A/N: This is a missing scene for Small Potatoes from the fourth season, taking place the morning after what happened in Scully's apartment. Hope you like it - drop me a review if you do :)
Her first thought upon waking up was what the hell was wrong with her alarm, and then it came to her. It was Saturday. Apart for a hairdresser's appointment later on today and possibly some very necessary grocery shopping and laundry, she had absolutely zero plans. This realization was met with an enormous sense of relief.
But along with the memory of what day it was, other memories came rushing in and she tensed, relief quickly transforming into dread. Eyes still closed, she tried to come to terms with what quickly came upon the surface. The sheets felt soft and warm against her body, which meant she was either naked or wearing very little. She tried to make sense of the little she had known. She remembered an empty wine bottle, a lit fireplace, and…
Slowly, uncertainly, she opened her eyes to find the thing that she'd feared of, an arm wrapped around her waist. Despite her apprehension, she couldn't help but smile. Last night certainly has an interesting ending. She didn't remember much after that kiss, but she remembered as much. Her smile widened; she knew how smug she must look. If someone had told her all these years ago she would end up in bed with Fox Mulder… Well, she wasn't called skeptic with no reason.
She wasn't sure what she was supposed to feel. Panic, perhaps, for there was no telling how what occurred the previous night would affect their partnership. But there was absolutely no panic, no regret. Skeptic or not, if she was being completely honest with herself, as far as she was concerned, this moment was long overdue.
She knew he was awake when he pulled her closer to him, spreading butterfly kisses on her shoulder blades, lingering against the small scar at the back of her neck. A soft sound escaped her as she leaned back into him. He was so warm. She didn't turn to face him though. Just because she didn't regret the previous night didn't mean she wasn't scared shitless about discussing its consequences with him.
"I know you're awake, Agent Scully," he murmured in her ear. Her resistance melted into nothing as she shivered at his words. She rolled on her other side to face him. He was leaning on his elbow with sleep still in his hazel eyes. "That's better," he said, grinning.
She had to make sure this was for real. She reached out to touch his five o'clock shadow. Somewhat more reassured, she smiled at him and slowly removed her hand. "Hi," she whispered.
"Hi yourself." He laughed softly, shyly. "And there I was, fearing you'd kick me out as soon as you found me here."
His lack of confidence was endearing. She shook her head and inched closer, snaking her arms around his neck. "No, I don't think I want to do that."
"That's good," he breathed, "because I'm not finished with you yet."
Before she could come up with any sort of reply, his lips came crushing against hers, and she was a goner. She had spent many a day wondering what it would be like to kiss him, but nothing ever came close to the real thing. No one had ever kissed her the way he did. If she had ever doubted her feelings for him would be – could be – reciprocated, his kisses were all the proof she needed.
They broke apart, both desperate for air, as he trailed kisses to her chin and downwards, settling on the crook of her neck. She threw her head back and closed her eyes, surrendering to sensation entirely.
"Dana," he murmured. She moaned. She loved it when he called her by her first name. "Open your eyes, Dana."
Completely intoxicated, she did as she was told.
But when she opened her eyes, it wasn't Mulder hovering over her, but Eddie Van Blundht.
She wakes up with a start, gasping for air. Her bedroom is washed in sunlight. She is wearing her dark blue pajamas. Her bed, as she has already realized, is empty. She brings her hand up and rests it on the crook of her neck. Underneath her palm, her pulse is racing. It was just a dream. Just a crazy dream. She closes her eyes, groaning softly, but it isn't enough to wash away the image of her partner, naked and in her bed.
And now she remembers everything about the previous night, to the very last detail. She can't believe she has allowed herself to get there. She can't believe she opened up like that to Mulder, who wasn't even Mulder. She can't believe she hadn't suspected for a moment that the man sitting there with her wasn't her partner. She has always prided herself for knowing him better than he has known himself. Was she really that desperate for something to happen between the two of them that she allowed herself to ignore the obvious?
Sadly, she knows the answer to that. Yes; yes, she was.
She remembers just how she felt when he was leaning closer to her, when she realized he was going to kiss her. She remembers her anticipation, her yearning. She has never felt more fearless. This was an opportunity, and she has meant to pounce on it full force. If the real Mulder didn't break into her apartment just then, there was no telling what might have happened.
She buries her face in her palms when she remembers that part. The humiliation is still overwhelming. They didn't speak much after it happened; he seemed as stunned as she felt. And she couldn't bring herself to go with him as he arrested Mr. Van Blundht. She just couldn't face any of them at that moment.
God, it is so embarrassing! How could she let herself end up in this position? Unfortunately, she knows the answer to that question as well. She had been in love with him for so long that she simply let all her defenses drop. The wine surely didn't help, either.
A sound pierces the silence. It takes her a moment to realize it is the phone. She shakes her head and takes a deep breath, sending the rest of the memories to a dark corner in her mind. She waits for her breathing to stabilize before reaching out for the phone on her bedside.
"Hey, Scully, it's me."
Oh, no. She has hoped she won't have to deal with him until Monday.
"Scully? Are you there?"
"Yes, sorry, I was… What's up, Mulder?"
"Well, I was… just about to go to the police station and give a statement about the whole Eddie Van Blundht thing before he's being transported to a reformatory."
He sounds just like he on any other day he'd call her to tell her about one peculiarity or another, but she knows better. There's an edge to his voice. He is obviously hesitant to call her after the previous evening, let alone discussing Eddie Van Blundht with her.
"Did you hear what I said, Scully?"
He doesn't say anything else for a moment, and then asks, somewhat uncertainly, "Are you okay?"
"I'm fine, Mulder, I'm just not completely awake yet."
"Oh," he says, as though he hasn't expected her to still be asleep.
She quickly glances at the digital clock by her bed. It reads 06:50. On a frigging Saturday. She mentally groans.
"I wanted to know if you were okay with coming with me to the station. You know, to tell them about your, umm, personal experience with Mr. Van Blundht's abilities."
Is there a hint of laughter in the comment? She can't quite determine if he is amused by the situation, or as horrified as she still feels. "Yeah, okay. I'll just get dressed."
"Take your time. I'll come by in half an hour."
He hangs up before she gets a chance to suggest she will meet him at the station. Bastard. Now she knows he must be enjoying this enormously. She places the phone back in its cradle slowly, frowning in discontent. More than anything, she wishes she could just go back to bed and sleep the weekend away. She just wants the embarrassment to wear off. She doesn't want to go anywhere with him. She doesn't want to face him. Not today.
He hangs up and returns to the bathroom to fasten his tie. He despises the idea of donning his work clothes on a weekend, but he can't possibly show up at the station in jeans when Scully will most likely be wearing one of her infamous suits. Honestly, in the four years they have been working together, he can count the number of times he has seen her wearing jeans ,or anything else casual, for that matter. God, she'll probably look amazing in jeans.
He shakes his head and looks away from the mirror. This isn't helping, especially not after staying up the previous night till a ridiculous am thinking about his partner.
Well, if he is completely honest, he has spent the majority of the last four years thinking about his partner in various ways, but what happened the other night definitely put a spin on things, to say the very least. The moment he kicked down that door…
He is still quite shaken by everything that has happened the day before; first learning that Eddie Van Blundht was pretending to be him, chasing him and being locked away by him, and to top it all off, arriving at Scully's apartment and witnessing what he witnessed.
Eddie showed no resistance as he cuffed him. Scully looked flustered and so he didn't even suggest she would come along and make the arrest. In fact, they hardly said three words to one another. It seemed she could barely even look at him. Was she ashamed to be caught in a moment of weakness, or was there more to it than that?
All night he has been trying to make sense of it. He caught her in compromising positions before, with that creepy Amish guy for instance, or that divorcee from Philadelphia, Ed Jerse, but this time is different. Eddie didn't have to lure her into a secluded bedroom or break into her apartment. All he had to do was assume someone else's identity, to pose as someone else to trick her into spending an evening with him.
It is easy enough to understand how Eddie has got access to her place, but from there to completely gaining her trust, to make her open up to him the way she has evidently done… that part remains a downright mystery. And she has obviously done so thinking Eddie was him, Mulder, which also means something, but what?
For the moment, he doesn't even care what it means. Envy is blinding enough. In one evening, merely a few hours, Eddie Van Blundht has managed to do what he couldn't do in four years. He doesn't even mean that intended kiss, although it makes him crazy with jealousy as well. He and Scully are close enough, closer than most of their colleagues and their respective partners, he likes to think, but not as close as he has truly wanted them to be. Never that. He trusts her with his life and he knows that the sentiment is mutual, but she has always kept their relationship proper and businesslike, never allowing herself to get too close. Whenever he touches her, he feels her tense, and that is hardly encouraging. So witnessing what he has witnessed the other evening is confusing at best.
Of course he is in love with her. He has been for years. He has only figured it out recently though. She told him she had cancer, that she was dying, and it dawned on him he was about to lose her. He had always believed her absence to be temporary during the time of her abduction. He had never doubted she would return to him. But now, her imminent death hovers above him like the darkest of shadows, a fact rather than a grim assumption. Even if she does fight, and he knows that she will, with all her might, it is only a matter of time before she will be taken away from him for good this time.
He can never tell her that. Not to Dana Scully. Not in light of the professional distance she has so carefully maintained between the two of them all these years. Only what if he has misplaced her reasons for doing so? What if by forcing professionalism on their partnership as she has, she is actually protecting some dark, well-kept secret? His partner hasn't exactly been an open book, and although she is slowly beginning to open up to him, he has always suspected there is so much about her that he still doesn't know.
And then something terrifying occurs to him, and he stops dead on his tracks, nearly bumping into his next door neighbor on his way to the elevator.
What if Eddie, posing as himself, told her he was in love with her?
Eddie told him pretty much everything he thought about him during their short drive to the police station the previous night, and those were not positive thoughts. He called them "findings" as though he was some sort of a science project. He didn't mention Scully, he didn't seem to dare to, but he had obviously harbored some thoughts in that respect as well or he wouldn't have come to her apartment in the first place. What if he told her, somehow made her admit of similar feelings towards him, and that kiss was a culmination of a very touching confession?
No. He can't believe that. He doesn't want to believe that. Because it will confirm everything Eddie has told him. He's a loser. He can easily face monsters and criminals and the evilest of mankind, but he can't stand up for his partner, his perfect equal, and tell her the truth. Not the way Eddie Van Blundht could.
Driving to her place feels so normal by now, so routine, that he doesn't even need to think about the road ahead, only the moment of his arrival. He is dreading it. What will he do, what will he tell her? Should he even mention last night? Should he try to find out what exactly happened there, what exactly Eddie said to her? Will she tell him? Will she even be able to look at him?
Maybe he should just follow her lead on this. He shouldn't insist on her telling him anything simply because it will lead him nowhere. If she speaks about the previous night, so will he. Otherwise they will just drive to the police station and give their respective statements, he will drive her home and they can get on with their weekend.
That's exactly what I'm talking about, pal. You're a frigging coward.
He grips the steering wheel tighter as Van Blundht's voice taunts him. This plan isn't cowardly, it's right. He can't force a confession out of her, not if he has any amount of respect towards her. He is sure she will tell him what happened whenever she is ready to do so.
By the time he drives into Georgetown, he manages to contain his resentment, to stuff it in a dark corner at the back of his mind. He won't think about it anymore. There are some positive sides to this very awkward situation. At least now he knows there's the slightest chance she won't reject him if he ever decides to tell her how he feels. There's no way Van Blundht would have gotten so close unless she let him, and that means something. If anything, that kiss should give him hope.
He stops the car in front of her building and looks up. There's a silhouette against her window; she waves at him and disappears, probably heading out. He smiles in spite of himself, marveling for the umpteenth time at how attuned they are to one another. It must mean something, doesn't it? It can't be just a partners' thing. He refuses to believe that.
And as he waits for her to get downstairs, he makes a decision. He will tell her the truth. When the time is right. He's sure that in some level or other, she must know it already. For the time being, if borrowed time is all he has with her, he should make the best out of it. He should be there for her in the difficult times ahead, and knowing that those are coming is the only certainty at the moment, as grim as it is. He should not be sidetracked by small potatoes.
He watches her as she leaves the building and crosses the street towards his car, and his lips curl in a small, secret smile. He's not a loser or a coward. He will tell her the truth.
But not today.