Horsehide and Ash

Filler in Scully's POV for "The Unnatural"

By SisShippy

Disclaimer: The original story doesn't belong to me; it is a David Duchovny creation. The characters in this story sadly aren't mine either; they belong to Chris Carter. The idea for this missing moment is mine, however, but I intend to make no profit or to infringe upon the copyright owned by 1013 Productions and the kind folks at Fox Broadcasting.

This is Fox Mantle calling for one Dana Scully. I have a very special, extraordinarily late or early birthday present for you if you wouldn't mind meeting me at your local ball field. See you when you get here.

I can't help but smile at the message Mulder had left on my answering machine. Things between us have been so different lately and not for the worse. I actually like this side of Mulder. He is almost carefree at times and totally unfocused on his never-ending loyalty to the X-files. I enjoy the playfulness and the flirting back and forth between us. I'd never tell him, but I've gone out of my way to encourage it. A perfect example is when I brought a tofutti rice dreamsicle into the office this morning. My intentions were to goad him into a round of playful, carefree flirting, which worked marvelously if I do say so myself.

Part of me is saying that this whole thing is an excuse to get me to meet him and we'll end up hunting aliens or a three eyed, one eared, half goat, half bear creature that resides in a condo in the nicer parts of town, only showing its face on full moons and during traffic jams. However, I am fairly certain, by his 'Fox Mantle' crack that this meeting is purely personal, and I can't wait to see what he has in store.

There he is in a baseball jersey and, God help me, jeans. If this man only knew what he does to me when I see him in jeans. I suppose that I should confess now that I am a red blooded woman with a pulse, meaning that I have a strong attraction to my partner and best friend, Fox Mulder. Who wouldn't? One look at him explains to anyone why women would give their right arm and first born for a man that looked like this man.

"So, uh . . .I get this message marked 'urgent' on my answering service from one Fox Mantle telling me to come down to the park for a very special very early or very late birthday present. And, Mulder . . .I don't see any nicely wrapped presents lying around so, what gives?" I could never tell him that I do see a nicely wrapped present waiting for me, but that would take the flirting a little too far at this point.

"You've never hit a baseball, have you, Scully?" What kind of question is that? Of course I have, well sort of, but he seems so excited about this, and it has been a while, since I was a little girl in fact.

"No," I lie, "I guess I have, uh . . .found more necessary things to do with my time than slap a piece of horsehide with a stick." Like ogle him from across the office is necessary? Who am I really kidding here?

"Get over here, Scully." There's that tone. Just the right amount of authority mixed in with a gentle touch. In that tone he could probably get me to jump through hoops of fire without much protest. This could be my favorite birthday present of all time.

I can't act too excited about this. It isn't what he's expecting and I'm not ready to catch him off guard just yet. "This my birthday present, Mulder? You shouldn't have." Yes, he should have. He should have done this years ago. I'm standing this close to him, close enough to feel his heart beating against my back, feel his breath on my skin, and those arms are wrapped tightly around me. Yes, he certainly should have done this.

"This ain't cheap. I'm paying that kid ten bucks an hour to shag balls." I really have no good comment for that. To be honest, I'm having trouble keeping my mind on playing baseball while Mulder is this close to me. It is no mystery which pocket he puts his keys in, right front, I know this because they are causing a little discomfort but I dare not say anything for fear he will move away from me. I don't think I can stand on my own two feet at this point in time. "Hey, it's not a bad piece of ash, huh?" Did he just say 'not a bad piece of ass'? Surely not. "The bat-talking about the bat. Now, don't strangle it." Don't strangle it? I'm trying to get a grip on it so it won't fall to the ground. "You just want to shake hands with it. 'Hello, Mr. Bat. It's a pleasure to make your acquaintance.' 'Oh, no, no, Ms. Scully. The pleasure's all mine.'"

Mulder truly is a funny man and . . .oh how I love his hands. A little rough but so perfect, large hands with long, slender digits. "Okay, now, we want to . . .we want to go hips before hands, okay?" Oh good, he's distracted too. So obviously distracted, I wonder if he's beginning to think this is a bad idea. "We want to stride forward and turn. That's all we're thinking about." Speak for yourself Mulder, my mind is everywhere you are right now and some places you aren't but should be. "So, we go hips . . .before hands, all right?"

His hand is on my hip. His hand is on my hip and I'm still conscious? Still conscious and standing? Why are we playing this game? And by 'this game' I don't mean baseball. We both want things to go farther between us. He asked me something . . .hips before hands. "Okay."

"One more time." Please put that hand on my hip just one more time. "Hips . . .before hands, all right?"

"Yeah." That's the right response. I should have tried 'are you sure' to see if that would have gotten his hand to linger?

"What is it?"

"Hips before hands." Yeah I got it. Hips before hands. Maybe if I pretend to really suck at this he'll have to start teaching me all over.

"Right." His breath on my ear, his soothing voice in my ear. Those lips not so very far from my own. "We're going to wait on the pitch." Why didn't I accept when he asked me out the other night? "We're going to keep our eye on the ball." This is torture. "Then, we're just going to make contact. We're not going to think. We're just going to let if fly, Scully, okay?" Is it just me, or did that whole spill have a double meaning.

"Mm-hmm." The things this man does to me should be illegal. Well, not illegal or we'd both be arrested. Commended for awakening feelings in me I thought were long gone. Yes, most definitely commended.

"Ready?" I wonder if 'and willing' would be too obvious a response. There he is again, playful and carefree Mulder. I wonder if he's been so serious since his sister disappeared decades ago. What a shame that would be, for him to have missed out on his childhood because he was consumed by his own guilt.

His hands keep resting on mine, and why exactly can't he leave one hand on my hip? On second thought, maybe it's a good thing he doesn't. "I'm in the middle." Ha ha, he should know by now to give in, struggle over and I win.

"All right, fire away, Poorboy." Batting this way is difficult; no wonder the ball went foul. "Ooh! That's good. All right, what you may find is you concentrate on hitting that little ball . . .The rest of the world just sort of fades away – all your every day, nagging concerns." He is partly right, I'm not concentrating on hitting the ball as much as I'm concentrating on the way our bodies are working in a form of near perfect unison. "The ticking of your biological clock." The way his hips are moving with mine in one fluid motion. "How you probably couldn't afford that nice, new suede coat on a G-woman's salary." The way he hugs me a little tighter when we swing the bat. "How you threw away a promising career in medicine . . .to hunt aliens with a crackpot, albeit brilliant, partner." If he doesn't stop speaking into my ear, letting his breath rush across the side of my face this way, I am not going to be held responsible for my actions. "Getting to the heart of a global conspiracy." The way his hips press into me when we use his 'hips before hands' method. "Your obscenely overdue triple X-bill." My what? "Oh, I . . .I'm sorry, Scully. Those last two problems are mine, not yours." Exactly right, those last two aren't my problems. My current problem is much bigger than any global conspiracy.

"Shut up, Mulder." And kiss me, no that is most certainly too obvious and this is too much fun. "I'm playing baseball."

"For a woman that's never found it necessary to slap a piece of horsehide with a stick, you are pretty good at this."

I shouldn't do it. I really shouldn't feed into his already very male ego. But Mulder has taken the time to put this together and it might not hurt. "Maybe it's the coach."

He's smiling; I can feel the grin creep across his lips. "Well maybe it is."

Okay, he's had his moment. "Or maybe its beginner's luck."

"So much for your belief in my ability to coach, Scully. Remember hips before hands. Try the next one on your own, Special Agent Beginner's Luck." Oh this just won't do. This won't do at all. He's backed away now and oddly enough he's standing on the other side of the fence. He certainly is confident in his teaching abilities.

I'll make a conscious effort to miss the next three balls in hopes that it will fulfill my overwhelming need to feel him close to me again. When the fear of total confession and facing the 'jump in head first' theory head on are forever present and preventing a romantic relationship with a man you adore, you love completely, you take what you can get. "Scully, you aren't doing it right," he whispers in my ear as he steps up behind me again and wraps his arms around me again and begins whispering in my ear. Maybe I should warn him about that.

"I'm not?"

"No, I said hips before hands."

"Oh. Well, maybe you better show me again, Fox Mantle." Now this approach is going to work much better. Both hands on my hips and . . .

"Hips," he's whispering almost seductively into my ear. "Before hands." Here come those hands again, wrapping around my own. "Hips," this is a new move. Sliding his hands up my arms, down my side and onto my hips. There is now no room to doubt his intentions. "Before hands," there he goes again. "Hips," swaying my hips and joining in with his own is quite the clever action. Of course look who I'm dealing with. "Before hands."

"Mulder?"

"Fire again, Poorboy."

"Out of balls, agent McGyver!" Agent McGyver? Mulder, agent Mulder.

"Wait right here, Scully. I'm gonna go settle up with the kid." I couldn't move if I needed to. He's inadvertently seen to that. In all honesty I could stand and watch this man walk, talk, even breathe for the rest of the night. I've never felt this way about anyone before and I have mixed emotions about feeling this way now. In all honestly the thoughts I'm having right now would probably, and still might, send me on a first class trip to Blazes if what the Catholic church deems as the seven deadly sins are correct. "Let's see, you've been here for three hours, that's thirty dollars and another ten for being such a good sport. Get on home before your folks start to worry." Mulder's pretty good with children considering. I mean he lives alone, never been a father, or had many dealings with them for that matter. Yes, he is a very impressive man.

"Well, thanks for the gift, Mulder. I should probably be getting home."

"Not yet, we need to work on your batting technique a little more, Scully." I can't fight the grin nor the giggles when he steps up behind me again. If we could hunt aliens and UFOs in such a manner, I don't think I'd mind it at all. Maybe when we get finished with batting practice, we can start working on the bases. Oh I shouldn't be thinking that about my best friend but as I've mentioned previously I can't help it.

How long can this 'hips before hands' mantra keep going? I'm going to be dreaming about hips before hands for the rest of my life at this rate. Mmm, both of his hands are on my hips and his breath is warm on my skin again. His monotone is soothing, maybe just a couple of more minutes. Oh, what is this, he's moving a hand. Hmmm, I don't remember baseball ever having anything like this going on. "Mulder, I thought we were playing baseball."

"We are." Apparently he's sharing my thoughts about running down the bases when we finish batting practice.

"I'm not an expert on the sport, Mulder, but I'm pretty sure this isn't part of the game." And to be honest, I'm glad it isn't. But, his lips, his touch, absolutely electric, I could get used to this.

"We're just going to make contact. We're not going to think or analyze. We're just going to let it fly, Scully." Ouch, I didn't realize the bat was so heavy. Whoa, I don't think I'm going to need it anyway. I imagine it's very difficult to bat face to face. Oh, his lips taste better than I could ever imagine. A little salty and just the right amount of sweet, just like Mulder. He had so better not be teasing me. So help me, if he is I'll . . .I'll . . .

Fade to Black