Title: Weak in the Knees
Rating: umm... NC-17 eventuallyPlease see previous posts for disclaimer/summary/notes. Special thanks to celievamp for the beta.
Both women were wet and freezing as they finally made their way inside Scully’s apartment.
“We need to get out of these wet clothes. Come on.” Scully led Morgan to her bedroom where she pulled out an oversized sweatshirt and a pair of sweats. “The sweats belonged to my sister so they should fit you. And here are some socks,” she said as she added some athletic socks to the pile. “Just leave your clothes in the bathroom and I’ll put them in the dryer after you change.”
Morgan headed into the bathroom to get out of her wet clothes. When she came out, Scully was already changed and had just started a fire in the fireplace.
The redhead looked over her shoulder. “Better?”
“Well, come and sit in front of the fire and get warmed up.” Scully dropped a blanket around Morgan’s shoulders as she sat on the floor in front of the couch. “I’ll be right back.” She grabbed the wet clothes from the bathroom and put them in the dryer. Then she went to the kitchen and made a couple of mugs of hot chocolate. “Here.” She handed Morgan her hot chocolate, then sat down next to her and wrapped a blanket around her own shoulders. “Hot chocolate and a gas fire. It’s the best I can do since I don’t have a hot tub or a tropical beach handy.”
Morgan chuckled. “It’ll do.” She took a sip of her hot chocolate and sighed. “I can’t remember the last time I actually did something just because it was fun or silly.” She looked at her companion. “Thank you.”
“Are you always so impulsive and carefree?”
Scully almost choked on the sip she’d just taken. She managed to swallow it without making a mess. “Hell no! The last time I did something impulsive was two years ago. I got drunk, got a tattoo and almost got stuffed into a furnace.”
“Long story. Suffice it to say, you hang around headquarters long enough and you’ll hear a few nicknames I’ve been christened with – Blue-eyed Bitch and Ice Queen being the most popular. That and Mrs. Spooky.”
“Blue-eyed Bitch and Ice Queen? I don’t see it. I only met you a week ago, but I’d never say you were cold, just professionally dispassionate – something you have to be to do what we do. But Mrs. Spooky – unfortunately that kind of stuff is everywhere. There was a lot of speculation about John and myself, even after Toni and I got together.” She paused as she took another sip of her hot chocolate. “So what prompted today’s impulsiveness?” Morgan was surprised to see Scully’s cheeks suddenly color with embarrassment. “What is it?” she asked.
“It’s my birthday,” was the soft reply.
Scully wouldn’t look at her, so Morgan bumped her shoulder against her companion’s. “Hey.” She waited until their eyes met. “Happy Birthday.”
“Not that I’m complaining, but why not spend your birthday with your family?”
“My brothers are both stationed in California and I talked to Mom earlier today. But the truth is, I spent the day exactly how I wanted to, Jess. And I did so for the first time in a long time, longer than I care to admit.” That there was a hidden depth to her words was not lost on either woman. Scully felt her throat tighten and the backs of her eyes sting as they filled with unshed tears. She wasn’t about to let them fall though. Unfortunately, a rogue tear defied her will and spilled down her cheek. She closed her eyes and clenched her teeth in an effort to make sure it was the only one. Tender fingertips wiped it away for her.
“I understand.” Morgan slipped her arm around Scully’s shoulders and gently pulled the redhead closer.
Scully resisted at first. She hated being seen as weak. But for some reason she believed Morgan did indeed understand, and her better instinct won out. She accepted the offered shoulder, burying her face against it, and letting the silent tears go as Morgan’s other arm came up and completed the embrace.
After a few minutes Scully pulled back, wiping the tears from her face. “Sorry.”
“Don’t be. I get the feeling you’ve been holding those in for a while.” She paused. “I also think there’s a whole lot more that need to be let go,” Morgan said gently.
Scully shook her head and sniffled as she wiped her face again. “Not tonight.”
Morgan nodded in understanding. “But keep in mind if you don’t let them out they can build up until you drown.”
“How much for the session, Dr. Morgan?” Scully quipped defensively.
Morgan let out a sigh. “I’ve simply been speaking from personal experience, as one friend to another.” She paused a moment. “But if you would really prefer, I can do the psychologist bit.”
“No... I wouldn’t prefer that,” the redhead said quietly.
“Good. Because I’d much rather be your friend than your therapist.” Morgan bumped her shoulder against Scully’s. “It’s alright. I’d prefer you to be my friend rather than my pathologist, so it’s only fair,” she said with a small smile. She got the response she was hoping for when Scully smiled.
“I should hope so!”
The buzzer from the dryer sounded, startling both women.
“Well, on that heart-stopping note, I think I shall use your bathroom.”
“Down the hall, on the right,” Scully told her as she also stood.
“I’ll check your clothes.”
After Morgan finished in the bathroom she opened the door and found Scully waiting with her clothes, fresh from the dryer.
“Here you go.”
“Thanks. I’ll just be a sec.” She retreated into the bathroom and changed into nice and warm clothes. When she came back out Scully was in the kitchen.
“Did you want some more hot chocolate, Jess?”
“Actually, I think I’ll call it a night.”
“It’s still early.”
“I know. But I think you might have been a good influence on me today.”
“Yeah. I might try to get a good night’s sleep for a change, since it’s back to the grindstone tomorrow morning,” she said with a small smile.
“You mean you’re not going back now so you can work this evening?” Scully challenged.
“Nope. I’m going to make a couple of calls – to friends – and get some sleep.”
“Well... in that case I’ll let you go.” Scully smiled. “Let me get my keys so I can drive you back to your hotel.”
Morgan was waiting by the door by the time Scully grabbed her keys and got her shoes and coat on. She stopped the redhead as she reached for the doorknob. “Dana, I want you to know I really did have a good time today.” She dropped her eyes, a little embarrassed. “And it’s been a very long time since that’s happened.” She looked up into bright blue eyes. “I know today was your birthday, but you gave me a gift today. Thank you,” she finished softly.
Touched, Scully gave the woman a hug. “And you made this one of my best birthdays in a really long time, so thank you, too.”
After returning home from taking Morgan to her hotel, Scully turned on some music, put in a load of laundry and sat down to take care of some correspondence. Despite the brief incident of tears, she really was feeling good and had had a wonderful day... with Jess.
She had just gotten her laundry from the dryer and started folding it when there was a knock at her door. She looked through the peephole and saw Mulder. He at least looked reasonably sober so she opened the door. Before she could even say hello, he pushed in past her with a six pack in one hand and a pizza box in the other.
“Happy Birthday, partner. I bring food and drink,” he said with a grin as he passed her in the doorway and headed to her kitchen. He proceeded to prepare two plates and opened two beers. He then went into the living room and set everything down on her coffee table before plopping down on her couch. “Come and get it, Scully.”
Scully continued to fold some of her laundry. “Have at it, Mulder. I’m not hungry.”
“But I got your favorite, pepperoni and anchovies.”
“No, that’s your favorite. I hate anchovies. Besides, I already ate, Mulder. Jess and I had an early dinner, a very nice dinner in fact.”
His mood immediately changed at the mention of Morgan’s name. “How is the Freak?” he sniped.
Scully threw down the shirt she had in her hands and glared at him. “She’s just fine, Spooky.”
He glared at her.
“You know what, I don’t like this side of you. Take your pizza and leave.”
“You don’t know what she’s capable of! You don’t know what she did!”
“That’s where you’re wrong. You see I did some checking of my own. Toni Jeffers may have dumped you but she didn’t do so because of Jess. In fact Toni was quite the player from what I hear – she dated a lot of people.”
“So that’s the fiction she’s been telling you?!”
“No. That’s what the Lone Gunmen told me. They said Toni had no interest in anything serious with anyone... until Jess.”
“Toni’s dead because of her!”
Scully shook her head. “No. She’s dead because some mad man murdered her.” He started to say something but she cut him off. “You tell me it’s not my fault Missy was killed in my apartment, in my place.”
“Of course it isn’t!”
“Then how is it Jess’s fault that Toni was killed – simply because she was home and Jess wasn’t?”
“No, it’s not.”
“Morgan was warned to back off of that case! She knew about the threats against her! Toni’s dead because of Morgan’s refusal to back off, because of her god damn pride and drive to close the case!!”
“And how many people are dead because of yours?! How many more bodies are going to be sacrificed in the name of your personal quest?!” Scully knew as soon as the words were out of her mouth that things would never be the same between her and Mulder again. Something had snapped, broken, never to be repaired.
Mulder glared at her. “You’ll see I’m right. You’ll see I know what I’m talking about when it comes to Morgan.” He marched out, slamming her front door behind him.
Scully closed her eyes and let out a deep breath. She threw the pizza away, poured the opened beers down the drain and washed to the two dishes. She poured herself a glass of wine and sat on the couch, drawing her legs up under her. Her day had been so good... but it was ending so badly.
She felt torn. Over five years of her life had been spent working with Mulder. He had saved her life more than once... but then again, most of those times, her life wouldn’t have needed saving if not for him. The truth was out there, he said. But her truth... was that she couldn’t take it anymore. So when that ‘something’ between her Mulder broke, she felt the loss... but she also felt relief.
She had just turned 35 and what did she have to show for it? She knew she was a good agent and a skilled pathologist. She didn’t regret joining the FBI – what was inside her that had prompted her to join in the first place, was still there. Granted, it had gotten a bit buried under the crap of the last few years... but it was still there.
But what else did she have? She was missing several weeks of her memory; her sister was dead – murdered in her place; she had cancer – in remission for the time being, but who knew for how long; she had a dead daughter, conceived from her stolen ova; and she was barren. All of which could be tied to a cabal of powerful men that would never have perpetrated any of these things if she wasn’t mixed up with Mulder and his never-ending quest for ‘The Truth.’
Oh, and she had a tattoo.
She shook her head. How many times had Mulder ditched her? How many times did she have to go chasing after him to save him? How many things did he keep secret from her? He didn’t even tell her things she more than had a right to know! Like the knowledge that her ova had been taken when she’d been abducted. He kept that secret – from her! Only her discovery of, and subsequent application to adopt, Emily dragged that information out of him.
Mulder didn’t want her as a partner when she was assigned. But over time they got past his initial paranoia of her motives, and they became friends.
But did real friends treat you the way he treated her?
Mulder constantly took her for granted; expected her to be at his beck and call, day and night. He was quick to believe any and every quack that crossed their paths with a ghost or UFO story, but scoffed at her faith. He said he trusted her, but he didn’t even trust her with information about her own body. That particular betrayal, though a year old, still burned deep and hot.
Scully closed her eyes and counted to ten... then she counted again, taking slow breaths. She didn’t want to delve too deep in that particular well this evening.
She opened her eyes and watched the flames of the gas fire. A small smile formed as her thoughts turned to her temporary partner. There were definitely some similarities between Mulder and Morgan. Perhaps the traits they had in common were what made them good profilers. But there were some stark contrasts between the two. Despite the circumstances of the case itself, it had been a pleasant change working with Jess. She finished the wine in her glass and got up from the couch.
“Maybe change is just what I need.”