Key to Understanding (NC-17)

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He smiled as he fit his key in the lock.  Yeah, he probably should have called, but she had given him a key.  Surely she wanted him to use it.  Maybe they could get something to eat.  It was kind of nice just showing up without a case or something.


He stepped inside, god, he almost felt like whistling.  His smile widened at the thought.  He wasn’t used to feeling like this.  He heard her approach and waited.


She stepped into the living room.  She obviously hadn’t heard him come in.  She was checking her dress . . . dress?  Why was she dressed like that at this time of day?  Usually she changed into her casual clothes when she got home from work, just one of the things he ‘knew’ about her.  That was anything but casual.  It was short, a lot shorter than she wore to the office.  And cleavage.  Lots and lots of cleavage. 


She looked up then, as though sensing she wasn’t alone.  Her eyes widened, frightened for just an instant before she realized it was him.  “Mulder?  Did, did we have plans?”


He swallowed, “Uh, no.  I’m . . . I thought we could grab something to eat or . . . I’m sorry.  I should have called.”  His smile had vanished.  She had plans; plans she hadn’t mentioned to him, dressed like that.


“Mulder, I’m sorry.  I . . . I - “


The knock on her door stopped her.  She closed her eyes briefly, but there wasn’t anything she could do.  She moved toward the sound and he stepped back away from the door and further into the room.


She automatically checked the peephole, then squared her shoulders and opened the door.  "Dana?"


Mulder assessed the man quickly.  Maybe six feet, light brown hair and eyes, slightly receding hairline.  Okay not really receding, just combed forward.  Nice suit, expensive.  He didn't work out enough, not paunchy but going soft.  And why the hell was he here?


"Steve, please come in."  She turned slightly toward Mulder, but not facing him.  "This is my partner, Fox Mulder, Steve Henderson."


Steve stepped forward and held out his hand.  Mulder forced himself to shake it.  Partner, yeah.


"Nice to meet you, Fox.  You work at the FBI too?"  Seemed friendly enough, the SOB.  "Sounds exciting."


"We have our moments."  Mulder managed, keeping his voice steady.  "What about you?"  Hell, if he was supposed to have a polite conversation he might as well get some frigging information.


"I'm a surgeon; just started over at Georgetown."  He smiled.


Mulder felt his stomach clinch.  A doctor, damn it all!  "I'd say that was exciting and you have to leave your patients alive, unlike Scully here."


Steve chuckled appreciatively and they both looked over at her.  She had a weak smile on her face and if he were honest, looked like she was headed for the dentist chair.  He needed to get out of here.  He didn't want to horn in on her date, right?


"You guys have big plans?" He not quite able to force himself out the door.


"I have tickets to a show, maybe get something to eat."  Steve was watching Scully now, smiling at her. 


She didn't respond, though she managed a smile.  She hoped it looked genuine.  Damn it!  Mulder was hurt and furious.  She couldn't exactly explain things right now.  Why had he shown up at the worst possible time?


"Well, I'll get out of your way.  You kids have fun."  Mulder shook Steve's hand again and nodded to Scully, then moved to the door and opened it.


"Mulder . . ."


"See you at work."  He let himself out without looking over at her and walked with determination to his car.  She wasn't going to look out the window and see him scurrying away.




She'd hurried to get to work, but now, approaching the door, her steps were lagging.  She was sure he was the hang up on her answering machine she'd found when she got home last night.  Mostly sure, but not sure enough to call him after midnight.  Besides, it wasn't any of his business when she got home.  Yeah, right.


She took a deep breath and stepped into the office.  He didn't look up, keeping himself focused on the computer as if it were his favorite porn flick.




"Morning Scully."  He still didn't look at her, just reached for his coffee cup.


She watched him for a moment, then took the plunge.  "Mulder, I'm sorry about last - "


"Nothing to be sorry about, Scully.  You had a date, I came over uninvited."  He finally turned toward her, and leaned back in the chair.  "Been seeing him long?"

A casual enough question, at least he hoped so.  He'd practiced it long enough.


"Actually that was our first date, a blind date.  He's new in town.  He goes to Mom's church and she - "


His chair came crashing forward.  Mrs. Scully had set them up?  He had thought she liked him.  Why, why in all hell had he thought that?  His presence in her life had cost her one daughter and caused uncounted pain for the second one.  Of course she was hoping Scully would find someone better.  Oh god, he knew this, so why the hell did it hurt so much?


Scully had realized her error instantly, but she was unprepared for the look of abject pain on his face.  God, he looked destroyed.


"Your . . . your mother set you up."  He sounded strangled, even to himself.


"No, no Mulder.  It wasn't like that.  He's new in town, and a doctor, she thought I could introduce him to a few people."

He couldn't even nod.  This had blindsided him, though it shouldn't have.  Why did Mrs. Scully's esteem mean anything to him?  His own mother hadn't wanted . . . He was on his feet now, looking like a wounded animal trying to find a place to hide.

"Mulder, please - "  The phone interrupted her, her cell phone.  He didn't look like he'd even heard it.  She jerked it from her pocket.  "Scully."  Short, clipped, she was busy.


"Uh, Dana, hi.  It's Steve."


She looked up and realized Mulder had heard.  She pressed the receiver tighter to her ear.  "Hi."


"Look, I know you're busy.  I just wanted to tell you what a nice time I had last night."  He paused, but she was watching Mulder.  He had grabbed his suit coat from the back of the chair and shoved his arms in it.


"Steve, could I call you back?"


"That's okay.  I'm heading to surgery.  I'll give you a call later."


"Okay, thanks."  She spoke absent mindedly, seeing Mulder's back disappear out the door.  The phone was back in her pocket and she rushed after him.  She heard the door to the stairwell clang shut and closed her eyes.  Damn it!




He hadn't returned to the office all day. She had covered for him by phone to Skinner, but the truth was she was worried to death about him.  His expression, he had looked bereft.  She hadn't seen him like that since Tina died.  He'd turned off his phone, and her hopefully discreet tour of the building had turned up nothing.  She hadn't realized how rattled she was until it finally occurred to her to check the garage.  His car was gone.  She had returned to the office and forced herself to complete some paperwork, but she hadn't dared submit it.  In her state there was no telling what mistakes she could have made.


It was on the drive home that she realized she was struggling against tears.  That was stupid.  She'd done nothing wrong.  Except hurt Mulder.  A tear did escape then.  That was the last thing she wanted to do.  She had to find him.


Scully parked and hurried into her apartment.  She'd change and go looking.  Even if he didn't answer his phone, he could still be at his place.  She dumped her briefcase beside the couch on the way to the bedroom.  Something made her turn and look into the kitchen.  There, in the middle of her otherwise empty table, was a key.  The key she'd given Mulder.


Her knees gave way and she sank into the nearest chair.  It hadn't even crossed her mind to wonder how he got into her apartment last night.  The key; she had finally broken down and given him this last vestige of her privacy and he had used it like she wanted him to, only to find her getting ready for her first date in how many years?  It wasn't even supposed to be a date, damn it!  And now he felt betrayed, by her and her mother.  That had been the killing blow; she had seen it on his face. 


Well, this got rid of that last frisson of doubt that he felt the same way she did.


The big macho man.  She had seen him flirt with so many waitresses and hotel clerks.  When it didn’t matter, he was Mr. Cool, King of the Innuendo.  But when it was important, real, he was a mass of insecurity.  How could he possibly not understand what she meant by that key.  She had to talk to him.


Scully hurried to her bedroom and stripped off the suit, changing into jeans and a t-shirt.  No black, he liked colors.  She checked herself in the mirror.  There was fear in her eyes as well.  This had to be made right.


On the way to the door, she snatched up his key, gripping it tightly.  She felt the grooves cut into her flesh.  Not atonement, but a beginning.  She would find him.




She opened the door to his place with her key.  It was dark inside, lit only by the muted television.  Mulder didn’t look up, didn’t acknowledge her.  She walked in and stood looking down at him, slouched on the couch.


“You dropped something.”  She held out the key but he didn’t take it, just looked at it there in her hand.  When he never took it, she finally lay it on the coffee table between them.


“Mulder - “


“You should take it back.  You might need it for him.”


“Damn it, Mulder.  I thought things were going well for us.  We were . . . It wasn’t a date.  I was doing a favor - “ They had been getting closer, she hadn't imagined that.  It’s why she had decided to give him the damn key.


“For your mother.  I know.  Looks like she found the perfect guy for you.”


“Perfect . . . I guess I should leave.”  She glanced at the door.  He did look up then.  Instead of moving toward the door, Scully plopped down on the far end of the couch.  He kept his mouth shut.


She sighed.  He swallowed, but didn’t speak.  “Why are you doing this?”  She finally looked over at him.


“Your mother’s right.  You two have a lot in common.”


“Like what?”


“He’s a doctor.”  It looked like he was speaking to the television.


“So are you.”  She retorted.


“He’s a medical doctor.”  Mulder sounded annoyed.


“Big deal.  I’ve dated doctors before.”


“Whe - “ He managed to stop himself before he actually asked.  “He’s your type.”


“My type?  What you do think is my type?”  She glanced over at him finally, but he was staring at the TV again.


He didn’t speak.  After a long moment, she started to rise from the couch.


“Smart, attractive . . . stable.”


“Tall, handsome, good career?”  She responded, voice slightly bitter now.


“Yeah.”  She shook her head and stood.  He jerked upright then, “So what is your type?”


“Mulder, I’m sorry I didn’t tell you.  I didn’t think it was important, obviously I was wrong.  And just for the record, Mom is not looking for men for me.  If you knew how much grief she’s given . . . Nevermind.”


She moved toward the door then and Mulder was on his feet.  “You didn’t answer.”


“My type?”  She shrugged, “I guess . . . I guess someone who would go to the ends of the earth to find me.”  She didn’t look at him, just reached for the knob.


His hand covered hers before she could turn it.  “The ends of the earth?”


“You know, like say, Antarctica.”  She stared at their hands.


His turned his hand to grasp hers.  “I did that,”  he said softly.


“I remember.”


He stepped even closer, completely in her space now.  She didn’t retreat, just looked up into his face.


“Why does your mother give you grief?”


That startled her, though she knew instantly it shouldn’t have.  He didn’t miss much.  “She says I . . . I’m not admitting what I know.”


“I’ve said that for years.”


Her lips twitched at that.  “I mean in my personal life.”


“I thought I didn’t leave you time for a personal life.”  Had he moved closer?  It felt like it, but she hadn’t seen him move.


“Or maybe you make up my personal life?”


His eyes widened at that.


He was so close, why didn’t he move that additional couple of inches and kiss her, damn it?


As though reading her mind his eyes flicked down to her lips.  “Did you kiss him good night?”


“I’m not that kind of girl, Mulder.  I like to wait five or six years, until I know someone fairly well.”


His lips parted in surprise, but still he held himself just millimeters from her.  Oh what the hell.  She rose to tiptoe and chastely kissed his lips.


It took less than a heartbeat for his arms to encompass her.  She was clutching his shoulders to stay on her feet as he took possession of her lips, of her.  She didn’t remember moving to the couch, but when she surfaced for air, she was reclined on it, his body holding her there.


“Being territorial, Mulder?”  she asked breathlessly.


“I’m your type.”  It wasn’t a question, but she heard the note of wonder.


She nodded and he lowered his head to her throat; his hands alternately clutching and exploring her back and arms.


“Mulder, wait.”


He froze and she knew he would have retreated from her if she weren’t holding him.


“I need to . . . “ she slipped the t-shirt over her head and watched the utter disbelief turn to a look of pure joy at her action.  “Since you’re so anxious to make Mom happy.”  She smiled at him.


“Your mother . . . she - “


Her lips took his again, effectively shutting him up.  His hands, with this new territory to explore, lost no time caressing her flesh.  He was able to remove her bra with a minimum of fumbling considering that his hands were shaking slightly.


He stopped then, just gazing at her, trying to take it all in.




“Why?  Why now?”


“I, I realized you didn’t understand what giving you the key meant.  I know I’ve had yours for awhile.”

”The fish - “


“Right, the fish.  But I didn’t have that excuse.  Mulder, you are the man in my life.  You have been for a long time.  I guess I am a little worried what this will do to our friendship.  I didn’t plan to come over here and jump you.”


"I’m not complaining."


She chuckled then, “Yeah, I got that.  What I didn’t realize was that you didn’t know.  Mulder, we eat almost all our meals together, we talk on the phone every night, even those nights that we start out here or at my place.  There’s still that good night call after I’m in bed.  That’s not partner stuff.”


“You weren’t just tolerating me?”


She rolled her eyes.  “Sure, but I’ve tolerated you for years.  I like spending time with you, with or without a case.  And here I am, lying under you, half naked.  I like it.  I’d like it more if you were naked too.”


He gaped at her for an instant, then in a blur his t-shirt was on the floor, covering hers.  She liked the look of that.  Her hands rose of their own accord to caress his chest.  She let the flat of her palms rub his nipples and watched them bud in response.


“Definitely my type,”  she whispered.


His hands were steady now as he unbuttoned her waistband, then unzipped her jeans and slid them down her legs.  Her panties followed and he paused, just gazing at her body for long moment.


“Mu-Mulder?”  Her face heated up, the blush taking over her chest as well.  She couldn’t remember anyone looking at her like that ever before.




She nodded and he lowered his head to kiss her abdomen.  The word that came to her mind was reverence.  He kissed, nipped and licked down to the V of her legs and she roused enough from the sensations to realize his intentions.  “Mulder, you don’t have to - “


“Shh.”  He looked up at her and the expression on his face took her breath away.  Then his tongue began exploring her folds and she sank into the sensations.  His hands cupped her buttocks and brought her up to him as he loved her.   She gasped as a finger, then two joined his tongue.  He meant business here, her single-minded, obsessed partner was focused on her pleasure now and she had no complaints.  She whimpered as he moved away, bringing her so close, but not quite there.  He wanted them together this first time.


The sound brought his eyes back to hers and he silently reassured her.  He rose to his feet and quickly stripped off his jeans and boxers.  Her expression as she took in his nude, aroused body, brought a smile to his face.  So he’d finally impressed Scully.


“The bed -  “


“No Mulder, here.  I’ve always imagined us here.”


He stopped, stunned at what those words meant to him.  Scully had fantasies about him, about them.  She reached for him, bringing him back to the present.  He took her hand and rejoined her on the couch, knowing that she wanted his weight atop her.




He nodded and her hand caressed, then gripped his cock.  For a couple of heartbeats he feared disgrace, but he forced control.  Her hand tightened and released in a perfect rhythm as she stroked him, but the desire to be inside her, encompassed by her was becoming urgent.


As always she understood and guided him to her, as ready as he to come together.  He entered her slowly, giving her time.  Too much time, he realized, when her hands took hold of his ass and pulled him closer.  She smirked - smirked, Scully - at his growl.


But she was right.  He moved faster and she was with him.  Her tight hotness urged him on.  Her hands gripped his back and she met him thrust for thrust.  She felt so good, so . . . right.


As much as he wanted this to last forever, it wasn’t going to happen.  It had been a long time for him.  He’d lived on fantasies forever it seemed and now they were coming true. 


He was as good as she’d dreamed he’d be.  Her hands traced the muscles in his back, then moved down to cup his balls.  He hissed and met her eyes.  He saw the twinkle in them and felt his control slip.


“Come with me, Scully.”  He murmured as he brought his fingers into play as well.  Her eyes widened at the added stimulation and her breath became even more shallow.   


He felt the tightening of her muscles around him and groaned, giving up even the illusion of control and they clutched each other as their bodies climaxed.  He cried out her name, finally believing this was true.


He had no idea how much time had passed before he could move again.  She wasn’t complaining.


Her whimper and the fact that her hips followed him when he left her body caused joy to suffuse him again.  He leaned down and kissed the tip of her nose, then pulled her close as he flipped them, letting her sprawl atop him.  She was already drifting off, making herself comfortable with her ear pressed to his heart.  He pulled the afghan down from the back of the couch to cover their cooling bodies.  He glanced over and saw the key where she had laid it on the coffee table and, being careful not to disturb her, took hold of it. 


He wrapped his hand around it, understanding now, and let his eyes drift closed.






Author’s note -


The key thing always bothered me.  We know she had one for his apartment as early as Little Green Men, but he had to get the landlord to let him in her place in En Ami.  So, I wrote this . . .

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Mulder, Scully, the Lone Gunman and Skinner all belong to Chris Carter, 10-13 and Fox. No infringement intended.