Chapter 12

They’ve retired to the living room, a bottle of wine, a pizza box, and two mostly empty glasses between them on the coffee table. What started as regular visits while Will healed from surgery became a Friday night tradition. Mulder brings takeout and a movie, and the evening ends with long conversations reminiscent of their time on the X-Files, verbal and intellectual sparring conducted over leftover pizza.

Tonight he can’t remember what they were arguing about, because she leans into him mid-speech, catching his lips with hers and firmly shutting him up. It’s familiar and sweet, a reminder of a New Year long past. His hands move to her waist, tentative, half expecting her to push him away, but instead, she moves closer.

The kiss deepens, and soon she’s straddling his lap, her hot little tongue exploring his mouth in between soft sighs while her fingers thread themselves in his hair. He’s dizzy from lack of air, unwilling to break the spell for even a second, unconvinced this isn’t a potent hallucination, that she’ll vanish when their lips part.

“Mamaaaaa,” a familiar voice wails, and Scully breaks away, leaving them both breathless. They blink at each other through heavy lashes.

“He might settle on his own,” she whispers, her nose still brushing his, her words warm against his cheek.

“Mmm,” is all he can manage, distracted by the pleasant weight of her body, the tickle of her fingers on the back of his neck, the sheer elation that she hasn’t dissolved into thin air.

Another cry, this one louder, more insistent, and Scully sighs. “I’ll be right back.”

She climbs off his lap and makes her way to Will’s room. Soft sounds of comfort drift from down the hall.

Mulder stands, still dizzy, his pulse frantic in his throat. He gathers their glasses to bring them to the kitchen, a distraction to pass the time, when his bare foot lands on something sharp.

He hisses, drawing his foot up to see the culprit—a bright blue LEGO—losing his balance in an effort to spare the wine glasses in his hands. He falls, his temple grazing the corner of an end table on the way down.

It’s all he can do not to howl with pain as he rolls on the floor, red light throbbing behind his eyelids as he curses under his breath.

Rushed footsteps make their way toward him, pain swiftly replaced by embarrassment, and he wishes he could disappear, that he could melt into the floor.

“Mulder? What happened?”

He reaches up to touch his scalp, and his hand comes back sticky.

“Nothing,” he manages through gritted teeth. “Fell. S’just a scrape.”

“You’re bleeding,” she says, kneeling over him, cradling his neck. She holds a hand in front of his eyes. “How many fingers?”


It must be the right answer, because she sits back on her heels. “Can you sit?”

“I can even stay and heel,” he tries weakly, getting to his feet. “Just don’t ask me to fetch.”

“What happened?”

“This,” he says, leaning down to pick up the stray brick.

She makes a soft tsk sound, pressing her lips together as if trying not to laugh. “Taken down by a LEGO.”

“My pride took the biggest hit.”

“That’s not all,” she says, looking at his forehead. “Let’s get you cleaned up.”

“I’m fine, Scully—“

“You’re still bleeding,” she points out, gesturing for him to sit at the kitchen table. “Wait there, I’ll get my kit.”

He does, blood stinging in the corner of his eye. She comes back with her medical bag and takes out the supplies with practiced efficiency, before dabbing at the wound with gauze.

“If you wanted to play doctor, you could have just asked,” she murmurs, putting the soiled bandage aside.

“Hah-hah. How’s Will?” he asks, desperate to relieve the embarrassment.

“He’s fine,” she murmurs. “He’s a light sleeper, takes after you. Hold still.”

Her fingers are delicate against his skin as she applies the surgical tape, then tips his head to one side to examine her work.

“There,” she says. “We’ll keep you up for a while to make sure it’s not a concussion.”

“I can think of a few ways to do that,” he says, blurting it out before he can lose his nerve.

“Do what?” she asks.

“Keep me up,” he grins sheepishly.

She chuckles and presses a kiss to his forehead, then reaches for his hand, her voice low and enticingly rough.

“Come to bed, Mulder.”


He wakes in the semi-darkness with a stinging head, something soft tucked under his chin, and something much less soft digging into his side.

There’s a sigh to his left, and everything comes back to him; a Friday night at Scully’s with pizza, a movie…and then wine…and then…oh, he thinks, smiling to himself. That happened.

Further examination reveals William’s stuffed frog on his chest, and a bony three-year-old knee jabbed into his ribs. He thanks some unknown deity that he’d thought to put his boxers back on.

“Fox?” Will says, his voice thick with sleep. “You’re in my spot.”

“Uh,” is all he can manage, frozen as the boy sits up, rubbing his eyes. Scully has begun to wake, too, and she turns over, eyes widening at the sight of Mulder in her bed, William between them.

“Were you scared of the closet monsters, too?”

“Yeah,” Mulder clears his throat. “Yeah, your mom’s, uh, good at scaring away the closet monsters.”

“You have a boo-boo,” Will says, reaching up to touch the bandage on Mulder’s temple.

“I fell.”

“Ouchie,” Will sympathizes. “Kiss it better?”

Mulder nods, tipping his head down to let the boy place a kiss over the bandage.

“Will, it’s still night,” Scully whispers. “Time to sleep.”

William wiggles under the covers, throwing an arm over Mulder’s chest. “Fox, will you be here when I wake up?”

“Um,” he says, looking over the boy’s head to meet Scully’s eyes. “I don’t—“

“Sure he will, baby,” she murmurs. “Go back to sleep.”

“Wanna play more LEGOs,” the boy says sleepily, yawning a warm breath against Mulder’s side. Soon his chest rises and falls in deep, regular intervals.

“Thank you,” Mulder whispers into the half-light.

Scully runs her fingers along the length of his forearm, just shy of tickling, her touch all at once arousing and comforting. She yawns and turns over, her words muffled by the pillow.

“You can get up with him in the morning.”