Title: Waiting Games
Authors: Alanna and Dasha K
DISCLAIMER: The characters of Mulder and Scully are the property of Fox Broadcasting and 1013 Productions. The character of Hannah Scully is the property of the authors. The situations into which we have placed them are of our own creation.
KEYWORDS: Mulder/Scully romance, post-XF RATING: NC-17 ARCHIVAL: Gossamer, please. Anyone else, just let us know. SPOILERS: None.
SUMMARY: Waiting can be a supreme pleasure or it can be agony. A new responsibility in the lives of Mulder and Scully leads to some waiting games.
Bless us father, for we have sinned. We have written ourselves some babyfic, although we did it not to bring shmoopiness to the masses, but to show the real issues having a child brings to a relationship, especially in the realm of a couple's sex life. If we have inadvertently incurred blatant sappiness, we shall get ourselves to church post-haste and say our rosaries like good girls. And please forgive us for the smut which we have written.
This story is a funky amalgam of the universe Alanna set in her story
"Positive" and the two stories Dasha wrote called "The Fabric of Our Lives" and
"Bound Together With Invisible Cord". You don't have to read either of them to
understand this, but we'd sure like it if you did...<g>
Extra-special thanks go to Gwendolyn for beta-reading!
By Dasha K. and Alanna
firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com
Her eyes are blue and her hair is growing into a mass of blonde curls.
On first glance, she doesn't really look much like her mother or me, but I'm not surprised. In my baby pictures I was towheaded, then my hair became dark brown almost overnight in the summer before kindergarten. I'm trying not to get too attached to Hannah's golden hair, but I can't help it when it makes her look like a tiny angel.
She was asleep in my lap, thank goodness. That morning wasn't one of the best, for all concerned. Hannah steadfastly refused to let me get her dressed this morning, her tiny arms and legs flailing with each of my attempts to pull the romper over her head. Scully had come down with a bad case of the flu over the weekend, but insisted on taking Hannah to the pediatrician for her checkup that morning. We argued in hushed tones before she finally acquiesced and went back to bed, to wait out the sickness. I made another weak attempt to get her to take something stronger than the herbal teas she's been drinking, but even though over-the-counter medications wouldn't hurt the baby, Scully's still reluctant to take them while nursing. So I called the college and told them I had to cancel my morning lecture.
I shifted slightly in the none-too-comfortable waiting room chair, trying to keep my movements from waking the baby in my arms. Sure, I could have put her into her carrier seat, but where would the fun be in that? The middle- aged woman across the room gave me looks while what looked to be her grandson stacked some blocks in the play area. I wanted to look away, but some masochistic impulse made me stare her down, which she apparently saw as her invitation to conversation.
"Is that your daughter?" she asked in a voice quite strong for a small woman, though I knew from firsthand experience that small women could be fountains of strength.
"Yes." Hannah stirred slightly in my arms.
"What's her name?"
"Hannah." I tried sticking with single-word answers, hoping that she'd stop the questions, but luck didn't seem to be with me.
The woman glanced over at the little boy. "That's my grandson, Kyle. He's almost three. How old is Hannah?"
"She's nearly five months old." The vibrations of my chest finally awakened my baby, and she yawned and stretched, but fortunately chose not to begin fussing.
She's finally beginning to develop a personality, and a mercurial one at that:
I never quite know whether to expect wails or her beatific smile, with a hint of nascent mischief. I'm almost afraid to find out what she'll be like when she learns to walk.
I was saved from further small talk by a voice calling out her name. Settling her into the carrier, I picked that up with one hand and slung the diaper-and-toys bag over my shoulder with the other. We left the brightly colored waiting room in favor of the slightly-less-garish interior of the office.
The appointment was short and sweet. The doctor listened to her chest, gave her a once-over, and pronounced that she was coming along just fine. Scully and I made these appointments at least every two months rather than the more standard three-to-six, and whenever I showed up at Dr. Charles' office I felt a bemused condescension coming from him. Hell, he's making plenty of money off the Scully family, so he really has no reason to look down on us. And as long as Hannah was healthy, I could care less. Paranoia runs deep in our household.
Our insurance co-pay only covered the standard checkups, so I wrote a check for far too much money and carried my daughter out of the office, while she examined her toes with a preternatural degree of contentment. As we left the building I saw it was raining, so I picked her up out of the carrier and tucked her up under my shirt, trying not to feel a twinge of guilt at her cries as I hurried over to the car and strapped her into the carseat. Pulling back around to the front of the office, I stopped the car and quickly retrieved the carrier and diaper bag, thankful that nobody had seen fit to make off with them yet.
I'd told Scully I'd stop on the way home and pick up some groceries, but in the back seat, Hannah demanded her mother. I pulled a bottle of formula out of her bag and offered it to her, but she scrunched up her face and turned away. Though I could definitely understand the mother-child connection, I couldn't help feeling a bit jealous of it. I could provide her with everything in my power-- security, a roof over her head, and all the love in my body -- but I wasn't mommy and I couldn't soothe her by pulling her close and giving her what she needed. I tried not to mind, I really did, but such is life.
She went back into the carrier after I pulled up in front of our apartment building, and her cries reverberated through the foyer as I mounted the three flights of stairs up to our home. I unlocked the door and her tiny fists stopped flailing as she recognized the familiar surroundings. Fortunately, Scully was sitting on the sofa in the living room and I didn't have to call out "Hi, we're home" for her to stand and walk over to us. She gave me a quick kiss on the cheek before taking Hannah from me and moving back over to the couch.
"You hungry, pumpkin?" Mommy asked her daughter. I heard Hannah's cries slide into contentment as she snuggled in closer to Scully. Lunch had arrived and her little world was complete. I could hear her faint suckling sounds from across the room.
My work here was done.
My shoulders slumped a little as I set the bag down on the coffee table in front of the two of them and ventured into the kitchen. I surveyed the mess from last night's dinner and began rinsing off the dishes.
"How'd the checkup go?" Scully called from the other room.
The warm tap water flowed over my hands as I scrubbed a plate. "Fine. She's perfectly healthy."
"Good." I heard the television click off. "I see you weren't able to get the groceries."
Was that irritation or humor in her voice? "Let me get the kitchen cleaned up and I'll go back out."
"No hurry." It was amusement, I think.
Thank God for the dishwasher. I squeezed some detergent into the dispenser and shut it, turning the knob to get it started. Grabbing a towel to wipe off my hands, I wondered if I was domesticated enough to start buying Palmolive to keep the water from wreaking havoc on my hands.
I was almost reluctant to go back into the living room. Though I'd always tried to be the epitome of fatherly support, I still felt kind of awkward about intruding on Scully and Hannah's moments of intimacy.
Heaven knows it was the only intimacy around here those days.
The thought insinuated itself into my head, and I wanted to smack myself for it. I walked back into the living room and sat down on the sofa next to my family. My wife smiled slightly at me then looked back down at Hannah, who was busy devouring her meal. As far as she was concerned, life was perfect.
But was it perfect for us? I honestly didn't know.
I had nearly everything I could have wanted -- a wonderful wife and an amazing baby daughter. I felt safer and more grounded than I had in years, possibly ever. Yet I couldn't help feeling restless. A small part of me wanted things back as they had been not so long ago, when Scully and I could make love for hours, or even just sit on this sofa and bask in the nearness of one another.
Hannah was the light of our lives, and I adored -- worshipped -- her with a passion I'd never felt before. But after I'd had to return to work a couple of months ago, I began to feel left out. They had built their own world together and I'd slowly become the third wheel. Scully was everything to Hannah, although, to be fair, the infant's world boiled down to eating, sleeping, and bouts of either tears or her tiny, gurgling laugh.
I'm selfish. I wanted to be with her every moment of every day. I wanted to be important to her. But a nagging voice in the back of my head told me that I was just Daddy, the big guy who was gone too often.
I wanted Hannah. I wanted Scully. I wanted my family back.
I wanted to be everything to them.
Hannah's movements slowly settled into sleep and Scully pulled her away from her breast, gently wiping the corners of the baby's mouth. She looked up at me and said, "You want to put her to bed?"
I was almost reluctant to touch Hannah, afraid I'd wake her, but after squelching the hesitation I stood and carefully lifted her up. Her warmth and baby-softness melted into my arms as I held her as close as I could without smothering her and took her into the nursery. I settled her into the crib, and she barely moved as I brushed the curls back from her brow. Kissing my fingertips, I pressed them to her forehead and whispered, "Sweet dreams, Hannah," then walked back into the living room.
Scully was still sitting on the sofa, not having bothered to button her light cardigan. Her breasts were full and beautiful, rising softly with each breath. Familiar pangs of desire flooded my body and I sat back down beside her, putting my arm around her shoulders and drawing her close.
"You feeling better?"
She didn't open her eyes. "Yeah, actually, I am. Good thing I'm managing to get over this flu before next week."
Ah, yes, next week. Her maternity leave was almost up and I knew she was dreading going back to work and leaving Hannah at the hospital's day-care center. She turned to face me and I was surprised when she drew me into a long kiss.
I felt my body rising to the occasion.
We sat there together, so close, kissing one another with a passion so rarely seen anymore. I reveled in the moment, of tasting Scully's mouth and being able to express our love. But just as my other hand moved to her shoulder and I caressed her soft skin, she pulled away.
"I think I'll go to the store instead of you having to do it. I need to get out of the house."
Her statement felt like a slap in the face.
"No, that's okay. Go right ahead." A familiar resignation crept into my voice. She gave me an inscrutable look, then stood and buttoned her sweater. I watched her disappear into the bedroom to get dressed, and I stretched on the sofa, my jeans scraping over my erection. Closing my eyes, I knew what was happening.
Hannah had made us into a family, but my beloved Scully was slowly drifting away from me.
It was one of those idyllic mornings, when everything seemed to be just right in my little world. The sun was streaming in through the curtains and for the first time in days I felt completely free of the nagging flu that had laid me low. Enjoy this, I thought, Monday morning it's back to work for you.
Mulder wasn't beside me in bed, as usual. I remembered that he had an early consult with VCS before his 10 am lecture. My absent-minded professor, in his slightly rumpled suits and wire-rimmed glasses, standing in front of a packed hall of awed undergraduates.
On mornings like this I missed his presence in bed with me, the heat of his body pressed against mine, even his soft snoring in my ear.
I heard a gentle gurgling coming from the other room and jumped out of bed. For once, Hannah wasn't loudly demanding my attention, but serenely lying on her back in the crib, shaking her colorful ring of Fisher Price keys. Her blue eyes turned in my direction and she flashed me her wide, toothless grin, as if to say, hello there, Mommy.
Picking her up, I was shocked at how heavy she was getting. What happened to the tiny bundle we so nervously brought home from the hospital? "Got to start feeding you less, kid," I said, and she wriggled appreciatively in my arms.
At the changing table I found Hannah's diaper to be dry, which meant that Mulder had changed her before he left for the day. I was a lucky woman and I knew it. After Trent was born, my girlfriend Ellen complained that her husband didn't help out with the baby, was deathly afraid of hurting him, of doing the wrong thing. Mulder dove into the father role with abandon, gleefully giving baths, wiping poopy butts and pushing the stroller. I had to give a little snort at the thought of Fox Mulder, former FBI agent, current professor of Criminal Psychology and free-lance profiler, wheeling a stroller through the park, talking nonsense to his infant daughter.
On a Sunday afternoon a few weeks ago, we bumped into Skinner in Georgetown, as we sat outside Starbucks. Mulder was holding Hannah, the receiving blanket thrown over his shoulder, patting her back for a burp, when our former boss materialized out of nowhere. Skinner favored us with a rare smile and a sardonic, "Well, Mulder, this is a sight I never expected to see." It was a priceless moment.
Hannah and I settled on the couch and she greedily latched herself onto my nipple. With my free hand I stroked the soft, golden curls sprouting on her head. "Where did you get this curly hair?" I asked her, but no answer was forthcoming, as she was too busy getting at her meal and couldn't speak, anyhow. God knows, she didn't get her curls from either Mulder or me, with our mutually stick-straight hair. Most likely her hair was a gift from Samantha, who was blessed with a head of dark brown waves.
Why didn't anyone tell me that breast feeding was so wonderful, so fulfilling? My mother certainly didn't, as all four of us were bottle babies, in keeping with the trends of the early 1960s. The connection between Hannah and me ran bone-deep during these times together, an intimacy that was stronger than anything I had ever experienced. It made me feel indescribably powerful, that my body could provide nearly everything my child needed. Plus, for the first time in my thirty-seven years, I was a C cup. Too bad I had to wear those butt-ugly nursing bras, instead of the scraps of lace and satin from Victoria's Secret I had, lying abandoned, in the bottom of my lingerie drawer.
Hannah finished off her breakfast with a resounding belch, which never failed to crack me up. "Enjoy this while it lasts," I said to her content little face, "Because you're going to be in day care on Monday and I won't always be able to get up there to feed your fat self." Fortunately for me, George Washington University Hospital had an excellent on-site day care, and she'd only be a few floors away from me, which quelled my anxiety to a certain extent.
The phone rang and I deposited Hannah in the infant seat on the dining room table, which started her fussing a little, waving her fists in protest. "Hello," I said, a bit breathlessly, which is how I always sounded on the phone those days.
"Dana honey, it's Mom. How are you feeling?" Time for the daily-check in.
"Much, much better, back to normal and Hannah doesn't seem to have caught it from me."
There was a relieved noise on the other end of the phone. My mother was taking her grandmotherly duties exceedingly seriously, most likely because her other grandchildren were all the way across the country, in California. "I have to come into the city today to do some errands, would you have time to meet me for lunch?"
Would I? She had to be joking, of course I would. Much as I loved being at home all day with Hannah, I craved adult companionship, someone who could answer me with more than a coo or a burp. We made plans to meet at an Italian place in Georgetown.
As I made my way to the bathroom to start a shower, my eye caught our wedding photo on the fireplace mantel, framed in silver. A black and white shot of the two of us, facing each other as we said our vows, looking grave and happy at the same time. Suddenly, my brain flashed on the day before, when Mulder and I had kissed on the couch and I abruptly pulled away from him.
What the fuck was wrong with me?
Doing some rapid mental arithmetic, I realized that Mulder and I had had sex precisely twice in the five months since Hannah's birth. Two times, what a joke.
Before Hannah, I couldn't get enough of him. There were weekends when we only crawled out of bed to visit the bathroom and order in Chinese food. Hours and hours of feeling drugged with the pleasure of being with my man, touching, kissing, connecting and exploring, every look and gesture so suffused with naked intimacy I could hardly breathe.
When we still shared an office, there were times when just one look was enough and we were suddenly racing off to my apartment for a stolen hour together, only to return to the office, flushed and a bit disheveled.
Now, at night it was a chaste kiss and off to dreamland. Maybe a quick snuggle if I didn't immediately drop off to sleep.
Standing under the shower, I felt sickeningly guilty, guilty that I was so caught up in the whirl of mother-love, I no longer had desire for my husband. I just didn't have it in me any longer, didn't feel the pull, the rush of heat when I looked at him. It didn't mean I loved him less, just that all my intimate moments were reserved for Hannah.
Shit, was that how it happened? Was this how couples drifted apart and headed for divorce court? He's your husband, I thought as I rubbed shampoo into my hair, he's a handsome man, a tremendous lover, what's wrong with you?
I was suddenly terrified I'd never want him again, that he'd eventually find some pretty young student to satisfy him, as I placidly sat at home and watched the baby.
Out in the living room, Hannah was wailing, her face turning redder by the second. Picking her up, I bounced her up and down as I demonstrated my new skill at making one-handed coffee. I love you so much, I silently said to my howling daughter, do you even realize what a miracle you are, how you aren't even supposed to exist? Hannah calmed down and I put her back into the infant seat. I collapsed on one of the dining room chairs and lay my head on my arms, letting the tears flow. Even after all the things I'd accomplished in my life-my medical degree, becoming an FBI agent, cheating death countless times, managing against the odds to have a child, I was a failure.
My undergrad criminal psych course went fairly well that morning. Sometimes I peppered my lectures with profiles of criminals Scully and I had encountered in the past, but I always did so in a distanced, case-study way, leaving any personal adjectives out of the narrative. Every time I did, thinking of Hannah back home kept the memories of darkness at bay.
I had a small office at the university, but I didn't spend much time in it, aside from my student availability hours and any other time which was absolutely necessary. The department chair wasn't too thrilled by how scarce I had become, but since I kept up with my overall workload and had already published a couple of monographs, he was keeping silent on the matter.
Making a quick stop by my office to put several books in my briefcase, I walked out to the car and headed home.
Was it selfish of me to hope that I could have a few uninterrupted hours with Hannah, where she was awake? That I could lay her down on her belly and listen to her gurgling laugh while I played with her. That I could turn on the TV and teach her about the finer arts of baseball and she'd try to teach me to appreciate Teletubbies. That we could just have some Daddy-and-Me bonding time.
I didn't resent Scully, really, I didn't. I just wanted Hannah all to myself for a little while.
I also wanted Scully all to myself for a little while. Of course, at the rate things were going, we'd be sending Hannah off to college before that happened.
What had gone wrong? Was anything even *wrong*? Though Scully and I were not the type to swap parenting techniques with other couples, I'd talked to a few of them before. One of the men in my department had two toddlers, and he told me that this kind of thing wasn't unusual -- that all couples found themselves sacrificing the relationship they'd had before the baby when she arrived. But then, I didn't have a secure grasp of what was considered "normal", so I tended to obsess over the details of our lives.
I didn't feel relevant to my daughter's and my wife's lives anymore. I was the third wheel. Of course, I was the one who suggested Hannah take Scully's surname -- heaven knows I had no interest in perpetuating the Mulder family name -- and Scully's staying home with the baby in the first few months made sense, considering I didn't have breasts, the last time I looked. Still, I couldn't help feeling like I was slowly failing as a parent and husband.
Pulling up in front of our building, I didn't see our other car on the street, though I assumed she'd just pulled into the small lot reserved for residents. I made it up the stairs with ease -- all those years of running had made these things come easily. I unlocked the front door and stepped inside, and was immediately struck by the silence, a silence which unnerved me.
No Scully, no Hannah.
I couldn't keep myself from slumping back against the closed door. Another dream dashed.
A few moments later I righted myself and walked toward the bedroom, taking care to put away my clothes and shoes after I finished taking them off and changing into a t-shirt and sweatpants. I lay back on the bed, very still, feeling the firmness of the mattress under me. A mattress which hadn't seen the energy of lovemaking in weeks. Sheets which no longer smelled of that love we used to make. I closed my eyes and conjured up memories of those nights together, when we would slowly worship one another, body and soul. When going to bed meant sharing love, not immediately drifting into an exhausted sleep.
All I had now were memories
I concentrated on those memories, and they slowly made me flush with arousal. I pulled myself up off the bed and into the shower, where I turned on the scalding water and almost methodically began to jerk off. It felt false. Though I'd done it innumerable times in my life, it didn't feel like me anymore, because she wasn't there with me. But then, a male body has certain sexual needs, and if she didn't feel like satisfying them anymore, I was left to fend for myself.
As I came, shuddering under the spray of water, a wave of revulsion spread over me. God, what had I degenerated into? When had I started blaming her for my own problems? I rinsed myself off and stepped out of the shower, and couldn't bear to look at myself in the mirror, instead closing my eyes as I pulled my clothes back on.
I had to fix this. I had to fix myself. It was all my fault, not Scully's. Why couldn't I be happy with the life we had built for ourselves? Once again, I reminded myself that I was living my dream -- a wife, a child, almost everything I had ever wanted, but never thought I'd attain.
But I still wasn't happy.
This had to stop. Soon. Scully and I had to repair this. I couldn't have my daughter growing up in this kind of environment. I couldn't exist in it myself.
I wanted to be happy again.
The sofa felt like home once again as I stretched out on it and half-heartedly turned on the television, changing the channel from PBS to one of the sports networks. I didn't know how much time passed as I lay there, immersed in my own melancholy.
The sound of the door being unlocked shook me out of my stasis and I sat up and glanced over. My wife and baby were back home, and I couldn't have them see me like this. I stood up and pasted a smile on my face, ready to welcome them with open arms.
But when the door opened, it wasn't "them" after all. It was her.
Scully stood in the doorway, alone, carrying only her checkbook.
I walked in the living room to find Mulder sprawled on the couch, managing to smile and look petulant at the same time, an expression I had also seen on Hannah's face before. "Hello, Mulder," I said.
"You appear to be missing something, Scully."
Making a big show of looking around and acting surprised, I said, "Missing
something? Let me see, I've got my checkbook, driver's license, my car keys-"
Instead of smiling, he just seemed more annoyed. "Where's Hannah?"
I sat down on the couch beside him. "That's the good part. I had lunch with my mother today and she offered to take Hannah overnight. She has a crib, diapers and everything in one of the guest rooms."
This was the part where Mulder was supposed to get a delighted look on his face and kiss me. But no. "So, you just gave her to your mother for the night without consulting me?"
God, he could be so difficult at times. "Yeah, I thought it would be nice for us to have a night to ourselves."
"Did it ever occur to you that I might want to spend some time with Hannah?"
Shamefully, it hadn't occurred to me for a second.
I sighed, something I was doing a lot those days. "I'm sorry, Mulder. It's just, can you even remember the last time we had any time with just you and me?"
He shook his head. "No, I can't, but Hannah's going off to day care next week.
I wanted to spend some quality time with her."
I had to inwardly smile at the way Mulder was able to casually toss off cheesy child psychology terms now that he had a kid. I kissed the top of his head. "It's just one night, Mulder. We'll have most of tomorrow and all day Sunday before we have to throw her into the cruel world. Besides, she adores my mom, almost never fusses when she's with her."
Taking my hand, Mulder gave it a quick squeeze. "If you're sure she'll be
"You worry too much. If anything happens, she's not that far away."
"We've never spent a night away from her; we've only had a babysitter once, for Maria's wedding."
I smiled. "We have to let go of her some time. Are you planning on going off to college with her?"
"Hell yes," he laughed. "So, what should we do with all this freedom tonight?"
He moved closer and put his arm around me.
Shutting my eyes, I tried to envision a baby-free night. How did those go again? "I say we make a nice dinner and just relax, try to talk about anything but poopy diapers and when she's going to get teeth."
"When is she going to get teeth?"
I lightly smacked him on the arm. "Don't go there."
He leaned against me and I caught a whiff of his clean, masculine aroma. Something stirred inside me, just a tiny flutter, but I took it as a positive sign. "The house seems quiet without her," he murmured.
I stroked the stubble on his cheek. "I know. Funny how you get so used to all
this. No sleep, changing diapers-"
"I thought you said no diapers, Scully."
"I know, I know," I paused for a second. "I'm sorry how it's been between us lately. Never thought having a baby would change so much for me, for us."
He moved over and kissed my ear. Mulder's voice was hoarse as he said, "I worry that we're drifting apart, that you don't love me as you once did."
My eyes flew open. How could he think such a thing? Well, let's see, you never touch him any more, you pull away every time he tries to kiss you, I sternly reminded myself. I turned too look into his eyes, clouded with pain. "I can't put it into words for you. You know I've always been terrible at talking about my feelings. Hannah is just so consuming of everything in my life, sometimes I just forget you're there."
"It's never going to be like it once was, is it?" His voice was ragged with emotion.
I squeezed his hand back. "No," I said, "Everything is different now. We're in a new stage and I guess we're going to have to learn to adjust. We've always had to do that, though."
Continuing, I said, "We were partners and then we became friends over time. A long time later, we were lovers. We got married, stopped working together, had to deal with a mundane life. Now we're parents."
A faint smile appeared on his face. "I never thought you'd be the mother of my child, Scully."
"Never thought I'd be the mother of anyone's child-" Emily's round little face appeared before me and I felt a sudden pang of longing for the child I knew so briefly.
Mulder kissed my hand. "We're damn lucky. It could have just as easily have ended in our deaths."
"I remember holding you on that glacier in Antarctica, huddling against the wind, thinking, 'God, you'd better not take us now, just when we're getting to the good part.' But we survived, didn't we?"
"We survived all kinds of horrors together, just to be brought low by a five month-old baby." We both had to laugh at that.
I shut my eyes again and leaned back into the softness of the couch cushions. "I hope you understand that I don't regret any of it, not the X-Files, not marrying you, not Hannah."
"We'll get through this, Scully. We will." He sounded uncharacteristically hopeful.
"We always do." I echoed, and felt a sudden trickle of wetness sliding down my chest.
I jumped up off the couch and Mulder looked at me in surprise. "I'm sorry to ruin this beautiful moment, but if I don't pump my breasts, there's going to be an awful mess."
Mulder shook his head and chuckled. Oh, the little ironies of parenthood.
I never know just how Scully manages to pull these little moments of perfection out of thin air. I believed her when she said she hadn't planned this in advance, yet, like magic, the ingredients for smoked salmon in angel hair pasta materialized on the kitchen counter. She pulled several things from the refrigerator and set them down, then turned to face me, leaning back against the edge of the counter.
In a low, husky voice, she murmured, "Help me cook."
Only Scully could begin my seduction with food.
I couldn't resist laughing, and she soon joined in. My arms snaked around her waist and I pulled her close, feeling the soft curves of her body fitting to mine. She had not made any concerted effort to shed the weight she'd gained during her pregnancy, and though they seemed to melt away with the nursing, in their place they'd given her body a softness which, truth be told, I loved. The strength of her body had always been an incredible turn-on for me, but just feeling her smooth skin pillowed against my body sent thrills through my own.
She kissed me. Tilting her head up, she brushed her lips across mine, then gently pushed me away.
"That was just a preview, Mulder." Her mouth quirked into a smile. "First, we're going to have dinner."
I gathered my wits around me and stood up straight. "So, what are we going to have?"
She raised an eyebrow and I realized the double-entendre of my words. "Well, I thought perhaps salmon and pasta. How does that sound?"
"Wonderful." I meant more than just the menu.
With that, she pulled a knife out of the wooden holder and brandished it in front of her before placing it in my hands. "You can start by chopping vegetables while I get some water boiling."
Her wish was my command. I set the cutting board on the counter then rinsed tomatoes and shallots while she turned on the stove and took out a package of pasta clusters. After she had set the water to boil and immersed the pasta, she moved in front of me, to take some spices out of the cabinet. "We don't have fresh basil, so dried will have to do."
"Fine with me." Scully stood directly in front of the cutting board, so I trapped her with my hands on either side. Leaning down, I whispered in her ear, "Gotcha."
Her laugh floated up to my eager ears. I placed one tomato on the board and began to slice into it.
"Mulder, you're going to have to let me go if we're going to get this ready."
"Who says I want to let you go?"
She pressed back into my body gently, and I shivered. Her soft weight became a strong shove, and I nearly lost my grip on the knife, then let it drop when I fell backward, losing my balance.
"Oh, VERY clever, Scully." She slipped out of my arms and moved a few steps away, a cat-ate-the-canary look on her face.
"Patience, husband. You need to have patience."
"Where you're concerned, never." I deliberately turned back to my chopping.
The air around me seemed to still as I heard her soft almost-whisper, "You've been patient for far too long."
I chose not to answer, not wanting any melancholy to spoil the evening. The tomatoes were diced in short order, and I put them in a bowl then washed my hands before cutting the onions. Of course, Scully would leave me with the one task guaranteed to bring tears to my eyes. Was it any wonder why most of the meals I prepared had few to no onions in them? Watery eyes were a biological reaction to onions, but I still felt like a cliche as my eyes smarted with the activity.
In nearly no time at all, the onions were chopped and I looked up to see Scully already fixing the salmon. For such a gourmet recipe, the preparation was surprisingly easy.
"We don't have anything around here to use for a proper salad, so we're going to have to settle for just pasta and garlic bread."
"So long as you're there, I don't mind one bit, Scully."
Good Lord, I was becoming a seething mass of mush.
Over her shoulder, she called, "Could you grab the black pepper and olive oil out of the cabinet?"
I reached up and did as I was asked. Nestled amongst the spices were an assortment of baby foods, for when Hannah was ready for something more solid than milk or rice cereal. "Would you like mashed peas or carrots with that, Mom?"
"Carrots, definitely. They'd go much better with the applesauce."
Before I knew it, the pasta was ready and Scully began tossing the salmon and vegetables with the pasta, and I pulled two dishes out of the cupboard. "You up to having a glass of wine with dinner?"
"Are you kidding, Mulder? Don't know if I can manage more than one glass, but that would be wonderful."
With that, I hooked two wine glasses in my fingers and set them on the table. Two chairs, two placemats, one high chair. The setting was perfect. Dr. Spock would have been proud. Scully spooned the pasta into a large serving dish and carried it over to the table. After setting it in the center, she turned around to face me and pulled me into her strong arms. Arms which had healed me in so many ways. Arms which were healing me even then.
We sat down to our meal and simply stared at each other for a long moment before I finally picked up my fork. I took a bite of the pasta and gave her an exaggerated expression of culinary ecstasy.
"Woman, you done good."
That earned me a fully belly-laugh from my wife. "Oh, I think you did pretty good yourself."
"Hey Scully? Can I tell you a secret?"
Through a mouthful of pasta, she nodded a "What?"
"I have a feeling I'm going to be doing *really* good tonight."
She swallowed and smiled her agreement.
"I have a feeling I will be too."
Rolling a mouthful of Pinot Gris over my tongue, I stared at Mulder and wondered how many thousands of meals we had shared in nine years of knowing one another. At first it was greasy meals at roadside diners, and middle of the night runs to Denny's. Then take-out Chinese across the desk from each other, right out of the carton. Later there was the very occasional post-case pizza and bad cable movie at my place. After many, many meals together, it became coffee and bagels in bed on a Sunday morning. Lately we had been sharing hurried sandwiches and cups of soup between feeding and rounds of diapers.
It struck me how adult this felt, sitting down to a delicious meal at the dining room table with my husband. Sure, there had been a few such meals in the hazy past before Hannah, but we were so busy, they were rare, indeed. I smiled.
"What's that grin for?" Mulder asked, his mouth full of pasta.
"Just doing a little reminiscing," I said, "It's what happens when you get old."
He made a muscle through his blue Oxford-cloth shirt. "Speak for yourself, I'm young and unbearably virile."
I snorted a laugh. "Mulder, you're forty years old. You aren't a kid anymore."
His smile faded and a thoughtful expression passed over his face. "Scully, do you ever miss it?"
Putting my fork down, I said, "Miss what?"
"Our old life, the X-Files-"
I had to think about that one as I finished chewing my mouthful of garlic bread. "Yes and no," I finally said, "I don't miss having to spend every minute of my life under a cloud of danger, having to always look over my shoulder. I do miss the excitement of not knowing for sure what the next day will bring."
Mulder tapped his wineglass with his thumbnail, filling the room with a soft pinging noise. "Sometimes I miss the thrill of having a new case file in front of me, and feeling that rush of the unknown, knowing there is a mystery to be solved and you're there to help me solve it."
"Do you regret leaving the Bureau now?" I recalled all too well how difficult the decision had been, the hours of late night discussions we'd had, endlessly turning our options this way and that until we made our ultimate choice.
He shrugged. "It was over for us. We found what we'd been seeking, what else was there for us? After all we'd seen and done, I just didn't see myself kissing some political butt to rise through the ranks."
I nodded in agreement. "After everything, I think the Bureau just left us with a sour taste in our mouths. I know I was disillusioned."
Reaching across the bowl of pasta, he grabbed my hand in a fierce grip. "We have a good life now, don't we?" He sounded so worried, I felt I had to reassure him.
"We do, Mulder, we do. I think we're still learning to live a normal life, though. Sometimes I'll be out with you in public, like waiting in line for a movie, and you'll take my hand and I'll think, 'No, no, don't do that, they'll see us!' I forget all the time that it's over."
Mulder smiled. "I'm just glad I can hold your hand in public."
It never failed to crack me up to see how demonstrative and just plain sappy he could be. Sometimes I wanted to tap him on the head and say - where's Mulder and what have you done with him?
"Yeah," I said, nodding, "but remember how fun it was at first, living in secret?"
His smile grew wider. "Mmm-hmm, sitting next to you in meetings, the two of us pretending to be cool, professional agents, but all the while knowing where we'd been and what we had been doing the night before."
A shiver ran through my body at the memory of the fierce desire of our early days together. The passion and heat, so long bottled, was overwhelming when finally allowed its release. I licked my lips, thinking about it. "I couldn't get enough of you. You'd sit across the office from me, tapping away at the computer and all I wanted to do was unzip your trousers and take you into my mouth."
There was a loud clink as Mulder dropped his fork onto the dinner plate. A long, speechless moment passed between us, Mulder's mouth hanging open. He said, "Why didn't you, Scully?"
"Our office was bugged and I was not about to be a free peep show for our enemies."
He pulled his lower lip into his mouth, a gesture I never failed to find intensely arousing. "Do you know how many times I had to run to the bathroom and masturbate, just to get through a day in the office with you?" Mulder grinned sheepishly.
I nearly spit wine all over the wood table. "I thought you were just drinking too much coffee, Mulder."
His eyes seemed luminous, full of the passion of those memories. "No, it was you making me run there. I couldn't stand being so close to you all the time, smelling your perfume, seeing your beautiful, soft skin and not being allowed to touch you, not being able to wait until later to have you. I'd get so damn hard it hurt."
Mulder gave me a sly look. "Kind of like how I'm feeling right now."
It was getting difficult to breathe. The air in the dining room seemed somehow thicker, heady and dense with promise. I slowly ran my tongue along the rim of my wineglass, imagining the dry, fruity taste of the wine to be the inside of his mouth, his tongue. "What did you think about in the bathroom?" I whispered.
He shut his eyes, as if trying to conjure up the image. --- "I thought of you," he rasped, "Standing against the wall of the office, dressed in one of your black suits. My hands were pushing up your skirt, spreading your legs and ripping off your lacy little panties."
I heard myself groan as I, too, imagined the scene.
Continuing, he said, "You spread your legs wider and I buried my face in you, and God, so wet, so juicy, you tasted incredible. Hearing you moan, just like you're moaning now, as I slowly, leisurely licked you and you ground yourself into my face, my mouth. You lifted your leg and rested it on my shoulder and your knees buckled as you got closer and closer and I grabbed your ass and pushed your sweetness into me."
I felt my hands rise up and stroke my breasts, and I was actually there, against the wall, feeling his tongue circling my clitoris, his hands firmly gripping my behind, my hands on his shoulders, guiding him, urging him on.
"And then I saw your beautiful face as you came for me, arching your back
against the wall, crying out with release-"
My breathing was coming in short, little pants as I felt every blood vessel open in arousal. I had forgotten how this felt, to feel so alive. "Oh God-" I crooned.
He opened his eyes and smiled to see me. "That's what I saw. Now tell me what you saw."
It was difficult to form a coherent sentence. "What I saw when?"
A smirk formed on his lips. "When you fantasized about me. I know you did."
I cocked my head. "You're awfully sure of yourself, hmm?"
"Come on, Scully, tell me. Tell me your fantasy-"
Scully looked up at me. I felt one bare foot brush against my own, then insinuate itself under the loose elastic of my sweatpants. Small toes rubbed against my skin, and I felt my body warming with the sensation.
I looked up at her and saw her sense of mischief no longer concealed.
"Which one of your fantasies? Take your pick." I leaned back in my chair, savoring the thrill of mysteries to be explored.
She took a long sip of her wine, her lips curling around the rim of the glass, then set it down. "Well, I've fantasized about taking you in one of those motel rooms, in Skinner's office, on that sofa in your old apartment, on an airplane -- hell, in Mom's living room. And many other places. Take *your* pick."
What an embarrassment of riches! Oh, which to choose? The answer to that question was obvious.
"I want to hear about your mom's house."
Her laughter reverberated around the silent apartment. Suddenly, despite my earlier protestations, I was very glad that Hannah was at her grandmother's for the night. Some things were meant for grownups only.
I took a sip of my own glass of wine and waited for her to begin.
"It was late at night. Mom had already gone upstairs to bed, after feeding us some wonderful dinner which she cooked better than anything I could ever have made." But even as she said the words, I glanced over our meal and still tasted it on my tongue. Wonderful. "We went into the living room and you got a fire going. Your strong muscles moved under your shirt as you put wood on the fire, and the sight of it -- of your strength mixing with the flames licking the logs -- would set me on fire."
I shifted on my seat, already feeling that fire coursing through my body.
"You came over to the sofa and sat down next to me, your body fitting so well against my own. Even though we were already lovers, the tension crackled through the air. I placed my hand on your lap and you were already hard." She paused. "You were already hard for me."
Good Lord, yes. Just her words were creating that reaction in me.
"I turned to face you and put my hands on your hips. I tucked my fingertips under your waistband and you shivered beneath me, even though you were so hot. I slowly unbuttoned your jeans and eased them down your legs."
She paused again, letting her words sink in.
"And then what, Scully?" I was surprised I could even form a coherent sentence.
"You weren't wearing anything underneath. There you were -- already hard and bare before me. I put my hands on your shoulders and pushed you back until you were almost lying down, ready for me."
Oh, God, yes.
"And I was ready for you. I could feel the wetness between my legs as I stood up in front of you. "I had nothing on underneath the nice, conservative dress I wore. I slowly unbuttoned my dress, then there I was -- naked and ready for you."
The moan slipped from my chest, moving up through my throat until it pushed through my lips, already open and panting for her.
She licked her lips, that simple motion never failing to drive me crazy. "I walked over to the sofa and straddled your hips. I could feel the heat between us, even though I still hadn't touched you. Then, without having to guide you, I sank down on you and you filled me with your hardness."
My body gave an involuntary jerk, the spasm of lust seizing through every cell.
"I moved on top of you, up and down, trying to make the pleasure last for as long as possible. I could already feel you close to coming, and leaned down and kissed you *hard* to keep the sounds of our release from waking my mom."
I was already starting to feel those same sensations of coming release, and gripped the arms of my chair to keep this moment from being over too soon. After so many months without lovemaking, I couldn't let my needy body betray me when I needed it most.
Her voice was low, husky with desire. "I never come so hard on my own as I do when I have that fantasy, Mulder."
It was becoming too much. I stood, the soft fleece of my sweatpants moving over my erection and mimicking her own softness, her own warmth. She followed my motion, holding out her hand for me to take. Pulling her into my arms, I held her close, sinking into her body, trying to absorb it into my own.
"You know what, Scully?" I murmured in her ear.
"What?" I could hear amusement mixing with liquid desire in her voice.
"We need to do this more often -- put Hannah to bed and have dinner-table sex."
The hard, joyful sounds of her laughter mixed with the velvet of her body. With unspoken mutual consent, we moved into the living room, leaving the dishes to be done some other time, when we had to return to those mundanities. We walked to the bedroom, our footsteps on the hard floors echoing our heartbeats.
"Do you remember the night Hannah was conceived?"
She looked at me. "Mulder, despite how this must sound, we made love so many times back then that I'm not sure I can pinpoint the specific time."
That's my Scully, analytical even when describing love.
"Well, I do. I lay you down on our bed, just like this," I circled her waist with my hands and lifted her up, lightly tossing her onto the mattress.
She laughed, joy spreading over her face. "Remind me some more, please."
"I tore off your clothes--"
"--Ripping them in the process."
"Who's talking here, Scully?" She grinned. "Then we..."
Rather than telling her, I showed her.
I've never been fond of the cliche of making love like coming home. Yet, after so many months when our passions took a backseat to the needs of that tiny bundle of wonder that was Hannah, these moments of joy and love -- *love* -- felt like we were slowly coming back home, back to the oasis of happiness and togetherness we had once had.
I had wanted them back for so long. This evening was giving me the hope that they were back.
The sounds of our love echoed through the bedroom of our home.
When my eyes opened, in the morning, the room was suspiciously quiet. No baby squeals or cries emanated from the monitor. For one insane moment, I was tempted to believe that I had dreamed the whole thing, one long, hallucinatory dream that involved a lot of smelly diapers.
The bedroom smelled different. I rolled onto my side and took a luxurious sniff. Ah, the rich, complex smell of sex and sweat, the sheets suffused with the scent of what Mulder and I had done the night before. Somehow, I felt I should be blushing at the memory of our renewed passion, but really, I couldn't. Instead, I stretched my legs and grinned like a drunken fool as Mulder obliviously snored away by my side.
The call of nature finally roused me from the bed and I staggered to the bathroom, feeling the effects of two glasses of wine and two hours of fierce, slam-against-the-wall sex. Welcome back, wobbly legs. In the unforgiving light of the bathroom, I smirked at the sight of my bed-head, looking for all the world like an Aborigine who had dabbled in Miss Clairol Vibrant Red.
While in the bathroom, I jumped in the shower and reveled in the hot jets of water against my body, taking a long, sweet time in there, knowing that Hannah wasn't out in the living room, raising hell in her infant seat. Then, I pumped my breasts, feeling as foolish as I always did when I had to do it, and went into the kitchen to store the milk in the freezer for later in the week. It always struck me as slightly absurd to see my breast milk sitting in the freezer next to the frozen peas and Haagen-Dazs, as if I was now part of the Dairy Department. "Oh honey, go to the store and pick up a quart of 2%, some eggs and a pint of Dana Scully."
I made my way back to the bedroom and slipped back under the sheets, enjoying the unprecedented luxury of being able to loll in bed at will. My mother was a goddess, bless her good soul, I thought as I inched closer to Mulder's bare, warm back. He stirred a bit and mumbled something that sounded like, "Mrrrghbmmm-" My hand, seemingly of its own accord, found its way to his boxer shorts and was delighted to find him erect. Morning hard-ons are so nice, no muss, no fuss, they're just there, waiting. It had been ages since I'd had the opportunity, or the desire, to notice that he had one.
Mulder's head tipped back and he let out a morning growl. "Good morning!" I sang into his ear.
He rolled over and clutched me to him, blinking in the sunlight. "This is a nice way to wake up." His penis was prodding my thigh in a most pleasant manner.
So, this was all it took, I thought, as his hot mouth began sliding down my neck. Just a little time and care. The two of us were so used to dealing in crises, in the extreme, that it never occurred to us that perhaps the answer to our waning intimacy was just getting rid of Hannah for a night, of having some time to ourselves. No, we had to blow it up to the Marital Emergency of the New Millennium.
A slippery tongue moved across my nipples in a most un-Hannahlike manner and I, too, growled in delight. It was never going to be like it once was with Mulder and me. Our days of constant lovemaking were over, as we now had a new responsibility on our hands. If we thought we were busy before, we were now doubly so. But I knew, at that moment, that things would be all right between us. There would be sex, there would be private time, just not as much, especially with Hannah a baby. We were just going to have to treasure the time we did have. That, and get my mother a nice gift.
Heated body pressed against heated body and we both laughed at the supreme novelty of being together again. I shut my eyes and let myself float along with the pleasure, still surprised, after three years of marriage, that this was legitimate, that we weren't lurking in the shadows, sneaking around behind the backs of our enemies and the Bureau.
Mulder collapsed on the mattress and I rose up to straddle his sleepy body. It was only fair; after all, I was the one who was more awake. Besides, I enjoyed being the one in charge. He slipped inside me, feeling impossibly huge and hard and I moaned at the sensation of him in me. Both of our eyes flew open and locked on each other. "I missed this," he whispered.
"Me too," I replied and then words were no longer possible as our pace intensified and his hands pressed on my shoulders, guiding me harder and faster onto him. The two of us sounded like Hannah having a temper tantrum, so loud and demanding were we as we rocked together on the bed. It didn't take long for my internal muscles to coil like a spring and my orgasm to wash over me in wave after delicious wave. Mulder wasn't far behind me and he bucked against me, mouth dropping open with his own gratification.
Panting like marathoners, we collapsed on the bed in a messy heap. He smoothed my hair out of my face and kissed me. "Scully?" he asked.
"Hmm?" I answered, temporarily brain-damaged.
"I hope your mother likes having Hannah for a night, because we have to do this more often."
I kissed him back in assent.
We lay there, simply enjoying being together, in our little Mulder and Scullyland. His voice again, "Scully, I miss her."
I had to smile at that. I squeezed his hand. "Yeah, me too."
For a few more hours we languished in bed, drinking coffee, reading the paper and okay, we made love one more time, just for good measure. Then we got dressed and went to pick out daughter up, eager to see her face once again.
"i'm a fountain of blood
in the shape of a girl" -- bjork.