He let himself into the apartment cautiously. Technically he wasn’t breaking and entering. He did have a key, just not permission to be here. Scully had been out of town for days and wasn’t coming home until tomorrow night. She didn’t know it but he was planning to pick her up at the airport.
He missed her. Not politically correct maybe, because after all, she was his partner. But he missed her. She was off doing some family thing with her phantom brother Charlie and his wife and kids out in the woods somewhere. Incommunicado. He hated that. He should be able to reach her by cell phone anyway. But no, he’d had to go cold turkey.
So here he was being a complete idiot and grateful that she would never know just how big an idiot he was. He’d needed a Scully fix, and since she wasn’t available, her apartment was.
He had no real plans. He just wanted to be here for a little while. He’d brought his own food, and he’d wash up before he left. It was the Scully ambiance he was after. He placed his food on her table – funny she took the time to eat at the table, not just in front of the TV like he always did. With dishes and silverware, too. He could do that; he did have a table, somewhere under all that stuff. But for just him it seemed like too much effort.
Not this time, he explored her cabinets, finding the "good" china that she used occasionally, even crystal for the ice tea he had purchased. He dished his supper out of the styrofoam container and started to sit. No, Scully would have music on while she ate. He turned back to the living room and turned on her CD player. He pressed play rather than check out what was in the machine. He didn’t want to change anything, this music, whatever it was, Scully had chosen.
He smiled as light jazz filled the room. Yeah – feminine enough for her but with an edge. Just like Scully herself. He returned to the table and enjoyed his dinner on a level he hadn’t experienced in a long time.
When he was finished, he reluctantly rose and washed his dish and utensils, drying them and returning them to their original locations. Okay, he should leave now. He’d done what he came for. He felt more in touch with her, time to go home.
So how come he found himself back in the living room looking over her things? The bookcase was a hodgepodge of reading material – medical texts interspersed with best selling novels and . . . and what was obviously research for hanging around him. Reference books on the occult? Declassified information from Project Bluebook? A text on hypnosis? Damn, he was a bad influence on her.
A photo album! Yes! He found himself on the couch, going through it. She’d never shared this with him. Well, she probably thought he wouldn’t care. Looking at pictures of Bill as a child didn’t really appeal, but the cute redhead with the freckles – now she was worth looking at.
He took his time going through the pictures, he was in no hurry, nowhere else he wanted to go and the thoughts of his apartment just weren’t that appealing at the moment. When he finished with the album he still didn’t make a move to leave, relaxing into her couch and finally reaching for the remote control.
He knew he was behaving weirdly, but it felt good here, warm, comfortable, and she would never know. Now, what did Scully watch when she was on her own? The Romance Channel? 90210? Maybe Buffy? Come on, give up your secrets . . . The Sci Fi Channel! Oh come on! Not Scully. Now this was something he was sure she didn’t want him to know about her.
That thought drew him up short. There were probably hundreds of things in this room alone she didn’t want him to know about her. Did she realize that he needed to know this stuff? Had she ever even thought about it? He was fairly confident she had never done anything like this at his place. Was that because she didn’t care? No, he knew she cared – he felt it every minute of every day, kind of like the hair on his arm, and he took it just as much for granted.
He stirred and realized he had drifted off on her couch. The show had changed and he wasn’t sure what was on now. He definitely needed to get out of here. He stood and stretched, easing his back. Her couch was just too damn short for him. He’d mentioned it to her more than once, but she had only made comments that didn’t bear repeating.
A hot shower would feel good. He glanced over at her bathroom door. Okay, now he was moving toward true insanity. How come that didn’t stop him?
Fresh, thick, fluffy towels – damn! And candles – why did she have candles in her bathroom? Did she light them as she soaked in her tub? That visual brought a physical reaction he didn’t want to curb. Yes, he was going to do this – he was going to take a leisurely soak in Dana Scully’s bathtub. If she had him arrested, or committed, it would be worth it.
He started filling the tub and reached for one of the little bottles adorning the small table near the tub. He opened it and took a whiff. Yes, she used this one occasionally – what else did she have? The next one invoked the sight of her in his apartment dozing on his couch while he watched some movie. Yes, this one. He put a couple of drops into the bath water – no need to smell like a brothel and he had to leave eventually.
He stayed in the tub; eyes closed until the water cooled beyond comfort, then reluctantly forced himself out to begin drying himself. He wrapped the towel around his waist and padded into her bedroom. He hadn’t allowed himself to know he was going to sleep here. He honestly hadn’t allowed himself to think about it consciously when he arrived. But it had been there – now he knew it.
He climbed between the clean crisp sheets and truly relaxed for the first time in days. He slipped into sleep with his face against the pillow, the scent of her surrounding him, enclosing him in comfort.
He woke to the sound of a bullet being ratcheted into the chamber and froze. Then, "Mulder? Is that . . . What the hell are you doing here?" She’d lowered the gun, but he wasn’t sure she should have at this point.
"Mulder, what are you doing? Why are you in my bed? Oh god, there’s not another dead body over at your apartment, is there?"
He sat up as she turned on the lamp. "Uh, no. Not this time."
"Then answer me!"
"I . . . uh," his shoulders slumped. How could he tell her why he was here when he really didn’t know himself?
"Mulder, have you had any sleep since I’ve been gone?"
Damn, what had made her think to ask that? That wasn’t why he’d come here, was it? She seemed to finally remember the gun in her hand and laid it on her dresser.
"Well, you certainly don’t seem to be in a hurry to get out of my bed."
"I, uh, I can’t right now."
He watched the heat stain her cheeks as she realized the meaning of those words. "You’re . . . you’re naked?" Her eyes flicked down involuntarily and immediately back up. That was all it took. He shifted in a vain attempt to conceal the tenting his body now made with the sheet.
She took a deep breath, grasping at control with both hands. "I’m going to take a quick shower to get this camping grime off, then we need to talk."
She was giving him an out! And without sending him away. Of course he didn’t have a clue what they would ‘talk’ about, but she was home – already he felt better, more complete.