Dana Scully had cramps like a mad woman. Normally, she wasn't sure how much of her pain she could ascribe to Eve and that damn fruit, but today she had no qualms about blaming her for all of it, and she did so quite vocally, using a few choice words she'd picked up as a navy brat and as an agent in training. All together she had quite an impressive vocabulary. Quite a few people would be ashamed of her behavior, but at the moment Dana Katherine Scully was not among them.
Scully crouched in the corner of her kitchen clutching at her stomach. She knew her cramps were just caused by her muscles, but it felt like several pairs of hands were wringing her insides out. She wanted to die, she, who had survived an insect cocooning, inbred mutants, liver-eating mutants, a homicidal computer running an office building, wanted to die because of something as normal as cramps.
A guttural moan of pain escaped her throat, and a tear squeezed out from her eye. She slammed a fist or two against the cabinets she leaned on. She couldn't find any position that didn't hurt. She had taken some Advil just two hours ago; they definitely should have kicked in by now. She wanted more and didn't care what it would do to her liver, with this pain who knew how long she'd be around to enjoy the deterioration of her liver.
She stood up, and the pain only increased. She made her way to the bathroom and ransacked the medicine cabinet. Pamprin, said a tiny white bottle. She shook out two of the huge round pills and took them to her bedroom where a glass of water stood on her nightstand. She swallowed the pills, which were not coated with anything remotely slippery and nearly choked on them as they stuck in her throat.
She put the bottle and the glass back on the night table, and laying down on the bed, she once again tried to find some position that made her forget the pain. She tried laying flat on her stomach, no. On her back, on either side, in a ball, on her knees, all no good. Finally, she just gave up, and hugging her stomach, brought her knees up to her chest and lay without moving.
Dana Scully lay sprawled across the top of her bed, arms and legs to the four winds. Her head was pleasantly fuzzy and her whole body felt warm. She thought she heard a knock at her door. It had to be Mulder, no one else came by this late. She glanced at her bedside clock with one eye: 7.30, which made her admit that it didn't matter what time it was, it was always Mulder knocking at her door. With that thought, she sank back into a half sleep.
Mulder knocked a few more times. Scully's mind, deeply adrift, paused long enough to think that perhaps she should get up and let him in; he would worry. But Scully's body was also deeply adrift and wanted no part in that.
From somewhere in her apartment she could hear her cellular phone buzzing. She sat up. She should get that; it might be important. She pushed herself off the bed and shuffled across the floor into the living room. Phone, phone, phone, she thought. She saw the blazer she had worn to work that day hanging from the back of one of the chairs around the table. The badge was still clipped to the lapel. Special Agent Dana Scully and this is Fox Mulder. How many times had she said that? She could hear her cell phone, a muffled ringing from the pocket.
Mulder! He was the one calling her. He could be so annoying sometimes. She went to answer the door. Without looking through the peephole, she threw open the door. Mulder stood in the hallway, his phone pressed to his ear.
"Scully!" he said, surprised.
He sounds worried, she thought.
"Where were you?" he asked her.
"Sleeping," she said warily, hoping this wasn't a lead they had to go chasing after, there would be no way she could find her shoes....
Mulder looked at Scully just as warily. She didn't sound angry that he had woken her up. She didn't look much of anything, except herself. She was wearing pink wool socks, red, black and white plaid flannel pants that were a little too big, and a long sleeve white undershirt with a heather grey T-shirt pulled over the top of it. She looked a little spacey. Her red hair was a messy mass of curls that was a little flat on one side.
"I was thinking that we could go over this case and finish the paperwork before everything left our minds, but if you're sleeping..." he trailed off, implying that he could go, but making no move to do so.
Scully looked at him. Her work was the only thing she had, besides Mulder. She owed it to them both to let him in. She stood back and opened the door wider, inviting him in wordlessly. She turned around, leaving him to close and lock the door behind him.
He didn't bother to hide a smile when he noticed her T-shirt said FBI on the back in big white letters. She looked more like a sleepy college student than an FBI agent. But that white shirt she had on under it looked familiar -- familiar like it might be his. Mulder wondered when she had gotten her hands on it, not like she hadn't had plenty of opportunities. But wouldn't she have noticed it wasn't hers. Had she noticed and kept it anyway? He decided not to mention it.
He watched her go over to the jacket she had been wearing today at work and unclip her badge that still hung from the lapel. She rubbed the material between her fingers, trying to lessen the indention the metal clip had pressed into the fabric. He relaxed a bit, here was his old partner, fussing for perfection.
No, that was too harsh. She just took care of her things, unlike him. He looked down at himself, still in the suit he had worn to work, which by now was rumpled and creased. He couldn't remember the last time he washed his overcoat, buying a new one might just be easier. His tie hung loosely around his neck. She never liked his ties.
He decided he could do with a little Dana Scully in him, it could only improve him.
Mulder took off his overcoat and jacket and hung them over the chair next to where Scully stood. Then he went over and sat down on her couch, putting his briefcase on the coffee table. She finished with her coat and came over. He had expected her to sit next to him on the couch, but she sat to his left in the armchair. She sat with her legs straight out and her arms along the back of the chair.
He couldn't remember a time when he had seen her so relaxed. Was it warm in here? He started rolling up the sleeves of his white dress shirt. "I was thinking..." he began.
Scully just stared at him. She didn't feel like thinking. She slumped down in her chair a little farther.
Mulder kept talking but couldn't tell if Scully was listening. She seemed a little distracted, but she was looking right at him.
Scully sat in her chair enjoying the comfortable sounds of Mulder's deep and soothing voice. This is nice, she thought.
Mulder finished his theory and paused to let Scully have her say. He could hear her in his head, "Mulder, we don't have any evidence to back that up," her voice would be cynical, exasperated and also a little amused.
He looked up to find Scully looking right back at him. She must have been watching him the entire time he had been talking. While he had been looking at his notes and reading from the file, she must have been sitting there watching him. It made him feel strangely vulnerable.
Scully always looked at him while he talked or while she talked to him. They respected each other. No matter how much one of them wanted to disagree with what the other was saying, they always looked each other in the eye -- that way they could fight the more than occasional impulse to roll their eyes, of course, some times the impulse was too great and couldn't be resisted.
But the way Scully was looking at him now was different than her usual looks. She could be demanding, comforting, reasonable or direct, sometimes painfully so, but this look was different, and he couldn't decipher the feelings behind it. It made him feel light-headed and warm. It derailed his concentration.
Scully noticed Mulder had stopped talking. She supposed she was expected to say something, but the truth was, she had only been listening to the sound of his voice, not his actual words. She was too tired to trail behind him picking up loose ends and poking holes in his theories. She smiled at him, without any clear motive.
If he didn't know better, he'd think Scully was acting a little on the drunk side of care. But he knew better; there was probably a logical explanation for it. He smiled back at her hesitantly. She blinked for a couple of long seconds but forgot to open her eyes after she was done.
"Scully?" Mulder said.
She opened her eyes as wide as they would go, unfortunately that was only half-way. She looked at him from underneath her heavy eyelids. She said yes, but all that came out was, "Hmmm."
It didn't have the inflection of a question in it; it sounded more like a content hum to Mulder. He was sure it was totally unrelated to his theories on their case. What he wasn't sure of, was what it did relate to. He looked at Scully. Her head rested on the arm of her chair. One of her feet slid forward until it pressed against his shoe. Her eyes were closed, this time all the way.
Playing footsie with Dana Scully had a definite appeal to it, but not while she was asleep. But if she was awake, she would tell him to stop, and then he'd have to come up with a joke to excuse his behavior. She'd try not to laugh, but she'd smile that little half-smile, which he didn't see near often enough. Or there was always the possibility that she wouldn't tell him to stop.... He took a deep breath to calm his thoughts.
"Dana?" he said softly, recklessly traipsing through forbidden territory but leaving no path. Scully was too sleepy to notice his digression. He slid forward off the couch and knelt by her chair. He put a hand on her knee. "Scully?" he said again, denying himself her first name while he reveled in the fact that his hand was on her knee.
Scully woke up a little. She couldn't sleep in this chair, not with Mulder right there. She could feel his hand through the flannel of her pants. She should be in her bed. She had been in her bed until Mulder had gotten here. What did he want, anyway?
She opened her eyes and found Mulder looking at her curiously. She was supposed to be sleeping. She felt so tired. "Bed," she said aloud and closed her eyes before she could see the rare expression on Mulder's face.
It was peaceful.
Fox Mulder stood up, taking his hand with him.
Scully immediately missed its warmth and moved her own hand to cover the place where his had been.
Mulder wondered if he could pick her up without her decking him. He slid one arm between her back and the chair and the other arm under the backs of her knees and lifted her carefully.
Scully put one of her own arms around her partner's back and put her other hand on the slope of his shoulder with one of her thumbs brushing against his neck. She rested her head on his shoulder.
Her total trust in him took his breath away.
Mulder carried her to her bedroom, placed her on her bed, and pulled the covers over her. She pushed her face into her pillows, sighing softly.
Criminal mind that he had, Mulder noticed the bottle standing on her night table. He picked it up. Warning: May cause drowsiness, the side read. Muscle relaxers. Poor Scully. But it explained why she had been acting so strange. But strange in a wonderful way; he decided drowsy was a good look on Scully when she was away from the office.
He put the bottle back on the night table, but he wasn't looking at the table when he did so; he was watching Scully breathe instead--so he didn't notice that he put the bottle down on its side.
It was so amazing to watch such an extraordinary woman breathe...and like all those times she couldn't help rolling her eyes at him, this time it was he who couldn't resist. He kissed his beautiful partner lightly on the forehead and smiled as she made a nondescript, low murmur in her throat.
Dana Scully woke up with horrible cramps; she reached for her nightstand and picked up the bottle of pills that laid there on its side. She had to be to work in two hours. Work! She couldn't take these then, they made her loopy. She'd have to hunt down her Advil.
She got up and went into the kitchen. The Advil stood next to the sink. She took two and went to lay down on the couch and wait for them to do their work.
The couch. She remembered now. She had had a wonderful dream. A warm and fuzzy dream...about Mulder. She had told him how much he meant to her, and he had carried her off to bed. She smiled. Well, he wouldn't have to know.