Classification: VRAH, AU, and more improbable scenarios.
Content: MSR and some other stuff you'll enjoy more if it's not spoiled in the headers.
Spoilers: Through S7
Time Frame: Third and final follow
up to my story "The God of Your Whims". It would be helpful
to have read that, so you know how they ended up betrothed, but it's not
necessary. You can find it here.
And just to be convenient and all, here's the first sequel, "Pillow
Talk: Worth" and the second, "Pillow Talk: Origins". It might help to read at least the first two Pillow Talk stories first. Author's notes and thanks at the end.
Pillow Talk 3: The Day
by Livia Balaban
Not *my* Scully. "Really?"
"Aha. Caught you. I only stipulated the absence of your *mother*, Scully. That means that Arthur would still have been there."
"That fact did not escape my notice, Mulder."
She's bluffing. She must be. "So, with Arthur there, and in full view of the remainder of the bar's other patrons, you would have."
"No question. Yes. Despite the stickiness potential."
"You're not the only one with a racy past, you know."
I don't think I want to know about this, at least not tonight.
"Oh for heaven's sake, Mulder. I might have let you do it with Mom there too, you know."
Ohhhhh, I get it. "You just didn't want to ruin your suit."
An exasperated sigh. "I've never attempted to remove blue curacao from ivory silk, but my guess is that it's not a simple proposition."
"So in other words, if I'd suggested body shots of Ouzo or something else clear, or promised not to spill..."
She raises her eyebrows at me.
"Dang," I mutter. "That would've been fun."
"Another good opportunity lost to poor communication. We need to work on that."
"Indeed we do." We have no excuse now. Not after today.
It happened. It really happened, and the sky didn't open up, the ground didn't fall away, the seas didn't boil and the rivers didn't turn to blood. Just a beautiful day - well, half-day - in Maryland with my three favorite people: an old friend, my new mother-in-law, and my bride.
No, not bride. That's too girly for Scully. *Wife.* Yeah, that's more like it. My wife. Scully is my wife. Wife wife wife wife wife. Sometimes when I repeat a word over and over again, it loses its meaning and becomes merely a jumble of sounds. But this word retains its significance no matter how many times I think it over and over inside my head. Scully has promised to love me and stand by me for the rest of her life, so help her God. She's my wife.
"I can name your thought in three words," she says to me suddenly, after a lengthy period of facial examination. At first I thought she was merely committing the moment to memory - and what a moment it was - but I think she's actually profiling me again, the little sneak.
Busted? Definitely. Right back atcha, gorgeous. "I can name your thought in two words." A see and a raise.
She doesn't even blink. "I can name that thought of yours in one word."
"Name that thought."
Her smile broadens but softens too. Her voice becomes warmer. "Wife."
I smile again. Maybe I never stopped, I don't know. But the little woman's guess is dead-on.
"Actually," she continues, "I think it's more like 'wife wife wife', but that's more than one word."
Damn she's good. "No," I respond though, grateful for her good humor. I was afraid she'd bristle at my possessiveness. "It's just the same word repeated over and over in astonishment. But yes, there was definitely repetition involved."
She settles back into the pillows. "Still more than one word, Mulder. If you were in the Express Lane at the supermarket, and the sign said, "10 items or less," - regardless of the grammatical nightmare inherent in that phrase - and you put fifteen of the same item on the belt, the other shoppers would be mighty pissed."
Is she out of her mind? "What item?" I ask, trying to follow her logic.
"Of course it does."
"Why does it matter what you're buying?"
"Because," I explain, "people will be willing to overlook fifteen rolls of film or fifteen packs of gum, but they're less likely to be forgiving in the face of fifteen birthday cakes or fifteen sides of beef."
"Mulder, what does this have to do with anything?"
Good question. "No clue. Personally, I'm falling back on delirious happiness and extreme sexual satiation as an excuse for my intellectual incoherence. You?"
"I'm not intellectually incoherent myself. But as for all that other stuff - - what you said."
I pull her a little closer. "We have some decisions to make."
"Okay," she mutters quietly against my chest. "Where do you want to start?"
"The name thing. What's your take on it?"
She snorts a little breathy chuckle. "Well, you're going to have to commit to 'Dana' in front of my family. Otherwise, it's doesn't really matter to me. And no, I'm not changing my name. That would be stupid."
It certainly would. I can picture it: We're out in the field, and someone yells, "Mulder, watch out!" I mean, who the hell is being shot at? So our surnames remain. As for the rest of it..."Would it bother you if I asked you to stick with 'Mulder'? I really don't like 'Fox'."
She sighs. "Sure. It doesn't bother me. The only people I've ever heard call you 'Fox' weren't my favorite individuals anyway. I always got the feeling they called you that because..." She stops herself.
"Nothing," she mumbles.
"No way, Jose. No more secrets. Why do you think they called me 'Fox'?"
Scully pauses for just a moment. "I think they did it because they didn't care whether you liked it or not. Your feelings on the matter were irrelevant to them. And I suppose I'm demonstrating my particular bias, but I find that inexcusably disrespectful."
She understands. I never thought she felt it too, but there it is, out in the open. She understands. It's not the name, it's the intention. When Scully says 'Mulder', with her honey-warm voice and loving delivery, it sounds the way 'Fox' should feel but doesn't. "Maybe later on, once we've been, you know, together for a while."
"It's okay, Mulder. It'll take me a while to get over those associations as well." Mmmm. 'Mulder'. I swear she could call me Cyrus Goatballs in that voice and it would sound like 'Darling' to me.
Back on track. Much to discuss before we *really* settle back in for a sequestered weekend honeymoon in bed.
"So we're all provisioned, are we?"
"Mm-hm," she mutters. With that voice. Rowr.
"Stuff. Lots of assorted stuff," she tells me playfully. "I guarantee you won't be disappointed."
"Impossibility itself. How much do I owe ya?"
"Oh please, Mulder. I have a half-million-dollar diamond on my hand. I think I can spring for the groceries."
I have to remember who this is. Under the diamond and the platinum wedding band is the most intelligent, independent woman I've ever known. I am a complete dork for thinking marriage would change her.
"Sorry. Wasn't thinking."
"That's okay. You're actually kind of cute when you're Cro-Magnon. Just don't make a habit of it."
"All right. Onward. Our personal possessions."
This time I take the lead. "Everything goes to the new place, except for the furniture and our old, crappy kitchen stuff. Your good china goes, but everything else stays for either disposal or donation."
That was easy.
Ooh. Forgot about that. "You're...uh...opposed to them?"
She chuckles. "When was the last time you watched one?"
She has me there. "Since before."
"Well then, it's time for them to go."
"But some of them are classics, Scully," I whine. "You don't really expect me to give away 'Shaving Ryan's Privates', do you?"
"All right," she concedes. "You can keep a handful of them. The classics."
I grumble with discontent.
"Don't be unfair, Mulder. I agreed to get rid of all but one of my bedside pals. If my choices have been reduced to only Mister Pink, you can settle for a couple of videos."
Mister Pink. The woman has a remarkable selection of vibrators in that innocent-looking night stand. It pisses me off no end.
It bothers me in part because she's had to seek pleasure in such an impersonal manner. Here I've been, smitten and waiting for her, but stymied on so many occasions. Hey, hey, enough of that. I'm here for her now.
The other part, of course - the really deflating, ego-busting, humiliating part of it - is that Mister Pink, clearly her favorite of the small pack of buzzing buddies, is a serious rival for my own package. It's one of those impressively large, unnaturally pink, semi-squishy, horrifyingly realistic surrogate penises. And it vibrates. I mean, how the hell am I supposed to compete with that?
Okay, I have a tongue, but they make those too, these days. Big, soft, hot-pink colored silicone rotating tongues. That never get tired or have to stop to remove a pube from its teeth. Damn them.
Compared with the vast array of mechanical aids available to women today, my video collection is lame.
"Mulder? You still with me?"
"You know, I wouldn't mind giving up Mister Pink altogether, if I knew you and I wouldn't be apart for extended periods."
"What?" She lifts one hand and caresses my cheek. I must have been doing that pathetic puppydog thing again.
"You do it for me, don't you know that?" Her voice is soft and sweet, and it's clear she means what she says. "So long as I don't have to spend more than two nights alone at a time, I won't need any other stimulation. I'll throw them all away, if you want."
"More than two nights, Scully?" My leer is back, I'm sure of it.
"Well," she concedes, chuckling, "I *am* in my sexual prime. Fulfillment of those needs is pretty much a biological imperative at this point. I was doing all right when I was alone, but now that we've - what was it you said a couple of weeks ago...opened the floodgates? - I don't think I could *not* need some form of sexual release daily."
I nuzzle the side of her face and smile again. "The hardships you put me though."
"Of course, I'd much rather it be with you, but I'll take what I can get in a pinch."
"Skinner will be happy to hear that," I tease.
"Don't start with me. For the last time, it was paperwork."
I don't even want to think of the ramifications. "But you'd rather have me than some inexhaustible, formidably-proportioned, vibrating toy that won't talk back or leave the toilet seat up?"
"It's that *love* thing, Mulder. Learn to deal with it." She sighs. "Mom seemed happy."
"So did Arthur."
The boys insisted on interviewing him after the ceremony. We dropped him off at the Gunmen's place on the way back home. I fear for what they'll pry from him, I really do.
She chuckles. "Well, we can only hope he quotes us accurately. Those vows were tricky."
"Yeah, they were," I say, kissing her temple. "It's hard to work 'cherish' and 'alien' artfully into the same sentence. But I couldn't help noticing, little miss," I accuse, poking her shoulder, "that while 'obey' didn't appear in your vows, it seemed to feature prominently in mine." Of course it didn't, but she's so easy to tease.
"That's because you understand the true nature of this relationship." She gives as good as she gets. "So why am I suddenly struck by the thought that while you and I were busy communing with a judge in Maryland, the Gunmen were all by their lonely, with little else to do but install surveillance equipment of their own?"
I laugh. "Who says they'd wait until today? They've known about us for at least a week. There are probably little lipstick cameras in both of our bedrooms. We'll have enough footage to make an entire anthology of honeymoon videos."
She lifts her head for a moment and gives me The Look. "You don't really think..."
"No," I say with a chuckle. "I'm sure they'd never do anything like that to us. If anything, they probably came in here and swept for devices while we were away."
She sighs. "You're probably right."
The calm of the moment stretches out, and happily sated, I start to nod off.
"I think we should tell each other a secret," she hollers. Well, it seems like hollering in that it startles me back to full consciousness. Her voice is actually fairly soft, and it has that smoky post-boink quality that usually sets me right off for another round. But considering we just finished Round Two, and I'm close to forty, the old boy is D-O-N-E. When I tucked him in for the night, it was with the knowledge of a job well done and the promise of more in the morning. So The Voice doesn't get to me now.
But the question does. She wants to trade secrets? I think that scale is already pretty badly unbalanced.
"I told you the two biggest secrets of my life already, Scully," I protest meekly. "You've known about Samantha since our first case, and I told you about Colin last week. There's nothing else to tell you. YOU, on the other hand, have held those secret cards very close to that lovely chest of yours. So it begs the question, Mrs. Mulder..." and I freeze.
"Jesus," Scully mutters.
Yup. No arguments there. Jesus on a Triscuit: Mrs. Mulder. That's fucking twisted. "Sorry," I murmur.
"It's okay," she lies unconvincingly. "I just wasn't prepared, I guess."
"Bullshit," I offer. "It's weird, Scully. My Mom was Mrs. Mulder."
"No really, it's okay, Mulder. Maybe we just need to find an alternative."
She shakes her head. "I got enough of that during my residency."
"Sugar pants?" So much for working out the problem. Goddamn defense mechanism.
"That would impress. 'Our findings were inconclusive at best, sir. And with the detailed explanation of the forensic evidence gathered during the investigation, here's Agent Sugar Pants.' I'd be popular."
I grumble. "For all the wrong reasons."
"Right. So, why don't we try the Mrs. thing again? I promise I won't wince. I really do like your name."
She settles back in, snuggling her head under the right side of my jaw. "Now I recall you seemed headed toward chastisement just before you embarked on your most recent tangent."
I chuckle. Anybody else would have attempted to avert an incoming rebuke, but not my Scully.
"My Scully." I really like the way that sounds.
"Yes dear," she coos playfully. "Now out with it. You seemed to imply that I've been less forthcoming than you in the realm of secret-telling."
"You are correct. I don't know anything deep, dark, and secretish about you. By my count, you owe me at least two. In a row."
She exhales against my chest and concedes. "All right."
For a while, all she does is play listlessly with a few random, and occasionally painful, chest hairs. After moving her hand gently, I settle back and wait for her pronouncement.
"I had an affair with a married man."
That was unexpected.
Then in one breath she spills, "I was a resident, and he was one of our instructors, and shut up Mulder, yes I'm aware of the trend."
"I wasn't going to say anything." At least I don't think I was going to.
I nod. I don't know what to say. I've always thought of Scully as the most ethical person I've ever known. I can't say my opinion of her has changed, but I think that maybe she's just a little more human to me now. I guess anybody could find themselves in that kind of situation. I try not to be judgmental. After all, I've hardly demonstrated flawless judgment with my own behavior.
"Thank you for telling me," I say, and she sighs. "How did it end?"
"Badly," she tells me. "Daniel didn't want to let me go and he told me as much. I was a little afraid he would stalk me, so I moved in with a girlfriend for a while. I was really doing fine until she and I went to the movies a couple of weeks later. We went to see "Against All Odds". Do you remember that movie?"
How can I forget it? Rachel Ward all sweaty, boinking Jeff Bridges in an old stone temple? That one scene was hotter than most of the *hardcore* fuck films I've purchased over the years. "Yeah," is all I say though.
"All her relationships were becoming so intense that she cried out to her new beau, 'Can't anyone love me without it being life or death to him?' and I had a panic attack. I had to leave the theater."
"Now look at you," I tell her with a weird combination of levity and pride. "You can face down zombies without flinching. You've come a long way, baby."
"Okay, so what's secret number two?" I stroke her back lightly so she'll know it's okay to keep going. She's such a private person, and sometimes I forget how different she is from me. I stick with levity though, because it seems to be working. "Please tell me you had a really hot affair with another woman and you want to tell me all the little juicy details."
"Sorry," she chuffs, "no such luck. But here's a freebie: I already knew how to hit a baseball."
I smile broadly, even though she can't see it. "I know."
And suddenly the tables are turned. When I told her about my brief, unsuccessful marriage to Molly, I was astonished that she'd already known. Now it's her turn.
"You did not know, Mulder."
"I most certainly did. You are a terrible actor."
"Why didn't you call me on it at the time, then?"
Is she kidding? "We'd been at each other's throats for months, Scully, and I was finally reconnecting with you. Besides," I growl mischievously, "why would I have given up a perfectly good excuse to rub up against you for an hour and a half?"
"You have a point."
"Okay," I say, tallying the secrets so far, "that's one full-fledged secret and one freebie. I believe there's still another coming my way."
"You already got that one."
Her tone is suddenly patronizing. "The singing?"
Oh, the singing. I nearly forgot. She hasn't sung a note since that fateful evening in her apartment after one horrible fight that turned into one life-changing night. To be fair, though, we've been boinking a hell of a lot, and that's just not good for the voice.
I'm enjoying the openness of this - something she doesn't show me nearly enough - and I don't want it to end. Before we can spoil the rhythm of the conversation with a meaningful pause, I stoke the flames a little. "That was worth another one. All right, I know how to ride a horse."
"I'm pretty good at tennis," she lobs back.
"I played the trombone for two years in high school."
"I played the clarinet for a month."
"I smoked pot during my first year as a profiler."
"Really?" she asks. "How did you pass the drug screens?"
That is a really long story. I abbreviate it. "A friend made a little...donation."
She nods. "I've smoked opium."
"Right. That's where I knew you before. I was a guard for your harem."
"No, really," she insists in a low voice. "I did a bit of everything in college. I don't think there's a drug out there I hadn't tried, except for heroin."
She can't be serious. "Are you shitting me?"
"Nope." Her tone is clipped. She means business. "Crack wasn't out then, and ecstasy wasn't widely available at the time, but everything else..."
"Wow." This is shocking. "Weren't you afraid of addiction?"
She laughs. "On a student budget?"
"Addiction makes people do stupid things, including theft."
She pauses for a moment. "I suppose I probably knew that somewhere in my head, but on my budget, I couldn't afford to become addicted in the first place. So, no problem."
Really, wow. I've only ever smoked weed. And I thought *I* was the wild one. "What were they like?"
"Hmm," she murmurs. "All the marijuana derivatives had the same general effect, but some were more potent than others, and they were all very different going in. Hashish gave a quicker, harder high, but it burned a little more. Hash oil was the strongest of the three, but it was wretched. I wouldn't use that stuff to lube a crank case."
I chuckle. "Cocaine?"
"Jumpy. Burned my nostrils, dripped down my throat, and made me feel like I was in a blender. I only tried it once. I wouldn't wish that kind of high on anybody."
I've never discussed the effects of hard drugs with anybody I knew and respected. This is fascinating stuff. "Did you experience paranoia?"
"Horrific paranoia. I was absolutely certain everyone in the room was evaluating my behavior."
"You mean, what other effects did cocaine have?"
"No, I mean what other drugs have you tried?"
"Oh," she says, scratching the top of her shoulder with delicate fingertips. God, she's even sexy when she scratches. "I tried psilocybes. I don't recommend them."
"What was it like? Did you hallucinate?"
"Yes and no," she responded. "It wasn't in any way like the realistic hallucinations we had with that underground fungus. It was more of an effect on what I *did* see...sort of like looking at the world through a kaleidoscope, for hours and hours. I actually got a little motion-sick."
My Scully actually ingested magic mushrooms. I am beyond impressed. "Another one-time experience?"
"Mm," she replies. "After that, I refused - flat out - to try peyote or LSD."
"Good call," I respond supportively. "What else?"
"You know, come to think of it, there are plenty of drugs I never tried. PCP seemed too frightening to experiment with, and I had no interest in amphetamines."
"Wuss," I tease with a gentle prod of my shoulder. "Barbiturates?"
"Mm-hm," she confirms. "Nothing special. You've been in the hospital, Mulder, so you know all about sedatives."
"So tell me about the opium."
Her voice goes dreamy. "Opium...dear God..."
I've only heard her use that tone with regard to two things: Baskin & Robbins' Chocolate Mousse Royale ice cream and my tongue in just the right spot. I think I'm a little hurt that I have more competition than I'd previously known about. "That good?" I ask innocently.
"Oh, Mulder. Opium is...it's..." She exhales a short, sharp breath. She's obviously trying to put her thoughts into words. And it's doubly clear to me she's never done it before, not about this. "I think I can understand why so many people removed themselves from their lives and lived in opium dens. It's a...it's such a beautiful high."
This is amazing, really. "Beautiful?"
That dreamy voice is still in evidence. "It's perfect. It's the perfect high. It's a euphoric - it mimics the effects of endorphins - so it provides the dual benefits of pain relief as well as an extraordinary sense of emotional well-being. But it's more than that. There's no dizziness, no nausea, no strong jolt of going up or coming down. It eases into your system and then just eases right out. It's wonderful. I felt - I mean I literally felt - as if I could fly if I wanted to. The optimism I felt was unparalleled. I felt calm, in control, and blissfully happy."
"It sounds amazing. So why aren't more people addicted to it?"
"Well," she says, the dreamy quality gone, having been replaced by a hint of 'sheepish', "there is the matter of constipation."
"*Intense* blockage. It's a common side-effect of the drug, and it does a very effective job of de-gilding the lily after the fact."
I chuckle. "Any others?"
She shakes her head. "No. After that I realized I was at a decisive precipice, and I walked away clean."
Scully's warm breath flows over my collarbones on a sigh. "No." She shifts her weight a little, as if she's evaluating her opinion on the matter. I'm proven right when she continues. "I've matured a great deal since then, but I remain convinced that everyone should do something wicked and sinful and utterly, utterly wrong at least once in their life."
I think about this and approve, but really, it's a matter of scale. I doubt I could use that theory to rationalize holding up a liquor store, but I also have to wonder if boinking on a tombstone or blowing another guy is wicked enough. Honestly, I don't think so. And now I'm a married man, so goodbye opportunity.
"I think I missed the boat, Scully."
"What boat?" she asks.
"The wicked, sinful, utterly wrong boat," I snort. "I appear to be the lightweight in this partnership when it comes to decadence."
She strokes my chest with one small, soft hand. "Of course you are." When her hand stops suddenly and she lifts her head, I see her eyes are wide with surprise. "Did you really think...?" She chuckles softly and a sad smile curves her lips. "Oh, Mulder, you're a victim of your own PR."
I know. The day I started buying into the mystique of The Man in the Basement, all my real trouble began. I have been working on the ego in recent months, though. There's nothing like falling fifteen feet through hardwood and landing on one's ass to provide a well-needed hit of perspective.
Scully, intuitive as always, gets where I am at the moment. "You're still a first rate monster hunter, Mulder," she reassures me. "I'd have left a long time ago if I didn't, deep down, dig the derring-do."
I see who's responsible, at least in part, for that PR of mine. I wonder if she realizes how much of an enabler she is. Hell, I might as well cut loose that last skeleton and bolster my image; at least before her most common thoughts about me devolve from swashbuckling to how I leave my socks on the floor all the time.
I have an idea how this is going to play out, but it's time I guess. "I was Clarice Starling," I tell her.
She lays her head back down on my chest. "Another secret?"
"Is this a metaphor?"
I shake my head. "The real deal."
She breathes out a little sigh and asks, "When?"
I haven't thought about it in a long time, but today's events have been a constant reminder of that horrible week. "My first year in the Bureau."
I must have sounded pathetic to her, because she encourages me in a warm voice. "Tell me about it."
I figure it's easier to just recite the facts as if I was giving a report, because I don't want to ruin the mood here. Although we've been chatting about some deeply personal things, there's still an overriding atmosphere of contentment.
"I started profiling almost immediately out of Quantico," I begin. "They kept me behind a desk at first. I was field rated and I was eager to get out there and kick some butt, but Patterson kept reminding me they'd hired me for my brain. I guess it was probably a little irrational of me to be offended."
I shrug into the pillow. "I was an eager kid." I lift my hand away from Scully's arm and scratch behind my ear. "I probably should have warned them about my energy issues," I tell her and slip my hand under my head. Maybe a casual physical posture will force me to relax. It's not a pleasant story.
Her hand smoothes flat on my chest and stills. "Did you investigate something you shouldn't have?"
"Not that that would have been a strange development, but no. I was assigned to profile a killer who'd skinned his victims in patches and left moth cocoons in their throats."
"Just how Harris wrote it."
Still pisses me off. "Yeah, but he got it from that motherfucker Douglas."
"The very same." Son of a bitch still has the nerve to pretend he invented criminal profiling in '91. Someone should have informed him I was writing up profiles back in the 80s, and a generation of agents wrote them up before me. Only we called them "perpetrator behavior models".
"Pity he didn't pay attention in class the day they taught source attribution," Scully says coolly. I fucking love this woman.
"Doesn't matter," I lie. "So I worked up a perpetrator behavior model on our UnSub and I didn't like what I found. I suggested he was someone the first victim knew, but the team brushed me off."
"So who was your Hannibal Lecter? Not Monty Propps, I hope."
"No," I reassured her, "not Propps. Unless I wanted a few ounces of drool on my paperwork, he was pretty useless at that point."
"A few too many bad ECT sessions, I was told." Fried his brain is what they did. He's still alive, locked up, unable to take a piss without assistance.
She shakes her head.
"My Lecter was a very creative serial rapist by the name of Duggins. Like Lecter, he'd been a psychiatrist, and a good one at that, but one day he'd found that listening to privileged people whine all day about their petty problems tipped his inner power balance unacceptably. That night he went out, picked up a girl and raped her with a dog's hind leg. They never did find the rest of the dog."
"You are making that up, right?"
"Wish I was. The rapes escalated from there. The second girl died, and that was when he found his rhythm. Kept his cool the whole time, even when they brought him in. During the initial interrogation he offered to draw pictures of each attack, and asked the lead detective in what style he'd prefer to have the sketches."
"Was he helpful or just manipulative?"
"Actually," I tell her, "both. He was the one who got me thinking seriously about regression therapy and contacting Dr. Werber. He also told me about the moths in the case I was investigating and suggested that transformation was an important theme. Unlike Lecter, Duggins didn't know the perp personally, but he was very insightful.
"I gave my suggestions and recommendations to the team, but I was voted down in favor of a more conventional manhunt, and they left me at my desk."
"Yeah, they didn't know me very well back then."
"So was there a sympathetic authority figure?"
I shook my head. "And Duggins was only helpful to a point. That whole 'we covet what we see every day' thing was mine."
I felt her lips tug at a few chest hairs as she smiled. "I should have known. Was there a high-profile connection?"
Ah. Well. Scully's remembering the Senator in the book, and that nagging, sinking feeling in my stomach makes itself obvious again. I really should have told her. "Sort of. It was the wife of a traffic court judge, not the daughter of a senator. You might have heard of him. His name was Thomas Pinkham." Three, two, one...
She sits up, the sheet slipping carelessly away from her breasts and settling down around her hip. "Superior Court Judge Thomas Pinkham? The man who performed our wedding this afternoon? The man whose wife inexplicably wept and embraced you at our ceremony?"
Yeah, I guess I should have told her. "It was a long time ago. I knew I was calling in a favor asking him to perform the ceremony, but I didn't figure they'd still feel so attached. They were pretty grateful at the time."
I try ignorance as misdirection because I've never quite figured out how to tell my partner there's some family one state over who considers me their patron saint. They still send me a Christmas card every year, packed with pictures of their children. The first photo came a couple of years after the incident. In the card Pinkham wrote, "This is our son, Michael. He and his mother would not be here today if it hadn't been for your courage and self-sacrifice. Donna and I will be indebted to you all our lives for the gifts of his life and hers." I've always been a little reluctant to move away from that apartment; I know I wouldn't be able to send them a change of address card and those notes every year always helped me feel a little more connected to the world.
When I called him a few weeks ago to see if he'd be game to perform our wedding ceremony, his voice cracked as he told me what a privilege it would be for him. He asked me a few choice questions about Scully, and his words during the ceremony reflected the care with which he'd been listening to my answers. It really was a touching ceremony.
The part that really got to me was such a simple thing; he said, "One noble soul has met its worthy reflection; kindness and generosity, instinctive self-sacrifice, and deep, respectful love are now returned in equal measure, and this is by far the summit of partnership." Shit, I'm getting choked up again as I think about it.
Scully shakes her head in what appears to be a normal response to my being me; disbelief mixed with an equal dose of exasperation. I suppose it would be far too obvious for me to admit I got the sweeter end of this deal.
Slumping down again next to me, she lifts the sheet just enough to cover her important bits and settles back in. "It was his wife you saved."
I nodded. "I did go in alone -- yes, I know it was stupid, I got the lecture already, thanks -- and I did apprehend him in his home. He had been a frustrated pre-op transsexual who'd been denied the surgery due to psychological problems, and he had been making a skin suit for himself as a substitute for the real thing. Unlike Harris' depiction, he'd been taking the proper hormone cocktail, so he already had breasts. The 'tit vest' thing was fiction."
She is silent.
"You probably didn't need that image," I apologize.
"The image I didn't need was the dog leg. Actually, I'm wondering how Agent Douglas picked up so many details of this case and passed them on to Harris without any significant consequences."
I shrug. "Old Judge's Club?"
"I don't get it," Scully replies.
"Webster was Director at the time. He'd been a judge before he joined the Bureau, and I'm sure Judge Pinkham informed him of his plans to tell the media about the case. Webster wasn't exactly shy around the media either, so that frenzy probably fuelled his permissiveness with Douglas and Harris."
"In any case, Douglas got his talk show circuit, Harris got his bestsellers, and the movie got its Oscar."
Scully scratches her thigh. "Oscars."
I couldn't agree more. "No, it really doesn't, but it's not my fault you're worth more than all that combined. They'll all just have to suffer with fame."
One soft, elegant arm drapes over my waist.
I kiss the top of her head. "I wasn't being sarcastic."
She sighs. "I know. I love you, too." The arm squeezes a little. "To hell with Donahue: I have you and one particularly lucky playing card in my wallet."
"And a big blue diamond," I add.
"And a mansion in Cleveland Park."
"And a gorgeous voice," I remind her. "I want to hear you sing again."
Her fingernails drum a little scratchy rhythm on my chest. "The original plan had involved karaoke. Give me large quantities of alcohol and we'll see."
I smile. "I'll bring the Ouzo."
The tiny drumbeat slows and becomes a gentle caress. I feel the sound against my skin almost before I hear it; a sweet melody hummed in Scully's warm tone. I know the song well by now, as she must know, because the meaning of her choice is clear.
I may never solve the big mysteries of life, but my heart is less troubled than it's been since childhood.
I wrap my arms around her and hold her close. "Wheresoever she was; there was Eden."
She stops humming and asks, "What's that from?"
"My second favorite Twain story," I tell her in a drowsy voice.
"What's your first?"
Too tired to answer, I drift away, floating in a rosy sky above a golden field of wheat.
Notes: Beta thanks and oceanside villas to Sybil for the primo shredding and "that" removal. The referential homage to Lysandra I offer up with love.