Title: Song Cycle :There We Are

Author: ML

Email: msnsc21@aol.com

Feedback: you would make my day, yes please

Spoilers: Minor, through Millennium

Rating: PG for this one

Classification: MSR

Keywords: Mulder/Scully romance

Summary: If I play my cards just right, tonight could be my lucky night...

 

Disclaimer:  The characters mentioned in this story are the property of Ten

Thirteen, Chris Carter, FOX, etc.  I mean no infringement, and I receive no

remuneration for writing this.

 

I don't have permission to use James Taylor's songs, either, but I hope he

won't mind (here's a plug: buy JT!).

 

Author's notes: Just a little break from post-season angst. This is number

two in a series of three.


Listen to me and I'll sing you a song

And the time will go by

`Til you never know where it's gone

Talk to me and I'll tell you my life story

Walk with me and I'll tell you my dreams of glory...

 

Here we are

Sparks in the darkness

Speaking of our love

Burning down forever and forever...

 

Oh I don't know if I told you

But you hold my heart in your hand

And I found out something about you

Baby without you I'm a lonely man...

-From "There We Are" by James Taylor


There We Are by ML

 

On the sidewalk outside the restaurant, he says, "I need to walk off that

dessert.  Is it too cold to take a little walk?"

 

Scully looks up at the stars, considering. It's a clear night, frosty but not

so cold that a little walk would be unwelcome after the wine and the too warm

restaurant.  Not to mention another kind of heat they both seem to be

generating now.  "Okay," is all she says, but she does smile at him as she

says it.

 

They walk along together, away from the lights and bustle.  Their hands swing

just a little as they walk, gloved hands brushing occasionally.  After a few

minutes, Mulder takes hold of her hand and keeps holding on to it, twining

his gloved fingers with hers.  It feels a little strange, but not unpleasant.

 The warmth of their two palms can be felt through the layers of leather.

 

They walk slowly, speaking very little.  The teasing banter they shared at

dinner has disappeared; they are intent on their own thoughts.  Without

either of them choosing a destination, they find themselves at the Tidal

Basin.  They stand, side by side, looking out over the water.

 

She is feeling nervous again.  She got a little carried away in the

restaurant, teasing Mulder the way she did.  It was fun, but also a little

dangerous.  Is she ready for Mulder to take her up on her challenge?  <You

can dish it out but you can't take it, she said.  What is he supposed to do

with that?  What does she want him to do with that?>

 

She hates to admit how much his New Year's kiss unsettled her.  She's gotten

used to his innuendo, his touching, his constant invasion of her space.  She

is able to ignore the occasional lapse, or to rationalize them away <He was

drugged, he was under extreme stress, he almost died...>.  But she is running

out of explanations except for the one which has become glaringly obvious. 

She can no longer put it down to her imagination when others start to draw

attention to it, which seemed to be happening a lot lately.  It happened in

Kansas last year, in Florida...if people weren't commenting on the magnetism

between them, they were mistaking them for husband and wife.

 

These are not valid reasons to develop a more personal relationship.  Just

because other people assumed it was so doesn't mean that it has to happen. 

But she knows herself that the attraction is there.  Is Mulder's as strong? 

Or is he just responding to some vibe she's throwing off? 

 

She keeps expecting him to let her down gently. <Gee, Scully, I didn't know

you'd take my jokes so seriously.  Sorry about that.>  But at dinner he'd

opened himself up just a little, and admitted his own insecurities.  For a

moment, she thought he was going to kiss her again.  Then the moment passed,

and she began chattering about just anything that came into her head.  And

flirting with him outrageously.  Now here they are, holding hands but not

talking.  As usual. 

 

Just after her cancer went into remission she had made a tentative overture

to him.  How ironic was it that they were on their way to a seminar on

communication?  Non verbally they communicated pretty well, most of the time.

 But they found it hard to actually talk to one another.  She can count on

one hand the number of times they've had a truly personal conversation.

 

She sighs, just barely, hardly realizing that she's done so.  But Mulder

notices.

 

He lifts Scully's hand and holds it in both of his for a moment.  Then he

begins to remove her glove.  Finger by finger he loosens and removes it.  He

removes his own as well and twines his fingers through hers again, tucking

them both into his coat pocket.  Scully leans her shoulder against him and he

is content.  Her pulse thrums gently against his wrist.  For a long time he

does not speak, but thinks about what he wants to say to her.  It may not be

what she expects but before he goes on he needs to fix something, if it's

fixable.

 

He still remembers the visions, or hallucinations, he had when he was ill. 

He's done his best to analyze them logically but the emotions are still too

raw.  The closest he can come is that Cancerman is evil, and Diana consorted

with Cancerman; therefore, Diana could be evil too.  But he is still a ways

from believing Diana betrayed him.  Maybe because one more betrayal would be

his undoing, or maybe because he still harbors some tender feelings toward

Diana.  He knows enough about himself to know that he cannot be objective

about this.  But likewise he cannot discount that part of Scully's dislike

and distrust has to be jealousy; if only he could make her realize it.  He

may never know the full truth about Diana, and he will never be able to think

about her without emotion.  But still, love has not been a part of that

equation for a long time, and he needs Scully to see that.

 

"I need to talk to you about Diana," he finally says. 

 

<Uh oh.  The moment of truth.>  Scully fights down a feeling of panic.  <This

is what I want, isn't it?>  Almost as though he's read her mind. 

 

He continues to face straight ahead, staring at the water without seeing it. 

"Diana was my friend," he says quietly, feeling his way.

 

"I know she was your friend," she says softly, as she did when she came to

him to break the news about Diana's death.  "But Mulder, I think her reasons

for doing what she did were personal.  Yes, she cared about the work, but she

also cared about you.  And that made her Cancerman's tool."  She takes a

breath and continues.  "I don't want to argue about her, Mulder, but I want

to understand.  I know she was important to you, and I need to know, would

you rather have had her backing you up on the X-Files?  I know she wanted to.

 What I want to know is, did you want her?"

 

There seems to be more than one meaning to her question, and Mulder is a

little surprised that she seems uncertain about her own importance, both to

him and to the work.  Has he been so opaque to her?  He knows he has.  And he

remembers how dismissive he was when she tried to caution him about Diana's

motives.  "Personal interest is all I have," she said at the time, and he

took that at its face value, and thought she was merely jealous of Diana.

 

She deserves an answer.  He wants to give her one that shows how highly he

values her words, how highly he values *her*.  It is no longer important that

he make Scully understand anything other than how much she means to him.

 

He takes a deep breath and continues.  "She was just about my only friend

when I left Behavioral to start investigating the X-Files.  She shared an

interest, and a knowledge of the paranormal that no one else but me seemed to

have.  We worked together, we became lovers, then we got married.  And then

she left me."

 

Not a sound from Scully.  He knows that none of this is a surprise to her,

not even the marriage.

 

It had been so quick.  They'd known each other such a short, intense time. 

Diana suggested marriage, and in a matter of days they'd stood before a

judge.  They'd not even had time to do the personnel paperwork at the Bureau,

afterward.  Somewhere in the Fairfax County Vital Statistics database there's

a copy of the both the divorce decree and the marriage certificate.  He

burned his copy of the latter not long after Diana left, and threw the ring

she gave him into the Potomac.

 

Scully is silent and very still.  He cannot look at her.

 

He still remembers the morning Diana left.  She came down to the basement,

and could hardly look him in the eye.  "I think it was a mistake to get

married, Fox," she told him.  "It could be used against us in so many ways."

 

He had been so stunned by this that the news she'd accepted a reassignment

went by almost unnoticed at first.

 

"I still care about the work, Fox, and I care about you.  Maybe some day

things will be different for us, and for our work.  But I'm doing this for

*us*, Fox.  And for the X-Files."  And within a few days Diana had removed

herself from his life so completely that sometimes it seemed like something

he'd dreamed.  He compartmentalized that part of his life, filed it away,

willed himself not to think about it, same as with Phoebe.  When he received

a Christmas card from Diana several months later he almost didn't recognize

the handwriting on the envelope.  He hadn't written back.

 

All these memories play behind his eyes as he stands staring out over the

water, telling Scully everything.  He can feel the warmth of her hand in his.

 Though he can't look at her, it keeps him anchored.  She is still here.  She

hasn't pulled away...yet.

 

"When Diana returned, she didn't try to get in touch with me.  The first time

I'd seen her in years, she was at that meeting, the one I wasn't invited to.

 

"I hadn't processed anything.  I'd shut it all away.  Diana didn't even exist

for me until suddenly there she was, and she behaved as though we'd seen each

other only the day before.  Except I was different.  I had a new partner, one

I knew always told me the truth, even if it wasn't what I wanted to hear." 

He squeezes her hand gently, and is heartened to feel a slight answering

squeeze.  "But you know me, Scully.  You know how...seductive it is when

someone believes you."  He is silent for a moment, thinking about what he

just said.  Diana had seduced him, plain and simple.  Has this not occurred

to him before, or was it just too hard to face?  He always wanted so badly to

believe.

 

He continued, "I made a bad mistake when I chose to believe Diana over you,

if only because I know you have always had my best interests at heart.  Even

when *I* don't know what they are.  I really only know one thing now, Scully,

and it's what I told you before.  You are my friend, and you tell me the

truth."

 

He leads the way to a bench and they sit down.  Keeping hold of her hand, he

says, "I didn't tell you everything I remember about what happened to me.  I

touched on it, I tried to make you understand your importance to me.  But let

me tell you the rest."

 

He tells her about the idyllic setting, meeting Deep Throat again, the

presence of Samantha, the omnipresence of Cancerman and Diana.

 

"They all tried to make me believe that there was no need to fight, that this

place was where I was meant to be.  They showed me, allowed me to experience

a normal life.  but all the time I knew it was not right for me, not meant

for me.  All the time I knew you were still out there, fighting for the

truth.  And I wanted to be there with you, every step of the way.  And then I

woke from the nightmare and you were there.  You *saved* me, Scully, the way

you've always saved me."  He lifted her fingers to his lips and kissed each

one.  "The way I hope you always will."

 

There are tears in her eyes, sparkling like diamonds, like the million

billion stars in the sky.  She smiles with trembling lips.

 

"We save each other," she whispers. She puts her hand against his cheek

again.  He turns his head so he can kiss her palm, then leans toward her and

cups her face in his hands. He smiles into her eyes, and kisses her lips.

 

Not like New Year's.  Not at all.  That kiss had surprised them both; this is

the kiss worth waiting for.  Her lips are pliant and warm.  They move across

his purposefully, pulling on his lower lip, and then, *then*, letting just

the tip of her tongue touch the corner of his mouth.

 

<It's even better when you help> The line from an old Bogart/Bacall movie

floated into his consciousness. <oh yes, it *is* he agreed>.  He allows

himself the same freedom, lightly running his tongue over her lips.

 

All at once the universe expands and concentrates at the same time.  His

universe is Dana Scully, and its center is her mouth; he explores and

worships it as he has dreamed of doing for so long.

 

She responds in kind.  They are both explorers, discovering the new world

together.  He would be content to spend all his time here, for now.  If they

did nothing but kiss and touch for the next year, he wouldn't tire of it,

wouldn't ask for more.

 

They both pull back at the same time, and before he can stop himself, he

says, "Wow. Zero to sixty in about two seconds." <Great, Mr. Smartass. Thanks

for joining us.>  He winces to himself.

 

He feels her warm breath on his neck.  She's *laughing.*  She looks up at

him.  "Trust you, Mulder, to have an appropriate comment for every occasion."

 

He grins back at her, relieved at her reaction.  "Sorry, Scully, I just can't

seem to think intelligently when I'm around you."

 

"Then we're even," she says.  "You take my breath away."

 

His own breath catches in his throat and he smiles a slow lazy smile. 

"*Very* equally matched," he murmurs in her ear.  "'Cause you do the same to

me." 

 

His arm is behind her, across the back of the bench.  She rests her head in

the crook of his arm and looks up at him.  With his other hand, he touches

her face, stroking her cheek with his palm as he gazes back at her.  <No

other word for it, I *do* gaze at Scully.  And she gazes at me.>

 

This kiss is a little slower to build.  He leans in to find her lips parted

and ready.  He opens his mouth over hers, warming her lips with his own,

tilting his head to find the perfect angle. She matches him in this, her lips

moving languidly against his lips, her tongue sliding alongside his tongue. 

Her hand comes up to rest at the back of his neck, fingers tickling the short

hair at his nape.  He moves very slowly, allowing himself to savor every new

touch, every detail of how she feels and tastes.

 

                      xoxoxoxoxoxoxo

 

Scully closes her eyes against his intense stare.  She relaxes against his

arm as his hand comes up to touch her face.  Her heart feels like it will

burst out of her as she feels his mouth claim hers.  His lips are so warm,

and impossibly soft.  He tugs on her lower lip and places small kisses at the

corners of her mouth, his tongue barely touching, anointing each spot.  He

kisses his way down to her collar, under her chin, back to her mouth where he

settles for a time, moving slowly, encouraging her to do the same.  She cups

the back of his head with her hand, enjoying the feel of the soft hair at his

hairline.  She feels boneless, unable to imagine ever moving from this spot. 

His soft, slow, wet kisses answer a wish she's denied for so long, for too

long.  She knows she won't be able to do without kissing and being kissed by

him any more.

 

Eventually, they have to stop and breathe.  They both have their arms around

one another now, and Scully is sure she can feel his heart beating through

all the layers of wool and silk and cotton.

 

"Why now?"  she whispers.

 

"Do you mean, as opposed to earlier, or as opposed to later or never?"  He's

pressing his luck, he thinks, being so flippant already, or still.  She's not

saying anything; she just raises her eyebrow the barest bit.  He relents.  "I

just got tired of waiting for the right time.  It never seems to come--we

never seem to be on the same page.  I'm in the hospital, you're in the

hospital, or I do some boneheaded thing to piss you off.  I've told you, I've

tried to show you, a million different ways, how I feel.  And when you came

to me to tell me about Diana, I just knew."

 

"Do you mean you read my mind?"  Her concern is barely concealed.

 

He laughs just a little.  "No, I don't think I can do that any more.  And

even if I could, I wouldn't.  Not to you.  No, it was how distressed you were

about Diana, and that you came personally to tell me."  He reaches up to her

face and caresses her lips with his thumbs.  "And it was how you touched me. 

I just knew.  If I waited any more for the time to be right, it never would

be."

 

"It still took you a couple of months to make your move,"  she points out.

 

"Yeah, well, that's pretty fast for *us* isn't it?  Geologic time is usually

faster than we are.  And if you're feeling cheated, I'm more than willing to

make up for lost time."

 

For an answer, she raises her face to his again, and brushes her lips across

his.

 

                        xoxoxoxoxo

 

"So."  He takes a deep breath.  "Where do we go from here?"

 

"Someplace warm," she said, snuggling closer to his side.

 

He laughs.  "I never knew you were such a comedian, Scully.  That's not what

I meant.  But it's not a bad idea, anyway."

 

"I know what you mean."  She is not smiling as she sits up straight.  "I

think we both know where we are going but it's hard to get started."

 

"I think we *have* started.  Maybe only a step or two, but at least we're on

the right road."

 

"Okay, I think we've beaten that metaphor to death, Mulder."  She is smiling

again.  "But I do want to say, let's not rush this.  I want to enjoy the

ride."

 

"Okay."  Hadn't he told himself earlier this evening that this is exactly

what he wants?  So he shouldn't be feeling disappointed, right?

 

"*Really* okay?" she asks softly.  She knows him all too well.

 

"Yes, really," he assures her.  "I'm so glad you want to be anywhere near me,

how could I ask for anything more?"

 

"I wish you wouldn't blame yourself for everything that's happened,"  she

admonishes gently.  "It's not all your fault.  I'm sorry if I made you feel

that way."

 

"You have nothing to apologize for, Scully.  C'mon, let's get you home."  He

pulls her to her feet and into his arms again.  "I'm gonna let you call the

shots, Scully.  We'll do this on your schedule."  He places a little scatter

of kisses along her forehead and temple.

 

"I don't have a schedule, Mulder."  She looks at him very seriously.  "I just

want us to get there when we get there.  It's for both of us to decide.  But

I want to enjoy the journey, enjoy where we are in it for once, now that

we've at least acknowledged that we're going somewhere."

 

"Okay."  He seems to be saying that a lot tonight.  "But no more hackneyed

metaphors, Scully.  A man can only take so much.  Say what you mean.  I'll

even say it first:  I love you.  I want you.  I want to be with you in

whatever form we're both comfortable with.  If what we have right now is

enough for you, then it's enough for me too.  Until we're both ready for

more."

 

"I love you too," she says softly.  "And I want you just as much.  I just

don't want to feel we are forcing ourselves to do something we're not ready

for."

 

<Speak for yourself, Scully.  I've been ready for years.>

 

end of part 2.

===

Stayed tuned for "Song Cycle 3: Secret of Life", next piece of this little

slice of MSR.

 

I love feedback (who doesn't?)  I respond to it all, too. Please send me

some!  mailto:msnsc21@aol.com

 

Song Cycle series:

Heart Out of Sight

There We Are

Secret of Life

Nocturne