It was his first case back out in the field since being shot. Desk duty sucked, but between Bureau policy and his own personal physician, he hadn’t been able to get away with anything.
Staying that week at her place, had been good. But he recovered rapidly and moved back to his apartment. It wasn’t as nice, and the food wasn’t as good, but it was better, really. They were partners. He knew he could rely on her and he’d always have her back.
She couldn’t say too much about this case; practically in their backyard, Germantown. He’d been watching for this MO. Okay, he hadn’t mentioned it to her, but he’d been certain it wasn’t over, not after four killings.
The detective had smirked, “Must have been some roll in the hay.” Mulder had met Scully’s eyes but kept quiet himself. He had the evidence he needed.
He watched her as he moved around their office now, “Five deaths, Scully. All in the throes of passion, with a hundred times the amount of pheromones found in nature. He’s the ultimate sex magnet.”
“He?” Mulder shrugged, “So what Mulder, unarmed, but extremely attractive?”
Mulder grinned at her, then pulled out his ace in the hole, the clay found in the wounds. His hand settled comfortably on the small of her back as he led her to the car.
Maybe he was finally going to get out of town again . . .
Mulder followed the members of the Kindred into the feed store and after a moment, Scully approached the lone man with the wagon.
This man was obviously skittish being around her. She tried to put him at ease, talking about the horse, then offering her hand to shake.
The next thing she knew, Mulder was beside her and she felt . . . strange. “Are you all right? Scully, wanna sit down?”
She didn’t respond, watching the wagon pull away. “There’s something up there.”
“I’ve been saying that for years.” Mulder tossed at her as he led her back to the car.
He watched her now. He’d never seen anything like that. He was truly shaken at even the memory of the sight, that man, Andrew, on top of her. She certainly hadn’t been fighting him off. She’d been disoriented, unsteady on her feet, actually ill. She never showed weakness, not Scully, yet she had leaned on him getting back to the car. Once there, he had seated her on the edge of the seat, facing him and handed her a bottle of water, then he squatted in front of her.
She took a sip of the water, then another, then slipped a mint into her mouth. She didn't speak, she didn’t know what to say.
“Let’s get out of here Scully.” He spun the tires leaving the place and soon pulled into a small diner. He glanced over at her, leaning back with her eyes closed. “I’ll be right back.”
She didn’t open her eyes, just nodded.
When the door to the diner reopened and the light touched her eyes, she did open them, to see him coming back to her. Was he limping slightly? He got in and handed her a cup of coffee. “How are you feeling?”
“Better, a little embarrassed actually.”
“Why? You don’t remember any of it.” He took a sip of his coffee and kept talking, giving her a chance to gather her wits. He described finding Brother Aaron becoming feminine in his or her clay tomb.
For the first time she started to protest.
“I know what I saw, Scully, and I saw you about to do the wild thing with some stranger.”
She swallowed but couldn’t dispute it. She barely remembered it. She took another sip of coffee instead.
Then she noticed his hand rubbing his thigh. “Mulder?” She straightened up. “Are you okay?”
“What?” He realized where his hand was and withdrew it. “It’s okay.”
“Does your leg ache?”
“Scully, we were talking about you.”
“Mulder, I’m fine. Let me drive. You should put your leg up.”
“Scully, don’t be - “
“I’m serious.” She let herself out of the car and walked to his side. She opened the door and waited.
“Scully - “
“I’m driving.” She relented slightly at his look. “I need to, Mulder.”
He met her eyes and after a moment nodded. She needed to feel some control. And now that she had made him aware of it, his leg did ache.
He limped over to the passenger side and got in. “Guess maybe I did walk a little too long on it.”
“And through the woods. I should’ve - “
“It’s okay. I have to get back into the swing sometime. Do you want to talk about what you do remember?”
“No.” She backed the car up and pulled out on the highway again. He was watching her and it was uncomfortable. Finally she glanced over at him, “I said I was fine.”
“I know. Just thinking of a topic to keep you awake.”
“I’m not sleepy.”
He was quiet for a little while, she wasn’t in the best of moods. He rubbed his leg again and she noted it. But before she could speak, he jumped in. “How’s Ethan?”
He didn’t imagine that tiny swerve the car took. “I guess he’s fine. I haven’t seen him in several weeks.”
“I messed that up for you, didn’t I, Scully. Look, I could call him - “
“Mulder, no. There’s no need for that. It was . . . we were over. I just hadn’t taken the time to . . . You didn’t mess up anything.”
“You were living together.” He pushed.
She glanced over at him and quickly away. “Not entirely. He occasionally stayed over.”
“How long were you seeing him?” Okay, this wasn’t exactly any of his business, but at least she was talking.
She checked the rear view mirror before she responded, “About nine months.”
He nodded. “So, are you seeing anyone now?”
The look she shot him should have seared his skin. “And when would I have the time to see someone now, Mulder?”
He felt his face heat up, yeah, he had kept her kind of busy and then there were the last minute deals he kept dropping on her. It wasn’t just to keep her from other people, other men - this was legitimate work. So why did Tom Colton’s face suddenly appear in front of him. Colton had never been a threat. Threat? Where had that come from? Besides she was living with Ethan at the time. “Uh, yeah, I guess the X-Files do keep you busy.”
She made a noise he could only describe as a snort and he shrank down in the seat a little.
“So what about you, did you make up with Venus?”
His head swiveled toward her as she realized he had never mentioned the woman to her. Damn, damn, damn!!
“How did you know about Venus?” He asked, honestly curious.
Shit! “Um, when I went to your apartment to get your things, you know, while you were staying with me, there was a message from her.”
“A message? I don’t remember you mentioning it before.”
“Well, she was angry and said not to call her. I guess I thought once you were home again, you’d . . . “
“She was angry?” He asked carefully. “Did she mention why?” His eyes closed after he watched the color rise in her face. Oh shit. “Uh, Scully.”
"It's okay, you don't - "
"No, really, I should, I should explain." Oh yeah, like how? And if Venus had said something, there wasn't really any explanation needed. “Venus and I didn’t have a . . . a ‘relationship’. We, uh, how do I say this without sounding like even more of a shit than I already do?”
“You fucked?” Oh god, had she just said that? She needed to shut her mouth. Obviously she was still affected by whatever had happened to her earlier. His head swiveled toward her, stunned.
“Uh, yeah, I guess, basically.”
What the hell, this was the most she’d learned about him personally since Oregon. “Is that what you prefer?”
“No. No, I’d like a real relationship, but I haven’t had a lot of time lately myself.” His hand went to his leg again. “And think about it, Scully. You’ve spent time with me. Who would want a relationship with ‘Spooky’ Mulder?”
“You’re not spooky, Mulder.”
“What would you - “
“You’re just smarter than they are.”
His eyes widened in surprise and his hand stilled from massaging his leg. “What? You . . . you think I’m . . . “
“Well, I don’t plan to repeat it to Skinner or anything, but . . . “
He managed to grin, “That’s okay.” It was. It was okay that he could savor her words by himself. “Uh Scully, are you . . . do you think you might stay with
m-with the X-Files?”
“Well, I’m still here so far.” She looked away, no need to let him see that her lips were curving up for some reason.
He grinned, “That’s true. Maybe it’s an X-File.”
She cut her eyes at him, but kept quiet.
Neither spoke until she pulled into the motel parking lot. She cut the engine, then turned to him. “Mulder, thanks for getting me out of there. He, he would have killed me.”
He blinked, he hadn’t allowed that thought to form. He managed to smile, “My pleasure.”
She nodded, and opened the door of the car. He hurried to join her, trying to disguise his limp. He walked her to her room, “Get some sleep Scully, we’ll head back early and see what we can dig up on this Andrew guy.”
“Okay, get off that leg. Sleep well.” She shut the door behind her and he stood there for a second.
That had gone better than he could have hoped. Venus could have destroyed their budding friendship. They were good partners already, good enough that it was kind of spooky, but she honestly seemed to, to like him, at least part of the time. Yeah, he was going to feel guilty if, hell, when he brought himself off using her body, her face, her scent. But Venus didn’t hold any allure for him. No one else did.
The one time he’d picked up the phone to dial his 900 account, he’d called Scully instead. They’d talked about work and he’d teased her a little. Okay, there had been the same ultimate end to the conversation, but she didn’t know that. She would never know that. He smiled, imagine him with a partner that he actually enjoyed working with, who was intelligent and . . . and wasn’t racing to get as far away from him as she could get.
He turned toward his own room, smiling. She certainly wasn’t what he’d imagined for a partner, but . . . but things were working out. He wasn’t sorry that Ethan was out of the picture; Venus either. He was looking forward to getting to know her better. The future looked good for a change.
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Mulder, Scully, the Lone Gunman and Skinner all belong to Chris Carter, 10-13 and Fox. No infringement intended.