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From: "Scarlet" Date: Tue, 5 Sep 2000 00:00:40 -0400 Subject: A Favor for Scully II - About Last Night Source: revision Title: About Last Night -- A Favor for Scully II Author: Scarlet Scully Rating: PG (reference to sex, no graphic descriptions) Classification: SRA Spoilers: none Keywords: Mulder/Scully Romance Summary: Mulder and Scully confront each other about the events of the night before. Sequel to A Favor for Scully. Disclaimer: I don't own them. They belong to Chris Carter and the folks at Ten Thirteen. Thanks for making a world I can play in. Author's notes: This story takes off from my first story "A Favor for Scully". However, you don't have to read it to understand this story now, so I guess this qualifies as a 'stand alone'. Personally, I think it's worth reading, but of course I would. I wrote it. The two songs quoted are by Jewel. But don't fear, this is not a songfic, they are more a function of the background than anything else. Send all comments to scarlet.scully@home.com. Thanks and enjoy. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

About Last Night -- A Favor for Scully II

Howard Johnson Hotel Harrisburg, PA June 16, 1996 10:16 AM

Scully could feel herself being drawn into the waking world, slowly. She resisted, realizing the waking world could never feel as good as the sleeping one. Her body resisted and as she came fully awake, the first thing she was aware of was the awful taste in her mouth and the incredible pounding in her head. Reality slowly assembled as she was pulled further from her drunken slumber. The second awareness that assaulted her was that she was lying naked in bed and she was not alone. Twisting in bed, she came face to face with her partner, still fast asleep. The scrambled events of the previous night slowly came into focus. Bits and pieces assembling until she had a fairly clear picture of all that had transpired. She remembered drinking. Alot. And dancing with Mulder. She smiled as her mind's eye replayed their antics on the dance floor at her friend's wedding. The wedding where she had asked Mulder to pretend he was her fiance to impress her friends. It had worked. Their plan had worked marvelously and she had had so much fun. She remembered the shivers that ran up and down her spine each time his hand brushed her bare skin. How she had tried to control those feelings. The chemistry between them was too strong, much stronger than the will of a drunken woman who longed to be touched by the man before her. Her memories grew fuzzier as the night grew later. She remembered falling when she came into the hotel room. He helped her take off her shoes and helped her up. They were standing so close. She kissed him. (I kissed him. It was my idea.) She teased him, taunted him until he couldn't take it anymore. Then they were naked in bed. She smiled slightly as she recalled the clumsiness of their lovemaking, movements impaired by their drunken state. (He said that he loved me. Did he mean it? I told him that I loved him too. I meant it, didn't I? Did he?) She didn't know. Maybe Mulder told that to all his conquests. (Who are you kidding? All his conquests -- the only person with fewer dates than Mulder is you.) But still, it had been said in a drunken stupor and in that post-orgasmic haze all men find themselves in immediately after sex. She couldn't conclude if he meant it or how he meant it, so she filed it to the back of her mind where she could store it until her thoughts were clearer. Her immediate thoughts were to get out of bed. She was thirsty and needed to use the washroom desperately. Her next step was to find some clothes. Slowly, she rolled out of bed, desperate not to wake her sleeping partner. Feeling much better after having relieved herself and brushed her teeth, she went back into the bedroom to put on some clothes. She hurriedly dressed in a t-shirt and boxers. Glancing at the clock, she realized that they would have to check out in the next hour and a half and, despite her reservations, decided to wake Mulder. (I'll have to wake him eventually. Might as well face up to the music.) "Mulder," she spoke softly while gently shaking his shoulder. He moaned softly, but continued sleeping. "C'mon, Mulder. Time to get up." She had raised her voice slightly this time and he opened his eyes. "Mornin' Scully." His voice slurred with sleepiness. He looked sweet at that moment, all vulnerable and unguarded. Scully felt her chest squeeze with emotion. (He trusted me. He came here as a favor for me. He's my partner and my best friend and I took advantage of that and jeopardized it.) As she regarded her partner, she felt disgusted with herself and what she had done to their relationship. She had said that she loved him, yet she had cheapened their relationship with a night of tawdry sex. (It wasn't cheap sex, was it?) She didn't know. She couldn't remember. It left her feeling uneasy. (Nothing good usually comes from impulsive acts by drunken players.) Mulder was still looking at her and she realized that she hadn't spoken. "Morning. I was, uh, going to order some room service, unless you want to stop for something on the way home." She realized he was still half asleep by the puzzled look on his face. "We have to check out soon, Mulder. It's 10:30. I was going to take a shower, unless you want to go first." Mulder looked at his partner and full realization hit him. (She regrets what happened last night.) "No Scully. You can have the first shower. I'll wait. And it's probably better if we just grab something for the drive." He was about to get up when he noticed that she turned around quickly. Then he remembered his lack of clothing. He sat back in the bed and watched her back as she hurried into the washroom, pausing only for a moment to grab a change of clothes. He sighed to himself. (Talk about a rude awakening, in more ways than one.)

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Interstate 83 - North 12:32 PM

The rest of the morning was spent in uncomfortable silence. They had managed to sneak out of the hotel without running into any of the other guests, especially those from the wedding of the previous night. Mulder was driving, trying to ignore the pounding of his head, which was only aggravated by the glare of the afternoon sun. Scully sat huddled against the passenger door, staring out the window, a bagel sitting untouched on her lap. Mulder's mind was reeling, trying to find a way to rescue their friendship. It was obvious at this point that his only hope was for a friendship with Scully. He remembered telling her that he loved her last night. He had meant it and he believed her when she returned the sentiment, but now he realized that she didn't mean it. She had only voiced the words because she felt she had to, for his sake. As much as he hoped for a more intimate relationship with his partner, he wasn't willing to sacrifice their current friendship. Especially now, when it seemed perfectly clear that she wanted no part of such a relationship. "Scully," he broke the silence between them. "I think we need to talk." Scully, dreading this conversation, attempted to avoid it a little longer: "About what, Mulder?" "About what happened, last night." He paused and drew in a deep breath. Scully seized the opportunity created by his hesitation. (I couldn't bear to hear him voice his refusal of me out loud.) "Mulder, I think it's best if we just forget this ever happened. We were drunk. It had been a stressful night. We just got carried away in our roles. We got so caught up in pretending we were in love, that, for one night we believed it." She was surprised at how easily the excuses rolled off her tongue, not knowing where they came from or how they had been so easily created. (Probably by the same part of my mind that keeps creating excuses for my feelings for Mulder.) She stopped short at the thought. What were her feelings for Mulder? Weren't they just feelings of deep friendship? Didn't they just come from years of working closely with someone you trusted and respected? (And someone who looked like a 'fox'?) She giggled. Mulder, who had not responded to her answer, still contemplating his own thoughts on the previous night, was startled by her sudden giggle. "What's so funny?" he asked. "Oh, nothing. I was just thinking about last night." "Oh." His voice betrayed his confusion and embarrassment. Realizing that her words had been misunderstood, Scully clarified: "I was just remembering what you said about your name and your mom hoping that you'd grow up to be a fox. That's all." "Oh." Mulder was relieved that she hadn't actually been giggling about the events of later in the night, especially him, or any part of him, when 'it' happened. They continued to drive in silence until Mulder spoke again. "Scully, I hope you meant what you said, about last night. I mean, I hope that our friendship, um, I guess I'm just trying to say that I hope nothing changes." He paused. When she didn't respond, he pressed on: "You're my best friend and I'd hate for this to come between that." "Don't worry, Mulder. Nothing will change." Scully tried to hide the disappointment in her voice, resulting in her words sounding harsh. (Oh well), she thought, (I don't care if I was too rough on him, my head hurts, I'm tired and I just want to go home.) Mulder, not too reassured by her response, decided to let the matter rest, for now. They spent the remainder of the ride in silence. Scully fell asleep staring out the window, leaving Mulder to his thoughts. He was definitely not reassured that their lovemaking hadn't affected their relationship and vowed to bring it up again in the next couple of days.

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FBI Headquarters Washington, DC June 17, 1996 8:15 AM

Scully arrived at their office Monday morning to find Mulder already hard at work. (As per usual.) She hesitated in the doorway a moment. (I don't know if I can do this), she admitted to herself. (C'mon Dana. You're a big girl now. You played the game, now deal with the consequences.) She took a deep breath. "Good morning, Mulder." "Mornin' Scully. I hope you slept well." (Not as good as I would have with you beside me.) Scully banished the unbidden thought to the back of her mind. "Yep. You?" "Well, you know me." She went across the room and got herself a cup of coffee. Sitting at her desk, she was surprised to see that Mulder had not turned back to the case file he had been reading when she arrived. Realizing he had been waiting for her to get settled, she looked at him, eyebrow raised, questioning. "We have a case," he stated calmly. Too calmly, after all this was Mulder and he usually got so excited with every new case. She continued to look at him, the expression on her face urging him to continue with the details. "There have been a series of occurrences that seem to have led someone to believe that black magick forces are at work." "Mulder, there is no such thing as magic. Magic is simply the product of superior coordination, slight of hand and special props." "Scully, I agree with you about most magic, the kind that entertains children at birthday parties. That's not what we're talking about here." He handed a file to her, careful not to let their fingers touch in the exchange. "This is black magick, magick practiced for evil purposes or in league with evil spirits." Scully flipped through the file, pausing only briefly on the gruesome photographs bearing images of a young woman strapped to a table. "Other than the obvious evidence of acts committed by some sick individual, I don't understand why we received this case. There's no reason for this to be an x-file." "Keep reading, Scully. There's more." Scully continued to read, but failed to find anything indicating black magick or magic of any type for that matter and indicated as much to her partner. "Just look at the picture. The woman is being used as an altar. There are candles still burning on her body. Photographs rest on her stomach and there were locks of hair found at the scene." "It still sounds to me like some sick perp did this to this poor woman. Nothing more." "But there is more." Mulder was enjoying the familiarity of debating with his partner, and the distraction it provided from the events of the previous weekend. "This woman's husband died unexplainably, within hours of her death." Scully looked at him, a loss for words. Mulder pushed ahead. "The pictures are of him. There was an effigy..." "A what?" "An effigy, a doll, sort of like a voodoo doll. There was an effigy covered in blood with scissors through the body. All of these things are evidence of black magick rituals." "Practiced by whom, Mulder? And why?" "That's what we're going to find out." He dropped the two plane tickets on the desk. "Our flight to San Francisco leaves at noon. Can you be ready by then?" "Uh, yeah." (Oh no. Not now. I can't go away with Mulder on a case right now. I need more time. I need to be able to go home by myself and think.) Scully sighed at her bad luck, recognizing now why her partner hadn't been too excited over the new case. "I, uh, know that you hate travelling, but..." (But what, you idiot. You're going anyway.) "At least we're actually travelling to a city with an airport." She laughed while gathering her things. "Pick me up at 10:30, okay?"

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Gateway Motel San Francisco, CA 2:04 PM (PT)

The flight to San Francisco went smoothly. Mulder had slept peacefully while Scully, grateful at the lack of conversation, perused the case file. They picked up their rental car and checked in to the motel without incident. Scully was just finishing unpacking when there was a knock at her door. Opening the door, she found Mulder at the other side. "I just spoke to the local PD and they said we could come down today." She quickly grabbed her notepad and badge and they were on their way. "I'm trying to arrange for you to do the autopsy on both bodies." "I thought it was pretty clear what had killed the woman." "Well, yeah, but..." "But what?" "I was hoping you could do what you do best, you know, work some of that Scully magic, and find some intriguing detail that the local coroner might have missed." Mulder smiled at her slightly. Scully sighed. "A complete autopsy on both bodies? If you think it's necessary." (At least it will keep me busy,) she thought to herself. She realized that if this case hadn't come along though, they would still be tripping over 'it' in the office. At least this seemed to have helped them move on. At the police department, Scully felt herself fade into the background. She kept drifting off, unbidden thoughts of Mulder and their night together jumping into the forefront of her mind. Her memory had been slowly improving and now she was recalling vivid images of their lovemaking. The feel of him inside her, the taste of his skin as she bit playfully at his shoulder, the way her heart jumped in her throat when they kissed. "Scully?" Mulder's voice invaded her thoughts. "Huh, what? I'm sorry, what were you saying?" "Tomorrow morning. How does that sound for you?" Scully looked at him blankly and Mulder realized that she had not been paying attention to his conversation with the police officer at all. "Detective Brooks said that he can arrange for you to perform the autopsies first thing tomorrow morning." "Oh, yeah, sure. No problem." She followed Mulder out to the car silently, embarrassed by her lack of attention. After a couple of minutes, she realized that they weren't headed back to their motel. Hesitantly, she asked: "Mulder, where are we going?" Mulder regarded his partner, concern in his eyes. "Scully, we're going to check out the crime scene. Didn't you hear anything that we said in there?" "Sorry. I, uh, I'm just not feeling well. I have a headache." "I can drop you off at the motel and do this myself." "No. I'll be fine. Let's get this over with." Two hours later, Scully flopped on the bed in her motel room. She could hear the faint sounds of the TV from the room next door and smiled to herself. It had been a long, demanding day. They had gone over the crime scene where the 'altar' had been with a fine tooth comb. Then, on a whim, they had traveled to the victims' home to search through the scene where the man was found. All along, Scully was conscious of the closeness of her partner, the scent of his after shave, the shape of his ass when he took off his suit jacket. She wanted to scream. (Why can't I control myself? My mind? My body? My heart?) She realized that she was having these problems because she meant what she said the night of the wedding. She loved him. That was why she couldn't get him out of her mind, why she couldn't concentrate and why her heart started beating a little faster when she was close to him. (When did this happen and why didn't I see it before?) She lay silent in her bed, her mind turning frantically, trying to find answers. She decided that it had happened the day she had met him and not until the night of the wedding. It made no sense but perfect sense all at the same time. She had been physically attracted to him (Who wasn't?) since the day she first laid eyes on him. She was attracted to his mind and the mental leaps it was able to make. She loved his passion and conviction and dedication to those things he deemed important. This attraction had gradually developed over their years of working together. But it wasn't until the night of the wedding, that's when she realized that they could spend a whole day together, completely unrelated to work, and converse and have fun like 'normal' people do. "So it took 3 years for me to fall in love with him or 3 years to realize that I already loved him." (I don't know. What's the difference? Who cares?) "I care," she admitted quietly. A slow tear traced a silent path down her face. "But he doesn't." There was a knock at her door, followed by Mulder's voice. "Scully? Can I come in?" Wiping the tear quickly from her cheek, she got up from the bed and opened the door. He walked in past her, noting that all the lights were off. "Oh, sorry. Were you trying to sleep? Is your headache still bothering you?" She was about to ask 'what headache?' when she recalled their conversation in the car earlier. Instead, she shook her head and shrugged her shoulders at the same time. Mulder laughed. "That sure, huh? Well, you should be hungry. Neither of us have had much to eat today. Do you want to order something in, or would you rather go out to eat?" Mulder waited for her to make up her mind, praying that she wouldn't announce that she wasn't feeling well enough to do either and order him out of her room. It had taken him a good 45 minutes to work up the nerve to come over to her room. She had been acting strangely all day. Even now, she looked like a lost child, vulnerable and in need of comforting. He put his hands in his pockets to physically fight the urge to wrap his arms around her and tell her it was all right. The trouble was, it was not all right. Every time he stood near her, he remembered the feel of her body against his, the touch of her lips, the scent of her skin. He longed to fall asleep again as they had that night, his arms circling her body, her back pressed against his chest, her head tucked beneath his chin. He had never slept so soundly and probably never would again. "Mulder?" Her voice snapped him from his reverie. "I said 'I'll just get changed and then we can go.'" She looked at him pointedly and he realized that she was waiting for him to leave so she could change. He closed the door behind him as he left, leaning his head against it with a light thump. (Thank God she wanted to go out. I don't think I could've handled sitting close to her in the privacy of a motel room for any length of time.)

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Scully found herself practically running from the car back to her motel room door. She had thoroughly enjoyed dinner with Mulder right up to the point where she realized that she was enjoying herself. Then her depression returned. That's what she was calling it now: her depression. A self-induced depression starting from the moment she recognized that she was in love with Mulder, but at the same time, also knew that she couldn't enjoy a relationship with him. Tonight's dinner just further reinforced these facts. They had gone to a small pub, ordered deli-style sandwiches and beers and quietly conversed much of the night away. But then she remembered her earlier sorrow and her feelings of loss and things became awkward again. It wasn't much longer before they were headed back to their perspective motel rooms. Mulder fell against the door to his motel room, forcing it shut. (What happened tonight?) he wondered. (Scully had been like her old self at the pub, but then all of a sudden she clammed right up.) He sighed aloud as he flicked on the TV. Maybe it had been for the better, their evening ending the way it had. He had been aching to reach out and kiss her lips, touch her cheek or hold her hand all night long. The sudden awkwardness had given them each an excuse to end the evening early, saving him from making a fool of himself again. (You already know she's not interested in you that way. Why push it?) Mulder sighed again. (A few more beers and I probably would have chased her into her room, demanding a second chance.) The following morning, both were quiet during the drive to the county morgue. Mulder, waking early, had taken the time to get them both coffee and muffins for breakfast. Each ate silently, grateful for the excuse to avoid conversation provided by the food. Arriving at the morgue, Mulder guided Scully inside with a habitual application of pressure at the small of her back. Scully jumped at the contact and Mulder quickly removed his hand, swearing at himself for crossing the newly established 'no-touch' boundaries. Once everything was all settled for Scully, he announced that he would return around noon to take her to lunch. "Where are you going?" Scully, still uncomfortable, found herself snapping at her partner. "I'm going to do some leg work. See if I can pick up some information as to who might have killed the woman." He paused, then added: "If you finish up here sooner, just call me and you can give me a hand." She nodded, embarrassed by her uncalled for anger. Soon after Mulder left, she dove into the autopsy of the young woman. "The victim is a female, aged 27, body weight approximately 135 pounds..." A little over an hour later, Scully was finished with the first autopsy and having the second body prepared. (That was the easy one. Just as I expected. Nothing unusual to report, although, just for you Mulder, I sent away blood for a toxicology report.) Concluding her report, she added: "It appears my initial suspicions were correct, barring any disputing evidence from toxicology. The victim died of suffocation, most likely by a pillow or some other similar means. The only other injuries to note were bruises on the ankles and wrists where the victim was apparently tied to the table and superficial burns where the candles rested. Due to the absence of any other significant injuries, I believe that the victim was anesthetized, probably with chloroform and then secured to the table before being murdered." After taking a quick coffee break, the second autopsy began. Almost two hours later, Mulder arrived for lunch only to find Scully still elbows-deep in her examination. Half an hour later, Scully emerged, looking tired and frustrated. Before discussing any of her findings, she demanded to be taken to lunch. "Look Mulder, my stomach is growling and my feet are aching. I'm not telling you a damn thing until I'm seated with some form of sustenance in front of me." Mulder flashed a sly grin and acquiesced: "You're the boss, Scully." "Well, actually, Mulder, you are, but if you're going to promote me that easily, well then, I'll take it." Seated in a diner, buttering her roll, Scully informed Mulder of her findings in the autopsy of the female victim. "And..." Mulder probed. "What about the husband?" "Mulder, I have to confess, I can't tell you what killed that man." "Okay, I can accept that, but what did you find?" "That's just it Mulder. There was nothing unusual about that body. The only unusual thing is that he is dead." "What do you mean by that?" "There was nothing wrong with him. Nothing wrong with any of his organs, his cells, his blood vessels, nothing. Excluding the fact that his heart stopped beating, that man would be alive right now. There was no stress showed in the heart muscle. I dissected his brain and found nothing wrong there. I've never seen a dead body in such perfect condition in all my years of practice or study for that matter. That man is an organ donor program's dream come true." "You sent away for blood work though. Maybe he was poisoned or had an allergic reaction or something like that." Mulder suggested. "You're right. I did send his blood away for testing, but poisonings and allergic reactions still yield evidence in the body, especially when they result in death. Like I said, I can't tell you or even begin to tell you why that man died." The waitress arrived with their meals, looking decidedly uncomfortable at the conversation she had just interrupted. Over a mouthful of lettuce, Scully managed to ask Mulder what he had turned up. "The husband may have been having an affair. The woman I talked to said that she thought that his mistress was a witch." "A witch, Mulder?" Scully laughed so suddenly that her mouthful of salad almost landed in Mulder's plate. Recovering, she continued: "Tell me you aren't thinking along those lines. I mean, this is San Francisco. There are some unique people in this city." "Well, Scully, actually I am considering it as a possibility. We still have to remember the ritual evidence found at the crime scene and it might help to explain how the husband died." "How would that explain how the husband died. I understand why she would want to kill the wife - you know, get her out of the way. But I think the motive behind that death would be so she could have her lover all to herself." "I spoke with a friend of the husband and he not only confirmed that the husband was having an affair, but that he had told his wife about it and intended to leave his mistress. You never know what a woman scorned is capable of, do you?" Scully playfully tossed a chunk of her roll at him, a look of disgust on her face at his joking remark. "I think we're getting way ahead of ourselves. In all your enlightening conversations today, did you happen to find out the name of this alleged witch?" "Actually, I did. We're going to talk to her after lunch." "Oh, I hope she has a pool. Maybe we can throw her in and see if she floats - just like in the good ol' witch hunt days in Salem."

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Scully and Mulder discussed the details of their interview with the mistress while driving back to the motel. She had Mulder convinced that she was innocent of the crimes. Scully, however, was less inclined to dismiss her as their primary suspect. "I don't know why, Mulder. I just think she might have done it, or at least played some part in it." "C'mon, Scully. She was completely shocked once we told her what had happened. She had an alibi for the time surrounding the death." "An alibi we haven't yet checked out." Scully quickly pointed out. Taking a deep breath, she continued: "Let's just go back to your original theory, just for argument's sake. Let's say you were right and that black magick was involved..." "Scully, you're not..." "Just hear me out for a minute, okay Mulder?" Pausing briefly, she persisted: "Then, you believed that this woman killed the wife and used her body in some kind of dark ritual that resulted in the husband's death. That's what originally had your interest in this case, right?" Mulder nodded silently. "Okay. So, if you believed that this woman was a witch, and she could cast spells resulting in the death of a perfectly healthy man, why can't you entertain the idea that she may have cast a spell so that we would believe her story, without question and move on to find another suspect?" Mulder sat silently pondering Scully's questions. Why hadn't he thought of that? And, why hadn't he thought about checking her alibi? He had accepted her story unquestioning. (Hey, Scully's considering an extreme possibility!) He smiled inwardly. After getting no response from Mulder, Scully decided: "Let's just not rule her out yet, okay? We'll call Detective Brooks and have him bring her in for an official statement and fingerprints. I got hair and fiber samples from the wife, maybe something will come up there, or maybe the fingerprint team found prints at the crime scene." They had been sitting in the car in front of their room doors for the last five minutes of their discussion. Scully declaring that she was tired, exited the car and fled to the sanctuary of her room. She felt emotionally exhausted, drained from keeping her mind and heart under control during a long day of interacting with Mulder. (At least we haven't tripped over 'it' since this morning.) Later, Mulder ordered in pizza and joined her in her room as she began typing the second autopsy report. She sat at the table, distractedly eating and typing at the same time, while Mulder sat on the bed, poring over the details from the first report. He found the report boring though. It didn't reveal any pertinent information that he hadn't already learned from Scully. He found himself staring repeatedly at his partner, admiring the push of her breasts against the white cotton of her t-shirt and the shape of her legs stretching down from the boxer shorts she wore. He remembered fondly the feel of her breasts pushed against his chest and her legs wrapped around his body. Allowing the fantasy to continue further than he intended, he returned from his daydream, hard and dismayed at his decision to change into jogging pants before coming over. "Uh, Scully, this isn't getting us anywhere but tired. I'm going to bed. We can go to the station tomorrow morning and see if anything turned up. G'night." Before she could even rise from her chair, he was out the door, closing it quickly behind him. Frowning at his hasty exit, Scully returned to her computer, deciding to finish the report before turning in for the night.

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Gateway Motel June 18, 1996 4:27 PM

Later, the next day, Scully found herself alone in her motel room, working at her laptop, again. Only now, she was concluding her report on the case, rather than the autopsy. It appears that the 'witch' was indeed responsible for the death of the wife. Her fingerprints were found on the woman's body and the photographs found at the scene. Hair and fiber samples found at the scene matched the samples taken from the 'witch's' house. There was evidence found at her house indicating that she may have been intrigued by, or even practiced witchcraft. However, she has not admitted to any involvement in the death of her lover. Considering the complete lack of physical evidence, witnesses or any other sign of wrongdoing, the case in that respect will remain unsolved. Scully found it ironic that the complete lack of unusual circumstances surrounding the man's death has merited it a place in the filing cabinet filled with nothing but unusual circumstances. Mulder, of course, still believes that the witch killed the man. (Funny, I'm still not willing to write the man's death off as something unexplainable, even though I'm the one who convinced Mulder of the very thing he now believes.) Scully shrugged to herself. She knew she couldn't prove him wrong and didn't care if he chose to believe in extreme possibilities. How could she fault him in this instance, when it was the only explanation either of them could come up with? Sighing out loud, Scully shut down her lap top, glancing at the clock. Their flight was not leaving until tomorrow at noon. It was the first available flight they could get. She wasn't sure what she was going to do from now until then. One thing she knew for certain, she couldn't spend the evening with Mulder, especially now that the case was closed. She needed to spend the evening alone with her thoughts. She needed to analyze her feelings, justify them and shove them back to the corner of her mind. Maybe then she could live day to day without her depression forcing itself on her. Maybe then she could work side by side with her partner without the constant reminder of what would never be. Maybe then she could salvage their friendship. Knowing that if she stayed in her room, he would certainly stop by so they could get dinner or something, Scully decided to go out. She left a quick note so he wouldn't worry and their adjoining door unlocked so he could find it. She didn't tell him where she went because she didn't know where that was yet. (It's better than he's ever done for me.) She smiled, satisfied in the role reversal she had inadvertently orchestrated. For once, she was ditching him. London's 6:00 PM It was dark and smoky and a woman's melancholic voice filled the air. It was the music that had drawn Scully. (Why is it that when we feel bad, we always try to keep feeling bad, wallow in it?) She shook her head. She didn't know and her thinking was becoming satisfyingly fuzzy after only her second drink. Fuzzy enough that she found it easier to dismiss the thought than pursue it. A waitress came and placed a third in front of her. "Did you decide yet?" She asked, annoyed. "Huh? Oh yeah, dinner, right." She looked at the woman guiltily. She still hadn't opened the menu, she had been so lost in thought. Handing the menu back, she said: "Can I just get some fries? Thanks." She knew she should probably order something more substantial and healthier, but she didn't feel like doing what she should. She was already doing one good thing by avoiding Mulder tonight. All she really wanted to do was run back to their motel and try 'it' for a second time. Although her memories of the night of the wedding had improved, she still had trouble remembering the whole event. She wanted a crisp memory. At least if it was the only time she would get to enjoy it, she would be able to relive it whenever she wanted. The practical part of her realized that a vivid memory would only worsen her current dilemma, but she yearned for it anyway. How she longed to hear him tell her he loved her again. She remembered the huskiness in his voice as he said the words she now held in her heart. Closing her eyes, she relived the moment in her mind, his eyes so beautiful as they looked deep into hers. She opened her eyes slowly. She imagined she could see honesty and hope in his eyes, but she knew the mind was a dangerous thing and it could easily play games with the heart. The singer's voice penetrated Scully's thoughts: Please don't say I love you Those words touch me much too deeply And they make my core tremble Don't think you realize the effect you have over me And please don't look at me like that It just makes me want to make you near me always Please don't kiss me so sweet It makes me crave a thousand kisses to follow And please don't touch me like that It makes every other embrace seem pale and shallow Please don't come so close It makes me want to make you near me always The song continued but Scully tried to ignore it. Tears were streaming down her face despite her attempts to control them. Embarrassed, she ducked her head as the waitress approached her table with a plate of fries. She mumbled a quick word of thanks without raising her head, thankful that she had opted to run a tab. The song finished and Scully used a napkin to wipe at her tears. Looking up, she noticed a tall man enter. He scanned the room from the entrance and Scully recognized the familiar movements. She ducked her head quickly, praying the darkness of the room would hide her identity from her partner. Unfortunately, by hiding her face she could not watch him. She briefly thought of fleeing to the washroom, but knew the movement would be noticed easily. She glanced up slightly, just in time to see his long legs moving in her direction. "Hey, Scully. I got your note and thought you might want some company. You should've stopped in before you left. I had a hell of a time finding you." Mulder pulled up a chair across from her. Scully was tempted to ask why he bothered trying and then thought about telling him that if she wanted company, she would have asked. (He's not stupid. He knew I left to be alone, but he came after me anyway. He probably wants to talk about 'it'.) They sat in silence for several minutes. Mulder staring at Scully, hoping she wasn't too angered at his invasion of her space. He knew she wanted to be alone, but he also knew that they needed to work things out. If it didn't it may cost them their friendship and their partnership. What he couldn't understand was her behaviour. If she truly believed that they had a friendship worth salvaging, why was she avoiding him at all costs? Scully was conscious of him staring at her and she stared at her plate, avoiding his eyes and hiding the evidence of her earlier tears. Scully, giving an excuse for her silence, ate her fries, still not looking up. The singer's voice filling the silence between them: Please let me forget all those sweet smiles All of the passion All of the heat, the peace, the pain And all those blue skies Where your words were my freedom Please, don't let me fall in love with you again A tear escaped, slowly weaving its way down Scully's cheek. She wiped at it quickly, knowing either way Mulder would know she had been affected by the song. "Scully," Mulder broke the silence, his voice husky with emotion. "We need to talk." Scully felt her heart break at the sound of his voice. It was the same tone she imagined when he told her he loved her that night. She took a deep breath, still not looking at him. "I can't talk about it right now, Mulder. I came here to be alone because that's what I need." She had barely whispered the words and Mulder had to lean forward to hear them. In doing so, he could see her tear-stained face that was previously hidden by her hair and the lack of light. "Please Scully, don't do this. Don't let this come between us like this. I need you in my life Scully." He took a deep breath. Reaching out, he lifted her chin so she was forced to look at him. At that point he made a decision. "I told you that night that I loved you. I love you enough to put my feelings aside. I don't know how I could keep doing this without you by my side." Pausing, he searched for more words, for something more to say, to make her talk to him and tell him what she was thinking. Her eyes had turned liquid with unshed tears. "Do you mean that? Do you really mean what you said?" "Of course, I do Scully, all of it." "I didn't think you meant it." She stumbled on her words, still afraid of her feelings. "When I woke up and remembered, I didn't know if you meant it. I wasn't sure. We both had so much to drink." "Scully, I would never lie to you, not about that, not like that. In the morning, the way you acted, I thought you regretted it." "I did. But the more I thought about it, the more I faced it with you every day, the more I knew that the only reason I regretted it was because it made me face my feelings for you, the ones I buried deep inside." Mulder smiled slightly. "So you mean the only reason we're in here, crying in our," he paused, glancing at her glass, "your vodka and seven and my, well the service is slow in here, is because we got our lines crossed. I've been fighting my feelings and you've been fighting yours, but we both want the same thing." "But, can we really have it Mulder? There are rules and there are people who could use us against one another were we..." "Those are excuses, Scully. I think, if we really want this, we can find ways around them. We'll be careful, so that no one finds out. Or we'll tell the whole world. If you want this, we can do it. I know it." "I want it Mulder. With you." They stayed in the bar late into the night, talking and enjoying one another's company. Afterwards, they returned to the motel, spending the night in Scully's room. This time, their second time, their lovemaking was slower, less rushed. They took their time, exploring every inch of one another's body with hands, lips, and tongues. This time their movements were less clumsy, less encumbered by alcohol and nervousness. This time the passion flowed from their hearts through their bodies and encompassed them with its power. This time, they woke in the morning light and faced the person who loved them, certain of their feelings. They woke together and enjoyed the warmth of the body pressed against them. They made love again, a little more quickly than the night before. The exploration completed, they knew the other's body well. Scully had snuggled against Mulder's chest and her breathing indicated she had fallen back asleep. "Dana? Scully?" He spoke softly into her ear, while gently shaking her. "Mmmm. Mulder?" "We have to get up. I hate to say it, but we do. We have a plane to catch." Scully opened her eyes, to find him looking down at her. "Okay, I'm up." She slid her body against his as she raised herself to kiss him softly on the lips. Parting for a moment, she kissed him again, more passionately. "Care to join me in the shower?" Not waiting for an answer, she strode into the bathroom, nothing covering her naked form. (Who can refuse an offer like that?) Mulder thought, while rising to chase after her, deciding that if they kept this up, they may never leave San Francisco.

The End.

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"Dear Diary: My heart leapt when Agent Scully suggested Spontaneous Human Combustion."