his sleep and his arm tightens around my waist, pulling me even closer against his chest. I can feel his warm breath against the back of my neck. His fingers drift up my stomach - just a little bit further, and they'd be brushing the underside of my breasts. Uh oh, it's definitely time for me to get out of bed.

I wriggle a bit, trying to disentangle my legs from his, and Mulder grunts. "Mmm, Scully," he mumbles in a sleep-roughened voice. "Is it morning or something?"

His nose is pressing into my spine and his hands have begun to absently stroke my belly in small circles. I can tell he's not doing it on purpose, because his breathing is still heavy and slow. He's not really awake yet.

I nudge his hand away and sit up against the pillows, managing to drag my leg out from under his in the same movement. He looks up at me and gives me a sleepy little smile. I stifle the urge to run my hands through his hair and across his morning stubble.

"I'm gonna take a shower," I tell him, and he blinks his eyes shut for a moment. Then he rolls onto his stomach and across to the side of the bed I have just vacated. He yawns an 'okay' against *my* pillow and dangles his arm over the side of the bed, his long supple fingers brushing against the floor. His eyes, still heavy and half-lidded, track my path as I bustle about the room collecting stuff for my shower.

I don't really mind him watching me though. Mulder watches me a lot, sometimes when he thinks I'm not noticing, and sometimes quite blatantly. He's an observer of people; I'm sure that's one of the things that makes him such a good profiler.

I close the bathroom door firmly behind me before I turn on the shower.

KPJK Television Studio

Well, well. What a day. This town is just too much.  

Today started off pretty well, all things considered. I woke up with my partner in my arms, something that doesn't happen every day. I'd actually managed to sleep about six hours straight, which is amazing for me. I didn't even wake up once during the night. I must have been more tired than I thought. And Scully felt so good snuggled up against me. Really, really good.

I wanted to ask her if she would stay like that all day with me - and it's not like she believed we had a case here, so maybe she would have. But she was already out of bed by the time I'd managed to get my brain working enough for speech. We missed that promising opportunity. This was probably a good thing anyway. It's not like I expected her to say "Yes, Mulder. I'll stay in bed with you all day. And I'll take off my pajamas and we can -".

Oops. Nope, she wouldn't say that.

I rolled over onto her side of the bed and buried my face in her pillow, breathing in her scent. Mmmm. I did it unobtrusively, of course. I'm not a total idiot. She probably thought I was still half-asleep.

It was lucky for me that she got up before she felt the part of me that *was* wide awake. Very wide awake. Although, maybe she wouldn't have minded. She's a doctor after all. She has to know that morning erections are natural, normal. Whatever.

We were due to fly out of Kroner at 10:00am this morning, so I decided to stop by KPJK to stay goodbye to Holman. I wasn't too surprised when he admitted to me that he was *the* weatherman. I think he liked me, and it must have been a relief for him that *someone* had finally recognized this gift - or curse - he has.

He also acknowledged that he loved Sheila - anyone could see that - and begged me to help him win her heart. Oh no, I'm staying clear of that one. Matchmaking is not my thing.

"I got a plane to catch," I told him. Scully would make me do all our paperwork for the next six months if we stayed another day in Kroner for this. And I'm sure we'll already be in a deep enough manure pile with Kersh as it is.

Holman was worried. "You can't go. If you don't help me, who will?"

I shrugged. No way. "I am meeting my partner at the airport."

Then my cell rang. Maybe we're not going to fly anywhere today. It's pea-soup outside, according to Scully.

Fuck. I really don't want to get into this dating-advice business.

But then I changed my mind.

I can.

It's not exclusively a female prerogative.

It happened when my smart-ass partner made a crack about when was the last time I dated and I thought, well, I'll show her.

I'm a sophisticated, worldly man. I've dated plenty. Just not all that much in the past five or six years or so.

In my early days at the FBI all I had to do was look at a woman to bed her. And I did sometimes - so what, I was young, it was no big deal. I'm not vain, but I know women are attracted to me. And I can still remember what it's like to be with one. I certainly know enough about women to be of assistance to my buddy Holman.

I liked Holman. And it was a long time since I'd had a 'man-to-man' talk with anyone. It was of course, rather unfortunate that in order to reassure him and encourage him, I had to tell him about myself. All about myself. Even Scully doesn't know how long it's been since I've actually slept with someone. Jeez, I can hardly remember myself. Actually no, that's not true, it's just that I don't want to remember, because the last time I slept with someone was when Scully was missing. God. That was a dark time.

There's a difference you know, loving someone and being in love with them. I feel both for Scully. I have for a long time. And I'm okay with it. It's not even something I think about all that much anymore. I just accept it. It's a part of me, she's a part of me - essential to my life. Hell, she *is* my life. Without her I'm nothing.

God, what a sappy loser I am. At least I managed to hide all *that* from Holman. I don't mind playing the best friend who passes the 'I love you' note to the girl across the classroom, but I'm not about to let him do the same for me.

I did have to answer some questions about Scully too, of course. I'd expected that. Had I ever kissed her? No Holman, I haven't. That much was true. I certainly didn't tell him that we'd tried - that bee thing was too complicated anyway - and that I thought about it, about kissing her, oh, say, only about half a dozen times a day. Certainly not more than that. Well, not usually anyway.

After all, I'm perfectly happy with my relationship with Scully. I am. Really. And that's what I told Holman. I am perfectly happy with my relationship with Agent Scully. And I do mean it. As long as I can continue to be her best friend or something like that for the next 50 years or so, I can die a happy man. I won't ask for more than that. I'm fine with that, content with that, perfectly satisfied with that.

Sure, I admit, there are parts of me that want to tear her clothes off, throw her down on the nearest bed and shove my tongue between her legs, but that's not about to happen, and I'm okay with that too. She knows how I feel about her. I *told* her that I loved her, and I know she loves me, but it's just not in the same way. I'm in love with her but she's not in love with me. I'm fine with that too, I am, really. I don't expect her to feel the same way - Scully *in love* with me? Nope, not ever gonna happen. .

Oh, and talking about beds - and we just were, you know - thank God, it didn't occur to Holman to ask about our sleeping arrangements after the cow incident. Maybe he didn't realise there was a lack of motel rooms in this town.

And so I persuaded Holman to confess all to Sheila. That's when my little scheme almost fell apart. He told her, and it rained, and I thought I was home free. But no, it turns out Sheila has a crush on *me*.

But the really embarrassing part was just a few moments later.



What the *heck* is Mulder doing? 

I can't believe it. I am stunned.

He's in a lip-lock with Sheila. He's *kissing* her.

Beside me, Holman lets out a shocked gasp, mirroring my own astonishment at the situation. Mulder and Sheila pull apart, and I hear Mulder let out a low groan as Holman spins around the corner and bolts back down the hallway.

It's amazing, the multitude of thoughts that can flash through your head in what might be a turning point in your life. Why Mulder? How could you kiss her? Why did you kiss her? I want to give into the cowardly impulse to rush down the hallway after Holman.

Mulder meets my eyes. My God. I don't think I've ever seen Mulder so embarrassed. He is right now though, and so he should be. There's a bright red smear of lipstick across his mouth.

I'll deliver my message and then I'm gone. "Mulder, the fog has lifted and if you're ready... the plane is waiting."

"Scully, do you know anything about, um... weather radar?" He makes a vague gesture towards the office window he's standing beside. His eyes pull at me, begging, trying to give an explanation I'm too uncomfortable to want to see. But I do see it. *This was not what it seemed Scully,* his desperate gaze is saying to me.

The rational part of my mind knows he is telling the truth, but I'd still rather be anywhere but here in this situation. Reluctantly, I answer, "A bit. Why?" My legs walk over to him.

He looks grateful, but still slightly distracted. "What does red mean?"

I'm not sure. "Thunderstorms, I think."

I join him at the window and he shifts his body slightly closer to me, blocking out Sheila who is standing behind us. "Looks like we're not going to be able to catch our plane," he says and I study the pattern on the monitor more carefully. I nod. He could be right.

"Will someone get me out of these cuffs?"

That was Daryl. How come I didn't notice him before? And why is he handcuffed? I look questioningly at Mulder but he just gives a small shake of his head by way of reply, and grabs onto one of Daryl's arms.

"Okay, I'm taking these off you but you're to get out of the station now." He unlocks the cuffs and Daryl steps away from him, looking sulky but definitely not threatening. "If we find you physically harassing Ms Fontaine again, Agent Scully and I will have you arrested."

So that's the story.

Daryl mumbles a few choice words under his breath but obediently heads off down the hallway. I glance at Sheila; she is watching Mulder, the slight smile still on her face.

I nearly jump when I feel Mulder's hand slip around me to press firmly into the small of my back. He nods briefly at Sheila without actually looking at her, then guides me down the hall after Daryl.

I try not to fidget under his touch. His palm is still there, warm, cupping the curve of my back. Usually his touches are quick and glancing. Old-fashioned, gentlemanly gestures. But this contact is lingering, proprietary, a heated caress of his flesh burning into me, and I'm finding it unsettling. He is standing very close to me too; his body brushes against me as we walk.

"I think you're safe now, Mulder," I say dryly as we turn another corner. "She's not following you."

His hand fell away immediately and he shoved it into his pants pocket, giving me a half-hearted, wry smile. "She's scary, Scully," he quipped and I wonder if he *has* read some Gertrude Stein, once-upon-a-time.

I can't stand it anymore. I have to say something. "You've got red lipstick all over your mouth, Mulder."

He grimaced and reached into his pocket. He pulled out a clean handkerchief and scrubbed at his lips. "All gone?"

I stop walking to check, and he bends down to me.

"There's a bit more at the corner of your mouth," I tell him and start to move again but he stretches out his hand to halt me, his fingers lightly curving around my shoulder.

He wiped at it again. "Is it off now, Scully?" He moved the square of fabric away.

I shake my head. "Keep going."

He clutched at my shoulder and thrust the handkerchief into my palm. "Clean it off, Scully."

"There's a bathroom around here somewhere Mulder. You can wash it off." I try to give him back the piece of cloth and my fingers brush his.

He frowns, his brow crinkling and his lips parting slightly. "We don't have time, Scully. We have to find Holman. Just get this stuff off me. Please?"

I sigh, we did *not* have to find Holman, but I wipe the handkerchief back and forth across his lips anyway. His mouth is soft, but firm. He is very still, hardly breathing. He smells musky and fresh and male, and I'm reminded of how good it felt to wake up in his arms this morning. I throw a quick look into his eyes but his gaze is steadfastly fixed on the wall behind me.

"Done," I say briskly and he grunts his thanks and shoves the stained square of material back into his pants pocket.

He didn't touch me again, nor do we speak as we head out of the building to the car.

Kroner High School

What is it about me my inane ability to attract the wrong sort of people? Strictly speaking, I suppose Sheila's not a nutcase, but honestly, I did *not* give her any encouragement.

I still can't believe that woman kissed me.

In fact, she practically jumped me. In a public hallway too where anyone could see. And, of course, Scully and Holman had to witness it all. When I finally managed to pull away from the suction cup that was Sheila's mouth, I didn't know whether to look at Scully or not. I hoped to God she didn't think that I had welcomed this mauling. I managed to stumble out something about weather radar to get her to come over to me. I really wanted to grab on to her - please protect me from Sheila, Scully! Don't let her touch me again!

Well, regardless, I don't know what Scully thought about that little episode. I think she was shocked, and maybe just a tiny bit embarrassed at witnessing such a spectacle.

But if I didn't know her better, I would be almost sure I saw a maddening little smile on her face now and then throughout the rest of the day, a smile that vanished as soon as she caught me looking at her. Oh no. What did *that* mean?

Later, when we went to the gym to find Holman, I made sure I stayed close to Scully. Sheila was not about to get a second chance, that's for sure.

We found Holman, and I told him to stop the rain. But then Sheila showed up and asked me to dance.

Scully probably thought she'd seen my 'panic' face before. Well, she had, I guess, but she hadn't seen this one. This was the 'panic-plus' face. That is, panic, plus horror, plus trepidation, plus my oh-my-god-what-did-I-do-to-deserve-this, face. I know my jaw dropped and the power of speech momentarily deserted me. Save me Scully!

And she did. She managed to get Sheila to dance with Holman, and I even succeeded in blurting out a few words of encouragement after she surreptitiously dug me in the side. Real subtle, Scully. But I was grateful. Very, very, very grateful.

Now to the best bit of the day, the memorable bit.

I'm standing here, at a high school reunion - which is not even Scully's or mine - and I've finally worked up the courage to ask my partner to dance with me. All is well with the world.

Holman has finally got his girl, and even Daryl and Cindy seem to be back together. There's not going to be a flood of biblical proportions because the rain has stopped.

We're on the dance floor, Scully is in my arms, swaying slightly in time to the music, which is soft and smoochy. I've just decided that dancing with my partner is the next best thing to heaven. It's sheer bliss. And it's a valid, socially acceptable excuse to have my arms around her, and to feel her tiny hands around my waist. They're tucked *under* my jacket, and my skin is hot beneath her touch. Every now and then she brushes them over my hips as we move and it sends shivers down my spine. She surprised me when she slipped her hands beneath my coat; it's an intimate contact, which is not her normal style. Last time we danced together she kept those same hands very properly on the outside of my suit.

It seems that almost all the other couples are kissing, or are pretty close to something like it. I really want to kiss Scully. But I don't, of course, I just settle for pulling her that little bit closer. She tilts her head back and smiles at me and my heart literally jumps in my chest.

I love it when Scully smiles at me. She hardly ever does. She smiled last night when she came into *our* room with the oh-so-good news that the next flight out of Kroner was this morning. She was pleased at the thought of leaving. But now, I think she doesn't really mind that she's still here. At least, I don't think she does ...

"So, Scully," I say to her, keeping my voice low for some reason. "This wasn't a total waste of our time, was it? You forgive me for dragging you out here?" I know she will.

"Mul-derrr," she drawls my name back at me in two distinct syllables and I have to look away from her mouth for a moment. "It wasn't even an X-file."

I neatly sidestep us around a couple locked in a tight embrace in the middle of the dance floor and tease her, "Not even the cow thing?"

She lowers her lashes and tilts her head back to meet my gaze, her smile grows wider. I'm mesmerized. "No," she says firmly.

I laugh out loud and pull her against me again. Her body is pressed flush against mine for a moment. Grinning like the doofus I am, I bring her hand to my lips and press a kiss against her fingertips.

"You sure about that, Scully?" She gives me her *look*, smiles again and I ask "What?"

"I was just imaging the look on Kersh's face when he gets to the paragraph in our report about the falling cow," she says.

"You think that'll make this trip worthwhile, Scully?"

She gives me another *look* and I spin us around, taking her by surprise. I'm still holding her hand in mine and I kiss her fingers again, one-by-one; she doesn't appear to mind although she seems slightly amused at my somewhat unusual behavior.

"Well?", I say to her and she blinks slowly. "Has this trip been worthwhile, Scully?" I slide her hand under my jacket and over my heart, uncurling her fingers and holding them comfortably beneath my own.

Her cheeks flush a becoming pink. "Maybe ...", she says enigmatically, not giving away anything. My stupid grin gets wider. Oh yeah, *I* think this trip has been worthwhile.

Cool View Motor Court

I'm smiling.


I'm happy, really happy. 

I love high school reunions. I might even go to my next one if I can persuade my partner to accompany me.

Scully yawns as I turn the car into the motel's parking lot. We'd danced together for over two hours, with no interruptions, not one. No aliens landed on the roof of the gymnasium, necessitating an immediate investigation. Kersh didn't call. Holman waved at me once, but that was it. Daryl even decided to behave, and I didn't see any bees either. I twisted in my seat to look at her as I turned off the car's ignition.

I briefly touch her hand and she opens her eyes, blinking at me. "We'd better get out of the car before it turns into a pumpkin."

She tries not to smile, but she's tired, so I see it. "We're in Kansas, Mulder. Wrong fairytale."

And I'm no prince, either. I'd better remember that. I get out of the car and wait for her to shut her door before I press the button on the key ring to lock the Taurus. It beeps and the blinkers flash once.

Scully has our room key and I lean against the railing on the veranda as she fumbles with the lock and opens the door to our room.

I follow her inside and toss the car key in the general direction of the table. It skids across the surface and comes to a precarious rest on the edge. I shed my jacket, dropping it on the floor, toe my shoes off and sprawl across the middle of the bed.

"Ahhh. There's no place like home," I say to her as my hands pull at my tie, fumbling with the knot.

She almost rolls her eyes. "Get off my side of the bed, Mulder."

I don't move. "You want to shower first, Scully?" I tug my tie off and drop it over her side of the bed and on to the floor.

She puts her hands on her hips and that eyebrow warns me to behave, or else. I reach for the remote, which is on my bedside table, and flick on the television. It's a re-run of Happy Days. Ah, I haven't seen that show for years.

Scully sighs and I hear the bathroom door shut. The shower goes on a moment later, and I try not to think about her wet, naked body only a few feet away from me, slick with soap and water. My dick though, has other ideas, so when Scully comes out of the bathroom I'm sitting up at the end of the bed, ready to rush into the bathroom to take a shower. I hope she's used up all the hot water.

I grab a clean pair of boxers and my old navy t-shirt, bunching them in front of my lap. With Scully in my bed, I would rather sleep in my sweats, but I jogged in them again yesterday and they have a bit of an odor clinging to them, and I don't want to *completely* repulse her.

I shower quickly. I'm freezing when I turn off the water.

I open the bathroom door carefully; Scully is in bed, her eyes are shut but the TV is still on. The Fonz is holding court. I muffle the sound on the TV, and turn off the lamp and settle in bed beside her.

I could get used to this. I don't even feel nervous tonight.

To be honest, it feels completely natural, like Scully and I have been sharing a bed for years. It feels easy and comfortable to be together in this way.

I glance at the clock radio; it's close to 12:30pm now. I decide to turn the TV off; with Scully beside me I don't feel the need to have the TV on as a background distraction. I am content with just my thoughts and her as company.

I click it off and Scully shifts beside me, rolling onto her stomach. "You can leave the TV on if you want, Mulder," she murmurs sleepily.

I slide down in bed and adjust my pillow. "S'okay, Scully, not tonight."

I wonder what she would do if I ever-so-casually slung my arm around her waist. I think about it for a few minutes, deliberating, debating back and forth, and inventing possible scenarios before I reluctantly relinquish the idea.

"Mulder?" Her voice is soft with sleep and I answer her quietly.


"Goodnight." She opens her eyes a fraction to peer drowsily at me.

I smile. "G'night, partner."

Her eyes close again and her breathing soon becomes relaxed and regular, and it's not long before I too, drift off into sleep.

Cool View Motor Court

There's something tickling my face.

I wake up slowly, my hand brushing at the feathery strands on my chin.

It's Scully's hair. My mouth is about an inch away from the back of her head.

God. I'm awake now, wide awake. I stifle a groan and roll over to grab my watch off the bedside table. Shit. It's not even 5:00am.

I lie in bed for a few moments and listen to the sound of Scully's quiet breathing. This is driving me crazy. I think I'd better get up and go for a run or something.

I'm careful not to wake her as I slide out from under the sheets. I go into the bathroom, shut the door, and use the toilet. Then I stand in front of the bathroom mirror, looking at the person staring back at me.

I wonder what Scully sees when she looks at me? Does she see a crazy man who drags her to hick-small towns on the flimsiest excuse? Am I Spooky Mulder to her? Does she see a friend who cares about her? Can she see the part of her that's in me?

I turn on the tap again, cupping my hands to my mouth to take a drink. I splash water across my face and watch it trickle onto my t-shirt. The fabric darkens where it's wet. What do I see when I look in the mirror? I see a large nose and big lips. I see a couple of freckles and a mole. I see a man whose eyes are posing a question he doesn't even know is being asked.

What the fuck is wrong with me? I rub the sides of my face. I need a shave.

I sigh. Screw it. I'm not running this morning. I'm not shaving this early either. I'm going back to bed.

I open the bathroom door. Scully hasn't moved. She's stretched out on her side. One of her hands is hidden under her pillow, and the other is curled under her chin. Her pajamas have slipped off her shoulder a little and I can see just a glimpse of the smooth creamy skin at the top of her breast.

As quietly as I can, I slide back under the sheets, smoothing the blanket over us both. The dawn air is cool, and the dim early-morning light extends a feeling of intimacy in our shared bedroom. Scully shifts a bit but doesn't waken. Her back is to me. I let out the breath I didn't know I'd been holding and lie down, cupping my hands under my head. I stare at the ceiling, searching for patterns in the cracks of flaking paint. I can see a face, I think. I wonder if it's like any of the faces Sheila saw in the clouds, the ones she said were laughing at her?

I close my eyes ... then immediately open them again as Scully rolls over onto me. Well, she's not exactly *on* me, but one of her arms is thrown across my chest, her breasts are pressed up against me, and her legs are twisted in mine. One of them brushes tantalisingly close to my groin and my cock hardens instantly.

I am still for a few agonizing moments, waiting for her to wake up and move, but she doesn't. Independent of my brain, my arm drapes around her shoulder and I snuggle her the tiniest bit closer to me.

She mumbles and wriggles in my arms. Her warm breath is brushing against the racing pulse in my throat.

I do something very stupid.

Incredibly stupid.

Insane, even.

Don't ask me why I did it, because I have no idea.

I twist my head and nuzzle my face in her hair, and somehow, my mouth presses tiny kisses against the pliant skin of her forehead; one, two, five, six; I can't seem to stop. I don't know how to stop. My hand starts stroking the soft line of her cheek, and then moves across the corners of her full, pink lips, which part at my touch.

Oh shit. I'm busted. She's awake.

And she is.

Those clear, blue eyes are watching me. Unblinking. Serious. I can't look away from her. I can't move. Any minute now and she's going to ask me what the hell did I think I was doing.

But something amazing happens. She doesn't ask; she doesn't tell me to stop. She just smiles at me sleepily and says my name softly. She whispers "Mulder," and gives me that little smile again and I'm lost. Completely and utterly lost.

It's now or never.

I pull her to me, looking deeply into her eyes. She's so beautiful. My finger brushes her lips again, and she gasps softly and it's all the encouragement I need.

My head bends and tentatively, then with growing sureness, I touch my mouth to hers. I kiss her, softly, gently, reverently, full of the wonder that is her. And God, she's responding; her tongue is lapping against the roof of my mouth and she's pressing her supple little body against mine.

"Scully." I murmur her name against her mouth and she sighs, a soft puff of breath that mingles with my own. I feel like I'm in a dream. I'm floating somewhere, the only anchor to reality her mouth and her tongue in mine.

I say her name again as I roll her onto her back. Her legs part and I slide between them, resting my weight on my elbows. Her silky pajamas glide sensuously against my bare legs. I cup her head in my hands, my thumbs brushing the smooth angle of her cheeks. My breath is coming in quick, harsh pants. My chest feels like it's about to burst.

I pull back a little so I can see her face. She's flushed, and her pupils are dilated. God. I swallow. I'm fast losing control.

I close my eyes and nuzzle the base of her neck, my tongue lapping at her warm skin. She tastes so good. I shudder when her arms circle my waist and her hands slide under my clothes. One slips under my t-shirt and her nails scrape rhythmically on my back and the other reaches under my boxers to clutch at the bare skin of my ass.

I groan her name and gently bite down on her ear. Oh God, I have to stop now if I'm going to be able to. "I want to make love with you, Scully," I say to her, my voice deep and low, and I'm praying that she'll say yes, that she wants this as badly as I do.

Her answer is to thrust her pajama-clad hips against mine and I cry out as my cock presses against her warm, wet center.

We kiss deeply again, the gentle passion of before giving away to desperate hunger and need, tongues dueling and mouths fusing. This is dynamite. We are both trembling when we break the kiss.

"Mulder," she pants and then her hands are pulling at my t-shirt and boxers, and I help her, quickly shedding my clothes, and then we're both making fast work of hers too.

The bed sheets are twisted in our legs at the base of our bed now, but I'm too hot to miss their warmth. Scully is naked in my arms and I can't stop staring at her gorgeous body. It's damned near perfect, and I feel so lucky that she's letting me see her this way. Her breasts are full and round, the nipples puckered and flushed a dark, rosy pink. I cup one of the globes, feeling its weight, kneading it lightly with my fingers.

My cock twitches in anticipation when I notice her staring at it. She reaches out a hand and strokes me, and I throw back my head, clenching my teeth and grimacing as I fight for control. Her small hand moving up and down my cock feels so different from my own ministrations. The visual impact alone is almost overwhelming.

"You're beautiful, Mulder," she says, her voice full of awe and it makes me smile at her. I love her so much. How could I have ever thought that her friendship would be enough for me? I need so much more. I need this, I need all of her.

She wipes a drop of fluid from the tip of my penis and I nearly come when she sucks it into her mouth, biting at the tip of her finger.

"Oh God, Scully," I groan, clenching her hands in mine as she reaches for my cock again. "Do that again and you'll be disappointed."

She smiles, a sultry, sexy smile, one that I've never seen on her before but I want to see again. "Promises, Mulder?"

My answer to that is to swoop my head down to catch her mouth and kiss her hungrily, sucking and biting her full, red lips, and pressing her hips hard against the bed with my body. I take her nipple in my hand, circling and pinching it lightly with my fingers, fascinated by the tiny mews and gaps coming from her mouth. She cries out loud and clutches my head against her breast when I take her nipple in my mouth and suckle hungrily. Her legs wrap around my back and her hips begin to rock against mine. Oh, yes, Scully ... I am so ready.

I manage to twist a hand between our bodies. She trembles against me; I know she's ready too. She lets out a sharp cry when my fingers brush against her clit. "You're so wet Scully," I choke the words out against her breast as I stroke between her legs, my fingers sliding through her slick, warm folds.

"I don't want to wait any longer Mulder." She pulls my mouth back to hers and I take myself in hand, stroking the head of my penis back and forth against her moist center. Her juices coat me and the urge to mindlessly thrust inside her is overpowering. But there's something else I have to do first, something I've fantasized about.

I gasp, "Not yet, not yet," and draw back from her, reaching across the bed to clutch blindly at a pillow. I lift her hips and slide a pillow under her ass. She parts her legs, opening herself to me.

"This, Scully, I have to do this first." I hardly know what I'm saying. I press tiny, bitting kisses across her shoulders, and move down to her nipples, suckling on them as my hand strokes between her legs. I nibble at her stomach, and gradually work my way south. She draws in her breath in a hiss of sound, and goes perfectly still as I reach the junction of her legs.

I stop then, and look up at her. Her hands are clutching at the sheets tightly, her mouth is parted, and her eyes are half-slits. I wait, my breath brushing against her and she quivers. "Scully..." I sigh her name and reach out with my tongue, sliding it across her folds. She moans and thrusts her hips up. I bury my face between her legs, my tongue lapping up her moisture, my nose bumping rhythmically against her clit. I am in heaven.

"Mmmm...". I work my tongue back and forth across her folds, gradually increasing the pressure. She tastes so good, better than a whole bag of seeds, better than anything. She's wonderful, perfect, and I love her. I love doing this to her.

"Mulder, I... oh, God ... Mulder," she's whimpering and writhing, so and I slip my hands under her ass to anchor her against my mouth. I slide two fingers inside her, concentrating my tongue on her clit, and she starts moaning my name, over and over again.

I force my eyes open so I can watch what I'm doing to her. I don't think I have ever been so turned on in my life. Her head is thrown back against the pillow, her hair is a riot of color and curls around her flushed face, her mouth is slightly open and the tip of her tongue is darting back and forth across her lips. Her breasts are full and heavy, her nipples hard, and I wish I could be everywhere at once, suckling on her exquisite breasts, kissing her red, pouting mouth and licking her gorgeous clit.

I'm so focused on what I'm doing to her it's almost a surprise to me when she comes, her hips bucking wildly against my face. I hold her tight and ride out her climax with her; when she finally stills, I rest my head against her stomach and wrap my arms around her waist. Although I am still rock hard, I am so exhilarated that we've finally reached this place together I could stop now.

After a moment Scully tugs at my head, pulling me up to her. I settle down against her again, resting my forehead against hers.

"Wow..." Her voice is breathless and dreamy, and I find myself grinning like a fool. I did this to her.

"Just wow?" I find myself teasing her and her fingers trace the smile on my lips.

"Mm-hmmm," she says and we share a long, tender kiss of soft sighs and warm tongues and yielding mouths. "Mmm, Mulder ....?" She draws back slightly, her tiny hands smoothing against the sides of my face.

"Yeah, Scully?" I answer, my voice low and husky.

She looks directly at me. "Six years is long enough, Mulder." She twists her legs around me and rubs her clit against my cock and I let out a muffled groan. Her eyes take on a challenging glint and she teases, "You think you can make me say 'wow' again?"

I grin back, even as my heart jumps. Oh, God, yes, yes, yes, Scully. I will certainly try.

I settle between her thighs, and slide my body over hers, my elbows taking most of my weight. Serious again, I cup her face and kiss her deeply, reverently. "Keep your eyes open, Scully. I want to watch your face when I'm inside you."

Her body trembles, and she stretches up to kiss me as her hand reaches between our bodies, finding me, guiding me to her.

We both groan as the tip of my cock nudges her opening. I push inside her slowly, wanting to draw out the moment as much as I can. She's clenching around me already, pulsing, her muscles milking me. My mouth falls open slackly and I have to fight not to shut my eyes as waves of pleasure course through me.

Oh God, I'm in, I'm buried so deeply inside her. And it feels so good. She's so tight around me. I tell her, "So good, Scully. You feel so good." I look into her eyes, they're heavy and half-lidded, sleepy with desire. They're everything. "This is ... oh, God ... Scu-llee."

She murmurs my name and tucks her legs around me, the heels of her feet digging into my ass. I begin the age-old pattern of quick, fast pumps and agonisingly slow withdrawals, and she let out a low, keening moan, her hands reaching up to drag my mouth down to hers.

Our kiss is hot, our tongues twisting furiously with the pulse and surge of our bodies. Our skin is slick with the sheen of sweat. I'm bucking into her, my strokes becoming harder, deeper, wilder; she's making soft little mewing sounds, and it's feeding me, turning me on even more.

"Mul-der, I ... oh, harder, Mulder." Oh, God ... Scully. This is just so ... it's amazing.

"Mmm ... yes ... Scully." I'm pumping furiously now; I'm grunting and growling with each thrust and I probably sound like some sort of goddamned crazy animal, but I am too far gone to care. Dimly, I'm aware of the bed bouncing loudly against the wall with every slam of my body into hers, and I hope we don't break it, but then I forget everything, because her body is spasming around my cock, oh God, she's coming, yes, Scully, yes ....

I follow her, biting down on her shoulder to muffle my groans as I climax, gushing into her body over and over again.

Spent, my arms shaking and my breathing ragged, I sink down on her, vaguely careful that my weight doesn't squash her body. I feel exhilarated; I feel like I've run a marathon but could run one again; I feel like every cliché ever written. My soul is singing; I'm on the biggest high of my life, a high that could never come from drugs or alcohol or anything like that, but only from making love with the woman I am utterly and passionately and crazily in love with. My Scully.

I can't stop kissing her: I nibble her ear, sucking gently on the lobe as my hips rock slowly against hers, unable to give up the sensation of our shared climax. I kiss the curve of her throat, her flushed cheeks, her forehead. When I kiss her eyes I taste her tears, and I lick them off carefully.

"Scully," I murmur as I stroke her hair, coiling the strands in my fingertips, closing my eyes and nuzzling my face against her neck.

I am so caught up in the enormity of what we have shared that I fail to notice the tension gradually creeping into her body, nor the way she gradually stiffens under me. I certainly don't sense her withdrawal from me until it is too late.

It would be an understatement to say I am shocked and bewildered when she puts her hands against my chest and pushes, hard.

"Scully?" I'm puzzled, uncomprehending.

"Let me up, Mulder." Her face is a blank to me. I stare dumbly, not moving, and she pushes again.

I pull out of her. She slides out from underneath me and I sit up. I don't understand. What is happening? What is happening with us? It's as if I'm outside my body, watching this scene.

"Scully ... what ...?"

But she's off the bed and in the bathroom before I can complete my barely formed sentence. I gape at the closed door. Scully? What ...? I don't understand ....


What am I doing?

I've just made love with Mulder and I'm standing inside the bathroom, my back pressed against the locked door. I've just made love with Mulder and it was without doubt, the best sex of my life, but I'm in this bathroom. Alone. I've just made love with Mulder and it was the one of the most emotionally fulfilling times of my life, but here I am. I'm running. I've just made love with Mulder. Oh, God. I'm naked and the wood of the bathroom door is cool and soothing. Mulder is on the other side. I can feel the bewilderment and confusion coming off him in waves.


His voice is tentative, with a slight undercurrent of panic, and it doesn't take a doctoral qualification to know that he's hurting. Oh, God, he's hurting because of me. Something wet trickles down my face and I wipe at it with a detached curiosity. I'm crying. Why?

"Scully?" Mulder's voice is louder, more agitated, and he thumps on the door, but still I can't answer. "Scully, please ... please open the door. Let me in."

Let you in, Mulder? I did, now I have to get you out again. I can't deal with Mulder's feelings right now. I'm too close to the edge, and it will only take one little push to send me tumbling over the cliff.

I press the palm of my hands against the door and push away. Away from him. Somehow, I manage to reach the shower. I turn the water on and jump as Mulder thuds loudly on the door again.


He's close to full-blown panic mode now. I can picture his face. But the louder and more frenzied Mulder gets, the more I seem to slip further and further into the cool, calm and detached world I'm currently inhabiting. The world where nothing affects me, where I am vaguely aware of Mulder's emotions and my own, but there's a blanket over them, muffling them, blunting them. It's as if I'm on the outside, looking in, an observer but not a player in this little drama of life.

Mulder is banging on the door still. I tell him to go away. "Go away, Mulder." My voice is calm and normal-sounding.

There's silence for a moment, and when he speaks again his voice is low and confused. "You ... you want me to leave, Scully?"

Yes. I do, don't I? "Just leave me alone."

The seconds tick by and I don't realise I'm holding my breath until I have to take a deep, gulping pant. Has he gone? My eyes are fixed on the bathroom door.

Then he speaks, but the words are so soft I'm sure he didn't mean for me to hear them.

"I love you, Scully." He whispers, and my hand presses hard against my mouth to stop the rough, hitching sob from escaping. I will not lose control. Never again.

I turn away from the bathroom door in a sharp, ungraceful movement and twist the temperature higher until the water is almost too hot for me to stand.

I can't do this, Mulder.

I can't fall in love with you.

I'm too afraid.

I'm afraid of surrendering my control to you. I'm afraid of risking what we already have. I'm afraid I'll disappoint you, that I won't live up to your expectations. Your expectations are high, Mulder. You want a best friend who knows your deepest, darkest secrets and who still cares about you and is comfortable with you. You want a partner who challenges your theories and is the professional ying to your yang. You want a lover who holds you at night ... all this in one package, Mulder. I can't be that person. I don't know how.

I'm terrified.

I know you love me.

I love you, too.

But I can't do this, Mulder.

I can be your friend. You are my best friend, even though there's so much I don't know about you, or you about me.

I can be your partner, Mulder. I am. Sometimes I worry that I'm holding you back, because I cannot believe for you. I cannot believe in the things that you've seen, I cannot believe in mothmen or vampires or Mexican goat suckers or aliens. And maybe that means that I cannot believe in you.

I cannot be your lover, Mulder. That is the final surrender of control. I'm too scared to cross that bridge. I'm scared to let that part of myself out, to admit to it, to let you own it. It's been hiding deep inside me for so long, Mulder. I'm not capable of giving this to you. Even though I have just given it. The evidence of that is trickling out of me and washing away down the drain.

The water is growing cold. I turn off the shower. I feel dead and empty, like the chance of something wonderful has slipped out my grasp forever.

I wonder if Mulder is still in our room.

I don't know whether to be disappointed or relieved when I open the bathroom door to find the room deserted. I wonder where he is. I walk to the window and look out; our rental car is still there.

It's only 30 minutes until our flight out of Kroner leaves. Where is Mulder?

The door opens.


I'm gasping for breath by the time I stumble back into the motel room.  

I ran too far today, my legs feel ready to give out and my heart is thumping madly. I shut the door behind me and risk a quick, sidelong glance at Scully.

Now I need to run again.

My throat chokes up. She's standing beside the table; she was obviously sitting down until I arrived. She's wearing a navy pantsuit, and her hair and makeup is impeccable. She's about as far removed as you could get from the tousled, flushed woman who climaxed in my arms an hour ago.

I turn away from her and angrily tug at my t-shirt, pulling it off over my head. I wipe at the sweat coating my face and chest, then throw the shirt on the floor. I don't look at her. I'm trying to be furious with her, trying to work up a justifiable anger that she would do this to us, and I welcome the rage, because the other extreme is too much for me to handle. I have to keep shutting the pain out. I need to feel this anger; without it, I will fall apart.

I rummage through my suitcase and grab a clean pair of boxers, slacks and a shirt, and go into the bathroom. I don't slam the door behind me, although I want to. I shut it quietly. I'm trying to understand my partner, but it's so difficult. I even tried to profile her while I was running, but I couldn't get a clear picture; I was too close to the situation and my emotions were clouding my judgement.

I step under the water. It's cold, but that's how I like it.

I remind myself that I *do* know this woman, I *know* Scully. I think she's scared, I think that's why she ran from me, but I honestly don't know if I'm right or wrong in thinking that. I'm terrified of the possibility that she didn't really want to make love with me. I pick up the soap; it smells like her and me, a mixture of both of us.

Sure, she was an active, willing participant. But I didn't give her a real choice: when she woke up I was kissing her, persuading her to go along with *my* needs. She was still half-asleep, for Christsakes. I didn't give her any time to think the situation through before she committed herself. And Scully needs to rationalize, to think things through before she acts. It's who she is. And I took that choice away from her.

I lather the soap across my torso and down my arms. I'm terrified that right now, she regrets making love with me.

I don't regret it. I mourn for the loving, tender aftermath that we didn't have, but I don't regret the act itself.

I can honestly say that making love with Scully was one of the best times in my life. The other best times also involve her; when she woke up from her coma after her abduction, and when she told me her cancer had disappeared and she was going to *live*.

I'm terrified that I might lose her over this. I could lose my best friend. I don't know what to do in this situation of my own making. I don't know how to play my hand. I don't know *if* I should play my hand. Should I ignore this, ignore what's just happened between us, or force her headfirst into examining this place we are at?

I sigh heavily and turn off the shower. I don't move for a moment; I stand in the stall and let the water drip off me until I start to feel chilled. I reach for a towel and dry myself with brisk, rough movements, pulling on my boxers and zipping up my slacks. I shave quickly, and am reaching for my shirt just as Scully knocks on the door.

"Um ... Mulder?"

"Yeah?" I open the door, buttoning up my shirt with one hand as I rub a towel through my hair with the other. Her face flushes slightly and her eyes drop to my chest for a moment. A light goes on in my head. If this is what it takes to get through to her then I will use it. I carefully shove down the ache in my throat and try to concentrate on her. I have to make this better for her. "What's up Scully?" I say casually. I pull the towel onto my shoulders and don't bother to finish buttoning my shirt.

"The plane," she tells me. "We've got to be at the airport in ten minutes or we'll miss our plane."

I don't think the plane will go without us, its only passengers, but I don't tell her that. I nod, "I'll just be a minute."

Scully waits outside while I finish dressing into my usual G-man ensemble. I'm wearing the green-patterned tie she bought me for Christmas. I wonder if she will notice. I grab all my bits and pieces lying around the room and dump them haphazardly into my suitcase. She's already packed up, there is no sign that she was ever in this room.

There is also no sign of her outside.

I place my suitcase alongside hers in the trunk of the car. Where is she?

I find her by the pool. She's facing away from me, her hands lightly resting on the childproof fence. I don't mean to sneak up on her but she must have been miles away because she jumps visibly when I call out to her.

"Hey, partner." My voice is low and she stills for a moment, before turning around to face me. "You ready to go?"

She crosses her arms across her body and tucks her hands under arms and I recognise the classic defensive posture. Oh Scully. She looks at me warily, like a cornered animal, and I know I have to tread very carefully if I don't want to send her running.

I can sense her reluctance to be here, to be in this situation, just like yesterday when she found Sheila kissing me. The woman in Scully wanted to run away then too, but the professional side of her reluctantly stayed firm. This moment is another of those times when I want the professional in Scully to stand fast.

I'm growing more sure that my earlier guess was correct: she's afraid of this new thing between us. I pray to a God I don't believe in that it's that and not the other. We can go as slowly as she wants with this new stage in our relationship. Heck, I could handle not making love to her for another six years or so if that's what she needs. I can give her space. It will be difficult, but I will do it for her. Just don't ignore this Scully, and please don't regret it.

"Hey," I say gently to her again. "We'd better go or we'll miss our plane." I shove my hands in my pockets and slouch awkwardly, waiting for her to make up her mind.

Her clear, blue eyes tilt up to meet mine, and suddenly I feel like I've been punched in the gut. She looks miserable. Oh fuck. She regrets making love with me. She doesn't want me. She doesn't love me. I think I'm going to be sick.

"I'm sorry, Scully," I blurt out and my hands clench in my pockets, my nails digging into my skin.

She swallows and looks away from me. "We shouldn't have done it, Mulder -"

"No," I say fiercely, cutting her off. "It wasn't a mistake Scully. I was wrong, I was wrong for not giving you a choice, for persuading you into making love when you so obviously weren't ready for it. But it wasn't a mistake. It was right for us, so right." I stop. I'm pleading for my life here. She's staring at me. My throat is closing up. I can't continue this conversation. I have to get away from her.

I swing around, striding away in quick, choppy movements. I find myself back at the car without remembering how I got there. I hear her come up behind me and I yank open the driver's door and get in the car. She slides into the passenger's seat.

"Mulder ..."

"*No.* Not now, Scully." My voice is raised, now it's me who doesn't want to talk. I can't hear her say this. I need time, time to try and prepare before my world crashes down on me. How do you prepare for something like that? I reach up to start the car but the keys aren't in the ignition. Where the fuck are they? I fumble in my pockets and drag them out.

"Mulder ..."

I refuse to look at her. I refuse to listen. "Just leave it alone, Scully."

My body jerks uncontrollably when her tiny hands close over my forearm and I drop the keys on the floor. Shit.

"Look at me, Mulder." Her voice is gentle, understanding.

I can't, I can't, I can't. Why doesn't she understand that? "Scully, I told you -" I take a deep, gulping breath.

She tugs on my arm, and her other hand slips up to cup my face. I close my eyes. Her fingers stroke against my cheek. I think she's trying to soothe me, but right now her touch can only make me more agitated. Why are you doing this to me, Scully? I open my eyes again to ask her, then I stop.

Oh, God.

Her face is only inches away from mine.

There are tears in her eyes.

What's this? My gaze drops from her eyes to her mouth then back again. Why is -


She's kissing me. Scully is kissing me. Her lips .. her mouth ... they're .... oh ... yes, yes. I cannot comprehend this. I can't believe this is happening.

She pulls back before I have a chance to respond. Her eyes are serious. I think I look stunned; I certainly feel it.

"I ... what ... -" the words spill out of me. She presses her fingers against my lips.

She shakes her head. "I'm sorry, Mulder." My heart gives a sickening lurch and I look away but she correctly interprets my thoughts because she gently tugs on my chin to make me face her again. "Not that, Mulder. Not that. I'm sorry for hurting you earlier. I'm sorry for running away, for being a coward."

"You're not a coward, Scully. You're the bravest person I know," I say to her. I cradle her head in my hands, my thumbs gently rubbing her skull. She sighs softly, and her finger wipes my cheek. I didn't realize I was crying.

"I'm not brave," she contradicts me quietly as she lays her head against my chest and I hold her. I hold her. We can work this out, we can get through this intact, together.

All of a sudden, I have to have her nearer to me. I slip my arms around her and pull her across the seat so that she's sitting in my lap. She moves willingly and nestles her head under my chin. I hold her, loving her, gently stroking her back with one hand while the other slides under her hair and rubs smoothly against the back of her neck.

We will work this out. Please let us work this out.


I'm in Mulder's arms again, but instead of being in bed together, we're sitting in the front seat of another anonymous Taurus. It's not the most comfortable place to be, but right now, it's the only place I want to be.

I'm not brave. I'm scared. I want to take the easy way out, to reach up, to kiss him again, to make it better that way. But he needs to understand where I'm coming from ... I need to understand myself, and I don't really. I've been reacting purely on instinct since I first bolted into the bathroom and this loss of control, loss of careful calculation, the inability to be able to weigh up the situation, well ... it frightens me.

I've put my reputation and my career on the line for Mulder often enough. I've risked my life for him. So why is it so hard to lay bare my heart and soul? Why can't I say the words, the words that he needs to hear and I need to say? 

I pushed him away this morning. It needs to be me who comes to him now, but it's the most difficult thing I've done in my life.  

I'm surprised we are here at this point, right now, me sitting on his lap, secretly thrilling at his big hands stroking my skin while I curl up in a tight little ball against him. After I locked myself in the bathroom this morning I thought ... I don't know ... I suppose I thought this was it for us. I'd hurt him badly: big time. But I hadn't properly factored *Mulder* into the equation, and I hadn't factored my own emotional response to his need of me. I was being cool, logical. We can't be together because of XYZ. I can't fall in love with him because of ABC. It's a giant leap of faith that's been taken here by *both* of us.

I snuggle up a little closer to him and take comfort in his steady heartbeat, warm and reassuring beneath my ear. He tightens his arms around me and nuzzles my hair with that beautiful mouth of his, and I know I have to say something soon.

I sit up, pushing away from him slightly so I can look into his eyes. It suddenly occurs to me that I feel safe with him like this, secure and protected. As he does with me. We compliment each other. I take a deep breath.

"Mulder ..." He smiles at me gently, and for the first time I allow myself to see the love and adoration glowing in his eyes. Just because I can, I can't resist giving him another kiss, but I pull back when he tries to deepen it.

"Not yet," I say. "We need to talk first."

His voice is rough and gravelly. "Okay," he agrees, clearing his throat.

"This is difficult for me," I tell him and dips his head at me in acknowledgment.

"You don't have to talk if you don't want to, Scully," he tells me as his arms tighten around me, and I'm tempted - only momentarily - to take the out I'm offered.

"Mulder." I press my fingers on his lips to shut him up and he kisses them, his tongue sliding over the digits as he sucks them one-by-one into his mouth.

"Mulderrr." My warning is half-hearted but he heeds it, taking my fingers from his lips and wrapping them securely in his own.

"I'm listening, Scully."

I take a deep breath to start, then blurt out gracelessly, "I love you, Mulder." His eyes shine at me and he squeezes my hand tightly, but he doesn't say anything and I'm grateful. "And I'm sorry for making you think you had taken away my choice. I made a choice a long time ago to love you, but I was too scared to do anything about it." He still doesn't speak and so I'm able to continue.

I choose my words carefully. "I'm scared, Mulder. I'm scared of disappointing you, I'm scared of losing what we have, I'm scared of not being in control." I look up, and manage a wry smile. He squeezes my hand again. "But I want to risk it all to be with you."

I sigh and rest my chin against his neck and we're quiet together for a while.

Then he cleared his throat and waited for me to look at him. "I love you, Scully," he said, deep and low, the words a promise, and my eyes fill. "I've *loved* you for years. Years." He swallowed. "And you could never disappoint me." He shook his head. "Never. I understand that you're scared. I do. But I need you so much. And I will do anything, anything for you. We can take this as slowly as you want, Scully. The control is yours. I can't promise it will be easy ... but when have we ever done things the easy way anyway?"

I smile at that and kiss his neck and he lets out a low groan. "Hey, enough of that woman," he teases. "I'm trying to have a serious conversation here."

And like a switch has been flicked, it comes to me, a revelation, an epiphany, call it what you will. I don't need to be scared. We respect one another. We have a deep, strong, and enduring friendship. We've loved each other for years. This is just another step, a natural progression in our relationship. And that's what I'd said to Sheila last night ... the person who was just a friend is ... suddenly the only person you can ever imagine yourself with. Mulder.

I don't want to talk anymore. A giant weight has been lifted off me. Mulder is with me. I feel free. And I want to take off where we left this morning. I want to lie in his arms, sated and exhausted from our lovemaking, and murmur nonsense to him as he kisses me.

I wriggle on his lap, and my silly idiot partner looks slightly embarrassed. He's been hard pretty much since the moment he pulled me onto his lap.

I told you I notice these things.

And I admit it now ... it has nothing to do with being a doctor.

"Mul-derrr," I say and nibble at his ear.

He shivers. "Mmmm?"

"It's Saturday."

"Uh, going somewhere with this Scully?" His eyes are sleepy, half-lidded.

"I think we've missed our plane."

"I think so too." He doesn't seem worried.

"And we don't have to be back in DC until Sunday night, right?" For some reason this gets me the biggest grin, and he nods almost idly. "So," I lean up and lightly brush my lips with his. "You wanna risk another night in cow country?"

He kisses me quick and hard. "You phone the airport and make our apologies. I'll get the motel room back," he tells me, and he's pushing me off his lap and getting out of the car before I can say 'IsawthealienspaceshipMulder'.

I smile to myself.

I pop the trunk of the car and drag our suitcases back into the motel room. We might need clothes at some stage over the next 24 hours. *Someone* has to be the practical one in this relationship, and it's not going to be Mulder.

I open my suitcase as I wait for Mulder to come back. I have a black, lacy camisole in here somewhere that I'm sure he would like to tear off me.

Uh huh, found it. I pull it out of my suitcase, holding it up against myself, and as I do, something falls away from it and onto the floor.

I look down.

It's a couple of sunflower seeds.

I smile.

And, you know something?

Kroner really isn't such a bad place either.



MORE NOTES: This was my first story. Thanks for reading it; hope you thought it was okay?? :) I would *love* some constructive feedback. If I get enough, I may even write something else. :) Send to finn1013@hotmail.com

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since 29 August 1999