Love Among the RuinsLOVE AMONG THE RUINS
Part 6: Let Me Love You Tonight
By Jacquie LaVa

They didn't make love for the first time because one of them felt sorry for the other. Strangely, he'd always thought that if he were ever to have the honor of a night with Scully it would be under the blanket of comfort rather than true need. Well, actually...he'd need her desperately, and she'd allow him the comfort of her body.

But it didn't happen that way.

They didn't do it in a haze of blind lust. Not because the feelings he had for her were not coiled within the confines of his heart and so tightly wound that they could spring free at the slightest indication of acceptance, from her. Of course they were. Firmly in place, at least for him, since almost the first year of their partnership -- perhaps the lust he felt had aged over the years into a painful yearning. Because of this maturing, he still would not have proceeded blindly -- if she'd wanted him in that way, with that kind of frenzy.

It wouldn't have been right.

Love, pure and simple -- desire, more than enough for both of them -- those emotions comprised the reason.

Knowing that Scully had asked him to give her what she needed, to conceive...sad heartbreak when the attempts failed. It wasn't even that, although you'd think it would have been. How easy to just say, "Well, didn't happen scientifically; maybe if we just go the old-fashioned route, and hump like minks--" No, it wasn't that. It's hard to find the energy for sex, just for sex's sake -- when the mind is grieving and the heart is sore. After that first failed attempt she was so fragile. Trying to keep her spirits up, but he could see right through her.

Mulder remembered the beginning of the autumn; how she smiled a lot. He was back at work and feeling himself again. Their partnership was stronger than ever, and they'd even engaged in some light flirting. So much different than the innuendo-laden tripe he usually bestowed upon her -- because this time she was flirting back. It was was getting to be the norm with them. It had given them cause to push it a little further than just a flirt. He'd find himself walking her to her door and standing there in the dim of the hallway, smiling what could be considered the world's goofiest smile. She would smile back just as inanely -- and when he'd lean in she'd stretch up. There would be a kiss, or two. Sweet. Not too gentle -- not too rough. Not exactly open and certainly not closed.

Nice...better each time, although truthfully there'd only been a half-dozen of those. But each one was new and heady and lasted just a second longer than the last. They were moving slowly, but it was fine with them; it worked for them. Anticipation had them in one inevitable slide toward one another.

That slide tilted abruptly the morning she'd asked him for the one thing he'd been desperate to give her, albeit not in quite the way she requested...

* * *

"I hurt your feelings when I asked you, didn't I?"

He squeezed her gently. "No, Baby. Not exactly. I confess, I would have liked to have given you that first little package with a bit more intimacy than in a jar -- but at the time I understood your reticence, Scully -- really, I did. It wasn't the right time for us. And yet, it had to be the right time for you to conceive."

She squeezed him back. "Stop being so damn understanding, Mulder. I would have shot me if I were you--"

He shushed her with a soft kiss. "No. If I'd done that I wouldn't be holding you right now, completely saturated with the afterglow of fabulous sex and contemplating another round of it, if I can get my Johnson to cooperate."

She huffed a sleepy laugh. "Come on, Johnson... So, you weren't hurt. You weren't disappointed--"

He interrupted her without apology. "Well, I wouldn't say I wasn't disappointed, Scully..."

* * *

That he might conceive a child with her before he actually felt himself within her body giving her his semen the natural way -- it hadn't hurt, but it had disappointed him. So much. If he could ever give her a child he wanted so much to be loving her when it happened -- inside her where he ached to be. He'd never let her know, because she needed to stay optimistic and as relaxed and open to the possibilities of conception, that she could feel. If he'd believed in the idea of jinxing, he'd have said he didn't want to jinx her with negativity, in any form. He'd managed to hang onto that thought through the first process. It hadn't been as easy as he thought it would be, to conjure up the kind of imagery necessary to fill up that damn jar.

In his ignorance Mulder had thought all he needed to do was lie back on that uncomfortable sofa, take himself in hand, slap on a little K-Y and think of Scully. It had always worked in the solitary confines of his apartment, or any darkened motel room. But this was different. This time it meant the future life of a child that would belong to him and the woman he loved.

This was vital...

This was performance anxiety.

It seemed to take forever but he managed to complete the task by fighting to think of it only in the way it would feel to be surrounded by her first her tender palm, then her inner softness instead of his lubed-up hand. She'd start by holding him in those small, warm fingers -- cradling him. Reassuring him that this was good and right, this was what she wanted -- what he wanted. Stroking him, now gently and then hard -- peppering his face with tiny, biting kisses and damp licks of her tongue, while her body opened beneath him and her hand was replaced by her feminine heat. He'd slip inside her on a needful sigh and he'd feel himself spinning out of himself -- but she'd ground him in her embrace and the movements they made against each other would last a lifetime...more than enough time -- to fill up his soul -- fill up a small glass jar.

* * *

"You thought of me?"

He stared at her in the dim light of their room, amazement at her question evident in his reply to her. "Well, of course! Who else?"

She poked him in the ribs with an elbow. "Well, there were all those magazines -- and those videos... So what did you think about, Mulder? Tell me."

He sighed with long-suffering exaggeration, and turned his head on the pillow, pinning her with his gaze.

"I thought about what it would feel like the first time we loved for real, Scully -- how wonderful it would be -- how right. I imagined it all, and I came hard, in that stupid little jar...and when it was over I wanted to cry because it was a jar, and not you. But I knew it was only a matter of time, before it would be right for both of us -- at the same place in our respective lives. And if you was..."

* * *

“Come over, Mulder. Please.”

Standing in front of her door he thought about the tone of her voice on the phone, one hour ago. Not exactly sad, but not happy. Weary but also a bit edgy. And Mulder never stopped to think how odd it was that he could know this woman so well -- know her to the point of being able to analyze her very vocal tone -- and yet had never been more intimate with her than a handful of sweet kisses.

He'd only been home for a few hours when he decided to call her and make sure she was all right. When he'd left earlier she was dry-eyed but calm, and they both decided they needed a little breathing space to assimilate the reality of the procedure's failure. He'd sat on his sofa in a dark apartment and worried his lower lip with his teeth until it felt as raw as his heart -- and he knew he had to call her and make sure she was okay. So he'd dialed her number -- and she'd whispered into the phone, "Come over, Mulder. Please..."

Five minutes later he was on his way.

Now he raised a hand and rapped twice; she opened the door so quickly that it was apparent she'd been hovering on the other side. They stared at each other in the soft glow of her foyer. She was barefoot and tousle-haired; pale and red-eyed and wearing jeans with holes in the knees and a sweatshirt that was ripped over one shoulder. He'd never seen her so disreputably dressed. So vulnerable. And more beautiful than when she was perfectly-groomed and expertly made up. He stepped forward and she walked backward and he pushed the door closed with one boot. And when he placed a hand on her cheek it felt cool and tender under his palm.

"You've been crying again." He was stating a fact, not asking. She nodded. He sighed in distress and held out his arms. "Oh, Scully...c'mere." And she fit herself into his embrace and pressed her cold cheek into his neck; her arms curled up and into his back and they held onto each other tightly.

The seconds stretched out into minutes and neither of them moved, or spoke. Mulder wanted to absorb every drop of her sadness, her worry -- her despair. He clasped her even closer and his words were a breath against her ear.

"Scully, I would do anything to make this work out for you. Anything. You know that, don't you?" He felt her nod into his neck. "I refuse to think of no other chance for you -- for us."

Per Manum

At the possessive “us,” she raised her head and her damp eyes bore into his.

"Mulder, I can't ask you to involve yourself any further. It's not fair to you -- to your own emotions. I can't--"

He pressed a hand on her lips to silence her. And he shook his head at her, a crooked little smile cast her way.

"I'm involved, Scully. I always have been. I got involved the day I pocketed those ova -- hell, even before that! For as long as I have known you I've been involved. When you lost Emily..." Her indrawn breath was a warning but he didn't heed it -- "Scully, when you lost her I wanted nothing more than to find a way to fill you with the ability to bear children. Even back children. I never could tell you. I didn't want to hurt you..."

Now it was her turn to cut him off, first with her hand and then the careful press of her mouth against his. Their lips clung for a moment, before she broke away and met his sad gaze.

"I'm glad you told me, Mulder. It means so much to me, to know that you cared that way. But I have to face that it's over. Whatever remains between us, it won't be accented with children. Not biologically... I have to accept that."

He shook his head again and cupped her face in his hands; held her in place before him.

"I told you not to give up on a miracle, Scully. I meant it. You never know what's coming around the corner. What's going to happen a day from now, a week or a month away. That's why life is so damn amazing, even at our darkest moment and our saddest times. You just never know. Maybe we can't have a child of our bodies but what's most important now is the way we feel about each other -- and if that feeling is strong enough to carry us into a future together. I think it is. What about you?" It was a his voice, his body language and from his eyes as they bore into hers.

She didn't answer him with the words he wanted to hear but the meaning behind those words came across loud and clear, when she rose on tiptoes and her lips brushed his earlobe as she murmured, "Stay with me, Mulder. Stay here, with me." Her request was not a question, and his response was immediate and sure.

"Yes. Yes, Scully..."

* * *

"I was so nervous."

Her admission made him smile tenderly and he brushed his nose over her cheek teasingly, leaning in to press a kiss on one exposed breast. "You were perfection. I was a wreck, though. I remember thinking I couldn't possibly give you everything you needed..."

She took a turn at kissing the flat male nipple nearest her mouth, and he felt her smile against his chest. "Oh, blew me away. Every fantasy I ever had about us; each one I have told you about, tonight -- none of them could possibly compare to the real thing, that first time -- none of them..."

* * *

He spent more time in the bathroom than he should have, preparing himself. It wasn't romantic, at least not his idea of romance. Lit candles and soft music, even softer inviting bed with the covers pulled back, just asking for the hero to carry his beloved over to it and lay her down gently upon the cool, silky sheets. That was “Romance” -- and that's not the way it happened at all.

He'd held her hand as they walked into her bedroom, instead of carrying her. There was a dim light -- coming from the bathroom. They'd paused at the bed and Scully had begun to fuss with the coverlet, eyes not quite meeting his. And he'd mumbled, "Back in a sec," and beat a quick path to the bathroom. Once there he'd splashed water on his face and hastily scrubbed at his teeth with his finger and some of her toothpaste. He stared at his reflection and smoothed his hair, then roughed it up until it stood on end. The thick spikes of hair made him look like a nervous teen.

Mostly he'd worried. About disappointing her. About agonizing over what was really the most natural act in the world -- loving a woman. About not lasting long enough with her, to assure she'd enjoy it, and climax before him. He even worried that once in bed, she'd change her mind. He worried about everything but the possibility that the longer he hid out in the bathroom, the more convinced she'd be that he was feeling regret.

When he finally came out Scully was sitting on the edge of the bed with her knees together and her bare feet aligned perfectly, still fully dressed, and sporting an expression of nervousness that far out-nerved anything he'd managed to conjure up. She looked like a parochial schoolgirl facing a nun-infested firing squad...and the sight of her suddenly dissipated all of Mulder's worry and own fluttering nerves. She was as jittery about this, as unsure, as he was. And somehow that made everything so much better.

In that instant he knew everything would be fine. No, everything would be wonderful. He'd see to it, personally...

* * *

"Mulder, you were nervous, too? You sure didn't act like it."

His fingers stroked over her hair slowly and his chuckle was self-derisive. "Scully, I was a mess. I thought for sure you could tell. I came out of that bathroom scared to death I'd let you down. When I saw you sitting there like a good little Catholic girl, all my nerves vanished into thin air."

Her laugh pealed out and the sound of it was sweet to his ears. In between snickers she teased him. "Please don't tell me that was one of your long-held fantasies, Mulder -- bopping a devout woman. My ego is so fragile right now..."

Her silliness made them both laugh. It felt wonderful -- laughing in bed on their honeymoon, which was a miracle in itself. He gathered her closer and whispered wickedly to her. "You've discovered my impure little secret, Scully. Thank God you never lost your religion; I don't know what my libido would have done about it."

She pushed at his bare shoulder. "Don't talk like that when you're naked. Better yet, don't talk at all..."

Her lips covered his and Mulder laughingly kissed her, but his thoughts were several years away, remembering...

* * *

Her eyes widened when he dropped to his knees in front of her and slipped a hand into the torn denim over one bent knee. The jeans were loose and he could cup the back of her calf, touch her soft skin. Mulder glanced down at her feet and saw her heels still carefully aligned, but at his steady caress he could feel her relax a little. He raised his head and met her uncertain gaze with one as reassuring as he could manage. She leaned forward and pressed her forehead against his shoulder and her words were a rasp of low sound.

"It's been a long time, for me. Years. I'm a little rusty, I think -- no, a lot rusty. Slowly, okay? Slowly."

When she looked into his eyes again she must have found what she was looking for, because a blush stained her cheeks and the look of that pink stealing across her face was delightful. He could feel a grin building and his reply was sandpaper-tender.

"It's been a while for me as well, Scully. Just as many years. We'll go as slowly as you want. We'll rust together, how's that?"

She sighed out a shaky giggle and her gaze melted him even as her words made him smile anew.

"You're an utter goof, Mulder..."

That was the last sentence she spoke for a long time.

Kisses, unlike any they'd shared before. Soft. Deep. Intensely personal -- intimately erotic. Not because he speared her with crazed lips and a demanding tongue, but because when their lips engaged, so did their souls. He could feel it. Feel her, arrowing straight through him. Kissing Scully had been a wonderful bonus these past weeks, but this woman in his arms wasn't his partner.

This woman was his lover. And that made all the difference.

Slowly. They took each kiss very slowly. Letting the fire of it build and catch alight. No rush, nowhere they had to be -- no hidden agenda other than the introduction of emotions buried much too long. He took much pleasure in undressing her, treating each article of clothing with the same reverence as if removing sensuous silk and gossamer. He lifted her sweatshirt to his face and inhaled the lingering scent of her; when he raised his eyes to hers he saw them glow. He busied himself with the clasp of her bra, carefully unhooking hooks and slipping down straps and pushing aside loose cups...and while his eyes adored the loveliness he revealed he performed the same slow stripping away of the rest of her clothes, until she lay nude before him covered in tiny goosebumps and a body-blush that wouldn't quit.

She took what little breath he had clean from him -- and he so wanted to tell her. He also didn't want to add to her already-stretched nerves, so he remained quiet and allowed his eyes and his touch to adore her.

He let an index finger wander east and west, then slowly south, her muscles fluttering as he moved it over her skin -- and just before it reached her taut abdomen he paused, leaned into her and pressed one open-mouthed kiss right over her little navel -- then forced himself to sit back on his heels. Taking a deep fortifying breath, Mulder ground out a firm, "My turn, Scully."

Her smile was a thing of sweetness, as she bent to her task.

Off came his socks, then she snaked his faded jeans down his legs. Face somber with concentration, Scully undressed him as slowly and as carefully as he'd done to her. And if her fingers paused at the waistband of his shorts Mulder would never have teased her for the show of hesitancy. He watched her and the way she stared at him -- at the erection that tented his boxers and peeked out a bit from the opening -- and when she licked her lips he had to clench his muscles to hold in the mad urge to leap upon her and take her, all, everything...

She reached out one hand, then two -- and her fingers hooked into the elastic and she tugged a little too hard, but it didn't matter because he was dying to be out, and suddenly he was.

Her breathy, "Oh, my..." went a hell of a long way to re-establish his sense of confidence in being a worthy lover.

* * *

"God, Mulder...the look of you on my bed rendered me just about speechless. It took a supreme amount of willpower not to just attack you." Her smiling confession stained his cheeks pink and he ducked his head into the pillow and muttered at her.

"Geez, Scully..."

She laughed again and rolled her weight towards him until he was flat on his back -- then she climbed aboard and grinned down into his surprised, pleased face. "Well, it's true. I saw, I wanted... I almost grabbed first."

He smirked up at her. "So -- why didn't you? Grab first, that is?"

"I was trying to play 'hard-to-get', Husband Mine."

He rolled his eyes at her. "Oh, Brother..."

* * *

In the dim light Scully's body was so much more than he'd ever remembered, the few times he could remember seeing her nude. The moment had a surreal quality about it, as if in his wildest dreams he couldn't imagine she'd be here with him, warm and shy but oh so willing. He lay against propped-up pillows and tugged gently at her hands until she got the message and moved over him, straddling him carefully -- not quite centered on him but for now, close enough. Pink-tinged all over, especially her face -- and he adored it, the knowledge that she was shy. He pressed her hands to his chest and without words told her to touch him, everywhere.

And she did.

As her hands wandered, her eyes darkened and her breath came in short little purrs, the only sound in the room beyond his own soft groans. Tapered fingertips skimmed over his shoulders and down each arm, curling into his biceps and testing the strength found there. Her hair spilled into her eyes and he missed seeing her changing expression so he lifted a hand and tucked the coppery thickness behind her ear, then left his palm behind her head and rubbed at her nape. When Scully bent down over him in her explorations he found a small breast very close to his face, and by moving just a little he was able to catch it between his lips. When he bit down softly, she shuddered...

For Mulder the taste of her skin was only equaled by the incredible feel of her and the knowledge that this time it wasn't a fantasy, this time was real. He kept his mouth busy on her breast, giving her time to accept the way her nipple responded to his teeth, his tongue -- letting her body make all the decisions, have all the control beyond that one vital mouth-to-flesh connection. When she slipped a hand beneath his head and pulled on his neck, Mulder sat up a little and pressed into her harder, taking more of her. He wasn't rough but he wasn't gentle, and it seemed to be exactly what she wanted. He murmured a few rumbling words and heard her breath hitch in her chest, there against his mouth.

"Tell me. What you want -- what you feel. Tell..."

She clasped him even closer as her ragged whisper filled the scant space between them. "More. More of this. It feels...ohhh...good..."

His hands came up to cup her hips and when he re-aligned both their bodies and felt himself straining up, eager to be inside, he managed to grind out his intentions in a voice he didn't even recognize -- and her broken, "Yes," told him she was somehow ready for him...that quickly, that soon. She slipped to the side and lay on her back; held out her arms. Mulder rose up, over her -- and she reached out and pulled him into her body, legs falling apart to encompass him. He blinked at her in delighted surprise at the sudden and silent aggression he sensed had come over her despite her apparent shyness. He let himself sink down upon her and trembled when she folded arms and thighs all around him. Her hand cupped him, guided him -- brought him home.

"Oh, Christ..." He was never sure which one of them said it; maybe they both did. Too many sensations to track; they swamped him as her flesh encompassed his. Warm. Wet.


He'd never felt anything like it. So perfect.

Mulder slipped his arms underneath her shoulderblades and dug his hands into her hair, buried his mouth in her neck and let the feeling pound over him in waves. He couldn't last nearly long enough -- and yet he felt invincible; fought to hang onto it, long enough to give her pleasure. He pulled back his face to stare in happy surprise when after only a few strokes Scully stiffened and her body clenched, hard. Her head rose off the pillow and her teeth nipped into his shoulder as she climaxed, broken moans issuing from her throat that actually burned his ears. He wanted to swallow those sounds and so his mouth grasped at them, at her lips and her tongue -- loving the way they felt as they shuddered against him.

Deeper, the move of his body into hers, as he kept their mouths fused tightly together. Her hands curled reflexively into his hips and pushed him down; made him thrust faster -- harder. And breaking the hot kiss and an even hotter silence between them, her throaty rasp in his ear. "Mulder... Now...please..."

* * *

"When you breathed those words into my ear, Scully... God. I'd never felt anything like what I felt when your voice and what you said pushed me over the edge." His voice was almost reverent with the remembrance of what she'd done to him that first night -- the way she'd loved him. He stroked a palm over her cheek and watched the pink blossom there.

Scully's eyes sparkled into his and she swooped down, kissing him deeply, thanking him silently. Their lips clung, their tongues flicked against each other's -- their hearts beat together. Just the way it had happened to them years ago, when William was only a figment of their hopes and a seemingly unattainable dream.

When the kiss ended Scully nestled her head under his chin -- a perfect fit, he'd always thought -- and lay upon his chest, reaching for his hands and twining her fingers through his. A small and warm Scully-blanket, Mulder decided, and he pressed his smile into her mussed hair and breathed in her unique scent. A thick contentment had settled over both of them as they rested together, in the wee hours of their second day as man and wife.

It was an amazing thing, this life they'd etched for themselves. Somehow they'd overcome obstacles that would have decimated anyone else. Somehow they'd beaten odds that the most erstwhile gambler would have shied away from -- they'd found a way to live, and love -- a way to create a world for them and a beloved child from that world. It was funny. He'd spent way too much time wondering how -- in those early days when he'd returned that first time and she'd been large with their child and stressed to the breaking point with worry and anxiety for not only his safety but that of the unborn William -- how she'd conceived when so many things were against them, none the least of which -- her stolen ova.

The even breathing of the woman lying atop him assured Mulder that his bride was asleep, and he decided that was a great idea. Nap a little, maybe wake up in a few hours, and make love again. Slowly and gently, softly -- but hotly. Always, there would be heat even when they'd do nothing more strenuous in bed than doze. Hell, there was heat when they'd been nothing more than friends and partners...

With his arms wrapped around Scully, Mulder drifted off, remembering the way they'd held each other, had come down from that first-time high, back before the world went crazy and before they knew of their own extreme possibilities...

* * *

He'd unraveled in her arms. Had fallen from a very high place and landed hard. He'd climaxed in a fury, felt it streak through him until he was so light-headed he almost blacked out. It had never felt like that. When he'd swelled and burst within Scully she was still clenching at him and Mulder found himself wondering inanely if it was possible to bruise on the inside of a penis... He groaned.

"Scully... Oh, baby... Love you, adore you..." He was babbling into her damp hair, barely registering his own words, and she stiffened beneath him as her body responded to the words he'd said.

Her hands soothed up and down his back; her legs trembled as they enclosed his hips. Residual twinges from within her still pulled at him, arms clung as her hands moved over him. The silence between them was broken only by their heartbeats...and then she spoke. Whispered, in a tiny and shaky voice, her eyes locked to his.

"You love me." It was a statement.

He nodded, fighting back the urge to scream it at the top of his lungs.

Scully searched his adoring stare, murmuring brokenly, "Love. Me. Oh, Mulder. I love you right back--"

The rest of whatever she might have said got swallowed up in the fierce relief of his kiss, his thankful embrace.

He'd always known she cared for him; loved him. Now he had the words to fold into his heart -- now he had the knowledge of her body giving itself to him -- and it was more than he'd ever imagined he'd be fortunate enough to receive.

He held Scully tightly and kissed her -- letting the loneliness drain from him once and for all--

Well, at least for tonight.


"I never said thank you, did I, Mulder?"

"For what?"

"For being there for me that night. For making it bearable."

"The pleasure was all mine. Well, half mine, anyway."

"Don't joke. I'm serious. Having you there made a big difference to me that night."

"You'd have managed. You always do."

"Yes, I would have. But I didn't have to. And I'm grateful to you for that, whether you like it or not."




"Did it ever occur to you that it was just as hard for me as it was for you? That I was just as ... as heartbroken as you were? And that I'm just as grateful to you as you are to me?"

"What do you mean?"

"Our baby, Scully. We lost our baby. I never wanted children, or I never thought I did. But that day when you asked me ... suddenly everything fell into place. And for a few weeks I was the happiest man alive. Until it all came crashing down."

"I'm sorry."

"It's not your fault."

"I know. But I'm still sorry."

"It all worked out in the end. We never gave up hoping for a miracle."


Eventually, it was morning.

By unspoken agreement, they stayed in mutual denial until the very last minute. The drapes remained closed against the encroaching daylight, the clock was turned to face the wall. Breakfast consisted of fruit, toast and cold cereal, and was eaten in bed. Afterwards, they made love again.

But all good things must end, and the moment finally came for this, as well. They showered and dressed and straightened up the apartment, picking up clothes from where they'd fallen, and putting videos and DVDs back where they belonged.

"So. Minneapolis?" Scully asked, as she gave the kitchen table one more swipe with a damp towel.

"Yeah," Mulder said.  She already knew, but he filled in the details anyway, as much to get his own head back into the world as anything else. "I'll probably be gone a couple of weeks. Liaison crap, yada yadda. You?"

"Atlanta," she replied. "More turf battles with the CDC. Some of them think, now that we've found the vaccine and got a couple of production lines going, it's back to business as usual. Monica and I are going to knock some heads together." Finished with the table, she tossed the towel into the sink, then turned to Mulder and slipped her arms around his waist. "I'm going to miss you and Will. Again."

"It won't always be like this," Mulder said, trying to reassure himself as much as her. He stroked her back, and buried his nose in her hair, inhaling deeply.

"Are you sure?" She drew her head back, and Mulder was relieved to see a faint smile traced the outline of her lips. "Mulder, we wouldn't know what to do with ourselves if there wasn't any trouble in our lives. You, in particular, would go mad. You wouldn't last a week."

"Would so."

"Would not."

"Would so!"

Scully laughed, shaking her head, then stretched up on her toes to kiss him. "Whatever you say. Somehow, I don't think we're going to get a chance to find out anytime soon."

"Probably not."

They stood holding each other for a few minutes, not wanting the moment to end. At last they were disturbed by a knock on the door. Scully sighed.

"That must be Monica," she commented.  "Duty calls."

"Indeed it does."

He allowed her out of his embrace, and the two of them walked slowly out into the living room, hand in hand. There was another knock, louder than the first, and this time it was Mulder's turn to sigh as he let go of Scully's hand so she could undo the chain.

The door swung open, to reveal Monica, wry and apologetic for having to disturb them. She'd brought two cups of coffee, and after a few awkward words of greeting, she offered one to Scully, who accepted it, then turned to face her husband.

"You better get going," he said. "We wouldn't want this to get all mushy."

"No, we wouldn't," she agreed. She hesitated, suddenly looking a little self-conscious, then went up on her toes and brushed her lips across his cheek. "Bye, Mulder." Then she was out the door and following Monica down the hall. Mulder turned around to look at the apartment one more time, allowing himself only a moment or two of wistfulness. Then he left, too, pulling the door shut behind him.

The honeymoon was over.


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