Chapter 6: Descendons ensemble
This and all future chapters until further notice are by Jenrose
The clicks and hum of a VCR loading a tape drew him out of sleep. He turned over, toward the sound. Scully sat on the edge of the bed in a bathrobe, looking down at a remote control in her hands. A 12-inch television sat on a small cart next to her.
Watching the video was surprisingly technical. The first tape would have been full video, except for the fact that through most of it the screen showed only a mass of grayish white. They fast-forwarded until the fog cleared into small droplets which distorted but did not obscure the fact that they’d taken too long to affix the latex patch.
“Funny how easy it is to get used to seeing you naked.” His quip sounded harsh and out of place to him in the morning quiet.
“We’re supposed to get used to it.” Her response was a simple statement, no emotion attached.
He expected her to turn the tape off after it showed her hasty departure from the bathroom, but she left it running as it showed him turning to lean against the counter.
She flipped it off a few minutes later without comment, and swapped in another tape.
This time, there was sound, but the visual images were again fogged, the shower’s steam created a swirling, shifting mass of colors on the screen. The words of their conversation were somewhat obscured by the sound of the shower, but not entirely.
She didn’t bother putting in the last tape. *Already know how I screwed that one up.*
The shower was strangely routine. The previous day’s awkwardness had vanished, to be replaced only by a slightly wary silence that had nothing to do with the fact of nudity. She handed him soap, he handed her shampoo, as briskly professional as they might have handed one another a flashlight or cell phone.
Afterward, she leaned against the counter and he quickly cleaned and replaced the patch, not because it needed changing, but because they had decided, somewhere in the silence, to see if doing it right after the shower ended would obscure it sufficiently from the camera. He helped comb through her hair, working a bit of product through it to ease the comb through, and braided the mass into a long, damp rope down her back.
After they dressed, Scully opened the door to find Gwynne standing there, looking slightly rumpled in a bathrobe, holding a pair of videotapes in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other.
“Please tell me that the coffee is for me?” Scully smiled slightly as she took the videotapes.
Gwynne held the cup close to her chest, possessively. “You can have yours when you’re done.”
Scully left the door open as she walked toward the TV. “Come watch. It’s our last chance for coaching.”
Mulder finished putting on his shoes, and sat down next to them to watch.
Gwynne watched impassively for a few minutes, then asked, “Did you guys talk at all?”
“Nope.” Mulder shrugged.
She fast forwarded until the steam cleared. Scully nodded approvingly as it became clear that they’d finished the patch well before the camera was clear.
Gwynne stopped the tape. “How did it feel?”
Mulder grinned wryly. “Businesslike. Strangely normal.”
Scully nodded. “It didn’t really feel all that much different.”
Gwynne nodded. “Good. We need to get going. You have to catch the ferry at nine from Nanaimo, and it will take us a bit to get there. I think you’ll do fine. The girls are meeting us at the dock to see you off. We have a car for you, surveillance free but otherwise unremarkable... you should be okay talking freely until you get to San Diego, but for your own sakes, please stay in character as much as possible. I’ve given you a couple of options for routes and stopping points, plus some plastic that autopays from some pretty hefty accounts. Don’t cheap on the hotels, it’s not necessary and the Harrods are comfortable.” She did not give them a chance to answer, just turned and walked out, leaving them to finish packing.
The car was completely silent as Scully and Mulder looked out the back window, watching Gwynne, Jesse and Sarah shrinking into distance. They sat for a moment, quiet and still as the shoreline stretched out behind them, concrete docks disappearing gradually into a broader vista of misty green hills and blue sky framed darkly by the tunnel of the car deck.
Scully turned, finally, and leaned her head back against the upright seat back, closing her eyes and taking a deep breath. She let it out with a sigh.
Mulder, too, turned, rested his hands on the steering wheel, shifting restlessly in the seat. He opened the door to the noisy echoing rush of the cargo hold, prompting Scully to open her eyes curiously.
“Mulder?” she asked, as he pushed himself up out of the Accord.
He spoke loudly, but was still muffled by the chill wind. “I’m going above deck.”
She nodded, and closed her eyes again as the door closed and the noise abruptly disappeared.
When Mulder returned, he found her asleep in the driver’s seat. Rather than open the car and wake her, he went back above deck for the rest of the trip.
When the ferry was almost in dock, he returned to find her awake, clear-eyed and looking quite relaxed.
“Where to, partner?” he asked.
“South. A lot.” She smiled, looked at the map, and waited for the ferry to dock at Tsawwassen.
Mulder looked through a black backpack Gwynne had handed him earlier, and exclaimed, “Tunes!” He held up a CD wallet triumphantly.
“Oh?” Scully leaned over to look at the contents.
“Schubert. Bach. Hmmm. Oh! Queen’s Greatest Hits!” He stopped flipping through and stuck the CD into the car’s player.
“Mu... Martin! Do we have to?” She looked faintly queasy.
The border crossing was uneventful, due to abundant paperwork provided by Gwynne. Sally had been provided with a California Special Faculty permit, authorized by a dean of UCSD, and since the clinic she would be subbing at was affiliated with the university, it all wrapped up into a nice and tidy bow along with the visas they already had.
Scully had had a momentary qualm about this until she realized that the DC medical licensing standards were stricter than the state of California’s, using the same exam.
The span from the border to Olympia was mostly a long urban slog through Seattle and the environs. They didn’t talk much, the driving required fussy attention as they spent an hour driving one ten mile stretch of interstate tedium. Seattle proper was pretty enough, green ivy on concrete, but the lunch hour traffic and the 45 degree drizzle were less than inspiring. Scully insisted on Bach as soon as they hit traffic.
Finally they were through it.
The highway spun out ahead of them, straight as far as the eye could see, framed by stands of tall pines off to each side, a roof of clouds, and by mountains in the distance. As the disc finished, the last notes of the Parita fading, Mulder thumbed the player off.
He spoke quietly. “I’m sorry...”
“Don’t be.” Her response was quick, but not sharp.
“You were asleep. We’re ‘married’. I shouldn’t have jumped the way I did. Realistically, you were more ‘in character.’” She looked almost sheepish. “It just caught me off guard. Next time it won’t.”
He frowned. “But...”
A shift happened, suddenly she was all Sally, with a merry grin on her face and a laugh behind her voice. “Martin, if I didn’t want to be groped in the middle of the night, I never would have married you.”
Mulder blinked. “You mean you just married me for my body?”
She looked over at him and winked. “Well, I wasn’t getting it any other way.”
“You’re a shallow woman, Sally Harrod.” But inside something relaxed. *Permission.*
She pulled over a few minutes later, got out of the car, stretched her legs, and tossed him the keys.
Another 30 minutes of road passed under them before he broke the silence again.
“In answer to your question, I have thought about death, dying.”
Scully blinked. “What question?”
He continued, “For a long time I didn’t care, almost hoped that death would find me. I was even suicidal some times. I think I hoped that death might bring a truth that would never come close to me in life. It was only my obsessions that kept me from it.”
She listened quietly, remembering, finally, the question asked almost five months earlier, deep in a Florida forest.
“As you lay dying, I actually did put that gun to my head.”
She looked at him, but said nothing. His eyes remained fixed on the road, hands on the steering wheel.
“When I saw the spy hole... that despair turned into rage... and when you were cured, that rage became joy. But somewhere in there we cut each other off, I think. You were well, but all we had were lies and the truth just seemed irrelevant.”
“And I haven’t really thought about dying since.”
She took his hand. “Or living, either.”
“Oh hey,” Scully said, flipping through the CD wallet with her spare hand. “Indigo Girls!”
They drove that way until a cramp and the Colombia River mandated a change of position. Mulder pulled off in Vancouver for a few minutes to buy cokes and fill the tank. He tossed Scully the keys. “It’s I-5 all the way down to exit 228. Then Highway 20 through Corvallis to Newport.”
I-5 between Portland and the Albany exit was even more monotonous than it had been in Washington. They picked up radio stations most of the way between Portland and Salem, but by the time the stench of the Albany paper mills hit them, the car was mostly silent. By the time they got through Albany and onto the highway to Corvallis, their noses had mostly adjusted to the smell of the rotting wood pulp. Nevertheless, it was just warm enough to open windows and take in some of the freshest air they’d ever smelled when they finally escaped the miasma of the Willamette Valley.
The afternoon sun angled through the tall Douglas fir lining Highway 20, slanting through clouds and painting everything with green- and gold-lined shadows. Even the rocks of the mountains the highway cut through were a vivid green, mosses and ferns thriving on the mist and rivulets. After about a half hour of trying to watch the road with one eye and the scenery with the other, Scully pulled over and gave the keys back to Mulder.
“Aw, ma, do I have to?” he whined.
She grinned. “Only if you don’t want me accidentally driving us into a waterfall.”
“You take all the fun out of it.”
He switched places with her and resumed driving. Freed of the duty of watching the road, Scully glued her eyes to the scenery. “Why is it so incredibly green?”
“It’s a rainforest.” He sounded somewhat distracted.
“There are trees growing out of rocks. No soil.”
“Must be an X-file.”
She chuckled. “Can’t say X-file. You’ll blow our cover.”
He glanced over at her, amused, but said nothing.
Something in the lush growth, the leaves and pine needles sparkling from a recent rain, a small waterfall cascading down rocks and then disappearing as they drove swiftly past, something seemed to reach out and fill her soul.
She leaned back and smiled.
He glanced at her again, curious. “Yes?”
“You asked me to marry you.”
His mouth opened, then closed again. After a moment he found his response. “Uh, Sally? We’re already married.”
“I know. But you asked me to marry you, and I never answered, before.”
The lodge Gwynne had recommended sat in the small town of Yachats, Oregon. On the north edge of town, it sat back from highway 101 just far enough to escape the occasional noise of trucks passing. They turned down the long driveway and a minute later found themselves in front of a new building which seemed built out of glass and shells, all clean lines and solid architecture, but perfectly at home on the bluff. The ocean behind it whipped in the chill March wind, making the lodge seem even more inviting.
At the front desk, the clerk smiled, said that mid-week, they could easily have a suite, and handed Mulder and Scully each a key card.
“Let us know if you need anything. We do ask that guests not use the jets in the tubs after 10 or 10:30, but you’re welcome to fill them after that.”
“Tub?” Scully asked.
The clerk smiled. “Most of our suites have whirlpool tubs. And kitchenettes. Continental breakfast is available in the lobby until 10 am.”
Mulder grinned. “Now I know why Gwynne suggested it.”
They made their way out of the lobby and along a pebbled sidewalk, then up a flight of wooden stairs to their second floor suite. A card lock system and an almost airlock-like set of heavy steel doors were surprising in the otherwise inviting space. “Nice security!” Mulder said, picking up bags as Scully held the door.
The suite had three separate rooms. Just off the entryway, a large bathroom and a bedroom. Down a hallway, they found a huge sitting room, with a kitchenette at one end, a couch and fireplace in the middle, and a large tub for two looking out over the ocean. Scully stepped out onto the balcony.
That was the first thing that struck her, wind whipping her hair. Just crashing waves on rocks, a trick of the light turning the spray into a waterfall from nowhere, sliding down into the ocean. Scrubby pines leaned back from the windy shore, and seagulls hung in the wind, flying nowhere, held aloft by the stiff ocean breeze.
She looked back over her shoulder, to find Mulder investigating every inch of the room, poking at a large fruit basket on the kitchenette counter, bouncing down onto the couch, opening drawers, running his long fingers over the polished knotty wood sculpture that decorated the wall. Scully shook her head slightly and smiled at his activity, then turned her attention back to the gray sky, the solid rocks, the determined breakers.
The urge to be down there in the whipping wind and spray was suddenly overwhelming. She did not resist, and was peripherally aware of Mulder trailing after her as she went back through the heavy locking doors, down the stairs, to the path down to the shore.
“Where are you going?”
His voice seemed distant, blown away from them by the wind and muffled by the roaring surf.
She looked back with a half-smile, to which he responded with an intrigued head-tilt.
She moved quickly down the smoothed-gravel path, stopping at a mossy ledge just shy of the low rock cliff. She stood there, hands deep in the pockets of her jacket, shoulders up against the wind.
He caught up with her, and stood next to her, looking out over the gray water.
“That,” she said, taking a hand out of her pocket to gesture at the shoreline, “is the perfect example of what happens when an irresistible force meets an immovable object.”
He looked down. “Surf?”
She smiled slightly. “The waves wear at the shore, shaping it, smoothing it, sometimes breaking it.”
Mulder bent down, finding sand among the succulent hens-and-chicks plants at their feet. He picked up a small handful and let it run through his fingers. He poured a small bit of sand into the palm of his hand and then stood back up. “The rocks break the waves every time.” He took her hand, and let the sand trickle into her palm.
“This is what really happens when an irresistible force meets an immovable object.”
She smiled. “Sand?”
He grinned back. “Yep. Most useful stuff on the planet, too, except maybe duct tape.”
She arched an eyebrow at him.
“No, really. Couldn’t have computers without sand. Or light bulbs. Or cathedrals. Or-”
“Uh huh. Sand.” She let it pour back onto the rock, and brushed her hand off on the leg of her pants.
“So if I’m the immovable object, and you’re the irresistible force, where’s our sand?” She crossed her arms over her chest and waited for his answer.
He grinned. “You think I’m irresistible?”
She rolled her eyes. “You’re avoiding the question.”
His smile turned thoughtful as he turned to look at the waves crashing on the rocks. “There’s no sand there. Just waves and rocks.”
A sudden restlessness moved over her, and she tugged his sleeve. “Come on. Run with me.” Without waiting for an answer, she took off down the path.
Mulder loped after her, bemused.
Fifteen minutes later, she came to a stop and stood, catching her breath, feet spaced wide and hands braced on her thighs. Mulder stopped a few yards beyond her once he registered the fact that she was no longer running.
“There,” she said, nodding at the view in front of them. “There it is.”
He looked at her for a moment, breathless, flushed from running, long curls pulled back in a braid with damp wisps stuck to her forehead and drying quickly in the salt air. His gaze followed hers out to a sandy length of beach. Enormous rocks the size of houses dotted the beach, dark lumps each alone on the sand, tide pools collecting at their bases. Shreds of sunlight low on the horizon cast a yellowing light on the undersides of the clouds. Not quite sunset.
Scully bent over and took off her sneakers and socks, tying the laces together and hanging them over a shoulder, stuffing socks in the pocket of her parka. Feet bare, she then rolled the legs of her jeans up as far as they would go, till they formed thick pads above her knees. She stepped gingerly down from the tarmac onto a sandy path.
Sharp, rugged grasses dotted the sand next to the path, holding tufts of sand in small hills. Rivers of soft, dry sand ran between the grassy bumps. Watching for the many small sticks and pebbles, Scully padded her way down to the packed damp sand of the beach below.
Mulder stepped onto the sand, still wearing his shoes, walked two steps and then took his shoes and socks off as well, following her lead and dangling his sneakers front and back over one shoulder. By the time he managed to pick his way down to the beach, she was jogging again on the damp sand, leaving footprints small but widely spaced. He shook his head with a smile and followed.
He was about to catch up to her when she veered right and headed straight across the wide wet bar of sand toward the water. She seemed completely unfazed by the icy wet sand against bare feet. Finally she stopped, standing squarely, hands on hips and legs apart as a particularly strong wave brought a thin layer of water up around her ankles, the ebb running the sand from around her feet, sinking her slightly farther.
“Every seventh wave comes higher,” she said as he braved the chill to stand next to her in the thin foamy current. “Every seventh seventh wave is stronger yet. Ahab always told me never to turn my back on the ocean, because the ocean can’t count and likes to catch people off guard.”
The wave finished moving out to sea, and the waterline seemed almost distant for a time.
She looked up at him.
“Can we go back now? I can’t feel my toes.” He looked almost apologetic.
She grinned. “Race you.”
“Right. After you froze my toes?” he said in mock-protest,“How can I possibly—”
She didn’t answer, but cut short his whine by poking him on the arm and running away.
“You’re it!” she called back over her shoulder as she sprinted back toward the path.
He caught her as she stopped on the edge of the tarmac to put her shoes back on, in a crazy, swinging, laughing hug.
“Doesn’t count. I made it.” She sat on the pavement, dusting the sand off her feet.
It had started to sprinkle by the time they got back up to the hotel room, and the shreds of sun were gone in a deepening twilight. Pushing through the heavy doors into the warm quiet comfort of the suite seemed like coming in from another planet.
Mulder said, “Do you think Gwynne suggested this for the doors or for the jacuzzi?”
Scully grinned at him. “I vote for the jacuzzi.”
She kicked off her sandy shoes next to the door, then padded down the hall and across the main room to an oversized bathtub. Big enough for two, room to move, but not huge. It stood on a pedestal in a little alcove overlooking the rocky edge of the ocean. Smiling, she dropped the plug and started running hot water in.
He slid up behind her. “Ooooh.” He leaned over past her, pulled a small bottle off the window shelf, and poured some thick liquid under the running water. She grinned, then started as he ran his hands from her shoulders down her arms, sliding her jacket off. She wore a thoughtful, interested look as he smiled at her and tossed her jacket into a chair.
*Two can play that game,* she thought, and turned to help him out of his own coat.
He was less brazen but still deliberate as he freed his arms and started unbuttoning her blouse. Her breath caught, then she pulled his t-shirt up and over his head.
“Oh!” She exclaimed as he scooped her up in one motion and carried her across the room to the kitchenette and set her on the counter.
“Socks,” he muttered, sliding hers off one at a time, while kicking his own socks off.
She hesitated, bit her lip, then reached out to flick his belt buckle open. He gave her a half smile and helped her down from the counter. She walked past him, shedding her own pants as she walked back to the tub. “Hey!” he said, “I was going to do that.”
But he removed his pants and they stood there in their underwear as she reached in to test the temperature. Too hot by far, she adjusted the temperature of the tap, then turned and leaned against the edge of the tub, looking at him. His hair was rough from the run, his boxers clinging a bit to his skin. He was oddly still, undecided, then he stepped closer to her and wrapped his arms around her.
She leaned into him, then realized that he was unhooking her bra. She flushed, then hooked her thumbs under the waistband of his boxers and slid them downwards. There was an awkward moment as the two activities became mutually exclusive, she let go and lifted her arms so he could remove her bra entirely. He shifted and his own boxers dropped to his ankles. He stepped out of them and stood naked in front of her, grinned, then slowly, almost mischievously slid her panties down. He crouched in front of her as she stepped out of them, then stood up slowly, deliberately looking at her every inch of the way.
She consciously controlled her breathing. As he stood up, so close to her, she put her arms around his neck and drew his head close to hers, to whisper in his ear. “I think this undercover thing may not be so bad after all.”
He laughed, stuck a hand in the tub, then unceremoniously picked her up and dropped her in, sending half the bubbles out onto the carpet.
Her eyes widened, her mouth opened indignantly, and she reached up to pull him in afterward, at which point the tub was surprisingly full, given how wet the floor was. They found themselves in a tangle of very slippery bodies, and shifted apart automatically. Water ran down their faces, her braid hung heavy and dripping down her back.
Scully frowned and very deliberately shifted herself back into his arms. She murmured into his ear. “Practice, Martin.” He leaned back to look at her face, considered her for a long minute, then nodded. She smiled a small, tight-lipped smile, started to lean forward, and he reached up a hand to put one finger on her lips.
He leaned forward and whispered, “I want to kiss you—Scully—, first.”
She cocked her head, looked at him. He continued. “Not because we have to.”
She suddenly became aware of how much of their bodies were in contact, how close he was. Were they on land, she would be sitting in his lap, but the water allowed a few molecules more distance. Her breath caught, she looked into his eyes.
She took a deep breath in, nodded once, and felt her eyes close as she exhaled. Then felt his lips, hesitant on hers, gentle, chaste, a little prickly, then gone. She opened her eyes, smiled a half smile, put a hand behind his head, and kissed him back firmly, sweetly, lips parted, and felt their tongues meet. Surprisingly that was less scratchy.
Eventually they pulled back, the water supporting them, steam coming up, the bubbles mostly gone. She took a deep breath, then smiled at him, full force. He touched her cheek and smiled back. He said, out loud, “It’s so good to get away.”
A strange smile played across her face but did not go near her eyes, which looked oddly sad. “Makes it kind of hard to think about going home.” Double entendres, handy to find words that work for both Scully and Sally.
He leaned in close. “Practice more.”
She chuckled, and said, lips touching his ear, “So how do people who’ve been married for five years kiss?”
He answered against her ear, “Something like this, I hope,” and then kissed her again.
When they broke apart, she smiled, and then shifted to the opposite end of the tub, sitting with his feet against one of her hips. She leaned back. “All this is missing is a nice bottle of wine and some classical music.
He stood, dripping bubbles, and grinned at her. “That, Sally darling, I think I can arrange.” He wrapped a towel around his waist and walked to the kitchenette.
Apparently the fruit basket had more than just fruit, a few minutes later (and a phone call to the front desk to request a bottle opener and knife, both of which turned out to be in the kitchen drawer already,) Schubert was playing and he presented her with a glass of red wine, and set a plate of cheese, sliced pears, crackers, and smoked salmon on the shelf next to the tub.
She grinned. “Now that’s what I call room service!”
He dropped his towel in a heap on the floor and carefully climbed in, holding his own glass of wine. “Didn’t feel like going out to eat. And you look too content to move. ‘Sides. That smile of yours makes it all worth it.”
She blushed, sipped her wine, and smiled into her glass.
He loaded a cracker and leaned forward to feed it to her. She took it slowly, letting his fingers rest on her lips. He chuckled, looked down, shook his head slightly. “Oh boy,” he said under his breath.
She returned the favor, closing her eyes as he caught her wrist with his free hand, holding her hand motionless near his face while he chewed the cracker, swallowed, then found one of her fingers and sucked on it. Her breath caught, and she raised an eyebrow at him. When he released her hand, he said, “You had Brie on it.”
At that she drained the glass of wine and set it down. He refilled it, but she ignored it, took his glass away from him as he set down the wine bottle, and climbed back into his lap, straddling his waist as she kissed him.
Something threatened to short circuit in his brain, he kissed her back until he found a scrap of willpower to break it off. He tried to say, “Sweet Jesus, we have to slow down,” but all that came out was, “Sweet... slow,” and then, improbably, “Don’t get the crackers wet.”
It startled her, she burst out laughing, dropping her head down on his shoulder and allowing her body to drift away from him. He found himself laughing too, and scooted over to let her sit next to him, hip to hip, while he loaded another cracker, and fed it to her without touching her mouth at all.
They were mildly buzzed as they climbed out, wrapped up in the fluffy bathrobes they found in the hall closet, and turned on the gas fireplace.
They sat next to each other on the couch, the last of the wine in their glasses, relaxed, simply breathing, watching the fire.
“Would that all undercover assignments were so comfortable.” She tipped her wine glass slightly, watching the wine shift.
He chuckled, shifted his hips, and said, “Not sure comfortable is the word I’d choose.”
She elbowed him. “You know what I mean. We could be stuck in some hellhole, awash in a sea of sunflower shells.”
“Or chasing some godforsaken mutant through a sewer,” he offered.
She laughed and said under her breath, “No, I just have to pretend that I’m in love with you. Which isn’t hard.”
He closed his eyes and smiled for a moment. “Not hard isn’t the phrase I’d use.”
She rolled her eyes. “You were the one who said stop.”
“Yes. Yes, I was.” He looked over at her. “And I wasn’t wrong, either, much as it pains me.” He put an arm around her shoulders. “If we go there, now, we’ll never make it to San Diego. And as much as this,” he gestured, waving his empty wineglass at the room, “seems to be doing you good, I’m not about to let mere sex get in the way of something this important.”
She turned, leaned into his shoulder, whispered. “Thank you.”
He kissed her gently as she looked up at him, a simple acknowledgment.
The bed was enormous. Tall, wide, with an unreasonable number of pillows and a giant white duvet.
“I’m going to need a ladder just to get into this thing.”
He chuckled. “I could give you a leg up...”
She hung her bathrobe up on a hook behind the door, and said, “Stand aside.”
Curious, he stepped away, and she took a flying leap, landing stomach down on the bed. He laughed. “Your boobies bounce when you do that.”
She threw a pillow at him. He resisted the bait and merely tossed it back on the bed. She scrambled naked under the covers as he climbed in on the other side more sedately. The bed seemed vast between them. *Probably a good thing,* he thought.
She had curled up on her side, not far from her side of the bed. “G’nite Martin,” she said, sleepily.
“Nite, Sally. Love you.” He stretched out on his back, far from her. *Safer.*
She was already asleep.
March 6, 1998
He noticed in the night that she’d found him, head on his shoulder and leg sprawled over his, arm haphazard across his chest. He gingerly disentangled himself to find the restroom, stumbling over his bathrobe in the pitch black. He bit back a curse as he caught himself and groped his way to the door.
Coming back, he climbed in the other side, and spooned himself against her back carefully, trying not to wake her up. Surprisingly, sleep returned quickly.
She woke, aroused, and realized abruptly that going to bed naked was probably not the wisest choice she’d ever made. He was still asleep. Obviously. Because if he’d been awake, there’s no way that his penis would be hard, rubbing between her legs, nor would his hand be roaming. She bit her lip and simply relaxed, not encouraging, but not stopping him either. *One more boundary that has to go.* She reached back and rested a hand on his hip, lightly, gently. Her body hummed with the feel of his skin against hers, and his wandering hand found one of her nipples, hard and erect, and toyed with it. She gasped involuntarily, arching, and he froze, waking. Her hand tightened on his hip, preventing a reflexive withdrawal as he became aware of what was where.
After a minute or two, he remembered to breathe. She gently shifted, disentangled, rolled over to face him, nose to nose, closer, leaned in to breathe into his ear, “Time to practice, Martin.”
*Oh Jesus.* He was amazed that air kept moving in and out of his lungs. That she was rolling him onto his back, kissing him. Straddling... *Oh my fucking god.*
She wasn’t taking him in. Simply straddling with his cock pressed between them, but he could feel her, surprisingly wet against him, and Jesus H. Christ on a crutch, MOVING. He couldn’t see her. Dammit, he wanted to see her... His arm flew out and he hit a touch-sensitive lamp on the nightstand. *Oh Christ.*
The sight of her over him, smiling... that smile, the one he almost never saw, the one that transformed her face completely. He groaned. It wasn’t an act. He found his hips moving with a will of their own, forced himself to study the situation with an eye to the deception. A camera there would show the lack of joining, even though *holy fuck* his body did not seem to be minding the difference right at the moment. His hands moved up of their own accord to cup her breasts, she looked down at him, nodded, and her hands on his chest... *Jesus. Finally found religion: Dana Scully’s body naked in my hands.*
But his mind and too many porn tapes told him that as damn good as this felt, this position showed too much, a slip of a sheet and four different camera angles could catch that his cock was not in her, merely pressed between them, with her hot, wet *dear lord in heaven*... He went with it for a few minutes, simply savoring the sight of her, above him, smiling, flushed, naked, which was amazing all by itself, but then he regretfully shifted, to find a more “deceptive” position.
He brought his hands down, pushing himself up to sitting, kissing a trail from the top of her breast up to her ear, smooth, one movement, arm around her to shift, roll, and pin her under him.
With his other arm, he was pulling a single sheet over him. He could feel his cock hard against her pubic bone, but the position had shifted her labia off his cock. A loss but suddenly he found that thinking was a little easier. He leaned down, taking his weight on his elbows, rather than his hands, kissing her neck, whispering in her ear “I think this position will be easier to fake if we are ever on camera with this.”
She whispered back, “I bet I can fake it better than you can.” She could feel his answering laughter against her entire body.
“Want to bet?” He started to move. *Can’t lose with that wager.*
She groaned under him, a long, low, delicious moan that made his cock tighten. Her legs wrapped up around his ass and she shifted, moving with him, breathing fast and hard against his chest. *Oh Christ, Scully.* He dropped his head down, finding her mouth, keeping a rhythm, trying to ignore the pressure of his weight on her body with cock pressed between, and when she bit his lip gently he thought he would fly out of his skin right then and there. His hands found her breasts, fingertips rolling at her nipples, a balancing act, trying to take weight on his elbows.
She dug her fingers into his shoulders and said, “Oh yes. Just like that.” She threw her head back, and swore softly, grinding her pelvis against him hard. His eyes rolled back in his head as the pressure could not be ignored, and when, a moment later, she cried out, he found himself coming all over her belly. *OH SHIT,* he thought, once he was capable of thought.
She looked down, laughed outright at the look on his face, and said, calmly, “See? Told you.”
*You want to play it that way? Was that faking, Miss Dana?* He smirked at her. “Naw, I faked that.” He rolled and sat next to her.
She looked pointedly at the sticky mess on her belly. He swore under his breath and reached for a box of tissues on the nightstand. Cleaning his semen off Scully’s stomach, he felt some last vestige of boundaries between them crumbling. *Can’t let go all the way.*
“I’m going to have to figure out how to avoid needing an obvious cleanup,” he said. His face betrayed him.
She put a hand on his arm. “With the number of times we’ve bled on each other? It’s just another bodily fluid. Keep a washcloth under your pillow.”
He tilted his head, raised an eyebrow. “Just? You seem remarkably unperturbed about this.”
She blushed then. “Hard.. um... difficult to explain.”
At that, he laughed. “We just almost fucked, and you are having more trouble explaining why you aren’t fazed by that than you were by what we were just doing....”
“Well, when you put it that way...” She grabbed one more tissue for her stomach, and then sat up, pulled a cotton throw around herself, curling her knees up against her chest, more guarded than she’d been all evening. “There is a certain, um, sense of accomplishment in helping another person climax, mess or no mess.”
He looked away from her, then back, but couldn’t meet her eyes. “You have me at a disadvantage there.” *Damn it, I’m not an inconsiderate lover, but we’re not lovers, we’re undercover, and practice or no, deliberately doing what it takes to bring you to orgasm would cross that line we’re standing on. Although that didn’t seem to stop you, come to think of it.*
She sighed. Closed her eyes. Tried to find words that would let him cross that boundary. *Mulder, Martin, whoever the hell you are and I just don’t know right now, please feel free to take advantage. Um. Not ready for that. Yet? Dear lord in heaven, if we don’t end up screwing by the time this is done, my brain is going to explode, then again, if we do, it will anyway. Blue balls? Hah!* But none of it felt like it could actually be said out loud, and she stopped trying and settled on, “I won’t hold it against you.” *Oh dear, that sounded...*
He laughed. “You just did, and very well, I might add.”
“You were holding it against me, I thought.” She wagged a finger at him, a mock scold.
He lay back down next to her, pulled her down into his arms. She lay, facing him, watching his face.
He touched her cheek. “You okay?”
She looked at him curiously. “Why do you ask?”
“That was...” He trailed off, at a loss to explain.
“Necessary. Not unwelcome. Rather fun. Crossing lines that haven’t meant much to me in a while.” She threw the words out, casually.
“Mm—” She gave up trying to figure out what to call him, and continued. “For a crack investigator, you can be incredibly slow on the uptake.”
He raised his eyebrows. “Please elaborate, my dear Sally.”
She sighed. “This whole thing will be easier if we can forget the ‘partner’ rules for a while. You seem to be trying to protect my virtue, and it’s not necessary. I trust you, and there is nothing here that I’m not doing willingly. We’ve been through too much together, crossed too many lines, to let something this important fall apart because of how our bodies react to being close to each other. I don’t know what’s going to happen the next month or two, but I do know that being here in your arms every night, playing, touching... it isn’t hurting. I think it is helping. And it’s necessary to what we’re doing. I am perfectly capable of telling you to back off. If I wanted to. I made a choice, waking up to you, to push the limit. It was not something you forced on me.” She felt the words tumbling out on top of each other. “What about you? Are you okay?”
“Oka...” he broke off with a laugh. “You want to know if I am okay? Let’s see. I’m actually sleeping. And getting damn close to laid, by the person I care about most in the universe, who is smiling and hopeful for the first time in I don’t know how long. We have resources and connections that I actually trust, and a good, solid lead that has the potential to crack the damn conspiracy wide open. I’m so far beyond okay, I don’t even know where to start.”
She shifted, moved closer until her head next to his, their bodies touching in a full body hug. She whispered in his ear. “Good.”
He kissed her cheek and shifted onto his back, smiling, and they descended together into sleep.
to Chapter 7