Rated: Strong R
Summary: Something between them has been slowly melting, thawing like the winter cold, and maybe tonight it will wash away.
Rated: Strong R
Key Words: Mulder/Scully Romance
Disclaimer: Let me count the ways I disclaim thee.
Notes: Thanks to Lib for her fantastic beta! As always, it was full of encouragement and sound advice 🙂
Dedicated to Sallie, with best wishes for her recovery and much love.
Mulder watches the rain as it splatters against the pavement, haloed by streetlights. Far above him, the night sky is black and cloud-crowded, the moon occasionally flickering as a chill wind
He breathes gulps of country air, taking in the small town atmosphere at night. The road beside him is empty of everything but stalled cars and sopping rotten leaves. He knows that in the houses
around him, people are tucked in their beds, sleeping without fear. The whole place is silent, muted, except for the splashing rain and the rattling of leafless trees.
It’s amazing how beautiful it is, to be out here with the cold water dripping over his face, soaking his clothes and drawing goosebumps up on his arms. Mulder leans his head back and closes his eyes, tasting the rain. The cacophony of cleansing water is almost a presence tonight, drawing the scent of spring out of the ground.
Mulder treasures the rain as some people treasure snow. He loves the slow slide of water along windows, the sound of it pattering on rooves and dripping from awnings, and its nourishing, purifying qualities. He finds comfort in the randomness of rain, the way it scatters and fades, how it can never be exactly predicted.
Rain holds a sense of anticipation too, especially here, an hour after twilight, on the verge of spring. Mulder feels he’s waiting for something to happen, but he doesn’t know what it is. He just revels in the suspense, the expectancy, as he soaks nature into his skin.
The road is saturated beneath him, glistening black. A part of him wants to jump in the pothole puddles and laugh into the darkness, but he’s too tired, too reflective, and he lets the laughter flood up inside him instead, bringing a smile to his face.
The rain has ebbed to a light drizzle, becoming more a cloud of tiny droplets than a downpour. It clings to the fine lines and hairs on his face, blurring his vision.
A car turns onto the road, but he doesn’t see it.
He hears the rush of water along the road, the familiar sound of winter’s destruction. New leaves will unfurl soon, curling open into crisp spring light. He smiles and doesn’t see the car speeding towards him, lurching from side to side as it hurtles along the road.
Mulder crosses the white divider, stepping into the car’s path, but he still doesn’t see it. He’s watching the moon brighten in the clearing sky.
When headlights illuminate his feet he doesn’t know what to make of them.
Then something latches onto his shirt and tugs, dragging him onto the sidewalk. Off-balance, he trips and lands shoulder-down on the gritty, wet concrete. A horn blares behind him, a man’s slurred voice yelling obscenities as the car speeds off into the night.
“What the -?” he mutters, unable to move for a moment. He feels a hand settle on his arm and glances up, dazedly, completely bewildered.
Scully is bent over him, her expression shadowed in the pale light. He rolls onto his back and winces, pain shooting from his bruised shoulder. She keeps her hand on his arm, sliding it down to cup his elbow.
“Scully?” he whispers up at her. “What the hell just happened?”
She is trembling, shivering, and doesn’t speak. He stands quickly and pulls her to her feet, trying to make sense of the situation.
When she looks up her face tilts towards a streetlight, allowing him to read a bleak horror in her expression.
“Scully,” he says, clasping her shoulders, leaning close to her. “Scully, it’s okay. I’m okay.” He hears a dull, shaky edge to his voice when he speaks, but can’t help it.
“I know, Mulder,” she replies, seeming calmer, the pain fading from her eyes. She reaches up to gently clasp his face between her hands, and he feels the rapid beat of her pulse against his jaw before she pulls away.
She appeared out of nowhere, he realises. How on earth did she do that? She isn’t even meant to be here, for God’s sake. She’s meant to be in DC, recovering from the concussion she suffered during their last case. She’s meant to be sitting by the fire with her feet up, reading tacky romance novels and listening to the rain patter outside.
“Scully, aren’t you taking some time off work?” he asks softly, deciding not to cut to the chase just yet. “I thought we agreed you’d stay in DC this week.”
She breaks their eye contact, plastering an innocent expression across her face. He knows she’s about to tell a lie, and she knows that he knows it, but he doesn’t call her on any of this. He tells himself there will be time for honesty later, when they can both breathe evenly again.
“I *have* taken some time off,” Scully insists, sounding a little too composed. “I cleaned my apartment, I fed your fish, I did some paperwork, I had lunch with mom -”
“You were bored,” he cuts in, letting her off the hook.
“Of course not,” she retorts, while flashing him a grateful smile. “I just…I’m feeling better, Mulder, and I wanted to get back to work.”
“I understand, Scully…but…”
He wants to know how she managed to arrive at precisely the right time. How did she even know he was out here, at this exact spot? His urge to investigate is almost on overdrive.
But with desolation still lingering in her eyes, he doesn’t want to question her. He doesn’t want to remind her of what could have happened. The truth can wait, he tells himself again.
Scully is cold and shaken, her skin ivory white, her eyes wounded. He wants to pull her against him, to soothe her spine with his hands, but as he’s dripping with freezing water he doesn’t think she’d welcome his embrace.
Thinking this, he looks down at himself and realises that he’s waterlogged and bedraggled, with steam rising from his sodden clothes. Suddenly he’s desperate for a scalding shower and a soft place to lie down. He wants to wrap Scully in blankets and snuggle with her, cradling her warmth in his arms.
“Come on,” he says, putting a hand to the small of her back, “let’s go inside.”
When he steps out of the steamy bathroom, scuffing his hair with a towel, he finds Scully eating his sunflower seeds as she peruses the case file. She’s perched on the bed, wrapped in linen and a ratty brown coverlet, with her damp hair pulled up in a ponytail. He finds everything about her endlessly fascinating–from the tiny frown lines on her forehead to the way she drags the seeds across her lower lip before cracking them.
She must sense something because she looks up and sees him standing there, shirtless and half-dried, still pinning the towel to his head with one hand. He quickly starts mussing it over his hair again, grinning at the way she’s eyeing him. Interesting, he thinks, as the atmosphere sparks and crackles around them, a blush rising high on her cheeks.
“Cat got your tongue, Scully?”
“Um…” she blinks, looking down at the folder in her lap. “I was just thinking about the case.”
He drops the towel on a chair and grabs a fresh T-shirt from his case, pulling it over his head. “What about the case?” he asks, settling beside her on the bed and peering over her shoulder.
Her right eyebrow arches in precisely the way he finds adorable. “Mulder, what do a funeral home, a short-sighted professor and a woman with five-inch fingernails have in common?”
“Well, as there are no burial plots involved, it should technically be known as ‘body snatching’.” His voice slides into a hypnotic monotone. “Basically, it’s the unlawful removal of corpses for scientific purposes. It dates back to Victorian era, when the dissection of human bodies was forced into the underground, leading to corpses being sold on the black market. This is real Mary Shelley stuff, Scully.”
Scully pales, her lips tightening. For a second he feels slightly offended, tempted to ask why she didn’t like his spiel.
“This isn’t…similar to the Pfaster case in any way, is it?” she asks quietly.
Shit. Of course.
He’s careful not to touch her, knowing what she must be thinking right now.
“No, no,” he murmurs, keeping out of her space. “This is bona fide, old-fashioned grave robbery, Scully, and there are no fetishisms, quirks or psychoses involved. It’s a very simple story, actually. The short-sighted professor, as you so aptly put it, was arrested this afternoon. Apparently his budget has been a little tight lately, so he decided to work the graveyard shift, if you get my meaning, without fully comprehending the consequences.”
He glances at her, afraid she’ll retreat into herself and tell him she’s fine, or that she’ll simply get up and walk into the bathroom. She does neither of these things. Her expression has become more curious, less stoic, and he brims with relief.
“He’s been stealing bodies from the funeral home to use in class dissections?” she asks.
“You got it, partner,” he says, briefly smiling at her, wanting to make sure she’s okay. “The home’s security system is…less than secure.”
She echoes his smile. “Mulder, what on earth does a woman with five-inch fingernails have to do with any of this?”
Mulder leans back on his palms, finally allowing himself to relax. “Not much, actually, but she’s the reason I was called down here. The town residents refer to her only as ‘that crazy old witch’, but her name is Millie Fitzgibbon. She’s sixty years old and currently survives on a small disability pension, living alone on the outskirts of town, in–get this Scully–a paisley trailer she calls ‘Daphne’.”
Predictably, Scully doesn’t even hint at being amused. “Mulder, there’s nothing funny about a poor, lonely, rather eccentric old woman -” she protests.
He rolls his eyes, grinning at her. “Scully, Millie told me she knits at least one pair of green socks every day.”
“Apparently she had a vision a few years ago, in which Bob Marley appeared before her in rainbow cloud of mist. He took out a guitar, started playing a riff from ‘No Woman, No Cry’, and said to her–‘the world needs more green socks, man’.”
Scully nods slowly, bemused. “Oh.”
“She became involved in the case when several police officers saw her ‘skulking’–the Sheriff’s words, not mine–around the funeral home, clutching a pair of lime-coloured stockings and muttering to herself.”
“The Sheriff sent me an email that really perked my interest. He dropped the usual words–‘Satanism in our community’, ‘possible cannibalism and necrophilia’, ‘witch craft’, et cetera. So like the sucker I am, I dropped everything to drive down here and talk with him -”
She gives a huff of impatience.
“Anyway,” he continues, rolling his eyes again, “to cut a long story short…”
He shoots her a look. “As I was saying…it turns out that Millie’s only surviving relative is a sister, whose son, David, was killed in a car accident a few weeks ago. His body was one of those stolen from the funeral home. When I interviewed Millie, she told me she’d gone to the home to pray for the safe return of her nephew’s remains, and I was given no reason to disbelieve her.”
“And a few hours later, the PD received an anonymous tip-off concerning the short-sighted professor.”
Scully mock-gapes at him, widening her eyes. “Mulder, are you telling me there’s no fantastic explanation whatsoever? That there isn’t even a deeply troubled individual involved here? No twisted motive, no underlying theme…?”
“You sound as though you’re disappointed,” he says, raising his eyebrows at her.
“No. I’m implying that *you* should be disappointed, Mulder. This must be the most mundane case you’ve ever investigated.”
“You’re forgetting Kersh’s manure detail.”
“Well, excepting that.”
“I guess this time it just didn’t seem to matter. I was expecting the unexpected, so the mundane kind of took me by surprise.” He shrugs, trying to look casual, “Plus, in the end, I was just…I was glad to tie it up so quickly.”
“And why is that?” Her eyebrow arches again and he wants to smooth it down with butterfly kisses. He doesn’t move. He’s not even sure what she’s asking, or how to respond, so he pauses, not looking at her.
The silence should be uncomfortable, but for some reason it isn’t. It swirls softly through the air around them until he clasps her hand and runs a fingertip across her palm. “You know why,” he murmurs, a hushed depth to his voice.
She is contemplative, still quiet, gazing down at their hands as she links her fingers with his. Her eyes are warm and crystal bright, half-hidden to him by their angle. He realises suddenly, surely, what he was waiting for, out in the rain. What she’s been waiting for, too.
Something between them has been slowly melting, thawing like the winter cold, and maybe tonight it will wash away.
For now she gently extracts her hand, an amused glint replacing the serious light in her eyes. “There’s just one thing I don’t understand, Mulder,” she says, grinning at him. “If Millie has five-inch fingernails, how does she knit?”
“It’s truly a sight to behold.”
Mulder lies stretched on the bed while Scully takes her shower. He listens to the water rush over her skin, picturing the scarlet flush it must be bringing out.
A few weeks ago he would have burned with shame to be thinking of her like this, but he suspects she has the same thoughts about him. Recently he’s caught her casting him sharp sideways glances, a hot spark in her eyes that he can’t ignore.
When the water shuts off he hears Scully drying herself, humming tunelessly under her breath. His eyes drift closed at the sound, her happiness soothing him like nothing else can. For a while he dozes, completely content. Despite his concern for her, he’s glad that she’s here. He’s missed her this week.
When he opens his eyes she is sitting beside him, curling her legs onto the comforter. She’s wearing a bathrobe that dwarfs her small frame, her hair hanging damp and soft around her eyes. He can’t resist brushing a few strands from her face, delighting when she captures his hand and nuzzles her delicate cheek against his palm.
“Hey,” she whispers, heat expanding in her eyes.
He’s sprawled across the bed in sweatpants and a grey T-shirt, and he wonders what he must look like to her. His patchwork eyes stare up into hers. Can she really find him attractive?
As though in answer, she moistens her lush, pink lips.
His mouth goes dry. “Hey yourself,” he murmurs, tracing a finger across her chin.
He feels a change in the air come abruptly, like an icicle snapping and falling away. Their pupils are dilating, their breath quickening, and he knows there’s no stopping this thing between them now.
“Scully,” he whispers, suddenly nervous, “do you think I need a haircut?”
Scully chuckles and lies beside him, drawing her hands through his hair, caressing the wavy strands.
“I like it this long,” she murmurs in reply, shifting her head so she can press hot kisses below his jaw.
When her tongue darts out to taste his five-o-clock shadow he groans and rolls her over, pressing her into the mattress.
Her lips taste like the falling rain, and he kisses and kisses her, moulding her mouth with his, their tongues stroking and twisting together. Their bodies start a rhythm, rocking slowly at first and then faster, harder, as he hears her moaning into his mouth. He pulls away slightly, watching her face contort with pleasure while he moves against her.
She unties her robe and parts it down the middle, her eyes fixed on his all the while. Her bared body is sleek and lightly freckled, curved like a fresh pear, and he decides he has to taste every inch. He runs his mouth over her breasts, belly and inner-thighs, listening to her quiet, desperate sounds of pleasure. Once he starts he doesn’t think he can stop, tracing every bend and dip of her with his tongue, groaning when he pushes her legs apart and tastes the center of her, the very core.
She arches and contorts like a bound bird, struggling to break free, to fly, but he doesn’t let her. He leaves her on the verge of takeoff, licking his moist lips and grinning at her, knowing she was expecting him to finish.
And Scully hates the unexpected. Panting, she curses him under her breath, grasping his T-shirt by the shoulders and pulling him over her body, somehow getting his shirt off in the process. He quickly slides out of his sweatpants, watching as her darkened, hungry eyes run over him.
She pushes him onto his back, and it’s her turn to explore, to take her time with him. She goes about this in her usual methodical manner, nipping at his collarbones and biceps, rubbing her flushed body all over his, sometimes pausing to nuzzle her face against his neck or to slowly suck his nipples. He shifts and bends under her, moans vibrating through his throat.
“Love the way you taste,” she whispers, licking the clenched outlines of his pectorals, dipping her tongue into his navel and making his hips quake beneath her. He squeezes his eyes shut and tosses his head as her mouth continues downwards, veins standing out along his neck. He strokes her hair with one hand as her mouth slides over him, his other hand gripping the sheets, twisting them until they come loose from the mattress.
“Mmm…Scully, stop,” he groans, blood jolting through him, his ears ringing. He pushes her hot mouth away, muttering pleas and curses until she slips up his body and impales herself on him.
His eyes wrench open and they stare at each other, wordless. She is boiling and fluid around him, slowly rising up and lowering back down, her eyes swirling with cobalt and sapphire. Her movements are steady, almost painfully slow, making him grit his teeth and think of Tooms’ bile to keep from bucking into her.
When she deliberately clenches around him he can’t stand it any longer, sitting up and shifting her into his lap, taking hold of her hips and slamming hard and fast inside her.
“Love you, love you, love you…” he chants, turning her onto her back so he can murmur it into her ear on the downstroke, his voice rough, deep as double bass notes. “Love you, Scully, love you.”
“Love you,” she echoes, her voice choked.
He whispers her name as he glides a hand down her body, stroking between them until she’s quivering in earnest, pulling him with her.
The elaborate beauty of it, the immensity, rises up before it crashes down. They shudder, their voices cracking, as they fall upward into flight, spinning higher, driven out of time and thought. Somehow, through all of the aching and shattering, they keep their eyes open.
They watch one another as their wait ends.
“So, are you going to tell me why you *really* drove down here?” he asks, sometime later, when they’ve turned off the lights and pulled the curtains closed. He is tracing words around her navel, letter by letter, and she concentrates, feeling him call her ‘my love’ with his fingertip over her skin.
“Mulder…” she whispers, stretching cat-like under his touch. She takes his hand and presses it palm-down across her belly, sighing when he flexes his fingers.
He pulls her closer, spooning around her so he can nuzzle her sensitive neck. “Tell me why you drove down here, Scully,” he urges, kissing her earlobe.
“I don’t…I don’t know why.” The rain is falling again outside, dripping and pattering, and he can barely hear her voice.
“Just tell me what happened.”
She takes a shallow, sharp breath. “I had a feeling of foreboding, Mulder. It was so powerful, it…it kept me awake last night.” A brittle quaver of fear creeps into her voice. “I was terrified. I thought maybe I’d lost you already, but I kept telling myself it was ridiculous–that you were fine. I finally fell asleep, but when I woke up the feeling was still there. It was even worse.”
“So you came.”
“I came. It took me a while to persuade myself, though.” She turns in his arms, wrapping herself around him and slinging her leg over his smooth hip. “God, Mulder…when I saw you crossing that road–when I saw the car–if I’d arrived any later -”
He kisses her forehead, pulling back to meet her eyes. “Do you know how much it means to me, that you came?” he murmurs.
“Scully, you usually push that kind of feeling aside and pretend it isn’t happening. You’ve listened to it when one of us has been in obvious danger, but I know you’ve never listened when it’s been a completely irrational feeling–when it’s struck you out of the blue. Until now.”
“Mulder,” she whispers, her voice guilt-tainted. “Mulder, I *did* try to push it away. I tried very hard -”
“But you didn’t succeed, Scully. You drove down here because you were worried about me, not because it was a reasonable, sensible decision.” He brushes his lips across hers. “Thank you, Scully. Thank you for caring about me that much.”
She shakes her head, pressing her face to his chest. He expects sorrow, and starts when he feels her mouth purse against his skin, realising she’s suppressing laughter. What the hell…?
“Mulder, there’s another reason I came,” she confesses, voice muffled, her lips tickling his chest hairs. “I guess I’m just…I’m just glad to be here.”
Her words and tone sound like something he said, he realises, in their earlier conversation. He flashes back to it, recalling her reply.
“And why is that?”
“You *know* why.”
She moves sinuously, shifting her body until he’s in position, pressed against her heat. Moaning, he sinks inside her, melting into her again, and he knows. He knows.
Bridgewater, Virginia, is a real place. Apologies for any inaccuracies–I’ve never been there, I just like the name 🙂