Notes: This is the conclusion to my “Things You Said” series. (It is on Ao3 or you can type “things you said” into the search on my blog.) It doesn’t matter what order you read the others in, only that this one comes last. Thank you to everyone who sent prompts.
It’s Mulder’s idea to find a motel to stop at before they go
visit Billy Miles. Scully has been
clenching her jaw for twenty minutes, trying not to let her teeth clack its demands. But he pulls into a
lot with a vacancy sign anyway, points out a rickety sign promising laundry
machines. He smiles and sighs as if his luck is
finally turning around.
The night manager’s shift is ending and they have trouble
explaining that they only want the room for the remainder of the previous night. The sun is stirring and stumbling through the
thick Venetian blinds of the all-beige office, insisting that night no longer
exists, cannot be paid for.
“We only need one room, just for a couple hours,” Mulder
explains and the manager raises his eyebrows.
It’s not that kind of place, his expression says, but they all know it
“To nap and clean up,” she says quickly, nearly blushing hot enough
to dry her hair. She wants to
tell the guy two rooms, she wants to pull out her badge and tell the whole story of how she came to find herself beside this lovable lunatic, chasing
down alien abductees.
Mulder opens the door to their room and tells her she can have
the shower first. She gathers her
things, feels his eyes on her, his gaze as wet as the rain in her hair. She figures his staring is the habit of a
loner, a product of his attention to detail, the cause and result of a photographic memory. Nonetheless, it feels personal, humbles and
emboldens her at once.
“Hand me your clothes when you get them off so I can get
them in the washing machine.” She strips
behind the flint-thin door and balls everything up in her forearm. The fabric holds so much water she might as well be rolling a bowling ball through the crack in the door. She’s showing him only her face and one bare
shoulder but he levels that stare as if she’s showing him everything. She fidgets, wants to either yell at him or invite him in.
“Don’t rush,” is all he says. “I’ll call over in twenty minutes when the
morning manager takes over and ask for a late checkout.”
He flaunts everything she believes to be true of the world –
that there is nothing science cannot explain, that sharing a bed with a man you
find attractive means sex, that checkout times are impenetrable tenets of the
“Is that a thing?
They do that?”
“Of course,” he says.
“Haven’t you ever asked for a late checkout?”
“Never needed one.”
“You haven’t really lived until you’ve asked for a late
checkout,” he jokes with a hint of self-deprecation, perhaps his way of apologizing for
the fire, the storm, for everything. But
when she steps under the scalding hot water and feels her stomach jump, her
bones tingle, she thinks the lovable lunatic just might be right.