By Jeannine Ackerson
Disclaimer: Character's aren't mine. They're CC's. *sigh* Oh well.
Relationship: UST to MSR. Nothing too bad.
Summary: M&S go on vacation to the City by the bay.
Hi All! This is a story that's been sitting on my hard drive, trying to figure out what it was going to be. Luckily it wanted to be an MSR. <g> Anyhow, let's get to the story. . .
"You're kidding me Mulder?!" Dana Scully questioned, the shocked look on her face nearly draining her of color. "A vacation?"
"Yes Scully, a *real* vacation. No mutants, no murderers, and no Bureau. The reservations and paperwork are all taken care of. It'll be just you and me and the City by the bay for a week," Fox Mulder declared, an almost smug look to him as he sat behind his desk in the basement of the J. Edgar Hoover building.
"San Francisco?" she remarked with surprise as she stood before him, "why there?"
"What? I've never seen it, except for that one case in Chinatown, and we didn't even get to sightsee last time. You know: Pier 39, Alcatraz, Golden Gate Bridge, Coit Tower, Lombard Street..."
"The crookedest street in the world is on your sightseeing list? Somehow I would have expected your interest to run more towards the red light district on Broadway."
"You wound me Scully," he cried, feigning a mortal blow to his chest. But he was still smiling wickedly.
"Been there, done that," she joked with an upturned corner of her mouth that indicated a smile she was suppressing.
Mulder's jaw almost dropped as he recognized that she was teasing him. Actually playing the game he accused her of never involving herself in. The fact that she'd come up with a snappy retort surprised him. But even more inspiring was the fact that she'd chosen to speak of her shooting him lightly. All in all, he was certain that the idea of a vacation, a vacation *together* was beginning to appeal to her almost as much as it was to him.
"How much would be my share?" she asked, coming and sitting on the edge of his desk as she regarded him.
He paused, trying to decide how to tell her that he didn't want her to pay for a thing. That *he* wanted to do this for her. For them. And that he'd paid for everything already. All that was left to do was for him to convince her to go.
"It's already been taken care of Scully. Don't worry about the cost right now. Just tell me that the idea has merit. That you'll go."
With that he flopped the ticket folders on his desk. She looked first at him, then at the tickets, then back up to his suddenly smoldering hazel eyes.
"A vacation?" she intoned again, but this time with more acceptance. More... hope.
"Yeah. A *vacation*. I think it's about time we took one. Don't you think? he answered her, his voice threatening to drop into dangerously low and seductive ranges.
There was silence again as they locked gazes. The implications, the dangers were known to both of them. But the gains...
"Alright Mulder, you're on," she announced with a smile and swept up her ticket and turned back to her desk.
For his part, Mulder could only sit there in shock, and when that finally wore off, the smile that spread across his face
"I'll pick you up first thing in the morning Scully," Mulder informed her, and she nodded, then went back to her computer to finish "their" report.
He watched her for one moment longer, then did his best to focus on the paperwork before him and not on the fact that he was taking his partner on what he hoped would be the best vacation of her life.
And his too.
Mulder had been there early to pick Scully up and then they headed straight for the airport. The flight was uneventful and somehow it only seemed only fair to her. They got lousy weather when they were working, so it seemed only fair that when they took a vacation, the weather should be good.
When *they* took a vacation...
The words rang in her head and she snuck a glance towards Mulder as he dozed in the seat beside her. They were on vacation. The two of them, with no rules and no job and no Consortium hanging over their heads. They were free to do whatever they liked for the next five days.
Scully quickly pulled her thoughts away from the ideas that were threatening to engulf her mind.
When the plane finally touched down, Mulder roused. Scully fought between a glare and a grin. He had slept the whole time, and now would be a wired, bouncing bundle of energy.
And part of her was looking forward to it. For nothing was as entertaining as Fox Mulder - Overeager Man.
Or as endearing.
Again she wondered what was fueling the suddenness of her lack of control over her thoughts. She knew, deep down that they weren't new, but she usually controlled them better than this. It was almost as if, since they were freed of the controlling atmosphere of the FBI, her guard had begun to slip, and her feelings to bubble to the surface.
She sighed a little, and Mulder shot a look at her, and she simply shrugged her shoulders and rubbed one hand against her neck to give him the impression that she was just exhausted from the trip.
If he only knew the truth, she thought as he escorted her off the plane.
She was so caught up in her own thoughts, she wasn't even aware of how much closer Mulder was staying to her. Or how his hand was threatening to slip from the center of her back to circle her waist.
After they'd trudged through the terminal to find their luggage, they made their way to the rental car counter and turned in the reservation number to the cute little clerk that couldn't keep her eyes of Mulder and on her computer screen.
Scully gave her a no-nonsense 'death' glare and the girl paled a bit and focused solely on her work. But her actions didn't go unnoticed.
"You have to show me how to do that look one of these days Scully," he whispered as he leaned in close, and she let loose a little huff of near-laughter.
The fact that she seemed annoyed by the attention the girl had been paying him only made his heart pound and his mind admit that his gut might have had an idea when it had persuaded him to take a chance and get the tickets and set up the trip.
He was still scared to death to tell her where he'd booked rooms. They usually had cheap motels because the Bureau paid for them. But since this was a vacation, *their* vacation, he'd used some of his savings to get them "nicer" accommodations.
Scully reached across the counter to take the keys for the car, and then headed for the doors, in search of the rental. As she unlocked the trunk of the car, Mulder heaved in the suitcases. Only after he shut the trunk did he put his hand out for the keys. She raised an eyebrow at him in question.
"Do you know where we're going? If you don't, then I suggest you give me the keys, so I can drive us there and get this holiday started," he said smugly.
"Alright," she conceded, then handed him the keys, their fingers brushing each others slightly and sending shivers up both of their arms. "As long as you don't get us lost in the Haight."
At that he smiled and headed to the driver's side of the car as she got in the passenger seat. Once they were buckled in, Mulder headed off towards downtown San Francisco - and the Market Street Marriott hotel.
They chatted about where to go, what they'd wanted to see last time, where they wanted to go when they were younger, and the like as Mulder drove them further into the city. When he finally pulled up in front of the huge, glass, cement and brass trimmed hotel, the valet coming out to meet them, Scully's jaw dropped a bit.
"Mulder..." she began.
"What? We're on vacation. A little extravagance won't kill us," he joked as the bellhop took the suitcases out of the car and hustled them in.
Turning to follow, Mulder began for the door to check them in, but noticed that Scully wasn't coming. She stood there, a dazed expression on her face as she looked at him. A tiny germ of fear began to eat at him, and he came back to stand before her.
There were a million different questions wrapped up in that one simple word, and they both knew it. And so he took her hand in his and gave her an answer that covered more than just a few of them.
"Because I wanted to do it."
She looked at him and was painfully aware again of how much she cared for her partner and friend. Yet she still held back. She was still afraid. Sensing the conflict within her, Mulder turned and headed inside and pulled her along.
"Come on Scully! The fun's just beginning," he said in an exuberant tone.
And she had no doubts that he was right.
They had made plans to start the day early, but after the long trip, the difference in time zones and the absolutely comfortable bed, Scully had slept through her alarm.
Only the knocking at the door woke her and she had gotten up and reached for the door to find Mulder standing outside with coffee and muffins in the hallway. Once she'd let him in, she gratefully took a cup of the coffee and popped the lid off. Taking a sip, she formulated, then discarded drafts for her first question before settling on one.
He raised an eyebrow in a poor imitation of her and gave her a lopsided grin.
"Well, I figure we can take the cable car down towards the piers. Fisherman's Wharf and Pier 39, remember Scully? And we can take a tour of Alcatraz too," he suggested, thoroughly enjoying watching her in her pajamas.
She felt his gaze and realized that she wasn't 'fully' clothed yet.
"Give me a few minutes to get dressed Mulder," she informed him as she set the coffee down on the table. But she was suddenly caught by Mulder, as his hand wrapped around her wrist.
"Can I wait here?" he said in a low, almost breathy tone that sent chills up her spine.
Looking into his eyes, she knew that he was serious. Deathly so. And she was seriously considering letting him stay. Finally sanity took hold again, and she carefully twisted her wrist in his grasp until he released it. Scared that she might have destroyed whatever was going on between them, she quickly took his hand in hers.
"Maybe next time," she said with a bright smile, and an unconscious hint of promise. "But now get."
He gave her back a smile, seemingly pleased with the response and headed back out to his own room.
She watched him leave with a twinge of guilt and sorrow. But if she didn't get dressed, then they wouldn't be able to get moving. And she was so looking forward to spending the day with him just sightseeing.
Spend the day with *him*?
She mentally reprimanded herself again. But with less malice than usual. If there was ever going to be a time or place for things to "happen" between them, it would have to be away from everything and everyone they knew.
On vacation. In another city. Alone.
With that in mind, she tossed on her clothes and headed over to Mulder's room. She knocked on the door and he threw it open, as if he'd been waiting for her.
Escorting her out the door, they headed out, walking a block before she started to ask what they were up to.
"Where are we going?"
"I thought we'd take the cable car towards the piers. Besides, I hear it's a bear to find parking down there," he grinned as they hit the corner and saw a cable car coming up the street. He stepped off onto the street and waved, and moved towards it. Scully quickly followed, wondering how he knew all this. The car slowed, and Mulder jumped on, handing over some money to the conductor and then turned back to take Scully's hand and lift her into the cable car. She came quickly, her lighter frame nearly slamming into Mulder's before the ride began again.
Mulder's arm wrapped around her waist and his other hand held onto the pole to steady them before she got her feet under her. They locked eyes for a moment, and she eased back a bit. But not fully, and that thought energized Mulder more than he could have thought. Because he didn't want to let go.
By the time they decided to take the ferry to Alcatraz, they had walked around and seen a lot. They had already wandered through Fisherman's Wharf and the shops at Pier 39, and the ferry was in the same area, so it made sense to just hit that too while they were at it. Besides, Mulder had kept claiming that if they saw the former prison, they might be able to write the whole trip off as a business expense, since it had been a federal institution and all. So she had simply smiled, and went along with him.
As they took the boat over, Scully propped herself up at the bow, looking over the water as they went. She knew that Mulder was less enthused about boat travel, but he had braved his nausea and stood just behind her. His hand sat at her back just like always.
It was a very decadent feeling, being totally relaxed with Mulder. And she found herself enjoying it more than she should. She knew she should give him some more space, but either he pulled her closer, or she leaned back into him.
And he wasn't complaining. Not one bit.
The barriers that they'd had in place, keeping them apart were falling around their feet. And neither of them seemed to care.
When they arrived at the island, they trooped up the slope to the front of the institution, now run by the Park's Department. A milling group of tourists waited as a tall man in the greenish-khaki of the tour guide uniform met them and started telling them all about the history of the place.
As the man discussed the impossibility of escape from "The Rock", Mulder smothered a laugh. Scully shot him a quizzical glance.
"What? Hell Scully, we've been in more difficult situations than being locked up here. I mean, we've fought mutants and ghosts and monsters... we've even come back from the dead! This place would be a piece of cake."
She had to admit, they had been in some impossible situations, and always seemed to come through in a semblance of one piece.
The tour continued inside and they made their way past the general cell blocks, and then to the solitary confinement cells. As they stood there, looking into the small cell, the guide went on to tell about the conditions and the time period that the convicts would spend in "The Hole". Thinking back to the cramped spaces that he and Scully had been in over the years, Mulder snickered, and it was caught by the tour guide.
"You think that you could last ten minutes in there without feeling claustrophobic?" he asked Mulder.
With that, Mulder seemed to consider something, then a little smile ghosted across his lips. He reached down and caught Scully's hand and moved forward, taking her with him.
"We'll take that bet," Mulder announced to the astonished looks of the tourists and the questioning look of the tour guide.
Finally the man shrugged his shoulders and stepped aside as Mulder headed into the small cell. Scully looked at him in surprise and a little trepidation.
"What are you doing," she hissed quietly, tugging him back into the doorway, then released his hand, and he backed into the cell again.
"Having fun and proving my point. Come on Scully. You can do this. This should be a walk in the park compared to crawling through air ducts."
With that she grudgingly went inside, and then the guide shut the door, throwing them into pitch darkness.
Within the dark confines of the cell, Mulder and Scully became very aware of each other. The sounds, the smell, the heat of the other were hard to ignore in the silent dark.
Scully shifted uncomfortably, and soon found herself bumping into Mulder. He caught hold of her, keeping her close, his arms wrapped around her. She tensed in his arms, and she expected him to let her go.
But he didn't.
"Mulder," she said, whisper soft and she strained her eyes to try to look at him in the dark.
"Yes?" he said, and she could feel his breath on her face. He was *so* close.
"Why did you bring us here? Really?" and she knew that Mulder would know what she meant. Why they were in San Francisco. Why they were together, on vacation.
"Because I wanted to be with you. Because I need you with me," he said lightly, reverently. "Are you sorry you came with me?"
This time it was his question that meant so much more. And her answer would determine their future.
"Never Mulder. I'd go with you anywhere," she told him.
And then his lips found hers in the dark and they kissed for what seemed the first yet millionth time. Her arms looped around his neck and drew him closer to her, their mouths melding and their hearts melting into one.
So when the park guide finally looked at his watch and opened the door to let the agents out, he and the rest of the tour were shocked to find them locked in a passionate kiss, totally unaware of anyone.
Looking around, the guard took in the smiles and covered giggles of the other tourists, and couldn't help but stifle a snicker himself.
Then he courteously closed, but didn't lock the door, shutting the two lovebirds off from prying eyes until they came back to their senses.
And he sincerely hoped it was before the next tour came through, or they were going to get a "real" show.
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