Summary: One thing that will never end.
Key Words: Mulder/Scully Romance
Disclaimer: Not mine. No money. No problems.
Archive: Gossamer, please. Email me before archiving elsewhere. I don’t see why I’d refuse.
Summary: One thing that will never end.
Notes: A thousand thankyous to Lib, for once again doing a fabulous beta under extreme circumstances 🙂
“On a promise
A daydream yet to come
Time is upon us
Oh but the night is young
In the winter time
In your arms I feel
–Moloko, ‘The Time is Now’
The whole windchime stall seems to jangle as Scully walks past, but she doesn’t pause to admire the silver pipes, the tiny tinkling bells and the glass swirls.
The lady behind the counter is a stereotype; a gypsy crone, with streaked black hair, a poisonous mouth and a scarlet bandana. Scully observes this from the corner of her eye as she quickens her pace. She strides on past the next stall without noticing its contents, her heels sinking into the thick grass and her hands jammed into her trench coat pockets.
It’s the first day of winter but it still feels like autumn. The trees surrounding the small market desperately cling to their faded leaves. Scully clutches the amethyst crystal in her pocket just as tightly. It still feels warm from Mulder’s hand.
He left half an hour ago, “checking up on something, I’ll be back in five minutes”, and now he’s turned off his cell phone and she can’t reach him.
It’s just too bad, she thinks coldly, if he winds up in a ditch somewhere, or concrete-weighed and bloated at the bottom of a lake.
Then she shudders and starts fumbling for her car keys, walking faster towards the parking lot beneath a cluster of washed-out maple trees. It’s only when she reaches it that she remembers he’s
taken the car. Of course. She leans against a tree, trying to catch her breath.
There’s only one option–one course of action. But really, is it worth calling the town police department? If it’s a false alarm she and Mulder will look foolish before they’ve even started their investigation.
Undecided, Scully glances down at her watch. He’s been gone exactly 35 and a half minutes. Her hands are shaking and there’s a cold orb of fear lodged between her lungs. She bites her lip but doesn’t feel the pain.
Her back against the tree, she whips out her cell phone and starts dialing. Who cares if she looks foolish? She’ll find Mulder first and deal with the consequences later.
Then she hears the crunch of tires on gravel and looks up.
Her eyes narrow into slits, her hackles rising. She clicks the ‘end’ button and stalks over to the rental car as its engine winds down. The car is nail-polish red, rage red, tacky, spiteful red. The color inflames her until the door opens.
Mulder gets out carrying a large, tissue-paper swathed bouquet.
She stands frozen, shoes glued to the damp gravel, as he walks up to her.
“What’s wrong?” He peers down at her and she is fixated by his eyes.
“What…” she pauses, not sure how to begin her customary rant. Her eyes pull away from his, looking anywhere else. She watches droplets of water slip quietly from the flowers in his hand.
“Mulder,” she says, crafting his name into an accusation. “What the hell -? Where the hell did you go? You said five minutes.”
“I went to get you these,” he says, voice edged with disappointment. She looks up and sees hurt well in his eyes. The flowers sag to the side, about to start dragging on the ground. She hates
the thought of their petals bruising, so she holds out a hand. He doesn’t give them over.
“If you were so worried, why didn’t you call me?” he asks.
“I wasn’t worried–I was furious with you.” Scully has to clench her teeth to stop from saying any more. She risks degenerating into a shrewish monologue that would give away exactly how worried she’s been.
The flowers droop further. Where the hell did he get them at this time of year, in the middle of nowhere? And did he really go buy them for her on a whim? She’s inherently suspicious of men who
buy flowers on a whim.
“Either way,” he says softly, “why didn’t you call?”
Her ire grows white hot. “You had your phone turned off,” she snaps. “I thought you must have -” ditched me. She clips the sentence just in time.
He knows what she was about to say, and he winces. “Right.” His voice is gentle now, conciliatory. “I’m sorry, Scully, it just didn’t cross my mind. I turned off my phone when we stopped at the market and I forgot about it.” Now, finally, he holds out the flowers as a peace offering.
Before they were a love offering, a spontaneous, joyful thing, but now they’re just a mundane peace offering. All because of her.
She blushes and doesn’t take them, staring down at her shoes like a schoolgirl. “You don’t have to apologize for surprising me with flowers, Mulder. I’m the one who should be saying sorry. I mean -” she hears him chuckling and looks up, seeing his eyes crinkled with mirth. “What?” She can’t believe he’s laughing.
He stares at her as though he can’t believe she isn’t laughing. “Nothing. Just us. Are you going to take the flowers, Scully?” The tension between them diffuses, like sun-penetrated mist, as they
forgive each other with quirked lips.
When she takes the flowers she takes his hand as well. They stand still for a while, the bouquet between them, her warm thumb tracing his fingers.
“Why did you suddenly buy me flowers, Mulder?”
“I saw a store when we were driving through town. This woman, Margie, grows them in a hothouse all year round. I just…I don’t know, the idea appealed to me. And besides, I didn’t get you a birthday present this year.” He’s suddenly sheepish. “Um…when is it again?”
She smiles, rolling her eyes. “My birthday’s in February. February the 23rd, to be exact. It’s also International Women’s Day.”
He nods but she sees he’s forgotten already. For some reason, this doesn’t bother her as it usually does. Birthdays are meant to mean something, but with him they don’t matter, not really. He
remembers the important things. He remembers moments like this one.
The light is bronzing as the sun sinks towards the west. Mulder’s eyes are golden and glinting, more precious to her than anything else. When she releases his hand she brings the flowers up to her
face, breathing them in. “Thank you,” she whispers.
“Don’t mention it,” he says, trying to hurry the moment along, trying to squeeze the longing out of his expression. She steps closer, placing a warm hand on his arm.
Their eyes lock. “You know,” she says, “it’s the weirdest thing. But I got you something too.” She reaches into her pocket and pulls out the amethyst crystal, grinning at his delighted expression.
“I saw you pick it up at that hippie stall, you know, the one with the beaded curtains and the dream catchers? And I thought it would…”
“Improve my karma?”
Her smile turns mischievous. “…look nice on your coffee table.”
Mulder laughs softly, enfolding her in his arms. These gentle embraces have been frequent lately, but this one feels different somehow. She wonders how far it will go before one of them pulls away.
Mulder’s stubble scratches her forehead and she nuzzles his Adam’s apple, smiling while his collar brushes her chin and his hands trace delicate patterns along her spine. The flowers dangle, grazing her pantyhose like gentle fingertips.
She never wants this moment to end, but she knows it will. Soon one of them will finish it, somehow. But who?
“We have to go soon,” she murmurs against his throat.
Who’s going to pull away first?
Not me, she decides.
She plans to press the flowers he’s given her–every single one–although she knows they won’t be enough. If only she could press this moment itself.
Mulder’s lips softly kiss their way across her hairline and she sighs, her arms tightening around him.
He doesn’t pull away.
The day is ending, sinking into a twilight haze, and she’ll have to wait another year for autumn. But right now, their faces are tilting, their breath is mingling, their lips are meeting, and
this is one thing that will never end.