THE CARROT AND THE STICK (NC-17)
Title: "The Carrot and the Stick" (1/1)
Author: Plausible Deniability
Category: SRA - MSR
Rating: *NC-17* (sexual situations, mature language) Spoilers: none
Disclaimer: The characters and situations of the television program "The X Files" are the creations and property of Chris Carter, Fox Broadcasting, and Ten-Thirteen Productions, and have been used without permission. No copyright infringement is intended.
Summary: A sexual encounter with Scully results in additional angst for Mulder.
THANKS to Nick Pedicini and Hindy Bradley. Both unknowingly provided inspiration, though neither is to blame for any deficiencies of this work.
Licence my roving hands, and let them goe
Behind, before, above, between, below.
O my America, my new found lande...
-- John Donne, "To His Mistris Going to Bed"
It is the fourth night we have spent together in this motel. Well, not exactly *together* -- she has her room, of course, and I have mine. But tonight is the fourth night that we have been working on this case, and the take-out dinner we have just consumed has been our fourth such meal since arriving in this backwater town.
Four days, and the case that brought us here is going nowhere. The multiple disappearances we're investigating have led to multiple dead ends. I am beginning to doubt that there is even an X-file in this case. The fact that I almost got the crap kicked out of me today just adds insult to injury.
"Cheer up, Mulder," Scully says, gathering the remnants of our Chinese food dinner into the brown bag I carried it here in. "At least you outran him."
She is referring, of course, to the three-hundred-pound suspect who almost kicked the aforesaid crap out of the aforesaid me. And that is another problem with this case: for some reason, Scully seems to find the current run of bad luck I've been having a source of some amusement. At least, I think she's amused. For the past few days, I keep catching her looking at me with this strange expression on her face, as if she's just about to break into a smile, but thinks better of it at the last second.
I've been sitting cross-legged in front of the little coffee table that has doubled as our Chinese buffet, but at this I get up and stretch. "I only outran him because I had a head start," I say morosely. "I think I'm getting old."
"You look robust enough to me."
There it is again -- that look. What the hell is so funny?
"I'll be right back," she says, lifting the sodden brown bag. "I'm taking this out to the dumpster."
I pick up the remote control and start flipping through the channels. "Why? Housekeeping will get it in the morning."
She wrinkles her nose. "Mulder, your room will smell like fried pork and shrimp if you leave this in here overnight."
I turn around and stare at her. "I always leave the leftovers overnight."
"And your room always smells like fried pork and shrimp."
She backs out the door, and I shake my head. She has never bothered about the Chinese food smell before. I go back to surfing through the television channels.
"There's nothing on," I announce when she returns a moment later. "Just some Candid Camera re-make, an old Laverne and Shirley, and some crap about a male genie. At least Barbara Eden had breasts." I click off the TV. "You want to go see a movie?"
She folds her arms over her chest. "You mean you actually pay to see movies that don't come in plain brown wrappers?"
"Scully, those films are very educational."
To my surprise, this lame joke wins a genuine laugh. She walks over and stands directly in front of me. "No, I don't want to go see a movie, Mulder."
She is looking at me again with that same half-smile. "Then what do you want to do? I've already read all the police reports three times, and I'm up to date on the expense log. I have the case file from those other disappearances over there if you want to go through it, but I really don't think there's any connection."
"Mulder," she says softly, "you're so tense."
And then, to my astonishment, her hands go to my belt buckle. I tell myself that the electric shock which runs through me will be completely unwarranted, that her hands are just resting lightly there for a moment, but no -- after only the briefest of hesitations she goes to work, tugging at my belt, unfastening it.
I should make some token protest, I think in confusion, but somehow I can't form the words. My erection is so sudden and so complete I suspect there is no blood left in my brain anyway. Surely Scully must notice it. I stand mutely while she finishes with my belt and progresses to my zipper.
What is happening here? It's clear she's working toward some goal, and yet even at this point I can't help thinking I'm about to get my face slapped. She grips the waistband of my boxers, drawing them down just far enough for my erection to spring loose. I am too dumbstruck even to feel any sense of embarrassment.
She drops down on her knees and, before I can utter a sound, takes me in her mouth. I have to close my eyes to bear the rush of sensation. Her mouth is hot, and if I look down I can see the top of her head moving purposefully before me. Is this really happening, I wonder, or have I finally gone around the bend into insanity?
Oh, Scully, I repeat silently to myself like a mantra, afraid to break the spell with real speech. Scully, Scully, Scully...
I wonder if it is the medical degree that accounts for the skillfulness of her ministrations. She lingers to pay special attention to the ridge where the head of my cock meets the shaft. The pleasure is so keen I can hardly stand it. I feel my legs trembling -- more than my legs, really; my whole body -- and hope that Scully doesn't notice. Somehow my shaky knees manage to hold me up despite the way her lips and her tongue slide expertly up and down the length of my erection.
"Unh," I moan, the sound forced from me by the exquisite work that Scully's hungry mouth is doing.
But eventually, even in the grip of this unbelievable sensation, I experience a flutter of panic. It has been so long since anything even remotely this pleasurable has happened to me that I am not even clear on the etiquette of the thing -- am I supposed to come in her mouth or not? If she -- God! -- if she goes on like this much longer, I'm not going to have any choice in the matter.
Reluctant as I am to interrupt what Scully is doing, some corner of my fogged brain tells me that I owe her a warning. "Scully --" I pant raggedly, "I'm -- very close --"
With a suddenness that actually makes me gasp, she pulls away. My penis bobs free, livid and insistent. The touch of the cool air on my wet skin makes me shiver.
Now what? I am standing there with my pants around my ankles, still wearing a shirt and tie no less, sporting an almost painfully throbbing erection. Am I supposed to finish the job myself? Dare I hope that she will do the honors? I close my eyes and breathe a silent prayer that it will be the latter. As undeniably familiar as I am with the technique, I don't think I can really bring myself to jack off in front of Scully.
But then I feel her press herself against me -- all five-feet-nothing of warm, vital woman. I open my eyes and look down at her. She lifts her lips to my ear and whispers, "I want you inside me."
I can hear myself gulp. Oh, Lord. Oh, dear sweet Lord. Oh, dear sweet Lord in heaven....
Luckily, my body seems to know what to do without the aid of my badly misfiring brain. I put my arms around her, and ease her gently over to the double bed. Before joining her on it, I kick off my shoes and my pants. The rest of my clothes, damn them, will have to wait.
Scully is lying on the bed, watching me with all the generous forebearance that a beautiful, desirable woman can show for a pantsless, clumsy man whose gigantic erection is tenting his shirttails. I stifle a nervous laugh as I settle on the mattress beside her. Oh, God, I can't help thinking, please don't let me screw this up. She is so beautiful, so wonderfully, impossibly beautiful, and this is my one chance. Just let me get this one thing right...
My erection pushes rudely at her hip. I reach out a hand -- it is not, I am relieved to find, actually shaking -- and undo the buttons of her blouse. The silky fabric falls open. Scully, bless her for the smart woman that she is, unfastens her bra herself, sparing me that one awkwardness. I gulp again, and then simply stare.
Oh, God. Oh, dear God in heaven...
Scully's breasts are perfect. I mean, I have no complaint with the vast majority of breasts in the world, but Scully's are....well, perfect. Her breasts are round and firm and her skin is that flawless white you find only on redheads. Her nipples are a beautiful coral-pink, and it must be colder than I realize in this hotel room, because right now they are hardened into little peaks.
"What's wrong?" she asks.
I drag my gaze from her chest to her frankly curious eyes. "Huh?" I reply stupidly.
"Is something wrong?" she asks. "You groaned."
"I groaned?" I say, even more stupidly.
Wisely, she lets the matter drop.
But though my brain has clearly been jettisoned from this flight, my body is operating happily on autopilot. With my right hand, I trace the contour of Scully's left breast. She turns slightly into my caress, and I sweep my thumb over her nipple. When she does not protest, I dip my head down and take the coral tip into my mouth.
Jeez, she even tastes good. I suck experimentally on her nipple, and hope that the way her fingers suddenly clench in my hair means that she likes it. I move to the other breast, my tongue swirling in a circle around her aureola.
Her waist is tiny, and her hips are seductive curves. A line from Donne runs unbidden through my head: "O my America, my new-found lande." Every part of Scully is a wonderful discovery, an expanse begging to be surveyed. My cock feels like it is about to burst.
Yet there are still important frontiers to explore. I push my hand down past her flat stomach, past the waistband of her panties, past the thick, springy curls below. My fingers slide lower, gently parting soft flesh, and encounter --
Scully is wet -- so hot and slick and inviting that my heart does a sort of back-flip in my chest. My God -- she *wants* this. This is not some pathetic charity-fuck after all. She wants *me*. I can hardly get my mind around the notion.
I slip a finger inside her, and am gratified to hear a whimper. Gratified? Hell, I'm god-damned near beside myself. A second finger joins the first one, sliding easily into her warm depths. Her hips lift slightly, and I stroke her slickened clitoris with my thumb. Another whimper. My erection, still prodding against her hip, twitches.
With my fingers still deep inside her, unthinkingly I bend my head down and kiss her on the mouth. It is only when, eyeball to eyeball, I see her gaze widen in astonishment that I realize it is the first time I have ever initiated such a kiss. Oh, well, I think, what the hell. In for a penny...
When we finally come up for air, she is the first to speak. "Mulder," she says a little breathlessly, "I ought to take off my clothes."
A moment later, and her clothes have joined my pants on the floor. I am still in the ludicrous position of wearing my shirt and tie, but my hands are far too busy elsewhere to remedy that. I have discovered a rhythm that Scully seems to like. My fingers work in and out, while my thumb massages her clitoris in circles. She opens her thighs a little wider.
Once I find a good thing, I know enough to stick with it. She moans in apparent encouragement. She is panting, and I am panting right along with her. She is so wet that it's impossible not to hear what my hand is doing. God, but she is beautiful. A fine sheen of perspiration gives her skin an otherworldly glow.
My hand works steadily, in a subtly increasing pace. My lips move to her breast. When I tongue her nipple, her fingers twine again in my hair, closing convulsively. Another wordless message to add to my growing list of Scully-signals...
But when I move to tease the other breast, her hands go to my shoulders, and she pushes me away. "Mulder," she says, "I want you inside me."
"But I thought you li --"
"Mulder," she hisses, "*now*."
It is a tone that my cock obviously recognizes, because it leaps to even greater attention. What Scully wants, Scully gets, I think foolishly, my pulse racing into overdrive. I remove my fingers from her and climb between her thighs, heart hammering. I don't even need help finding the way, although Scully's hands reach out to guide my eager cock nonetheless. I push inside her, the blood pounding in my head, and begin to move.
Begin -- and then all hell breaks loose.
I can't have thrust more than three times before Scully bites her lip and arches up against me. She doesn't scream or cry out, but her body goes rigid -- all but the tight walls that are gripping my cock, which clench spasmodically. I don't even have time to register that she is coming, and the sensation proves too much. Another quick thrust, and I am done for. I give up the ghost and surge into her, my balls contracting as five long years of tension gush out of me in a series of thick spurts.
My orgasm is so powerful -- Scully's warm depths are so sweet and the release is so overwhelming -- that it is a blessed minute or two before the reality of my situation sinks in. Slowly, though, the dizziness recedes, leaving just one inescapable thought: fifteen seconds. My first and only chance to show her what I can do, and I cannot have been inside her for more than fifteen seconds. I let my sweat-dampened brow drop onto the pillow below, and I squeeze my eyes shut. My ignominy is complete: Fox Mulder, Fifteen Second Man.
God damn it. I *knew* I would screw this up.
"Mulder," Scully mumbles wearily against my shoulder, "could you get off of me?"
I am too humiliated to make any sort of apology, or even an excuse. I roll off her and lie on my back, staring blankly up at the ceiling. Five long years of unrequited lust, and the best showing I can manage is a measily fifteen seconds.
Beside me, Scully sighs deeply and moves closer, curling against my side. I am not sure what to say, and so I say nothing. She, too, is quiet.
Then a terrible thought seizes me: Jesus, what if she didn't even come? I mean, I *think* she came -- it *felt* like she came -- but how do I really know? I was admittedly pretty distracted at the time. And it's not like she screamed and raked her nails down my back. What if I've just left her seriously unsatisfied?
She sighs again. I wonder what it means. Is it a contented sigh, or a frustrated one? Is she thinking I'm a complete jerk, or just marvelling at my lack of stamina?
I try to play back the encounter in my head, but apparently unburdening one's self of five years of lust is a taxing undertaking, and I am more tired than I realize. My thoughts grow sluggish, and then disjointed. Before I know it, I am drifting off to sleep.
My last conscious thought is that I still haven't taken off my god-damned shirt and tie.
I wake up to darkness and a pounding headache. My hand goes in some puzzlement to my throat, and the necktie surrounding it. Damned tie has probably been cutting off my circulation, I think as I tug the offending thing loose. Then I freeze as I recall Scully laying beside me, and quickly check to see if I have disturbed her.
But she is gone. I switch on the bedside lamp. There is nothing but a little heap of blankets where she used to be.
I am almost tempted to think -- to hope -- that I imagined the whole thing. But I am undeniably naked from the waist down, and there is a damp spot on the sheets beside me, and despite the doubts which nag at me I can still feel a pleasant lassitude weighing me down. I may not have sex very often, but when I do, at least I can recognize it.
I get up and go into the bathroom to take a shower that is just a degree or two shy of scalding. When I first step under the spray, I can smell the tang of sex clinging to my skin. Soon, however, the steamy water washes even this last accusation away. Unfortunately it also compounds my headache. By the time I shut off the spray, I am wincing with every movement.
But worse than the headache is the knowledge that I still don't know what I am supposed to say to Scully when I see her. Just how badly have I disgraced myself? Am I guilty of only a minor shortcoming -- I flinch at the unintentional pun -- or have I finally sunk myself beneath reproach?
If there is anything more humiliating than not being able to satisfy a woman in bed, I decide, it is lacking the know-how to tell whether you have satisfied her or not.
I have shaved and dressed, and am putting on my shoes when I hear a knock. I answer the door to find Scully standing in the hallway. From her dark blue suit to her high heels, she is her usual smoothly professional self. She is holding two styrofoam coffee cups and a small white bakery bag.
"Mulder," she says, brushing past me and setting the coffee down on the little table by the window, "don't you *ever* take off that tie?"
I fervently hope that somewhere along the way in my thirty-six years, I have lost the ability to look as stupid as I feel. All of the suave, smart-ass things I have just finished rehearsing in the bathroom mirror go flying out of my head. "I'm sorry about last night, Scully," I finally manage, trailing after her. "I must have fallen asleep."
She shrugs. "You were tired."
Yes, I want to shout, I *was* tired; I was tired and it had been a very long time; give me another chance to show I can do better. But instead I meekly accept the bran muffin that she passes to me.
She sips her coffee. I try to read her expression, but all I can see is business as usual. What is she thinking? Is she angry at me, disappointed, contemptuous?
Well...? Did she come last night, or didn't she?
I clear my throat, and try to give myself an opening. "It was -- good, Scully, last night. Thank you."
"Mulder, it was supposed to be for me just as much as it was for you."
I can't tell if this is a rebuke, or just an assurance that no thank-yous are required. Somehow "supposed to be" has an accusatory ring. And, of course, I notice the absence of a reciprocatory compliment. Not a good sign.
I'm like a toothache sufferer who cannot resist prodding a sore tooth; I have to keep angling. "Then it was -- um, about the way you expected?"
There, I think with relief. That was sufficiently non-committal.
But Scully seems less than enthralled with the whole subject. "Mulder," she says in her most discouraging tone, "we have work to do."
Shit. It is even worse than I'd feared. I'm already getting the "I like you, but I think we should just be partners" kiss-off. I feel like I've been kicked in the gut.
It's possible my disappointment shows, because Scully adds, "No offense, Mulder, but that's my priority right now -- our job."
Yes indeed, the old kiss-off...
"I would have thought it would be your priority, too," Scully continues. "You've always been better than anyone else I know at keeping your personal life from interfering with your professional duties."
I nod obediently. Apparently it is supposed to soften the blow to my ego that I am a good agent even if I am a lousy lay.
"Good." She nods in return. "I knew you would understand."
Of course. How could I not understand? I suck in bed. There will be no second chance. What is so difficult about that to understand? Jesus Christ, I'm not a fucking moron...
But I catch myself before my bitterness gets out of hand. It is not Scully's fault, after all, that last night was a disappointment for her. She is only being honest. And even in my resentment, I have to admit that she has handled this little contretemps with surgical care. We are still partners. We can still work together. It will simply be as if last night never happened.
Except that I know it *did* happen. And now I know just what she thought of it.
I pick up my suit jacket from where it is hanging on the back of a chair and put it on. "Okay," I say in the most normal voice I can manage. "Then let's get going."
I try not to let my shoulders slump as I turn toward the door.
"Hey, wait -- don't you even want the coffee I brought you?" she asks behind me.
I have a feeling it is only going to taste like ashes, but since she expects me to be a good loser, I turn back. "Sure."
She passes it to me, and as I take it from her hand she remarks, "You could probably do with some after we get back tonight, too, Mulder. I don't want you passing out on me quite so abruptly next time."
I freeze. Next time--?
I must be reading too much into her remark. Didn't she just finish telling me I'm supposed to keep my personal life separate? Unless she just meant...
I decide to test the possibility. "You serious about the coffee?"
"Mulder, you were like a dead thing." She smiles. "Which in this one instance I am prepared to take as a compliment, since I was too wiped out myself for pillow talk anyway. But be warned, Mulder: in the future I would like at least some sign that you're still with the living, no matter how good the sex was."
"Oh," I say witlessly. Suddenly things are looking promising again. Pretty damned promising. Apparently I am not quite the incompetent that I thought I was. Apparently I am allowed both a professional life *and* a personal one -- and Scully plans to be a part of each.
Jesus, maybe I'd better stop watching those videos. Maybe they're not as educational as I thought.
I down my coffee in a single gulp. "After you, G-Woman," I proclaim, opening the door and holding it for her.
"I'm driving," she says decisively as she sails past me. And then in a lower voice she adds, "Oh -- and I'm not sleeping on the wet spot any more, either."
I smile. Look out, world, the FBI is on the job.
I can hardly wait until tonight.
Jump to the sequel: *NC-17* The Clock Watcher
Back to main page