A wave buffeted him yet again and he tightened his grip on Scully. He felt his foot brush against something and tried to feel for it again as the next wave crashed over him. Yes, land, but it was still over her head. She should be the one clinging to the life jacket, not him! If he could see something, anything, it would help.When had night gotten so damn dark?
The next wave threw his knees against the bottom and he struggled back to his feet, hauling her up, keeping her head above water. She was limp, but he was sure she was still breathing. She had to be.
Now the wave tumbled him, dragging him along the bottom and freeing her from his grasp. That brought him to the surface, gasping, frantic to locate her.
She was there, face down, her hair floating around her. He grabbed her up and realized he was standing as he pulled her to him. He was able to withstand the next wave and began moving in the same direction, holding her closely to him.
Without the water to help support her he realized he'd have to lift her rather than drag her across the sand. His left arm hung limply at his side, but somehow he managed to get her over his good shoulder and staggered out of the surf. He had to get above the water line; he had no idea when high tide was.
He struggled the last few steps before his legs collapsed from under him and he dropped her, falling partially atop her and giving into oblivion.
She rolled her head, were her eyes open? She could see stars above her. Outdoors? What had ... there was something on top of her, trapping her. What was ... Mulder? Yes, that was his warm breath on her throat. He was alive. That being the only information that mattered, she closed her eyes and was instantly sleep.
The stars had disappeared with the coming of dawn when he woke. What was he ... he was lying on Scully. Damn, he could have suffocated her. He rolled off of her body and cried out as his left shoulder took on his weight.
"Mulder!" Scully was awake instantly and bending over him. "What?"
"It's okay." He muttered through clenched teeth.
"Yeah, it sure sounded okay." Her fingers were gently examining him. "Your shoulder's been dislocated, Mulder."
"Can you fix it?" His face was drawn.
"It's gonna hurt."
"It already does." She looked into his eyes then. Yeah it did and for him to admit it, it hurt bad.
"Lie still Mulder. I need to get on top ... “ She moved him carefully.
"I like it when you talk dirty."
She ignored that, placing her knee gently against his shoulder. "You ready?" He nodded and she jerked his arm back into place. He managed to make no sound though he paled considerably and sweat broke out on his forehead. Almost as quickly the pain subsided and she helped him to a seated position, again examining that area of his shoulder. "This should be bandaged, immobilized."
"We could use your t-shirt. Wet like that it - "
"Damn it, Mulder! We could have died! You could have been injured much more severely. I don't need your lame - “ She stood then and stalked away from him.
He made it to his own feet and followed her. Her back was to him so he touched her shoulder and turned her toward him. She was crying. He put his good arm around her. "I'm sorry Scully. I was just ... I'm sorry."
"Aren't you scared? Don't you ever ... "
"Sure I'm scared Scully. I thought you were going to drown, I still don't know what's going to happen to us, but you're alive, we're alive." He felt her arms move to encircle him and he dropped his chin onto her hair. "At least we're together. Now we just have to figure out where we are, and how to get home."
"Oh, is that all?" She chuckled through her tears then and looked up at him. "What did happen, I'm all fuzzy?"
"I'm a little fuzzy myself." He moved toward the tree line, getting her into the shade. "The power died on the boat, I know that. The motor stopped, the radio went out, the compass - damn the compass went crazy."
"But that wouldn't cause an explosion."
"No. I don't know what caused that." He shook his head and looked back out to sea.
"Do you know what happened to the others?"
He shook his head again, "I was only looking for you. I know at least two of them were in the water. I don't know about the third. We've seen that kind of power outage before."
She closed her eyes to block the sight of him for an instant. "Aliens, right?"
"It's why they were bringing us here. To see the lights that keep being seen in this area, over these islands."
"God, Mulder. We're stuck here, we don't know if they got a distress call off, we've got no food or water, you're injured ... "
"Yeah. It's a good thing I've got you."
She turned away from him then. She was pissed at him, but that didn't keep her from feeling the same way. She'd expected to die when she hit the water, fighting to stay afloat and trying to find him. Needing to know that the explosion hadn't killed him and knowing that if it had, there was no reason to continue fighting.
"What have you got on you?"
"What do you mean?" She looked up at him, more than willing to think about something else.
"In your pockets, anything we can use? I still have my gun, but I don't know what shape it's in. And these Lifesavers." He held out the small package of candy.
"So you weren't just glad to see me?"
That caught him off guard. She didn't usually join him in that kind of innuendo. "Scully, are you coming on to me?"
She turned from him then. "The candy will be useful, but we've got to find some fresh water and soon."
"I wouldn't mind a good steak."
"Yeah, well that may have to wait, but water can't."
He nodded and after looking in both directions, started to move east, parallel to the water. She turned in the other direction. "Scully, wait. Maybe we should stay together."
"We can cover ground more quickly if we split up."
"True, but we don't know what's here and you don't have your gun. I'm not sure mine will fire, but I don't exactly have any way to clean it." After a moment she nodded and fell in beside him.
By mutual consent they moved deeper into the trees that bordered the edge of the beach, both to stay out of the sun and to look for water. If they could locate a stream they'd be in a much better position.
Her gaze moved out toward the sea and she stared, trying not to think, not to panic. They'd found some fruit and sipped water from some foliage. Mulder had dug up some clams and they'd eaten them raw. They were far from full, but they weren't in imminent danger of starvation.
Something caught her eye and she squinted. “Mulder, what is that?” She pointed out to sea.
His eyes followed at her direction. “I think ... I think it's a body, Scully.” He looked back at her, “One of the guys from the boat.”
She seemed to deflate a little at that, as though a little more hope had leaked away.
"I'm going to bring him in." She rose with him. “Scully, I can - “
“With that arm you're going to need help.” She sounded all business as he looked down at her; which meant she was truly frightened. The problem was, he didn't have a way to make this any better.
They got the body to the beach without too much trouble. They could have waited, he was dead, but ... Scully dragged him on up past the water line. "It's Santos' kid. I didn't hear him say a word on the boat."
"I don't think he did. He was scared though, he didn't want to be out here." Mulder knelt down beside him and began going through his pockets.
"Mulder, what are you doing?"
"Seeing what he has that we can use. We're not exactly equipped for a camping trip here." At her nod he continued. "Ah ha, a knife." He checked the other pocket and pulled out a ruined cigarette pack, then a small bundle. "Even better, Scully. Waterproof matches. I sure didn't want to rub sticks together all day." He handed her both the knife and the matches, then began undressing the corpse.
"Mulder, what are you doing now?"
"Taking his clothes. I'm sorry, but we need them more than he does right now. You need to get out of the sun, Scully. I can do this."
"We can do it faster together. Come on." They stripped the young man down to his underwear and Mulder pulled him farther back on the beach and covered him with sand until a better burial could be arranged. "Mulder, how the hell are we going to contact someone?"
She was seated slightly apart from him and he saw her rub her arms to stimulate circulation. "You cold Scully?"
"I'm fine Mulder." She stopped her movements.
"You're not fine, you're cold."
"It's a little chilly now." She grudgingly admitted. The fire just wasn't cutting it.
"Well, why waste all this nice warm body heat? Come on, Scully."
"I'm okay Mulder." She wouldn't look up at him.
"Scully? You don't ... You're not ... Scully, you don't think I would force myself on you?" He tried to get her to look up. "Scully?"
"No, I don't - "
Even in the dim light he could see the flush of her face. "You do. You think I would - "
"No! I don't. Mulder ... "
"Then let me keep you warm. I don't want you getting sick." She sighed and moved over to sit next to him. "No, here." He pulled her over to sit in the V of his legs, so that he could put his good arm around her. He couldn't see her face but was relieved when she finally relaxed back against him.
After a moment she spoke softly, "Thanks."
"Thank you. You've fulfilled one of my fantasies." She stiffened but didn't pull away. "Haven't you ever played that game? The one where you decide who you want to be with you on a deserted island? Well, I chose you."
"Mulder." Her tone was wary.
"Well, think about it Scully. I know you can handle yourself in all kinds of situations, you're a doctor, and then there's the body."
"Mulder." She did jerk away then, but his arm tightened, not releasing her. "Let me go."
"No. I won't hurt you Scully. I would never hurt you and I'm not coming on to you, well not really. I know how you feel about that. I'm just making conversation and you're still cold."
She grudgingly relaxed back against him. She was cold. What did he mean by how she felt about that? She decided against asking, he'd probably tell her.
"Haven't you ever played that game Scully? Who would you want to be with here?"
"Mulder, it's a stupid game."
"You got something else to do? Come on, who would you pick, Brad Pitt? Walter Skinner? Maybe Frohike?"
"Skinner?" She sounded a little incredulous at that one.
"Well, that's a relief. Some women find bald men a real turn on."
"Mulder, this is pointless. I have never thought of Skinner that way. Even when I kissed him it wasn't - “
“You kissed Skinner?” His arm had tightened involuntarily and she squirmed to loosen the grip.
She knew immediately she should have kept her mouth shut. She must be a lot more tired than she realized. “It was nothing, just a little thank you.”
“A thank you? What did he do for you?”
“Nothing. Mulder, I'm exhausted and I'm extremely tired of this conversation. Go to sleep, let me sleep, whatever.”
He allowed her to get comfortable up against him and shortly drift off. Not him, sleep was the last thing on his mind now. When the hell had she kissed Walter Skinner? A thank you? He'd never gotten a thank you kiss. Hell, in seven years he'd gotten one Happy New Year's kiss and it had taken him practically the whole seven years to screw up the courage to try that. Now to find out that she kissed Skinner, he felt like ... hell, he didn't know what he felt like, but it was damned uncomfortable.
He couldn't say he'd really relaxed, but she was obviously comfortable in his arms - when she was asleep anyway, so eventually he carefully reclined, keeping her close and finally gave in to sleep.
He didn't recognize the apartment. He had never been here before, he was sure of that. What was he doing here now? He heard the door open behind him and saw Scully enter without knocking. This definitely wasn't her place, what the ... Skinner came into the room wearing only a towel.
“What took you so long?” He had his hands on her, kissing her eyes and her lips, moving down to her throat.
“He had a theory he wanted to expound upon. At least he didn't pull out the slides. I hurried as much as I could.”
Her jacket was now resting across the back of a chair and his hands were unbuttoning her blouse. Did they not see him standing here? Skinner had the blouse open now and she let it fall from her shoulders and lay in a pool of silk on the floor.
Skinner's hands went to the front clasp of her bra and released it, allowing her full breasts to escape into his cupped hands. Mulder couldn't swallow, he couldn't make a sound.
Now she was pressed against him as his lips explored her throat and his hands released the button and zipper on her skirt, which joined her blouse. She wore no stockings; only tiny white silk panties covered her body.
They moved toward his bedroom now and Mulder followed, although he would have said he couldn't move. Once there Skinner knelt in front of her and began kissing and licking his way down toward those panties; finally taking hold and lowering them to the floor. He nuzzled her curls and Mulder saw his tongue flick out. She threw her head back and her nails sank into his shoulders.
Mulder wondered why he was still alive. He couldn't draw a breath. He'd give anything to be back in the sewer with Flukeman.
"Damn are you ready Dana." Skinner muttered between licks and bites.
"It's been forever." She moaned.
"Since this afternoon in my office?" He teased.
"That was hours ago." She was pulling him up towards her and then pushing him toward the bed. She yanked the towel from around his waist and Mulder tried desperately to close his eyes, wondering what was keeping him on his feet.
He would kill Skinner; kill him with his bare hands. He wanted to throttle her as well, except that ... Scully, how could you?
He watched as she straddled the man and Skinner's hands came up to her waist to guide her. She rose and impaled herself, crying out at the sensations coursing through her.
That broke through his paralysis. "NO!"
"Mulder! Mulder, wake up. It's just a dream, you're oka - " His hands gripped her shoulders and she realized he had worked himself loose from the makeshift bandage holding his arm immobile.
He wasn't speaking, staring at her horrified, and breathing as though he'd been running for miles. "Mulder, can you hear me?" What kind of nightmare was this?
He seemed to be calming down, he glanced around as though to see where he was and she felt his grip loosen slightly. "Mulder, it's me, Scully. Are you okay?"
"Why did you kiss Skinner?" His voice was harsh, rough sounding.
Why had she ...? What the hell had he been dreaming? She reached up to touch his face, was he ill? He pulled back from her hand. He'd never done that before.
"Tell me why."
"I told you, it was just a thank you. He'd done me a very important favor." It wasn't enough. He really wanted to know. She looked away, then back into his eyes. "He'd gotten me the coordinates of your last known location in the Bermuda Triangle. The information was only available from a classified military database. I couldn't get it and I was frantic. I knew Kersh would let you drown if he could. I had to have the information and Skinner was able to get it. I was so grateful I forgot myself and kissed him, in the elevator. His reaction, if you want to know, was one of fright. I remember him struggling to get away from me." She tried to smile at him then. "I thought I'd really lost you."
A thousand emotions played across his face then and after a moment he lowered his eyes. He spotted his hands still gripping her and released her, moving away.
"Mulder, are you all right?" He nodded, but wouldn't face her.
"You were just thanking him."
"That right." Suddenly she stilled, "Mulder, I have no romantic interest in Walter Skinner. You know that. He's our boss."
"He's a good catch Scully. I'm sure he could be considered attractive to women, he's successful. His career path has been upward, unlike some people you've wasted your time with at the Bureau."
"Wasted ... Mulder, what did you dream?" He shook his head. "I was in it." It wasn't a question so he didn't respond. She was getting cold without his body wrapped around her, but that wasn't the only reason she was shaking now.
After a long uncomfortable moment, she spoke again. "You're angry with me. Mulder, what did I do that was so terrible?"
"You didn't do anything Scully." He sounded deathly tired and more distant that she ever remembered hearing. Her fear increased and he finally noticed her tremors. "Come here." He tried to pull her against him again.
"No." She moved farther away.
"Scully, don't be silly. It's cold."
"Silly? Me? You're furious with me over a damn dream and I'm being silly!" He flinched at that.
"You're right, Scully. You're right. I'm a fool, okay? And yes I went crazy over ... knowing you kissed Skinner threw me. I admit it! Happy? I get the eyebrow for every comment I make, but - "
"Comments? That's what I'm supposed to put up with, juvenile comments? Have you ever once tried -" she stood then and walked away from him, her arms wrapped around herself.
He was immobile for a couple of heartbeats. Then he scrambled to his feet and was beside her in seconds. "What would happen if I did ... if I let you know how I feel?"
"How you ... how you feel?"
"Yeah, if I quit kidding around and ... and - " He took her face in his hands and lowered his lips to hers. She stiffened at first, but he didn't back down, increasing the pressure and allowing his hands to move down. He felt her relax against him, enjoying the kiss, hell, actively participating in it.
They broke apart and stared at each other, breathing heavily. "Scully, am I ... Are you gonna hurt me now?"
"You mean a right cross?"
"No, I mean a 'let's just be friends' or 'we're better partners', something that painful."
She realized he was holding his breath. "I wasn't going to say either of those things. I was thinking more along the lines of 'what the hell took you so long'." His eyes widened. "Now are you going to tell me what you dreamed?" She watched the blush take over his face. Mulder blushing?
"It ... it's not, it's not important Scully. Come on back, I need to warm you up." That caused a blush to appear on her face, which he appreciated immensely.
"This is insane Mulder. What are we doing here?"
"Are you backing away? Are you sorry?"
"No. But I don't want to get carried away just because - "
"What was your dream?"
He closed his eyes. When he felt her hand against his face he took a deep breath. "Come on back. At least we'll be out of the wind." She allowed him to lead her back to the nest they had made and let him pull her into the warmth of his arms.
"You're going to hurt yourself." She touched his shoulder.
"I'm okay. Getting warmed up?"
She nodded. "You're stalling."
"Yeah, I guess I am. You were in it, and Skinner. You were ...” he looked away.
"With Skinner? Because I told you I'd given him a thank you kiss? Mulder, I don't know what to say."
"You looked like you were enjoying yourself."
"In your dream, Mulder, not mine." He pulled her closer to him, pressing his lips to her hair.
Her hand trailed down his chest and rested on his belt buckle.
"Don't tempt me Scully, not here."
"Why not here?" She was honestly curious about that.
"I have no protection for you for one thing."
"Protection? Mulder, I can't get pregnant."
"Maybe not, but - "
"And you're healthy."
"How would you know? I've never had an AIDS screening or - "
"Of course you ha - " She clamped her mouth shut. What was she thinking?
"Agent Scully, have you been hedging your bets?” He was looking at her with something like incredulity on his face.
"If the opportunity ever presented itself, I wasn't going to let something like that stand in the way." She was facing him again now, eyes snapping.
He stared at her for a long moment. "The thoughts of an intimate relationship with me wouldn't cause you to run into the sea?"
"Mulder." She sounded disgusted with him. "I'm human. You're far from repulsive to look at."
"Thanks." He interrupted.
"And I know you care about me, in one way or another." She continued, ignoring him.
"And another and another. Do you have erotic dreams about me Scully?"
"That's none of your business."
"You do!" He sounded utterly delighted.
"Well you just had one about me."
His face fell at that. "It wasn't me you were with."
"It was only a dream." She reminded him gently.
"But it was a damn intimate dream, with another man."
"Mulder, do you think sex could make us more intimate?"
The question rendered him speechless. After a long moment he brushed a strand of hair from her face. "I don't know, Scully." She watched him purse his lips to try to control the grin that was growing.
She laughed out loud then and he was mesmerized at the sight. He didn't try to stop himself, sealing her lips with his own. All mirth was gone as they explored, tasted and delighted each other with tongues and lips.
She finally broke away, her hands on his chest. She was breathing heavily. "Are we ... are we ready to do this?"
"Seven years, Scully. How ready do we have to be?"
"Time isn't the issue, Mulder."
"The depth of my commitment Scully? There is no one else; there's never been anyone else in my life like you. You created a ... a place in me that I didn't know could exist. Now I know I can't go on without you in that place."
They were both surprised at the tears that formed in her eyes. "Scully?"
She shook her head, "No one's ever said anything like that to me."
"No one's ever loved you the way I love you." He saw the tear escape then. He leaned in and kissed it away. "No one's ever scared me the way you do either."
She drew back at that to look at him. "What?"
"When that bomb went off, when I didn't know what had happened to you ... God, Scully. I was frantic. I was disoriented myself; I knew I had no time. Then I spotted you and realized you were alive. I had to live then, I had to."
She nodded, remembering her own panic. "Kiss me."
They stepped back to escape the sand being blown up by the helicopter blades. Immediately upon touch down, they saw Skinner jump down and head toward them.
No coat and tie today. He was wearing a t-shirt and jeans and had the haggard look of someone who's been without sleep for a couple of days.
"I don't know, he looks pretty good in the casual clothes, huh?"
She shoved her elbow into his ribs and he grunted from the impact. Then Skinner was with them, his hands on Scully's arms. "Are you two okay?" He glanced over at Mulder after giving Scully a thorough going over with his eyes.
"Yes, sir. And very glad to see you." She responded. Mulder had stiffened at the way Skinner had taken hold of her, but managed to keep his face impassive, at least to most people.
"Is anyone else here?"
"No. There is a body that needs transport." She pointed down the beach. "Do you have any body bags on board?"
"Yes. We didn't know ... it's good to see you both." He was struggling with professionalism now and released her arms.
"How did you find us?" That question came from Mulder. He almost sounded annoyed that they had.
"Oh, the uh, the captain's wife. When you didn't return she contacted the Coast Guard and during their investigation they discovered that he'd had passengers." There was something odd about Mulder, the way he was standing in front of him, a difference. It was making Skinner slightly uncomfortable but he couldn't place his finger on why. Maybe it was just what they had endured over the past couple of days. "Let's get you back to civilization, okay?"
Skinner took Scully's arm to assist her to the helicopter, but something made him turn. He released her arm without thought, moving back to allow Mulder to assist her. Not a word had been spoken, but Skinner knew he wasn't to touch this woman. Not even casually. He understood the difference now.
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Mulder, Scully, the Lone Gunman and Skinner all belong to Chris Carter, 10-13 and Fox. No infringement intended.