AUTHOR: Jade Hawthorne (firstname.lastname@example.org) DISCLAIMER: Not mine, just borrowing.
SPOILERS: Season 7
CATEGORY: MSR, UST
SUMMARY: She's almost forgotten the way the feel of liquid against her skin can bring her to life.
by Jade Hawthorne
"I was under the waves
Before love rescued me"
She loves the water---lakes, creeks, pools---but especially the sea. In her adult life, she's almost forgotten the way the feel of liquid against her skin can bring her to life.
Her father never swam, despite his many years at sea, a quaint homage to the superstitious sailors of old, depending on the caprice of the ocean to keep them afloat. "Foolishness!" her mother always said, and she taught her sons and daughters to swim early on. "What's the point of living on the coast if you never get in the water?" She remembers her father smiling at Maggie, playing in the surf with her 'ducklings', while he remained on shore, guarding sandcastles, ever watchful.
From time to time, they visited their grandmother, who still remembered the old country. Nana told her and Melissa stories of beautiful mermaids who married sailors, but could not resist the pull of the sea, abandoning love and family to return to the watery depths.
Swimming off the coast of Maryland, Virginia and countless other ports, she would glide through the water, wishing for a shiny fin and the grace of the sea. She imagined her hair in red waves, curling around her like russet seaweed. Later on, reading comparative literature, anthropology and biology textbooks, she learned that mermaids were most likely tricks of the light---romanticized porpoises---but it didn't take away the magic.
Enough of that long ago fairy dust still remains that she's talked him into staying on the beach for the night. Their case is finished, only paperwork remains for the next day. Unlike most cases, this one turned out to be relatively harmless. They were brought to this small South Carolina town to investigate alleged hauntings and missing children, but for once it turned out to be the work of mischievous, albeit troubled, children. It hardly demanded the attention of the FBI, much less the X-Files, and she suspects the locale was a much a draw for Mulder as the case itself.
Instead of feeling emotionally and physically spent, as she often does after a case, she's ready to relax.
"Are you sure we should stay at a resort, Scully?" he asks.
"C'mon, Mulder. We've stayed in fleabags this entire trip. Surely one night in a---ahem---more... expensive hotel will average the whole thing out to a normal expense report. We never do this."
He smirks and waggles his eyebrows. "Oooh, Scully! Treating herself on the Bureau's dime! I like it when you get rebellious."
"That has nothing to do with it," she argues. "This is a beautiful coastline. I'd just like to be able to wake up and see the ocean tomorrow."
It's after midnight and she's restless. She knows sleep will not come, that her body wants something it can't express. Looking out the French doors, she sees the splash of moonlight on the waves. She presses her ear to the wall that adjoins his room, listening to the breathy whispers and thin laughter that have become all too familiar when traveling with Mulder. She heaves a sigh, grabs her robe and a towel and leaves her room.
The moon is full and the sea is relatively calm. The waves beat a steady rhythm on the shore. Distant drumming, a primal heartbeat. The sand feels soft and cool under her feet. The sea breeze sends a delicious chill through her body, and she looks around the beach. It's utterly deserted. The spring break kids are gone and summer's crowds have not yet arrived. All the sensible guests are asleep in their rooms right now.
Somehow she's not feeling very sensible tonight. Walking closer to the shore, she slips off her robe and walks into the water. The sudden chill of the early May water takes her breath away, but the shock soon fades as its liquid softness settles around her like the caress of an old friend... like a long lost lover.
She plunges underwater and sinks into the sensation of it all, that feeling of flying beneath the waves, the beauty of weightlessness. When she emerges, she inhales the night air and is suddenly aware that she's been holding her breath for far too long, perhaps for years. It's been too long since she's ridden the tide and currents and truly felt the power of something far bigger than herself.
She hears a voice drifting from the shore. "Scully!!" She smiles and swims closer.
"Mulder, I'm right here," she calls. "Would you grab my robe?"
He averts his eyes as she walks out of the water, and holds out her robe. Ever the gentleman, she thinks with a trace of mischief, and she slips it on, then squeezes water out of her hair.
"Skinny dipping, Scully?" he asks, and she knows he's recovered a bit. "Feeling a little dangerous tonight, are we?"
"It's off-season," she says. "There's absolutely no one out tonight to see."
"Besides me, you mean," he winks, but then his gaze turns serious, protective. "You know, it's not the safest idea to swim alone at night," he says.
"The water's calm. I have enough experience with the ocean to know when it's safe. Besides, you were busy," she grins. "What got you out here, anyway?"
"I just thought I'd check on you, see if you were still up, too. When you weren't in your room, I got a little spooked." He looks at her, puzzled. "What brought you out here at 1:00 AM?"
She shrugs, looking out at the water. "Couldn't sleep... and I just started thinking about a summer when Dad was in training in Maryland. I was about thirteen and we rented a summer cottage. Sometimes everyone would be asleep and I would head out to the beach and swim under the stars. It felt like flying." She laughs. "Sometimes I'd try to smoke a cigarette after I was done."
He laughs with her. "It was that good, huh?"
"I'll bet you have similar stories with all that time on Martha's Vineyard."
"I don't know," he says. "I think I prefer pools, myself."
"Any reason why?" she asks. "You're usually game for anything."
"The sea is unpredictable. You never know when it'll turn on you---and I've got enough of that in my life." His voice takes on a low, serious tone. "My sister almost drowned once when we were kids. I've never forgotten that... it's almost like she was destined to go, one way or another."
They both sit silently for a moment, watching the reflection of the moon dance on the water's surface.
"Mulder," she asks, "don't you ever want to just jump in?"
"That's usually my line, Scully," he laughs.
"I wouldn't let anything happen to you, you know."
"You wouldn't---would you, Scully?" The moonlight plays on Mulder's face, highlighting the angles and curves of his face, his full lower lip. She's suddenly warm and the drying salt on her skin feels as if it is vibrating, glowing.
She feels powerful tonight, and she doesn't care that her hair is wet and mussed and impossibly wavy from the saltwater, that her face is devoid of makeup, that her feet are covered with sand. She is powerful tonight and she wants to pull him into the undertow of this force she feels.
The waiting, the tension, those invisible lines that seem so clear in the daytime... suddenly it all seems meaningless with her body attuned to the rhythm, the pulse of the waves. She reaches for him and pulls his lips to hers.
Their first kiss was months ago, and it was tentative, fearful, hastily dismissed. But this is soft and searching, a delicious exploration. She smells sunflower seeds on his breath. He tastes like sea spray.
"Scully, aren't we on a case?" he asks, as they slowly break apart.
"It's over. Done. Solved," she whispers, kissing his shoulder. "Time for us to jump into the water."
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