It's me, Chantilly lace anon! I was not expecting that (and I mean this as in woah Chelsea, you are an exceptional writer!) But I'm dying to know the aftermath. Don't leave anon hanging after serving that slice serve (sorry I make bad tennis analogies).
No one lets me be evil. Jk I don’t let myself be evil. I’m chaotic neutral at best.
Here you go anon, I have a soft spot for people calling me by my name. Sequel to this!
He thinks of himself like furniture when he does this to her, thinks of himself as something owned and familiar, as traversable in the dark as a decade long set up. It always surprises him when she startles and drops her keys on the floor, or her groceries, or that one time she nearly stripped. He comes with the place. He comes wherever she is.
Tonight he keeps the light on and he sprawls out on the couch. He’s not exactly owned, he’s not exactly familiar. She barely jumps when she finds him this time.
“Mulder?” She hurries to shut and lock the door behind her, dropping her purse and keys on the side table before rushing over to him. “Are you okay? Why are you here?” She feels his forehead, combs her fingers through his hair.
He studies her openly as she hunches over him. Not a hair out of place, no bruises or bite marks, and her mouth is as lipsticked dried-berry matte as it was when she left him in the office. Her clothes aren’t rumpled. Not even close. Nothing – nothing happened then. It’s eleven at night. If it had happened, if it had been him… she cocks her head when she’s concentrating, and there’s this spot on her jaw. His teeth, there. And on her neck. Pick a place any place. Her throat her ears his tongue his lips. He would pay for the dry cleaning. He would have kept the bra. At the very least she wouldn’t look like this. Like nothing happened. Nothing happened.
“Why are you here, Mulder?” She repeats, but this time she sounds tired. There’s a case, Scully. There’s a wart on my ass, I need you to look. There was an accident on the beltway and I had to make sure it wasn’t you. You’re dead wrong on biorhythms. Just here to say hi. What’s up. How are you.
“Scully, were you out with someone?” The words are thick like a foreign language – because they are. This is not their doublespeak, their runaround, their foot soldier-careful navigation of landmines and tripwire. But it doesn’t feel wrong. Not like he was so sure it would.
“I don’t see how that’s any of your business,” she replies, more curious than defensive. She eyes him warily and joins him on the couch, sitting at the farthest end.
“I almost kissed you,” he blurts out. “Over the summer. We never talked about what that meant.”
Her mouth works around nothing. She hugs herself. “The hallway,” she says mildly. “You’re bringing up the hallway. You’re bringing it up now.”
“It had to come up,” he grits, almost through his teeth. If he shakes her now, by the sword-sharp set of her shoulders, he’d leave her wrinkled. Her shirt would bunch up under his fingers and crease around her elbows, and maybe the collar would flip up. “You know that, Scully.” She shakes her head and it feels annoyingly like they’re in the office, like they’re arguing a case. “You’re saying we could pretend it never happened. That you could pretend it never happened.”
“No, I’m saying it wouldn’t have come up. Mulder, you never would have brought it up.”
“I just did.”
“And why did you?” He stays quiet. To him it doesn’t matter why or how or even when, it just matters that it was brought up. Now they can talk about this. Now they can fix this. “You brought it up to prove a point. You brought it up to be right about something, but God knows what you’ve decided to martyr yourself for this time.”
“I’m bringing it up because we have to talk about it. We almost kissed, Scully.” His voice lowers, something hot stings the back of his throat. “And it wouldn’t have ended there. Not with all we were saying and feeling. We ignored it because you were taken and things aren’t great right now but shit, look what it’s doing to us. You don’t even trust my intentions. You ask why I’m bringing up the hallway. That should be obvious to you.”
“I considered myself warned.” He frowns at her. “I didn’t want to make anything too personal.” He shakes his head and clenches his jaw.
“Don’t do that, Scully. Don’t take an entirely different set of circumstances and use my words with an entirely different context to dig yourself out of this.”
She cocks her chin and her eyebrow at the same time, stares at him through flesh and bone and kills the cells of him with just that look. “And just what am I digging myself out of?” She asks, hushed and unwavering. “Are you saying I did something to you?” And he feels it that yes, she did. Yes, you did do something to me. Now apologize so we can make up. Now apologize so we can make up. Now apologize so we can make up. “That I can’t even try to be happy without you making it all about yourself?”
Systems failure. He shuts down, her eyes a blue screen of death, their shallow breathing the beep, beep, beep of something wrong and coded. “He makes you happy,” he says blankly.
“I didn’t – ” air whistles through her nose as her face falls, but he’s not looking at her. “I didn’t say that.”
“That’s good.” He means it in a way.
“I’m happy that you’re happy.”
“Don’t tell him that exploding cadaver story. It’s a great story. I love it. But it’s gross, Scully. You’re weird sometimes.”
“Jesus, will you just–”
“That’s a good thing. It’s a great thing. But maybe hold that one in until the sixth month anniversary or–”
“Shut up!” Scully shouts, and he snaps his mouth shut and falls back against the couch. They sit in awkward silence, with Scully holding her head in her hands.
“I should go,” he says finally. There are a million meanings in it, none he’ll ever really follow through with. He should go, though. He really should.
“Don’t,” Scully demands roughly. Okay. Alright. He can put the hurt away and revisit it later. They say it’s better fermented. Fine wine. They say you can really tell the difference.
“What do you want me to say, Scully?” He whispers. She shakes her head and looks away and he knows there are tears in her eyes and he’s sorry he ever said anything. “Tell me what you want me to say.”
Her breath hitches. Her shirt is all bunched up in the middle. Her hand falls off of her lap and she inches it toward him, an offering, a sacrifice, something. He tentatively takes it in his own.