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They finally pulled up at Dana's apartment building at half past twelve, and Monica crammed the gearshift into park. They hadn't even thought to return to the Hoover building; Dana wanted to be at home and she wanted it now. All their luggage and reports cluttered the trunk and backseat of Monica's car, their delayed flight misery and exhaustion clinging to them like wet leaves.

"Thank you so much, Agent Reyes, I wasn't expecting a ride. That was very kind."

Monica let a sharp exhale out her nose and smiled. "You know it's no problem, Dana." She undid her seatbelt and slid out of the car. "I can help bring your bags and everything up, too, if you want."

"That would be great," Dana sighed with relief. She too deposited herself from the car into the cool night air, her sore feet steady on the concrete as she stretched her cramped limbs. "And please," she said with a groan, "...don't hesitate to stay the night. William is at my mother's, and I'd really feel terrible for you to have to drive all the way home when it's this late."

Monica chuckled, and opened her mouth to start a "no thanks", but Dana cut it short with "I'd honestly feel better if you stayed."

A small tingle shot up Monica's spine, but she shook it out her arm as she pressed the button to pop the trunk.

--

As if their grueling case hadn't done it's number on their muscles already, hauling four heavy bags up the apartment building stairs certainly did them in. Dana unlocked the door and pushed it open, dragging her feet along with the bags through the threshold. Monica followed behind, decidedly less melodramatic, and deposited the rest of the bags by the coffee table.

"I'm about ready to crash on that couch, honestly," Monica laughed. She wasn't sure if she was joking or not, or half-joking, but mostly she was dealing with the fact she was in Dana's apartment, about to spend the night. Like a giddy girl guide on her first sleep-away camp. How embarrassing.

"I think we could both use a shower and a hot drink, first," Dana said, seating herself on the couch, slowly and assuredly. "I can still feel the case on me. Like grime." She giggled.

Monica's heart lurched. "Absolutely."

She began to make her way down the hall before turning back to Dana. "Um… where would the linens be?"

"Oh, there should be some towels already in the bathroom. And you go ahead first," Dana offered. "I can start unpacking my bags and organizing files. I have more than enough to keep me occupied."

Monica nodded her head, smiled, and quickly made her way to the bathroom. Keep her occupied, she thought briefly. She grimaced as she gently closed the door behind her. For god's sake, I'm about to step into the woman's shower, what am I thinking? She started the water, undressed and stepped in, and the minute the hot water hit her, all her muscles seemed to melt away, the tenseness evaporating into the steam. But her thoughts wouldn't wash away, they couldn't, Monica was entranced and it wasn't going to go away that easily. She tried to stay professional, she thought, she's tried hiding her feelings away, but Jesus Christ, she could barely knock on her motel room door twelve hours ago for all the butterflies in her stomach and now she's standing in her shower, using her soap, good god her soap in her shower, and finally she said fuck it all and let the feelings wash over her with the water. The bar traversed her body, and she thought of how it must have felt for the soap to glide over Dana; her glossy, satin limbs, across her taut stomach, suds trickling down her back. A lather in her intimacy. She closed her eyes and continued washing as the shower head drizzled atop her head, the water almost as heated as she was becoming, and she slid her hands over the tiles of the wall, across the shampoo rack and amidst the bottles, her fragrance emanating from them; her sweet, familiar scent. She thought of how Dana might wash her hair, of her auburn tresses, and how they might glide across her shoulders as the water ran over them. How she might run her fingers through them as she shampooed them, how Monica might run her fingers through them, how she might tangle them in her hand as she pulled her closer…

A knock on the door startled her back into reality, and she knocked the bottle of shampoo she had been fiddling with from the rack. All Dana could hear from the other side of the door was a lot of fumbling, another loud crash, a thud, and some hushed expletives.

"Monica, are you alright?" she asked, placing her hand on the doorknob. She wasn't about to intrude; it was just instinctual. "I came to check if you were okay, you'd been in there a while."

Dana heard the water shut off, then there was a moment of silence before a shaky voice slid through the crack of the door. "I'm- uh, oh Jesus… Dana I'm…" Monica's words tumbled from her lips. "…no. I don't know if I am."

With that, Dana opened the door. Privacy or not, that sounded enough like an invitation, and she knew it was the right decision when her eye caught the blood running down the drain.

Monica sat on the far end of the bathtub, the towel obviously ripped from the hanger and draped haphazardly over herself, leaving her legs exposed and her right knee trickling with blood. She looked up at Dana, who was perched in the doorway, and she felt the heat rising into her cheeks.

"Oh no, I didn't mean for you to- I fell is all, and the razor… the razor in the rack must have fallen as well, I think I landed on it… please, I-"

"Monica, let me see it."

Monica hesitated, but scooted herself from the wall and closer into the center of the tub. Dana knelt beside her and grabbed her leg to examine the laceration. It was still bleeding; not extensively, but there were at least three or four prominent gashes scattered across her kneecap. The feeling of Dana's hands on her leg easily dulled the throbbing in her knee; she was caressing it lovingly, like her medical background must have taught her how. Monica was sure her cheeks were flushed, but she was hopeful that the steamy air from the shower was camouflaging it. Still, here she was, naked and injured in Dana's bathtub. Her heartbeat quickened, and she swiped the dripping tendrils of her dark chocolate locks from her face.

"Let's dry you off as best we can and get this treated," Dana stated as she helped pull Monica to her feet and out of the tub. Her grip on her arms was strong, but her hands were so soft, and Monica was shaky and unstable at best, but they managed to get her standing. She flustered her grip on the towel, wrapping it around herself a little more suitably, and as not to touch her knee with it.

"Oh, don't worry about the towel," Dana purred.

Monica wasn't sure if it was the blood or her coverage to which she was referring.

--

The throbbing had lessened to a low pulsing sensation, and Monica sat on the closed toilet seat, fiddling with the edges of the medical tape holding the square of gauze to her knee. She had since dried and dressed in a borrowed pair of pyjamas, but not before Dana tended to the wound, and sitting barely-clothed in her bathroom, wounded and dripping wet, was not Monica's idea of how the evening was going to go. She didn't really have any solid idea how it would anyways, but this definitely wasn't it.

Dana was down the hall in the kitchen fixing two cups of tea; Monica could hear cupboards opening and closing and the clinking of spoons, and she decided to attempt to make her way out there to be any help she could manage. Albeit her strange limp, she arrived in the living room just fine, just as Dana was setting the mugs on the coffee table.

"You feeling okay to walk?" she said as she noticed Monica's slight gait, which admittedly, she was trying to hide. "Here, I can put a pillow on the table, let's keep that leg up and comfortable."

Monica ruffled her damp hair and let out a small, breathy laugh. "I didn't think I needed it, but thank you."

Dana caught Monica's eyes as she reached to hold her arm to lower her to the couch. "Can't hurt to take precautions."

--

The tea had long since gotten cold, sitting out on the table as long as it had, and Monica would have been wondering how it would taste if she was not already preoccupied with the taste of Dana on her lips. She wasn't sure how she had gotten here, couldn't remember when Dana had decided to lean over into her, but she was damn sure she wasn't letting it go anytime soon, she was not letting go of Dana's hair that she now had twirled in her fingers, pulling her closer into her mouth, she was not letting go of the tongue that was enrapturing hers, beckoning her to it's call. She brought her hands to Dana's cheeks, thumbing and swiping across that soft, rosy, post-maternity flesh, nipping gently at her lips as she kissed them. They were both still sitting upright on the couch, but Monica's leg knocked the pillow from the table in an attempt to shift her weight and lean closer.

"Mm," Dana noticed. She broke away from Monica and breathed, "How's your knee?"

"Can't feel a thing."

"Good."

And with that, Dana leaned back and pulled Monica by the shoulders to lie on top of her, locking herself to her lips once more. Monica propped herself up on her elbows, hands still playing with Dana's hair, tongue now delving into her mouth as she deeply inhaled through her nose. She needed all the breath she could manage, as it was continually being knocked out of her. The only sound in the room was that breath, and Dana's slow, gentle moans of indulgence, maddening in their wiles.

Dana's hands were wandering, slowly along Monica's ribcage and down to tease the hem of her fitted t-shirt. Even slower, she began lifting her shirt up, running her small, dainty hands up her back, up her sides, pulling still, so that eventually the shirt sat just above her breasts, full and supple. As Dana cupped them, pressed her palms into them, she could feel Monica's heartbeat pounding, and, as hard as it was to do, she broke away from Monica's mouth and tucked her chin to finally look down and witness their glory, clad in a simple, no-nonsense nude bra. Her glance shot back up to Monica, steely blue matched by rich mocha.

Dana was breathing heavily, as was Monica, both with heated blood rushing in their cheeks, their chests, emblazoned fingertips. Monica noticed something burning behind Dana's eyes, an inquiry, waiting to burst.

"What is it?"

Dana parted her lips slightly, waiting a moment before any sound came out. "How… how long have you…?"

Monica licked her lip and sucked it into her mouth, biting down slightly and letting a small chuckle. She wasn't sure. To say since I met you wouldn't be right, but perhaps it wouldn't be wrong, either. She simply shook her head and glanced away a moment, a small smile still resting on her lips. When she turned back again, Dana's gaze was still driving into her.

"I-"

"Monica." her tone was serious, cool and drilling.

Monica's breath hitched.

"Fuck me like you've always wanted to."

Her hands were flustered, but they made no hesitation to grip desperately at Dana's hips, grinding her own into them, pressing her whole body to her as she drove her tongue back into her mouth, gasping and fervent. The moans escaping Dana's mouth grew louder, encapsulating Monica's every thought, every movement, and she ground harder against her leg, her hands barely managing the buttons on her blouse and the fasten of her pants, all but ripping both of them off and throwing them behind the couch. Monica could feel her heat, and she dragged her fingers up the insides of her thigh and slipped them under her cotton underwear, already slightly slick with her arousal. Thumb pressed to her clit, she slid two fingers inside, instigating a low, throaty groan from Dana, her head thrown back against the armrest of the couch. Monica skillfully removed her underwear with her free hand as she continued to rub circles inside her, and she kissed her way across her chest, her stomach, until she had lowered herself to meet her sex. She was panting, hot and heavy; her breath on her clit made Dana squirm. Monica stopped moving her fingers and glanced up to Dana, and as their eyes met, she ran her tongue languidly across her folds with a smile and pushed it along her clit, sliding a third finger inside her as she did. Dana yelped, and her hips buckled as Monica's mouth surrounded her, her fingers quickening and her tongue lashing away. Dana reached down and grabbed at Monica's hair, pushing her closer, open vowels and desperate "yes"'s tumbling from her pouted lips, elongated and forceful and penetrating, and Monica was gasping and heaving for breath and her hand was wrapped around Dana's thigh to keep her as close as possible, and this was everything, everything she'd wanted to do, to be with Dana, Jesus Christ to be in her, to be giving her this reason to moan and swivel her hips like this, just like this, oh God just like this…

And with one last longing, vehement cry, Monica felt Dana's muscles tense around her fingers as her thighs trembled and her grip on her hair tightened, and when she finally did let go she let out a sigh full of pleasantries and veneration.

Monica traveled her way back up Dana's torso, planting small kisses as she went, subtly wiping the edges of her mouth with the back of her hand. When she reached her neck, she lingered a while more, softly pecking at her collarbones, up the length of her craning jawline, and finally leaving one last kiss on the point of her chin. Dana finally opened her eyes and lazily met Monica's, and the two of them giggled.

"God…" Dana said. "...good God, Monica." Another long sigh as she played at her hair, now a relative rat's nest from her tugging.

Monica tucked a stray strand of hair behind Dana's ear, stroking her flushed cheek on the way. "You alright?"

"Yes… yes, more than alright," she mused. Slowly, a sly smirk played at her lips. "But it looks like I've got my work cut out for me now."

Monica's eyes widened and she bit her lip. Dana kissed it quickly.

"Take me to the bedroom."

--

"So… what about Mulder?"

They were laid on Dana's bed, her crisp sheet covering them both modestly. The window was open very slightly, and a cool breeze kept them comfortable in the heated room. Monica rested herself on one elbow, facing Dana, who was relaxed on her back, staring at the ceiling. But with that, she turned to Monica quizzically, and after a moment, replied, "What about Mulder?"

"Well," Monica started, a bit confused. "You two--"

"Yes, us two," she huffed. "Nine years, us two." She clicked her teeth and began fiddling with the sheet covering her otherwise naked chest.

A few more silent moments passed before Dana continued.

"The most complicated nine years of my life. And I don't regret a day, in fact I cherish every single one." She pursed her lips. "I am forever his, as he is mine. As easy or as complicated as it is."

Monica swallowed deeply, her heart racing.

"But right now, with everything else happening, him being missing, dead, alive, hiding away, and with William, with everything, I… I needed that complexity to hibernate. To leave me be, let me breathe. And I, I saw you, and I liked you, very much, and I read you, your intention, and I liked that, too, and it was…"

She exhaled for a long time, fixated on one spot on the wall, and Monica could feel her thinking. She thought for a while.

"It was just… simple," she sighed finally. "And I liked that. I liked simple." She turned to face Monica with a small smile spreading across her lips.

Monica nodded her head and smiled back. "I can do simple."

And she leaned over and placed another long, deep kiss on Dana, taking her shoulder and pulling towards her, and they tumbled once again into ecstasy, tangling their legs in the sheets.