AN: A short something I've been tinkering with for a little while. Disclaimer: Of course none of the characters are mine and I don't ever intend to make any profit from my scrawlings. Your thoughts are most welcome - I'd love to hear what you think of my take on that lonely night...

Enjoy. :) x

"I know your blood type, your resting heart rate, your childhood fear of clowns. I know the name of your college boyfriend, your true hair colour, your ATM pin number, favourite charities, pet peeves. I know you spend too much time alone. And I know that on one lonely night you invited Mulder to your bed"…

They left the hospital and decided to make the drive back home that evening, save staying away from home for yet another night. After several hours of clear driving, Mulder pulled up outside Scully's apartment and looked across at her sound asleep in the passenger seat.

"Hey…Scully" he spoke quietly as he rubbed the back of his hand up and down her arm to wake her. She breathed in heavily through her nose and heaved her eyes open, turning towards him and looking back out of the window in a moment of disorientation.

"We're home", he smiled.

"Oh, uhh" she yawned, "I was out cold".

"Yeah – that's what happens when you're old and past it like us"

"Don't…" she teased and joined his gentle laughter, pouting at him and slowly twisting in her seat to release her seat belt.

They'd just closed a case in Pittsfield, Virginia – a case that made them both feel truly disconnected from their own days of High School and their carefree youth. She yawned and slapped her palms down on her legs in an effort to bring them back to life after sitting in the cramped car for the past three hours.

"Come on, I'll bring your bag". Mulder took the keys from the ignition and opened his driver door, letting a breeze of fresh evening air rush past him into the car. It roused her senses and she began to feel more awake.

"Yeah, 'm coming".

She climbed the stairs ahead of him, slowly, and he followed with her overnight bag and a carton of fresh milk he'd picked up for her at the gas station. He knew only too well how much it sucked to have to leave the apartment and buy milk before you can indulge in your regular morning coffee. He was thoughtful like that, and she'd become quite accustomed to his sweet gestures. She chose not to read into them too deeply for fear of having to act upon her feelings.

"Is it tomorrow your godson's in town, Scully?"

"Ummm, yeah. Ellen's dropping him off late morning. Why?"

"Oh, nothing really. I was just thinking on the drive back here that…um…I was wondering if maybe you guys might like to check out the Air and Space museum…mmmmaybe?"

There was a noticeable air of silence as Scully paused to consider the suggestion and soak up the slight surprise of him asking.

"I don't know if he's been before or, if you guys already made plans, or-" he speeded up to dispel the awkward silence.

"No" she smiled, cutting in as she looked at the jumbled mess of metal in her hand and selected the right key to let herself into the apartment. "We don't have any plans, Mulder. I think Trent would love that." She looked up at him with a warm smile before inserting her key into the lock.

Mulder couldn't help letting out a delighted toothy grin behind her – "Great!"

She pushed the door open and reached around the frame to click the light switch on, filling the living area with a warming glow. Mulder stopped at the threshold and held out the milk and her bag in separate hands.

"I'll uh, I'll leave you to get settled in then, and give you a call at around noon tomorrow, yeah?"

She took the items from him and smiled with a nod.

"That sounds perfect"

Another pregnant pause lingered heavily in the air as they smiled coyly at each other.

She couldn't let him go yet. There was a pooling sense of childish giddiness fluttering around her rib cage, fighting to get out or so it seemed and she told herself she didn't know what it was. She knew exactly what it was. It was desire. And it had been growing inside of her for as long as she could remember at this point.

As he made to leave she stuttered to capture his attention. "W- would you like to come in for dinner, Mulder?" she asked innocently. "We've not eaten anything decent since being out of town and it's the least I can do after being no company at all on the drive home". It wasn't all that unusual for them to eat meals together while out on cases, but she usually couldn't wait to close the door on her work and sink into a hot bath with a large glass of wine when she got home. Something was different tonight. She felt a terrifying prospect of something she wasn't quite sure of if he left that night; she didn't want to be alone for dinner and secretly, though she was scared of even entertaining the thought, she didn't want to be alone that night either. That desire had become overpowering, even for a rational person like her. She prided herself on her strength and resolve, but the very thought of Mulder traipsing back to his empty apartment to order take out and watch old movies by himself made her desperate for him to stay. So that they could both enjoy something better.

Admittedly she spent a lot of time alone in that apartment and she wasn't often desperate for some company. No real time spent with friends any more, a fleeting family visit from time to time, and the even more sporadic calls from Ellen asking her to take Trent for a day or so made her catch sight of the fact that she was all too comfortable with her own company. There needed to be some balance restored in her life, so why not start with the man she truly wanted to spend more of her free time with. As if she didn't spend enough time with him as it already was…

In that moment as he stood before her, she just couldn't let him leave.

"Sure – thanks, Scully, that would be great".

The empty plates sat on the coffee table, remnants of pasta sauce sticking harder and faster to the white clay.

"There's just something so charming and beautiful about Grandparents", Scully mused with a can of diet root beer raised to her lips. She took a sip. "I don't know if it's because they can just hand you back to your parents when you misbehave so we always regard them as being the ones who let you get away with murder..?" She sat twisted to one side on the sofa with her knees pulled into her chest. It wasn't a defensive stance, but rather one of complete relaxation and comfort in the presence of her closest friend. Her head kept resting to one side, perching on the top of the cushions that comprised the back of the sofa.

"Really!? My Grandfather was terrifying!" Mulder cut in with his usual rasping tone of emphasis.

"Yeah?"

"God, yes." He paused and she looked to him to elaborate. "I was terrified of him when I was a kid, Scully. He used to tell us stories about his father locking him in the coal shed overnight in the middle of winter and how he used to get beaten with a cane if he so much as looked out of line at school."

"Mmm, I bet he never laid a finger on you or your sister though..?" she asked, looking down at her can of soda.

"No. He didn't."

"It was all talk. He was just trying to keep you in line…maybe I should take some pointers from Grampa Mulder?" she teased, raising her eyebrows as she took another sultry sip from her can.

A smile crept onto Mulder's lips as he quietly engaged in her casual flirting, "Hah, you wish!"

"I don't know, Scully. I was young when he died so I can't remember much more than his stern expression." He lowered his chin and glared at her with a furrowed brow, bringing a pointed finger to her line of vision.

She giggled and gently slapped his hand away. A natural and genuine laughter, as innocent as it was teasing.

"What about you, Scully? Were you close with your grandparents?" His arm came to rest tantalisingly close to hers along the back of the sofa.

She paused, "Well, my Grandmother, yeah. Especially when my younger brother was born and Dad was away. We spent a lot of time at my Grandmother's house"…

Her bright blue eyes glazed over slightly and Mulder could tell that the conversation was bringing back a lot of old memories. Not only memories of her grandparents, but of her brothers, her parents and especially of Missy.

"Wow, yeah", she reminisced, "Bill…would spend hours and hours in the garden, digging holes and patching up all the little gaps in the slats of the wooden garden shed. It was his never ending task, but it kept him occupied while my sister and I would bake cakes and pies in the house with Gramma. God, we ate so much of the raw batter. I got really sick from that, definitely more than once!"

The refrain of laughter resonated through the apartment once again. For the first time in a long time her home felt like exactly that…a home filled with stories, laughter, people and love.

"God, it's amazing the memories that come streaming back when I think about those times. She was an amazing lady. She taught me a lot about being independent and standing up for myself."

"And she did a great job, Scully."

Scully blushed a little and peered once again into the small opening in her can of soda.

"What time is it?" she asked.

"Oh! Yeah, ummm it's – woah! It's just after 11. I should get going and let you get to bed."

"Sure", she nodded.

Mulder hauled himself up from the sofa and Scully gestured to take his empty glass from him. "So I'll maybe see you this weekend, but no pressure, ok?", he asked tentatively.

"You will most definitely see us this weekend, Mulder. I think the museum is a great idea."

"Ok, great", he grinned that big, beautiful smile of his. "Thanks for the pasta too, Scully. This was really nice."

"Any time", she returned the gesture with a nod of her sleepy head as she strolled over to the door behind him.

As he pulled the door open on its hinges, her heart fluttered slightly in her chest – she'd never been quite so overwhelmed with the powerful desire to spend more and more time with her partner and for the second time that evening she was concocting a reason for him to stay longer. She knew that butterfly feeling had been gradually growing stronger over recent months, but if she admitted it honestly to herself, it had been brewing for years and years.

He flashed her one final, heartstoppingly handsome grin and silently mouthed a quick "bye" before stepping out into the hall.

Scully closed the door and leaned back against it. She let out an audibly heavy sigh and rolled her head back against the wooden panels, placing a hand on her heart and another across her eyes. In a moment of sudden realisation and the giddiness of a love-sick teenager, she dropped her hand to cover her mouth and her bright eyes widened with mischief. She was trying to keep her composure and retain her grip on the reality of the situation, though she knew things between them were changing rapidly now.

Meanwhile, Mulder walked along the hall and reached to his breast pocket for his phone, realising quickly that it wasn't there. After patting at his other pockets he turned back to her apartment door.

No sooner had he raised his hand to knock, the door flew open with startling speed.

"Mulder…" she looked surprised to see him there, moreso than he did to have the door fly open before he'd even knocked.

"Sorry, I left my cell phone on the table"

They both look across to it as he points across the room.

"Leave it there"

"What?" he laughed, thinking she was making a joke he didn't quite get. "Scully, I ju-"

"I know. Leave it there" – she stared at his shirt buttons then pressed her eyes closed, biting the bullet, unwilling to look into his eyes for the fear of what might happen.

"Wh-?" he started, still slightly confused, not allowing himself to read into her strange behaviour.

Scully slowly reached up and placed both of her palms flush against his chest, running them steadily down his shirt across his strong torso.

"Leave the phone there…", she clarified. Finally her eyes met his, "and stay."

She placed her hands on his waist and slowly stepped backwards pulling him back inside.

"Scully"…

He'd be a liar if he said he hadn't longed for this to happen, but he always knew it had to be Scully who made that first move. They were both sober, both in a reasonably stable state of mind…he wasn't taking advantage. But he still couldn't quite believe what was happening.

She pulled him over the threshold by his arm and pushed the door closed behind them. Lowering her head and walking into him, she wrapped her arms tightly around his body beneath his jacket and she breathed a heavy sigh into his shirt.

"Scully, I really have to go…"

"Why?" she whispered into him, her breath sending shivers across his whole body. The scent of him an all-encompassing comfort and familiarity to her senses.

"Because I won't be able to stop what's going to happen if I stay"…he whispered into the top of her head, pressing a firm hiss into her soft hair as he'd done before now.

"I don't want this to stop", she stated with absolute conviction.

"Scully, I don't even know what this is!" he laughed.

They embraced in silence, unsure of who was comforting who through this over-thought ordeal. He swayed her body from side to side and lowered his forehead to meet hers, their faces almost touching. He placed his hands on the back of her head and neck, tangling his fingers in her hair and leaning down to cover her cheeks and forehead with gentle kisses.

The sound of heavy breaths flooded the room as their mouths fell open; she reached her hands to his scalp and scratched through his hair, down the back of his neck, his hands resting still on her shoulders. The desperate attempts to avoid what was on the cards were faltering with every breath and every swaying motion as they stood wrapped in each other's arms.

"Mulder, we're always thinking. We think about everything all of the time. My brain is aching from all the thinking. Don't you just want to switch it all off for once?" she rocked her face against his, desperately close to his lips.

They pulled away from one another and she took his hand, glancing down at their fingers as they gripped on to one another.

"I've done all the thinking I need to do about this…" she spoke in a low voice, dressed in seduction and seriousness.

She turned and walked toward her bedroom, silently leading him by the hand to the dark but cosy room, lit only by the tiny shards of orange light spreading in from the street lamp outside.

As her pace slowed he pulled at her firmly, "Scully, wait…I- Scully, I want to be sure that you really want this. Because there's not going to be any going back for us if we"…his voice faded with heartfelt concern.

"Mulder, it's already too late" – she stared intently into his eyes and tugged at his hand again.

He caught up with her in a step, grabbing the back of her neck and sweeping her into a close, tight embrace. Without another second of hesitation his lips crushed down against hers, not forcefully but with meaning, with such passion and intense love that she felt light headed from the sensation. It was a good job he had such a tight hold of her or she might have fallen to the ground. She fell heavily into him and the swaying motion began once more.

The hunger and desire to be physically close to one another was overwhelming. He kissed her lips, her face, down her neck and ran his hands down the length of her body, sending shivers right through her. She held on to his strong arms, grabbing at his triceps before pushing his jacket down his arms and to the floor.

Without a moment to over analyse, he swept his hands up her sides, lifting her light sweater over her head and again dropping it to the floor behind her. He then became so much gentler, more tender and slow as the reality all set in. They'd waited too long for this to happen – it needed to be savoured, respected.

He cupped his palms gently on either side of her face and lowered his lips so gently to hers. Long, lingering kisses in between which he looked deeply into her eyes and met her intense, emotional stare. Her darkened eyes had turned glassy and he could physically feel the mutual emotion that was so evident in her face.

"Mulder…"

"I know…" their foreheads pressed together once more.

Her fingers played with the collar on his shirt as she slowly began to undo each button. His hands caressed her arms, her shoulders, brushing his knuckles so smoothly across the sensitive flesh of her abdomen bringing every cell of her skin to life.

Finally she pushed away the light material and dragged her fingers down his toned muscles. Staring intently into his chest, as if looking directly through to his heart, she closed the gap between them and their flesh pressed firmly together.

The warmth and the softness was beguiling.

Before she knew what was happening her feet had left the floor and she was falling backwards onto the bed beside her. The strings of light wrapped around his face and his body as he climbed on top of her, smoothing his hands over the skin of her neck and lips, and leaving a trail of scalding kisses down the length of her slender body.

As she closed her eyes, everything fell into place. The gentleness of their passionate exchange that night made it so much more memorable. So much less regrettable. No alcohol-fuelled mistakes and no blaming it on vulnerability.

She woke the next morning to the feeling of his lean body wrapped around her; she was embraced and drowning in the peace it brought. Was it real? Her body provided the answer to that question, bruised and aching with the reality of everything that took place.

She invited him to her bed, and he followed.

-END-