Title: And Goodnight Mouse
Author: Exe1121
Rating: Strong R
Spoilers: Specific for En Ami, Chimera and All Things, and some 
for the rest of season seven.  A small one for Never Again
Classification: SRA MSR/RST
Feedback: Live for it at Exe1121@mail.com
Distribution: If you want it, it's yours but please ask first.
Disclaimer: I don't own the characters mentioned here, the book 
Goodnight Moon, Oliver Twist, CVS or any other trademarked item 
found here.
Summary: How did Mulder and Scully go from En Ami to All Things?  
Well, it included childhood books, mice and sex.







And Goodnight Mouse
"Do you think there's a valid connection between children's books and the murders?" Mulder asks, a piece of pizza dangling in one hand, the other shifting through case files. He glances up when Scully doesn't answer. "You there?" he asks and it comes out sharper than he intended.
She feels uncomfortable in his apartment, constantly reminded of his arms braced against the door frame, his eyes avoiding hers. She picks at her own pizza and glances around his living room, seeing the piles of books, the basketball on the chair, the sneakers lying in front of the TV as if she's never been here before.
She thinks about the murders they're investigating, the way the killer leaves short quotes from books that have a place on a child's night stand.
"My dad used to read me Goodnight Moon over the phone," she says, kicking off her own shoes and drawing her feet under her. "When I was little and he was away for long stretches of time. I used to be afraid I'd forget what he looked like, smelled like when I didn't see him for that long."
Scully stands and moves over to his window, bracing her hands against his desk and straining to see the sky. She can see a single star and refuses to think about how lonely she is. Instead she wonders where the old lady went to in the last picture of Goodnight Moon and feels like the mouse, sitting alone on the window sill, looking for answers in the night. Even as a child she would question everything. Why did they leave the fire going if they're asleep, Daddy? How come that bunny gets to sleep in a bed? Did Bill try to hurt it too? Can cows really jump over the moon, Daddy? Can they? A child's book may not be responsible for the murders, Mulder, but it taught me how to question you.
"Do you really think Samantha is starlight?" she asks him to cover up her own emotions. It's a defensive tactic she's learned over the years. As long as Mulder has himself to talk about he rarely notices what she's feeling. She continues without waiting for him answer. "It's a nice thought. I mean, since you don't believe in heaven and God and all, it's a nice place for her to be."
Mulder can't quite grasp the conversation and it's not a new feeling. Ever since she returned from her sojourn with Cancerman they've been pulling at straws with each other, speaking in circles and not able to really connect.
Scully continues to look out the window, feeling terribly homesick all of a sudden. She misses her father's profile, backlit by a fire, her sister's laugh, the warm embrace her mother used to give her back when Scully allowed herself to be held. There's a hole in her heart that Mulder used to fill with his bad jokes, his goofy smile, the Chinese takeout he would bring over without warning. She's not sure they'll have that again, not after what happened two weeks ago. A fortnight, she thinks, feeling like a princess trapped high in a tower, able to see her Prince Charming but not reach him.
"I'm taking some time off," she abruptly states, turning back to look at him. "I need to get away for a while."
"I thought you all ready tried that," he says, looking at his shoes so he doesn't have to face the sudden flare of anger that crosses her face.
"I'll see you in a week, maybe two." She leaves without another word, taking her jacket and shutting the door behind her. He looks at the case spread in front of him, rubbing his eyes in frustration. It's a reach at best, he knows. The VCS can handle it just as well as he can and he thinks about asking Skinner to have them take a look at it. Some time off sounds nice, he realizes, standing and clearing the pizza boxes and half empty glasses of soda. Maybe they could both use a break.
XxXxXx
"I looked into his eyes," Scully tells him each night as he falls asleep. He can see her standing in the empty offices, angry that she can't prove her reasons for leaving him.
"What do you see in mine?" he had asked her before turning and leaving the room. She hadn't answered and he now wonders what she would have said if he had stayed to find out. He tosses and turns, the sheets tangling in his legs and he longs for a woman to wrap his arms around, to kiss and to hold as he falls asleep.
What would she have seen in his eyes, he asks himself. The affection and caring he normally feels for her weren't evident on his face that day. Betrayal, yes. Anger most definitely. A good deal of hurt, of confusion, of bewilderment.
He lays in the dark and stares up at his ceiling. The last time he had a break from work he was just out of the hospital and Scully was calling night and day to check up on him. She won't call him now, he knows. He'll have to make the first move towards forgivness this time; she has too much pride to do so herself. Maybe he will, he thinks.
XxXxXx
In her mother's house, Scully finds the thin hardcover book crammed between her ninth grade biology book and Charles Dickens' Oliver Twist. The first page is half torn, Goodnight missing the last three letters and moon gone completely. She flips it open, amusing herself by finding the mouse on each page, wondering why the sky gets lighter as the night gets later.
She thinks about a failed IVF, about a blond daughter she never got to know. She thinks about Mulder holding the child that will never be, about how good he is with children. If she's the mouse on the window sill, then he's the one leaning off the bookshelf, about to fall. Curiosity gets the better of him, making him forget that the pull of gravity is stronger than small claws digging into yellow painted wood.
I just wanted to make something right in this world, she thinks to him, across the city. She crouches there, holding the book tightly in her hands until her mother comes with the offer of hot tea and an old movie. I wanted to make the same difference you do. I wanted it all to be better.
XxXxXx
Mulder finds himself at the Gunmen's one night during his week off, out of places to go and things to do. They're a safe haven with a refrigerator full of beer and Domino's on their speed dial.
Tonight, however, they remind him of leaning against the door frame, angry beyond words at his best friend. It desperately makes him want to just yell at her and end this stony silence between them.
"Hey, Mulderman, look what we found," Frohicke announces, waving a red photo envelope at him. One hour photo processing, it boasts, and Mulder thinks it's ironic that they suspect the pizza man of spying yet let CVS develop their photos. "From New Years, remember?"
Mulder does. He dragged Scully to their holiday party after being released from the hospital. The guys and their guests got a kick out of the zombie stories and even Scully had relaxed and had a few drinks. Mulder also remembers the combination of pain killers and beers Scully didn't know about giving him the guts to kiss her again, her lips soft and warm under his, his fingers touching her cheek gently.
Frohicke spreads out the pictures on printer trays and empty take-out boxes, whatever flat surfaces he can find. Langly presses a beer into his hand and Byers wanders over from a game of Space Invaders.
There's a picture of Mulder and Scully sitting on the worn out couch in the back of the Gunman's lair, his arm across the back of the couch, their faces tilted towards each other. They look like they're in a world of their own, as if nothing exists outside of them. Mulder pockets the picture when the guys aren't looking and excuses himself after a while.
He sits in his dark car, the picture illuminated by a street light and is ashamed to feel tears burning in the back of his eyes.
If you had you looked in my eyes that night, Scully, he tells her, you would have seen something vastly different than the cocky, overconfident facade I was putting on. You would have seen a man desperately in love and unable to tell the one he loved. I'm right here Scully, just look up and see me.
XxXxXx
When Scully finally comes back to work she seems no different. Things are still awkward and tense between them, and they avoid spending much time together. She does autopsies and spends her time in the lab;, he consults for VCS. He takes his lunch break at noon and she's on hers when he returns. He comes to work late and leaves late; she gets there early and is out the door when the clock strikes five.
He misses eating with her, misses how her TV gets better reception than his does and considers buying a new one. Ever since his mother died and he inherited her entire estate, he's found himself with money that he doesn't know what to do with. He wants to take Scully out to dinner to spend time with her and tease her about how much salad she eats. He would if he thought she'd accept his invitation.
He thinks she misses him too but he can't be sure and doesn't want to ask.
He notices that she's more emotional lately, although they it takes the form of tears she thinks she hides rather than bright smiles. He wonders if she's mourning the child they tried to create just a year ago or the passing of another spring with no one to share it with.
She leaves Goodnight Moon on her desk one day when she steps out, and he picks it up, flipping through the worn and tattered pages. He's been seeing it with her a lot lately, something he can't figure out and he lacks the energy to try. He wonders if Scully would have read it to their child and tries to picture the scene in his mind. The Little Engine That Could, he grins to himself. That's the message she would want their son or daughter to have - you can do anything.
He wonders if the same applies to their relationship, if they push a little harder will they be able to fix what's wrong. Then he wonders if she cares.
XxXxXx
It's the first time they've been out in the field in almost a month, since her episode with Cancerman. They sit across from each other in a diner, his legs sprawled under the table and hers crossed neatly so that they don't touch. She snaps at him for stirring his iced tea too loudly, he rolls his eyes when she orders her fourth salad of the trip. She lays her fork and knife side by side when she's done, he knocks his with his elbow onto the floor. Lunch, a normally inconspicuous meal for them has become a battlefield, both of them hoping to get the last shot in.
Scully has to restrain a sadistic smile as his wayward elbow also knocks his water glass on the floor, the glass shattering and sparkling in the dim light. He curses and leans over to pick up the bigger shards. Another day, another time, she would have warned him about the danger of doing so, but today she just can't find the strength to care.
The red blood spilling from his finger, staining the napkins and what's left on his plate, is, however, something she *does* care about.
"Jesus, Mulder, let me see that," she says and he guiltily pulls the bleeding finger from his mouth. When she takes his hand it's the first time they've touched in a month and they both jerk slightly with the contact. That under current, the part of their relationship they try so hard to ignore, runs deep and strong between them now.
She can't find any band aids in her purse so she throws some money on the table and pulls him out to the car. She wraps his index finger in Neosporin, gauze and medical tape. She holds his hand a minute longer than necessary, admiring the light tan even this early in spring and the small hairs along the back of it. The long digits are slightly tapered and she remembers the feel of his fingertips resting on her cheek when he kissed her at the Gunmen's.
Mulder clears his throat and she drops his hand hastily, embarrassed.
"What, you're not going to kiss it better?"
The low timber of his voice catches her off guard, the quiet way he's speaking in a noisy parking lot. She knows if she looks up his eyes will be soft and friendly again, thankful that she's patched him up and made him whole once more. And she can't have that.
"Don't be so careless next time, Mulder," she snaps, walking around to the driver's side and ignoring the hurt look that crosses his face.
XxXxXx
Scully shoots an annoyed glance at her briefcase, angry that she can't find the report she has half written up. The door connecting her room to Mulder's gets the same look and she pulls a tee-shirt over her pajama pants and tank top.
When she opens the door without knocking to find him sprawled on his stomach on the bed. His feet lay on the pillow and his head is propped up on his fist, his eyes fixed on the TV.
"Did you know elephants are the only animals that can't jump, Scully?"
Discovery Channel, she thinks.
"Can I have the report?" She spies it laying next to him on the night stand, just out of arms reach, even his long one.
"Get it yourself."
"C'mon, Mulder," she says, dangerously close to whining. "I'm tired and I want to go to bed." He frowns for a moment before carefully reaching for it; when she sees the bulge in the front of his pants, she knows why.
We're wearing matching flannel, is all she can think, sorting through the report. She's seen him hard before, both asleep and awake, both covered and unclothed. She's pretty sure he doesn't know about that last one, but she's occasionally walked into his bathroom while he's showering to grab his comb or borrow his razor and the shower curtain has been less than opaque. He's impressive, yes, but it's not something she generally dwells on.
"Where're the lab results, Mulder? I put them in here."
He shrugs and changes the channel, dropping the remote back on the bed and not looking at her. "I thought you were tired. We can do this tomorrow." He's cranky because he's horny and because he knows he won't get any tonight. Not with his hand cut and Scully in the next room so that he's embarrassed to watch porn with her so close.
She frowns and leaves him alone with his erection and frustration, willing to wait until morning.
XxXxXx
Two weeks later Scully is sitting in front of a madly clicking slide projector, a Greek salad balanced on her lap as Mulder walks out of the room. She feels like she did the day that she asked him about getting a desk, rebellious and wild, ready to do something he'll hate. She all ready has, she supposes, preferring her bath to a trip to England.
But after that last stakeout she can't seem to get clean enough. Something about sitting in a dingy room for days watching frat boys puke and come has her taking hour-long showers, scrubbing at her skin until it's raw.
Things seemed to be getting better before he left; they had a few brief minutes of flirtiness right before he walked out, which she then ruined by complaining over the phone to him for days. The invitation to England is the first show of acknowledging her that he's shown all week, and she just can't bring herself to accept it.
She fingers the frayed edge of Goodnight Moon and wonders is happening.
XxXxXx
Mulder misses her terribly over the weekend; all the emotions he's been hiding behind his anger for weeks now expel themselves in a sudden show of tenderness as he tucks the blanket around her chin. He gathers up the tea cups and washes them in the sink, the hot water scalding his hands. It makes the small scar on his finger stand out and he looks at it for a moment before finishing the dishes.
He doesn't hear the pad of bare feet again the kitchen floor and jumps when Scully lays her hand between his shoulder blades.
"Scully?" he questions, starting to turn to her, when she grabs his hips and stops him.
"I don't want to look at you," she says in a flat voice.
"Oh."
Her hands slide across his belly and though other than that she doesn't touch him, he knows that if he leans back just a little she'll be there against him, warm and solid. The fingers of her right hand flirt with his waist band and her other hand pushes up his tee-shirt to touch his stomach. She runs a nail down the dark line of hair trailing south from his bellybutton and he shivers.
"What are you doing?" he asks, genuinely confused although he won't ask her to stop.
"Touching you," she responds in the same voice as before.
"Why?"
"Mulder," she says as if it's the biggest secret in the world. "I think I've forgotten how to kiss."
"Oh," he says again, leaning his own hands against the counter. "Nonsense. I kissed you a few months ago."
She hums low in her throat and he turns suddenly, his hands cradling her face as her own slip around to his slim hips again. She looks up at him for a long moment and he smiles fondly at her, at the fact that she barely come up to his shoulder without shoes. She smiles back, unsure of herself, of him, of everything.
When he leans down and kisses her, he wonders where all the anger that's been burning inside of him has gone and finds that he doesn't care. The kiss is slow and sweet and lazy as hell, his tongue wondering around her mouth, tasting lipstick, milky tea and her sweet breath. Her hands tighten on his waist and he takes a step closer to her. When they break apart with a small, wet sound, he takes her fully into his arms and rocks her back and forth.
"Never mind, I remember now," she whispers and he chuckles, his chin against her temple.
"Scully, that night, in Spender's offices," he begins and feels her tense against him. He plows on anyway. "When I asked you what you saw when you looked in my own eyes... what you saw that night isn't what I wanted you to."
She understands his Mulderesque, cryptic meaning and pulls back so she can look at him. Whatever she sees tonight in his eyes makes her smile.
XxXxXx
Hours later they lay in his bed and talk. They've been talking for hours, their throats dry and minds tired. They speak about inane things, like how sharks are the only fish with eyelids and that only forty seven percent of statistics are useful; they speak of serious things and he tells her about his brief marriage to Diana and she tells him about the time she was engaged for all of three weeks. They laugh and cry and kiss as they relive the best and worst parts of seven years together.
Mulder eventually climbs out of bed and hands her a plastic bag, the receipt still inside. She opens it and pulls out a first edition copy of Goodnight Moon. Her eyes sparkle with thanks and he squeezes her little finger in a Muldery.
She opens it and a single tear slides down her check when she reads what he's written. He brushes it away and takes her hand in his, marveling at the way her entire hand can fit in his.
"I love you, too," she says, and he's blinded by the smile she gives him.
"I don't really understand what it means to you," he says, his words half a statement, half an invitation to explain herself. Happiness shines from his eyes and she's never seen such a wonderful sight.
"I don't think I do either, completely. Just something comforting at the end of a long day."
"Is that what this is?" he asks. "The end of a long day?"
"No," she replies, holding his face in her hands and kissing him in between words. "It's the beginning of a new one.
Less than thirty minutes later and they're both naked, shyly looking at each other and getting used to being so exposed to another after all this time. Even after knowing each other for what seems like a lifetime, sex doesn't come easily between them. They argue, of course, about who gets to be on top and she hits her head on his chin once, causing them both to laugh quietly. But when the time comes, she's poised over him and he can feel her heat and moisture so tantalizingly close, they fall silent. Their eyes meet and she slides down.
You, me, us, he thinks, his brain quickly becoming white hot mush as he feels her gripping his cock.
"I'm inside of you," he gasps as she starts moving and he quickly looses the power of speech at the awesome power of it all.
"You have been for years," she replies and kisses him.
XxXxXx
End
Authors Notes: This is the first fic I actually wrote, but not the first one posted. So... is it my first or second or does it even matter? I was a little iffy about posting it- not a favorite of mine, but the beta insisted. Jess, I love you, by the way. You're the world's best beta and I doubt I could have done this without you. The gummy worms are in the mail.
http://squiggle1121.tripod.com/index.html