At This Late Hour

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Summary – Scully recalls what happened after falling asleep on
Mulder’s couch.

Originally posted Sept 2000

Rating – PG13
Category – MSR
Spoilers – Post all things, mentions scene from Triangle.

Disclaimer – I make no claims on the characters. All characters are property of 1013 Productions, Chris Carter, and Fox.

She left the building. The wind slammed the door shut behind her. She hurried across the street to her parked car, struggling to keep her overcoat around her as the wind whipped about her. Once in the car, she took a deep breath and exhaled slowly. What am I doing, she thought, why am I running? She had two choices: she could go back into the apartment she just left, or go home. Leaving made this evening sordid in a way, as if it was a mistake. But the prospects of staying were distressing. It would mean change. She wasn’t sure she wanted that.

It was so late. She could see the horizon starting to lighten with the impending sunrise. Why was she making things so difficult for herself at this ungodly hour? She started the car and drove away…


Mulder woke up. The wind was really strong. That must have been what woke him. He could hear the trees rustling near his window. He realised he was alone and that didn’t seem right. His mind was still foggy with sleep. Was he dreaming that she had been there? “Dana?” he called out surprising himself, not quite realising he said it out loud. “Scully?” he called this time figuring she might not respond to a name he called her so infrequently. There was no response. He rolled over and sank back into the bed. He considered phoning her, but to say what? Come back? She must have left for a reason. He was slightly annoyed, but sleep soon overcame his displeasure.


Scully settled into her own bed. The sheets were so cold she shivered. She pulled the comforter under her chin and tried to wrap it even further around her. She looked at the clock. She worried, God, how am I ever going to get to sleep now? Her mind was ablaze. Tomorrow is going to be awkward. What if he wants to discuss it? What if he doesn’t? Wouldn’t that be worse? How would she explain why she left? I have to slow down, she told herself. She rolled over to look out the window. She watched the trees swaying violently in the wind. Her mind began to go over what happened that night…


Scully awoke to find herself lying down on Mulder’s couch. Her head was in his lap. She vaguely remembered him moving her while she dozed. He muttered something about it not being good for her neck. She remembered feeling too sleepy to fight him. She looked up at him now. His face was illuminated by the television. His head was tilted back and his eyes were shut. She noticed the stubble starting to grow along his jaw line. She continued to gaze at him and she was overcome with an urge to reach up touch his cheek, but she resisted. Suddenly she felt uncomfortable by his proximity and she sat up sliding along the couch to put some distance between them. His head snapped up. He shut off the TV, “Sorry I guess I dozed off. You okay?”

“Yeah,” she replied rubbing her eyes. “How long was I asleep?”

Mulder told her, “About an hour. You should go back to sleep; you’re exhausted.” She made an uncommitted nod. His voice had a mixture of tenderness and concern, “Look, Scully, you can stay here. I’ll take the couch…Have you been sleeping at all lately?”

Scully’s fingers ran through her hair pulling the errant strands out of her face to the back of her neck. She ignored everything but his question, “The last few days have been kind of stressful. I’ve had a lot to think about.”

He seemed amused by this.

“What’s so funny?” she asked.

“Nothing really. I just started to wonder if maybe your extraordinary experiences over the last few days were due to a lack of sleep. And I realized, that it sounded like you when you try to rationalize our cases.”

Her eyebrow arched. “Try?” He shrugged.

She rolled her eyes. “How cute. Are we beginning to resemble each other too? Should we buy matching sweat suits yet?”

He just grinned at her and she stifled a yawn. They both sat back on his couch. They were quiet but they were relaxed. She started playing with her hands so that she wouldn’t have to look at him.

She renewed the subject they were discussing before she fell asleep. “I’ve been thinking a lot about regrets lately. This whole thing with Daniel has really brought a lot of things into focus.”

He watched her. “What do you regret?” He wasn’t really sure he wanted to hear this.

“It’s not so much regrets, I guess. It’s the ‘what ifs’. Like if I had practiced medicine, I might not be with Daniel. I could have left him without leaving the profession. I didn’t have to run away all together. I’d certainly have made my family happy…” She trailed off.

She could see his thoughts continued where she left off, listing off what she never would have lost or endured simply for being his partner.

“Do you regret not choosing medicine?” he finally asked swallowing hard. She wondered if he was really asking if she regretted being with him.

She looked at him now. “I’ve told you before that I always wanted to do something so that I could make a difference. That’s why I went into medicine, to have a bigger more direct impact on humanity than physics could provide me. But I’ve learned and seen so much here that I would never have encountered in any doctor’s office or hospital. I never would have imagined the things I’ve discovered. It would be hard to say that I regret this choice. I would have never met you for one thing…and of course I couldn’t regret what I didn’t know, but I’d probably feel like I was missing something.”

He pressed her, encouraged with her mention of him. “Do you feel like you’re missing something now because of the choice you made?”

“I don’t know. When I made the choice to enter the FBI, I figured I could always go back to medicine someday. I think it’s still in the back of my mind. But I often wonder how I can go from this to the everyday life of medical practice. I know it has it’s own excitement, but I can’t see how it could compare.”

She was more awake now. She asked, “What about you, Mulder? Do you regret completely devoting yourself to a cause that some might think unrewarding?”

“You think it’s unrewarding?”

“I didn’t say that. In fact, I just said the complete opposite if I recall correctly,” she retorted.

“Sorry, I went on the defensive. Instinct,” he apologized. She nodded in reply, “Well?

He shrugged. “Well, I think about what could have been all the time. But I don’t dwell on it too long. For some reason, it seemed like there was never an opportunity to make another choice.”

They were quiet again. Scully was looking at her hands again. She was trying to form another question. At last she spoke almost haltingly, “Do you remember when we found you in the Bermuda Triangle, when you woke up in the hospital? Do you remember what you said to me?”

He was momentarily stunned. She turned to see the shock register on his face. He couldn’t believe she was asking him this. He wasn’t even sure he heard her right. She was almost whispering. It had been nearly two years since that incident had happened and they had never mentioned it since. She could hardly believe she got the words out.

“That I would never see you again?” he asked her. He knew full well that this wasn’t what she meant, but he wanted to make sure it wasn’t just his wishful thinking.

“No, after that.” She wouldn’t say the words.

“Yeah, I remember.” He decided not to say them either, recalling how she rebuffed him after he had said the words. “What about it?”

She turned away from him again. She asked, “Do you regret it?”

He asked incredulously, “What? Saying it?”

She shrugged slightly. “Yeah”.

He paused for a moment as if he was trying to guess what she wanted to hear. “I can never regret telling you the truth.”

They were both quiet again. But this time the silence was heavier and uneasy. He spoke again, “I know you thought I was delirious at the time, Scully. But I knew what I was thinking and feeling. It just felt right to say it then. I was honestly grateful to see you and I wanted you to know that.”

She still said nothing and she still didn’t look at him. She sat hunched over looking again at her hands. He moved to sit closer to her on the couch. He put a hand on her back. He spoke again softly, “I guess if there’s anything I do regret about it, it’s that I didn’t tell you sooner, and that I haven’t told you since. And that it took the prospect of never seeing you again to make me tell you at all.”

His moved his hand and began to rub her back. He continued trying to explain. “When they brought you back after your abduction, when you woke up, I refused to lose you again. I never thought I would. Even when you were sick it never occurred to me, it never sunk in that you would…that I’d actually lose you. Whether I had a dream or a hallucination on that ship or not, I saw the reality of losing you, of never having you in my life. And I knew if I ever saw you again that I had to tell you.”

She couldn’t hear any more of this. She wondered what possessed her to even bring it up. Anxiety began to rise in her chest. She thought about leaving. She looked to the door wondering whether she would be able to make a break for it. But her eyes fell onto his jacket and hat lying in a heap on the floor. She remembered how she ran into him that day thinking he was the woman wearing the same jacket and cap she had seen over the last couple of days. You may want to slow down, the words Colleen spoke echoed in her mind. She buried her face in her hands. I need to slow down, she thought. She began to contemplate whether all her decisions that day had led her to this point. Rejecting Daniel’s offer, opening herself up to holistic practices, going back to Mulder’s apartment, asking him these questions, all these events brought her here, would she turn back now? Her conflicting emotions caused tears to well up in her eyes. She wiped at them. He noticed and gently pulled her hands away from her face and turned her to make her face him.

He reached out and to move some hair away from her face. She didn’t draw back although he thought she would. Instead, she caught his hand as he was pulling it back and held it to her lips. She kissed the palm of his hand. Then she looked up at him. Her hands moved to his face and she pulled him into hers. He responded to her and pressed his lips to hers. Her hands were an insistent pressure on the back of his head and it felt like she was pulling him further into their kiss. His hands were in her hair, on her back, on her waist; he wanted to be touching all of her.

When they parted, she wrapped her arms around his neck and turned to whisper in his ear, “I love you.” It was so easy to say. Why had she never said it?

His arms wound together around her back and he held her tightly and said, in return, “I love you, too.” He kissed and nuzzled her neck, breathing in the wisps of fading perfume.

They continued to hold each other until their arms ached. She moved from the discomfort, and Mulder flinched away from her afraid she had changed her mind and was trying to pull away from
him. “I’m sorry,” he blurted out.

She didn’t say anything but grasped his arms to pull them around her again. She kissed him as she slid down to lie on the couch drawing him on top of her. He just stared down at her as if amazed. She asked, “What’s wrong?”

“Nothing. Nothing at all. I just never would have guessed that this is what you meant by making me tea.”

She smiled, “Would you rather have tea now?”

“No. I’m good.” He added, “You’re beautiful.”

She tried to shrug off the compliment and strained her neck to reach him in order to kiss him. She was never comfortable being admired for her looks, to her it meant she wasn’t being seen for
her intelligence or abilities. Maybe her reactions were reminiscent of her tomboy days.

He didn’t seem to notice how the compliment had affected her and kissed her in return. Their enthusiasm for each other was growing despite the fatigue they were both suffering. Their kisses were becoming more eager and exploring, intensifying their arousal. He pressed into her and she responded in kind.

Unexpectedly, she began to gently pushed him from her. He withdrew puzzled and she stood up. He looked at her confused. “Are you leaving?”

She shook her head, smiling, and took his hand to pull him up as well. He stood and he drew her to him to kiss her again. He understood and asked softly, “Are you sure?”

She asked herself, is this slowing down? But wasn’t seven years slow enough? She searched his face looking for her answer. She didn’t make any reply, but took his hand and walked with him to
his bedroom and closed the door behind them…


Scully wasn’t ready to remember what happened next. Her faced burned at those recollections. She felt embarrassed at her arousal when her mind glanced at those memories. And she felt even more shame for her embarrassment. Her memory skipped to when she woke up again.

She had felt a momentary confusion and couldn’t quite place where she was. It took her a few seconds to adjust to the surroundings and recognize them. She felt warmth against her and around her. She was lying with her back to Mulder and his arm was on top of her, holding her. She could hear a torrent of wind blasting against the window and she could barely hear him breathing quietly in her ear.

She was having a dream that disturbed her enough to wake her, but now she couldn’t remember what it was. She felt like it didn’t matter. She felt comfortable and safe. She wished she could stay there forever.

But she couldn’t stop her thoughts from wandering to what would come next. And she began to panic thinking about how they were going to handle this new ‘development’. The panic grew until she could no longer lie there. She gently moved his arm aside. He withdrew and made a small groan, but he didn’t wake up. She slowly moved off the bed so that she wouldn’t disturb him further. Searching around the dark, she gathered up her clothing and went into the bathroom…

Her memories became blurry and she recognized the signs that she was finally falling asleep.


Mulder was in the elevator on his way down to his office. He was late getting into work because he slept in. He didn’t think he would suffer from jet lag because he was only gone a couple of days. But he hadn’t slept much when he was in England and didn’t get much until quite late last night.

Since he woke up that morning, he was contemplating how he was going to approach her today. That is, when he wasn’t thinking about what happened.

He walked down the narrow corridor and noticed that the door to his office was ajar. His pulse quickened. She was already there. He felt foolish. It’s been seven years, and he can’t stop the delight he feels every time he knows he’s about to see her. Today, his excitement was mixed with anxiety though.

He walked through the doorway. Scully was sitting at her ‘area’ of his office at her desktop. She was probably typing up the report of her involvement in his last adventure; one that he took alone, to his dismay. As much as he hated it, she still filed those damn reports that kept tabs on him. He knew she was filling them out to protect them both. She always showed them to him. She tried to give some legitimate scientific reasoning for everything that they experienced even when there really was none, in the hopes that they wouldn’t be questioned further. But there was still the slant was that he was spooky and that his ideas were out there. At least this one will be short, he thought.

She hadn’t heard him come in. Mulder closed the door quietly and walked over to her. Scully jumped at his presence and looked up at him. He was caught off guard. He didn’t expect her to look so tired. He could see her fatigue through her glasses. It made her look vulnerable. Any anger or resentment he felt about the previous night was gone and replaced with concern.

“Dana…” he began.

“Hi,” she responded, turning away from him.

“You look terrible –”

“Thanks,” she cut him off sarcastically before he could continue. She stared at her monitor and continued typing. Her wall was up. He hoped it wouldn’t be a very high one.

“I was going to ask if you got any more sleep last night,” he said pointedly. He was trying not to get annoyed again.

“I tried to. I did eventually.”

He decided to dive in. “You were sleeping just fine at my place. You didn’t have to leave.”

“I know,” she replied softly, “I’m sorry. I just…I don’t think we should get into this right now. Not here…” She held up a pen. He remembered the listening device they had once found
wrapped inside her pen. He knew ‘they’ could always be listening. And even though they knew how much she meant to him already, they didn’t need to know the latest details.

He sighed loudly. “Do you want to go for a walk then?”

“Just let me finish this, okay?”

“Yeah, okay,” he mumbled. He turned away from her and sat down at his desk. He tried to busy himself by going through the mail that he had neglected for weeks. But his mind just wasn’t in it and he found himself staring at her. He was remembering how she felt pressed against him.

Finally, she pushed herself away from the table, took off her glasses, and looked at him. “Done. I sent you a copy. Don’t worry, I didn’t say much.”

She stood up and put her overcoat on. He looked around for his and became embarrassed when he realized he never took it off.

They started to walk out of the office. He paused to lock the door.

“I’m not worried. What could you possibly say to them that they haven’t heard already?”

“Last night for instance.” She was trying to joke. He took it as a sign that she didn’t want this to be difficult either.

They stepped on the elevator and stood closely together. As the doors closed, Scully felt Mulder’s fingers lightly feel their way into her palm and slowly grasp her hand. She didn’t shake him loose. They said nothing as the elevator rose, and he didn’t let go of her hand until the doors opened again.

They walked to a nearby park saying very little. They reached a bench and sat down. He broached the subject first. “Why did you leave? I wanted you to stay.”

“I don’t know. I guess I panicked,” she replied.

“Do you regret what happened? Do you think we made a mistake? Do you think you were reacting because of Daniel?” He didn’t mean to make it sound like he was interrogating her. He just talked as fast as the thoughts entered his mind. He hesitantly said, “God, don’t tell me it wasn’t very good…” He hoped it sounded like a joke.

She shook her head at him with a smile he was relieved to see. “Your ego can relax. No. I don’t think any of that. I guess I didn’t anticipate what would come after.”

“Things don’t have to change Dana. Not much I mean.”

“Things have already changed. Damn it, Mulder, that’s the second time this morning that you’ve called me Dana! I don’t even remember the last time you called me Dana! Do you?” she spoke with a rising voice. She had let the tension get the better of her.

He hoped that calling her by her first name would make things more comforting. Over the years, he only called her Dana during private moments whenever either of them opened up to the other. He inwardly winced. He remembered telling her not to call him Fox swearing he hated it and made everyone call him Mulder. She must have learned over the years it wasn’t quite true. Her own mother calls him Fox. His psychological training told him he probably did it to keep her at a distance. It was a way to deal with his attraction to her. And all these years after she never failed him, even in that regard.

He put his hand on hers. “I didn’t mean to make things difficult. I don’t want to fight about this. All I want to know is what you want to do.”

“Right now, I just want to go back to bed.”

“I like the sound of that.”

She rolled her eyes at him. “I meant that I’m tired.” He put his hand on her shoulder and squeezed as if to say that he knew.

“Do you want to pretend it didn’t happen?” he asked.

She shook her head. A moment later, she asked, “What do you want, Mulder?”

“I asked you first.” He hoped it didn’t sound too childish.

Scully thought for a few minutes. Her mind turned again to Colleen’s words to her, about releasing the shame and telling the truth.

She sighed. “I decided what I want last night. Now I just want to know how this will work.” He was a little surprised that she opened up to him so quickly. Then she asked again, “What do you

His hand dropped back down to hers, “Same as you. Isn’t that all that matters?”

“You make it sound so simple.”

“We’ve faced much more dangerous situations than simply wanting to be together.”

“True,” a smirk appeared on her face, “So why does this seem more difficult? More frightening?”

“Probably because we’re not used to being able to get what we want.”

“You think I’m making this more difficult than it has to be?”

“Not consciously. What’s so hard about this? Like I said before, things don’t have to change much. The only difference is that we would occasionally sleep together.”

Her eyebrow rose. He shrugged. “It can be more often, if you want.” She laughed not really expecting to.

Mulder became more serious. “Look, Scully, I’m just trying to say that we already have each other. We both know that. And we knew it before last night.”

She nodded. She knew what he was trying to say. She mumbled, “Yeah, I know.”

He continued like he didn’t hear her, as if needed to say it to make it true. “We’re already together, Scully, we just need to admit it to ourselves and one another.”

“How come you can make such reasonable rationalizations about this and not about our cases?” she asked in jest.

He grinned. “Because this is more important.”

She shook her head with a laugh. “Whatever…we should be getting back. We have a meeting with Skinner soon.”

She made a move to stand up, but he put his hand on her arm to hold her back. He said, “Hey, I love you.”

She leaned in to him and kissed his cheek. “Yeah, I know. I love you, too.”

“We’re okay?”

“I guess we’ll find out.” She offered him her hand and they stood up. They began walking back.

“Do you want to come over tonight?” she asked him. “I’ll make you dinner.”

“Depends on what you’re making,” he teased. “If it’s anything like making me tea, I’m in.”

She said, “Don’t worry. I’ll make it worth you’re while.”

He said a little later. “I hope you don’t expect me to stay over. I gotta get some sleep. Did you know you snore?”

She shot back, “So? You grind your teeth!”

They walked back holding hands and playfully bantering back and forth.