Beyond Ethan (R)

He shuddered atop her, then withdrew, collapsing beside her.  He forced control of his breathing and felt her hands go around him, entwining like a vine.


“God you’re good Fox.”  She cooed in his ear.


“You too, baby.”  He gently put her hand away from him and rose.


“Oh Fox, don’t go.”


“Have to baby.  They’re forcing a partner on me tomorrow.  I need to do a little research.”


“A partner, isn’t that a good thing?  Someone to do half the work.”


“It doesn’t usually work out that way.”  He rose from the bed and moved to her bathroom.  He removed the condom and flushed it, then washed his hands and splashed some water on his face.  He leaned into the mirror and ran a hand across his stubble.  He should have shaved.  Oh well.


“Come on, stay Fox.  I know how much you like the mornings.  We could have a little fun before you went to work.”


He looked over at her.  She had left the bed as well and was standing at the door.  She was in great shape and his eyes swept her body once more.  Venus.  Her name was Venus, he should be able to remember that.  He’d been surprised to learn it was her real name, not just her dance name.  But she was a good dancer, good legs, full, high breasts and she was enthusiastic in bed.


“Sorry, Venus.  I really have to do my homework.”  He leaned over and kissed her cheek, then moved around her and looked for his boxers.


“Are you really concerned about this guy?”


“Actually it’s a female.”


“A woman?”  She tensed up, seeming to thrust her double D's at him as though displaying her credentials.


“Yeah, the Bureau’s co-ed now.”


“Is she pretty?”


Oh come on, she couldn’t be getting possessive already.  They were good in bed; why couldn’t that be enough?


“I can guarantee she doesn’t look like you, baby.  Nobody has a body like yours.”  He trailed a finger down her breast and circled her nipple.


She smiled then, appeased.


He pulled on his boxers, then socks and slacks.  His mind had already left.




He let himself into his apartment and flipped on the light.  He glanced at the file on his coffee table, but went to change first.

He slipped on the cut-off sweats and t-shirt he slept in, then returned to the couch and reluctantly picked up the file.


He took a deep breath and began to read.  A degree in physics, a thesis on Einstein?  He set that aside to read later.  And a medical degree with a specialty in pathology.  No wonder there was no picture included in the file.  He couldn’t help it, visions of shot-putters and steroids came to him.


Why had Diana decided to transfer to Europe just as he got provisional permission to finally work on the X-Files?  Yeah, but things had been a little strained between them there at the end.  It had almost seemed that she’d been impeding the investigations instead of helping, though he was probably wrong about that.  At least he didn’t have to be in that tiny office with her smoking.  He’d never seen her smoke, but the smell had permeated her hair on several occasions.


He shrugged, she was gone and he was stuck, at least temporarily, with this spy - Dana Scully.


He woke the next morning with the file on him, around him and on the floor.  He gathered it up and dumped it on the table, then took his shower.  He wanted to get in early this morning.


He assembled the information from Oregon in his office.  If anything was likely to scare off the spy, this case would do it.  He was almost amused, and the case was fascinating.


He heard the tap on the door, “Sorry, nobody down here but the FBI’s most unwanted.”


He looked up and barely managed to keep his expression bland.  This was the spy they’d chosen?  This tiny little woman?  What a joke!

He found himself teasing her, his sarcasm in top form.  It was true, he had read her thesis and couldn’t help but smile at her comments.  She did have a nice smile and she had stood up to him, but she was far from his type.  He preferred women like Venus, tall, blond, okay so Venus didn’t have the degrees this ‘Scully’ did, but she didn’t need them.  She had other assets.




He watched her drive away from him in the airport parking lot, their first case behind them.  She’d hung in there, kept up with him and stood her ground when she’d needed to.  He felt strangely bereft, which was stupid.  She’d only come to his room because she was frightened.  He shouldn’t have opened up like that to her.  It made him vulnerable and he couldn’t afford that.


He could call Venus . . . but for some reason that wasn’t appealing just now.  Why was he thinking about the little redhead?  Why did he want an excuse to call her, she wasn’t his type?  Well, she hadn’t run away screaming.  Maybe that wasn’t such a bad thing . .  .




She let herself in and dropped her bag just inside the door.  At least the flight back had been smooth.  She needed to get over her unease at flying.  She might be doing a lot of it now.  She turned as Ethan joined her from the kitchen.  He kissed her lightly on the lips.


“Good to have you home, Dee.” 


“It’s good to be home.”  She sighed, and watched as he picked up her bag.


“Bad case?”




He nodded.  “Why don’t you soak for a little while.  Dinner’s not quite ready anyway.”


“That sounds wonderful.  You don’t mind?”


Ethan smiled, “Just let me scrub your back later.”


“It’s a deal.”  She followed him into the bedroom, removing her jacket.


The bath did help and she emerged to the smell of spices and a glass of wine waiting for her.


“Mmm, you’re too good to me.”  She sighed after the first sip.


“That’s why you keep me around.  Ready to eat?”


She nodded, knotting the kimono more firmly around her.  “What do I smell?”


“Well, it started out as pot roast, because you weren’t sure of your flight, but I got carried away with the spices.”


“You always do.”  She grinned and took her seat.  After a few bites and a refill on the wine, she seemed much more relaxed.


“Want to talk about it?”

”Off the record?”  She countered and he nodded smiling.  “I don’t know if I can do this.  The guy I’m working with has no boundaries - he . . . maybe he was just playing with the new agent.”


“Spooky Mulder?”


She looked up surprised.  “You know him?”


“Of him.  I saw him once at a press conference.  Dee, they call him Spooky for a reason.”


“I knew they referred to him that way at the academy.  I hadn’t taken it literally.”


Ethan shrugged, “I’ve covered some cases he’s cracked.  I have to admit I don’t see how he does it.  He makes these wild guesses and damn if most of the time he’s not right.  And he knows how to tick off his superiors, believe me.”


“I do.”




“I . . . I think I’m in this job because he ticked someone off.”




“Section Chief Blevins assigned me, but . . . I don’t know, it felt like he wanted me to prove the man’s wrong, or crazy.”


“Did you?”


She shook her head.  “His ideas are weird, but . . . but I couldn’t positively disprove them either.  So basically it’s unsolved.”


Ethan waited, there had to be more.


“And Agent Mulder . . . he was a real ass.  He was sarcastic, you should have heard some of his comments.  Talk about inappropriate.”


“Whistling in a graveyard?”


She paused then, they had been in a graveyard, literally.  Had that been it?  Or was he just a pig?


“I don’t want to talk about him anymore.  What did you do while I was gone?




She lay there unable to sleep.  Ethan had drifted off almost immediately after sex, but tonight she couldn’t join him.  Everything Agent Mulder had said was playing through her mind.


She was still embarrassed that she’d run to his room in fear.  No doubt he was used to seeing a lot more erotic women than her and she was grateful he hadn’t made any inappropriate remarks then.  In fact he’d been a complete gentlemen and she appreciated that.  Why had she described him as an ass to Ethan?  Well, he had been during a lot of the case - withholding information, obviously not trusting her, except for that short time in his room.


Then it was as though he’d opened up his heart to her.  The words, the story about his sister had poured out of him, his words tumbling over each other in his rush to get them out.  She needed to see that file.  If she was going to work with him, she needed more insight than his nickname.


She startled as the phone rang and she grabbed it before it could wake Ethan.  Everything was gone?  He wanted to talk, talk to her.  Well, they were partnered, at least for the present.




Her cell phone trilled and she grabbed it.  “Hello?”  She moved closer to the door, so Mulder wouldn’t be disturbed.


He hesitated, she sounded awful.  “Dee?  Honey where are you?”




“Yes.  I just got back.  Are you at work?  You should have called me.  You know I would have flown home.”




“Your father, Dee.  I should have been here for you.”


Ahab.  Grief hit her anew, with guilt this time.  She hadn’t even thought about him in hours.


“There was nothing  . . . it was so sudden.  I was with Mom and I didn’t . . . “


“I know Honey.  Where are you?  I’ll come get you.”


“No, you . . . I’m in Raleigh.”


“Raleigh?  North Carolina?”


She looked back at the bed, had he moved?  “What?  Yes, North Carolina.”


“Are you on a case?”




“Mulder dragged you off on a case now?”


“He didn’t drag . . . Ethan, he’s been shot.  I’m, I’m scared.”


“Mulder was shot?  Are you okay?  What happened!”  He heard her take a shuddering breath.  “Dana?  Are you - “


“I’m fine.  They don’t know yet . . . the bullet nicked an artery in his leg.  He’s got to be okay.”


Ethan absorbed that in silence.  He certainly didn’t wish the man ill, but . . . just when had he gone from being an ass to being someone Dee would be near tears about?  No, it was probably just emotion from her father’s death.  “Dana - “


“I think he’s waking up.  I’ll talk to you later.”


“Dee Honey, call me if . . . “  But he was talking to a dead phone.


“Mulder?  Can you hear me?”


His eyes fluttered, then opened and she watched him focus on her face.  “Scully?”  It came out weak and he looked confused.


“It’s okay Mulder.  You were . . . you were shot, by Lucas Henry.  Do you remember?”


He closed his eyes.  “Yeah.  Did you find them?”


“We got Liz.  The boy’s still missing.  Don’t worry about that now.  You need to rest.”


“Am I gonna die?”  He gave her a sideways grin.


“No!  What are you - “


“Trying to decide if those are tears of joy or sorrow.”


Her eyes narrowed, “Keep it up and you’ll know for sure.”


He actually chuckled and his fingers touched her hand.  She immediately took hold of his hand, squeezing it.  “Rest now.  I have some work to do, but I had to be here . . . “


His eyes widened a little at that admission, then he managed a smile.  “Thanks.  Best sight I’ve ever woken up to.”

She looked down then, away from his eyes and withdrew her hand from his grasp.  “I’ll be back in a little while.”


“Be careful, Scully.”  He didn’t elaborate on what to guard against, but she nodded and moved toward the door.




“This was a mistake Mulder.”  She watched him shift in the seat uncomfortably.  “You should still be in the hospital.”


“The food sucked Scully, besides I’ll be okay.  Just drop me off and I’ll - “


“I am not dropping you off.  I’m going to make sure you’re all tucked into your bed and take your medication.”


“I don’t have a bed.”  He muttered, low, but she heard him anyway.


“What?  You don’t have a bed?  Where do you sleep?”


“I, uh, the couch.  It’s a great couch.”


“Is it a pull out?”


“No, it’s just a couch.”


“Forget it.”  She made an abrupt right turn and he grabbed the door of the car.


“Oww!  Watch it.”


“Why?  You’re well enough to be out and about.”


He grimaced at her tone, but held his tongue for a block or so.  “Uh, Scully, where are we going?”


“My apartment.”


“Your place?  You’re kidnapping me?”


“You could call it that.”


“Nobody’s gonna pay any ransom for me.”


She glanced over at him, but didn’t bother to respond.  He glanced over at her several times, but neither spoke until she pulled up in front of her building.


She helped him inside, carrying his bag despite his protest.  “Come on, you’ve been on that leg too long.  You’re going to bed.”


“You joining me?”  He waggled his eyebrows at her.


“In your dreams, Mulder.  Come on, be careful.”  He had stopped and was watching her.  In his dreams . . . she had no idea.  He shook himself back to attention and followed her, his crutches clumping on the carpet.


“Get in bed.  Do you need any help?”


“Uh, no.”  He decided against the innuendo.


She nodded, “I’ll get your medicine.”  She gave him a few minutes, the returned to the bedroom.  He was under the covers.  His slacks and shirt tossed over a chair.  She realized he was in her bed wearing just his boxers.  She cleared her throat, which had seemed to close up slightly.


He glanced up and watched her for a moment.


“Take this and then get a nap.  I’ll wake you when dinner is ready.”


“Scully, I . . . I know I’m a pain in the ass, but . . . thanks.”


“You’re just playing to your strengths.”  But she smiled.  “Rest.”  She turned to the door, “You’re welcome.”


He smiled then and relaxed back against her pillow.  Damn it smelled good.


She retreated to the kitchen and pulled some chicken out of the freezer, then picked up the phone and dialed.






“Dee?  Where are you?”


“I’m home.”


“Wonderful.  I can be there in - “


“Ethan.  I need you to stay at your place for a few days.”




“I, uh, Mulder’s here.”


“Excuse me?”  He looked down at the phone as though to see her face, try to fathom what the hell was going on.


“He shouldn’t even be out of the hospital.  I . . . he couldn’t stay alone.”


“So he’s staying in our bed.  And where are you staying?”


“On the couch.”  She sounded a little defensive to him.


“For how long?”


“Just a couple of days.”  He absorbed that in silence.  “Ethan?”


“Yeah, I got it.”


“Ethan, please - “


“Hey, don’t . . . just look after your partner.  I’ll talk to you tomorrow.”


“Ethan, please - “ but he’d hung up.  She sighed and looked toward the bedroom.  This wasn’t a mistake.  Mulder shouldn’t be alone.


He’d slept a couple of hours before she let herself into the bedroom and placed the tray on the dresser.  He stirred as the aroma reached him and opened his eyes.


“Wake up Prince Charming.”  The sheet had slipped down, exposing his chest.


He grinned, “So who gets the wake up kiss?”


She ignored that laying his medicine out, then picked the tray back up.


“Scully, you don’t have to wait on me.  I can come to the table.”


“You probably can, but you’ve been on that leg enough today.  Tomorrow you’ll be washing dishes and doing laundry.”


“You might want to rethink that laundry thing, although pink underwear might look good on you.”


She lifted one eyebrow, but didn’t respond.  He sat up and carefully rose from the bed to use the facilities, then made himself comfortable again.


“Aren’t you going to eat with me?”


“You wouldn’t mind?”


“It’s your place, and I’d like the company.”


She nodded and got him settled, then left, returning with a tray of her own.  They ate slowly, with him complimenting the meal.  He cleaned his plate, but refused seconds, relaxing back onto the pillow.


“How are you feeling, really?”  She had that doctor look on her face.


“Pampered.  And good, the leg’s barely aching now.”


“Good.  I want to keep an eye on your temperature.  You could still develop an infection.  You should still - “


“Be in a hospital.  I know.  But my doctor takes very good care of me.”  He looked at her then and she felt some color rise to her cheeks.


“You want to watch some TV?  It’s not as good as the one in the living room, but there’s cable.”


“Whatever you want Scully.”


“Tell you what, you pick and I’ll clean up the kitchen then come join you.”


He nodded.  “I’ll do the dishes tomorrow.”


“We’ll see.”  She handed him the remote and let herself out.


He looked around the bedroom.  He’d been to her apartment before - the night Tooms had targeted her.  He shivered slightly at that memory.  He’d broken the door in to get to her.  That was as close to panic as he remembered for a long time.  But he hadn’t been in the bedroom before.  He turned his head slightly against the pillow.  Maybe a bed would be nice, especially if she’d lay in it once in a while to make it smell like this.


What?  Back up Mulder.  Partners - regardless of what had happened with Venus, they were just partners.



When she returned he had fallen back to sleep.  She turned off the TV and pulled the covers up over his chest.  Then felt his head for fever.  “Scully wouldn’t . . . “  She smiled at that, he didn’t talk much in his sleep but it was nice to hear her name.  This was the best thing for him, to get his strength back.


She quietly got some clothes for in the morning and her pajamas and robe for tonight.




He woke confused the next morning.  This wasn’t Venus’ place, then he moved and memory returned along with the pain.  And damn he needed to piss.  He eased himself out of the bed and took one of his crutches.


She was in the bathroom and he hesitated for a minute, but he really needed in.  He tapped on the door.  “Scully, you gonna be long?”


She opened the door, “Sorry, I - “ She glanced down and immediately away.  “You go ahead, I’ll, uh . . . “ She slid out of the door, giving him room, then shut the door behind him.


Dear God!  She could feel the heat in her face.  She was an adult, she’d had relationships, hell she was practically living with Ethan, but that . . .  She slipped away and into the kitchen, to splash a little cold water on her face.


She got a cup of coffee and sipped it, making sure her hands weren’t shaking.  She heard him return to the bedroom but waited.  After a couple of minutes she heard him heading toward the kitchen, using both crutches. 


He had dressed, slacks and a t-shirt.  She rose, “Have a seat.  I’ll get you some coffee.”


“Thanks.”  He wasn’t sure exactly what the etiquette was for this.  He’d seen her glance and her blush. 


“Listen - “


“I need to - “


They spoke together and he gave her a sideways grin.  “Ladies first.”


“I was going to say I need to go by the office and check our mail and messages.  Then I can drop by your place and get you some things.”


He nodded, “You don’t have to get anything, I could go on home.”


“Not yet, Mulder.  Give it a couple more days.”


“I shouldn’t be imposing on you like this.”


“You’re not imposing.  I invited you.  We just need to work out the logistics.”


Logistics, well that was one word for it.


“I’ll fix you some breakfast -” She started to rise.


“I’d like to take a shower.” He interrupted her.


She hesitated.  “Okay, then I’ll change your dressing.”


“You will not.”  He blurted out without thinking.


“I beg your pardon.”


“I can change my own bandage, thanks anyway.”


“No, you cannot.  I need to make sure it’s healing.”


“Scully, it’s - “ He glanced down at his groin.  “You can’t - “


“Mulder, I’ve seen your wound.  Who do you think held compression on it until the ambulance could get there?”


He paled slightly, oh yeah.  “Well, I’ll check it out.  If it looks puffy or red, I’ll let you know.”


“No.  You don’t know what to look for.  I am a doctor, Mulder.”


“Scully - “


“Go take your shower Mulder.”


He took a deep breath then and hauled himself back up to his feet.  He steadied himself on the crutches and returned to the bathroom.  He stripped down and then carefully removed his bandage.  It was healing, but would she believe that?  No, not Scully.  How the hell was he supposed to be conscious and have her looking at him there, her hands there, and not react?  Shit.


He took the shower, then shaved using one of her disposable razors.  He found an unopened toothbrush in the cabinet and took it as well.


“Mulder?”  She tapped on the door.


“Yeah, I’ll be right out.”  He wrapped the towel around his waist and picked up his crutches.


He made his way to the bedroom and sat on the edge of the bed.  “Scully, really it’s fine.”


“Good, now let me judge for myself.”


He closed his eyes as she knelt in front of him.  Damn, how was he going to get this visual out of his head?  Her fingers lightly touched his thigh and he tensed.


She nodded and rose, stepping back.  “You’re right, it is healing well.  I’m glad.”


He cleared his throat, “Yeah, thanks.”  He glanced around the room, “I should get dressed.”


“Okay.  You’ll be okay if I go on?”


“Yeah, I’m a big boy now.”


She turned away, yes, he was.  “Is there anything specific you need from your place?”


He shook his head, “You decide.”


“Okay.  I’ll bring lunch home.”


“You want some money?” He offered.


“No, that’s okay.  If you stay out in the living room, make sure you keep that leg elevated.  I won’t be long.”


He breathed a sight of relief when he heard the door shut.  He looked down at his erection.  Thank god she was gone.




She had changed her mind once in the car, and decided to go by his apartment first.  She let herself in with her key.  He’d given it to her weeks ago.  It had surprised her that he had shown that kind of trust in her.  He’d made an offhand remark about feeding the fish, but he’d given it to her right after the Tooms case, when he’d broken into her apartment and saved her life.


Did he wonder why she hadn’t reciprocated?  He hadn’t met Ethan, but he had to be aware of him.  It was just something that hadn’t come up in conversation.


She gathered up the things she thought he would need, packing a small suitcase she found in his closet.  She took it out to the living room and glanced over, oh yes, the fish.


She fed them, then turned and spotted his message light blinking.  There was only one message.  He wouldn’t be here for several days.  She pressed the button.


“You’re a louse, Fox.  You stand me up and don’t even call.  You could have the decency to let me know . . . You call me the wrong name when you’re in my arms and now this?  Don’t bother to call when you do get this.  I won’t be here for you, not anymore.  I hope you and this ‘Scully’ are very happy.”  The phone was slammed down to break the connection.


Scully stood frozen in shock.  What had she just heard?  After several long minutes, she pressed replay.  She listened to it three times before she stopped, erasing it and moving with increasing speed to the door.  She snatched up the suitcase and got out.


He’d called the woman by the wrong name, when he was in her arms?  He’d called her Scully?


By the time she got to the office she had managed to shove the words aside.  Dwelling on them wouldn’t help. 


There were several messages at work, but none critical.  She gathered up the forms they would need to complete for the travel department, and a couple of files she knew he’d been working on before they’d been called to Raleigh.


She took a deep breath.  He didn’t know she had heard the message and it had only been a slip of the tongue after all, surely this woman would accept that when she calmed down.  Yes, just put it out of her mind.


She opened the door to the apartment.  The bedroom door was closed.  He was probably asleep.  She put his suitcase down beside the couch, the files on her desk and started for the kitchen with their lunch.


Scully jumped slightly at the sound of the knock on her door.  She looked through the peephole, then put the lunch down and opened the door quickly.




“Sorry to come without calling, but I need to pick up my things.”


“Your things?”


“If I’m going to be staying at my place, I should - “


“Ethan, it’s not like that.”


“Right.  But it hasn’t taken all that long for your partner to go from being an ass to sleeping in your bed.  Who knows how long it will take for you to get tired of the couch.”


“You make it sound like - “


“Like it’s more than you looking after a sick friend?  Do I?”


She was staring at him, her mouth slightly open.  “What are you - “


“I could see things change, ever since he broke down our door you’ve been - “


“He saved my life.  Ethan, Tooms would have killed me.  Mulder broke in here to stop him.”


“And I’m grateful, but how much do I have to give him to repay the action?  He’s your partner, he’s supposed to cover your back.  He’s the one that put you in danger in the first place, he should - “


“What?  He didn’t put me in danger.”


“The whole ‘X-Files’ thing puts you in danger.  Dana, you could go back to Quantico, you could teach and we could get our lives back.”


She stood looking at him for a long moment.  “You sound like my mother.  If that was what I wanted, I could have gone back.  I don’t want that.  Don’t you realize I’m enjoying what I do.  The work is fascinating, I’m learning and growing as an agent every day.  And I’m certainly not bored, not like I was before I got this assignment.”


“You were bored.  With the work, or just with me?”


“Who said I was bored with you?” 


“You did, just not with words.  Mulder does it for you, doesn’t he?  That’s why he went from being an ass to our, to your bed.”


She glanced toward the bedroom door.  Please let him still be asleep.  Ethan saw the look and sighed.


“Forget it.  I don’t want to disturb your partner.  Why don’t you pack up my things and I’ll get them later.”  He turned and opened the door.  She still hadn’t spoken.  He hesitated for the briefest moment, then let himself out, closing the door behind him.


She stood there watching the door.  What had just happened here?  What did he think was going on?  She and Mulder were partners, maybe becoming friends, but not . . .


“I think I should get out of here.”


She jumped violently at the sound of his voice, so close to her ear.  “Mulder!”


“Sorry, I . . . I was in the kitchen.  I didn’t think I should make my presence known right then.”


Her face burned.  “Mulder, I’m sorry.  Ethan doesn’t . . . “


“He’s upset.  I don’t really blame him.  I wasn’t thinking or I wouldn’t have put you in this position.”


“You didn’t put me in any position.  I asked you to stay here.  I wanted you to stay here.  I wanted to make sure you were okay.”


“I’m okay.  Scully, really.  I’m gonna call a cab and get out of your way.”


“It doesn’t look like there’s any reason now.”  She glanced toward the door.


“Oh, I think he’d come back.”


“But do I want him to?”  She shook herself, she should not have said that.  “I brought lunch.”


“Scully - “


“Come on.  You need to get off that leg.”


He let her lead him into the kitchen.  He didn’t know what was going to happen between them.  Hell, he wasn’t even sure what had happened between he and Venus - not that it mattered.  They were over and should have been months ago; he’d just been too busy to look around for someone new, someone who wouldn’t try to cling.  But like Scully had said, it hadn’t been boring . . .



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