Notes: Of course it's MSR. Do
I write anything else?
by Lynn Gregg
"Another day in
Paradise, huh, Scully?" Fox Mulder asked rhetorically as the road
before them. "Driving the back roads, ferreting out crime and conspiracy, chasing monsters,
making the mean streets safe again...Kinda makes you feel proud to be an American, doesn't it?"
"Kinda makes me
feel glad I packed a lunch," his partner replied amiably. "There
be wild work ahead for us tonight, but at least we'll go to it well-fed."
"You packed us a
lunch?" He was genuinely touched. "Scully, that was sweet of
Scully opened the
cooler between her feet and began rummaging around. "Bologna and
sandwiches on wheat bread, carrot and celery sticks, and for dessert, fresh strawberries and
"Carrot and celery
sticks?" Mulder's distinctive nose wrinkled. "Strawberries
and grapes? You
mean, raw stuff?"
"What'd you expect? Ho-Hos and Ring-Dings and Twinkies?"
"Sugar is an excellent source of quick energy," he pointed out. Scully snorted.
"Fifty years from
now, when you're reaping the rewards of late-onset diabetes, you'll be
begging me for a nice big ripe succulent strawberry. And you know what? I won't give you
any." She smirked.
"Hmmmph," Mulder grunted, and drove.
Half an hour later:
The silence having
become oppressive, Mulder flipped on the radio and commenced to sing. He
sang everything, and not very well; and by the time he started wailing along with that "MMMBop"
song, Scully was desperate for a way to shut him up. At a loss, she finally pulled the bundle of
white seedless grapes from the cooler and dangled them before him enticingly. "Want a grape?"
Mulder killed the radio. "Are we speaking again, Scully?"
"I was never not speaking to you. Would you like a grape?"
He tried and failed to pull one from its stem. "Damn it. Could you--"
Scully plucked one
free and held it out. Mulder gave her a sidelong smirk and murmured,
"Feed it to me, Scully."
Her eyebrow rose to new heights. "Are you coming on to me, Mulder?"
"I might be. Depends on what kind of beverages you brought."
Scully reached down
and brought forth a large cobalt-blue bottle, dripping with condensation.
"Iced tea, of course. With ginseng."
Mulder's mouth dropped
open, giving him the look of a beached fish. Scully took advantage
of the opportunity and popped a grape into the orifice.
He swallowed, with difficulty, and asked softly, "May I have another?"
"You can have as
many as you like." Pulling another plump greenish globe from its
Scully placed it into his mouth, letting her fingertip glide lightly over the curve of his full
lower lip. Mulder started; the car lurched then lagged, and Scully laughed.
"Watch the road or no more grapes, Fox."
"You *know* what."
"Oh, that. Sorry, Fox."
"Stop it, Dana."
"Hmmm, down to first names now, are we?"
Feigning a look
of wide-eyed innocence, Scully selected another succulent fruit, rubbing
thoughtfully between two fingers. "You know, you never have told me why you so despise
the sound of your first name. Confession time, or no more grapes for you."
Her tongue flicked out, neatly flipping the grape into her mouth. Mulder groaned softly.
"You want a confession,
Scully?" he asked, in a tone of voice she'd *never* heard him use
in all their years together. "All right, here's my confession: I hate the sound of my name on
your lips because--it excites me. It turns me on like nothing else. I hated it when I was
younger because everyone mocked me and made fun of me--but I hate it now because your
voice turns it into...a caress. A prayer. Things I'm not allowed to have." His hands clenched
the wheel, white-knuckled.
"Why not?" Scully's
voice was so soft as to be almost inaudible over the pulse pounding
in Mulder's ears.
"I don't know why
not, Scully. That's the Hell of it. I suppose I've just become
to wanting things I can't have: my sister, proof of the existence of extraterrestrial life, enough
evidenec to bring the Consortium down for good, you..."
That one final word
hung in the air between them like a cloud of toxic gas. When it finally
dispersed, Scully remembered the human need for oxygen and gasped in a harsh breath.
Mulder sat stiff and silent, outwardly composed; only the flaming crescents of his ears betrayed
"But Mulder," Scully
murmured, when at last her powers of speech returned, "you already
have me. Don't you know that? You've had me from the start."
Her small hand pried
the tense talons of his fingers from the wheel. He clung to her,
not daring to take his eyes from the road.
"Have I?" He queried, voice ragged. "*Do* I?"
"In every way but one," came the whispered reply. "And we could remedy that any time."
The rental came
to a skidding, shuddering stop on the shoulder. Their eyes locked
bodies followed, crashing each into the others' embrace, clutching, clinging, laughing and crying
at once, as the grapes scattered soundlessly at Scully's feet.