TITLE: "ad interim"

AUTHOR: Little Red (mylittleredgirl at gmail dot com)

RATING: Let's call it R, for descriptions of f/f and m/f sex.

CATEGORY: challenge fic. Scully/Reyes. Mulder/Scully. Mention of Doggett/Reyes. And angst.

CHALLENGE: from fallon ash: Scully/Reyes, using the line "No, I can't believe that."

SPOILERS: This is set after "William" and "Jump the Shark" but before "The Truth." Consider yourselves vaguely spoiled accordingly.

SUMMARY: This is only a way of holding his place.

It's Monica because she fits.

She has taken Mulder's role in The X-Files. She believes like it's going out of style. She is now the black sheep of the J. Edgar Hoover building -- Scully has seen the way the other agents put on smiles and stare when Monica walks by because of her last outlandish theory that has traversed the grapevine (except when she's wearing that leather skirt -- then they stare for quite another reason. Scully doesn't think about that). Monica makes the leaps. She solves the cases. She gets none of the credit, but, unlike Mulder, that doesn't seem to bother her.

She hasn't taken his desk. That's Doggett's now, and Scully often wonders if she should have turned to him when she had to turn to someone (he has both the interest and the right equipment), but that feels too much like unfaithfulness.

This isn't that. It's something else, definitely, but not that. This is only a way of holding his place.

They argue like she used to with him, and Monica's wild imagination and esoteric source material let Scully slide back into the role she's most comfortable with. It's a relief to again be the doubter, the pragmatist, to shake off the fanatical robe that never quite fit her. If she closes her eyes and screens out the voice, she can almost imagine it's Mulder between her legs telling her that the four apparently random stranger murders in Connecticut are in fact crimes of passion and that ghosts are to blame.

"It's the only logical theory. All four suspects and three of the victims survived severe injuries or lost loved ones in the last year. Human beings are most susceptible to psychic entities when they're near death or have suffered a severe emotional trauma."

Like the loss of a lover. The loss of a child. Close friends. Or a delayed reaction, maybe. The death of a parent. A sister. Abduction. Violation. Pregnancy. Scully isn't sure where she went wrong.

Monica twists her fingers inside her and Scully almost comes off the bed. Still, she says her line. "No, I can't believe that." She forces her breath to even but doesn't push the woman's hands away. "Chemical imbalances associated with trauma are responsible for the personality shifts that make people appear to be possessed by spirits."

"They're called walk-ins," Monica corrects right before replaces her fingers with her lips and tongue and sucks her in.

Scully never talked shop in bed with Mulder but it feels important now, lets her keep his face and voice in her mind when she comes with a pathetic whimper. She could scream now that William isn't asleep in the other room, but she still doesn't.

She likes having regular orgasms by a hand other than her own. She rarely had that with Mulder (but that doesn't matter, wasn't what they were about). She has never been very good about doing it herself. Her Catholicism dies hard in strange ways, but more than that, arousal has always been more to her about another warm body rather than just pushing all the right buttons.

She uses Monica for that, too, needs to curl into her skin in the aftermath and be warm and held. She calls it using even though she doesn't think Monica minds (but then, she's seen the way Monica trails after John Doggett for the occasional bones of affection he throws her, so maybe being used is her thing). To say she's using her rather than any other word is the most accurate representation of what's going on, because this is just temporary, just a suture to hold her together until Mulder comes home.

"You're going to be okay, Dana," Monica promises like she knows how much Scully thinks about breaking, the words reverberating through her chest. It's one of the things she says after sex that Scully does her best not to hear.

She can't believe it, or doesn't want to. If she stops needing him, stops being half a person in his absence, God forbid (and this thought she really can't stand) finds someone else to love her... it will mean she has given up. She doesn't remember when her love became bundled with her loyalty, but it did, and failing him is the one thing she can never, ever do.

She settles her head against Monica's breasts, one hand on her sharp, feminine hipbone, and compares this unfavorably to the few times she lay with Mulder. His arms were stronger, holding her to him like he would never let go, his chest hair scratchy against her cheek. She misses sex with men (with him), craves an organic cock inside her pounding her into the headboard, filling her until she can't stand it. That hunger makes this okay, because Monica gives her just enough to miss him more.

Monica gets up when her cell phone rings. She doesn't have to explain that it's John.

"I have to go," she says. "He found something that might be a related case to the Connecticut murders."

It's eight o'clock on a Saturday night, but it's John, so Monica will go in to work without putting up a fight. By the length of the call and Monica's answers she knows that Doggett didn't even ask if Monica is busy with something, perhaps because he doesn't need to. Scully wonders if she's holding a place, too.

Monica pauses at the door and looks torn for only a moment. "I can come back, if you want. Or tomorrow, for breakfast."

It's another line from a past life. "I'm okay."

Monica goes. Scully curls into the pillow that smells like her. It's becoming a comforting scent to have around her even though it's nothing like his, but she decides it's all right to need Monica a little, so long as she doesn't forget.

This is all about Mulder. Monica is just the one that fits.

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