She rushed to open the door at his knock. One look at his face was enough. Scully didn’t speak; she just reached out and put her hand on his arm, drawing him inside.
They stood looking at each other for a long moment, her eyes questioning, his bleak and empty.
“It’s over.” He gave a harsh laugh, “They even changed the locks so we ‘can’t’ get in the office.”
“What about Skinner?”
“There’s nothing he can do. If he tries to support us, they’ll cut him off at the knees too.”
She looked away, he wasn’t wrong. After a moment she took a deep breath, “Take off your coat.”
“I’m not staying.”
“I . . . I need some time. I need to be alone.”
“Mulder, don’t go.”
“I’m not fit company.” He tried to smile.
“I don’t want ‘company’ Mulder.”
He looked at her then, really looked at her, for the first time since he’d arrived. She’d been home long enough to change. She had on a cream colored sweater and jeans. Her hair was pulled back in a ponytail, but almost as much hair had escaped as was still caught in the clip.
Instead of appreciating the sight in front of him, it only depressed him further.
“Please don’t go, not yet.”
He sighed and allowed her to take his overcoat. She hung it on the peg behind her door.
“I was going to make myself a sandwich.”
She ignored that, moving toward the kitchen. He watched her disappear into the other room. He glanced down then, and shrugged off his suit coat as well, then loosened his tie.
Being here was a bad idea, but she’d asked him to stay. He turned toward her TV cabinet and after a slight hesitation moved in that direction. He leaned down and opened the door to the bottom shelf. He knew she kept her liquor down there. He straightened up with her Scotch in his hand.
A glass, he needed a glass. Without a word, he joined her in the kitchen, opened the door where she kept her glasses and pulled out a water glass. As she watched he added some ice, then filled the large tumbler with Scotch.
“Mulder, are you sure that’s a good idea?”
“When’s the last time I had a good idea?”
“Mulder.” But he had returned to the living room, with the bottle. She sighed and placed his sandwich on a plate and followed him. She sat the plate on the table and glanced at his glass. It was already nearly half empty.
“You should eat something.”
He glanced at her, then leaned forward to pick up the sandwich. A piece of paper crinkled in his shirt pocket. He looked down at it.
He withdrew the paper from his pocket and handed it to her. She asked the question with her eyes, but again he didn’t speak. She finally unfolded the paper and looked at it.
“Darryl Spangler?” She looked back up, “I never heard of him.”
“You will. He’s your new partner.”
“What? No! I don’t want a new partner. They can’t do this. They can’t just tell me I’m going to work with some stranger.”
“Don’t believe in arranged marriages, Scully? It’s what they did with us.”
“That was different, that was . . . “
He sat watching her, but didn’t respond.
“Mulder, I don’t want this.”
He took a long draw on his Scotch. “He’s green, not really been out in the field. You could mold him your way. ‘Course you might be on desk duty for a while anyway.” He finished what was in the glass and picked up the bottle. “Or you could do what I’m doing.”
He shrugged, “Monday morning I turn in my resignation.”
“There’s no reason to stay Scully.”
“No Mulder. A wise man once told me, if you quit, they win.”
“A wise man, huh? I don’t think so.” He refilled the glass.
“What about us?”
That made him look up. He met her eyes then and after a moment, spoke so softly she had to lean closer.
“Is there an ‘us’ Scully?”
He watched her eyes fill with unshed tears. “I thought there was.”
He looked away then, and took another drink. “This Spangler guy might be better in the long run. He probably won’t lead you to the dark side.”
“He probably won’t make me feel safe either.”
He glanced up and away quickly. He didn’t have a ready response to that. When the hell had he made her feel safe?
“I really should get out of here Scully.”
She laid her hand on his arm, “You’ve had the equivalent of about four drinks, Mulder. You can’t drive.”
“I can call a cab.”
“Being here that distasteful?”
“Scully - “
“I don’t want to be alone Mulder. Please.”
He subsided, leaning back again into the cushions of her couch. They sat that way for a time, then she rose. He reached out for her instinctively.
“I’m going to make me a sandwich, Mulder. Why don’t you go ahead and eat.”
He nodded and watched her leave the room. He eyed the sandwich and finally picked it up and took a bite. Tasted like cardboard, even though she’d made it. His whole life tasted like that, even with her in it. He finished the second glass of Scotch before she returned.
With her sandwich she also brought two glasses of tea. He looked at it sitting there, waiting for him, then used the last of her Scotch to refill his glass.
“Mulder . . . “
“If you want me to leave, I will.”
“We need to talk, make some plans.”
“I told you my plans.”
“Do they include me at all?”
“Maybe they shouldn’t Scully. You could have a brilliant career at the Bureau if I wasn’t there. You’d be the senior agent with Spangler - “
“And this would be your opportunity to get rid of me.”
“Maybe it would Scully. I sure didn’t expect you to hang around this long anyway.”
He watched her throat contract and after a long moment she spoke. “Right. I should have known that wasn’t what you wanted.”
She stood then and before he could react had moved into her bedroom.
He watched her go and felt total despair take up permanent residence around his heart. He needed to get out of here. He attempted to rise to his feet, but didn’t succeed. Maybe she’d been right. He didn’t drink as a rule and here he’d knocked back at least eight or nine shots.
Maybe if he finished the damn sandwich . . .
When she emerged from her bedroom a little while later, she expected to find him gone. Instead he had fallen asleep on her couch, the remains of his sandwich resting on his chest.
She stood over him, just watching him while he was unaware and relaxed. Why push her away? He needed her and . . . and damn it she needed him. Maybe not in the same ways, but did he really not realize what they gave each other? Or did he not care?
She knew they’d grown closer lately - the kiss at New Year’s had surprised her, but not nearly as much as she’d thought. They’d spent time together too, a movie at his place, dinner even when they weren’t on a case. And for a change, neither had fought it. It was like they were finally in synch - both at last with the other at the same time.
She moved the sandwich back to the plate and cleaned up his mess. He had thought to use a coaster for his glass, wonder of wonders, but the Scotch bottle was empty now and the ice in the two glasses of tea had melted.
She washed the few dishes and put them away, then returned to the living room. She sighed; at least he hadn’t tried to drive his car. She removed his shoes, then took the afghan off the back of the couch and covered him.
With his presence taking up the majority of the room, there wasn’t a lot to do, so she decided to get ready for bed. Just in case, she’d better take his shoes with her. Even drunk she didn’t think he’d try to leave in just his socks.
Once in bed, she tried to read for a little while, but after rereading the same paragraph at least three times, she gave up and closed the book.
The X-Files were closed, locked away from them. She’d been assigned a new partner she had never heard of, and Mulder was going to resign. She closed her eyes. Maybe it was time she decided what she wanted to be when she grew up.
Eventually she drifted off into a restless sleep.
She woke to Mulder looming over her. “Mulder?”
“He can’t have you.” He growled at her.
“Wha - “ She shook her head, trying to wake, “Who?” She could barely see him from the light in the living room.
“Spangler. That little SOB can’t have you. Do you hear me? You’re mine, they gave you to me and you’re mine.”
“Mulder, I - “
His lips took possession on hers then. What the hell? Was he asleep or drunk? Or both? She struggled a little, but his superior strength, not to mention his weight, gave him the upper hand.
“Mulder, wake up.”
“He’s a twerp, he doesn’t deserve you.” His teeth were gritted. “No man deserves you.”
“Mulder, please.” She squirmed trying to get out from under him. It was the wrong tactic. She saw his eyes dilate from her actions.
His mouth took hers again and his hand had found its way under her pajama top. She was beginning to actually fight now; this was getting out of hand. He raised himself off of her slightly and ripped her top open.
“Mulder! No, Mulder stop this now.”
His mouth closed over her nipple and her struggles slowed as she appreciated the sensation. God, what was she thinking? Mulder wouldn’t, he wouldn’t rape her would he? Well right now it looked as though he might.
She jerked away and began a serious struggle then. He was caught off guard at that, even more so when her hand connected sharply with his face.
He pulled back then, completely awake as she scrambled away, breathing heavily. He froze on hands and knees on her bed, then shook his head. He focused on her, standing beside the bed, her breasts heaving from the exertion.
His eyes widened in horror, then it was he who scrambled from the bed.
“Scu, Scully I - “ He shook his head then and hurried from the room.
She’d been wrong. The lack of shoes didn’t even slow him down. He was out of her apartment before she could make it to the living room. He had grabbed his overcoat, but not his suit coat.
What the hell? He didn’t want her to be partners with anyone else. But he hadn’t wanted to be her partner himself. He’d decided to quit rather than be with her, but . . . but what had just happened here?
He’d wanted her. He’d tried to force himself on her. And it had been her he was kissing, fondling. She blushed at the memory even here alone. She pulled her top together and realized he’d torn the fabric along with the buttons.
She had nearly been raped and all she could think about was how damn good his lips had felt on her breasts, how well he could kiss.
He’d been so upset. He’d lost the X-Files. They were his life’s work and now they had been ripped from him. But that wasn’t what he’d talked about just now. He’d been ranting about losing her, about Spangler. He hadn’t mentioned . . .
He wasn’t okay and he was driving. She shouldn’t have let him leave, but she hadn’t exactly been thinking clearly. He’d go straight home wouldn’t he? He wouldn’t go anywhere and . . . oh yeah, he had no shoes. He’d have to go home first at least.
She’d have to catch him there. Scully was already pulling on her clothes.
His car was there, not parked exactly straight, but no dents that she could see. Good.
She hurried to his door and started to knock. No, he might not want her here and she wasn’t going to leave. She slipped her key into the lock and opened the door quietly.
It was dark, but she spotted him on the couch. He was sitting, his head cradled in his hands. He didn’t seem to have heard her enter. She laid his coat across the chair and placed his shoes beside the table. He still hadn’t noticed her. She closed and locked the door behind her.
Scully approached him cautiously, but she had to check on him. “Mulder?” She spoke quietly.
He jerked upright and then onto his feet. “Get out!”
“No. I need to know you’re okay.”
“No, I’m not okay! Didn’t I just prove that over at your place? You didn’t think you’d be safe with Spangler. Well now you know you’re not safe with me either, but at least I don’t think he’d try . . . Get out!”
“No.” She just looked at him.
“Scully, I . . . I don’t want you here.”
“You sure as hell seemed to want me a little while ago.”
His face darkened and he turned away, unable to face her.
“You said Spangler couldn’t have me, that he didn’t deserve me. Do you deserve me?”
He dropped his head and leaned heavily against the desk. “Hell no, Scully. You knew that before tonight, I just sealed it.”
“You didn’t seal anything.”
“I almost . . . “
“But you didn’t.”
“You remembered your combat training. It’s a good thing for you that you did.”
“You wouldn’t have hurt me anyway.”
“Yeah, right. I’m a nice man, an honorable man. I’d never cause you pain. Except we both know that’s a lie Scully. I’m not nice, I’m not honorable and I’ve done nothing but cause you pain since you met me.”
“I have no intention of going over our history again right now. I’m a little more concerned about the future.”
“Ours. Apparently there is an ‘us’ Mulder. You wanted me, you had to get drunk to admit it, but you were lusting after my body. It was me you wanted, me you were jealous of.”
“God, Scully. Could you get out of here now? I really - “
“No. And you can quit asking. You wanted me.”
He actually growled then and backhanded everything off of his desk. She jumped but managed not to back away from him.
“Hell yes I want you. Is that what you wanted to hear? Fine, now can you leave?”
Instead she lowered herself onto the couch; unsure her legs would support her. He sighed; she didn’t seem to be leaving anytime soon. After a long moment, he sat down himself, as far from her as he could get on the same furniture.
Finally she looked over at him. “I don’t know what to say.”
“Don’t say anything. I’m not asking anything of you. I won’t be drinking again anytime soon, so you don’t have to be concerned about me attacking you. Anyway after Monday, you won’t have to worry.”
“I’m not worried, just a little confused.”
He laughed bitterly at that. “A little?”
“How . . . how long have you . . . “
“How long have I lusted after you Scully?”
Her face was bright red now and she wouldn’t look at him.
“Since the beginning. Well, at first it was just lust. But you’re different from anyone I’ve ever known. Once I got past the killer body . . . Look, I’ve controlled it this long - ”
“And that’s a good thing?”
He looked up startled at that question. His eyes narrowed as he tried to read her. What was she thinking? She should hate him, despise him. God he’d come so close to . . .
He felt her hand on his arm and flinched at the touch. “Mulder?” But she dropped her hand back into her own lap.
“I really think you should go home Scully. We both need some time and . . . “
“Maybe we need time, but not alone. We need to work through this. We need to actually communicate for a change Mulder.”
She watched his Adam’s apple bob as he digested that statement.
“Your ‘communication’ over at my apartment wasn’t completely clear. I need to know, what’s going to happen to us Mulder. Are you really going to quit; leave the Bureau? Leave me?”
“Scully. Scully why don’t you understand?
“I’m not sure I’m the one that doesn’t understand. You, you kind of opened up to me tonight.”
He gaped at her, ‘opened up’? That’s not exactly what he’d call it.
“You said Spangler couldn’t have me. You said he didn’t deserve me. You said I was yours.”
She was having trouble looking at him, but they needed to get this out. Everything between them could be ruined tonight if they didn’t.
“Scully I committed assault tonight, sexual assault. We both know I should be in jail right now.”
She did look at him then. “Was that a first for you?”
“Yes! God, yes. I was . . . it’s been a bad day, Scully.” What an understatement. “I was in a bad place and I topped it off with liquor. I’m sorry I scared you.”
“You didn’t scare me Mulder. You made me think. I . . . “ She looked at the floor. “It felt good.”
“What?” That was about all he had breath to say.
“And you didn’t even mention the job,” She continued as though he hadn’t spoken at all. “You weren’t worried about the work, it was me that . . . “
“It’s been you for a long time.” He spoke quietly and she looked at him again. Then to his utter shock, she leaned toward him and pressed her lips against his.
When she opened her eyes and leaned back, she saw that his hands were fisted at his side. He hadn’t touched her even though her hand had caressed his cheek where earlier she had struck him.
“Don’t what, Mulder?”
“Don’t forgive me, don’t . . . “
“I don’t have anything to forgive.”
They looked at each other then. She watched the fear in his eyes gradually diminish and turn to something like awe.
“Mulder?” He heard the amusement in her voice.
“You don’t hate me. You don’t . . . “
“Hate you? Mulder, where did you get that idea?”
“Scully, tonight - “
“Quit thinking about the bad things tonight. Why don’t you concentrate on the good things that happened.”
“Just . . . just so we’re clear on this, what did you see as, as good?”
She startled him then by moving closer and then stunned him by straddling his lap. He leaned back away from her, his hands fisted again at his side.
“Scully, what . . . what are you doing?”
“I . . . I’m not sure. I think I’m exploring what you opened up a little while ago.”
His eyes closed as she moved slightly against him.
“Are you really going to resign, leave me? Leave me to Spangler?”
His eyes flew open at that and narrowed dangerously. She leaned back slightly then.
“They’ll never let us be together Scully. Leave with me. We’ll . . . we’ll find work.”
“You want me with you?”
His hands closed around her waist then, gripping her tightly. “Damn it, Scully. You know I do.”
He could feel her relax and watched her lean in to meet his lips again. “You left my place in a hurry.”
“Seemed like a good idea at the time.”
“You left too soon. We should have talked about things.”
“I didn’t think you’d ever want to talk to me again.” He groaned as she moved against him once more.
“It was kind of nice to have you out of control. It was very nice to know it was because of me.”
“Ni . . . nice?” He couldn’t help but stutter at that point.
“Your lips on my breasts, your weight pressing me down.”
His eyes closed at the memory.
“I haven’t . . . it’s been a long time for me Mulder. I’m . . . I’m not sure I know what to do.”
“What,” he cleared his throat, “what you’re doing now is good.”
Her eyes were shining when he looked up at her. He felt the rest of his blood leave his brain and saw her eyes widen, but not in fear. Not this time.
He realized he wasn’t in a bad place anymore. In fact, this was just about the best place he ever remembered being.
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Mulder, Scully, the Lone Gunman and Skinner all belong to Chris Carter,10-13 and Fox. No infringement intended.