banner by mimic117
Rating: NC-17. If you are under 18, you should not be reading this.
Disclaimer: These characters are not mine. Belong to CC, 1013 and Fox. They'll be home before midnight.
The cherry blossoms are in bloom, as they usually are in April. Their sweet fragrance signals spring had finally come to D.C. I walked past the Constitution Gardens on the way to the reflecting pool. To Mulder's bench. I unfolded the paper from my suit pocket and read his "memo" again.
"April 13, 1999. Memorandum. To: Special Agent Dana Scully, M.D. From: Special Agent Fox Mulder. Re: Meeting. I would like to schedule a lunch meeting in regards to a special circumstance that may require immediate attention. I am not at liberty to disclose details at this time. Noon by the Monument. Please reply if you are unable to attend."
I suspected this had nothing to do with work, but Mulder knew I'd only respond to something formal like a memo. I breathed in the air, rich with the blossoms.
I turned the corner, squinting against the noonday sun and found Mulder on his bench. He had his sunglasses on and had abandoned his suit jacket. His sleeves were rolled up and his tie loosened. The mere sight of him made me smile.
He glared at his watch. "You're late."
"Are you going to write me up?" I asked, sitting on the opposite side of the bench.
"Not officially, but I may reprimand you later," he replied. Mulder reached inside a paper bag and pulled out a container and a sandwich. "I got you a salad. Greek with extra feta. We'll have to share the drink. Iced tea."
Sharing a drink was something couples did. But not the kind of thing people generally noticed. Mulder was always finding ways to be intimate in nonphysical ways. Especially at work. He paid such attention to small details.
"So, what's the agenda?" I asked, opening my salad. "Do I need to take notes?"
"Something serious has come up Agent Scully that requires our immediate attention," Mulder started, taking a bite of his sandwich.
I glanced over, raising my eyebrows. Maybe this wasn't a ploy. "What?"
"Melvin's turning forty. Sunday."
"Melvin?" I asked, thinking hard. Did I know someone named Melvin? "Who's Melvin?"
"Fro-hike," Mulder clarified. He grinned. "I think we should do something."
We never referred to anyone by first names. Not even each other. I speared lettuce, olives and feta on my fork. Frohike wasn't just another of one of Mulder's weird contacts anymore. He had become a friend. In the months we'd been together, Frohike was one of two people who knew our secret. The other being my mom. He was a liaison for us. A confident. Someone to trust. And so far, he had kept our secret intact, even from the other Gunmen.
"What were you thinking of doing?" I asked, realizing how little I knew about Frohike. "This better not involve anything X-rated."
"Funny you should say that, Scully. We are approaching number forty ourselves," Mulder said casually. He sipped the tea through the straw, rolling it against his tongue.
I felt my face grow warm. I knew exactly what he was referring to. It's easy for me to forget Mulder doesn't process information the same as everyone else. He's eidetic. He revealed to me during a recent case in New York that he'd been counting the times we'd been intimate. Assigning them numbers. Cataloging each indiscretion in his mind, with perfect clarity. Now that I knew, he was free to refer to them by number. Last night was number thirty-nine.
"I knew this wasn't about a case," I said, trying not to smile.
"Would you have come if you knew it wasn't?" Mulder asked. I could see my reflection squinting at him in his sunglasses.
I want to stay focused and professional with him at work. To continue to see him as my partner and colleague. But it was damn hard sometimes. Especially knowing what we were doing in Mulder's apartment less than 15 hours ago.
He set the tea down and I reached for it, placing my mouth over the straw. Where his lips were just seconds before. I couldn't see his eyes, but I knew he was watching me.
"Okay, Mulder. What do you get the conspiracy-paranoid introvert who had everything?" I asked, changing the subject to break the tension.
"Well, I have an idea. But I need your help," he started, pausing to gauge my reaction.
"Mulder, I'm pretty busy this week. I'm still working on that Morgan case. They are sending the body this morning," I said.
I was working on a strange autopsy of an exhumed body buried on an estate in Arcola. Although the body was buried in 1952, it had not decomposed. Mulder was busy on a couple cases of his own.
"I'm not talking today, Scully," he replied, taking another sip. "This weekend. Saturday. Can you help me on Saturday? Pick out Frohike's present?"
I took another bite of salad, staring off in the distance. At the Monument and the pool. Thinking over my schedule.
"All day Saturday? I was going to see my mom in the morning," I said, watching the people walk around us.
"No, just late afternoon. We need to go to....Richmond," he continued.
"Richmond?" I asked, sipping the tea. He was being elusive. Typical Mulder. Never revealing more than what was necessary to get me to go along with him. But it wasn't a far drive. I suspected it had more to do with the other event this weekend. "Will I be back before Sunday?"
"You mean are we spending the night?" Mulder asked quietly. The corners of his mouth turned up in a clever grin. He saw right through me. "Only if you want to. You can decide then."
"In Richmond," I concluded.
He wasn't going to divulge any more information. I would have to accept or decline based on these simple facts. Frohike. Birthday. Forty. Richmond. And I had no idea how they all fit together.
I set the tea down. But before I let go, Mulder's hand surrounded it. Caressing my hand briefly before I pulled it away. I felt a warmth run through me at the gesture.
"How's your back?" he asked, low and sensual. He removed his sunglasses, to look at me more directly.
"A little stiff. How's yours?" I countered, not letting him get to me.
"Scratched," he replied, drawing the word out. "But worth it."
I turned away from him, clearing the images out of my head to think.
"Okay. Saturday. But after I come back from my mom's," I said, drinking the tea.
"Good," he replied, turning his head to one side.
Mulder stood up and unfolded the sunglasses that he'd been holding. He crouched in front of me and placed them on my face. The world seemed darker through them. He smiled before standing up.
"I have to get back," he said, gathering the remnants of his lunch wrapping to throw away. "I'll see you later."
"I just got here, Mulder," I protested.
"You got here late," he said, with his know-it-all grin. "I'm sorry, Scully. But I do have to go."
"Does it have to do with this weekend?" I asked, adjusting the glasses property on my nose.
"Maybe," he replied. "I'll call you later."
I watched him leave. Walking that slow, measured gait of his. Unhurried. Typical Mulder.
J. Edgar Hoover Building
I spent the entire morning working up samples and test results on the body. It simply had not decomposed. She looked as if she had just died days ago, not decades. She died young, at 21. Although cause of death from 1952 was listed as drowning, I found no evidence of such.
My stomach growled. It was almost lunch time. I decided to head back to our office. I walked down the hallway, still wearing my white lab coat and scrubs.
"Agent Scully," called a stern voice behind me.
I turned to find A.D. Skinner approaching me.
"Sir?" I asked, stopping to face him.
"Have you seen Mulder?" he asked, hands on his hips. His brow was knitted together. There was an edge to his voice.
"No, I haven't" I replied truthfully. "I've been in pathology all morning."
Skinner sighed, shaking his head. "He's not answering his cell phone."
"I'm sure he's just working in the field," I said, trying to make up an excuse for Mulder's absence. I kept my voice steady to counter Skinner's growing irritation. We were working on a few things, independent of each other.
Skinner narrowed his eyes at me. "Hope you're right, Agent Scully. If you hear from him, you call me."
"Yes sir," I replied obediently.
"By the way, I'd like to schedule a meeting on Friday. Two o'clock in my office," he said. "I'd like progress reports and stats. From both of you."
He walked past me, moving quickly down the hallway. I took a deep breath. He wasn't the only one growing irritated with Mulder. He was supposed to turn in a report this morning. Luckily, I was able to find it on his computer and handed it in for him. I wasn't sure if it was complete, but I wasn't about to do Mulder's paperwork for him. I have to draw the line somewhere.
I went to turn the knob of our office, leaning into the door. But it wouldn't give. I hadn't locked the door when I left.
"Mulder?" I asked, knocking on the door. No answer.
"Mulder, are you in there?"
I pulled out my keys and opened the door. It was dark and I flipped a light on.
"Jesus, Scully! You scared me," Mulder said, slamming a drawer shut and sitting up in his chair.
"Didn't you hear me knock?" I asked, closing the door behind me. I turned on all the lights, Mulder squinted against them. "What's going on?"
"I'm working, Scully," he said, smiling sweetly.
"Skinner is looking for you," I said, walking over to his desk slowly. "He said you weren't answering your phone."
Mulder reached in the pocket of his suit coat draped over his chair for his cell. He fiddled with it, as I approached him. "Well, would you look at that? The battery is dead."
"Your battery is never dead, Mulder," I said firmly, folding my arms and staring him down. "You're a very bad liar."
"It is...look for yourself," he said, handing me the phone. Mulder leaned back in his chair, but I could tell his body was tense.
I pretended like I was reaching for the phone, but I leaned down and yanked the drawer open. I had only a split second to grab the papers inside and move away from Mulder.
"Scully!" he said, moving in front of me as if he was blocking a pass. His hands groped for them. "Give me that."
"No," I said, crouching over as his arms surrounded me from behind. I learned this move playing "keep away" with Bill and Charlie. He held onto me tightly, trying to wrestle them out of my hand. Mulder's tall frame was covering me, my back against his body.
"This is kind of sexy, Scully," he whispered in my ear as he struggled against me. "And in our office, of all places. You underneath me like this reminds me of number eighteen."
"Stop it, Mulder," I said sharply, trying to twist out of his embrace. "You're not going to distract me."
"Scull-lee," he said, working his fingers on the papers. "Please give those to me."
I held on even tighter, as he tried to pry my fingers away. I was pressed against his groin, and I could feel him against me. Hardening. My face grew hotter and I fought to stay focused. He was keeping something from me and I wanted to know what it was.
Suddenly, the door creaked. Someone was coming in. We flew apart, Mulder yanking the paper from me in confusion. But I held onto one corner, which tore free. I quickly brushed my hair into place and tried to act calm. Mulder flopped into his chair, sliding across the chair mat.
"See, I told you Elvis was an alien," he said, loudly. He pointed at the screen. "Says right here on the internet."
Agent Blythe came in. "Agent Scully...I have the lab results on the clothing you requested."
"Thank you," I said, walking over and taking the file from her.
"Are you all right? You seemed a bit flushed," she said, turning her head to study me.
"I'm fine. Just aggravated," I said, throwing a dirty look to Mulder. "Thank you for bringing this by."
"You're welcome to come by the lab while we do the work up on the other samples," she offered.
"I think I will," I replied sharply. I turned on my heel and followed her out the door. But before I left, I shot a final glance at Mulder. "Call Skinner. Now."
Blythe pushed the elevator's up button for us. I unclenched my right hand, the one with the corner of paper. I straightened it out in my fingers as we waited.
All I could make out was one set of numbers. NGC 604. And half a word: "att".
I groaned, shoving the paper back in my pocket.
We were in Arcola. I was looking for other forensic evidence at the grave site, Mulder was supposed to in town researching the previous owners. I had heard nothing from him all day. I paged him five times, but he wasn't answering.
I was deep in the hole of the Morgan grave collecting samples when I heard my cell phone rang. I motioned for the other agents to help me out, so I could answer it. I pried my gloves off and discarded them on the ground. I hit "send" and pressed the phone to my ear.
"Scully," I said, walking away from the others for privacy.
"It's Mulder," he said calmly. "You paged me? I've been enjoying the vibrating."
"Yeah, I paged you. Five times. Where have you been?" I asked, angrily. "I called the record clerk in town, he said you hadn't been in all day."
There was a long pause. "Taxes, Scully."
"Taxes. Today is April 15th. I forgot to file. I don't want a penalty," Mulder replied. "I sold my father's house in 1998. I can't use just the 1040 this year because of it."
"I'm supposed to believe you're out today because you didn't file your taxes?" I said, twisting my lips up. I wasn't buying it.
"Believe what you want, Scully. I'm just trying to avoid the penalty," he said. "I gotta go..."
"Mulder...if you hang up this phone..." I warned.
But I found myself listening to a dial tone.
I almost threw my cell across the yard when it chirped again. Okay, maybe we were cut off. I hit the "send" button again.
"Mulder, where are you?" I asked, not wanting to play this game any more.
"Mulder!" I repeated, growing angrier by the second. "I can hear you breathing."
"Agent Scully?" came a voice softly. I had to press my fingers against the opposite ear to focus on the voice.
"Who is this?" I asked. It didn't sound like Mulder.
"Damn it, Langly. You can say hello, can't you?" I sighed in frustration.
"You never know who's listening," he answered, paranoid as usual. "This isn't a secured line."
"What is it, Langly?" I asked, calming down. I walked the perimeter of the estate to relax.
"Has Agent Mulder talked to you about Sunday?"
"Yes. About how you need to get Frohike out of there for a couple hours," I answered, venturing into the garden. I sat down on a bench, amid the flowering azaleas and tulips.
"You need to get Frohike out of here."
"Me?" I asked.
"Yeah. He'd be suspicious of anyone else. If you ask him, he'd go."
"What am I supposed to tell him?"
"Just think of something he can help you with. Keep him busy for a while. Then, you need to bring him to an undisclosed location."
"And where might that be?"
Langly paused. "If I disclosed it, it wouldn't be undisclosed, would it? I'll call you later."
"Langly...." I warned.
But I was listening to a dial tone.
"I can't thank you enough, Frohike," I said, sitting across from him. We'd met in secret at a small coffee shop not far from work. Our meeting had dual purpose. To find out what Mulder was up to and prepare for Sunday.
"How are things?" he asked. Frohike was wearing all black, with a small knit cap on his head. "With Mulder...I mean."
"I'm keeping him," I said, grinning at Frohike from behind Mulder's sunglasses. "For now."
"If you change your mind, I'm still available," Frohike raised his eyebrows at me. "If you don't mind older men."
"Actually, I am here about Mulder. He's been up to something. I want to find out what," I said, taking the paper out of my pocket. "Do you know what these numbers mean?"
"Hmmm," Frohike said, holding it up. "NGC 604. Att. First one's easy. Second one, I'm not sure."
"Well? What is it?" I asked, anticipating his answer.
"Say, please Frohike," he whispered, winking at me.
"Please, Frohike," I said, flat and uninspired.
Frohike shook his head. He wasn't letting me off the hook that easily. "Say it like you mean it."
"Frohike..." I warned. What was with the men in my life this week?
"C'mon. I have such few thrills in my life."
I removed the sunglasses and stared at him. I licked my lower lip, something that drove Mulder crazy. I took a deep breath and exhaled the words, letting them fall off my tongue.
He grinned from ear to ear. Pervert.
"May be the only time in my life I'll hear those words," he said.
I stared at him. The same look I give Mulder when I think he's completely insane. "The numbers, Frohike."
He turned his attention back to the paper. "NGC refers to New General Catalogue. It's used to record deep sky objects. The number identifies it. NGC-604. It's probably a galaxy or cluster."
"Galaxy?" I repeated, thinking over Mulder's assignments. "Mulder has been working on an unidentified interference case. What could 'att' mean?"
"I'm not sure," Frohike replied. "What do you think he's up to?"
I shook my head. "With Mulder, it could be anything. Which brings me to another subject."
"I'm listening," Frohike said, leaning back in his chair. He folded his stubby fingers and placed them on his stomach.
I took a deep breath, trying my best to lie convincingly. "Sunday, I was wondering if you could help me, for a couple hours. I've been working on this case and quite frankly, I'm at a loss. There was a body exhumed on an estate and records show the woman died in 1952. But her body hasn't decomposed. I'd like to run some tests on her cells tissues, off the record. I think....someone is covering something up."
"A conspiracy?" Frohike asked, leaning into the table. "You think she's a victim of experimentation? Some kind of genetic tampering?"
He was buying it. Hook, line and sinker. I continued. "Yes. Cell regeneration. Anti-aging, perhaps."
Frohike laughed, breaking the tense moment between us. "You've been hanging around Mulder too much. You're starting to think like he does. Why aren't you asking him to help you?"
"Because he'd have the same reaction you're having," I lied, trying to convince him. "I'm serious, Frohike. Medically, her body chemistry must have been altered. Can you help me?"
"You're choosing me over your loverboy?" Frohike grinned. "There's hope for me yet."
"In your dreams," I said, grinning back.
"Sunday," he confirmed.
"Yes. I'll forward some test results to you. But, don't let Byers or Langly know. Let's keep this between us. We can figure out a time and place," I said, trying to look sincere. "Please, Frohike?"
"The magic words," he smiled at me. "I'll call you later."
I leaned back in my chair and took a sip of my coffee. Mission accomplished.
J. Edgar Hoover Building
I was chirping. Everyone in the elevator turned around and stared at me. I reached in my pocket for my cell.
"Scully," I said quietly.
"Scully, it's me. Are you on your way to our meeting with Skinner?"
"Yes, and you should be too," I said calmly, not wanting to arouse suspicions. The elevator stopped and people stepped out, giving me more privacy.
"Well, I've got a little problem. I'm stuck somewhere. Can you cover for me?" he asked. He sounded like he was outside, it was a bad connection.
"Where are you stuck, Mulder?" I demanded. "And I want an answer."
"I'm in...icksburg....I can't be there for another hour," he said, connection cutting out. "Report....desk. In the second drawer. Tell.....nner....more.....Monday."
"No, Mulder," I said sharply. "You're not going to do this to me again. I'm not covering for you. I can't. I've been busy on the Morgan case. I don't know what you've been working on."
"Give my report.....Skinner. Please? I'll......ere soon. In my desk. Cover.....me," his voice faded out in a crackle of static.
Damn it. Damn it and damn him.
I punched the down button, heading back to our office.
I flung the door open, and let it slam angrily behind me. I sat down in Mulder's chair, sunflower shells peppered the floor and crunched as I rolled the chair over them. I opened the second drawer and found a manila file there. It was the case involving the unexplained interference. I had no idea what or where he was on it, being wrapped up in my non-decomposing corpse. I threw it down on the desk. Skinner was just going to get it as is.
I looked over at his computer. He had left it on. There was one new piece of mail in his box. I moved the mouse above it, unsure of whether or not to open it. It was from a "email@example.com".
"Pr-ATT," I said out loud. It was a name. I fingered the mouse. Should I?
Curiosity got the better of me and I double-clicked it. So, Mulder would be mad at me for opening his mail. I was already mad at him, so we'd be even.
It was one line, enigmatic. It said: "MMT 6.5m."
I was hoping for something a little more helpful.
The phone rang, jostling me out of restless sleep. I reached for it.
"Mulder?" I asked. He hadn't returned to the office yesterday. He called around 6:30 p.m., full of apologies and excuses, but I didn't want to hear it. Skinner knew I was covering for him at the meeting, and didn't seem to appreciate Mulder's absence one bit. And neither did I. Yet underneath it all, I was concerned that he had run off on one of his wild goose chases again. But angry he chose not to inform me.
"No, it's Langly."
"Langly," I said, angry it wasn't Mulder. "Do you know what time it is?"
"Yeah, it's only 2:00 o'clock. Listen, Frohike finally went to sleep and I can talk. Sunday, take him over highway 66, westbound."
"Take him where?" I demanded. "When?"
Langly paused. "I'm still working on the details. Get him out of here about 4:00 p.m., okay? I'll call you later."
"You aren't going to call me later. Tell me now. Where am I supposed to take him? Langly? Langly?"
But I was talking to a dial tone.
"Come on, come on, come on now touch me baby, can't you see that I am not afraid. What was that promise that you made? Why won't you tell me what she said? What was that promise that you made?" sang Jim Morrison loud and clear through the speakers of Mulder's car.
I don't know why I agreed to this. I was still mad at him. For disappearing. We drove in silence all the way down Highway 95, except for the radio.
"I'm gonna love you till the heavens stop the rain," Jim continued. I stared out the window, my temperature flaring.
"I'm gonna love you till the stars fall from the sky...for you and I," sang Mulder, loud and boisterous. Just to annoy me.
I reached over and turned the radio off, falling back into my seat and folding my arms.
"Scully," he said, turning the radio back on. "I happen to like that song."
"I don't. Not right now," I snapped, turning it off again.
"Well, I do," he replied, reaching over. I smacked his hand.
"I'm warning you," I said, throwing him a dirty look.
"Okay, Scully. What's this really about? I know it has nothing to do with Jim Morrison."
"You want to know what's bothering me, Mulder? We've been playing cat and mouse games all week. I get weird phone calls from Langely at all hours. You keep disappearing and reappearing. I have to make excuses to Skinner for you. Not to mention a 47 year-old body that won't decompose for no apparent reason. And I still don't know where are we going."
"Oooh. Tell me how you really feel," he said, smiling at me.
"Shut up, Mulder," I said, not appreciating his sarcasm at all. "I deserve an explanation."
Mulder reduced his speed, shifting down. He looked over at me periodically, speaking calmly. "I've been working on that interference case, off and on. I wasn't lying to you Thursday. I really was doing my taxes. It's my fault I waited until the last minute. Langely...well, is being Langely. I haven't been able to uncover anything helpful on your corpse."
"Where are we going?" I repeated, noticing he forgot to explain that.
"We are going to Richmond to pick out Frohike's present. I hope it will all make sense soon. Just go with it for now. Just a little longer," he said, pleading with me.
We continued our journey. I leaned against the car door, as far away from him as I could physically be. My eyes caught something in the distance. A white, dome-shaped building. An observatory. I realized that was where we were headed. As we approached it, I noticed the huge satellite dishes surrounding the building. Pointed up to the heavens in all directions.
"If this has something to do with UFO's," I said warily, glancing over at Mulder. Suddenly, that strange set of numbers took on a whole new meaning to me. "Or aliens."
"No, it doesn't," Mulder reassured me. "Unless you consider Frohike an alien."
I tried not to laugh, but he caught me smile. "I've had my suspicions."
"We're going to meet an old friend of mine, from my Oxford days. Professor James Pratt. He's been helping me with the unexplained transmissions," Mulder said, turning a corner. "This is the Fellner Observatory., where he works and lectures."
J. Pratt. From the e-mail. Could it be Mulder was really working on a case all this week? If so, then why be so secretive? No. It was something else as well.
"I don't believe the interference is extraterrestrial in origin," Professor Pratt said, as he showed Mulder a series of charts and data on a computer. He spoke in a British accent. "It's too localized for that. Has to do with magnetic fields in the atmosphere. With adjustments, I believe it can be corrected."
I was listening, with mild interest to their conversation. Mulder was serious, as was Pratt about the data. I let them continue, so Mulder would have a complete report for Skinner on Monday. I stayed out of their way, giving Mulder time to finish his investigation.
"As for the other matter," Pratt said, when they finished. He glanced over at me. "I have it all set up. Come this way."
I stood up, looking over at Mulder. He was smiling slightly and gestured for me to follow Pratt.
We walked down an open hallway, amid the computers and instrumentation. Pratt was a handsome man, the same age as Mulder. I kept imagining them in college, wondering what Mulder was like then.
"Professor," I started, keeping close to him. Mulder was lagging behind. "What does NGC 604 mean?"
"It refers to the northeastern part of M33," he replied.
"M33?" I asked.
"The Triangulum Galaxy," he answered. "I know it well. It's where I do most of my research. I thought Mulder wasn't going to tell you about my work."
"Well, Mulder says a lot of things," I started, just as he came up to join us.
"Are you talking about me?" he asked, having heard his name. I folded my arms and continued to follow Pratt.
We entered a huge room, centered around the biggest telescopes I'd ever seen. The dome was overhead, split to allow the telescopes to reach upward.
"This is the MMT 6.5 I was talking about," he said, gesturing to one. "It's newer. And this is the Hubble."
"What exactly do you research, Professor?" I asked, turning to face him.
Pratt exchanged a glance with Mulder, who shook his head slightly.
"I think Fox wanted to explain that to you, Agent Scully," he replied. He extended his hand to me. "It was a pleasure to meet you. Fox, I'll get back with you later. Page me when you are ready to go."
"Thanks, Jim," he said, slapping him on the arm.
"So what's his research about?" I asked, staring up at Mulder. I was not letting him off the hook.
"There's something you need to see first," he said, gesturing to the huge telescope. "Go ahead, Scully."
I stood my ground. Mulder grabbed me by the shoulders and spun me around, guiding me to the telescope.
"Just look through it, Scully," he said, standing behind me. I reluctantly peered through the lens.
"What am I looking at?" I asked. It was a huge cluster of light and gas clouds.
"NGC 604. Jim researches that area. It's a giant diffuse nebula...very active. New stars are being formed there," Mulder said. I felt his hands on my shoulders, massaging gently.
"He discovers new stars?" I asked.
"Yes. There are over 200 new stars being born in that area," he said, whispering in my ear. "Like any one in particular?"
I stepped away from the telescope. Into Mulder's arms. He held onto me from behind, his arms wrapped around my shoulders. Keeping me in place. We were alone in the room. Just the two of us. I supposed because it was the weekend, the Observatory operated on few personnel at this time.
"What do you mean...which one I like?" I asked. I brought my hands to his arms, wanting to be released. The heat and warmth of Mulder's proximity flustered me.
"Come over here," he said, letting me go. He held onto my hand and pulled me to the other telescope.
I looked through its lens. It was a closer view of the same cluster, only the stars were more apparent and visible.
"I think the one in the upper right corner is the brightest, but I want to know what you think," he asked.
"It is the brightest," I replied.
I felt Mulder's hands on me again, this time on my waist. His lips were against my ear, his breath hot. "Then, that one is yours."
I turned around in his arms, Mulder was not letting me go this time. "Mine?"
"It's a star, Scully. I'd like you to name it," he said softly.
I looked up at his smiling face, confused. "I thought we were here for Frohike. For your transmissions."
"We are. He can have the another one. But I wanted one for you. For number forty," he said, leaning in. His mouth was just inches from mine.
"Mulder we haven't done number forty," I reminded him, smiling gently. I laid my hands on his chest, feeling his muscles taught and strong underneath.
His lips barely brushed mine. "Not yet."
"I thought they only let people name stars for charity purposes. Fund raisers. It won't be catalogued under my name, will it?" I asked, teasing him by not allowing him to kiss me.
"Probably not," Mulder said, nuzzling me. "But Pratt did discover them. And he owes me a favor or two. We'll see."
"You know, you make it absolutely impossible for me to stay angry with you. As much as I want to be angry with you," I said, bringing my arms around his neck. "You've been working with Pratt all week. On the transmissions and on this."
"I'm sorry, Scully. I really wanted it to be a surprise. And another surprise is Frohike's party is going to be in an old hangar out on Highway 66. Kinda of a Roswell theme. Langly wasn't sure you'd go along with it if you knew. That's the real reason he's been messing with you."
"And why were you messing with me?" I asked, my body pressing against his.
"Because I can. I'd like to mess with you some more later on," he said, raising his eyebrows at me.
I turned around, breaking free from his embrace. I peered through the telescope again. At the stars. My star.
"It was Copernicus who proposed the sun, not the earth was the center of the solar system," Mulder said, pointing up. "And he attributed the varying brightness of the stars throughout the year to retrograde motion."
He parked the car on a secluded embankment, overlooking the city of Richmond. We sat on the hood of the car, leaning back on the windshield. The night air was warm around us, the stars shone overhead.
"What I've always found fascinating is the light year. The distance light travels in one year is something like 6 trillion miles," I said, my face leaning into his neck. His arm was around my shoulders, holding me close.
"Oooh, you know how it turns me on when you get scientific," Mulder said. He turned so we were face to face. "Tell me what else you know about astronomy."
"A common misconception is Galileo invented the telescope, when in fact, he did not. He was just the first to use it widely in research," I said, moving my lips to the space right beneath his ear. I ran my tongue along the sensitive skin. He tasted of salt and sweat.
"Newton changed the understanding of the universe with his three Laws of Motion," Mulder countered, his fingers pulling my shirt free from my jeans. "Can you name them?"
"Every object in a state of uniform motion tends to remain in that state of motion. Unless an external force is applied to it," I said, reacting to Mulder's "motions." I felt my temperature rise inside as he traced the fly of my jeans with his fingers, delving to the space between my legs.
"Very good," he said, kissing the hollow space at the base of my throat. I moaned softly as his tongue traced my clavicle. "Second Law is the relationship between an object's mass"m", its acceleration"a", and the applied force"f". F = ma. What's the Third, Scully?"
His hands were underneath my shirt now, his hand cupping my breast. His thumb, caressing me. He fiddled with the front clasp, trying to remove my bra.
"For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction," I said, reaching down to touch his inner thigh, raking my fingernails along his jeans. I grinned at knowing he was just as aroused as I was. "Only you can make Newtonian Law sound sexual, Mulder."
"I wasn't trying to. Maybe you have a dirty mind, Scully," he replied, grabbing my legs and draping them over his. "But I certainly hope you're having an equal reaction right now."
He slid off the car, pulling me to the edge. I thought he wanted me to follow him, but he stopped me from jumping off.
"No, you stay there," he said, adjusting me so my hips were level with his. He moved my knees apart. I had a fleeting memories of the same position. In New York. The night I learned his secret. Then, I stopped him. Tonight, I wouldn't.
"Mulder," I said, between deep kisses. Increasing the heat between us. "On your car?"
"Why not? Under the stars. Under your star," Mulder said. Mulder reached down and removed my shoes, discarding them on the ground. "Besides, the inside of the car gets all the action. Outside was getting jealous."
"How many times have we made love outside?" I asked, testing his memory. I unbuckled his belt.
"Three. They were number eight out in Chesapeake, number twelve in New Mexico and number twenty-nine in your mother's gazebo," he replied, his fingers working on the zipper of my jeans.
"Which one is your favorite?" I asked, unbuttoning the fly of his 501's.
"All of them," he said. "Every single one."
He slid my jeans off, folding them neatly beside me. I had worn what Mulder referred to as my "Scully's Secret" underwear. Lace and satin panties. He smiled his approval.
"You are so beautiful, Agent Scully," he said, kneeling down to kiss my inner thighs. I felt his stubble brush the sensitive skin there. He kissed me softly as his fingers played with the fabric barrier. I could feel his breath against my nether regions, hot and moist in the night air.
Blood raced from my head to other places. I shifted as he slid the fabric of my panties off to the side. I was still wearing them, but they were no longer an obstacle. I felt the growing heat and wetness there. Waiting for the inevitable mass, acceleration and force of Mulder's physics.
I managed to work his jeans down, far enough to suit my purpose. He kissed me playfully, his hands underneath my buttocks, getting me into position. I wrapped my legs around his waist, crossing them at the ankle.
"Mulder, I have something to tell you," I said, as he unbuttoned my shirt to expose my breasts. "About Frohike."
"Not you and Frohike," Mulder mused, kissing me as he worked on the buttons. "You're not seeing him on the side, are you?"
"Actually, I did," I said, as he pressed himself against my opening. "I asked him what NGC 604 meant. It was on that piece of paper that tore in the office."
"I'm sure he doesn't suspect anything," Mulder said, easing into me. We both breathed in unison.
"You could have been less secretive with me," I said, holding him close. "Let me know a little more."
The positioned allowed Mulder to thrust hard and deep inside me. Merging our bodies. Pleasure coursed through my core. I wrapped my arms around his neck, holding on.
"Do you forgive me, Scully?" he asked, holding my hips against his.
"You're forgiven," I breathed, enjoying the sensation of him sliding in and out of me. Measured strokes, increasing the friction.
The car moved slightly underneath me. Rocking in time with his thrusts. I ran my nails down his back, then back up again underneath his shirt.
"Careful. It's still sore from last time," Mulder said, flinching a little. I flattened my palms and rubbed his back instead.
"I'm sorry," I said, kissing him.
Over and over, his tongue danced against mine as we made love. I looked up into the sky as Mulder kissed my neck. His teeth playfully tugged at my skin. I didn't care if thousands of alien races were watching us from above.
"I love you, Scully," he said, between breaths. Sweat was glistening across his forehead. "Happy fortieth."
I breathed hard, my heart pounding inside. "Happy fortieth, Mulder."
I felt him harden inside me, as he continued to thrust. I wrapped my legs tighter, drawing him into me as deep as possible. His hands were pressed against my lower back, supporting it. My insides began to tremble, building to climax. I felt it rising and rising until finally I came, shuddering around him. I cried out, exhaling sharply. Mulder kissed me, smiling to himself.
"You always finish first," he whispered. "But I'm catching up to you now."
I braced myself, as he moaned loudly. He thrust one final time, I felt the car's gentle rocking stop as warmth flooded me. Mulder pulsed inside me, against my already sensitive nerves. He let me go, bracing his palms on either side of me on the hood of the car.
"Dear God, Scully," he said, breathless as well. "I lied. I do have a favorite. Number forty."
We clung to each other, endorphins racing, hearts pounding. I smiled at him, his eyes shone brightly in the darkness. Post-coital Mulder. Happy, satisfied and spent.
"Wanna go for forty-one?" I asked, kissing him.
"This is it, Frohike," I said, pulling my car into the parking lot of the hanger. "My informant said they have proof that Julianna Morgan was used for experimentation."
"Maybe we should call for back up," he said, nervously. I really had him going. All afternoon, we had run more tests on the tissue samples. Being a real case, Frohike worked diligently with me trying to find reasons for why it would not decompose. I had Byers call me earlier, allowing me to fake this meeting with a secret informant.
"Don't worry, I'm armed," I said, getting out of the car. I flashed him my gun for show.
We approached the hangar. I took the lead, motioning for Frohike to stay behind.
"I think you should wait here," I said, opening the door. "Follow me in two minutes."
"Okay," he said, looking uneasy. He glanced at his watch. "Starting now."
I disappeared into the dark hangar. I felt Mulder's hands reach for me, pulling me into his arms. His body was warm and familiar to me in the dark. No one could see us.
"You're late," he whispered against my mouth.
"Are you going to write me up?" I asked, as Mulder stole a silent kiss in the darkness.
After a minute, the door creaked opened, letting light in. Frohike was silhouetted in the door frame. Mulder had released me and moved somewhere else in the hangar. I folded my arms.
"Agent Scully? Agent Scully?" he asked.
"SURPRISE!" came a collective shout.
The lights flipped on, revealing the small party Langly and Byers had arranged. Mulder had moved away from me and over to Frohike, putting his hands on his shoulders. Guiding him to the cake. Decorated with aliens and flying saucers. Black streamers hung everywhere, along with balloons and a huge Roswell posters. I didn't recognize anyone else beyond the Gunmen. I wondered if these were people who subscribed to their newsletters, the loyal followers.
"Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday dear Frohike, happy birthday to you," everyone sang.
"I don't know what to say," Frohike mumbled. He shot a glance to me, shaking his head. "You were in on this the whole time."
I smiled back, leaning against a table. "Sorry. They made me do it."
Langly cranked up loud music in the background. Frohike blew out the forty candles on the cake, to cheers and shouts. Byers cut the cake, placing it on black plates with glowing alien heads.
It was a small party, but a party none the less. Mulder and I stayed in the background. We exchanged knowing glances at each other, to the deeper meaning of the number forty for us. Mulder pretended to hit on me, giving me his worst pick up lines all night. I think Langly spiked the punch, because after a few glasses, I was feeling pretty happy myself.
Frohike loved our present. Pratt had given Mulder a photograph of the star cluster, circling the one we chose for him. A few light years from mine.
"My very own star," Frohike said, holding the photograph over his heart. "What shall I call it?"
"How about Geeko?" Langly suggested. "Or, Old Fart?"
Frohike slapped him. "You're just jealous, hippie."
Mulder leaned in, his lips by my ear. "What about you, Scully? What are you going to name your star?"
"I was thinking maybe MS 40-41. In honor of the occassion," I replied, smiling at him as I sipped another glass of punch.
"My apartment is number forty-two. Imagine that," Mulder said, voice low and sexy. It sent shivers down my spine.
"Maybe forty-two could be your lucky number," I replied, biting my lower lip.
Happy Birthday, Melvin.