Author: Janet F. Caires-Lesgold
e-mail: jfc@freeshell.org
Rating: NC-17 (for sexual scenes)
Category: S,A
Spoilers: not really
Keywords: MSR, RST?
Summary: Scully gives in to temptation, with unforeseen results
Archive: Contact me for permission
Feedback: Gobbled up like popcorn

Disclaimer: These characters aren't mine - they are the creation of Chris Carter and belong to him & 1013 Productions. This story isn't going to earn me a nickel - it's just for fun. The story, however, is (C) Janet F. Caires-Lesgold, May 1998.





Dana Scully ran through a dark forest. Rain-soaked leaves slapped her face, and roots seemed to rise out of the mud in an attempt to trip her. The air was filled with thunder crashes, the whistle of the wind, and indistinct voices. One of her shoes became lodged under a fallen branch, so she pulled her foot free and limped along on her remaining shoe. Anxiously, she glanced over her shoulder at her pursuer, only to see nothing there. As she turned back to her escape route, something grabbed her arm tightly, and she stumbled and fell. At last she saw the face of the thing that had chased her, with eyes glowing red and a mouth filled with ragged teeth being licked by a black, slavering tongue. Dana would have let out a scream as it sunk its fangs into her flesh, but her voice failed her. She braced for the pain of the creature's bite, but there was no sensation except a strange warmth as a calmness washed over her. Her eyes shut tight as she became aware of a faint breeze on her face, and the rising strains of... Patsy Cline?


Dana sat up sharply, but found herself restrained by a seat belt. She recognized that she was in the passenger seat of a car that was traveling along a two-lane road through a grove of trees in the rain. The last chorus of "Crazy" was fading out on the radio.

"D'ja have a nice nap?" asked the driver in a very familiar voice.

She blinked away the dream and focused on his face. "Oh! Mulder!" she began, shaking her head a little.

"You were expecting maybe Errol Flynn?" he joked. He smiled, the corners of his eyes crinkling up, and turned back to his driving.

"Somebody swinging in on a rope to save me might have been nice..." she muttered half to herself. "How much longer till we get there?"

Mulder squinted out past the wiper blades at a small road sign. "I'd say about an hour, unless the weather gets much worse. You need to stop for anything?"

"No, I'm fine," she replied, almost as if reassuring herself. They drove on for a while in silence as the windshield wipers beat a counterpoint to the country station on the radio.

A sudden crack of nearby thunder and lightning made her jump visibly. "You okay?" asked Mulder, concerned as always about his partner.

"Yeah," she sighed, "just startled, that's all."

"You sure? You look like you've seen a ghost."

She swallowed the wisecrack she ordinarily would have made at that comment, merely nodding in reply. The memory of her recent vision-filled nights haunted her, and she stole glances at him, trying to think of how to ask him about them. After a few moments, weighing her words carefully, she asked, "Mulder, how do you sleep?"

"Usually with my socks on. Why?"

"No, that's not what I meant," she argued. "I meant, how? How can you sleep and not see horrible creatures reaching for you out of the shadows?"

"Who said I don't?"

"You do?"

"No, I just wondered who said it..." He chuckled to himself and gripped the wheel more tightly as they passed another car.

"Hey, I'm serious!" she protested.

He glanced at her, then back to the slick road. "You are, aren't you?" His face softened, and the sarcasm left his voice. "What's wrong?"

Dana sighed again. "I don't know. I just haven't been sleeping well lately. I mean, with all the creeps and dead bodies I've seen in the years we've been working together, it's like I'm always waiting to uncover the next one."

"We certainly do find our share of disgusting things. I guess I just haven't let it get to me... Well, at least not very often. I guess I didn't figure you as the type to give in to job burnout: you've always struck me as the consummate professional."

"It's not that... I mean I'm always ready to do my job, because maybe I'll be able to help somebody: you know, save somebody's life."

"Well, what, then?"

"I guess it's the dreams," she answered slowly.

"What, you don't dig finding yourself naked in Skinner's office? That's always been one of my faves."

The only reason she didn't hit him was that she couldn't reach anything that would deliver the right kind of hair-jostling blow. "NO, Mulder. I mean the nightmares..."

"Oh," he replied, contrite for once. "I'm sorry. I'll be good. I promise. Talk to me."

She leaned back against the headrest and closed her eyes, composing her thoughts before she spoke again. "It's always a little different, but somehow the same. I'm working on some case or another, and I'll find myself alone in my lab, or in the field, or even at home. Now, normally that wouldn't bother me, but I always know that the bogeyman in this particular case always lurks in the shadows and tends to attack people while they're alone. And it never fails: sure enough, I soon find myself running away from the thing in question, except I'm never quite fast enough or clever enough, and I turn and there it is."

"Then what happens?" interrupted Mulder.

"Then it attacks me, or does whatever it does."

"I could see where that could make you jumpy," he offered.

"Yeah, but that's when it gets weird."

"Weird how?"

"Well, all the time I'm running away, I'm scared and trying to save myself. But then it catches me, and the fear goes away. It's almost as if I wanted it to attack me."

"Then what happens?"

"That's usually when I wake up."

"Hmmmm... Any ideas about what the dream might mean?"

"Well, I always thought it was about being afraid of being alone."

"But you're not. You said so yourself."

"No, not of working alone. Being alone. You know, in my life. Ending up alone."

"But you're not alone. You've got me," he said, smiling as he glanced in the rear-view mirror.

Scully shifted in her seat, ignoring his comment. "But why would I welcome its attack?"

"I don't know. Why do you think you would?" he asked in rebuttal, surreptitiously trying not to affect a phony Austrian accent.

"I can't imagine, unless I'm willingly giving up..."

"Giving up what?"

She spoke almost before the thoughts occurred to her. "Maybe the fight is too hard. Maybe we've already lost the battle. Maybe the bad guys have won."

"Do you really believe that?" Mulder prompted.

She paused and stared out at the wet trees as if looking for answers. "No. Maybe. I don't know. It just feels like I have no control over the situation, and..."

"Stop right there," he demanded.


"I think you just said your magic word."

"What word?" she asked, replaying her last sentence in her head. "'Situation'?"

"No. Listen to yourself. What did you just say?"

"Uh, something about 'I have no control over...' Oh... You mean 'control'."



He took his eyes off the road just long enough to glance straight into her eyes. "You always have to be in control, don't you?"

"No, I don't."

"Yes, you do. Admit it. You hate it when you don't know what's going on. It makes you nuts."

"Well, maybe..."

"Yes, really. The only times I've ever seen you lose your temper is when somebody knows something and won't tell you what it is, or if you're at the mercy of whoever or whatever agency is standing in your way to getting what you want."

"Geez, that sounds like my entire career, or at least my entire association with you, Mr. Conspiracies-Are-Us! No wonder I'm having nightmares!" She gave a sarcastic laugh and turned back to watching the wet road. "So you think the nightmares are telling me that I need to be more in control?"

"Nope. You say that in your dream you give in to the monster, and that you aren't afraid anymore."

"So, what does that mean?"

"I think it means that you really do want to be the victim. You know, they say that the thing we fear the most is the thing that we truly desire..."

"Bullshit, Mulder."

"...and that the thing we are least willing to accept is the truth about ourselves."

"What are you saying?"

"I'm saying that I'm right, and you don't want to admit it."

"Admit that I want to be attacked by the monster?"

"No: that you secretly wish you could give up your need for control, just let go and let the 'monster' have his way with you."

"You're kidding!"

He gave her a sidelong glance, and a sneaky grin began to creep across his face. "I think I'm onto something here. You cling so tightly to your control on your life, when what you really want is to break free, lose control, and go wild."

"Me. Go wild. Uh-huh..."

"You know I'm right. Think about it." With that they had reached their exit, and the topic of conversation changed to the directions to their destination as he turned the car onto the crossroad.

Mulder and Scully arrived at their appointment right on time, and they conducted interviews and gathered evidence for the case at hand for the rest of the day. Dana kept her mind on her job, but Mulder's words kept echoing in her head, while she wondered if they might have some merit. By the time they came out of the last meeting, the clouds had dissipated, and the sun was setting in a clear sky. They checked into a motel, and found a pleasant restaurant within walking distance, so went in for some dinner.

They discussed their findings over the food, but Mulder noticed Scully looking at him intently whenever the conversation slowed. Finally he put down his fork. "What?" he asked, in an almost exasperated tone.

"Hmmm?" she intoned, trying to keep the guile out of her voice.

"You've been staring at me all during dinner, and I'd like to know why."

"Oh, sorry!" she apologized. "I guess you just gave me some food for thought this morning."


"I hate to admit it, but you just may be right, after all. Maybe my need to be in control is just an excuse to keep from living my life to the fullest."

He looked into her eyes, genuinely surprised at the no-longer-imprisoned free spirit he imagined he saw there. "Oh, really? So you're considering going wild?"

"Mmmm-maybe," she answered, smiling mysteriously.

"Uh-oh. I may have created my own monster here," he warned, eyeing her cautiously. "Have you given any thought to what would constitute 'wild' for you?"

"A little," she replied, staring into his eyes over the rim of her water glass as she took a long sip, finishing with a sly grin.

"Why do I suddenly feel like I should leave the phone number of my next-of-kin with the motel manager?" he asked no one in particular, shaking his head in amused disbelief.

"I couldn't say," she responded, her glance drifting pointedly to the ceiling.

Later, as they crossed the parking lots to the motel, Scully was uncharacteristically lively, gazing in fascination at their rather mundane suburban surroundings, giggling at Mulder's stupidest jokes, and finally taking a running jump and landing right in the middle of a rain puddle on the blacktop. She stood there with the water lapping at the top edges of her shoes and a huge grin on her face. "Well," she asked, "whaddya think?"

"I think that if I didn't know better, I'd suspect you were drunk. That *was* just water back there, wasn't it?"

"Pure, unadulterated H-2-Oh, filtered through some new insights. Does it suit me?"

Mulder stood back with his arms folded and took a critical gaze at the goofy vision before him. "I think I like it. You oughta succumb to the monster more often."

An idea washed over her face. "You really think so?"

He thought about this a moment, then threw down the gauntlet. "Yeah. Go wild."

She strode purposefully out of the puddle straight to him. "Only if you go with me." She stood looking up at him, her heart pounding with anticipation and a little trepidation. Summoning all of her courage, she threw open her arms to him, whereupon he swept her up in his arms and spun her around in the middle of the parking lot, making her shriek delightedly.

He gently set her feet back on the ground, stopping to look deeply into her eyes. "I would be honored to be your traveling companion," he answered at last, bending his head to kiss her softly yet insistently on the lips. She wrapped her arms around his neck, realizing at that very moment that the kiss that she was relishing now was the one for which she had been waiting all her life.

Eventually, the kiss ended, but they remained standing locked in each other's arms, looking at the faces they'd been seeing for years, but really not seeing at all. Scully's breath was quite taken away, but she finally swallowed hard and whispered, "Busy tonight?"

He smiled broadly. "Yep. I'm gonna be making love to my best friend."

"Oh," she blinked, making little pretense to look innocent. "Do I know him?"

He rolled his eyes and snickered at her grinning face. Grabbing her wrist, he unwound their arms and pulled her after him to the motel. "Come on!" he ordered, playfully.

At his room, Mulder dug in his coat pocket for his key, then gestured gallantly for her to enter when he opened the door. She stood inside the room and waited patiently for him to turn the lock and switch on the lights. He drew the blinds closed, then turned to her. He gathered her passionately into his arms and kissed her again, pushing his tongue between her yielding lips. She drank in his kisses as if they were water to one stranded in a desert.

When they finally broke for air, she shrugged off her raincoat, letting it fall to the floor.

"Comfy?" he asked.

"Fine," she began, taking a quick assessment, then correcting herself. "Oh. wait. My feet are cold." She remembered her stroll through the puddle with a sudden pang of regret.

"Here, I'll take care of that," he announced, leading her to an armchair near the window. She sat down and leaned back as he directed, whereupon he threw his own coat on the floor and knelt before her. Almost reverently, he removed her shoes one by one, placing them on the heater under the window, then caressing her feet with his hands to warm them. She closed her eyes and felt her breathing match the rhythm of his stroking fingers through her nylons, sighing deeply with pleasure at the unfamiliar sensation.

When Mulder had finished kneading the cold out of her feet, he put them back on the floor, then reached for her, pulling her forward on the chair to lean against him as he sank back on his heels. Her chin tucked neatly onto his shoulder as if it had always belonged there. "Are you really sure you want to do this?" he whispered into her ear.

Scully hugged him tight. "Of my own free will, I put myself into your able hands. Please do with me as you wish." She pulled back slightly and looked into his eyes, which were shining just as brightly as hers. For once, his smile was absolutely genuine, and meant only for her.

Once again, he locked her lips in a kiss, and cradled her shoulders against himself with one arm, tucking his other arm under her knees and lifting her from the chair where she sat. Gently he carried her to the bed and laid her down upon the faded spread, finally breaking the kiss as her head touched the pillows. He straightened up, casting aside his suit jacket and tie, and slipping off his shoes before he stretched out beside her. He watched quietly as she removed her jacket and skirt and dropped them on the floor next to the bed. With an upraised hand, he stopped her as she started to unbutton her blouse, taking the silky fabric in his own hands and opening each button slowly. He did not protest as she undid the buttons on his shirt, running her fingers lightly over the cotton of his undershirt as it was revealed.

She rolled over and rose to her knees on the bed to take her arms from the sleeves of her blouse. He stood on his knees next to her and eased the garment from her shoulders, grazing the lace of her brassiere as his hands passed it. She removed his shirt, then gladly fell into his arms for a long, probing kiss. Her hands found the fasteners of his trousers and released them gradually, slowly lowering his zipper and enjoying the swell that pulsed within them. Meanwhile, he explored beneath her half-slip, discovering the waistband of her pantyhose and drawing it down over her finely curved buttocks. Together they fell back onto the pillows as he pulled off his trousers, then stripped the stockings away from her smooth, firm legs.

Mulder leaned on one elbow and reached around her back, unhooking her bra and caressing the skin beneath it as he freed it from her body. She lay back on the pillows, letting him stroke and fondle her upturned breasts with both hands as she lowered her slip past her hips and kicked it away. Tenderly he cupped her alabaster globes and tasted each nipple in turn, making her sigh and murmur deep in her throat. Her fingers wound in his hair as his suckling caused her nipples to darken and harden, while her breathing grew faster and deeper. His hands drifted toward her panties while his tongue traced wet circles around each areola, then a line down her breastbone to her navel.

Scully, her eyes tightly closed, felt fingertips tickling her clitoris through her panties, so she eagerly raised her hips to allow him to peel the undergarments from her body. She felt herself gasp when he let go of her for only a heartbeat in order to reposition himself before the temple of her sex. Her knees rose to tip her opening more conveniently to his waiting mouth, and before long, his nose was tucked against her pubic mound and his tongue was dancing within her wet darkness. His breath coupled with his ministrations made her blood rush in her loins, and her pleasure climbed as if up a long hill, bursting forth as she crested the top and crashing down upon her like an avalanche. Her elated cries summoned a few deities as well as her worshipper.

When her moans quieted to mere sighs again, he placed one last kiss on her clit, then crawled up to lie beside her, stroking her hair as she nestled on his chest. "Wild enough for you?" he asked, smiling.

"Yeah," she panted, "that'll do just fine. How about you?"


"Sure. Gimme a minute, and I think it's your turn." She silenced any objection with a long, slow kiss that mingled their saliva and her own musk. Gradually, she tugged off his undershirt, languidly running her fingers along his muscles beneath. His nipples responded immediately to her touch, becoming like tiny pebbles smoothed by an ancient stream. She quickly focused her attentions on his enlarged penis, which strained within his briefs. Gently she pulled at them until his organ stood free above his supine form. She discarded his underwear onto the heap of clothes beside the bed, then coiled her manicured fingers around his full length. She stole a glance at his face to note that he was watching her every move raptly, so she spun so that he could see her mouth as she lowered it onto her prize. Sucking and slurping, she teased his cock with her tongue as she cupped his balls in her hands with the utmost care. He groaned deeply and shut his eyes tight.

At last she broke away to suggest, "You wanna fuck me, Mulder?" He only grunted in assent, so she taunted, "If you wanna fuck me, you'd better ask me."

His eyes flew open, and he hissed, "Yes, please!" He lunged up from the pillow and grabbed Scully's shoulders, pinning them to the mattress as he rolled on top of her. Her legs opened for him again, and his sex quickly plunged into her depths. The force of his thrusts knocked the wind out of her, and she stared at him with her mouth agape as he pumped her wildly. Without warning, he withdrew from her vagina and began rubbing himself between her breasts, then, much to her surprise, he finally reared back and spurted his juice onto her stomach. Gasping for breath, he bent over her and kissed her forehead. "Thank you," he wheezed.

"You're welcome," she replied, a little confused, but mostly startled. "Was that okay?"

"Yeah, great," he answered distractedly, when the color drained from his face. He closed his eyes and swallowed, then muttered, "Excuse me," as he scrambled off the bed and into the bathroom, locking the door behind him.

Scully found a box of tissues on the nightstand and wiped Mulder's still-warm semen from her body. She grew alarmed when sounds of gagging and retching began to come through the bathroom door. She winced to hear his distress, but called out to him. "Mulder? What's wrong? Are you sick? Can I help?"

She listened helplessly as he vomited in the locked bathroom. Eventually, she heard water running and the toilet being flushed a few times. At last, the lock was undone and Mulder emerged, looking haggard and pale.

"Are you all right? Is there anything I can do?"

He strode unsteadily past her and began getting dressed. "I'll be fine. Don't worry about me."

"But, Mulder," she persisted, "you sounded pretty sick in there. Are you sure you're okay? Do you think it's food poisoning? What did you have to eat?"

"Just shut up, will you?" he shouted, not looking her in the eye. "Just leave me alone. I've got to get out of here."

"No, I will not shut up," she badgered, following him as he searched about the room in stocking feet looking for his other shoe. "I'm a doctor, and I know that nobody vomits like that without a good reason. Can't you please tell me what is wrong?"

He stopped in the middle of the room, holding his trousers in his hand, and turned to face her. "Okay, maybe it was a mistake for us to do this. Let's just forget it ever happened and go back to the way it was before."

She couldn't believe her ears. She fumbled for a reply as he yanked on his pants and stepped into his shoes. "Why should I forget that it happened? Maybe it meant a lot to me! Maybe *you* mean a lot to me! Maybe I don't *want* to forget that it happened!"

"Well, maybe you're just gonna have to," he barked, gathering up his coat, grabbing his key, and slamming the motel room door behind him as he stormed out into the night.

Scully stood naked in the middle of the room, staring at the door, trying to will him to come back. The sting in her eyes became tears that first trickled down her cheeks, then poured from her like a river as she collapsed in sobs, burying her head on her folded arms in the seat of the armchair, kneeling where Mulder had knelt to remove her shoes not an hour earlier. There was no way she could have known that he remained standing just outside for quite awhile, leaning with his forehead pressed against the door, listening to her cry with tears in his own eyes.

After the initial torrent had passed, she wiped at her eyes with the backs of her hands, and hunted for a tissue into which to blow her nose. She slowly moved into the bathroom, which still smelled vaguely sour, and ran herself a deep, warm bath. As she soaked in the tub, she tried to sort out her emotions. She felt used and abandoned: that was a given. She was also plagued with the nagging impression that she'd somehow disappointed Mulder. She hoped that she hadn't pushed him to do something he didn't want to do, and that she hadn't spoiled their friendship. But then again, she was angry at him: angry for leaving her right after making her feel so wonderful, and angry for opening the whole can of worms in the first place. But mostly, she was angry at herself: angry for being so susceptible to his stupid suggestion, angry that she'd been so willing to risk losing her best friend by crossing that irretrievable line, angry at letting him make her so upset. Did he love her? If he did, how could he just run out on her after that, and how could he not tell her what was troubling him? Did she love him? If she didn't, why, despite everything else, did she wish that he was with her right now, holding her tight, making her feel safe, and kissing her tears away with that stupid grin of his? Once again, she dissolved into tears, and somehow the salty drops mingled with the soapy bathwater cleansed her both inside and out.

Scully finally got out of the tub and wrapped herself in a towel. She came back into the main room to find her nightgown, and realized that since she was in Mulder's room, her bag was in a room two doors away. She could have put her clothes back on and gone out to find her own room, but she felt too tired and distraught go to that much trouble. Besides, she rationalized, if she was still waiting for Mulder when he returned, maybe she could get him to tell her what was going on in his head: to spill his guts, possibly a little less literally this time. She turned down the bed and left on a small lamp near the door, then got into bed to wait. In no time, she was sound asleep.

She was awakened by a ringing phone. On the other end, the desk clerk announced, "This is the seven o'clock wake-up call that Mr. Mulder requested." She thanked him and hung up, then sat up in bed and focused on the unfamiliar room. She stretched luxuriously, then got up to gather her clothes from the night before.

She was surprised to find that her overnight bag had been left at the foot of the bed, and that Mulder's bag was gone. On the desk lay the key to the room she was in. Puzzled, she found her raincoat, and noted that the room key she'd left in her pocket had been removed. Then she spotted her shoes, which still lay on the heater. On the windowsill above them had been placed a folded sheet of motel stationery and a long-stemmed red silk rose. She unfolded the paper and smiled as she recognized Mulder's rounded scrawl reading "I'm sorry -- Love, your monster."

Scully got her toiletries out of her bag and went about preparing for the day. She got dressed and repacked her bag, tucking the silk rose on top of her unused nightgown and placing the note in her pocket. Opening the door, she squinted into the morning sun, and left the room to find Mulder, beginning to construct an apology for him in her head.

She took a deep breath before knocking on the door that she had only seen when they had checked in the previous evening. Inside, she heard Mulder call, "Come back later!"

She knocked again, calling, "Mulder, it's me. Let me in."

She could hear the chain lock being released, and the bolt being opened. Mulder, in a fresh undershirt and trousers, peeked around the door with a toothbrush in his mouth. "Oh, hi. I thought you were Housekeeping. C'mon in." She entered the room and put her bag on the floor as he finished his ablutions. He came out and closed his toothbrush in a travel case, which he stuck into a pocket of his suitcase. "How are you this morning?" he asked, donning a clean shirt.

"Fine. How are *you*?" she replied, a small frown knitting her eyebrows.

"Okay, I guess," he answered, adjusting his tie.

Her apology forgotten, Scully cut right to the chase. "Mulder, what the hell happened last night?"

"I knew this was coming," he mumbled, pausing before the mirror. "I wish I knew..."

"Why did you run away last night? Does sex often have that effect on you? Or was it just sex with *me*?"

He took a long breath and turned to her at last. "My god, Dana, I am *so* sorry! I don't know what happened last night! There you were, all happy and beautiful, and I go and freak out on you! The last thing I wanted to do was hurt you! I don't even deserve your friendship! You have every right never to speak to me again. I am such a jerk!" He sat on the corner of the bed and held his forehead in his hand with his elbow propped on his knee.

The set of her shoulders softened, and her mouth dropped open at his words. "But I'm not angry at you, at least not anymore. I was a little at the time, but I think I was mostly to blame. You don't hate me?"

He looked up into her eyes. "Of course not! Don't feel guilty. It's all my fault. I should never have pushed you to do something you didn't want."

"Is that what you thought? That I didn't want to do what we did? Whatever gave you that idea?" She moved to him and gently patted down a stray lock of his hair. "If I had it to do all over again, I wouldn't change a thing."

"Except the end?" Mulder interrupted.

She chuckled to herself. "Well, maybe *that*. As for the rest of it, it made me very happy, but I can't help feeling that it didn't do the same for you. Do you still think it was a mistake? Do you still want to forget it ever happened?"

He dropped his eyes again. "I don't know. I have imagined what it would be like to make love to you since the day we met. Maybe the reality was a little too real for me. Maybe it was more than I could handle. I guess I talk a good game, but when I step up to the plate..."

She sat down beside him and put her arm around his shoulders. "I don't know what you're worried about. You were just fine, really. I was worried about you, though, when you ran into the bathroom. I wanted so much to be able to help, but you had shut me out. Of course, I guess I should be used to that by now..."

"It's not you, Dana, it's me. I guess I have some unresolved issues..."

"You're telling me!" She squeezed his shoulder softly. "You said yourself, the thing we fear the most is the thing that we truly desire. Maybe the reverse is true, too. That's okay. I really enjoyed last night, at least the part you were around for. But I would never want to push you beyond your limits. If it was too much for you, we can put it behind us if you want. I don't need that kind of connection to feel close to you. That's not to say I regret our having done what we did. I don't, *and* I don't intend to forget it happened. Are you okay with that?"

"Well, if you don't think I'm some sort of ogre for how I treated you, maybe we can just remember the good part. Deal?"

"Deal. Of course, if you're ever ready to succumb to your own monster, you know where to find me."

He turned to face her again. "I'd like that. I'm glad we're able to talk about this now. After I left last night, I took a walk to clear my head. Then I really wanted to come back and see if you were okay, but I was terrified that you'd bite my head off. I'm assuming you found my peace offering. I hope that the rose wasn't too tacky."

"No, it was sweet of you. Thank you."

"It was all I could find at that hour of the night. Well, I let myself in, but you were already asleep, so I just got my stuff, and put your bag in there for you."

Scully looked confused for a moment. "Wait... You mean you came in twice and moved our bags around, and I slept through it all?"

"Yeah, you were out like a light."

"Wow. I haven't slept like that for over a month!"

"No nightmares, then?"

"No dreams at all. If it weren't for your wake-up call, I'd probably still be asleep!"

Mulder grinned at her. "Maybe I did vanquish a few of your demons, after all."

She nodded slowly. "You may be right. Thank you!"

"You're welcome. You may not believe this, but it was my pleasure to be of service. So we're still friends, then?"

Scully nodded and gave a long, contented sigh. "Mulder, with friends like you, who needs lovers? I may not always understand what's going on in your head, but I'm pretty sure that your heart is in the right place."

He wrapped his arms around her and gave her a warm, comforting hug. "You know what they say: a friend is someone who knows all about you, but loves you anyway."

"That sounds about right," she answered, kissing him on the cheek, then following him as he picked up his bag and prepared to leave for the day's appointments. "You really think I'm beautiful?"


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