V.
A Kiss is Not Just a
Kiss After All
"In case you're wondering, that was not Mulder
premeditation." He eased into the passenger seat with a
grimace. "And definitely not Mulder spontaneity."

Scully did her best to chuckle, lingering worry over his
brush with 'end of the world' hysteria still making her heart
beat a bit faster than normal. As she lifted his sling to
fasten his seatbelt, she murmured an apology under her breath
at the crease of his brow. "Painkillers kicking in yet?"

He looked up with a lopsided grin. "Sort of. I feel like
I'm beginning to hallucinate. Could have sworn I just kissed
a beautiful woman back there, yet she hardly said a word."

"I was overcome," she remarked softly, not wanting to admit
to herself that maybe, just maybe her renewed anxiety had
more to do with the touch of those lips to hers than his
injury. "Besides, I answered your question, didn't I?" She
ignored the roll of his eyes and took her seat behind the
wheel.

The traffic was heavy to his place in Alexandria and she took
her time navigating the influx of post-midnight partiers
returning home. After the night's harrowing events, they
certainly didn't need some drunk slamming into them. Taking
a few back streets, she breathed easier despite the extra
time in the car, especially when Mulder quieted to a light
doze.

Mouth parted, he slept beside her, his head angled toward her
as it swayed with the motion of traveling. That lower lip -
the one that had gently nudged hers an hour before, softly
pleading for entrance - glistened with drool. It should have
disgusted her, but all it did was make her want to wipe it
away. With her tongue.

Shaking her head to clear the dangerous thoughts, she pulled
up to a traffic light and waited, her fingers tapping out a
rhythm to the jazz filtering from the radio. One second,
then two... and she turned in her seat, bringing up her
thumb, fascinated by that full, delicious lip.

At the first brush of her thumb, he jerked awake, startling
her back into her seat. "Wha -?" His eyes were unfocused
and his head lolled on his shoulders before he caught sight
of her. His smile was infectious, and she felt her own lips
part.

"I think you drooled on me," she said, in a husky voice.

If anything, his smile became brighter, more childlike.
"Payback's a bitch, ain't it?" he slurred.

Memories of that stakeout, so long ago, rushed to the
forefront. Not because of the similar touch upon her face
wakening her from sleep, but because of the conversation that
started it all. Continued at oddball moments in their years
together, she mentally listed the moments that were, in fact,
a slow progression. And she had to say something to mark the
joining of the circle. Anything. Of course, he probably
wouldn't remember any of this in the morning, but she would.
A very nice way to start the pseudo-millennium.

"I liked it."

His smile faded into a slow burn. He wasn't quite as out of
it as she'd thought, as she saw him figure out that drool
wasn't the subject of her statement. "I did, too."

A harsh blare of a car horn snapped her gaze from his, and
she pulled away from the intersection, chancing another
profound statement. "It's something I'd like to repeat."
Her hands clutched at the steering wheel as she waited for
his reply.

"Me, too."

She felt his lazy stare, could sense the way he was trying to
stay awake. "Well... this certainly sounds like
premeditation to me," she said, trying unsuccessfully to keep
her happiness from bubbling up in her words.

"Everything is pre - per - you know what I mean. For you and
me. Always has been."

His free hand closed about her wrist, dragging her hand from
its lessening grip of the wheel. Enclosed in his, her
fingers channeled her anxiety into muted anticipation,
curling about his with a new familiarity.

"Only took us what? Seven, eight years to reach this point?"
she chuckled. "If that's not care and forethought, then I
don't know what is."

"Scully?" His head laid back, his eyes giving up the fight
to remain open, though he didn't release her hand. "We are
talking about sex here, aren't we? And not baseball or fru-
fruitti or Michelob Light?"

Turning onto his street, she whispered fervently, "I
certainly hope so."

His lips curled a bit, then fell slack as he nodded. No sex
for them tonight, maybe not for quite a while yet, she
thought. This shared kiss was just a stepping stone to
bigger and better things. She was sure something else would
come up to deter their personal track to intimacy; if not
zombies, then one case after another, or even divine
intervention or more sinister acts against them in the form
of a chain-smoking old man.

But the circle was complete. All they had to do now was jump
through it to the other side.