Part 4: Coming Clean

"Is that coffee I smell?"

"Why don't you open your eyes and find out, Mulder?"

"Don't wanna."

"Why not?"

"If I open my eyes, it's officially morning, and I don't want it to be morning."


"'Cause then we officially have only one day of honeymoon left. So I'm not opening my eyes."

"Mulder, you can't stave off the inevitable by keeping your eyes closed."

"Can too."


"Can try."

"Try all you want, but you're not getting any coffee until you open your eyes."

~sigh~ "Fine... Scully, do you always deliver breakfast in bed while naked?"

"Only when the recipient is my husband who's also naked."

"I think I'll become a nudist."

"Considering how much you like prancing around in the buff, it wouldn't be much of a stretch. Scoot over. Let's eat breakfast while it's still hot."

"Breakfast isn't the only thing that's hot."

"I can see that, but I'm going to ignore it until I've built up my strength again. Did you get any more sleep last night? Or did you stay awake agonizing over the what-ifs and should-have-beens?"

"I told you I wouldn't, Scully. And I didn't. I was just thinking, that's all."

"About what?"

"About things. Stuff."

"Not happy stuff, from the look in your eyes."

"We're not gonna talk about that. This is our honeymoon. We're going to talk about happy things. So what did you do this morning besides prepare breakfast in your birthday suit?"

"I was thinking, too."


"My cancer."


"It's okay, Mulder. This was a happy thought."

"How can anything having to do with your cancer be happy?"

"Because I was thinking about the first time I ever decided to jump your bones."

"You're kidding! You were planning to have your way with me while you were sick with cancer?"

"Not while I was sick. This was right after I went into remission. Remember that case down in Florida? The "mothmen"? It was our first time out of town after my miracle cure astounded the doctors."

"Yeah, I remember. We were on our way to build towers of furniture when we got stopped by a road block."

"And then you got out of the car."

* * *

I really didn't blame Mulder for getting out. What I was ready to smack him for was leaving me behind with Agents Dull and Duller. If I had to listen to one more boring story about how they validated their partnership on each others' shoulders, I was going to rip the upholstery into strips and lash them to the head rests by their necks. Tight. So to avoid the lengthy explanation and accompanying paperwork, I got out of the car, too, and followed my unvalidated partner into the humid Florida undergrowth.

As soon as I heard him talking about odd footprints, I knew we weren't going to make the seminar. I figured we'd catch hell from Skinner for blowing it off, but what else was new? For once, I didn't care. I was just glad to be out in the field, again.

**Really, Scully?**

**Yes, Mulder. Really.**

**You rebel! I thought for sure you were totally pissed at me.**

**I had to keep up appearances, didn't I? Couldn't let you think it was okay to blow off whatever assignments you wanted, whether I agreed or not. Besides, that was right about the time I decided I was tired of letting other people control my personal life.**

**So you decided to screw my brains out.**

**You want me to tell this or are you going to keep interrupting?**

**Please, continue, Scheherazade.**

**Thank you.**

It took me a long time to work up the nerve to bring in that plate of wine and cheese. I kept thinking about it and thinking about it until I'd worn the idea thin and ragged. Then I quit thinking and just said "What the hell?"

I had a plan in mind. A celebration, if you will. So much of our time in recent months had been spent hiding, lying, worrying, or just plain hurting. I wanted that to change. I'd been handed a second chance and I was going to take advantage of it. But I wasn't going to do it alone. Not anymore.

So I went to a little convenience store next to the motel and rustled up some party food. The choices were rather limited, but I managed to find a couple of small bottles of a halfway decent wine. I bought chunks of a few different kinds of cheese and some crackers, and hauled it all back to my room.

The motel manager lent me a tray to put it on, and I was set to par-tay.

I walked into Mulder's room and found him surfing the web. He seemed surprised. It felt nice to know that I was the one who put that happy smirk on his face.

"You try any of that Tailhook crap with me, Scully, and I'll kick your ass."

Well. Didn't that just bring up a wonderful mental image? Mulder, walking a gauntlet of groping women, hands all over his chest and ass and... I usually enjoyed seeing other women checking him out. But recently, the idea of strange women with their hands on him was enough to put me in a real funk. I needed to do something about the jealousy that was getting harder and harder to control.

**You were jealous?**

**Of course I was. *I* wanted to be the one touching you. And I was planning to that very night, but you suddenly jumped up and grabbed your jacket.**

**Uh oh.**

**Damn right.**

"When I get back, we can build a tower of office furniture," Mulder quipped, and then he left.

Opening one of the tiny wine bottles, I poured some into a plastic cup and took a healthy slug. I couldn't believe Mulder just walked out on me to go chase goblins. Of course, he didn't have a clue about what I had in mind, but that didn't make me feel any better. I looked around his room, not quite sure what I should do next.

Realizing it was going to be wine and cheese for one instead of two, I locked Mulder's room and took the party tray back to mine. I moped around for a while, nibbling on cheese and crackers, but not exactly hungry anymore. I'd had a plan. A way of bringing some closure to both of us a chance to rid ourselves of the past and start fresh. Now it seemed like I would have to put the idea on hold. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I could still carry out part of my agenda. If Mulder couldn't be there in the flesh, he could still be with me in my mind. And maybe it would be enough to give me the peace I was hoping for.

**Is this the good part?**

**That depends.**

**On what?**

**On whether or not you let me finish.**

**Oh. Can I ask a question?**

~sigh ~ **Okay.**

**Does this involve a can of Reddi Wip?**

**No Reddi Wip, Mulder.**

**Are you sure?**

**Yes, I'm sure. Why do you ask?**

**'Cause I've always had this fantasy about you and a full can of whipped topping...**

**Well, this is my fantasy, not yours.**

**Oh. Right. Do we have any Reddi Wip in the kitchen?**

**If you'd let me finish my story, you could go find out.**

**Don't mind me. Carry on.**

Gathering up shampoo and shower gel, I went into the bathroom, closing the door behind me. I left my phone in the other room. I didn't care what else happened, there would be no interruptions tonight.

I stripped off my clothes, while the water heated up, and left them in a heap on the floor. They were a skin of sorrow being shed to make way for a clean, healthy new me. If I'd had a way at the time, I would have burned them.

As steam filled the bathroom, I shut my eyes and let my mind conjure the image of the mist swirling in the wake of the closing door. Mulder had entered the room. He quickly removed his clothes, adding them to the pile on the floor. Holding the shower curtain open, we both stepped into the tub.

The water was just short of scalding, but it felt wonderful as it flowed over my head. We stood facing, with the spray bouncing off his chest, and stared into each other's eyes.

"This is where it begins," I told Mulder. "No more loneliness, doubts, misery or despair. We can watch it all wash away."

Mulder nodded. Picking up the shampoo, he squeezed some into his hand and reached for my head. His long fingers dug furrows through my hair as they massaged my scalp. I groaned aloud as his hands pulled all my rage to the surface and mixed it with the suds. It cooled the water as they combined, so intense was its heat. Pushing my head under the spray, Mulder stroked his fingers through my hair, sending the foam sluicing down my back and into the drain.

I reached for the shampoo, to do his hair next, but he stopped me with a hand on my arm.

"You first."

Nodding, I allowed him to take over. Mulder rubbed the shower gel into a lather in his palms. Using only his fingertips, he washed my face with firm, circular strokes. With my eyes closed, I could feel every inch of his skin where it touched mine. It tingled and tickled, the way your lips do when you hum against a waxed paper-wrapped comb.

As Mulder cleansed each new area of my body, I felt the emotions that had weighed me down for a year leaching out through my pores. Pain and despair ran down my face, dripping off my chin to the shower floor. Sorrow trickled from my fingertips, swirling together with the misery oozing from my feet as they spiraled down the drain. Mulder's fingerprints scraped across my breasts, catching on my nipples as all the doubts and loneliness welled up under his tender touch.

When his long fingers glided between my thighs, I came. Not in a burst of heat, but in soft, pulsing waves. As if my body were giving thanks for the purity of pleasure. His strong hands steadied me as I shuddered through my release. I felt him let go of me as I drew in a deeper breath of life than I had taken in months. For the first time in so long, I wanted to gaze into a man's eyes with all the love I was capable of giving -- without hesitation or fear.

But when I opened my eyes, he wasn't there. Mulder wasn't standing beside me, with love in his beautiful eyes and diamond sparkles of water on his skin. And it was okay. The time wasn't right for us yet. I was willing to wait for it. With the past year's pain finally purged, I could stand to wait for a bit longer.

Shutting off the water, I stepped out of the tub and dried off. Putting on my pajamas and robe, I went back to the remains of my party. I was in the mood to celebrate, again. I'd accomplished what I'd set out to do all along.

* * *

"It wasn't too long after that you called me, babbling about glowing eyes chasing Louis through his house. So I got dressed and waited for you to come back for me, so we could end up out in the Florida swamp where you could get chewed on by a mothman."

~sigh~ "That was kind of sad, Scully. I wish I could have been there with you."

"You were, Mulder. You were in my mind the whole time. So was that the good part?"

"Yes, it was. Even if it was a little sad."

"Not lame?"

"I'm sorry I ever called your fingerpaints lame, okay?"

"Okay, I guess. Just don't let it happen again."

"How come it didn't?"


"Why didn't you ever try again, Scully?"

"Well, it wasn't too long after that we found out about Emily..."


"The time never seemed quite right again."

"I'm sorry I walked out on you in Florida. I wish I'd known what you were thinking. Maybe if we'd been more open with each other, like we are now, we wouldn't have waited so long to be together."

"Or maybe we would have anyway, Mulder. I still believe things happen for a reason. We came together when the time was right for us."

"Still, it would have been nice to wash away the worry and pain of your cancer together."

"No regrets, Mulder. What we did is over and gone. It's what we do now that counts."

"So what should we do now?"

"Wanna take a shower with me?"

"Are you propositioning me, wife?"

"It saves on water. Conservation and all that."

"I'll wash your back if you wash my --"

"It wouldn't be any fun showering together if I didn't, now would it?"

Go to Part 5: "BITCH" by Lara Means