What Time? I:

Dawn Of A New Day

By Jeannine Ackerson



May 18, 1997


Hi there! Deb was whining that she hadn't seen anything new from the Writing Machine, (since the 10th) so here... something new. (Now no more complaining!) <g> J.

Rating: PG for romantic/sexual themes.

Disclaimer: The X-Files belong to C.C., FOX & 1013 Prod. AND most importantly: they don't belong to me.

Relationship: UST/borderline MSR. So if you just "can't" believe that these two could feel like this about one another, please skip this.

Summary: Sunrise in D.C. finds Mulder reflecting on his insomnia and his attraction to his partner.

Hi All! This is the first story in a new series based on times of day. Thanks goes to Melody again for aiding this series idea. It's going to be MSR's all the way through, but each story will be stand-alone format, just under the umbrella of the Series title. (Just like usual with me.) But let's get to the story. . .

Mulder groaned as he looked at his alarm clock from his place on his couch. It was 5:30 in the morning and he couldn't go back to sleep.

Yeah, right, like you *sleep*, he thought to himself, falling back onto the black leather cushions and rubbing his hands over his eyes and face.

The fact that if he slept, he dreamt had helped reduce his desire for the average eight hours. What with the nightmares that plagued his sleeping, he'd long since learned to go with less and less sleep. The haunting images of Samantha's abduction and the horrors he'd seen since joining the FBI had become the fodder for his nightmares for years.

Waking up in a cold sweat and nearly screaming his sister's name had worn on him more than he liked to consciously consider, he thought tiredly.

Nightmares were something that he'd gotten used to. Or at least as used to as one could get. He'd effectively learned how to live with them. How to survive on limited sleep. How to make sure that the nights he woke moaning and crying didn't effect his job. In truth, he'd found a way to channel the emotions the dreams evoked into the work, the X-Files. It drove his search for Samantha and the truth.

But those weren't the *only* dreams he had.

He turned on the couch, sitting up as he realized with years of past experience that he wasn't going back to unconsciousness today. Running his hands over the knees of his cotton sweatpants, he let himself acknowledge the nature of the *other* dreams he had.

He tried to avoid these other dreams, but to no avail. They were too strong, too powerful for him to fight. They were ones that were just as disturbing as his night terrors. And they were yet another point in favor of the sleep depravation he was used to.

Except they weren't nightmares. Not in the traditional sense. In fact, they were as far from it as anyone could get. They were fantasies. In every sense of the word. Sexual and romantic dreams of varying natures that came to him in his sleeping hours.

Like the one this morning. Which was the very reason he was wide awake at 5:30 a.m.

And throughout all these erotic and emotional dreams; these fantasies of his, there was one constant. They *all* featured his partner.

He groaned a little as he let his conscious mind admit it to himself. *Again*. Scully was always the woman in his fantasies. Because she was the woman in his heart. His dreams just made him more aware of it. In his dreams, she made a very seductive and impressive appearance. She was Dana, the delicate woman beneath the armor and she was also Scully, his strong partner. But most of all, she was herself, and everything to him in his fantasies, just like he wanted her to be in his waking hours.

The dreams had started early in their partnership. He knew that, had admitted it to himself. There had been no denying the attraction they'd had, even at the start. But as the years had gone on, the depth of the feelings he had for her had increased the frequency and deepened the intensity of his dreams.

It was there, in his dreams, that he could say the things he longed to tell her, do the things with her that he ached to do. He had these dreams often, sometimes night after night in succession, and all with vivid detail. And each morning he would come in and have to face her at work, the lingering recollection of the night's fantasies lapping at his memory.

The thing that drove him crazy was the variety of the dreams.

The range was astounding. It was like mixing the platonic relationship he had with her, his deep love for her and his extensive video collection together in his subconscious. The fact that he was certain Dana Katherine Scully would never be as bold or as passive as she was in his dreams helped remind him that they were just that. Dreams.

He had to admit that he had a few favorites. Like the one on the beach. In her bedroom. In a motel on a case. On his desk. In the morgue. Ok, he admitted to himself, that last one was a little kinky, but . . . Hell, they were *his* dreams. If he couldn't be with her in real life, at least he should be allowed the luxury of a little "variety" in his fantasy world.

But of all the things about his dreaming, the thing he hated the most was the reality. The fact that he had to hide how he felt. That with the light of day he had to box up and shove down to the bottom of the footlocker he called his heart all those images and fantasies. If he didn't do that, he knew he'd end up doing something that would make his secret crystal clear.

And he felt that he couldn't chance that happening. Because he was certain that she'd shoot him emotionally down in flames. Or just plain *shoot* him.

Not like he knew Scully's heart in these matters. Far from it. But in all the years they'd been "together", she'd never once taken his flattery seriously. She had never followed up on any of the innuendoes, the light touches and looks. Never called him on any of them. Not once had she ever given him a hint that she'd like it if he pursued her, that she was interested in him in that way. No, she'd stayed typically Scully and kept any feelings or lack thereof to herself.

So once the sun came up, he had to transform himself into Special Agent Fox Mulder. The obsessively driven man searching for answers and the truth. Not the overly passionate man who wanted to sweep his partner off her feet and secret them both off in a Bed & Breakfast somewhere for a few months.

That last thought made him grin, and he wondered what it would be *really* like to be with her. He knew that the images in his mind, his fantasies were just that: illusions about how he *thought* it could be. There was a little part of him that instinctively knew that the reality would be so much better than that. The knowledge came from deep within him. Almost as if his soul recognized hers, those parts of them knowing exactly how their relationship would be.

But until the day came that he got the nerve to say something to her, he'd have to continue to bury his feelings for her.

Without thinking, he stood and got hit straight in the face by the bright rays streaming into his apartment from the rising sun. Blinded momentarily, he stepped away, blinking rapidly to decrease the huge bright blue spot where his normal vision usually was. Once he had his sight back, he navigated around the coffee table and over to his bedroom door to get his suit for the day.

He perused his closet, settling on the dove gray suit that Scully seemed to like and laid it out on his bed. Then he headed for the drawers of his dresser, reaching in for a shirt, socks and a clean pair of boxers. The tie he would wait to pick out. First though, he thought as he walked to the bathroom, he needed a shower.

And with the way his thoughts had been running so far, it was going to end up being a cold one.

Stripping down, he climbed into the shower, turning the knobs of the faucets and being drenched with hot water. As he toned it down, he found the bar of soap, washing himself up and then switched to shampooing his hair. He tried to keep focused. He really did, but his mind was still reeling from the morning's mental indiscretions, and he couldn't help imagining Scully's small hands on his body. Imaging that it was *her* hands running up and down along his skin . . .

Quickly he reached over and turned the knob on the faucet, and suddenly cold water doused him.

Damn, he mentally cursed, shaking his head under the icy deluge. It wasn't bad enough that he dreamt about her, now he was having fantasies when he was wide awake. Sigh, you've got it bad Mulder, he chided himself.

Once he was fully soaked and dissuaded, he hurried to get out and then dried himself off. Towel wrapped around his waist, he padded into his bedroom and looked at the clothes he'd laid out again.

As he dressed, his mind drifted off yet again, letting his conscious mind meld with his unconscious in its fascination with Dana Scully.

The suit reminded him of hers. The plain, straight angle jackets. The crisp pants. The knee length silhouette skirts. They were severe business suits for a woman in a man's world. Doing a job that had been held by men only up until a few decades ago. And they made her less feminine for a reason: to make her more professional looking.

And they did their job well. Most people who saw her thought that she was a very serious person. A lot of the people in the Bureau believed that she was as cool on the inside as she was on the outside.

Except for him. No, he *knew* differently. Because he'd seen that night in that small, dark room in a Bellefleur motel what Dana Scully wore under those suits. Simple, classy satiny bras and panties. The image of her standing there in front of him, in the dim candle light had been permanently ingrained in his memory.

God, Mulder get your mind *off* of Scully and onto work, he mentally chastised himself as he finished knotting a paisley patterned tie into place. The time for fantasy was over. Now he had to think about the cases and the job and surviving another day standing and sitting next to her; touching her hand or back and breathing the same air as she did without kissing her senseless.

With a sigh he finished dressing, slipping into his shoes and shoving his ID and gun into place. Once he was ready, he looked at the clock. 6:30 a.m. He would be in the office by 7. If he actually had a life, he might have cared that he was going to be in more than an hour before he was supposed to start work. But he didn't so it wouldn't matter to anyone. He was *always* in before Scully in the mornings. Mostly because of incidents like the one this morning, he reminded himself.

He walked to the door, picking up his car keys on the way. It was the start of just another day of aliens, conspiracies, Bureau protocol and determination to find the answers and the truth.

Another day of *pretending*.

There were times he wondered who he was helping by pretending. By keeping silent. Was it her and him, keeping their relationship safe and functioning? Or was it the Bureau and the shadow government he was helping? By not saying anything, was he denying what was *really* between them for the sake of everyone but themselves?

In truth, he just didn't know.

But one thing he did know was that this couldn't go on indefinitely. One day he was going to have to say something to her.

Standing at the door, his hand on the knob, he looked back at the just fully rising sun as it streaked light through the blinds of his apartment. The stripes of light in contrast to the lines of dark struck him. They were like the bars of a jail cell, holding him in, keeping everyone out. But he didn't want to keep everyone out. He wanted to let someone in. He wanted to let *her* into his heart. Wanted her to say if he was in hers.

Maybe I'll tell her today, he thought with a confident little grin. It's as good a day as any.

He pushed the door open and stepped out into the hallway, closing the door behind him. Yes, maybe today he'd give her his heart. For finally, a new day had *finally* dawned for him.


Well, that's one down and "I don't know" more to go. <g> J.

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