The Woman in Black

By Mary Kleinsmith (

Spoilers: Slight ones for everything up to and including Millennium

Summary: Does Scully really like black that much?

Rating: PG13

Classification: MSR (oh, yeah!)

Archive: Yes, anywhere

Disclaimer: Mulder, Scully, and everything related to them belong to Chris Carter and 10-13, with magic added by David and Gillian. I'm only borrowing them.

The Woman in Black

I honestly don't know what happened. One day we were partners, friends . . . best friends, sure, but that was it. We took care of each other. Sure, Ellen and some of my other friends would ask. Wonder why I never considered Mulder as more than that. They were quick to notice how handsome he was and how nicely he filled out a suit. Truth be told, if one of them had gotten off her best intentions and made a play for him, what developed between us at a snail's pace may have manifested a great deal faster.

I remember one day, two or three years ago, he made a comment to me. It was nothing, an off-the-cuff comment. "Nice outfit, Scully," or something to that affect. But it was the beginning of a pattern. I'd worn my black suit that day. I'd always had a particular fondness for it, but I really never thought Mulder paid much attention to my clothes. Not like his designer suits, which no woman in her right mind would be able to ignore. The next day, I wore the same design suit in an off white, but he made no comment on that one. His compliments always came on the black-suit days.

A few weeks later, he was pacing in my livingroom, waiting for me to finish packing so we could be on our merry way to another wild case. It's not fair. Women just have more things they need to bring on trips than men, yet men still have no patience. I collected underwear, stockings, cosmetics, and the like, dumping them messily in my bag, against my better judgment.

"C'mon, Scully! We're going to miss our plane."

"I'm doing the best I can, Mulder. Nothing like springing this on me at the last minute!" I softened the tone, so it wasn't said as crossly as it could have been. "You could help out if you really wanted me to hurry up."

"Oooh, Scully. Want me to collect your unmentionables?" He leered, half smiling. That boyish twinkle was bright in his eyes. This was the same Mulder I'd always worked with, the same innuendoes he always uttered. I didn't even realize things were changing.

"No, I've done that already," I responded. "But you could get my suit bag out of my closet and put three suits in it." He went right to it, and I breathed a sigh of relief at having gotten him distracted from his pacing.

I observed him in my peripheral vision as I packed my hair dryer, shampoo, and conditioner. He'd found the bag, but was now standing, staring into the depths of my closet. "Which ones do you want?" he asked. "I never realized you had so many suits."

"Hazards of the job, Mulder. I don't care which ones. Just pick two with pants and one with a skirt, okay?" I heard the rustling of him putting the suits into the bag as I turned my attention back to filling my other case.

Half a day and a thousand travel miles later, we were settled into the local motel for the night. I wanted to get my suits into the closet before they got even more wrinkled than they already were. I lowered the zipper carefully, in fear of getting one of the expensive jackets caught in the teeth. The suits within elicited a shaken head and a chuckle as I observed what my partner had chosen. Three suits, one pants and short jacket, one pants and long jacket, and one skirt and medium length jacket - all in black. Must be due to his color blindness, I figured at the time.

Then, a few months ago, it happened. I'd gone to the ladies room at work to freshen up, leaving Mulder alone in the office with strict orders to behave himself if my mother arrived before I returned. We were going to lunch, and it would be the first time I got to show her the inside of our office. Okay, so I know that, technically, it's Mulder's office. And my "area" is a desk in a gloomy cubicle over a floor away. But somehow, this had become not "his" office, but "ours". Mulder didn't seem to mind my adoption of a portion of the room as my own, and I'd spent less and less time upstairs.

I put the finishing touches on my lipstick, disposed of the tissue I'd used to blot, and left the restroom. Immediately I heard my partner's voice, along with another, more feminine one. She's here! It felt like all those open houses from elementary school, and I realized I was as excited now as I'd been then to have my Mom see my work. I guess, even thirty years later, a person still wants the approval of their parents.

"I'm glad I got a chance to talk to you alone, Mrs. Scully," Mulder's voice was saying. I halted in my steps, not wanting to ruin his chance to speak with my mother in private and more than a little curious as to what in the world he'd want from her anyway.

"It's always nice to speak to you, Fox, you know that. When Dana was . . . well, when she was gone, I told you that you had a standing invitation to Sunday dinner, any time you wanted. It made me feel so much better to have you there with me. I may have not said this before, but that offer wasn't withdrawn when we got Dana back. Come to dinner sometime, please?" Mom and Mulder had dinner together after I was abducted? Neither had ever mentioned that to me. There was a moment of silence, and then Mom continued. "Okay, enough pushing. What did you want to talk to me about?"

"Well, Christmas is coming up, and I wondered if you had any ideas of what Scully - I mean Dana - would like. I'm afraid I'm a little out of practice in gift giving."

"You mean a Christmas gift? Hmm . . . that is a tough one." There was silence again, and I could imagine that thoughtful look Mom always got when deep in contemplation. "Oh, there was one thing! I saw this beautiful crystal pin at the mall, in the jewelry case at JC Penney. It was just the right shade of blue to go with her teal suit." Silence for a second. "Fox, what is that face for? You're not worried about the idea of giving her jewelry, are you?" She chuckled, which Mulder did not seem to join.

"No, I'm just not a big fan of that suit. I don't want to give her another reason to wear it." Mulder? With a fashion sense? In women's clothes? That was too odd.

"Well, I'm sure that you could find a similar pin to match one of her other suits. What one do you like best?"

"I don't really have a favorite. I do like the black ones best, though."

I missed out on the rest of the conversation. Mulder likes me in black. Mulder likes it when I wear black. And he did get me the most beautiful gold pin w/clear crystals that Christmas.

After that, I just found myself choosing the black suits. It wasn't a conscious decision, I had no intention of dressing for Mulder. As old suits wore out, they were replaced with new ones - almost always black or dark navy blue. Even shoes in tan or beige never caught my eye.

It didn't occur to me that that's what I was doing until this very moment. We're sitting in the office, finishing up paperwork on our latest case, when suddenly Mulder asked the ten thousand dollar question. "Scully, why are all your clothes black? Is it because of Melissa and Emily?"

I'm touched that he's concerned I'm still in mourning over them, but I can't let guilt over that add to all the other guilt he carries. "No, Mulder, it's not that. It's just the only color that doesn't show all the muck and mire we get dragged through on these cases."

Okay, so it's not the most plausible explanation, but what should I say? I wear it for you? My partner and platonic best friend? No, I don't think so. It's a long way from admitting to yourself that you're in love with someone to admitting it to that particular someone.

Oh, yes. I know I'm in love with him. Knew it long before he kissed me on New Year's Eve. I think I really began to realize it after Antarctica. And then we had the disasters of the report on that incident and Diana's entrance into our lives that made me wonder if we'd even have a partnership for much longer, let alone anything more. We've found our way back to each other - closer than ever, actually - but we had to work at it every step of the way.

But it's not enough anymore. Not for me, at least. I'm tired of the only thing I can do for Mulder being dressing in his favorite color. And trying to support him when he gets that hurt look in his eyes because something reminds him of his sister or his father or mother, and of how alone he is. He shouldn't have to be alone anymore.

I glance up and realize that the clock has ticked well past the 5:00 hour. No time like the present, I say to myself.

"Mulder, have you got any plans tonight?"

He looks up, startled. It's been quiet in the office for so long, I think he expected me to just leave silently. Not this time, partner.


"Uhh . . . no, no plans, Scully. I figured I would work awhile longer before heading home."

"Well, I want you to join me for dinner. I have a recipe I want to try, and you've just volunteered to be my guinea pig." I like how he grinned at that. At least he didn't refuse. "So go home and clean up, and be at my place at 7:00, okay? I have a few errands to run first, but I'll be there well before then."

"Okay, Scully," he agrees, rising from his desk. Looking at him as I slip on my coat, something else occurs to me.

"Oh, and Mulder?" I wait for him to meet my eyes. "No tie is required tonight."

I turn and leave before I lose my nerve. Before I tell him to just forget it, and that I'll see him at work on Monday.

The mall is crowded, but I'm still able to get what I need fairly quickly. A second stop at the grocery store for ingredients and a third for fresh bread from Mulder's favorite bakery, and I'm read to head home with my parcels. Valentine's day may be a few weeks away, but I've never been the conventional sort anyway, and I doubt Mulder is either.

It's five minutes before seven when the knock comes. Thank God he's here - I'm a nervous wreck. I try to tell myself that this is just Mulder. The same man I've worked with and befriended for seven years. But if he feels the same way I do, and if he lets me, I want everything to change after tonight. But will he let me?

"Hi," I greet him after pulling open the door. He's wearing my favorite sweater over a pair of black jeans, and I find that somehow fitting.

"I brought wine," he says, holding the bottle so I can take it while he sheds his coat. It finds a resting place on the chair beside the door. "Something smells great!"

"Now all you have to do is pray that it tastes as good as it smells," I say, trying to deflect my nervousness from showing. I take the wine into the kitchen as he follows. "There are glasses in that cupboard." He chooses two matching ones and places them on my kitchen table before taking the corkscrew from my hands.

"Don't you ever watch the movies, Scully? Dinner is your job - opening the wine is mine." Well, at least he's equivocating us to the average movie couple. I wonder if he even suspects what I plan for tonight. That this isn't just another of the many dinners we've had together in the past seven years. If he doesn't, I assure myself that he'll know soon enough.

Dinner is quiet, and I wonder if I should say something to fill the silence, but I don't. This is just the way Mulder eats - I've observed it a thousand times. Meal time in the Scully household was like a lot in typical America. It was time to catch up on the events of the day, when everybody was in one spot for more than five minutes. I have a feeling that meals in Mulder's house were just as he practices them now: silent times where you're expressly there for a certain purpose. I can never seem to picture Teena, whom I've met, and Bill, whom I never did but have heard about, gathered around the dinner table exchanging anecdotes with their son and daughter. And definitely not after said daughter disappeared without a trace.

Mulder is taking the last sips of his wine as I clear the table. The butterflies in my stomach are active again, seemingly at war with the food I've just consumed. I wonder if he detects something in my demeanor, but if he has, he hasn't shown reaction. Well, he'll have to react in a few minutes . . .

I leave the kitchen, passing the table where Mulder is still sipping his wine to cross to my bedroom. "I'll be right back," I tell him, and I know he has no reason to question even that. The bathroom is off my bedroom, so there's no reason to suspect where I'm going or why. I don't use the bathroom, though, as I have other things on my mind. The bag marked "Victoria's Secret", with the box marked the same, is hidden under my bed, just in case Mulder should have wandered in her earlier. Moving extra silently, I hear my partner moving around in the livingroom after having apparently left the diningroom.

"Hey, Mulder," I call, trying to gauge his exact location in the apartment.

"Yeah?" he responds. Sounds like he's on or near the couch. Good.

"Do you remember a few months ago when Mom stopped in to see the office?"

"Sure," he responds simply. "It was just before Christmas."

"Well, I was wondering something. And I know you'll tell me the truth." I pull and tug, eventually getting everything in its proper place.

"I'll always tell you the truth," he said, his voice sounding suddenly serious. Good, because this is just about as serious as I get.

"Good. Because I overhead you telling my mother that you like it when I wear black. And I wondered what you'd think of this outfit." I swallow deeply as I turn the knob, emerging from the bedroom in the sexiest black teddy I was able to find.

The widening of Mulder's eyes isn't the only physical reaction I observe to my new attire. He's on his feet, but he's not moving toward me. Well, guess I'll have to take the second step, too.

I move toward him until we're no more than a yard apart. Mulder hasn't made a sound, and he looks like he's in shock! I move closer yet, and stand on tiptoes to touch my lips to his. He's suddenly unfrozen, returning my kiss gently, almost fearfully.

"I won't break, and I won't disappear," I whisper in his ear, knowing all his deepest fears after being together so long.. "And I love you, G-man. I'm sorry it's taken me so long to realize it and tell you."

I pull back to look into his eyes - those eyes that will tell me anything I implore of him. For just a moment, I see fear, and longing, before watching it change. I see just a glimpse of joy before I'm suddenly picked up off my feet and twirled around the room in his arms. His lips are at my neck, his kisses traveling from my jugular toward my upper chest. One kiss there, and I'm placed back on my feet again. "I've loved you forever," he admits, cupping a hand to my cheek as his thumb strokes my lips. "I just never thought you wanted more than what we had."

"Well, I do, Mulder. I want it all. All of my partner, all of my best friend, and all of my love. All of you and every part of you." I notice one particular part of him that is definitely wanting me at the moment, and very physically, too. I reach for him, but am enveloped in his arms before I can complete the movement. Our mouths meet again, and it's heaven on earth. Just when I think we'll never pull apart, we do. His lips leave mine, and travel to my ear. I can feel his smile as much as his breath as he speaks.

"Have I ever told you how much I love flesh tones?"

The End