Scully's flirting with me. Oh, not in any kind of obvious way. There are a dozen other agents in this room, all of them trained investigators, and probably none of them are aware of it. I just got back into town after two weeks investigating a series of killings in Idaho. We haven't even said hello yet. She was already in the room when I walked in to begin my presentation. Somehow, I didn't think it would increase our stature with the rest of the bureau if I had told them the presentation would be delayed for five minutes so I could kiss my wife hello.
Not that I, personally, give a rat's ass what the other agents think. But there's a double standard at work here. Scully has to work with these men and it would make things tough for her if she was seen playing kissy-face in public, even with her own husband.
So, she's flirting. Just subtly. Touching her wedding ring or her earrings; she's wearing the pearl ones I bought her on our honeymoon. She glances up at me once and raises her eyebrow slightly. Asking me if I want her to stop. I lift the corner of my mouth just a fraction and touch my own ring in response. Don't stop, Scully.
Finally, the presentation ends. The other agents begin to drift out of the room. A couple of them stop and talk to me and when I lift my eyes, Scully is gone. Damn! Did she have to hurry back to Quantico, finish something there before she swings by Maggie's house to pick up Melissa?
Dana only works three days a week now and both of us are too paranoid about the safety of our only child to leave her with anyone other than her doting Grandma. But keeping up with an active toddler isn't always easy for a woman of Maggie's age, so we're scrupulous about never being late to pick her up. Not to mention the fact that we adore our daughter and want to spend as much time with her as we can.
When I reach my office, though, Scully is there. Waiting for me, smiling. I don't even speak, just back her up against the door and kiss her. When we finally come up for air - have to breathe sometime - she says, "Up".
I chuckle. She sounds just like Melissa when she says that. I live in a household of midgets. To get either my wife or my daughter up to my eye-level, I have to hold them. "How about down instead, Dana?" I ask, sitting in my chair and pulling her into my lap.
"Whatever, Fox. I just want to be able to kiss you without getting neck strain."
"Miss me?" I ask, raining tiny, nibbling kisses across her face, neck and ears.
"Didn't I make that clear in our phone conversations?" she asks with amusement.
Our phone conversations were so bizarre that anyone eavesdropping would have probably gone insane. They consisted of three separate parts, approximately equal in length, but totally different in tone. First, we'd discuss business. What clues I'd found, what she'd been able to discover in the lab, how the case was progressing. After that, we'd do parent-and-household talk. If Dana was at home and Melissa was awake, I'd get a minute or so of "Hi, Daddy. Daddy Bye-Bye?" from her. Otherwise, Dana would tell me what she'd been doing and fill me in on other domestic news, like whether or not the plumber had ever come to fix the leaky faucet and who had moved in to the vacant house across the street. Then we'd moved into what could only be described is the pornography portion of our conversation. I'd tell her I was missing her. I'd tell her what I wanted to do with her when I got home. She'd respond in exquisite, graphic detail about the effect my words were having on her. About how much she was longing for my touch. It was a damned good thing I had to go out and look and extremely dead, horribly mutilated bodies after hanging up, because that's the only thing that could have calmed me down.
We kiss again for a long moment, then she says, "As much as I'm enjoying this, I really need to get on over to Mom's and pick up Melissa. Can you come with me?"
I grin and give in to my desire to tease her. "Well, gee, Scully, sometimes I can. But I really prefer it when you come first. Then I get to watch."
She rolls her eyes and slaps my arm for that one, then slides off my lap. "I'm going to my mother's. To pick up our daughter. If you wish to *accompany* me, get your gorgeous rear in gear, Mulder!"
I grab my briefcase and follow her out into the corridor. On our way down to the parking garage, we end up sharing the elevator with an eager rookie. "Hi, Dr. Scully," the twentysomething man says. "I didn't know you ever came over to headquarters."
"Only occasionally. How are you, um. . .Wilson?"
"It's Williams, ma'am," he says respectfully, before turning to me. "Hey, you're Special Agent Mulder aren't you? The head of the serial killers task force."
"Yes," I admit as the door slide open.
"Wow, I heard about how you caught that guy in Idaho. Do you think we could. . .I mean, could I buy you a drink or take you to dinner or something? I'd love to hear more about the case."
"No thanks. Not tonight, Williams," I reply.
"We have to pick up our daughter," Scully explains.
"Your. . ." Williams stares at us in confusion for a moment before the light bulb finally clicks on. "You two are *MARRIED* to each other?"
"For nearly three years," I explain. "We were partners for seven years before that."
"You never mentioned you were married to Special Agent Mulder, Dr. Scully," the kid says, with something like reproach in his voice.
Scully shrugs. "It's hardly a secret. All the other instructors at Quantico and most of the agents here at headquarters know. Several of the other students happened to ask me what my husband did for a living and I told them he's also an agent for the bureau. I just don't announce my marital status during class; it's not relevant."
"But, I'd think you'd be proud of him," Williams says.
Scully looks faintly puzzled. "I am. Extremely so."
"I'm proud of her, too," I point out to Williams, who is beginning to annoy me. Then I unlock the car and hold open the door for Scully, walk around to the driver's side and get in.
Scully is quiet while I'm negotiating the parking garage ramps, but when we get onto the street she says, "Mulder, is something wrong? I thought you'd be thrilled to be back home. Is there more to this case than you're telling me? Is it not as wrapped up as everybody else seems to think?"
"It's not the case, Scully," I explain.
"The way that rookie was acting. As if I'm some sort of. . .celebrity and you're a nonentity! It's so damned backwards! You're the one who ought to be regarded as bureau hotshot, not me. You were on the fast track to career success until they paired you up with Spooky Mulder. Your career suffered due to our partnership, while mine thrived. If we'd never been teamed together - or even if we had, but you'd stayed at Quantico when they sent you back there after the first year of our partnership - you'd be heading your own department by now!"
She's quiet for a moment, then says, "That's probably true, Mulder."
I gape at her. After all these years, she still continues to keep me guessing. I would have bet a month's salary that she would have disagreed with me.
"So you do think you've suffered professionally because of me?" I ask.
"I don't know if I'd use a word as dramatic as 'suffered', Mulder," she says, rolling her eyes slightly at my choice of words. "It's certainly true that my life - both personally and professionally - would be much different if I'd left you years ago. But I don't think the change would be for the better. Yes, I'd probably have achieved more professionally if I hadn't spent all those years on the X-Files with you. But do you honestly think I'd be happier if we weren't married? If you were just some guy who used to be my partner years ago? Do you think *ANY* amount of professional success would make up for not having our daughter?"
"Of course not, Scully. It's just that. . .it's not fair!"
"What's not fair?"
"That you had to make those choices, those sacrifices. I mean, I'm the one who ended up with it all! Personally, I've got the exact same things you have: a happy marriage and a beloved baby daughter. Plus, I've got professional acclaim; I head my own damned task force, for God's sake! Why do I get it all and you don't?"
"Mulder, believe me, twenty years ago I was the one asking those same questions. Even ten years ago, when we first began working together, I would have insisted that a woman could have it all: a high-powered career, a happy marriage and a couple of kids. Maybe some women can; I'm just not that good of a juggler. But remember, Mulder, every path I took was my choice! Nobody forced me to stay on the X-Files all those years. I did it because I wanted to. I could have only taken a few weeks for my maternity leave, then gone back to work full-time. It was my choice to take a full six months off when Melissa was first born, then work only three days a week afterwards. It's the life I want, Mulder, and if that means I'm slightly less impressive to rookie agents than you are. . .well, I can live with that."
Heedless of the Beltway traffic, I reach out to entwine our hands, and lift her fingers to my mouth for a brief kiss. "I love you *SO* much, Dana. I don't think I'll ever know what I did to deserve you and Melissa in my life, but I do know this: I'm the luckiest man in the world."
When we arrive at Maggie's, Melissa runs up to me as soon I walk in the door. "Daddy!" she squeals with delight. I bend down to her level, but she wraps her arms around my neck and demands, "Up!"
"What did you two do, rehearse this while I was gone?" I ask Scully with an amused glance. I straighten up to my full height with Melissa in my arms. She reaches out her other arm to grab onto Mommy's neck. Then we envelop Maggie in our group hug. Of all the Spooky things about me, the spookiest may be this: I love - truly love - my mother-in-law.
"I've got dinner in the oven, if you can stay," Maggie says.
"Mom, you didn't have to do that," Scully protests. "It's enough that you watch Melissa for us."
"It was no problem. I assembled everything while she was napping and slid it into the oven an hour ago. I figured Fox would be tired of restaurant food and you'd be too tired to cook after being at work all day."
After we eat - it's a delicious one-dish meal of chicken, potatoes and carrots, accompanied by iced tea - Scully takes Melissa off for a diaper change before we head home.
"Fox, there's something I've been wanting to say to you," Maggie says, as soon as we're alone. I nod. Does she think that, in some way, I'm not doing a good enough job as a husband and father? Any improvements she suggests, I'll heed. Like I say, I love this woman. Not to mention the fact that - unlike my own parents - her record in marriage and parenting is one of unblemished perfection.
"What?" I ask.
"Well, I just want to make sure I'm not becoming an interfering mother-in-law. When you're out of town on bureau business, I tend to spend a lot of time with Dana and Melissa. But sometimes I feel I overstep my bounds. Like tonight. You were probably anxious to get home, spend some time alone with your wife and daughter. Instead, I practically forced the three of you to stay here for dinner."
"Maggie, no," I murmur. "Please don't ever, ever think that. Having you here. . .it allows me to do my job with a clear conscience. It's not that I don't miss Dana and Melissa when I'm away; of course I do. But I don't worry. Because I know that you're here. That if something goes wrong - if one of them gets sick or something - you'll take care of them."
"As long as you're sure, son," she answers.
"I'm sure, Maggie," I reply. "Very, very sure."
When we arrive home, Dana and I change, then all three of us go out to play in the backyard with our dog. His name is Elvis, due to the fact that I vetoed any "Moby Dick" names and Scully vetoed any "Star Wars" names. We play until twilight deepens to dusk and Melissa begins to yawn. Then we go inside. Scully bathes Melissa, then dresses her in pajamas and reads to her.
Usually I spend this time reading or watching TV, but tonight I follow them around with a silly grin plastered to my face. Finally, Scully looks up at me and murmurs, "Why don't you take off your shirt?"
This is a ritual we began when Melissa was a newborn and have yet to vary significantly in the 16 months since. Dana is a wonderful mother and a woman of many talents. But she can't carry a tune to save her life. So, on the nights I'm home, I'm the one who rocks our daughter to sleep. I'm no Paul McCartney myself, but I can manage to get through renditions of "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" and "Rock-A-Bye Baby" without stumbling off-key.
The shirtless part was Dana's idea. She *claims* the skin-to-skin contact helps helps Melissa bond with me. Personally, I think she just likes to ogle my chest. Not that I'm complaining. It's just one less impediment to the bedtime rituals of our own that we'll be indulging in as soon as Melissa's asleep.
I settle down to rock Melissa to sleep. She nuzzles her face into the patch of hair in the center of my chest and gurgles with contentment. I smile. She's so much like her mother sometimes that it amazes me. Dana does that exact same thing before going to sleep, except she sighs instead of gurgles. Scully walks over to kiss Melissa gently on the cheek, then glides silently out of the room. I continue to rock and sing softly.
Melissa looks like Samantha. At first, I thought it was just some sort of wish-fulfillment on my part, but we got out some old photo albums about a month ago and checked. She really does look almost exactly like my sister did at this age. I am continually amazed at how generous God has been to me. Not only do I have a wife who loves me, we also have a daughter who feels the same way.
When I can tell she's asleep, I carry her to her room and lay her gently in the crib. Then I walk across the hall, trying to curb the growing response I'm having in anticipation of what will be waiting for me. Having shed my shoes and socks while watching Dana bathe Melissa, and then my shirt, I'm down to my jeans and boxer-briefs, but I still feel I am overdressed for this occasion when I see my wife. She's wearing a short, silky, cream-colored nightgown. I pause in fascination and smile.
Scully smiles back and holds open her arms to me. I gather her close and bend down for a quick kiss. She slips her fingers inside the waistband of my jeans and caresses my skin for a moment, then pops open my snap and pulls down the zipper. "Eager little beaver, aren't you?" I ask. One thing that continually astounds me is Scully's enormous sexual appetite. The only times she's ever refused me were a couple of nights while she was pregnant and that was due to exhaustion rather than lack of desire. Otherwise she wants me almost constantly.
"Two weeks, Fox," she points out. "Two long, lonely weeks of sleeping all by myself in our big bed." She's pulled my jeans and shorts off now, so I return the favor and pull her nightgown over her head, tousling her hair in the process. Then I yank the covers back on our bed and tug her down beside me.
We kiss once more, deeper and more comfortably this time, as our hands run across each other's bodies, reacquainting ourselves with favorite spots. "Dana," I murmur, "I'm not going to be able to last long tonight. I've missed you so much."
"It's okay," she replies. "I'm ready when you are. We can play more tomorrow."
I roll us so that she is beneath me and pull her legs up around my waist. I smile down in wonder at her. Despite the fact that we've been married for almost three years and have a child together, all the years we've been a couple still don't equal all those long years we spent as partners, during which she continually batted away all my sexual innuendos and suggestions. I still find it hard to believe sometimes that this is actually Special Agent Dana Scully - *MY* Scully - who is in bed with me, fulfilling ever fantasy I ever had of her, and then some. I groan with pleasure as I penetrate her and grit my teeth with the effort not to come simply from the sensation of being back inside her.
Scully grips my biceps and angles her hips so that I am more fully embedded. I begin to thrust; slowly at first, but I quickly lose control of my tempo and speed up. Scully whimpers and says, "Oh! Yeah, Fox! More lover! Mulder, I'm going to," and then she begins to spasm around me, simultaneously squeezing my legs with her waist and my cock with her internal muscles.
The sensation of my wife's climax, combined with the look of adoration on her face when she opens her eyes to gaze at me, pulls me over the edge as well. As I pull out and Scully pillows her head on my chest, I'm vaguely aware that I should be embarrassed about my lack of stamina. But since we both had fun, it doesn't bother me too much. We kiss and caress and whisper sweet nothings to each other for a long time before drifting off to sleep, making up in afterglow what we left out during foreplay.
The next morning I wake up with Scully sprawled on top of me. I begin to gently kiss and tickle her awake. I'm ready for action and feel confident that, this morning, I can prolong our mutual pleasure.
Just as she opens her eyes and smiles at me, however, we hear a commotion from across the hall. "Mommy! Daddy! Up! Up!" Melissa calls out.
"Well, Daddy's "up" that's for sure," Scully murmurs.
I sigh. While we could attempt to make love under these conditions, I really don't want another quickie performance. And I know Dana can't totally relax and enjoy herself when Melissa is across the hall demanding attention. Besides, as much as I'd love to be the one receiving attention from Mommy, I missed my daughter as well as my wife while I was away. So Scully and I grin and kiss quickly, then she pulls on a robe and goes to get Melissa.
I go for a brief jog while Dana is getting Melissa dressed, then join them for breakfast. I admire the skill with which Dana is able to spoon bites of fruit and cereal into Melissa's rosebud mouth, alternating with taking sips of coffee or nibbles of bagel for herself. It's Friday, so Dana won't be going into work unless something urgent comes up. She's dressed casually, in a T-shirt and shorts.
"Do you have to go into headquarters today?" she asks me.
"I've got to compile my report," I answer with a regretful sigh. "The Director will expect it on his desk first thing Monday morning. And I don't want to have it hanging over my head all weekend."
"I know you have to work," Scully says, "but couldn't you just do it at home? That way you'd be nearby and we could all have lunch together."
"I suppose so," I agree and am rewarded with a dazzling smile from Scully. We've always been able to draw an enormous amount of comfort simply from knowing that the other one was nearby. For years, the only time I could get a good night's rest was when I was sleeping in a motel room with her on the other side of slightly open connecting door.
I spend most of the morning in the study, vaguely aware of Dana and Melissa going about their morning routine. Their laughter and gentle voices - along with the theme music from "Teletubbies" - form a muted soundtrack to my work. Scully pokes her head in shortly before noon to announce they are going for a walk, and asks if I'll be ready for lunch when they return. I nod and try to reach a suitable stopping place in my report.
Almost as soon they leave, however, the ringing of the doorbell disturbs me. Figures, I think wryly. Dana's been home all morning and would have been happy to deal with a friendly neighbor or the Avon lady or whoever it is. But no one came calling until I'm the only one available to answer the door.
I'm surprised, however, when I recognize a certain broad-shouldered silhouette through the frosted glass of our front door. "Skinner?" I ask, as I motion for him to enter. "What are you doing here?"
"When you didn't come into work this morning, I got a little concerned. Thought I'd drop by on my lunch hour to make sure everything was all right."
"We're fine," I assure him, still slightly confused. "I told my secretary I'd be working at home today. I've been gone for quite some time and this allows me to spend a couple more hours with Dana and Melissa. I get to avoid the 30-minute commute both morning and evening, plus I can have lunch with them."
Skinner nods, looking relieved.
"What did you think might have happened, Skinner?"
"Oh, the usual," he says dryly. "Alien abduction, mysterious illnesses, confrontation with psychotic mutants."
I chuckle. Despite being off the X-Files for a couple of years - ever since we learned Melissa was on the way - I guess Scully and I do still sort of have that reputation. Just as Skinner is murmuring something about being on his way, Dana and Melissa return.
"Fox? Whose car is that?" Scully asks.
Melissa, however, has already caught sight of my boss and is running toward him as fast as her chubby legs will allow. "Kinner!" she shouts in ecstasy, grabbing onto his thigh with a death grip.
Melissa's bizarre affection for Skinner is almost worthy of an X-File in itself. Byers, Langley and especially Frohike come over frequently and always bring her presents, but their arrival barely rates more than a "Hi!" from her. She always greets Skinner, however, with an enthusiasm most toddlers reserve for Santa Claus. In the constellation of Melissa's affections, Skinner clearly ranks just slightly below Mommy, Daddy and Grandma. "Kinner!" she repeats.
"Uh, hi, Melissa," he replies somewhat awkwardly, disentangling her from his legs and lifting her up into his arms. She promptly grabs his glasses off his face. Dana quickly takes the glasses and hands them to me.
She says, "Melissa. No!" and removes our daughter from Skinner's embrace.
I return his glasses and he replaces them. "Would you like to stay for lunch, sir?" she asks. "I was just about to make some sandwiches."
"If you're sure it's not a bother," he replies.
Dana sits Melissa in her high chair and gives her a half sandwich cut into two neat triangles. Melissa makes a valiant effort to feed herself while watching Mommy get lunch for the grown-ups.
I always get a huge kick out of watching the way Scully behaves around Skinner now that he's no longer her boss, only mine. When Scully worked for him - when he had the power to fire her, demote her or transfer her to Alaska - her manner was sometimes abrupt and demanding.
Now that he can't do that, she goes out of her way to be charming to him. It took me a long time to figure out why, but I finally realized it must be some sort of psychological impulse from her childhood as a Navy brat. Skinner is her husband's boss. Wives are supposed to be nice to their husband's bosses. When Scully was working directly for Skinner, she went out of her way to be viewed as a professional, not a woman. Now she seems to be basing her behavior on the way Maggie must have behaved when Bill Senior brought an Admiral home for dinner.
Skinner leaves as soon as we've eaten and, figuring I'm still technically on my lunch hour, I spend the next few minutes playing with Melissa while Scully straightens up the kitchen.
Scully emerges into the living room just as Melissa gives a huge yawn. "Looks like somebody's ready for a nap," Scully says, scooping Melissa up in her arms.
I follow them upstairs to ask a question. "Dana, why do you think Melissa is so crazy about Skinner?"
"I think," she answers slowly, "that Melissa probably thinks Skinner is her grandfather. Your father."
"Huh?" I say, confused. Granted, our daughter is a bit short in the grandparent department, compared to most toddlers. She only has one still living. But why would she cast Skinner in the role of a doting Grandpa? He's barely a decade older than I am and, in any case, Frohike - with his endless indulgence - acts more like a grandfather.
"Look at it logically, Fox," she says, resorting to one of her favorite phrases as she lays Melissa gently down in her crib, rubs her back soothingly for a moment, then tiptoes out of the nursery, entwining my fingers with her own as we leave. "Skinner's an older man who's in a position of authority over you. I'm not saying she's able to actually put words to her instincts but in some ways there is sort of a father-son relationship between you and Skinner. I think Melissa senses it, that's all."
I shrug. The explanation makes as much sense as anything else would.
Scully and I walk back downstairs, still holding hands. I love holding hands with her, even after all these years. Back in the days when we were partners and friends, but not yet lovers or spouses, she would never let me kiss her or hold her in my lap. But she would, sometimes, hold hands with me.
We walk back into my study and I reluctantly untangle our fingers. "I've got to get back to work," I say with a sigh. "Do you want to go take a nap?"
Dana often takes advantage of Melissa's naptime to rest herself. On the few occasions when I've spent a solo day as the "at home parent", I quickly understood why. Taking care of a toddler - even one as delightful as our daughter - is more exhausting than the most grueling day of training at Quantico.
"Well, not alone," Scully says with a small pout. She *KNOWS* it drives me crazy when she pouts.
"Scully," I say, trying to interject a note of professionalism into the conversation by using her last name, "I really can't."
"Okay, Mulder," she says airily. "Sometimes I forget you're past 40 now." Then she turns and saunters out of the room.
It takes me a moment to absorb the impact of her words. When I said, "I really can't" I meant I had an ethical obligation to put work before play. And I'm damned sure she knew that's what I meant. But she chose to interpret the phrase as meaning I was physically incapable of a second erection less than 18 hours after my previous one. And that's a challenge she knew I couldn't resist.
Scully has reached the foot of the stairs in the foyer when I come charging up behind her. She giggles as I toss her over my shoulder and head back to the study. "Cave man tactics, Fox?" she asks.
"Me man. You woman. My woman," I respond as we tumble onto the couch.
Scully pulls my mouth down to hers and we kiss long and deeply. This afternoon, I'm determined to make up for my speedy performance last night. I kiss my way slowly down her neck and latch onto the juncture of her neck and shoulder.
Scully writhes beside me and finally murmurs, "If you don't stop, I'm going to have a mark."
"Do you mind?" I ask. If Scully really doesn't want any visible signs of our lovemaking left on her body, I'll quit. But - call me a male chauvinist if you must - leaving a love bite on the smooth white skin of the usually calm and capable Dr. Dana Scully kind of turns me on.
"It's okay," she replies. "Just. . ." and she guides my hand to her breast.
I understand. While smooching on her neck, I has pretty much let my hands remind idle, one buried in her hair, the other on her back. She wants me to touch her some more. I resume my interrupted task on her neck, but switch positions slightly so I can feel her up with my other hand. I open the front clasp to her bra and gently squeeze one of her breasts, then thumb the nipple to a tight peak.
Leaving her neck, I move my mouth down to the opposite breast to lick and suckle. Then I begin kissing my way down her tummy. I pop open the snap to her shorts and pull them down, along with her panties. I smile up into Dana's eyes, then begin to lick her.
First I concentrate on the line where her thigh and hip join, then slowly dive deeper. I lap at her, savoring the taste. When I can tell she's nearing climax, I quit. Scully makes a small, whimpering sound of disappointment, but it turns into a sigh of pleasure when she sees I'm quickly removing my own clothes.
"Would you mind getting up on your knees?" I ask. Scully quickly scrambles into the position I've suggested. I lift one knee to the couch while keeping my other foot firmly planted on the floor and slowly slide into her. This is one of my favorite positions. While it has its disadvantages - mainly that I can't look into her eyes or see her beautiful smile when she climaxes - it allows for deeper penetration and gives me unrestricted access to both her ass and her breasts. Dana seems to like it, too, if the way she is moaning and arching back against me are any indication.
I manage to last a long time this afternoon, thrusting in and out of her warm depths almost languidly, letting my hands and mouth caress her back and breasts. Eventually, I slip my hand down her belly and even lower, stopping it right above where we are joined. A minute or two of stroking her in time with my thrusts gets me what I want: Scully moaning my name softly as she climaxes. I join her only moments later.
After a few minutes of cuddling and kissing, I murmur, "Sweetheart, I really do have to get some work done on that report."
"Okay," she says sleepily, "I'll just stay here and take a nap, like you suggested."
So I try to work on my report, with Scully sleeping naked just a few feet away. I glance up at her occasionally and also keep alert to the sound of Melissa's occasional gurgles in her sleep through the intercom. God, it's good to be home.
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