“You can’t tell anyone I gave this to you,” she said, and he had a sudden almost-psychic sexual flash of his cock splitting the soft autumn fur at her center. Of her head thrown back, her sharp little incisors gnashing at the air.
He shook his head to clear it of the indecorus fantasy.
“ The Post protects its sources, Dr. Scully,” he said, and took the envelope from her, his fingers brushing the skin of her hand as he did so. He was certain he saw the soft hairs of her wrist turn to goose flesh.
She turned her head away, offering him her profile, a soft rise of color high on her cheekbone.
“Ethan Minette is my fiancé, Mr. Mulder,” she said quietly, not meeting his eye.
He nearly staggered back, the past six weeks running like a movie montage on hyper speed through his mind. Minette—on the City Desk at the Times —handing cash under the table to a beat cop on K Street; the Trojan horse on Mulder’s computer, his own scoop running in the Times an hour before the Post went to press; Minette’s hand sliding down the hip of a White House aide before disappearing with her into the coat check room at The Palm.
“I assure you,” he said, scuffing the leather bottom of his shoe on the cold floor of the morgue, “not a whiff. No one will be able to trace this information back to you.”
“Thank you,” she smiled shyly, ducking her head, a lock of copper hair pulling loose from her ponytail to whisp along the delicate line of her jaw. He had to resist the urge to finger it softly back behind the shell of her ear.
Instead he raised the envelope to his temple in a salute, nodded at her and moved toward the door of the autopsy room. He turned back to her when he was within its frame, and she looked up to meet his eye, the glacial blue of her own piercing something deep inside of him.
“It was nice to officially meet you,” he said, and she smiled again.
“Oh, nothing about this was official,” she said, and he huffed a laugh and stepped away, the metal door sucking shut behind him.
He was waiting outside the morgue door when she walked out, paying no attention to her surroundings, her head making a mental list of groceries she needed to pick up on the way home. She was so startled that she had her fist around her pepper spray before she recognized him, holding up a staying hand under the orange soda glow of the street lights, his eyes all apology.
The morgue door had only clicked shut when she heaved a relieved sigh.
"Oh," she said, "it's you." The night was cold and dark around them. It was February; the ugliest time of year in DC.
He smiled at her in the half light and it took her a moment to notice that he was holding out a newspaper toward her in his other hand, the thick stack flopping down as he lifted his arm so that she could read the headline: EVIDENCE SHOWS MASSIVE COVERUP , it read, and she snatched it out of his grip.
"You went to print?!" she asked excitedly. It had been weeks since she’d tipped him off. He nodded.
"Hot off the presses," he said.
She skimmed the article under his byline, reading as fast as she could.
"God, I hope this takes them down," she muttered, still reading, "I hate dirty cops." Her pulse was thrumming.
"It will," he said with confidence, and then shifted a bit on his feet. "Though... it may take your fiancé down with them."
She steeled herself. She'd suspected this was coming since before she'd called Fox Mulder's extension at the Post. So it was true, then. Ethan was in on it. All for a fucking story .
"So be it," she said, and his eyes softened.
"You okay?" he asked. His breath wafted above their heads in a white vapor and something about the softness of his eyes and the wet glint of his generous lower lip made her forget her nerves.
"Yeah," she breathed. "Can I... buy you a drink to celebrate?"
He appeared as surprised as she was by her invitation.
"I know a great place," he said, delighted.
They burst through his door connected at the lips, her hands running over his shoulders to cleave off his suit coat and he stumbled backwards over it as it hit the floor. His blood was singing on a high of lust and gin and the exquisite poetry of her; the Roman cut of her nose, the amber glint of her hair, the way her teeth caught on her s’s.
The slam of the door behind them brought her up short. She pulled back as if surprised to find herself in his apartment, though she'd been the one who'd leaned into his ear at the bar and hissed "take me back to your place," her breath smelling of whiskey and lipstick. She'd been all hands and lips and teeth in the cab.
"You okay?" he asked for the second time that night, out of breath, practically panting, the front of his pants tight.
"I'm--" she started, "I never do this. I'm sorry, I -- I never do this."
"Hey," he said gently, "we don't have to -- I don't expect -- do you want to sit down?"
She nodded, looking shocky, and he led her over to his couch and then slipped into his kitchen, checking every cup and mug in his sparse cabinets until he found one that looked perfectly clean. He pressed the glass into her hands, the ice clicking gently into the sides. He sat on the floor next to the couch to give her space, crossed his legs and tried not to think of his aching cock.
"Ethan is --" she began, "we've been together since high school." She was talking to her lap, half the water chugged before he even sat down. Her blouse was still untucked from when he’d pulled it out of her pants to run a hand over her silk-clad breast in the cab and she was fingering the gold engagement ring on her left hand-- it was an antique-looking thing, something he couldn't see her liking, though he admittedly barely knew her at all.
He nodded at her, wanting to reach a hand out, but opting to rest his arm along the edge of the sofa instead.
"He's cheating on me," she said, a statement. Mulder knew it to be true, but it seemed too self-serving to say anything confirming it, and so he stayed mum. “But we’ve been together so long, and I didn’t want to believe it. And now that I know he’s in on this…” He reached out and touched her knee lightly, and her eyes sharpened. “Tell me something about yourself,” she went on, her voice dropping an octave, “something that no one else knows.”
And so he told her about his sister. About his years-long search for the truth. They talked and talked as she slowly melted into the sofa, her legs stretched out and almost touching him, her head propped up on her elbow.
Finally, she blinked slowly down at him.
“I still feel kind of drunk,” she said, and then yawned.
“Take my bed,” he said, rising to quickly change the sheets. “The bathroom is just over there,” he nodded toward a door. “There’s a new toothbrush in the medicine cabinet.” He disappeared into the bedroom before she could decline.
She walked through his bedroom doorway on silent feet just as he was shoving the last pillow into a fresh pillowcase. He hugged it to his chest and made his way to the door, smiling at her shyly as he passed. She grabbed his arm gently and he paused, looked down into her sharp starlet eyes. She smelled of toothpaste and faded perfume. Her face had been scrubbed clean.
“Thank you, Mulder,” she said, and let go, her touch practically burning his skin.
She called him three weeks later at work, asked him to meet her for lunch. They sat in the cavernous Les Halles in the District, at a middle table where Mulder kept getting bumped by people making their way to the restroom. The air was filled with the clatter of silverware on plates, a constant murmur of business talk, the expediter calling orders in the kitchen. She wanted to apologize to him.
“You have nothing to apologize for ,” he said, before the words were even halfway out of her mouth. “If anyone should apologize, it should be me.”
He reached out a hand and brushed his fingers lightly over the back of her left hand. He noticed her ring finger was bare and stopped short.
“I was in a relationship and — even though I knew it was over, I should have never -- I stuck my tongue down your throat before you finished your second drink,” she said, blushing, but with a smile.
“Say what you will about the former,” he said, reaching for his sweating water glass, “but don’t you dare apologize for the latter.”
She leaned back in her chair and signaled for the waiter. As the man walked away with their orders, Scully leaned forward, her elbows on the table, fingers laced over her plate.
“Detective Cho came to our apartment as Ethan was packing up his things last week,” she said, attempting to keep a cheeky smile from her lips. Mulder’s eyebrows rose to his hairline, though he wasn’t sure which part of her statement surprised him most. “The DA was with her,” she went on, finally cracking a grin.
“You think Ethan will cop a plea?” Mulder asked excitedly, half his brain already on the phone to Skinner, his editor, the other half already writing the story.
“Take out your notebook, and I’ll tell you everything,” she said.
Mulder was on the steps of the courthouse eating a street hot dog when she came clicking down them in her best pumps. She’d been called as a witness in many cases in her life, but never before one in which one of the accused was somebody she had once loved.
She still felt shaky and overdrawn, but just the sight of his sable hair, his strong profile against the sidewalk, settled her nerves.
They hadn’t seen each other in months, but had taken to talking on the phone in the late evening, initially about the story and the case, eventually dropping any pretense and talking just to hear each other’s voice. It had gotten to the point where if she didn’t hear his low timbre each night before bed, she’d have trouble sleeping.
He turned when he sensed her and stood when he saw her, his face blossoming into a pleased smile.
She stopped two steps above him, which made them the same height. His eyes looked mossy in the sun, his lashes long sweeps along his skin.
“The courtroom smells like a Pulitzer,” she said, “I’m surprised you’re not in there.”
He shoved his hands deep into the pockets of his overcoat and shrugged.
“And miss a day like this?” he said, the sun glinting off his hair as off a robin’s wing.
“You know, I really thought a sharp wit like you would come in with a line like ‘the real prize is out here,’ but I guess I lobbed the softball a little low,” she teased.
He smiled, shrugged again.
“What can I say?” he said, “I like the high ones.”
He had a smudge of mustard on the edge of his mouth, and she reached out and wiped it slowly off of him with her thumb, the scrape of his five o’clock shadow rasping.
She had a sudden almost-psychic sexual flash of his lush mouth opening wetly over the rise of her mons, of his long, warm hands running slowly up the back of her thigh, could practically feel his low, satisfied moan flushing up her skin.
She blinked away the fantasy but held it in her mind, smiled and reached for his arm, coming down the steps until she was even with him and he turned to walk with her.
“So it’s done then,” he said, finally pulling his hands from the depths of his coat pockets and reaching out until his hand was resting on the small of her back. “Can I buy you a drink to celebrate?”
She smiled into the sunshine and leaned into his touch.