(Deny everything. (Words to live by. I should know. I'd already made a career of it long before I ever came here, before I ever accepted this assignment. Deny that anything ever troubled me, confused me, shook my faith or awakened me screaming. Deny that I ever felt anything, that any messy human emotion might ever crack my facade of cool composure. God! When I look back over my life since I left Quantico I am astonished by my arrogance, by my utter lack of foresight. So certain I could handle anything. So certain of the invincibility of Dana Katherine Scully, MD. (Make that Dana Katherine Scully, Idiot!) She looked up, away from the blinking cursor on her laptop's screen, across the room to where her partner presided over the minor landfill he called a desk. His God-awful purple and lime-green tie was askew; his dark hair stuck up in unruly spikes; he was frowning at his own computer, oblivious of her scrutiny. (I've lived my life with the mathematical precision of the scientist,) she continued, fingers accelerating in their dance across the keyboard as the words spilled forth, tumbling over each other, trampling the last of her internal defenses in their mad rush to be born. (And then into my neat equation came a random factor, in the form of Fox Mulder. The formula shifted; since that day I've never gotten the same answer twice. (I was attracted. I acknowledged that; it was nothing I couldn't control, after all. If I gained anything from the Jack fiasco it was that ability to compartmentalize, to separate "Agent Scully" from "Dana". So I felt a sexual attraction to my new partner; what of it? My social life may be dead but dammit, I'm not; and who would be the wiser if on occasion I indulged in a harmless fantasy or two? It had nothing to do with our work, no baring on my abiloty to function in a professional capacity. (What I didn't count on was the way our relationship began to develop. How I came to trust him, to care for him. How he became my best, sometimes I think my only, friend. The bond I feel between us now defies my attempts at analysis; I've never known anything else like it, never even considered the possibility. (And I've wondered--every other day, it seems--replayed in my mind like a lovesick teenager the things he's said and done for me, to me, with me. Scrutinizing every word, every action, his and mine--dissecting them and examining them microscopically, knowing all the while that my findings are biased, distorted by my own desires, my own fears.) Silence in the basement office, broken only by the click of keys, the soft drone of Mulder's radio. Whatever ghastly station he had chosen, it seemed capable of playing only sappy love songs. Presently, Yvonne Elliman was wailing "If I Can't Have You." Grinding her teeth and cursing the 1970's, Scully resumed typing, pounding the keys in an effort to drown out not only the song but the aching erratic pulse of her own conflicted heart. (What do you think of me, Mulder? What do you see? Do you know my constant struggle to remain detached, to keep from flinging myself into your arms and possessing you, as you seem to have possessed me? Do you see my desire, and my terror, in my eyes? I would walk willingly to my death before I would jeopardize what we have, what we've built; in a world I no longer recognize, you are the only solid thing left to me. I don't even want to consider what would happen were I to lose that. I know that I already own the greatest things anyone could offer me: your respect, your friendship, and above all your trust. And yet, it isn't enough. I feel like I'm drowning with the need for more--to join our bodies as we've joined our minds and spirits until our symbiosis is complete. I feel so alone out here. Open yourself to me, Mulder. Open the door to your darkness and let me--) Her head snapped up. The damned radio was playing ELO now, the bouncy groove of "Shine A Little Love." Mulder was *singing*. Biting her lip to hold back a scream, Scully finished the thought: (--let me in.) "Let me out," she whispered, and held her head in her hands. "Scully? Hey, Scully!" "What?" "I'm about ready to wrap up here. Can I ask you a favor?" "Sure." Anything. Please. "Can I borrow your laptop? I've got to finish up this report, but my system at home is--" "Sure. No problem." She shut it down, packed it up, fairly threw it at him. He looked at her curiously. "Everything all right?" "Fine. I'm fine, Mulder. Just tired." She forced a smile that never quite reached her eyes. "I'll see you in the morning, OK?" She fled as though demons nipped her ass. * * * "Shit," Mulder grumbled, rubbing his tired eyes as he attempted to retrieve his files from Scully's hard drive. As he scanned the list of folders, he couldn't resist opening a few, reading over her notes and reports from past cases. It warmed him, hearing her calm voice in his head, made him feel closer to her. Ever since his return from Siberia she'd seemed strange and distant, unusually tense. Ever since...God, the look on her face when he'd burst in on the hearing, the way her enormous eyes devoured him--had he just imagined that? He thought Arthur might've looked that way, when at last he stumbled upon the Grail--like the most precious thing in life had dropped out of the sky into his waiting hands. And the way, as soon as recess was called, she'd leapt from her seat and launched herself into his arms, heedless, her usual discretion gone... She'd barely met his gaze since. Closing the file he was in he went back to the directory, hunting his notes, but an intriguing title stopped him: "Eros/Agape." His hand stopped, hovered, ready to click, afraid to click. Was this the Secret Life of Dana Scully, preserved in cyberspace? Was there someonw in her life? There couldn't be, could there? She'd tell him, wouldn't she? He'd just *know*, wouldn't he? He clicked. The documents in the folder were dated, not named, and Mulder selected the one bearing the date of his return from the gulag. The screen came alive, densely packed with words. He began to read. (I knew the moment he walked into the courtroom. No, that isn't true; I knew some time ago, but it was in that moment that I was finally forced to admit it to myself. God, what an entrance! He burst through those doors and I felt my heart start to beat again for the first time since we lost contact. (Those patronizing, sanctimonious bastards. They thought I'd cave, thought they could bully me into selling him out. They could've fined me, fired me, imprisoned me, fucking keel-hauled me and I wouldn't have breathed a word. Somehow, somewhere along this road we've traveled these past four years, his safety has come to mean more to me than my own.) Mulder found his own heart had started beating again, a bit faster than he liked. Ignoring for a moment the confusion of his own thoughts, he continued reading hers. A passage near the end of the document jumped out and smacked him with the force of a sledgehammer to the skull. (I try to still the wanting but I can't. It's become almost a nightly ritual with me: I writhe awake, sweating and slick, the heat of his skin in my dreams still upon me. His name on my lips a prayer or a curse, my heart knocking arrhythmic against my ribs, my body singing with fatigue and frustration. It's always the same, my hands sliding over my glistening skin, and in my mind--Mulder. In my mind it is you who touches me, who comes to me in the darkness to trace the contours of my need. Your gentle hands, your lips upon my breast, you face I see beneath me as I rise, stretch myself upon you, feel your warm solid strength against me. The burn of your skin where it presses mine, the salty sweetness of your mouth, the hard presence of you filling me as at last we connect... (Can you hear it, the longing in my voice when you call me late at night? Do you know how I wish you were here beside me, so that I could hold you safe until you fall asleep in my arms? Sometimes I am abrupt with you, in the night, and I can hear the hurt in your voice, the regret at having awakened me. It isn't lack of concern that puts the edge on my words; it is instead sheer frustration, wanting you with me, not knowing how to ask, wishing it was you I held so close to me and not the sterile cold plastic of the phone...) His eyes would no longer focus on the words. Grabbing jacket and keys he was gone. The abandoned laptop's screen glowed on softly, illuminating the empty room. * * * Dana sighed in her sleep, shifting as in her dreams she burrowed closer to her partner's long body, seeking his heat as a lizard might seek a sun-warmed rock at day's end. An arm slipped around her; a hand gently stroked her back. She tucked her head beneath his chin, her face against his neck, breathing in the musk of his sleep-scent. She heard him whisper her name and pushed up more tightly against him, murmuring acquiesence. He spoke again, softly, his hand gliding down to cup the curve of her ass. "Dana," he groaned, muffled against her hair. "Mulder," she murmured, eyes flickering open. It was at this point that she realized she was awake. And that she was not alone. Scuttling away like a startled crab Scully huddled against the headboard, clutching the sheets up to her chest. "Mulder! What the Hell--" She stopped, eyes like saucers. She had all the sheets. He had no clothes. Naked, aroused Mulder. In her bed. Very naked. Very aroused. Very dangerous. "Dreaming," she muttered, wiping her hand across her eyes. "Dreaming," she repeated firmly, taking her hand away. Naked, aroused Mulder. In her bed. Looking at her. "I'm not dreaming," she said weakly, feeling the hot flush of complete mortification spread across her face. "Ohhh...my God. My laptop. I loaned you my laptop and you read... Ohhh, shit, Mulder." "I know," he consoled her, easing the sheets from her death-grip. "I'm a nosy bastard. I suck, actually." He considered. "I probably should be spanked." "Why did you come here?" She demanded abruptly, apparently unaware that he had divested her of sheetage, baring a heady expanse of creamy skin. He smiled lazily, inching forward like a snake. "To give you what you wanted. What I've wanted. Didn't you know, Scully? Isn't it obvious?" "No, I never thought...I mean, I'm not--" "You are. You're my partner, my best friend, my lifeline. I want you, Dana Scully. All of you. You're not the only one who wakes up sweating." He rested his head on her thigh. She was still staring at him, scarcely able to speak. "I'm scared," she told him simply. "What if it doesn't work?" Peering down at his raging boner, Mulder wryly replied, "Oh, I'm sure it'll *work*, Scully." Her flush deepened to crimson. "That's not--" "I know what you meant." He touched his lips to the inside of her thigh, feeling the tremor race through her. "I love you, Scully. In every way you can think of. Even if we don't work out as lovers...I can't imagine a life where you weren't the best and brightest part of it." "Good answer." "Uh, Scully?" "Yeah?" "D'you think we could fuck now? I mean, I can't keep this up forever." A wicked smile played at the corners of her mouth. "So where do you suggest we begin?" "Well. About that spanking..."
BACK: to the Stories Menu
HOME: to the Basement Office