Eight Bells

by Christine Leigh

Title: Eight Bells
Author: Christine Leigh
E-mail: leighchristine@hotmail.com
Web site: http://cleigh6.tripod.com

Rating: R
Category: MSR, V
Spoilers: None.

Summary: Season seven. Occurs during "all things."

Archiving: If you would like to archive anywhere, I'd appreciate a quick note first.

Disclaimer: All characters are the products of Chris Carter. They also belong to Ten-Thirteen Productions and the Fox Network. No copyright infringement intended.

Eight Bells
By Christine Leigh

1:00 a.m.

So, the spy was beautiful. Mulder hadn't entertained that possibility, or any other for that matter on that day nearly seven years past. Procuring female companionship when he wanted it was not a problem. Her picture had been ordinary, or somber if he were going to be honest, but the woman who stood before him that day had a smile that transformed her. She wasn't his usual type, so while it wasn't like the first time he'd met Diana, it had occurred to him after the first words were out of Dr. Scully's mouth that he could at least have some fun with the spy for a couple of days if he wanted to. He remembers thinking that perhaps he should pull back on the speech he'd prepared, and chase her out the door slowly instead of at the record pace he'd envisioned. However, after a quick second thought, he'd stuck to his plan and barreled on through his speech. Then despite his stellar effort, none of what he'd planned had happened. All things had changed for him on that long ago day, and he will continue to be amazed until he goes to his grave that she stayed.

Now, as Mulder stares at her face against the cushions of his couch, all he can think of is that the woman he loves will be sleeping on the other side of his bedroom wall, and while he would rather have her in his bed, he is happy over this fact. They've slept in each other's presence so many times, but tonight is different. After years of skittering around them, as though an unexpected guest who there may or may not be room for, a promise had arrived. It was dark outside, but there in his living room it was dawn, as they acknowledged the truth about them. Typically, no words had been spoken, but the choice had been made, undeniably, and Mulder knows that if Scully hadn't fallen asleep that they might have moved on to that long overdue conversation. His heart goes there for the moment, as he gently pulls the blanket a little higher to cover her shoulders. He knows better than anyone how strong she is, but right now as he's covering her, her small frame appears so delicate. His emotions are high, as he gets his tired body up from the couch. He can see it, though, the two of them together, clear as day. He's seen it so many times, but tonight it's the real thing. Their time is near.

For a split second, even though Scully had been three-quarters of the way to slumber as she sat next to Mulder unspooling her story, she had tried to imagine her life that could have been, and immediately felt ill. She had experienced so many feelings during this day, but the one that resonated the most was how at home her heart felt as she sat next to Mulder and told him her tale. After a lifetime of standing outside a world where people loved and lived together, and pretending that it didn't matter that she hadn't managed to find that, she's through. She has arrived at the threshold of the remainder of her life, and that is a wonderful and powerful thing to ponder.

She had entered the Buddhist temple on a whim, mostly. Her emotions had been so stirred during the past few days, and she was feeling drained when she saw the door that led to the temple's courtyard. She really just wanted a place to rest. As she knelt and prayed, she had seen a panorama of her life fly by, and for a few minutes had felt overwhelmed. Then it had happened. One image took on clarity and it was as though she were in a time machine that transported her back to that awful, wonderful day that Penny Northern had died. Awful, because despite all the brave talk she'd given Mulder, until she'd felt his arms around her, she wasn't sure that she had the strength to fight the cancer. Wonderful, because that was the moment, the one that had been brought back to her so clearly on this day. She had known then just how much she loved him, and remembered thinking so desperately at the time that God wouldn't let her discover that and then take her from this life. The will to continue hadn't been borne of her prayers, but of Mulder's arms as he held her, and touched gentle lips to her forehead. Let me stay here forever she had thought as the scent of warm leather enveloped her. Then she'd left. It was too good, and she was superstitious. If she'd stayed longer in his arms, she wouldn't live to experience them again.

She left the temple feeling more than she ever had before. More life, more truth, and more love. She'd loved Mulder for so long, and now could think only of telling him this and of making love to him. If heart sounds could be heard, the people she passed as she walked back to her car would have been treated to the most beautiful music.

The rain had awakened Mulder, or so he thought. He had been dozing over his book, but then heard the rat-tat-a-tatting on the bedroom window and become alert. How long had it been since he'd left Scully on the couch? He'd been tired to the bone, but if she hadn't nodded off, he believes that his couch would have experienced the surprise of its life. They had come so close, and even in his too-traveled state, he'd been thrilled as he'd listened patiently to the story of her epiphany. After she'd fallen asleep, he'd looked at her, and he felt as though it was the first time he'd seen her, except that this time he knew without any doubt that he loved her, and that the love was returned. The only declaration he'd had was the sound of her voice wrapping around the words, "what if there was only one choice?" but that had told him everything. He'd lingered for a few more minutes and then forced himself to leave her side and go grab a quick shower before getting into bed. He tried to read a sentence or two before starting to fall asleep, but found that all he could do was listen. Until the rain started, he could hear her breathe every so often, and it was the most comforting sound.

Now, he steps as quietly as he can on the wood floors and returns to the living room. She is still out. He doesn't want to wake her, so he moves to crouch down on the floor from which vantage point he is almost eye level with her face. *Scully, do you know how happy I am tonight? Do you know why? Wake up, Scully.* He smiles at her. Scully will appear forever nineteen when in repose. Mulder had seen her sleep under many different and often bizarre circumstances, and the one commonality they all had was that Scully became a girl again when she slept. He loves that about her. He runs his fingers lightly over the blanket that covers her. Then he gets up and returns to his bedroom.

The last thing Scully had planned to do was fall asleep but there had been no fighting it. Now, through the haze of trying to wake up, she sees Mulder looking at her like he never quite has before, except for the one time. She wants to say something, but her mouth won't move. Is he really gazing at her this way? Or maybe she'd been dreaming of the hallway on that long past day. It must be a dream. She is trying so hard to say something, but is mute. She wants to move to touch him on the face or arm, but her body is weighted the way it always seems to be when a dream is either too good or very bad. She turns her head then, and her eyes pop open. She looks around. The aquarium gives off an emerald glow in the dark room, and she can hear rain. Where has he gone?

A glance at her watch tells her it has been nearly two hours since she'd finished her story, so Mulder must have gone to bed, obviously. She needs to see him, but is feeling somewhat at sea over what to do next. Dare she disturb him? She gets up and walks to his bedroom door, which he has left open a couple of inches. With one finger she opens it further and enters. He is resting on his left side, his face to her, as she stands there taking it all in. Mulder's bedroom is an x-file, no doubt, but now all she notices is his face. Even from the distance of a few feet and in the semi-darkness she is captivated by the beauty of his face, and in particular the silhouette of his eyelashes against his skin. He is sleeping soundly and quietly. Mulder has always been the better traveler of the two of them, but apparently he must have finally given in to the effects of his whirlwind trip back and forth across the Atlantic. She wants nothing more than to go kiss him awake, but can't bring herself to interrupt his peace. She finally moves, walking around to the other side of the bed. She isn't sure why she is doing this, but she just can't leave. Besides, from this angle she can see his back. Mulder has the body of a movie star from the 30s or 40s with his broad shoulders, narrow waist, and long legs in just the right proportions. That had been quite the surprise upon meeting him all those years ago. The last thing in the world that had occurred to her was that Spooky Mulder would turn out to be a Cary Grant for the 90s. She sits down very carefully on the empty side of the bed, not using all her weight, and extends her hand to graze his hair gently. Silk, still. How she loves to touch it. Then, not wanting to, but doing so because there is nothing else to do, she returns to the living room and her place on the couch. Perhaps in an hour she keeps thinking as she drifts back to sleep.

It was freezing on the newly created perimeter and the snow Mulder had thought beautiful as he'd witnessed the spaceship rising from the crater is suddenly eery. They will die here if they can't keep moving. That can't happen, not after all he'd surmounted to find Scully and then administer the vaccine. He'd been out of his mind with fear in the hallway when this had all started, and the fact that this is, by comparison, a saner moment, is an extremely small comfort. Sane or crazy, it doesn't matter; there's a life he wants to try living for once, so they have to keep moving. She'd kissed his temple while holding him, and a little dart of warmth had gone through his body. If only it were enough. She's alive, but that's only the first step. They need help, and fast, or they will die.

Enough. Scully has waited long enough. She gets up and folds the blanket and places it over the arm of the couch closest to the aquarium. She then walks to the bedroom and stands staring, as she had done earlier. Had Mulder sensed her presence, she wonders? Or even seen her, as she could have sworn she'd seen him, looking at her as she slid in and out of sleep on the couch? No, she guesses, as she watches him. He is still out, and soundly. She must have been dreaming.

She walks to the bathroom and looks at herself in the mirror. Had it really been today, well yesterday, now, that she'd said good-bye to Daniel? It seemed a thousand years ago. She'd felt sad, relieved, and at peace. One thing is for certain, though, the good-bye had been the most satisfying thing she has experienced in a long time. Her eyes are bright in the reflection. Could be better, she thinks, as she looks at her face and hair, but could also be worse. And really, she doesn't care. Well, not much. Then she closes the door just enough so that if Mulder does wake up, he won't see her. It isn't a matter of modesty, but of timing. She wants him to awaken to the feel of her next to him. She wants him to know that this is her choice, and that she has come to him no longer afraid. He's had parts of her on occasion over their years together, but tonight he gets the complete package - heart, body, mind, and soul. She undresses, removing all her clothes, and returns to the bedroom. Then, as if she has been doing this for years, she gets into Mulder's bed and lies down next to him.

They will die, this is all that is going through Mulder's mind as he tries to roll over and out of her arms, but he hits something. What the hell? Her arms. And her legs. He moves closer and now he feels the length of her body against his. The snow is gone. He needs to look away, and then back to make certain this is real, but his position in the bed won't allow for that. Instead, he shakes his head like a person trying to stay awake at the wheel, and then blinks his eyes wide open. Two big, blue eyes blink back at him. He'd been dreaming of Antarctica, and her arms that had held him tight, and then awakened to roll into her arms, no longer enclosed in his jacket. None of her is enclosed, actually, and the silky warmth of her skin is the most incredible sensation he's ever experienced. "Scully," he says, but then stops speaking as a small hand is placed over his heart. "Mulder," she says softly back, "it's me."

In what seems a lifetime ago, Mulder had sex with countless women and made love to two. Never before, though, has he wanted to experience a woman the way that he does Scully. In so many ways he'd made love to her before tonight, with tonight being the icing on the most delectable cake. He is reliving the moment that has just passed; the shock and wonder of waking to find her next to him. After he remembers to breathe, he lowers his mouth to hers and kisses her as gently as he had on New Year's Eve. She returned the kiss by probing his lips with her tongue, and the taste and feel of her as their mouths join provide a near-religious experience for him. This, he believes in. Oh, yes. When they break from the kiss they do nothing but look at one another, head-to-head on the pillows, not moving, but yet thrilling to what will happen next. When he feels her hand move beneath the waistband of his pajama bottoms he knows that some version of heaven can't be too far away. Then he hears her voice.

"Mulder, I think you should take these off." This is Scully, lying in his bed, naked, asking him to get naked, too. In his bed. Is he repeating himself? These facts would be on an endless loop that ran through his brain for some time to come. He gets up and quickly removes the garment. When he turns to face her, she is smiling (grinning?) and that somehow brings a note of normality back to the room.

"All good then, Scully?"

She nods, and then gets out of bed and stands before him. He's seen her nude before, but not like this. He knows she has a love-hate relationship with her complexion because of the way it betrays her emotions, but Mulder has never seen anything more lovely than her body as it appears before him now, lighted only by what has escaped the bathroom. It is the palest pink satin interspersed with dots of freckles, a delicious blush upon her breasts, and a splash of auburn between her thighs. He wishes he were an artist so that he could paint her portrait. First things first, however. He opens his arms, and she walks into them.

This isn't awkward. The thought that it might have been, almost makes Scully laugh since she can't remember the last time she has felt so sure of something. Mulder's body in its full, non medical emergency state as he stands there next to the bed, arms beckoning her, is the most beautiful thing in this world. After she has gone to him, and is in the arms that have held her so many times, every one of those times a step that has led to tonight, she has a second epiphany. This is the only religion that she would ever need. As long as she has this, she knows she can survive anything. She is ready to acknowledge that. As she glories in the softness and hardness of his flesh against hers, she is more alive than she has ever been. It is the ultimate rush. Minutes pass, and then she feels his hand on the territory of her back he'd claimed so long ago, gently guiding her back to the bed.

They don't speak. Her head now rests on his pillow and she can feel the warmth his body had left there. She remembers all the times she's imagined this happening and wonders if she will ever be able to leave his bed. She thinks of all the times she's surreptitiously watched his mouth engaged in eating a meal or snacking on his seeds, as she feels her body reacting to the touch of his mouth now. No man has ever done this to her in such a way. All the lovemaking she'd experienced prior to tonight had been small and contained, she is in the process of discovering. What is happening now knows no boundaries. She's been to Japan, but has never traveled so far as she has tonight. Soon, all coherent thought is gone from her head. He is over her, and then he is inside her, and exquisite is the word she will decide to call this moment later, after she has returned to earth. She has not seen any of it so far, as her eyes have remained closed. Then, as she starts to come, she opens them and looks at him for just a second. The look he gives her back is all it takes, and her orgasm crashes like a tidal wave.

Her mouth had tasted wonderful, but Mulder has no word to describe the taste he is experiencing now. Scully is all that keeps going through whatever part of his brain that is still functioning, and the flavor would remain so designated. He's never come near to feeling like this when making love before, and he knows that he never will again; this kind of experience can only happen once, and tonight he is among the blessed. There will be a lifetime more of nights and days, but none will be as precious as this is. As he moves his lips upward and then positions himself over her, he wants nothing more than to watch her face, but he has closed his eyes. The feeling of her beneath him is almost too much sensation and he needs to pace himself. He listens to her breathe for a few seconds, and then starts to enter her. Her legs encircle his waist in a grip that is both fierce and tender, and he has the happiest homecoming as he feels her receive him. He feels how close she is, and now he braves his heart and opens his eyes for a second to look at her. His reward is worth it. As he follows her, he thinks that he is no longer temporary in this thing that he's called his life. He wants to stay.

5:00 a.m.

Scully is as content as a kitten as she snuggles next to Mulder. She smiles at that thought, remembering his invitation when they'd been in San Diego last year on the Falls at Arcadia case. She'd wanted to get in that bed, but she hadn't yet known how. Now she has the opposite problem - she doesn't want to get out of this bed, but she knows she must. They are due to a meeting that starts at 8:00 a.m. sharp, and she has no fresh clothes of her own here. Perhaps that will change sometime soon, she thinks. She hopes. He's sleeping peacefully again, so much so, that when she looks at him she almost could believe that nothing of significance had happened during the past hours. Her body knows differently, though, and so does her heart. She has never felt so right as she does at the present. She leans a little closer to Mulder and very gently kisses his shoulder. Then she gets out of bed and looks around for something to write on, and finally sees a legal notepad in the room's clutter. She takes it with her to the bathroom where she quickly retrieves her clothes and puts them back on. The note she writes is short, but it says what she is feeling.


I had to go. When you see me next, I'll be the happiest baby cat in the room. I love you so.



Note: The title of the story refers to the bells that are struck on Navy ships to designate the hours of being on watch. Each watch is four hours and one bell is struck at each half-hour interval, therefore, four hours is equal to eight bells.

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