She hadn’t seen him. He had plenty of time to escape, but the sight of her held him riveted. On some level that surprised him. He couldn’t remember any other woman, any other person, who had affected him this way. He didn’t need other people, he hadn’t for years. So why, after a few short months, had this woman become so entrenched in his psyche?
But she should be off limits now. It was better that way. After the X-Files had been shut down, he’d made a point of not contacting her. She could make something of herself now. So why had he thought of little else since they got back from Arecibo? Why was he standing here? They hadn’t been forgotten, just ignored for the time being, right?
The vision of her on the stairs, after Tom Colton had offered to help her ‘escape’ him, came to him. “You have to have more than that, and I need to see what that is . . . “ She had smiled at him, after saying she wanted to stick around. Unbelievable.
Losing her had been the right thing, for her anyway. He’d just been unprepared for the depth of despair her loss had brought him.
He was startled to find her standing in front of him, looking up and smiling. Did she cause time to go missing as well? His heart clutched at the sight.
“Mulder? Were you looking for me?”
“Scully, I uh - “
“Dana? You ready to go?” The presence of the man at her elbow stopped him.
She looked up at the other man. “Jerry, you know Fox Mulder. Mulder, Jerry White.”
Jerry nodded to Mulder. “How’s it going, Spooky?”
Mulder met his eyes, and the shorter man’s face darkened. Scully looked away for an instant.
Mulder took a step back and her head came up. Her hand came to rest on his sleeve. “Mulder, you were looking for me?”
“I, uh,” he wouldn’t meet her eyes. He had no reason. He hadn’t planned to let her see him, but thoughts, memories of her, had blindsided him. “I wondered if you had some notes from a case we’d investigated. I have a case that might be related.”
The gleam in her eyes surprised him. They had both forgotten Jerry, who stepped up and took Dana’s arm. “We’re going to lose our reservations, Dana.” He looked over at Mulder. “You don’t need those notes tonight, do you?”
Mulder glanced down at Scully. Her expression confused him; did she want him to pursue this? He didn’t have a case; he’d just needed to say something.
“I . . . I could use - “
“I understand, Mulder. Jerry, I’m sorry.”
Jerry was watching her now, incredulously. “Dana, we have plans.”
“I know and I’m sorry, but you know the Bureau. Why don’t you call me tomorrow, we can reschedule.”
Jerry’s eyes narrowed, but he had no real argument to use. And he hadn’t quite realized how tall Mulder was. “Okay, tomorrow.” He gave her a quick kiss on the cheek, establishing his territory. Scully accepted it with no comment, and after a moment, Jerry turned and left, his spine stiff.
Mulder watched him leave, but Scully didn’t seem to notice. “Mulder?”
“Oh, uh, Scully listen, I didn’t mean to mess up your plans.”
She looked down, but he thought he saw her lips twitch. “Don’t worry about it.” She started toward the parking garage and he followed as though a well trained pet. “If you want my notes on the X-Files, I decided to keep them at home rather than here. So many things seemed to get ‘lost’.”
Her lips were still now, but her eyes were twinkling. “You’ll have to give me a ride, my car’s in the shop.”
He nodded, bemused, and led her to his car. They drove in near silence to her place and he parked, but made no move to exit the car.
“Scully, I . . . “
“You don’t have a case, right?” His eyes widened as he looked at her. “What? You think I didn’t learn anything about you while we worked together? Besides, you actually did me a favor.”
“Yes. Look, since I no longer have a dinner date, I have to cook something. Why don’t you come in and join me?”
“I’m not sure that would be a good idea.” Mulder glanced at the building.
“Don’t worry. I’ve been very careful. No one has followed me, my phones are clean and the Gunmen come over periodically and make sure the apartment’s clear of all bugs.”
“The Gunmen come over here?” He looked stunned at that.
“I knew you’d want it, so . . . “ she shrugged. “I think it’s just a scam on Frohike’s part to get over here occasionally.”
Mulder’s eyes narrowed. “He hasn’t bothered you?”
She chuckled. “No, he’s actually been quite sweet.”
Sweet? Not an adjective he’d thought anyone would ever use for Frohike. She was opening her door, so he got out himself and rounded the car. His hand seemed to find that spot on her back on its own.
“Your car’s in the shop?” he asked for something to say.
“Yes, the body shop. The whole driver’s side was smashed in.”
He stumbled and his arm went around her waist, the hand lightly on her back no longer sufficient. “You were in a wreck?” How could he not have heard about that?
“No. My car was parked. Right over there as a matter of fact. A drunk driver took out four cars that night. They got him when his car finally came to rest in the bush that used to be over there.” She pointed to the far corner of the complex. “Mulder? Are you . . . “ He’d gone pale.
“I’m fine; I just hadn’t heard. I’m glad that’s all it was.”
Her brow furrowed as she looked at him, but he wouldn’t meet her eyes, so they continued on inside. She smiled up at him again once they were inside. “Don’t worry; the guys were over here on Thursday. They didn’t find anything, they’ve never found anything. Take off your jacket and get comfortable. I’m going to change, then start dinner.”
“You really don’t have to feed me - “
“I’d like the company,” she said simply.
He made every attempt not to gape at those words, and fortunately she turned away toward her bedroom. He slipped off his suit coat and laid it over the back of the chair, then loosened his tie slightly, unbuttoning the top button of his shirt. ‘Get comfortable’? Not likely.
He shouldn’t be here. Now he’d have to go through withdrawal again. Damn it, she had just been his partner. Okay, a damn good partner and yes, she’d listened to him and . . . and seemed to respect him. A lot of people used his information, his mind, but respect . . .
He wandered around the living room, unable to just sit and wait. He picked up a picture from her bookcase. It was her whole family. He hadn’t met any of them, and since they were no longer partners, he didn’t expect to. The loss of her father had been so difficult and the case they’d been on had added to her pain at the time. She hadn’t talked to him about it until it was over, but she had opened up, at least a little, then. He treasured that memory. Not many people opened up to old Spooky, even less women. She’d trusted him, damn . . .
He turned when he heard her return, and his eyes wanted to devour her. She’d changed into leggings and a dark green oversize sweater. The deep V of the neckline held his attention before he could force it away. The creamy swell of her breasts and the cleavage she displayed quickly made this his all time favorite of her outfits. Of course, that didn’t count her underwear in Oregon.
She’d taken off her shoes and was barefoot, watching him as he returned the picture to the shelf.
“No comment about barefoot in the kitchen, or you’ll limp out of here,” she warned with eyebrow high.
“Yes ma’am.” Okay, he’d have to suffer withdrawal again, but the memories of this evening would be worth it. He followed her into the kitchen and watched as she opened a bottle of wine and splashed some in the marinade.
“Well, it’s open now, no need to waste it, right?” She poured glasses for them both. Then after taking a sip, placed the chicken in the marinade and refrigerated it as she pulled the ingredients for a tossed salad from the refrigerator.
“Mulder, do you recognize these? They’re called fresh vegetables.”
He glared at her then, trying to keep his lips from twitching. “Yes, I recognize them.”
“Well,” her eyes moved down his body and back to his face. “They’re for eating. Something you obviously haven’t done enough of recently.”
“I eat,” he protested.
Her eyebrow was up again. “How much weight have you lost?”
“I don’t enjoy eating while I listen to those tapes.” She just looked at him. “A couple of pounds. I’ve been busy.”
“Twenty pounds at least, Mulder.”
“Fifteen,” he countered.
“And when did you last get a good night’s sleep?”
“I don’t need that much - “
“No, but you need some. How’s this new partner working out?”
“Krycek? He’s green, but seems eager to please. Sometimes I feel like I’m old enough to be his father.”
“Does he . . . believe?” she asked quietly.
“Oh yeah, much more open minded than some people I’ve had to put up with.” She gave him a little grin and he felt his heart rate quicken. To cover he took a drink of his wine. She was watching him.
He looked up and her smile faded. “Scully, what am I doing here?”
She sighed. “I’m using you.”
He just looked confused.
“You got me out of a bad date.”
She shook her head. “Since Arecibo I . . . I don’t know.”
“You saved my life.”
“Does that mean I own a piece of you now?”
“Doesn’t seem like much of a deal for you.”
“I like it. Mulder, could we just have a nice evening together, as friends?”
“Are we friends?”
“I hope we’re a lot more than that.”
He blinked at that and a smile grew on his face. “Yeah.”
They visited then, kidding around as she made dinner, with his help. He wasn’t sure what had put her in this mood, but it was kind of fun. She was ready to start cooking the chicken, and reached up for a dish in her upper cabinet. She didn’t even come close. Mulder grinned at the disparity in height.
He moved over, close to her and trapped her in the corner of the counter with his body. He reached up, pressing slightly against her, and pulled the dish she wanted from the shelf. He placed it on the counter, but found that he hadn’t moved back away from her, an arm on either side of her.
She turned to face him. “My hero.” Her arms went around his neck and she leaned up and kissed his lips. His eyes slid closed; she tasted of wine and warmth and Scully. His arms closed around her, molding her to his body, without thought of any consequences.
His lips seared her, tasting of her nose, her eyelids and moved down to her throat. Her breathing was heavy, as she watched him loving her. She certainly hadn’t had enough wine to use it as an excuse, but oh god it felt so good to be in his arms.
His lips trailed up her neck to her ear. “We can’t do this,” he breathed.
“We’re already doing it, Mulder.” She pressed against him and felt his hardness pushing into her abdomen.
Damn, he wasn’t sporting wood, it was steel. He moaned as her hand caressed him through his slacks. Dear god, how long since a woman had touched him there, but this woman . . .
“Bedroom, Mulder,” she whispered in his ear.
He lifted her to his lips and her legs closed around his waist. Bedroom. He’d never seen her bedroom. He held her close and moved them in that direction. When he lowered her onto the bed, he stood for a moment, just looking at her.
Mistake, this was a huge mistake. He should get out of here. She reached up and unbuckled his belt. He needed to stop this. “Scully, what, what’s going on?”
“I’ve thought about this since Arecibo, Mulder. We are together, whether ‘they’ want it or not.”
“But - “
Arecibo. He had left such a tiny clue, just an off-hand remark but she had used it to track him down and save him.
Her hands were on the hem of her sweater, but he stopped her. Taking the sweater in his hands, he slowly, reverently removed it over her head. He stared at the white lace demi-bra she was wearing. This wasn’t work day attire. She’d put this on for him after they’d gotten here. That knowledge came to him with no doubts. She wanted this, she wanted him.
When she made no move to stop him, he peeled her leggings off, leaving only the tiny scrap of white silk at her core. “God, Scully.” It was only a breath. He leaned over her and her fingers made quick work of the buttons of his shirt.
When the shirt hung open, her hands came up to touch the muscles of his chest, lightly brushing his nipples. They hardened even before he could hiss. Her arm brought his face down to her again and their lips met, tongues dueling as they explored each other.
He had to know more of her, all of her. His lips moved down her throat and to her breasts. His fingers found the clasp of her bra and it was on the floor with the rest of her clothing. His eyes took in the rosy areolas and his lips circled one nipple then the other, suckling gently.
She wasn’t sure she remembered how to breathe, but it didn’t matter, nothing mattered but what his lips were doing to her. All those months of watching him in that little office, on stakeouts, when he’d looked at her, willing her to listen to his theories, playing with those damn sunflower seeds, she had never realized what those lips could do. He moved on down to her abdomen, millennia later, dipping into her navel and then farther south. She realized he had to know how wet she was. Damn, if he looked at her with those half opened eyes again she was going to come. He wouldn’t even have to touch her.
He pulled the damp silk down and let it fall to the floor. He nuzzled her, taking in a deep breath of her arousal. Scully scent. He’d never recover from this. His tongue darted out and her body arched, demanding more.
“Muld . . . “ It was a caress of his name. Her hands entangled themselves in his dark hair, but not deterring him from his goal. She felt his five o’clock shadow brush against her thighs. His tongue was exploring her and her hips bucked toward him. Then she was spiraling out of control. Her fingers were pressing into his shoulders, holding on for dear life as he moved back up to her lips. He held her gently as she went limp in his arms. “Oh my god.” He barely heard the words, the look in her eyes striking him deaf and dumb. She . . . she loved him?
“Just relax, Scully. I have you.”
She shuddered and her hands explored the movement of the muscles of his back. “Mulder, inside me. Please.”
Had she really said those words?
“Mulder, I need . . . I need you.”
He still hesitated, but her hand pushed the shirt from his shoulders. He rose from beside her and, never taking his eyes from her, lowered his slacks and then his boxers to the floor. Finally he stood nude in front of her. He hadn’t imagined her gasp, but it sounded more like appreciation than fear. “Scully?”
His eyes locked on hers, he entered her slowly, giving her time to adjust to him. When he was sheathed within her, he was still for a moment. She was so damn hot and tight. He moved to withdraw and her legs came back around him, holding him close. He smiled then and her eyes widened at the joy on his face. She’d never seen such an expression on him.
He thrust into her again and again. He’d never had this, not in his whole life. He wanted to love her, physically and every other way, every day for the rest of time. Her hand stroked his balls and he knew he was losing control. He wanted her with him, to feel her come around him. His hand came to her core and pressed gently against that spot he had discovered. That was all it took, she was coming again even harder this time. She clung to him, the only stability on the planet, the only thing that mattered.
Then he lost control himself, his hot seed filling her, branding her, making her his forever.
She’d never come twice, ever, but this was Mulder. He hadn’t just made love to her, he’d . . . he’d worshipped her. Maybe this was why she had refused to allow herself to give in to this when they were together. She knew he loved her. She’d seen it in hundreds of ways once she’d become familiar with the man. She’d seen his insecurities for what they were. She’d even recognized some of her own tactics in keeping distance from other people.
He started to leave her body, but her arms wrapped around him, pulling his weight down on her. “Scully, I’ll crush you.”
He let his body cover her then, his lips against her ear. “I have you, Scully, just relax.” She did. They had been forgotten, now she knew that, the X-Files closed down. Maybe, just maybe he would understand her reaction today. It was a sure thing she couldn’t have been more obvious.
After a few minutes, he did leave her body, pulling her close to him. She felt so right against him.
Her even breathing told him that she had drifted off with her head on his chest. He watched her sleeping peacefully against him. What had he done? How the hell was he going to live without her now? Maybe they couldn’t work together, the powers that be had seen to that, but he’d wanted her to be removed from him, from his reputation. Now he had her even closer to him.
He couldn’t blame this on the wine; half a glass wouldn’t affect him at all. No, he couldn’t delude himself that he hadn’t wanted this. Well hell yes, he’d wanted it! But how had he let his guard down enough to actually . . . God, he was in love with her. And if he loved her, how could he do this to her? She deserved more than what he could give her.
He closed his eyes to block her from his sight, but it didn’t work. She was even more firmly engrained in his mind than before. He’d seen her as he loved her, as she’d loved him. He had to get out of here. He gently placed her head on the pillow and started to leave the bed.
“Mmm, Mulder.” Her hand reached for him and he returned to her side. She cuddled in. “Stay.”
His heart sank, how could he refuse her when it was what he wanted more than life itself? One night. He might not deserve it, but he was going to take one night. She wanted him to stay. In the morning, in the light of day when she realized what she’d done, he would leave.
He didn’t want to sleep, with only one night’s memory to enjoy; he wanted to watch her breathe.
That’s what he did until the third time they came together. Then, even with his stamina he had to get some sleep. He slept with the knowledge that he had pleased her beyond his imagination. Three times, at his age; must be an X-File.
She didn’t seem the least uncomfortable around him the next morning as they sipped their coffee, her in a robe and him in yesterday’s clothes. The thoughts of leaving had begun to creep back into his brain and he tried to steel himself for the ordeal ahead - missing her. She, on the other hand, didn’t seem the least bit disturbed that he would be leaving shortly, not only her apartment, but her life again. Did she not realize?
“Scully, I, I need to get out of here.”
She nodded. “I’m glad you stayed.”
He nodded, not sure what to say. Then he remembered, no car. She was speaking. “I’m going to take my shower. I guess you want to get home and change.”
“Scully, you need a ride - “
“I’ll grab a cab. I need to pick up my car anyway. Go on. I’ll talk to you later.” She rose then, not giving him a chance to respond. “You can lock up, right?” She smiled and moved toward the bathroom.
He closed his eyes after she was out of sight. There was nothing he could say. If she really didn’t understand that she would be better off without him, he’d have to keep even more distance. She’d be better off that way.
He let himself out; checking to make certain the door was locked behind him. The Bureau had separated them and as much as he hated it, it was the best thing for her, for her career.