Partners (R)


"Do you have any plans tonight, Mulder?"

"Um, what did you have in mind?" He leered up at her.

She ignored his innuendo. "Bill’s in town for a few days and Mom’s cooking. We’d love to have you join us."

"Thanks, I appreciate the invitation, but I don’t think so." Spending an evening with her brother…even her presence wouldn’t be enough to make that palatable. So what if Bill had reason to dislike him, he didn’t have to make himself an easy target.

"Oh come on, Mulder, you don’t have any plans. I bet there’s nothing to eat in your apartment." She became mildly insistent.

"I was going to order a pizza. ‘Attack of the Killer Tomatoes’ comes on tonight."

"It’s Bill, isn’t it." She sighed.

"Come on, Scully. You know he doesn’t want me there."

"You two are going to have to resolve this. You’re both permanent fixtures in my life, so you have to get along."

Mulder’s eyes smiled though he kept his face still. "Permanent fixture," that had a great sound.

"Go on, have a good time. Tell your Mom I’ll see her soon." Too bad, he really enjoyed seeing Mrs. Scully.

Scully shook her head and began gathering up her things. "Make sure there’s at least one vegetable topping on that pizza."

He grinned and watched her leave.

******

Margaret Scully so enjoyed having her children around. It was much too quiet now that they were grown and gone. She listened to Dana and Bill pretend to squabble as Bill’s friend Steve egged them on.

"Mom! Dana’s misbehaving in front of company." Bill called into the kitchen.

"I’m going to send you both to your rooms. Come get these dishes."

Dinner continued on a high note, everyone thoroughly enjoying themselves. It was after 1 a.m. before Scully headed for bed, after her mother convinced her to stay over.

In the kitchen the next morning Bill cornered her at the coffeepot. "Steve likes you, Dana."

"I’m glad. I had a good time last night."

"So you wouldn’t be adverse to seeing him again?" Bill leaned toward her a little.

"Of course not. In fact I was thinking of having you two over tonight, since Mom has plans."

"I meant just the two of you."

"Bill. . . " She was giving him that look.

"He’s a really great guy, Dana."

"I like him, Bill. Okay?" Did big brothers ever quit acting like big brothers?

Bill smiled and turned away. Yes! Someone besides that ‘Spooky’ Mulder. He just better not push it.

*****

Scully left after helping clean up from breakfast with the guys' promise to come over at seven.

She stopped by the store on the way home to get supplies for the evening and got home around lunchtime. After dispatching her domestic duties for the weekend she began dinner, then jumped in the shower to get ready.

That was when Mulder called for the fourth time. He hadn’t left any messages. He didn’t really have a good reason to call, but it wasn’t like her to be out all night. And now he was still getting her machine. He’d give her another hour or so, then he was going over there to check.

*****

Bill and Steve arrived a few minutes early bearing wine, so Scully put them to work setting the table while they shared the wine.

Scully was removing the lasagna from the oven and Bill was painting extra butter on the garlic bread when the phone rang.

"Can you get that Steve?" Scully asked, the hot casserole dish in her hand.

"Sure." He headed for the living room.

"Scully residence."

"Uh, yeah. Is, uh, is Dana Scully there?" Who the hell was that?

"Sure, just a minute." He took the mobile phone into the kitchen. "For you."

"Thanks." She took the phone and tucked her hair behind her ear. "Hello?"

"Scully? Sorry, I didn’t realize you had company." His voice was carefully neutral.

"Hi, Mulder. Bill and his friend, Steve came over. I made lasagna and there’s plenty. Why don’t you come on over."

"No, four’s a crowd." No way, Bill and a friend, that would be as much fun as a stick in the eye.

"Mulder..." That warning tone was back, she was about to insist.

"I’ll let you get back to your guests."

"Wait, what did you call about?"

"Not important. I’ll see you Monday."

"You’re sure you won’t come over?"

"Yeah, oughta do some laundry anyway. Bye." And he hung up before she could respond.

"Is he coming?"

"No, he didn’t want to intrude."

"Who?" Steve joined the conversation.

"Fox Mulder, Dana’s partner. A strange guy, lots of out of this world interests."

"Bill..." Her eyes warned him.

"Well it’s true, Dana."

"Change the subject, okay?"

"Sure, sure." He threw up his hands. "What do I do with this bread?"

*****

Mulder pulled the cold pizza from the fridge and slipped a video into the VCR. Damn, he was so pitiful it was funny. So Scully had a guy over, her brother was there too. Like he had the right to say anything anyway.

*****

Monday morning he was at this desk trying not to look like he was waiting for her when she came in.

"Morning, Mulder. You missed some great lasagna."

"Yeah, well I was busy. How much longer will Bill be here?"

"Oh, he had to leave yesterday afternoon." She put away her purse, her back to him.

"Too bad. I know your Mom likes to have him around."

"Yeah."

She offered no other information. Shit, was she purposely not telling him what he wanted to know?

"What about his friend?" He tried to sound casual.

Scully was pouring her coffee and not really paying attention, "Steve? He’ll be here for a couple of weeks."

"Oh good. Is he staying with your Mom?"

"No, when Bill left he moved over to the Marriott."

Did he really need to know that she knew which hotel he’d moved to? And if Bill left in the afternoon, where had this ‘Steve’ spent the evening?

"Mulder? You okay?"

"What? Yeah." Come on, Mulder. Don’t borrow trouble.

"Where’d you go?"

"Just thinking. Look, the guys have some new software they wanted us to see. Wanta go over there tonight?"

"I’m sorry, Mulder. I’m busy."

"Busy?" Busy? Not with…

"Yes, Steve doesn’t know anyone in town, so he asked me to the movies."

Did she really sound defensive or was he imagining it?

"You like this guy?" Why did he ask that? A little pride, Mulder, get hold of yourself.

"Yeah, he’s fun. We have a lot in common, being a couple of Navy brats. We’ve even lived on some of the same bases, just not at the same time."

"Neat." He tried to smile and could only hope he’d pulled it off.

*****

The week went downhill from there. As it progressed he could hear his "humor" becoming more and more caustic and her retreating from him, spending less and less time in his lousy company. Where was a good mutant when you needed one?

She probably shouldn’t go out again this week, but Mulder was in such a rotten mood, she enjoyed the contrast. Steve wasn’t in a foul mood or making cracks, and while there was no chemistry, it was a relief to get out of the office.

It was five minutes to five, so she saved the file she had been working on and gathered her things.

"Leaving early, Scully?"

"Yep, a full five minutes, Mulder. You want to dock me?"

He chose to ignore that, he’d much rather ‘deck’ Steve. "Plans?"

"Matter of fact, I’m going out to dinner, maybe dancing too."

"Well, have fun." Geez, that sounded sarcastic even to his ears.

"Thanks." And she was out the door. She was moving fast enough that she was out of earshot before the paperweight that Mulder threw hit the door.

He didn’t even bother to put anything away, just locked the door and left.

*****

Dinner was nice, but she couldn’t seem to get in the spirit of the evening. She hated fighting with Mulder. Especially when she didn’t know why they were fighting.

"Are you okay, Dana?"

"I’m sorry, Steve. I guess I’m not very good company. I had a hard day at work."

"Your partner?"

"I beg your pardon?" She asked, startled.

"Bill told me some stuff about this guy. Sounds like he’d be hard to be around after awhile. Especially with all the grief he’s caused your family."

"He hasn’t caused my family any grief. Bill has a problem with some of Mulder’s ideas, but he doesn’t know him."

"Well, you would know better. Listen, I don’t think you’re much in the mood for dancing. Why don’t I take you on home."

"I hate to cut your evening short."

"It’s okay, just give me a glass of wine and we can have an early evening. We can do the dancing some other time."

She smiled her agreement and they headed back to her apartment.

"I promise not to stay too late." He said, depositing his coat over the chair. She held out her hand for the wine bottle he was carrying and went into the kitchen for glasses.

*****

He poured himself a second glass, but she refused more. "Steve, I think I need to do a little more work, then go on to bed."

"Come on, no more work tonight. Why don’t you just enjoy and relax. Here, let me rub your shoulders." He moved closer to her.

"Steve, thanks, but no."

"Come on, Dana. We’ve been going out over a week now, loosen up."

"I’m as loose as I want to be, Steve." She rose from the couch. She could feel the tension level in the room rise. "I think you’d better leave now."

"Come on, Dana." He reached over and began fiddling with the top button of her blouse.

She knocked his hand away, and stepped toward the door.

"Now wait a minute." His voice hardened. He put his hand on her shoulder. His grip tightened as she tried to step away, and the fabric parted at the seam. The shock of the action stopped her, but seemed to galvanize him. He took both shoulders in his hands and pressed his lips against hers, forcing his tongue into her mouth. That stirred her to action and she shoved him away. She saw the anger flare into his eyes, and suddenly afraid, she made a break for her bedroom where her gun was kept. He cut her off.

"Relax, Dana. I’m not going to hurt you."

"I want you to leave." Her voice was tight.

"Not until we get this straightened out. Come on, Dana." He put his hand out.

"Stay back. I mean it, Steve."

"We’re both adults, Dana. We’ve been going out for awhile. We knew what this was leading toward." She just stared at him, stunned into silence. It cost her her advantage and he had hold of her arms again.

The struggle that ensued would forever be surreal to her, watching a chair fall over, items falling from her coffee table, all almost in slow motion. She would never remember how she was able to grab the phone and press 1.

*****

"Mulder! Hel..."

"Scully?" The phone had gone dead. Shit! He was already shoving on his shoes. He grabbed his jacket, fumbling for his keys. He was out of his apartment in under 30 seconds.

The drive across town was a blur. He could only hope he hadn’t injured anyone, not that it would have slowed him down.

He didn’t slow down approaching her door either, kicking it in once again. He spotted them struggling on the floor and on his second step into the apartment had the satisfaction of feeling his foot connect solidly with Steve’s ribs, lifting him off her and causing him to roll halfway across the room.

Then he was on him, savagely pounding him, he wanted to turn that face into hamburger.

"Mulder! Stop, you’ll kill him!"

He only grunted a response as he continued his assault.

"Mulder!" He could feel her pulling on his arm. "They’ll put you in prison. They’ll take you away from me!"

That penetrated. He managed to stop his fist on a downward trajectory and with disgust shoved himself up and away from the useless excuse for a human.

"Scully?" He took his first good look at her. He saw the beginnings of a black eye, and her lip was bleeding. His eye continued down, her blouse was torn. He’d better stop, or nothing would keep him from killing the bastard.

"Police! Put your hands in the air." Neither of them had heard anyone else approach.

Mulder and Scully both froze and he slowly raised his hands.

"My ID’s in my pocket, officer. I’m FBI."

"FBI? We got a call of domestic disturbance."

"Yes sir. This man was attempting to rape her. I was trying to stop him."

"Trying...I’d say you succeeded. Why FBI?"

"She’s my...my partner."

Scully glanced at him, startled. He’d never said it like that before. Her eyes sparkled with tears. She would not cry, damn it. Not now.

The police were pulling Steve to his feet.

"Charge him with assault, battery and attempted rape. Ms. Scully will be down in the morning to give her statement."

"She really should come on down now."

"No, you can hold him 24 hours. She’s been through enough tonight. I’ll bring her in myself in the morning. Just get him out of here."

As soon as the door closed behind them, Scully groped for the chair to remain on her feet.

Mulder scooped her up in his arms and headed for her bedroom.

"Mulder, I’m fine." She said with a token struggle to get down.

"Scully...bullshit." Their eyes locked, he hadn’t allowed himself to look at her like this before. She was in his arms, completely in his arms and trusting him, even after what she’d been through. He never wanted to let go of her. He wanted to keep her safe there forever.

He laid her gently on her bed and got a warm cloth to wash her face. He tenderly washed the dried blood from her chin. Bruises were beginning to appear on her throat. He touched the torn fabric, where Steve had separated her sleeve from the blouse and felt the rage begin to rise in him again. He closed his eyes.

Her hand closed over his. "I’m okay, Mulder."

"Did he...Scully, did I get here in time?" He was…he didn’t know how he felt, waiting for her answer, praying it would be the right one.

"Yes, yes Mulder. My own personal calvary." She tried to smile, but realized too late tears were finally spilling down her face.

"Oh Scully..." He took her in his arms and she began to sob into his chest.

"I should have been able to...I’m trained to..." She gulped between sobs.

"Shhh. It’s okay now. You did what you were supposed to do. You called for backup and you held him off until help could get here. Scully, you did good. Try to relax."

"But I wasn’t sure you’d come. You were so angry with me."

He looked down at her in astonishment. "Mad at you? What...?"

"All week, you’ve..." She couldn’t finish, her voice wouldn’t work anymore.

"Oh god, Scully, I wasn’t mad at you. I was just jealous of Steve."

"Jealous? Oh Mulder. . ." She melted into him, it felt so safe.

He continued to hold her, rubbing her back, murmuring nonsense in her ear.

Her sobs turned into hiccups and finally gentle breathing and he realized she’d cried herself to sleep in his arms. He’d hang around tonight, sleep on the couch. That door wasn’t really secure.

He started to pull away slowly so as not to awaken her, but she snuggled in closer and put an arm around him to hold him close.

Well, he could lay here with her. It’s not like he was going to sleep in either location. If she needed him to feel secure, fine, he’d just hold her all night.

It was getting light when he woke to find this precious woman in his arms. He’d slept? He never. . . god, he felt rested. And no dreams. When was the last time that had happened?

She stirred in her sleep and pulled him closer. "Mulder. . ." she murmured, almost too low for him to hear. Then her hand traveled down to rub his morning hard on through the denim of his jeans.

He gasped, afraid to move. "Scu. . . Scully? Are you awake?"

"Um? Mulder, I. . . Mulder?" She realized he was really there and snatched her hand away as she tried to roll away from him. He felt totally bereft with the warmth of her hand gone. He tightened his hold on her.

"Were. . ." he had to clear his throat. "Were you dreaming?"

She didn’t respond, and refused to meet his eyes.

"Was that the first time you’ve had this dream?" He was becoming insistent.

"Mulder. . . please. . . " She couldn’t believe what she’d done.

"I have a question, Scully." His voice was low, practically unheard in her ear.

Oh god, he was going to ask if she had led Steve on. She hadn’t, at least not intentionally. She’d never wanted Steve, he was just someone to have a few laughs with. She only wanted. . .

"Scully? When did we start sharing dreams?"

What? What had he said? Sharing... She risked a quick look at his face. His look caused a blush she felt down to her toes. He pulled her even tighter against him. Removing her hand had done nothing to diminish his ardor.

He took a deep breath. That scent, oh god was that the scent of Scully aroused? He looked at her, his eyes asking the question as his fingers found the top button of her blouse. She made no move to stop him, even assisting him as he removed the torn fabric. He closed his eyes in pain for a second, then opened them and gently began kissing the bruises he saw on her arms, throat and breasts. Damn, that scum had really hurt her, and he’d let him live.

"Mulder, it’s okay. You got here in time." Her hand was under his T-shirt, caressing the muscles in his back.

If he was going to stop this, now was the time. Come on, Mulder, there were reasons, damn good ones, why this couldn’t continue. So why the hell couldn’t he think of any of them?

Her hand had wandered back to his fly and she was fumbling with the first button.

He raised up on one elbow, to assist her or just to look at her? He couldn’t remember. Then his mouth closed over hers, his tongue probing tenderly, always mindful of the cut she’d suffered.

"Mulder?" She breathed into his mouth. "What are we waiting for?"

"We’re partners, Scully. . . we. . . "

"Partners." She said it like he had meant it last night. They were partners, and they also happened to work together. They’d figure out a way. . .