SUMMARY: The end of a case, and a stay in a log cabin during a blizzard, lead Scully to take the biggest risk of her life.
DISCLAIMER: I am far too poor and downtrodden to own them, CC, 1013 and Fox seem to. I have borrowed a quote and the poem "Winter Night" from Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak.
DATE POSTED: May 1998
WORD COUNT: 9,244
"They loved each other, not driven by necessity, by the "blaze of passion" often falsely ascribed to love. They loved each other because everything around them willed it, the trees and the clouds and the sky over their heads and the earth under their feet."
Boris Pasternak, Doctor Zhivago
At this point, I can't even notice the cold much. I take off running down the sidewalk of Summit Avenue after the suspect, Gordon Kirkland, gun in my gloved hand. As I run, steam streaming from my nostrils, I pray my new winter boots won't slip on the icy sidewalks.
Ah, St. Paul, Minnesota in the month of February. Why do so many weird things happen here? First Donnie Pfaster, then the whole Clyde Bruckman thing.
Everything is frozen here.
Agent Craig Mortenson brings up my rear in the chase. He is a little older, a bit chunky, doesn't run three times a week like I do.
It was supposed to be relatively simple to pick up our suspect. Go to his house, ding-dong, and have him in cuffs. Unluckily for us, he had just left his stately Tudor house to walk his Golden Retriever, spotted us and took off running. He knew his luck had run out.
"Federal agent," I scream for the second or third time. "Stop or I'll shoot!"
He is stubborn and keeps on running. I don't get it. He's a smart man; he has to know that agents surround him on all sides. There is nowhere for him to escape.
I have no choice but to shoot. I aim for his leg but I miss. It's harder than it looks on television to run and try to hit a target that is also moving. Damn, I say under my breath.
Kirkland dashes out onto Summit, not looking where he is going, just blindly running. He is promptly hit by a black Nissan Maxima. He tumbles across the hood and collapses in heap in the middle of the road.
Well, that's one way to catch a suspect.
I run to Kirkland. The owner of the Maxima jumps out of her car, a horrified expression on her face. Blood is pouring out of the side of the man's blonde head. I yank off my leather gloves and bend to find a pulse. He's alive.
Mortenson comes up beside me, speaking rapidly into his cell phone, calling the paramedics. Several police cars come screaming up the street, it's all noise and confusion now. Bunching up my wool scarf, I hold it to the side of Kirkland's bleeding head to apply pressure. I want this monster alive to stand trial.
The past five months, identical twin girls, just one from each pair, disappeared from Minnesota and Western Wisconsin. They all vanished without a trace, five of them total. All of them teenagers, all pretty blondes. Mulder and I came to the Twin Cities sixteen days ago to assist
local FBI in finding out what had caused their disappearances. Of course, Mulder suspected extraterrestrial involvement. And I, true to form, figured we had your garden-variety serial killer on the loose.
It turned out I was right when we found the body of sixteen year-old Amanda Griggs, dumped in the woods outside of New Richmond, Wisconsin. She had been brutally strangled and stabbed in the chest. No alien work here. Neither of us suspected that our culprit was Dr. Gordon Kirkland, M.D., and Ph.D. He was one of the top researchers on the University of Minnesota's acclaimed identical twin study. Early in the investigation it was discovered that all of the victims had been participants in the twin study. We routinely interviewed Kirkland, as we did all the other doctors on the project, and found him to be witty, charming, intelligent, and eager to help our investigation. He was a pillar of local society, independently wealthy, married with three kids, the picture of normality. And since the time when the girls had disappeared was always
difficult to pin down, he didn't have to provide an alibi. We passed him up as a potential suspect. Stupid us.
It wasn't until night before last that we fingered Kirkland as our man. A man in a ski mask tried to grab Leila Hewitt, a seventeen year-old blonde identical twin, as she was getting into her car at Mall of America. Unbeknownst to her attacker, she was an experienced practitioner of Tae Kwon Do and gave him a swift kick in the kidneys and ran off for help. The only thing she really remembered about the man who attacked her was his thick Louisiana accent. She recognized the man's voice as the kindly doctor whom she and her sister had seen from the time they were ten until they were thirteen. Gordon Kirkland.
Mulder has missed all the action, for once. He went with another team of agents to cover Kirkland's office, in case we missed him at home. Craig Mortenson and I drive in his car to Regions Hospital, where Kirkland has been has been taken in the ambulance. He's an affable guy, early forties, burly like a former football player. Mulder and I have spent a lot of time with him in the past few weeks. Unlike most agents, who find Mulder's theories laughable, Mortenson has been willing to listen and not dismiss Mulder outright.
"So, you and your partner are out of here?" Craig asks as he turns onto 94 East.
I nod my head. "Yes, probably in the morning, as soon as we get our paperwork together."
"Well, listen," he says, flipping stations on the car stereo. "What are you and Mulder doing for dinner tonight? My wife and I are supposed to meet at 128 Cafe. It's a local place, small, not too fancy, but with really great food. Karen would love to meet you two. I've told her all
kinds of stories."
"I'll bet," I say, rolling my eyes, as visions of delicious food dance in my head. All I've eaten since I've gotten here is delivery pizza and fast food.
"So, you guys are in? I think we'll all need to do some unwinding after this case."
I laugh. "No kidding. Sure, we'll come. What time?"
"Is eight o'clock okay?"
By the time early evening arrives, I am mortally exhausted but glad to do something pleasant for a change. It has been a long, long day of debriefings, press conferences and paperwork. The media attention to this case, now dubbed the Twin Cities Twin Killings, is huge. Even the networks have sent crews and reporters. By the time I get back to the Midway Sheraton, and into the shower, I'm ready to droop. I can't remember when I last got more that five hours of sleep at a stretch.
I change into a pair of faded jeans and a dark green cashmere cardigan and almost feel like a human being again. Dressing professionally is necessary to get the respect I deserve, but it feels damn good to be back in comfortable and casual clothes.
There is a knock at my door and I open it to find Mulder, of course. He's wearing black jeans and a black turtleneck under his coat. And the wire-rimmed glasses that make him look like the quintessential absent-minded professor. His hair is wet and he smells like minty shampoo.
Why am I noticing how my partner smells?
He flashes his crooked grin. "Ready to roll, Scully?"
Sitting back in my chair, I pick at the remains of what was once seafood risotto. After two glasses of Chardonnay, I feel lightheaded and boneless.
Mulder is laughing at something Karen Mortenson is saying, but I'm not really following the conversation anymore. Karen is tall and lean, with olive skin and dark hair pulled into a French twist, from which curly strands keep threatening to escape. It turns out she was an FBI agent
until nine years ago, when she left to attend law school. Now she practices bankruptcy law with a big Minneapolis firm.
The four of us have been swapping FBI tall tales all night, going into such gales of laughter that the other tables are giving us decidedly annoyed looks. This is nice, I think, Mulder and I are rarely comfortable in anyone else's company.
Mulder and I don't have many friends. It is just the two of us and our search for the truth. He is my best friend and the best company I know, but I am enjoying for once being part of a group. Laughing, talking, drinking wine, simply having a good time.
With his elbow, Mulder pokes me in the ribs. "So what do you think, Scully?"
Karen chimes in, "Oh, say yes. We'll have a great time."
I have absolutely no idea what they are talking about. I shake my head. "Sorry, I spaced out for a minute. What were you saying?"
Craig grabs for my wineglass. "No more wine for you, Agent Scully." The three of them laugh and I join in, just so I won't look like a spoilsport.
"Dana," Karen says, "Craig and I have a cabin up in Cable, Wisconsin, about three hours from here. We're spending the weekend there and we'd love to have you join us."
"Well, we're due back in D.C." I hedge. In truth, all I really want to go is get to my apartment and collapse on the couch for the whole weekend.
Mulder rolls his eyes at me behind his glasses. "Scully, Skinner's not going to care if we turn in our field report on Tuesday instead of Monday. We haven't had a single day off in weeks."
"It's a great place," says Craig. "It belonged to Karen's parents, a log cabin hidden in the woods. We've been renovating it for the past six years."
I push my plate away. I haven't seen Mulder look so excited about anything non X-Files related since, well, I can't even remember. Didn't figure him for a cabin kind of guy.
"I know you guys are tired, but we're really relaxed up there. In the winter we mostly read, watch movies and stay in our pajamas all day." Craig continues.
Karen giggles. "It's also really romantic. You know, a fire, all that snow." Oh Lord, she winks right at me. I can feel my ears turn bright red.
Mulder lifts his napkin to his lips and I swear to God he's smirking behind it.
"Karen," I say in a voice that struggles to be even. "Um, it's not like that."
She attempts to compose her face. "Oh, okay. Well, it's a big place, four bedrooms, plenty of room for everyone."
Craig deftly cuts in, "Dessert, anyone?"
I am definitely up for the espresso creme brulee.
It looks like we are going.
When I wake up in the morning, I automatically roll over and check the alarm clock. 9:08 am. Wow, that's really sleeping in for me. It's time to get up and hit the road if we're going to do this cabin thing.
Mulder and I are going up without Karen and Craig. Craig has more responsibilities involving the Kirkland case and Karen has to be in court. The plan is that Mulder and I will drive up to Cable, buy the groceries and open the cabin and the Mortensons will be up in time for a late
dinner. We stopped by their house after dinner to pick up the keys and Craig wrote out explicit directions on how to get to the cabin.
I phone Skinner and we have a brief conversation about the case. He congratulates me in his gruff, laconic manner and tells me he doesn't expect us back in the office until Wednesday. Then I call the airline and reschedule our flight for Tuesday afternoon.
Four days off. It must be some new kind of record.
Time to wake Mulder. I tap softly on the door connecting our rooms and hear no response. Sliding the door open, I find the room still dim.
Mulder is sleeping on his side, the sheets and blankets bunched up around his feet. He has always been a restless sleeper. He is wearing just a pair of striped boxer shorts, his face so peaceful as he sleeps. I hate to wake him. I just want to sit by the bed and watch him sleep but
instead, I touch the warmth of his shoulder and give him a little shake. "Mulder, wake up," I whisper.
He groans a little and his eyes open. "Huh? What? Scully?"
"Mulder, it's me. Wake up."
He sits up, his short hair scrunched every which way. "Is it the case?"
I have to laugh. "The case is over, Mulder. We're going on a little vacation, remember? Get up, get dressed, get packed and let's go." I order, with military crispness. I wasn't a Navy brat for nothing.
By noon, we are on the road, after doing all the irritating chores necessary to get out of town. We had to exchange our rented Taurus for an Explorer, grab some muffins and cappuccinos and make a run to Target for long underwear and wool socks. And sunflower seeds, of course.
Mulder and I have been on the road for about an hour when it occurs to me that although we have been on countless case trips before, we've never been on an actual trip together. It feels strange, just hitting the road with him. We travel through the snowy countryside in the comfortable silence that almost six years of partnership brings. The only sound is soft classical music coming from the car stereo and the crack of Mulder biting into his sunflower seeds.
Around 3:00 p.m. we get into Cable itself and find a supermarket. Once inside, Mulder turns to me with a quizzical look on his face and says, "What do you suppose normal people eat?"
It's true, you know. Mulder and I live in our own weird little world. At home, I eat mostly salads and cereal, the occasional sandwich. God only knows what he eats. He'd be better off converting his fridge to a shoe rack. "Can you actually cook anything, Mulder?"
"Um," he thinks a moment, "I can grill a steak."
"I can do spaghetti and roast a chicken. And salad, I'm good at salad."
We rapidly troll the aisles, randomly throwing things into the cart that look good to us. It is only when I get to the checkout counter that I realize we've picked out six pints of ice cream for three days.
Mulder and I are definitely not normal people.
When we get back out into the parking lot of the supermarket it has started snowing, big fat flakes lazily drifting from above. "How beautiful!" I exclaim.
"I'll build you a snowman in the morning, Scully," he says, starting the car.
That's right. I am going to be with Mulder all weekend. The idea makes me feel unsettled. We rarely spend time together without there being a good reason. Thank God Karen and Craig are coming up tonight.
Why? I ask myself. What possibly could happen?
Nothing. He's just my partner. My friend.
But I know that far, far behind my carefully constructed fortress of reticence, denial and professional deportment, I am in love with this man.
No, I'm not.
Yes, I am. And he loves me too. I have known since I was sick with cancer. I first saw it in the desperate, terrified look in his eyes as I told him my diagnosis in the hospital. But this knowledge doesn't mean we will ever do anything about it. We'll never risk upsetting the delicate balance that keeps our partnership afloat. And we are both basically shy people when it comes to personal matters. Who would make that potentially fatal first move? Not me, certainly.
Partners. Friends. An abiding respect and platonic love. Who could ask for more?
I want more.
I want it all, friendship, partnership, companionship, sex.
No, I don't.
I can barely handle his single-minded obsessiveness now.
If I can't even agree with myself, than I am definitely in no position to make a move on Mulder.
We have to carefully follow Craig's directions now. Mulder drives and I navigate, since he is famous for getting lost. The county highway winds though pine forests, not a house in sight for as far as the eye can see. Just green pine and white snow. Frozen. The entire world seems to be
frozen still into a picture postcard-- the forest, the snow falling on the boughs of the pines.
"It's like something out of Currier and Ives, huh?" Mulder comments.
Dear Lord, can he read my mind?
Only having to backtrack once, we find 128th St., where the cabin is supposed to be. We travel down a narrow but paved road for a long time, winding our way into the heart of the woods. "Wow, do you think this place really exists?" he says.
I raise an eyebrow. "It's the perfect setting for an abduction, Mulder."
He groans, "No, no work this weekend. Even I can take only so much."
Finally we spot a sign that reads MORTENSON and down a long drive is the log cabin.
I gasp, "It looks like a Laura Ingalls cabin."
We stop the car and get out to look. It is a good sight bigger than anything the Ingalls family ever inhabited, two stories with dark green window trim and a big front porch. Just beyond I can see the frozen, snow covered lake. It's so quiet here. I am used to the street noises of the city.
Cars rumbling by, sirens, music coming from someone's apartment. Here there is just the sound of the wind blowing through the trees.
"It's so quiet here," Mulder says. I turn and stare at him. I'm starting to really wonder about this psychic thing.
Mulder and I each grab an armload of stuff and let ourselves into the cabin. We both gape at the large living room. There are log walls, high beamed ceilings and picture windows overlooking the lake. The floor is a light, glossy maple and the fireplace is made up of large stones. A dark green couch is flanked by two love seats of a lighter green. One wall is almost entirely covered with a large bookcase, crammed full of books of every description. The room opens onto a spacious kitchen with a long wood table, dark gray Formica countertops and glass cabinets trimmed with light wood.
The cabin is perfect, not at all the musty little place I had envisioned. Craig and Karen have obviously spent a huge amount of time and money on this cabin and have wonderful taste. This house is simple and rustic but sophisticated and elegant at once. I briefly wonder if they'd let me
Mulder gives a whistle of approval. "Nice crib," he says.
I laugh. "Guess we won't really be roughing it."
Like little kids let loose from school on summer vacation, we run to explore the rest of the place. Just off the living room is what looks to be the master bedroom, with a wooden four poster bed covered with a patchwork quilt. Up the creaking wood staircase is a small office that looks to
be used primarily by Karen, a bathroom, two small bedrooms with double beds and another bedroom with bunk beds.
Down in the basement we find a utility room where we turn on the furnace and water heater, laundry facilities and a sauna. "Think the Mortensons allow any co-ed sauna fun?" Mulder leers.
As usual, I choose to ignore that comment.
When we get back upstairs, the phone is ringing. It's probably Craig, wondering if we've made it. I go back out to grab more groceries from the car. The sky has darkened and the snow falls more heavily. I take a deep breath of the impossibly clean air. Suddenly, I feel enormously at
peace. This peace is what I need. I shake the snowflakes out of my hair, feeling years younger.
Back in the cabin, Mulder is standing with a quizzical look on his face, still holding the phone. "What's wrong?" I ask, praying silently, please let it not be another case.
"Scully, you'll never believe it. We should have watched the news last night." The expression on his face is impossible to read.
"Is it Kirkland? Did he die?" I drop the bag of groceries on the floor with a thud.
"No, Kirkland is fine. It's the weather. A huge blizzard is coming east, at least two feet of snow are expected in the next few days in this area."
My mouth falls open. "The Mortensons--"
He finishes my sentence. "Are not going to be able to make it up here. They send their apologies and said we should stay put, that the power has never gone out in a storm before."
It hits me then, so hard I can feel the back of neck start to sweat. Just Mulder and me, until Tuesday. Three days.
This is bad. This is good. I don't know what it is, but I have an irresistible desire to jump in the Explorer and get the hell out of this place, blizzard or no blizzard. Instead I put on my best Dana Scully enigma face. "Well then, we'd better get the groceries unpacked and see about dinner."
Edith Piaf is singing about love, loss and betrayal on the stereo. I am sauteing onions, garlic and red peppers in olive oil while Mulder attempts to chop vegetables for a salad. More cucumbers and tomatoes end up on the floor than on the cutting board. "You should never be let near a
knife," I comment.
He waves the knife at me. "Sorry Scully, but I didn't learn the fine art of knife craftsmanship at medical school like you did."
"It's never too late to learn, Mulder. Just don't whack the knife so hard. Be gentle with it and it'll do what you want."
Again, the patented Mulder leer. "You promise?"
I have the oddest feeling, like Mulder and I are acting in a play. An impartial observer would automatically assume we are a couple. The easy camaraderie, the teasing, the way we finish each other's sentences. Sometimes I forget myself and I just want to kiss his neck, stroke the fine
brown hairs on his arms.
Unresolved sexual tension, that is the term used to describe a situation like ours, the undercurrents running beneath the surface reality of our partnership. It is maddening, but that is the way it is, the way it must remain.
I wonder, does he feel it too? The electrical charge that builds whenever we are near each other.
He has to, he's human.
The love that shines in his eyes, what kind of love is it? Brotherly? Fatherly? That of an unrequited lover? I just don't know. His mind is a dense thicket of weeds and brush to me. Just when I think I have a firm grip on Mulder's mind, he does something that completely contradicts the
assumptions I have made about him.
I pour in chopped tomatoes and tomato sauce, add basil, fennel and sauteed mushrooms to the onions and peppers. It has been a long time since I've cooked. I collect cookbooks and read them like they're novels, but living alone it seems like a waste of time to go to all the
trouble just for myself. My poor mother worries I'm going to die of scurvy.
Shit. My mom. She'll have watched the news and will be wondering when I'm getting back. I pick up the phone and punch in the calling card numbers automatically. She picks up on the second ring. "Hi Mom!" I say brightly.
"Dana honey, you're back already? I saw you on the NBC news last night, at the press conference. I'm glad you came back before the blizzard--"
I cut her off. "Actually, I'm in northern Wisconsin. "
She sighs. "Oh no, not another case, is it?"
Oh boy, how do I explain this to her? "No, Mom. I decided to take a few personal days. Mulder and I are at a cabin belonging to another agent."
My mother's tone immediately brightens. "Oh, just you and Fox. How nice!"
I sigh. "Mom, it's not what you think. Really, it's not." Mulder turns around and grins.
"Sure, honey," she says in her best mother denial voice. "Whatever you say. Well, you two have a fun time. When will you be back?"
"Probably on Tuesday, if the weather cooperates. I love you, Mom, and I'll call you when I get home."
"Stay warm and I love you too, Dana."
I say goodbye and hang up the phone. I love my mother dearly, but she just doesn't get it.
I fuss with the controls of the gas stove, turning the heat down on the bubbling red sauce. My ears have turned pink again. Damn my Irish complexion that gives away my every emotion.
Mulder is leaning against the counter, the wicked grin still on his face. "Is Maggie trying to marry us off again?"
I say nothing and head off to take off a shower and put on my flannel pajamas. I just can't think about this right now.
The snow falls on the frozen ground.
Spaghetti and salad eaten, a bottle of good Cabernet nearly finished, I get up from the wood table and collapse onto the green couch. The dishes can wait until later. For once, I feel full, replete. If I want to, I can drop off to sleep right here on the sofa. After all, I'm already in my pajamas. There is nothing to get up for in the morning. No appointments, no case, no flight to catch, no errands. The snow beats against the picture windows and I can hear the wind screaming.
Through half-mast eyes I watch as Mulder builds a fire.
I curl up in my nest of cushions and finish the glass of Cabernet.
Mulder flicks off the kitchen lights so that the only illumination comes from a living room lamp and the fire. The room glows amber.
He sits down next to me on the couch. "Do you want to play Trivial Pursuit, Scully?" he asks.
I shake my head and yawn. "No, I'm too tired and with your memory, you'd beat me, hands down."
Grinning, he says, "Afraid of losing?"
"No, I just want to watch the fire." I reply.
"I love firelight."
We both say it, at the same time. We look at each other in amazement.
His eyes are so green in the half-light.
Don't think that Dana, I warn myself.
The fire hisses and pops, flickers red, orange and gold.
I yawn again. It feels so wonderful to finally be able to let my guard down, if just a little bit, and relax. "You should go to bed, Scully," Mulder says in a solicitous voice.
"No," I answer, "this is perfect. I am exactly where I want to be right now."
"Trapped in a cabin with me?" he smirks, twirling his glass of wine between his fingers. Suddenly, I have a sensation of deja vu. Mulder and me, a bottle of wine and a couch. Only it wasn't Mulder, it was Eddie Van Blundht. A shiver passes through me.
"It's like a snow day in grade school, although we never had them in San Diego. I feel like my homework can wait. For once, I have no responsibilities."
He stretches. "It does feel good. Neither of us gets much of a chance to relax."
I sigh and stare, transfixed, at the dancing flames.
"Something wrong, Scully?" he asks.
"I'm fine, Mulder."
"You sighed. I wondered what was behind that sigh."
I give him the tiniest of smiles. "I was just thinking that I never have enough moments like these. Never enough time to be Dana Scully, instead of Agent Scully."
He briefly strokes my hand with his. An electric charge passes through me. "I like Dana Scully," he says in a low voice. "Sitting here in her flannel pajamas drinking wine with me."
I don't answer, just smile and watch the light show the flames have produced. My eyelids feel heavier and heavier. My muscles and bones are melting.
The room grows dim.
When I open my eyes again, I am not sure where I am. I smell wood smoke and tomato sauce and something dark and musky. Unidentifiable.
With more than a little mortification I realize I have fallen asleep on the couch. My head is in Mulder's lap.
Oh God. I dare not move a muscle.
I shut my eyes again, afraid to look.
Suddenly, I feel his hand creep into my hair, gently stroking. Mulder is stroking my hair. Tentatively, so tentatively, as if afraid he will wake me. I want to purr like a kitten, it feels so good.
Instead, I drift back to sleep to the soft caresses of his hand and the crackling of the fire.
The next time I open my eyes, I am in the big bed of the master bedroom, covered with the patchwork quilt. I have no idea how I got here.
I am alone. Of course. Why does that thought disappoint me?
Why indeed, Dana?
I can still feel his hands in my hair.
The wind is still howling. I slip out of bed and stand at the window and watch the swirling mass of white.
I am thirsty after all that wine. I decide to venture out to the kitchen for some water. As I tiptoe out of the kitchen, glass in hand, I notice Mulder, standing at the picture windows, watching the storm.
He is so lost in thought; he doesn't even turn around.
The fire has burned down, but the embers still flicker.
I stare at Mulder's back, longing for the courage to be able to go to him, but I stand back.
This is not a bridge that is meant to be crossed.
Everything is wrong about it.
Don't do this, I tell myself.
I am afraid of what would come next.
I know what would come next.
All these years have been a slow build to this moment. I know this like I know my own name.
I am tired of aching for the impossible, of aching for him.
I am tired of acting like everything is fine.
I'm tired of wanting.
Everything is right about it.
Do this, I tell myself.
I take a deep breath and step forward, which makes the floorboards squeak.
He turns around, a look of surprise on his face. "What are you--"
I silence him with a kiss. Our lips meet and then part to admit the other. Our tongues touch and mate. I close my eyes and a million images flash through my mind.
Pulling off my robe to expose my naked back to him, terrified of the marks I found there.
He and Phoebe, dancing together.
Waking from my coma to see his face.
The hospital hallway and the reassuring kiss he placed on my forehead, his thumbs stroking my ears.
His stricken face as he examined my head X-rays.
Mulder, crying in the field of Apison.
On my couch, leaning forward to kiss what I thought was Mulder.
All the threads braid together at this moment.
Mulder pulls away and looks intently at me. "Where did that come from?" he asks.
Oh God, what have I done?
I decide to tell the truth. Didn't he say, "The truth will save you, Scully, I think it'll save both of us."?
"I'm tired of waiting, Mulder."
Stepping forward, he comes to me. Our kiss is long and slow as we explore each other's texture and taste. I feel the rush of heat spread from my center to my fingers and toes.
I press against him until there is nothing between us. We have finally bridged the gap, crossed the border of reserve that has always been between Mulder and me. I want to laugh; it feels so natural and right.
Why have we waited so long? There are a thousand reasons why, but I can't seem to think of any of them right now.
I gasp as his cool, rough hand snakes under the flannel of my pajama top and runs up my warm back.
This is real, right?
We stagger, still kissing, to the couch and collapse upon it. In the dim light I can just barely make out the look of surprise, and delight, on his face. I straddle him and kiss him everywhere, his hairline, his neck, the curves of his ears. He lets out a half-choked laugh. "Scully, is
this really you?"
"It's me, Mulder," I whisper into his ear. "But any time you want to stop, let me know and I'll stop."
He groans, "Oh God, no." Takes my head in his hands and pulls me to his lips.
His lips. Soft and hard all at once. I have idly wondered, from time to time, what they would feel like on mine. Now I know they feel like heaven.
I can feel his hardness pressing at me through his sweatpants. I feel absurdly proud of this, as if to say, I did this to him. I have made him this hard, I have made him want me like this.
Briefly, I wonder if I have ever made him hard before, if he has ever touched himself and thought of me.
I hear myself cry out a little as he drags his tongue down the length of my neck. "You like that?" he asks and proceeds to cover my neck in a series of gentle kisses and tiny vampire bites. Suddenly, I feel possessed. I have been reduced to pure want. With one smooth motion I pull
pajama top off and hear it land on the floor with a small sigh. Mulder inhales sharply.
"Now you," I order and we manage to wrestle his sweatshirt off. It joins my shirt on the floor.
I bend down a bit and brush my breasts against the muscles of his bare chest and stomach. He grabs my bottom in his hands, pressing me into his straining hardness. I feel swollen, overripe, like I may burst at any moment. I grit my teeth. God, I need it. I need everything, all at once.
"The bedroom," I mutter. "Can you make it that far?"
He rolls his eyes. "I would follow you anywhere, Scully."
I totter unsteadily to the bedroom and light, with shaking hands, the candle on the bureau. How considerate of Craig and Karen to leave a pack of matches sitting right there. The room fills with warm light and shadows.
Mulder comes up behind me, surprises me with a lingering kiss on the nape of my neck, reaches around to stroke the tips of my breasts. "How did you get to be so damn beautiful?" he asks.
In the dark, I can feel my face flush.
He kisses me all the way down my back. My hands each form a fist, digging into the soft flesh of my palms. Mulder stops where my tattoo is, reaching to softly touch it and then circumnavigates it with his tongue. My legs buckle and for one instant I'm convinced I'll collapse right here.
I can wait no longer.
I turn around and give him a tug to stand up. I take his hand in mine and lead him to the big bed. "I'm warning
you, Scully," he says, "once we get here, there's no turning back. Everything changes."
I lay back on the bed and crook my finger. "Come here, Mulder," I whisper.
Now when did I become so bold?
It occurs to me that I have nothing to hide from this man, not right now.
He is so beautiful, strong, solid, perfectly made. He looms over me, his gorgeous lips just inches from my own. I reach for him and we kiss as if we are trying to devour each other. His hands stroke my breasts, cupping and circling, lightly teasing the nipples. Suddenly, I can feel the wetness seeping through my panties, through the flannel pajama bottoms. I can feel my readiness for him.
Impatiently, I pull down his sweatpants and boxer shorts. I run my hands along his warm back, lightly scratching him with my fingernails. He hooks his fingers along the waistband of my pajama bottoms, dragging them off me.
For a long moment we lie together, our naked bodies touching.
There is nothing between us now. There is nowhere to hide.
Mulder takes my nipple in his mouth. He circles it with his tongue and begins sucking in earnest. Circle, tug, circle, tug. Pleasure washes through me and I arch my back. Somewhere, I hear myself making little noises. His hand reaches between my legs and brushes the curls there.
"Yes," I hiss.
"Do you want me to touch you there?" he asks, sounding strangled.
I arch my back again in answer.
His long fingers part my swollen folds, graze my clitoris. I can feel my heart beating in loud thumps against my breastbone. "You're so wet," he moans. "Did I do that to you?"
I nod, unable to form a coherent sentence.
His fingers are magic as they skillfully send waves of delight up my spine. I briefly think of sending a thank you note to whoever taught him to touch a woman like this. I spread my legs wider and groan as first one, then two, then three fingers enter my warm, swollen center.
"I've imagined what it would be like to make you sound like that." Mulder whispers, "Do you know what it does to me?"
For the first time I touch his hardness, tracing my fingers along his engorged penis, stroking him in time to his movements. He gives a muffled cry as he sucks my breast harder and his fingers drive in and out of me faster. I am afraid I will come, right here and now.
No, not yet. I want this to last.
"Mulder," I gasp, "I want, I need--"
He lifts his head from my breasts and I catch the mischievous look in his eyes in the candlelight. "I know what you need," he says and kisses my stomach, traces slow circles around my bellybutton.
Oh yes, I know what comes next.
I bury my hands in his coarse hair as he leisurely runs his tongue down my slippery center. He finds the center of all my pleasure and lightly flicks it with his tongue as he continues to fuck me with his fingers. Panting hard now, my muscles and tendons tense and gather into tight knots.
My idle thought of a thank you note turns to a gift of a nice arrangement of flowers for the good woman who taught this man to please me.
Thank you thank you thank you, I think. And then I lose all conscious thought.
There is only my selfish pleasure now.
There is only Mulder and I and this bed.
I feel it coming now, like the rumbling of a freight train in the distance. It is inevitable. The waves of my orgasm start slowly and then build as he licks me faster and his fingers slam in and out of me. My fingers nearly pull out his poor hair by the roots, the pleasure hits me so hard.
I am making low animal noises, but I just don't care. I come and I come and I come and--
Five years is a long time to wait for this.
At last I collapse upon the mattress and let out the breath I have been holding for the last minute or so. Mulder lifts his head from between my thighs and licks his lips. I give him a shaky smile, feeling drugged with my pleasure. "Get up here," I say imperiously. I know I own him now,
body and soul.
I haven't felt this truly wonderful in my life.
But there is more. I want more. I want it all now. I reach down and find him still hard. He must have the self-control of a ninja master.
"It's time now." I whisper in his ear, "I need to feel you inside of me."
He lets out his breath and gives me a long kiss. With my hand, I guide him inside me. So slowly, inch by inch, until he is fully buried in me.
Our eyes lock. This is it. We have crossed the last chasm.
"Why didn't you tell me you feel so good?" he gasps.
I laugh and then he starts moving in and out of me. My legs automatically rise to lock around his back and I rise to meet each insistent thrust. Never could I have imagined this moment possible, never imagined him making these noises of arousal, never imagined we'd fit together so
well. I grab his buttocks to bring him deeper inside me. It hurts a little, but what sweet pleasure.
My hands rise up above my head and he grips them with his own as he drives into me. And then it happens again. With each stroke of his penis I come with a wave of pleasure that makes me gasp.
He fucks me faster now, crying out each time he comes into me until with one last hard thrust his entire body stiffens and he screams out something unintelligible and then buries his face in my neck.
It's over. Already I miss it.
Mulder collapses and we separate our sweaty bodies and lie side by side, still entangled in each other. He lightly kisses my forehead.
Finally, he speaks. "That was, I can't even describe what that was. There are no words."
I nod my head. "I know, I'm in shock, too."
He smiles. "What brought this on, Scully? Why now?"
"Mulder, correct me if I'm wrong, but we have had feelings for each other for a long time now."
"We've done an excellent job of keeping them buried."
I touch the rough skin of his face, the bristly hairs growing in there. "I'm tired of this farce." I say, "Maybe it has to do with coming so close to dying, but I've come to realize the things in my life that matter to me. You matter to me, Mulder."
He pulls me closer to him and strokes my back. He says in a hoarse voice, "When you were in the hospital the last time, so near death, the thing I regretted most was not being brave enough to share my feelings with you. That I couldn't tell you how I loved you."
I feel tears flood my eyes. Love. Oh, God.
"We both have pretty wounded psyches, Scully," he continues. "I was afraid to make any kind of move on you, for fear you'd reject me and our partnership would end. Our partnership means everything to me."
I kiss his nose. "I know, it's everything to me, too. How do you tell your partner and best friend these things? How do you go about risking everything you have?"
"This is what you do," he chuckles. "You trap him in a cabin during a blizzard and jump his bones in the middle of the night."
"Mulder!" I laugh and smack his bottom.
"Oh Scully, I just love it when you get rough with me."
He nuzzles my neck. He smells so good, like wood smoke and sweat and the unmistakable musk of sex. My stomach rumbles
loudly and we both start laughing.
"Hungry already, Scully? We had a big dinner."
"I know, but I worked it off just a while back."
He winks at me. "Yeah, but I did all the hard work."
"Hey, I was working too." I protest.
Mulder stretches and gets out of bed. I lie back and look at his naked body in the candlelight. There have been several times when I've seen him in the nude, but never in the context of my lover. His arms and legs are finely muscled, his stomach flat, his butt firm. I admit it, I am a butt-woman and I've caught myself, on my more than one occasion, checking out his rear end.
"Where are you going?" I lazily ask.
He reaches his hand out to me. "Come on, get up. Let's go forage for some food."
Gingerly, I stand up. My legs are wobbly and I can tell I will be sore in the morning. Tonight I used muscles that have lain dormant for years. I fish around in my suitcase for my plaid wool robe and follow Mulder into the living room after a brief visit to the bathroom to clean up a
little. I pass the digital clock and realize, with surprise, that it reads 4:23 am. Mulder pulls on his sweatpants and heads for the kitchen. I sink into the couch, feeling utterly wiped out.
"What are you in the mood for, Scully?" he calls from the kitchen.
"Ice cream," I reply.
"Ice cream in a blizzard?"
I shut my eyes and lean back into the cushions. "Definitely ice cream. A great big bowl of strawberry."
He returns with two bowls of ice cream, the requested strawberry for me, coffee chip for him. Sitting next to me, he puts his arm around my shoulders.
Oh. I just made love with Mulder.
It all seems real to me now. I flinch a little.
Mulder strokes my cheek with his index finger, cold from the ice cream. "Are you okay, Scully?"
The words automatically fall out of my mouth. "I'm fine, Mulder."
He shakes his head. "No, don't give me the 'I'm fine' routine. Not right now."
I sigh and turn my head to look into his green eyes, narrowed with confusion and fear. "This is just so new. Everything has changed for us."
He takes my hand in a ferocious grip. "Don't withdraw from me now." His voice is so quiet I can hardly hear him.
I try to explain the complicated mass of emotions swirling around in my brain. "I'm just a little unsettled. I didn't expect this."
"But you wanted this. You started this."
I nod my head. "I'm not accustomed to being close to anyone like this."
He kisses the sensitive spot just behind my ear. "Scully, we've been as close as lovers for many years now."
I look down at my hands, which are busily clutching the folds of my wool robe. "But you don't know my heart, Mulder. I'm afraid you won't like what you see there." I'm shaking and don't know why.
Why can't I just relax and let myself be loved?
"Hey," he says, turning my head to look at him. "I know your heart. You have a good heart, a generous heart. You'd have to to put up with my bullshit for all these years. Don't ever say that I don't know you. I do, Scully, and I love you."
A few cowardly tears drip down my face and he tenderly kisses them away. "So this is it," I whisper.
"It's you and me, Scully. It always has been."
I feel an ache in my chest. I don't know whether to laugh or to cry.
"Do you love me?" he asks, still looking right in my eyes.
"Yes," I say. It's so simple to say in the end.
"It's scary, isn't it?"
"It's terrifying to admit it."
"More terrifying than walking up to me and kissing me like you did?"
I nod my head. "When you keep a secret like that for so long, it's hard to finally get it out. I'm just so afraid of seeming weak, of needing you."
His eyes are so sad. "Aw, Scuh-lee, don't you understand? We do need each other and together we are stronger than separately."
Why does he have to make so much damn sense?
He kisses my neck, my ears, my forehead, pulls apart my robe to individually kiss each freckle on my shoulder. "I love you, Dana Scully, whether you like it or not."
I take a deep breath. "And I love you too, Fox Mulder."
It feels like a pact, a vow. Forever.
Our love isn't that love of Hallmark cards and gazing at sunsets. It is a dark love born of fear, tragedy and secrets. A love that has grown and developed from our blood being shed, from death stalking our every move. And yet, it is the most noble and tender love I have ever known.
No, I have never known a love like this.
Pinning him into the couch cushions, I kiss him with a ferocity I never knew existed in myself. I want to devour him with my mouth, my tongue, my body. Mulder looks at this Dana Scully with amazement.
I pull down the sweatpants and take his hardening cock in my hand. I touch him slowly, then quickly, then slowly again as we continue to kiss as if the end were near.
My God, I am so ready for him already.
Pulling away from his mouth, I bend down and trace the whole length of him with my tongue. Mulder whimpers and buries his hands in my hair, just as I did to him not so long ago. I take him in my mouth and tease the head of him, tasting the saltiness of the drops falling on my tongue. A thrill runs through my body. I am in complete control of his pleasure. I suck harder, allowing all of him in my mouth, stroking his balls with my free hand. He guides me with his hands, showing how fast, how hard, until he suddenly pulls my mouth away from him.
"Now," Mulder orders sharply.
Leisurely, I straddle him. His face is contorted with his desire, his need for me. With infinite slowness and care, I allow him to slip inside me. Then we groan together. I bend down to kiss him.
We rock together at a glacial pace, as if we are afraid the other will break. With each thrust of my body down on him, I feel closer and closer to shattering.
This is everything. It isn't just sex. I've had that.
This is communion.
The pace speeds up as he pushes my hips down onto him with his hands. My eyes shut, my head bends back, my mouth opens. I break into a thousand pieces and when I come together as whole again, I hear him moaning my name, like a chant, a litany. Scullyscullyscullyscully until he too is undone.
We stare at each other in amazement.
"Is it always going to be like this with us?" he asks.
I laugh and kiss him again. "If I have anything to say about it, it will."
"Are you feeling better, Scully?"
I nod and smile. "Infinitely so."
Luckily for us, the ice cream hasn't melted yet.
It is a long time before we get to sleep.
Sunlight is streaming through the bedroom windows when I wake. The storm has passed, or is at least taking a break. The brightness in the bedroom hurts my weary eyes, and I shut them again, relishing the darkness.
When I open my eyes again, it comes to me that I am not alone. Mulder is next to me, sleeping on his back with his mouth open, gently snoring. Still images of last night flicker through my mind.
Last night was the turning point.
I am surprised at how calm I feel.
Creakily, I step out of bed onto aching legs and Mulder rolls over, taking most of the bedding with him. Without opening his eyes, he mumbles, "Scuh-lee? Where you going?"
I bend down and kiss the top of his head, the kiss I so badly wanted to give him in the hotel room yesterday morning. What a difference a day makes. "I'm going to the bathroom, Mulder."
"Hmmm." He grunts and buries his face in the pillow.
In the living room, I stare out the windows at the cold, glittering world before me. I have never in my life seen so much white. Suddenly, I have this insane desire to go outside, to breathe in the frigid air.
After putting on jeans over a pair of long underwear and pulling on my warmest sweater, I dress in my parka and boots. I look at myself in the hallway mirror and decide I look like a six year-old, ready to go out and play in the yard.
At the back door that leads to the lake, I step out into the coldest air I have ever experienced, outside of Icy Cape. The coldness seems to head right up my nostrils, freezing the hairs there together. Tears begin to run down my face, and my mouth goes dry.
The silence of this world is profound. I trudge through the drifts with difficulty, as the snow is nearly up to my knees. Breathing hard and sweating under the parka, I stand at the edge of the lake and stare at this eerie vista.
I lift my face to the sky, the sun and shut my eyes. "I won," I say quietly. "Do you hear that? I won! You have tried to kill me, but I lived. You have tried to tear us apart, but we are together. Every time you try to destroy us, we rise from the ashes."
My heart is beating rapidly as my body swells with the rage and pain I have been holding in for so long. To our unknown adversaries, I scream out, "You will not break us! You will not destroy what we have made." I scream to the heavens, tears not born of cold running down my face. "Do
you hear that, motherfuckers? I won! We win!"
I raise my arms to the heavens and scream for long minutes, until I am gasping for air. Wiping away my tears with my gloves, I start laughing.
This round at least.
We have each other. We have love.
Suddenly, I realize just how cold I truly am. I start the trudge back to the log cabin. When I open the door, I can smell coffee.
It snowed and snowed, the whole world over,
Snow swept the world from end to end.
A candle burned on the table;
A candle burned.
As during summer midges swarm
To beat their wings against a flame,
Out in the yard the snowflakes swarmed
To beat against the windowpane.
The blizzard sculptured on the glass
Designs of arrows and of whorls.
A candle burned on the table;
A candle burned.
Distorted shadows fell
Upon the lighted ceiling;
Shadows of crossed arms, of crossed legs-
Of crossed destiny.
Two tiny shoes fell to the floor
A candle on the nightstand shed wax tears.
Upon a dress.
All things vanished within
The snowy murk- white, hoary.
A candle burned on the table;
A candle burned.
A corner draft fluttered the flame
And the white fever of temptation
Upswept its angel wings that cast
A cruciform shadow.
It snowed hard throughout the month
Of February, and almost constantly
A candle burned on the table;
A candle burned.
Boris Pasternak, Doctor Zhivago