x files challenge

All the little things

The missing scene where Scully tells Mulder she’s in remission. As blogged so eloquently by @sunflowerseedsandscience 
Noticed the @2momsmakearight has a missing scene challenge too, so here’s my shot at that.

If she could have breathed him in, his essence, she would have. Inhaled with all her might and held her breath for days. But the tumour had all but destroyed her sense of smell. Still, she knew he was there. She could feel him at the deepest level, in a way she would never have been able to explain in a report.

           “Mulder?” Her voice broke over the incessant hum of the hospital room.


           She heard his shirt rustle as he moved in the chair. “How long have you been here?”

           He sat forward on his elbows, and mussed his hair. She noticed how long and elegant his fingers were. Piano hands, her mother would say. His right cheek was lined from the vinyl of the high-backed chair. His tie was loose around his neck and his collar unbuttoned. Somehow, it seemed fitting that he should be suited up, however creased. Fox Mulder wore a suit well. She thought about how the pleated waistband of his pants sat snug against his hips. She’d always had a thing for hipbones. Rubbing a thumb over the rounded knob of bone, spreading her palm flat across a taut stomach. She’d had enough time recently to think about all the little things she would never do again and that had been one. It was the oddest things that struck her. Of all the horrors she had seen in her professional life, the simple cruelty of her reality had been by far the worst.

She reached out her hand and touched his. His fingers curled around hers with such tenderness that she could imagine him as a lover, how gentle, how considerate, how reverential.

           “I tried to go home, Scully, but I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t bear to go back and sit in my apartment. I…just need to be here some more.”

           She tried to roll herself further to the side of the bed, to close the distance between them. There had been times in their relationship when that distance had seemed so vast it could never been reduced; when their differences served only to convince her that they would pull each other apart, unstitch, if one of them didn’t relinquish their hold on the seams of the partnership. But there were other times, more often recently, when she had felt his presence like a second soul, when their similarities had knitted together the edges of their resolve and they had worked as one.

           “Mulder, I have something to tell you.” She squeezed his fingers. He rubbed his face, his jaw clenching. He might be the psychologist but she was well versed in human reaction and paleness, shallow breathing and tension were all classic signs of the fear response. The Mulder fear repertoire also included impulsiveness, shouting, thumping walls or people and guilt.

           “No wait, Scully. I want to speak. I’ve been sitting here waiting for you…to wake up. I’ve been rehearsing this all night. I…can you let me go first?” His eyes clouded and she scooted closer to him, close enough to pull him forward and drop a kiss on his forehead. He sat back and the look he had on his face all but burnt her heart out. His eyes were red with early tears, his nostrils flaring as he tried to control his breathing, his stubbled chin set firm.

           “K…go ahead.”

           He shuddered out a breath and steepled his hands over his nose and mouth. His brow creased and she knew the skin there would be soft. She had an impulse to cover it in kisses, press her lips there long enough to imprint herself on his brain. Instead, she stored the image in the place where she kept her dreams and hopes and simple wishes.

           “I…we don’t do this talking thing very well. We excel at things unspoken. But since you’ve been in here, it hit me…” he broke off to issue a gentle chuckle, “too late of course, that there are too many things left unspoken. Not the big things, the declarations of love or the promises to continue the quest, but the hundred thousand other minutiae that make up a life.

He sighed and looked at her. “I can’t imagine never asking you again if you want cream in your coffee, or calling you on a Sunday morning to see if you’d seen the article in the Post, or telling you that Skinner wants to see us in his office in five minutes, or watching you sign your name at hire car desk where you’d have to stand on tiptoe to reach the counter, or hoping you’d say yes to adjoining rooms, or wondering if you’d belt me if I offered to carry your bags.”

           He wiped his eyes with the back of his hand and she saw how his shirt sleeves were rolled to his elbows and the tendons in his forearms flexed. “Mulder, you don’t have to do this.”

           “But I do, Scully. That’s just it. The big things have remained unsaid for a reason. The big things are measured by the way you’ve changed my life and I hope I’ve changed yours. By the way you’ve made me work for everything, by the way you’ve opened your eyes to the truth even when it hurt so much. But the little things, they cut deep.”

           She shifted, trying to get the pillow out from under her head, so she could sit up. He stood then, took the pillow from her and placed it up against the headboard. He slipped his arms under hers and around her back and gently turned her from her side so she could sit up. She felt her breasts crush against his chest their hearts joining momentarily and hoped he did too. He pulled the sheet and blanket up over her chest and tucked a strand of her hair behind her ear. She was touched by his gentleness, his silent ministrations, his patent concern for her comfort even during his own distress. His eyes continued to well with tears and she noticed the tremble in his hands.

           “Mulder, I thought about the little things too.” She clasped her hands in her lap and snorted out a laugh. “All the time. How I would miss the way you stand you’re your hands on your hips when you’re frustrated, the way you chew on your bottom lip when you think too long, the vein in your temple that throbs when you’re angry, your Dad jokes and innuendos and hand in the small of my back.”

           Tears tracked down his cheeks now and he looked away, desperate to retain some modicum of dignity. “Scully…”

           She put a finger to his mouth. “Shh. It’s okay.” He broke into a choking sob and she let him cry it out. He shook against her, his forehead burning into her chest, melding their skin together.

           “Scully, I can’t do this without you. I can’t.”

           “You know what? You could if you had to.” She kissed his forehead, savouring the taste on her lips, she kissed his cheek, his stubbled jaw, the soft lobe of his ear and she whispered, “but you don’t, Mulder. The cancer is in remission. I’ve been trying to tell you. I’m okay. I’m okay.”

           She felt his grip tighten on the back of her neck, she felt his shoulders heave upwards, then drop just as quickly, releasing his pent-up tension.

           “The chip worked?” His voice cracked in astonishment and for the longest time he remained silent, her head tucked under his chin, his head thrown back. His shoulders wobbled and his chest expanded and he laughed and he held her close and the bed creaked as his laughing turned to crying.

           She snuffed into his neck. “We don’t know if it was the chip, but the fact remains that I’m going to get better. And we’re going to get the chance to say all those little things, Mulder.”

           She let him sink into her, revelling in the heat of his breath in the hollow between her neck and her shoulder. She brushed her fingers over the fine hairs at his nape. She bunched the fabric of his shirt in her hand and settled to the rhythm of his sobbing. She lost track of time, but her eyes grew heavy and she had to push at him to get him to release her.

           “I’m tired, Mulder.”

           “Have I ever told you how your top lip curls so sedately round your teeth when you yawn, Scully? And how you make this tiny noise when you’re entering REM sleep, like a snuffly puppy? And how your pinky finger sticks out a little when you hold a spoon to eat your yoghurt?”

           “A snuffly puppy, Mulder?”

She closed her eyes and let him talk. He told her all the little things. And she thought about all the little things that she would tell him later. And later and later.

Netflix: This TV Show is only available for two more days


Originally posted by mapacesaparis6

XF Fic: New York City Serenade

Author: @soft-thrills

Rating: PG

Summary: Scully ponders her mortality in New York City.

Notes: Post-episode for Tithonus.  Written for the X-Files Writing Challenge prompt: city. A million thanks to @agoldenpalace for her wonderful beta read and for punching this up for me from several time zones away. 3,000 words.

Dana Scully’s abdomen should hurt.

That’s the first coherent thought she has, after getting over the panic of waking up in a strange place and realizing that strange place is a hospital. She remembers, then, the old ramshackle apartment in Brooklyn where she’d talked about life and death with Alfred Fellig, and where she’d been struck by a bullet meant only for him but which had hit them both.

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The Upside of Right

For @2momsmakearight‘s X-Files Revisited challenge.

Many, many thanks to @kateyes224 and @storybycorey for their beta help and ideas. Y’all are SO great. 

msr // emily arc // angst

It’s one of her earliest memories, riding in her Dad’s old Chevy on the way home from elementary school, buckled into a car seat, small feet kicking and tears falling down her face. Bill telling her to “stop being such a baby” and for the life of her now she can’t remember what made her so sad.

She remembers her dad kneeling down and helping her out of the carseat when they got home as she desperately wiped at her eyes, because William Scully’s daughter didn’t cry, especially not when her older brother was watching.

Bill kicked at the car door and mumbled something about his dumb little sister, and her dad gave him a look before turning back to his daughter.

“It’s okay to cry,” he told her. “It’s okay.”

She still sniffed. And so he picked her up and put her on his shoulder, began singing.

“Jeremiah was a bullfrog, was a good friend of mine…”

Her father did not have a good voice. It was raspy and out of tune, but when he bulged out his cheeks like a frog and she laughed, none of that mattered. What mattered was her father was singing to her and the world was righted again.

It’s been in her head since, a tune she keeps tucked in her back pocket like a worry stone, as familiar and comforting to her as the cross around her neck. She’s sung it to herself as a sort of lullaby over the years when her father wasn’t around to—at prom when her date stood her up, in college when she failed her first exam.

And now she finds herself singing it again, but this time the comfort isn’t for her. It’s for the girl lying in the hospital bed, hooked up to tubes and fighting for her life, the little girl with Scully’s cross around her neck.

It’s for her daughter.

Her daughter, her daughter, her daughter. The phrase runs through her head like a train speeding off-course.

What would her father say if he could see her, fingers absentmindedly running over her rosary and that blasted tune stuck in her throat?

What would he say if he knew she couldn’t save her own daughter?

She stands and looks through the glass and feels powerless, because she’s a mother and she should be able to save her daughter, and singing a song to herself isn’t going to cure what they did to her child.

As a mother she hopes. As a doctor she knows it’s futile.

Joy to the world…
All the boys and girls…

Her voice breaks.


She turns and he’s there, and she’s shaking her head telling him she’s not going to make it, Mulder, and then she’s sobbing into his chest and he’s stroking her hair telling her it’s okay, it’s okay.

But her daughter is dying.

The world is upside down.

He always wants to argue with her. And normally he does.

But this time he doesn’t say anything.

The drive back to the airport is quiet, sober, no sound until they hit the highway. She finds herself humming that song again and he doesn’t correct her on the title like he normally does. Did.

“Mulder, it’s called ‘Joy to the World,’” she says when they’re standing in the basement, hands on hips.

“You’re thinking of the Christmas song.”

“I am not,” she replies, but there’s laughter at the edge of her voice.

He fiddles with the radio as they turn onto the highway, preparing themselves for the trip back to Washington.

Jeremiah was a bullfrog…”

Mulder laughs. “Would you look at that.”

And he sings along, and from the backseat Emily’s quiet voice joins in, and Scully smiles to herself.

The world has righted again.

Terminal Intensity (X Files Revisited Challenge)

For @2momsmakearight X Files Revisited Writing Challenge, although this is like 1,000 words too long for the contest, so I’m kinda disqualified. OH WELL! I had way too much fun writing this to chop it down. And, oh look, it’s 10/13! Happy Birthday Chris Carter – a very sincere and heartfelt thank you for what you’ve given us, and also for what you haven’t. ;)

Terminal Intensity

8:17 p.m.

His first thought when the smoke from his gun clears is that he definitely hasn’t thought this through. His second is that Scully definitely would have.

It’s the second thought that hardens him, his blood congealing in anger until his face is rigid as stone. Blood seeps from the two men’s fatal wounds and pools like dark satin on his wooden floor. He’d shot one in the back as he entered the apartment and the other quickly in the face before the man could spot him lurking in the shadows of the hallway.

What finally pushed him over the edge was the way everyone had spoken of her in the past tense. Skinner – “she was a fine officer.” Was. Even her mother and sister seemed ready to release her. Melissa’s words of an hour ago, meant to bolster, only tortured him. “At least she’ll know. And so will you.”

That’s where she was wrong. He knows.

This is what it feels like to die with regrets. Because make no mistake, Mulder as he has been is dead now.

He gathers a few papers and photos from his desk. It occurs to him that he doesn’t even have a picture of her. Instead he reaches into his pocket to wrap a finger around the thin chain of her gold cross. He thinks for a moment about keeping it, some maudlin trinket to pull out and gaze at in the days to come.

No. He unspools it and drops it on the desk. What else is grief but love’s choicest souvenir?

He rifles through the desk for the PIN to his trust fund and shoves everything quickly into a duffel along with a change of clothes and the plane ticket.

“Walk away and then never look back,” X had told him. But he looks back once at the streetlight angling over his leather couch, the sticky residue of all the Xs taped on his window, and the slumped bodies of nameless men cooling on the floor. His last bitter thought, at least she didn’t have to live to see this.

Then he walks through the door and out of his own life.

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XF Fic: ‘The Wonder of You’

Notes: Written for @leiascully’s X-Files Writing Challenge. The prompt was music… it takes a while to get to the music because some smut got in the way first, but it’s there. This is my first story from Mulder’s point of view, so I’d love some feedback. :-)

Rating: NC-17.

Summary: Mulder and Scully move into their unremarkable house and make it official. 

When Mulder first sees Scully standing on the front porch of the house in Virginia, he is overcome.

“Wait,” he tells her, as she puts the key in the door and turns the lock over, ready to swing it open and step into their home.

He takes the stairs two at a time to catch her, grabbing her right wrist with one of his hands and putting the other on her cheek. She looks up at him with that curious expression she’s been tossing in his direction for more than a decade and he kisses her, soft and sweet and slow.

Then he reaches down and scoops up her compact little body into his arms.

“Mulder,” she says, part warning and part invitation, and she grasps her arms around his neck.  

He kicks the door open gently with his foot and carries her over the threshold. She laughs a little, and he does too.

“It doesn’t count if we’re not married, Mulder.”

“I don’t care, Scully,” he responds. “We’re home.”

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JLANetwork Challenge 9

An AU of any Book -> The X-Files and The Lux Series Crossover

Daemon Black goes to alien conspiracy theorist Fox Mulder for help getting Katy back from the DOD.

XF Writing Challenge

It’s a little late but this week has been crazy.

The Gift

Scully stirs as she hears a gentle tap at the front door, but makes no effort to move. She couldn’t answer it even if she wanted to. She’s scared to move - her head feels as though it’s about to explode, she’s just recovered from a gushing nosebleed and she’s pretty sure that if she even attempts to sit up, she’ll pass out. Her doctor has warned that the headaches will occur more often now, but Scully didn’t expect them to get quite so bad so soon. There’s the option of painkillers of course, but they’re just a temporary fix - they just numb the pain for a few hours until Scully almost forgets she’s dying. And then they wear off and reality hits.

She’s pretty sure she knows who her visitor is anyway - it’s the same person who’s already called her twice this morning, at least until she switched off her phone, the shrill ringing of her cell doing her headache no favors. As she hears another knock, Scully takes a deep breath and, as loudly as she can manage, calls “use your key.”

Silence, then moments later she hears the rustling of keys before the visitor finds the one they need, inserts it into the lock and opens the door. Mulder stands before her, his expression a combination of worry and relief as he spots her on the sofa. No doubt he panicked when she didn’t answer her phone she thinks, and there’s a part of her that feels guilty for switching off her cell.

“Hi,” Scully says softly, giving him a weak smile, instantly regretting it when she feels her stomach lurch. She takes a deep breath, trying to keep the nausea at bay.

Mulder closes the door and is by her side in seconds. “Are you ok?” he asks, reaching out to cup Scully’s flushed cheek. She leans into his touch without even realizing as he kneels down beside her.

“I’m…” she stops as she sees Mulder prepare himself for her denial. She’s too weak to pretend right now. “…just having a bad day,” she admits.

Mulder nods, running his fingers through her hair, and Scully is relieved to see that there’s no pity in his eyes - just understanding. Since she broke the news of her cancer to her family and friends, they’ve been looking at her as though she’s a ticking time bomb ready to go off. Now when they look at her, their eyes just see Dana Scully - cancer victim. But Mulder sees her just as he always has. Yes there’s concern when she gets a nosebleed in the office, especially after that one time when she passed out in the ladies’ bathroom, but Mulder still treats her like an equal. She can almost forgive him for checking up on her. “Anything I can do?” he asks, and Scully shakes her head in the negative, feeling nauseous once again. “Can I get you anything?”

It takes a lot of effort, but Scully manages to reply. “I don’t think I can keep anything down.”

Mulder frowns, his fingers still brushing through her hair. Scully hums, thinking to herself that if he keeps that up, she’s likely to fall asleep. She carefully rolls onto her side and curls into him, feeling his breath caress her ear as she closes her eyes.

“Do you want me to take you to bed?”

Scully huffs against his throat. “If that’s your idea of a pick-up line…”

Mulder grins. “I promise you I’ve got better. Besides, I’d buy you a drink first.”

“Mulder, don’t make me laugh,” Scully groans. His smile instantly vanishes.

“Where does it hurt?”


“Should I call your doctor?”

Scully opens her eyes to shoot him a glare.

“No doctor, I got it.”

“Just keep talking. It helps me take my mind off the pain.”

“You always told me that my voice caused you pain.”

“It does. It does.” Scully sighs. “What are you doing here?”

“I called earlier to see if you were up for going out to lunch.”

“I switched my phone off.”

“I noticed.”

“I’m sorry.”

“It’s ok. It can’t be helped. Oh!” Mulder sits back and reaches into his jacket pocket. “I’ve got something for you.”

Scully’s eyes follow his hand. “What?”

“Just a little something.” He waggles his eyebrows and Scully smiles, relieved when she finds that it doesn’t hurt.

“A gift?”

“You could call it that.”

“Mulder, you don’t have to buy me gifts,” Scully protests, feeling tears cloud her eyes. Ever since her cancer was diagnosed, ‘Get Well Soon’ and 'Thinking of You’ cards and flowers have arrived on practically a daily basis, and she’s not sure she can take any more sympathy.

“Call it an apology for the expense reports I made you do last week. For the last four years actually,” he says shyly as he hands Scully an envelope. With all the energy she can muster, Scully takes it from his grasp and opens it. It’s not a card she notices with relief. It’s a -

“Mulder.” Suddenly wide awake now, she reads the piece of paper she pulls out of the envelope. “You’ve booked me a flight?”

“Not just you,” he says. “I booked us a flight.”

“To New York?”

“We should be in town for the Yankees’ game.”

“But Mulder,” Scully protests. “It’s in September.”

“I know,” he says, matter-of-factly, and realization sets in. He’s brought her a ticket for September. He has faith that she’ll still be alive and fit enough to travel in September. Tears spring to Scully’s eyes.

“Mulder -”

“See,” he begins. “I want to go to the game, and I want to go to the game with you.”

“Mulder, we both know that I can’t. I’m dying.”

“Well, I suggest you don’t die Scully, because we have a flight booked, and a hotel too, and I really really don’t want to go to the game with Skinner.”

“Mulder -”

“Don’t waste your energy arguing. Scully, don’t give up,” he pleads, taking hold of her hand and squeezing it. “I’m not ready to say goodbye. There’s still hope.”

*There’s no hope* Scully thinks, but she says nothing. She knows her family have all but written her off, so it’s refreshing to have one person rooting for her. “Thank you,” she says softly, leaning in to press a chaste kiss to Mulder’s cheek. “Does the hotel have a pool?”

Mulder smiles. “It does. And a spa.”

“Tell me more,” she says, closing her eyes and sighing peacefully.

“I believe the bathtub in the room even has a jacuzzi setting.”

“You know what I like.”

And as Mulder begins to tell her about his plans for their vacation, Scully drifts off to sleep and dreams of the future.

X-Files Fic: Ask Again Later

Rating: PG
Timeline: Pilot
Summary: Written for @leiascully‘s X-Files writing challenge, for “tension.”  A follow- up to “Evidence Against.”  (I smell the start of a series!)

Mulder looks down, bemused, at the five feet (barely) of soaking wet, giggling redhead standing in front of him.  She hasn’t specifically called him crazy yet, not out loud, even though she’s thinking it, he knows she is… but at the same time, she’s buying his bizarre theory, somehow, even though she doesn’t want to.  She’s standing in a small-town cemetery, in the rain, beside two open graves, laughing her head off because she thinks there’s a chance a comatose boy is leaving his bed by night to exhume the bodies of his high school classmates.  He doesn’t know her well enough to be sure, but he thinks it’s a safe bet that this is the strangest twenty-four hours she’s ever passed in her life.

“Come on,” he says, leading her away through the mud and rain-soaked grass.  "Let’s get out of here.“  She follows by his side.

"Where are we going?”

“We’re going to pay a visit to Billy Miles.”  Scully arches an eyebrow up at him as they approach the car.

“Mulder, it’s three in the morning and we’re both soaking wet,” she says.  "No way are they going to let us in to see him, not at this hour, and not looking like this.“

"Well, what do you suggest?” Mulder counters.  "I don’t know about you, but any change of clothes I had went up in flames along with our motel rooms, Scully.  I couldn’t neaten up if I wanted to.“

"We could at least dry out somewhere until a more reasonable hour,” says Scully.  "How about we grab another room at the motel, just one- not like that, Mulder!“  She rolls his eyes at his suggestive leer.  He knows he’s pushing the envelope, but he can’t help it- she’s just so straight-laced.  It’s only taken her giggling once for him to be addicted to the sound of it, and if he can get her to laugh again, it’ll make his night.  "Just for a few hours.  I don’t think a town this small is going to have any all-night diners we can camp out in.”  They reach the car, and Mulder digs out the keys.

“The rain’s gotta let up eventually,” he says.  "We can probably just sit in the car for awhile.“  Scully rolls her eyes.

"I’m freezing, Mulder.  I’d like to not be in my clothes while they’re drying out, if possible,” she says.  Mulder really, truly can’t keep himself from waggling his eyebrows at her; does she not realize how wide open she’s leaving herself?  Scully catches his expression.  "Mulder.“  She swipes her hand along the wet roof of the car, flicking rainwater into his face.  "Not.”  Another flick.  "Like.“  Flick.  ”That.“  She swipes her entire arm over the car, getting water right in his eyes.  He flinches.


“Oh, relax,” says Scully.  "You’re already wet.“  Mulder grabs her by her arm, reaches onto the roof of the car and, using his wider arm span to its full advantage, sweeps an absolute deluge of water right into Scully’s face.  She sputters and tries to jerk away, but she’s laughing, and so is he.  

He doesn’t even realize he’s still holding her arm until she stops trying to pull it out of his grasp, and by then, it’s too late: he’s already leaned down and kissed her.

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Prometheus Revisited (for October FicFest)

Thanks to a conversation between @leiascully and her anons I was reading yesterday, I had an X Files Revisited contest idea a couple days too late for that project. This’ll be for the XF Writing Challenge “Criminal” instead, but read it in the “revisited” spirit.

Prometheus Revisited

This was not the way they’d planned, she thinks. She had not anticipated the need for deception or seduction. When the plans were originally drawn, she was always meant to be the lynchpin – the donor and the host. He was always the intended father.

She would never consider her part criminal. Quite the opposite. She was a true believer from the outset. And, she did love him. This was for all their sakes.

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XF Fic: Contact

Title: Contact

Author: @soft-thrills

Rating: Teen

Written for: The X-Files Writing Challenge, prompt: touch

Special Agent Dana Scully may be new to this whole having-a-partner thing, but she’s pretty sure most partners don’t touch each other as often as she and Fox Mulder do.

She is inclined to blame this on Mulder. Maybe he’s just effusive. He’s a little socially awkward. He doesn’t get boundaries—he keeps pornography in their shared office, for god’s sake.

But then she remembers their first case, when she rushed into his motel room and dropped her robe so he could examine the spot on her lower back that would eventually become a magnet for his hand as they walked, side by side, up to nondescript front doors in towns across America to deliver bad news or ask questions about things she didn’t believe existed. She remembers the way she threw herself into his arms, and his hesitance, at first, to close them around her.

Taking off her robe is actually easy for her to explain—she’s a doctor and she’s comfortable with her body and other bodies, and she needed him to examine the spots on her back. The hug, that’s harder. A moment of weakness due to fear, a need to feel safe and protected. And for everything she’d heard about Fox Mulder, the good and the bad, she felt comfortable around him from the very beginning. If you would have told her before they’d met that she’d be on his motel bed in the dark in a robe on their first case, she would’ve called you insane. But that’s what happened.

The rest of their close encounters happened while she was clothed, but the intensity seemed to ratchet up anyway. A few weeks later she calls him territorial and he owns up to it immediately, reaching out to touch a necklace that dangles dangerously close to her chest. Another time he wants to show her fingerprints on his eyeglasses, so he tosses his arm over her shoulder and comes in so close to her face, puffing out a hot breath to fog up the lenses. She can feel his breath against her own lips.

They’re in Alaska the first time a touch makes her have a less-than-professional thought about her partner. The small storage room feels even smaller under the weight of the tension and fear between them, the heavy burden of Mulder’s anger that she had sided with the others and believed that he might have been infected with a prehistoric parasite, that he might have been dangerous. It felt dangerous in that room, as he whispered harshly that he wanted to trust her, his eyes squinting against the light she’d turned on, the unbuttoned collar of his shirt hinting at his strong chest.

He turned for her and she got more than a hint about his back, his shoulder blades and his smooth skin that she had touched, perhaps, a moment too long, a degree too interestedly. No spots. No worm. Just Mulder, lean muscle and bone under skin, just her partner. She tucked down her head, feeling foolish.

It was when she turned to walk away that it happened, his hot hand landing firmly on her shoulder, not asking, clamping down hard enough to stop her in her tracks and make her gasp.

Every time he’s touched her before had been so soft, gentle enough sometimes it seemed she might have imagined it. She’s not sure what it says about her that the time he touches her in such a rough way it sets her pulse racing. 

She forgets, just for an instant, about matters of life and death and she imagines him spinning around and kissing her, crushing his mouth against hers, backing her up against the door to his makeshift prison cell. He examines her instead, and when he pulls the back of her shirt down a little to inspect her neck, she imagines him kissing her in the spot he covers with his hot hand and she shivers. She’s thankful he’s behind her and can’t see her face flush. She’s thankful she can blame her reaction on fear and adrenaline, both of which are real but are also fueling the desire that she is embarrassed has surfaced at a time like this.

She doesn’t get a whole lot of time to consider the thoughts that have, unbidden, crowded her mind. They walk out of the room and promptly find themselves in the midst of yet another life-and-death struggle, she shoved back into the storage room, Mulder nearly getting an earful of that worm. 

They escape in the nick of time, as usual. Their evidence does not survive, as usual.

As they stand outside in the cold she thinks about how close they came, yet again, to disaster. She thinks what a shame it would be to never kiss him, and then is ashamed of the thought. She is afraid of these feelings, the kind of feelings that threaten to get in the way of everything else.

“It’s still there, Scully,” he says about the worm, ever focused on the mission at hand. “200,000 years down in the ice.”

She buries her thoughts like the worms in the ice.

“Leave it there.”