They actually had fun riding the waves. Her rides were longer, on top of the waves, but he did okay. He was dumped by a wave and when he came up, sputtering she was laughing out loud. He flung the hair from his face and glared at her until he realized she hadn’t seen the wave coming at her. With no warning it pulled her under, out of his sight. He dove for her.
She was still tumbling when he grabbed her and yanked her to the surface. He held her against his chest as she coughed, trying to catch her breath.
“Scully?” His arms were tight around her, moving them both toward the shore.
"I, I'm okay. Caught me off guard." Were his hands shaking?
"Yeah," he forced himself to release her though he made sure she was steady. She wouldn't meet his eyes and his despair rose a little higher. After that, they decided to call it a day and headed inside.
She took a shower when they returned and finally gave up on her hair, pulling it back in a loose ponytail. Mulder was on the couch and had poured them each a glass of wine. He checked her out as she took the seat beside him. “I don’t think you’re burnt.”
“No, I was careful.” She took a sip and they were quiet for a little while. Finally she turned to him. “Mulder, may I ask you a question?”
“Uh, sure.” He fought the tension he immediately felt.
He couldn’t hide it from her, but she decided to go ahead. They needed to talk. “What do you plan to do now?”
“For a career.”
He looked puzzled at that, “Did Skinner say something to you?”
He looked at her obviously gauging her answer. “Well, I should be released for work in a couple of weeks. I’ll go back to my cubicle and get ready to fight the next bad guy.”
She looked stunned. “You’re not serious. Mulder, you can’t go back to - “
“It’s my job,” he interrupted
“And it’s killing you,” she shot back immediately.
He winced but held his tongue.
“Mulder, you are a brilliant man, with an Oxford education. A Ph.D. in psychology, for God's sake. There are any number of careers you could choose. You could teach, set up a practice. You could even write for a living.”
“Those things don’t interest me.”
“What does?” She was pushing, but he had to realize he could not continue to profile.
“Not much.” He watched her try to absorb that. “I’m just being honest, Scully. Hell, I could file for disability; who’d want me?”
He shrugged and took another sip of wine. “I could sit around for the next 40 years and draw funds from the government, but then I’d have to get Frohike to return my video collection. He’s been working out, I’m not sure I can take him.” He grinned.
She didn’t reciprocate, just staring at him.
“Come on, Scully. Let’s change the subject. How’s Bill doing these days?”
She ran her hand over her brow. She could feel a headache coming on. Abruptly she rose, “I’m going to fix the salad and put the potatoes on. They’ll take at least an hour.”
“You could nuke them.”
Scully shook her head and walked away. He closed his eyes. He should never have come here with her. She cared about him. She felt guilty about him, but she didn’t understand. She wasn’t in love with him and that was the thing, the one thing he really wanted. Even before, she had kept her professional distance, now that he was officially a mental case, she should get back to her real life and stay there; as far from him as she could manage.
He couldn’t leave tonight, but tomorrow he needed to get away from her. It was just too damn painful. Without her was worse, but no one would have to see that. He wasn’t going to eat a gun, but . . . He’d make tonight pleasant. He owed her that for trying this experiment.
When she came out he was sitting on the couch, his feet up on the coffee table, waiting for her.
“Which movie did you put in?”
“I’m surprising you.” He managed a smile.
He shook his head, “I’m good.”
She picked up her glass and settled on the couch. She tucked one leg up underneath her and leaned against him. He stiffened immediately, “No.” He was on his feet and moving away from her before she could draw a breath.
“I . . . I need to get out of here for a little while. Go ahead and watch whatever. I’m gonna go for a run.”
She gaped as he yanked the sliding door opened and was out of sight. Tears formed in her eyes. He couldn’t bear to let her touch him. She closed her eyes and the tears spilled over. She had hurt him so much.
Why had she not realized she was trying to replace him? It wasn’t just dating again; the only men that she had even dated twice resembled him. She had ruined both of their lives. She was never going to find another man that did for her what this man did. How could she have been so stupid?
And he was never going to forgive her for deserting him, just like everyone else in his life had. She was just one of many now and he was going to protect himself as he'd had to all of his life. He’d needed that protection as a child, and she had forced him back into that nightmare. And precipitated two breakdowns. Yes, the cases had thrown him over the edge, but if she had stayed, he would never have been on those cases, at least not alone.
How could she have hurt him like that? She loved him; she had for a long time. Hell, it was one of the reasons she'd left.
He stood just outside her door. He could hear her crying though she was trying to muffle it. He should never have agreed to this. Taking a deep breath, he opened her bedroom door.
Scully gasped, sitting up abruptly. “What are you doing?”
He took a seat on the side of the bed, and studied his hands as she swiped quickly at her tears. “I’m grateful, Scully, that you wanted to do this. It means a lot that you cared enough to try - “
“Mulder - “
He continued as though she hadn’t spoken. “You’re probably the world’s best doctor, but I’m just too damaged. You need to pull the plug and go back home. All this is doing is bringing you - “
Her lips cut off the rest of his sentence and he jerked back from her. “What, what are you doing?”
“The other men looked like you; I needed to see if they tasted like you too.”
“You kissed them?” His voice grew hard at those words.
“Did you sleep with them?” A part of him was appalled that he had even asked that question aloud, but it was there, hovering between them. When had he grasped her upper arms?
“No. I’m still saving that for the real thing.”
He released her then, and rose from the bed. She recognized his panic face and didn’t move closer. “Don’t.”
“Don’t what, Mulder?”
He shook his head. “I can’t . . . When you leave again - “
“Mulder, I - “
He had turned and was gone already.
No! Maybe she had been the one to leave last time, but it had been a mistake. A huge mistake. She wasn’t going to let him perpetuate it. She rose from the bed and headed for his room. She was in a tank top and boxers. She didn’t bother with a robe.
She didn’t knock, just opened the door and stepped inside. He jerked around and she could see he had instinctively reached for his weapon. “What are you . . . I told you - “
“What if I don’t leave? Or, or you come with me?”
He shook his head.
He turned away from her and she moved closer, taking hold of his arm. He jerked at her touch, but didn’t move away.
“I made a mistake leaving, Mulder. A stupid mistake; and you’ve had to pay for it.”
“Leaving wasn’t a mistake. You needed to get away, and I’ll never be able to repay you for - “
“Stop. I was wrong. I didn’t allow myself to see the truth. I was afraid, terrified of what was in front of me.”
“I terrified - “
“You are ‘Spooky’ Mulder.” Her lips quirked in an almost smile.
His shoulders drooped, “I terrified you.” His voice was low and the pain came off him in waves.
“No, not you, my feelings for you.”
“You had . . . I thought we were friends.”
“We were; we are. But I wanted more, too much more. So I did the cowardly thing; I ran.”
“The men I dated looked like you. We didn’t finish that conversation, Mulder. I didn’t admit it, especially to myself, but I was trying to find you. From the minute I left DC I was looking. I wasn’t looking for ‘a man’; I was looking for you. I know it; maybe I knew it then. That ‘life’ I’ve created is hollow. I just didn’t realize what I had.”
“What did you have?” He hadn’t moved, steeling himself to stand this close, to feel her in every cell of his body.
Now he did step back, shaking his head.
“Think about it, Mulder. We were together - during the day at work, we ate lunch together, we had dinner together more times than we didn’t. We still talked every night by phone after I was in bed. I called you when I got my diagnosis, when I found Emily and countless other times when I just needed support. You have always supported me and I let you down.”
“You did what you had to do, for yourself.”
“No, Mulder. I ran from what I wanted for myself. I can’t do that again. I won’t.”
His brow furrowed at that. What did she mean? His eyes widened as she pulled the tank top off over her head.
“Scully, I, I don’t want a mercy fuck.”
“Good, because I don’t give them.” She faced him, meeting his eyes and not looking away.
His mouth opened, but no words emerged. He saw his hand reach out for her and she stepped closer to him. His hand caressed her waist moving up toward her breasts. She could tell from his expression he was in total disbelief. She took his other hand and cupped her breast with it. His breath huffed out of him.
He couldn't take his eyes from her body. He saw her nipples bud as he cupped her breast and felt her breathing become shallow.
She was watching his face, the awe and wonder caused tears to form in her eyes. No this would be no mercy fuck, this was what she should have done a long time ago. He would never seduce her; he would always leave it up to her to make this kind of move. Well, it was long past time.
Her hands plucked at his t-shirt and he looked confused. "Skin, please."
When he didn't seem to know how to react, she took the hem of his t-shirt in her hands and pulled it over his head. Her hands moved over his chest then and a groan was torn from his lungs.
She took his hand and tugged him back out into the hall. "Where?"
"My bed is bigger," she reminded him and he was struck dumb again, though he followed her.
She stood before him at the side of the bed. This was her show and she knew it, she also knew it was right. She lowered the elastic waist of her boxer shorts and let them fall to the floor, standing nude before him. She couldn't see him breathe, but the vein in his throat throbbed. She stepped closer and felt him shudder.
"I can't be whole without you, Mulder. I've proven that to myself. I need you and I want you."
"You're Mulder, you're my Mulder. I've wanted you for a long time. We don't work together anymore, there are no rules to keep us apart, only ourselves. Do you want to make love to me?"
"Yes," it was a whisper.
She came into his arms then and they closed around her. He buried his face in her hair, breathing her in.
"What happens then?"
"We'll belong to each other even more and we won't be apart."
"It's us, Mulder. The only thing that can keep us apart is us. If we decide to be together, no one can keep us apart. How many times do we have to prove that?" Her lips found his then and he drank from her as his hands explored her soft silky skin. He pulled her even tighter against him and she felt his arousal pressing against his jeans.
She didn't remember moving, but her legs pressed against the mattress and she felt him lift her onto the bed.
He didn't know what would happen, but he could not, he would not refuse this. He lay beside her, caressing her body while his lips explored her face, her throat and then her breasts. Her hands were busy as well, kneading his back muscles, tugging at his hair to move his lips back up to hers.
When they broke for breath, she caressed his cheek. "Lose the jeans, Mulder."
He chuckled, and stunned them both with the sound. He rolled to his side to reach for the button at the waistband, and found her hand already there. God, she really was serious about this.
He noted her care in lowering the zipper. He appreciated it since he was going commando. He also appreciated the look on her face when she saw him, fully loaded and ready for her. She wanted him. Her body was ready for him, the scent of her arousal intoxicating.
"Scully - " it was a growl as her hand encircled his straining cock.
"Please," she murmured. "Love me."
"God, I do," he rolled her under him and began kissing down her body. Her hands alternately caressed his hair and clutched the sheets. Her moans went straight to his cock. His body was barely under control with his need.
When he nuzzled her mahogany curls, she arched to increase the contact.
"Next time - " she gasped. "Please."
Scully was begging him? Wait a minute, 'next time'? God!
He allowed her to tug him back up and he took possession of her lips again as her hand led him to her core. Their eyes locked and he entered her. He forced himself to go slow, giving her time to adjust, stretch to accommodate him. Once he was sheathed within her he stopped, savoring the hot tightness.
"Scully." It sounded like a prayer to her.
Slowly he began to move and she moved with him, meeting each thrust. Their timing was perfect, as though they had never been apart. His hand went under her hips to change the angle and she gasped, then wrapped her legs around him to pull him even closer.
He knew it was as close to heaven as he would ever get. He was close already, but he thought she was too. His fingers fondled her core as well and she tightened down on him. That was all it took, she tensed for an instant, then was coming, her body seized him and he wanted her to never let go. He thrust again, once, twice, then he too was coming. Damn he hadn't come this hard since . . . hell he could feel it in his toes. With a cry he spilled his seed into her.
They rode their orgasms out clutching each other, and when he was capable, he rolled, reluctantly leaving her body. He pulled her atop him and she burrowed in. He felt her go limp just before he did himself.
When he woke a couple of hours later, it was to find her nestled against him, his chin resting on her head. Every inch of her body was pressed against him and he wondered for a moment if they had become one - even air couldn't pass between them.
But this was a fantasy and she would be leaving. She had to, she had a growing career and he at least still had a job. A week together once in a while was not going to work. He needed to face it and let her move on. She was incredible to try this, but . . . He carefully eased out of the bed not waking her. She moved as though questing for him, then settled into the warm spot his body had made and buried her face in his pillow, fully asleep again.
He watched for a moment, unable to help himself, letting the memory solidify in his brain before he turned and retreated to his room.
He packed quickly. She'd have to take him to the airport, but that way she'd still have a car until she left at the end of the week. It was time to start the withdrawal process and he couldn't do that with her still around. He lifted the suitcase off of the bed and turned. He jumped slightly to find her standing there silently watching him. When was the last time she'd been in a room and he hadn't felt it? She hadn't dressed, but thrown her robe on over what he knew was her nude body.
She said nothing, just looking at him for a long moment, then turning on her heel and leaving the room.
The icy shaft to his heart held him still for a minute, then he was able to move and following her to her room. "Scully - "
She turned and looked up at him, her expression completely unreadable, at least to him.
"I, I appreciate everything you've - " His head reeled and he actually staggered back a couple of steps from the blow.
"I. Do. Not. Give. Mercy. Fucks." Her voice was ice, then to her horror and his astonishment, she burst into tears.
There was no hesitation as he moved toward her, taking her into his arms. She struggled, but feebly. He still outweighed her by half again her body weight and the struggle only lasted a moment, then her arms went around him and she let herself cry into his chest.
When the sobs began to diminish to hiccupping, he sat her on the side of the bed and took a seat beside her, his arm still around her.
"I'm sorry - " they said it together and she sighed.
"Why are you leaving?" she asked quietly.
"I guess to beat you to it." She heard the truth behind his words that time.
They sat in silence for while. "Where's this celebrated communication you and I are supposed to have, Mulder?"
"I guess we're out of practice, but then we never were very good in the personal area."
"We're not through, Mulder. Yes, I have to go back to work at the end of the week, but you're still off. I want you to come with me. You need to see the place. You have a lot of decisions that still need to be made."
"You think I can make them there?"
"I think we need more time together. I think I need to be honest with you about my feelings. I think we need each other."
His mouth had fallen open slightly at those words, but he didn't argue.
"Will you come back to bed?"
His eyes seemed to bore into her then, but apparently he saw something he needed because he nodded.
"Take off the wet t-shirt."
He complied with just a hint of a smile on his lips, and stretched out beside her.