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All in a day's work.

DISCLAIMER: Not mine; the X-Files belong to CC, FOX, etc.

Note: Written for the Haven First Passionate Kiss Challenge (find other challenge fics here: The Garden of Forking Paths). I've had this idea in mind for a while, and the challenge just gave me an excuse to write it.

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The gentle breeze, bearing a hint of cherry blossoms, ruffled Scully's hair. Spring was in the air, and even at midday on a Wednesday, it was bringing people out in droves.

Seated on a park bench along the reflecting pool, Scully sipped at her empty coffee cup. Surreptitiously, she glanced over the lid toward the man across the park wearing a hooded sweatshirt, with the hood up. She muttered at her partner, "Doesn't he realize that sweatshirt screams 'criminal,' especially on a day like today?"

"Think he'd have better luck blending in with the Japanese tour group?" Mulder quipped.

She snorted softly at the joke, averting her eyes from the 6-foot-5 Caucasian suspect who looked anything but Japanese. She struggled against the urge to glance at her watch again and racked her brain for some innocuous topic of conversation to pass the time. On any other assignment, her next words would be, "What are we doing here, Mulder?" but for once, it wasn't his fault.

A situation had arisen just after noon. Skinner needed surveillance teams to catch a suspect in the act, and Mulder and Scully had the dubious fortune of being among the handful of agents who didn't file out for their lunch hour precisely at 12:00. So here they were on the Mall, loitering on a bench in the middle of the workday, waiting for something to happen.

And waiting. Either their suspect was extremely early, or cautious, or his contact was very late.

Scully finally gave up on her empty cup and tossed it into the garbage bin next to their bench. She glanced over at the suspect again, only to find him staring back at her.

As casually as she could, she ignored his gaze and pivoted more toward Mulder. But when she spoke, she was addressing the rest of the team through her open microphone. "He's looking this way. I think we've been made."

Mulder set down his newspaper and turned toward her. "Hold on," he said to their audience. "I think we can salvage this." He slid across the bench and leaned in close. Mere inches away, his words for her alone, he rasped, "Do you trust me?"

When he asked the question like that, it raised doubts whether she should. With a frown, she said tentatively, "Yes."

His lips were pressing against hers before she had time to process that he was closing the distance between them. Surprised, her first instinct was to pull back, but she resisted the impulse and let herself relax into his kiss. Her eyes automatically closed. She felt his palm cradle the side of her head and his thumb brush gently across her cheek.

The chuckle in her earpiece made Scully retreat slightly, but Mulder pursued, continuing the subtle assault on her lips. "We really ought to let you two out of the basement more often," said Agent Johnson. "We never get this kind of entertainment in the bullpen."

Skinner's harsh tone cut him off. "I think he bought it. Maintain your positions, Team Three. The suspect is headed right past you."

Somewhere in the part of Scully's brain that was still functioning, she realized that their boss had just told them to keep kissing. Surreal. She felt Mulder smile against her mouth. Then his tongue stroked her lower lip, begging entrance. Who was she to deny him? Besides, she was simply following orders. She had one arm braced against the back of the bench, but her other hand was free to caress the back of Mulder's neck and sift through the hair tickling his nape. Her soft pressure on his neck was involuntary, pulling him even deeper into the kiss.

"Suspect is coming toward you, Team Four," Skinner said. "Three, hold your position and continue surveillance."

Mulder's tongue stroked against hers one last time, then he pulled out of the kiss. Her eyes fluttered open and sought out his, but he was already looking past her toward the suspect. That little dose of reality broke the moment, and Scully forced herself back into a professional mode. They had not just made out on the job, she told herself. They were simply undercover.

The rest of the sting went by in a blur, and mostly through Mulder's narration in her ear--he was the one facing the action, as it would've been out of character for both "lovers" on the bench to turn and stare at a stranger. The exchange was made, the suspect was caught, and the teams were called in. All in a day's work.

Her lips tingled all the way back to the office.

* * *

The knock at her front door startled Scully, jarring her from her distant thoughts. She pulled her hands from the soapy dishwater and checked the clock. It was only 6:00 pm. Rarely was she home and done with dinner already by this time, but she had left work a little early that afternoon. It was Skinner's offer to make up for their lost lunch hour.

Drying her hands on a towel, Scully crossed to the door and opened it. It wasn't really surprising that her unexpected guest was Mulder, but seeing him again sent a small shock through her system. Or maybe that was the pleasant shiver down her spine. Either way, she fought for her composure and stepped aside to let him in.

He brandished a paper at her. "Sorry to bother you. Skinner wanted this affidavit of our eyewitness testimony signed and filed right away. They're trying to expedite the proceedings. I told him I'd run it over here to get your signature."

She walked back toward the kitchen counter to set down the dish towel and grab the pen lying there next to her grocery list. "You should've called. I could've come back to the office to do this."

"It was no trouble."

They didn't quite make eye contact as he handed her the page. She quickly signed it and passed it back to him, but he made no move to leave. She wasn't sure whether she should find an excuse for him to stay longer, or if he was waiting for that invitation.

"There's one thing I need to know," he said at last.

Her heart leapt into her throat, and she inquired with wide eyes. Something about his tone sounded so final.

He set the paper down. Stepping closer, he backed her against the counter. His hands came up to frame her face, holding her head in place as he quickly descended on her. The first touch of his lips was cautious, but he quickly picked up where they had left off that afternoon. She grabbed onto his waist to hold herself upright as he deepened the kiss, sending a jolt throughout her body that threatened to buckle her knees. Then, as quickly as it had started, it was over. He stepped away, leaving her to clutch at the counter behind her to hold her up.

As the lust-crazed haze cleared from his eyes, his lips spread into a lazy grin. "So, it wasn't just a fluke. Oh, Scully, you and I are going to be so good together."

He snatched up the affidavit and swept out of the apartment before she could gather her wits to muster a reply.

Nothing could wipe the silly grin off her face for the rest of the night.

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