Rating: R for profanity and sexual themes.
CC and co. own the characters.
* * *
Part I – "Oh, my God!"
I woke up with the mother of all headaches in an unfamiliar
hotel room. I have no idea how I got here, but right now I
really don't care.
I tried to ignore the shooting pain centered in the area between
my eye sockets as I stumbled into the bathroom to take a
leak. Through squinted eyes I noted the strong steady stream
banking off the side of the bowl and sighed deeply. God, it
feels good to pee. You know that feeling of finally emptying
one's bladder after holding it for too long? Physical satisfaction
of the purest, most basic kind.
Why do I always raise the toilet seat, I asked myself irritably.
And why the hell do I always put the seat down, despite the
fact that no woman ever uses my bathroom? Except Scully
sometimes, but those times are few and far between. I know
it's the polite thing to do, basic good manners my mother
hammered into me, but why do I waste the energy when there
is no one around to notice? All I do is put it up again the next
time I need to go. And then, like a fool, down again. Up,
down, up, down…whoa, that's making me dizzy and nauseous.
I caught myself staring open-mouthed into the mirror, dick still
in hand, when I realized something. I was thinking along these
lines because the toilet seat was ALREADY UP when I came in
the bathroom. What the hell? I'm too fucking polite to leave
the seat up – I think we've already established that – so
someone else must have.
Why can't I remember anything about yesterday?
I flushed (and put the seat down despite myself), then sat on
the edge of the tub to figure out where I was.
First of all, this is a huge tub. With Jacuzzi jets and gold
fixtures. Since when do I stay in hotel rooms with bathtubs
built for sex? I'm sure accounting will have a cow when they
see this on my expense report.
A quick look around confirms my suspicions: a glass shower
enclosure in the corner, thick luxurious bathrobes on marble
shelves, a large basket of bath beads and lotions on a pedestal
by the door. Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore.
Lightning bolts of memory flashed through my head painfully.
A dark, smoky bar. Kissing the silky curve of skin from her
neck to her shoulder. But who is the woman?
At least I hope it was a woman, as I glance nervously at the
toilet seat. God forbid, I had a one-night stand with a man. I
blanch at the thought, before saying out loud, "No way I'd have
done that." I don't feel, er…sore…down there. Or squishy from
lube. But that just means I wasn't, you know…a "bottom."
Who knows if I was "pitching" instead of "catching" in that
I pondered that concept for half a second before slapping
myself back into reality. What the blazing hell was I just
thinking? I am NOT going to speculate on this topic – not
unless I have more to go one than just a stupid toilet seat's
I grab my head with both hands and try to shake loose more
memories. Not the best method, some would say, but I was
Just as I was giving up, another bolt of recall ripped painfully
across the arid desert of my mind, leaving me shaking. Red
hair and red wine. The smell of gardenias mixed with
something deeper, more primitive. Come to think of it, I can
still smell that intoxicating mixture of her scents. It's on my
hands, my face, and all over me.
The flashes of memory were coming faster now. A confused
look crossing her face, then her mouth dropping open in shock
as I took…liberties. Oh, my God.
Did I just say, "Oh, my God"?
No, I am remembering HER saying it.
I am remembering Scully moaning, "Oh, my God."
What have I done?
* * *
Part II – "Things Torn Asunder"
I step out of the bathroom hesitantly, almost afraid of what I
The hotel room is mercifully empty. My clothes are strewn
around the floor, but my gun, my wallet and my keys are all
neatly placed on top of the dresser. I have no luggage, which
seems odd. I also do not seem to have my cell phone.
A piece of black fabric in the tangled mess of white cotton
sheets catches my eye. It's a pair of women's panties.
Acidic anxiety eats away at my stomach lining as I sit
wondering if I raped Scully. I am not capable of doing such a
thing, I tell myself over and over. I would never hurt her.
There are a million possible alternative explanations.
Goddamn it, I wish I could remember what happened.
The panties are stained, I note with interest. On the outside, a
drop of what smells like dried semen. And lots of something
else that smells entirely female on the inside. A grin spreads
across my face of its own accord. I can't help it. Man, I am
pig, aren't I? Or is it "amn't I?" Grammatical dilemmas aside,
I am somewhat relieved, since I know this can only mean
something good happened before the panties were ripped off.
And lots of it.
As fascinating as it is to ponder that, my mind insists on a
This is a priority: WHY do I always sniff at stuff I cannot
identify? Why do I bring stuff right up to my face which could
be dangerous, or even deadly? Not that these panties look the
least bit dangerous -- not in the traditional law enforcement
sense of the word.
"Am I a pervert?" I ask myself aloud.
No, definitely not. I am pretty certain that 9 out of 10
heterosexual men, if presented with a pair of panties recently
worn by a woman they find sexually attractive, would take a
reverent whiff. Oh, yes.
I am impressed by how easily I can justify my perverted actions
with some bullshit statistic.
Nevertheless, I have been known to stick my fingers in bile
secreted by monsters. I have tasted red syrup masquerading
as blood on a dead evangelist. And that's not even the half of
it. So what the hell is wrong with me? I should know better. I
am a pathetic excuse for a paranoiac.
Tangent over, I quickly bring the panties back up to my nose
I really need to get psychotherapy.
* * *
Part III – "When Poetry Is More Than Art"
I was lying crosswise on the bed, legs hanging over the edge
and arms akimbo, staring at the crystal chandelier in my hotel
room. I was contemplating how to kill myself in order to end
the jackhammering in my head, when my stomach let out a
loud grumble. I considered eating my gun, but only for a
moment, and ordered breakfast from room service instead.
I'm at The Plaza. That much I figured out when I picked up the
phone. It's 7 p.m., but I ordered eggs and toast. And lots of
coffee. The guy at the front desk confirmed that I checked in
yesterday and paid in advance, in cash. It sure would be nice
to know what the hell is going on here, I mused. I continued
my wary examination of the room.
An empty bottle of Cristal and two champagne flutes sit on the
round table by the window overlooking Central Park.
Interesting. Well, if this is just a hangover, I'm never drinking
that expensive shit again. I know I do all kinds of stupid things
to impress Scully, but I have to draw the line. It's Andre Cold
Duck all the way from now on, damn it.
Ah, it hurts to laugh at my own lame jokes.
I brought my hands up to massage my temples but got
distracted by Scully's scent. I think I've watched too
many MasterCard commercials. Bottle of
Andre Cold Duck = $4.99. Bottle of Roederer Cristal
Rose '95 = $299.99. Bottle of whatever it is I'm smelling on
my fingers and all over my face = priceless.
Okay, I am definitely a shithead, but I can't help smiling at the
thought. I wish I could remember what happened, but
barring that, I am exquisitely happy just to have all this
circumstantial evidence around me. Snazzy kung-fu profiling
FBI agent that I am, I can deduce what took place here.
Then, I noticed there was a thin book lying on a nearby chair. I
stretched and reached for it clumsily, almost falling off the
bed. When I realized what I was holding, I actually did fall. My
ass hit the floor with a quiet thud that jarred every last nerve
ending in my head, but I'm proud to say I did not puke. It
wouldn't do to have the room service people find me in a
puddle of my own vomit, now would it?
Lying on the carpet, I thumbed carefully through what
appeared to be a first edition of Leaves of Grass. It was one of
the few that were self-published anonymously, before Whitman
got up the nerve to sign his name to it. Why some writers are
hesitant to acknowledge their own work is beyond me. [*wink*]
Sure, this book was considered pretty scandalous by 1855
standards, but give me a break. Poetry is art. Wasn't it
Whitman who said, "The poet judges not as a judge judges, but
as the sun falling around a helpless thing"?
Thank goodness he changed his mind. This turned out to be
one of his best. Just reading it now, I can feel the way it
transforms me from a profane, perverted smartass to an
introspective, romantic fool. It's one of the few books that can
flick that switch inside of me.
The dichotomy within most men is a curious phenomenon. I
am a gentleman in every important respect, and yet, let's face
it, I am also a total male pig. I'm just as likely to be found
reading Playboy as Proust. I can pick an excellent wine, but I
can also burp and fart with the best of them. No sense trying
to deny aspects of my personality; there is only so much a guy
can do to repress his maleness. A man's only hope is to find a
woman who can set aside any unnatural expectations she may
have of men's behavior based on what she's read in romance
novels. Those Bronte sisters are gonna be the death of my
At least Scully knows both sides of me. She makes fun of the
videotapes that aren't mine and swats me with a rolled up
newspaper whenever I do something gross. It's like I'm in
puppy obedience school with her. Except puppies get cuddles
and treats from their mistresses. I could use some cuddles, but
right now I'd settle for puppy treats. I wish my breakfast-
slash-dinner would get here already.
My mind drifts back to the slim volume of poetry in my hands.
I wonder where I got it. It's not the kind of thing you find
It's from Christie's, according to the invoice with the certificate
of authenticity I found tucked into the protective jacket. Looks
like I went through considerable effort and expense to obtain
this. But why?
A memory shreds fresh wounds across my mind, leaving blood
and raw emotion in its wake.
"Mulder, I can't accept this. It's too much."
I was standing there mutely, stunned that she would turn away
my gift. Didn't she realize this was my version of a diamond
engagement ring? Granted, it is an unconventional gesture.
But when a man gives a woman an extremely valuable present
like this, it's supposed to mean something, even if you can't
wear it on your finger. I guess I was counting on her to
appreciate its significance.
Well, maybe she understood perfectly and just didn't want it.
That thought was almost too painful to contemplate.
Stinging from her rejection, I struggled to maintain my
composure. Staying calm was an immediate priority.
Then I blinked and the memories started coming, like an
avalanche down the jagged slopes of my mind.
* * *
Part IV – "24 Hours Earlier"
I was standing at the bar in a new charcoal gray suit, with a
black dress shirt open at the neck. No tie, of course. I had to
buy the designer suit off the rack (something I would not
normally do) because I couldn't wait the week it takes to have
one custom made. At least the shirt was hand-tailored and
Fortunately, there is no shortage of finer clothing stores for
men in New York City. I sipped at my single-malt and
discreetly adjusted a cuff. I haven't felt the urge to go out and
purchase a new suit in a long time, much less ask a woman out
on a date. I have been, shall we say, a little preoccupied with
my work these last couple of years. I've had my priorities all
mixed up, I realized and shook my head regretfully.
But now I am ready to turn a corner.
I knew I looked decent for once, as I avoided the appreciative
gaze of a couple of women at the end of the bar. There is only
one woman at the center of my universe. No galaxy, no
constellation, nor even the brightest supernova could hold a
candle to her in my heart. Wish she were here already, I
murmured to myself.
The gleam of my freshly shined black leather shoes matched
my belt, my wallet, and my ankle holster. Even my gun was all
black, a SIG P228 9mm. A civilized man's accessories always
match, I thought with a wry grin.
My hair was cut and styled this afternoon, but the best part of
all was the shave. It was so close that I could slide my cheek
up a woman's silk-stockinged thigh, all the way up, without
snagging a single thread. Wishful thinking, Mulder. But, I told
myself, it never hurts to be prepared.
The attendant at the salon teased me as she was trimming my
cuticles and buffing my nails smooth. "Who is this lucky
woman? Is she worthy of this effort you are making for her,
like a fine gentleman would?" I nodded, but kept mum.
Frankly, I was surprised to find myself here. Manicures aren't
exactly my thing. "American women don't always know a true
gem when they see one," she commented in a lilting French
accent. I smiled wistfully and told her, "The woman joining me
tonight for dinner is the true gem. I'm the lucky one." That
seemed to please her enormously.
As I was leaving, she gave me a specially formulated hand
lotion for my calluses. "Use this before you touch her,
Monsieur. Unless, of course, she wants to be touched with
rough hands. Sometimes that is what excites the blood, no?"
She winked knowingly while I did my best to hide the blush
creeping up my neck.
Lotion or no lotion, I know my hands will never be the soft,
genteel hands of a pianist or a librarian. No, my fingers and
knuckles bear the unmistakable appearance of a man who is
capable of beating the hell out of someone, if necessary.
Staring down at my palms now, I frown at the thought of the
violence of which they are capable. Of which * I * am capable,
I correct myself.
They say looking at a man's hands can tell you a lot about him.
Scully is the one person in this world who knows me best, but
that doesn't mean she knows everything she ought to know. I
hope she looks at my hands and sees in them the lengths to
which I would go to protect her. I would go to the ends of the
earth for her. And I have. I hope she doesn't focus on their
sometimes brutish strength, but rather, on their gentle
reverence when I touch her: the way I hand her a cup of
coffee, the way I help her with her overcoat, and the way I
guide her lightly through open doors with a hand on her lower
back. I wonder if she ever notices these things. I feel the energy
pass between us, electrifying me whenever our hands brush,
even after all these years as her partner. Yet she seems so unaffected.
I shake myself out of this reverie and look at my watch. It's
half an hour past the time she said she would meet me here.
It's not like her to be late, and I'm starting to get worried.
But then again, this isn't work. This is "a date," I thought with
a goofy grin.
She can keep me waiting for as long as she desires.
* * *
Part V – "A Date"
When I called and asked her to meet me in the city for a
"date," she let out a deliciously surprised laugh. I expected to
have to explain myself at length, but there was no need. She
was quiet for a few seconds, and then she agreed. My heart
immediately started pounding. I've been on pins and needles
ever since, anxiously anticipating this evening. "Do not screw
this up!" was my mantra.
The seconds and minutes seemed to drag on so slowly. I just
want her to be here. Now that I know what I want, I can
barely wait. I decided to call her cell from a phone in the
I nodded politely to the reservation clerk behind the desk as I
walked by. The chief concierge remembers me by name, from
all the times my family stayed here when I was a child. Though
not obsequious, he and his staff treat me with a special level of
deference reserved for what they call "old money." It always
makes me sad. What they see in me is someone so far
removed from the real Fox Mulder that it's damn near
They still think of me as the quiet, well-behaved little boy
holding Teena Mulder's hand as she crossed the huge lobby
after a day of shopping on Fifth Avenue. I look pretty good on
paper, but it's entirely misleading: the combination of my
Oxford education, the impeccable manners, the inheritance I
almost never touch, the clothes, the perfect posture, and the
prep school vocabulary. If they only knew what a
disappointment I turned out to be.
For starters, they would shake their heads in disapproval if they
learned I was still in the Bureau after all this time. It's socially
acceptable for a smart young man to work for the government
for a couple of years, to get his feet wet in the so-called real
world. But by now, I should have been long gone – off to
bigger, better endeavors. Instead, I was working in the
basement on cases no one else would deign to investigate. I
snorted in self-derision.
I have no idea why Scully hasn't left the X-Files division. I
hope that it's because she doesn't want to leave me. Leaving
the X-Files would be leaving me, unless we had some
Last week, I "accidentally" saw a letter she received from
Quantico, offering her a huge promotion and a pay raise to
teach at the academy. (Okay, I was snooping.) It's been
weighing heavily on my mind ever since.
I want her to take the job. I think it's what she would prefer,
especially now that she is undergoing fertility treatments. It
would be much easier for her to conceive without the stress of
being a field agent. I know it means the X-Files will suffer, but
that's all secondary. The most important thing to me now is
Scully's happiness. Don't ask me when that shift in priorities
occurred. I just know it has.
So, it's time to establish that other…connection. I think I can
live without having her for a partner, as long as I can still talk
to her everyday. I can manage to get through the days if I
know I'll be coming home to her every night. And, although I
am a self-admitted pig, this is not about sex. It's about a
connection between us that transcends everything else. Saying
I love her just doesn't convey the breadth of what I feel. She is
what makes my life worth living.
Tonight, I plan to ask her if she will be my wife.
If she ever gets here, that is.
I look at my watch again.
* * *
Part VI -- "Nothing Important"
I tried to open my eyes, but found the effort almost too much
to bear. The heavy weight on my eyelids felt like twin anvils,
pushing down on my retinas, applying deadly pressure to the
fine sheet of nerve tissue lining the inside of my eyes. I could
almost feel my corneas tearing.
"Open your eyes, Mulder. Please open your eyes." Scully was
whispering in my ear.
I blindly reached for her hand and held on for dear life.
"Scully," I rasped, "will you marry me?"
"Mulder, wake up! Snap out of it."
I propped one eye open upon hearing the panic in her voice.
One look around and I realized I was on the floor of my living
room, with the coffee table upended and popcorn everywhere.
There was some kind of fluid in a puddle on the floor. I stuck
my finger into it and brought it up to my tongue.
Goddamn it! Didn't I just say I wasn't going to do that
It wasn't bile or fake blood. Just Shiner Bock.
I think I remember what happened now. Here and now, I mean.
We were watching a movie. I spilled some popcorn butter on the
floor but didn't mop it up. (Mopping it up would mean admitting
to Scully that I snuck butter into the popcorn, which I cannot do.
She'd kill me.) Then I got up to get more popcorn and slipped on the
slick spot, knocking the coffee table over, spilling the beers and
sending the popcorn flying. Serves me right, I suppose.
Scully was carefully palpating the growing lump on my head. I
"You okay, Mulder?"
"I think so. I just had a very vivid, very detailed dream. I think
my life flashed before my eyes."
"You were hallucinating. I was worried about you. You took a
really hard blow to the head and kept muttering stuff."
I remember asking her if she'd marry me. I remember it clear
"Oh, just random words. Nothing important," she said.
"Random words. Nothing important," I repeated softly.
I guess Scully has her priorities, too.
I struggled to maintain my composure, just like in the
* * *
Part VII -- "The Taste of Tears"
Later, after we had righted the coffee table and cleaned up the
mess, we were back on the couch. I laid my head in her lap as
she watched the rest of the movie. Her fingers were softly
running through my hair and her thighs were warm beneath my
head. I must have died during that fall. This must be heaven.
I prayed that the movie would never end.
"I meant it," I said softly, out of the blue.
She was silent for a long time. I was thinking perhaps she
didn't hear me.
"I know," she finally replied.
Breathe, I instructed myself. I reached for her hand gently.
"Say yes, then. Make me the happiest man that ever lived,
I watched tears brimming in eyes, threatening to spill over.
"You need a CT and an MRI scan for that head injury."
"Say yes, Scully. I love you with every molecule of my being.
And I've been in love with you for years…"
"Mulder, settle down. You're scaring me with these outbursts."
"I want to spend the rest of my life with you." I continued,
heedless of her protests and my own pride. "I want you to be
my wife. Please say yes."
She stared into my eyes for a long time, speechless. I thought
my heart was going to break.
"I will," she whispered at last. "But you have to ask me again
when you don't have a concussion, Mulder."
I shut my eyes gratefully. Continuing to breathe was a definite
priority now. It's a good thing I was already lying down. I felt
"I'm not hallucinating, Scully."
"No, you're not."
When she leaned over and kissed me softly on the forehead, I
reached a hand up to pull her down for more. I've had enough
of the forehead kisses. I want more, so much more than I can
ever put down in words.
Our lips met, hesitantly at first, barely touching behind the
curtain of her red locks. She seemed almost afraid. I slid my
tongue lightly across her lower lip before deepening the kiss. I
heard her moan, felt her abdomen tense, and then her thighs
shifted underneath my head. This immediate physical reaction
nearly undid me. It was confirmation of something powerful I
was worried only I could feel.
Too soon, she broke the kiss, leaving me trembling with a
sense of Whitman's "sun falling around a helpless thing." I felt
her lips move to my temples, where she was kissing away my
tears and telling me they tasted like eternity.
I wasn't even aware I had been crying.
* * *
Part VIII – "Post Script"
Middle of the night, note to self:
Must call jeweler a.s.a.p. Move ring to the top of my fucking
list of priorities.
The Walt Whitman idea was very romantic, but some things
have to be done conventionally, even by unconventional guys
like me. This time I am definitely going to get her a ring. I'm
going to get down on one knee and offer her what little there is
left of me that she does not already possess.
But first I have to get a stupid CT and MRI scan. She needs
objectively verifiable scientific evidence that I'm lucid.
That's my Scully, my perfect other, the yin to my yang.
I'm going to love being married to this woman.
* * *
To read more about the unsigned first edition of Whitman's
Leaves of Grass:
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