Draw Down the Moon 12
They nestled together like three spoons in the dark, the baby in John’s arms and John in Dana’s. He liked to tell her she would curl around William as if she were a protective barrier, but, she was amused to note, when he held the baby he did the same thing.
Her men—her boys—her guys—were both sound asleep, William’s high, rapid breathing a counterpoint to the slow rise and fall of John’s chest. The baby had been colicky and temperamental most of the night, and his parents finally decided to just bring him to bed with them and hope for the best. Of course, he’d fallen asleep at once, and John had whispered, his mouth in a half-smile, “He’s got us trained.”
Sighing, Dana tucked up her knees and rested her cheek against John’s shoulder. Her guys slept the sleep of the just, but she felt too laden with secrets to relax.
There was too much that she hadn’t told John, and she couldn’t start confiding in him now when so much time had passed. She couldn’t tell him about Luke’s ghost, whom she found nearly every morning tickling and making faces at the baby; or about Emily’s ghost, who had perfected the art of manifestation enough to sound giggles and footsteps and sometimes jump on the bed; or Mulder’s ghost, who liked to lie beside her during her afternoon nap and always, always watched William sleep.
The dead were all around. She’d never felt safer. She’d never felt more strange.
The meaning of this worried her. She’d seen ghosts before, of course, under intensely emotional circumstances, but she’d never lived with them day to day. John, however, didn’t notice a thing. After all this time—the hauntings had only grown more intense in the month since he found the body of Amy Wilkes—she didn’t know how to tell him.
He deserves better than this, she thought and kissed his shoulder. He deserves better than a wife who keeps secrets.
But it was better still, she thought, than him thinking she was seeing things that weren’t there.
She sighed, frustrated, and remembered the first time she felt the baby move—her joy at the proof of life within her, her grief at being far from anyone to share it with, and her sudden thought: John would appreciate this. John would understand. She had risen from bed, pulled on her robe and gone to his hotel room without considering the late hour or what John would think.
She had knocked on his door, and when he opened it the light was on beside his bed and a book was open face-down on the coverlet. “Are you okay, Agent Scully?”
In answer she took his hand and pressed it to her belly. “I felt a kick,” she whispered.
He smiled at her and his fingers gently rubbed her stomach. “Hey,” he said in a low, pleased voice. “That’s great. That’s really nice.”
They stood there for a few moments more, her hand on top of his, until she realized they were staring at each other and that her heart had begun to pound—that her cheeks had begun to redden—that she was one caress away from pushing him onto his bed and discovering for herself if he tasted as good as he smelled.
She let go of his hand and said, “Well. Good night, Agent Doggett,” and scurried from his room—but not quickly enough to miss the regret in his voice when he answered her.
“Good night, Agent Scully. Thank you.”
She had gone back to her own room and climbed into bed, telling herself she only wanted him because he was virile, handsome and available, nothing more. He was not hers to use.
Denial, Dana reflected, was a persuasive enemy. She kissed John’s
shoulder again and wondered, if she’d allowed herself to kiss him that night, would she be with him now, or would she only have fought her attraction more stubbornly until she finally drove him away.
Dana had promised herself when she married him that she would be a good wife and a loving companion. Knowing he loved her made her heart skip with joy. She knew she loved him in return. It was not the aching, longing sort of love she had felt for Mulder—it was warm, safe, as comforting as John’s embrace. It filled and soothed her. He only had to touch her hand and the stars returned to their courses, the ground was beneath her feet, and she could breathe.
This was why she said nothing to him about ghosts. She could not bear the thought of disappointment in his eyes.
The baby smacked his lips and gave a little cry. Dana reached over John and stroked William’s cheek, waiting to see if he would fuss more or go back to sleep. He wiggled and squawked, his diaper rustling, and sought her fingertips with his mouth.
Carefully Dana rose onto her knees and lifted William out of John’s arms. John stirred too and murmured, “Is he hungry?”
“Yes. I’ll take him into his room.”
“No need. ‘M awake.”
“All right.” Dana hesitated, then laid on her side, unbuttoning her pajama top with one hand, and adjusted William against her breast. The baby rooted for her nipple and began to drink with loud gulps.
“I didn’t hear him cry,” John said after a moment. His fingers capped the back of William’s head.
She stroked the inside of his wrist with her fingertips. “He didn’t. Not much. I was awake already.”
“You oughta wake me up if you’re having trouble sleeping.”
“Why would I do that?”
“So I can keep you company.”
She laughed and raised his hand to her mouth to kiss his palm. He stroked her cheek. “You’re so sweet when you’re sleepy.”
John chuckled and moved closer to kiss her. William stopped nursing to growl in protest, and John broke off the kiss and murmured, “Sorry, Willie boy,” as he pulled himself back. He kissed the baby’s head and curled himself around him, so William was enfolded between them. His foot stroked Dana’s calf.
Dana reached over lazily to stroke John’s sharp cheekbone. “Aren’t you tired?”
“A little. I think I’ve reached the point where sleep doesn’t matter anymore. I’ll be feelin’ it tomorrow.”
Dana frowned and pulled back her arm to tuck around William again. “That’s why you need sleep. We’ve got a party tomorrow night.”
“Ah, that’s right. A big party, as I recall. Nervous?”
“No,” she said automatically, then reconsidered. “A little. I mean . . . it is mostly people you know.”
“The guys will be there, your mother will be there, Skinner will be there, Monica will be there,” John said in a reasonable tone. “And by then you’ll know my parents, too. You’ve talked to my mother more in the last month than I have. What time does their flight come in again?”
“You have nothing to worry about,” he said. “You’re the bride. You’ll be the center of attention, even without the long white dress.”
“That’s why I’m nervous.”
“I promise I won’t make you sing karaoke.”
“Oh, good, since Lisa isn’t getting a karaoke machine.”
“You know perfectly well that there’s going to be a swing band.” She sighed and nestled her head on her arm. “You’ll dance with me, right?”
“Absolutely.” He leaned over and kissed her, smoothing her hair back from her face. “It’s going to be a good night, babe.”
Dana nodded and John lay down again, their foreheads touching. In a few minutes he was asleep again, his leg still casually thrown over hers and his hand on her hip.
When William had finished nursing Dana slipped from bed and took him to the nursery, patting his back and humming to him. “Are you going to sleep, little man?” she whispered as she laid him in the crib. He twitched and his mouth sucked on air, but he pulled his feet up to his bottom and relaxed his fingers, his long eyelashes casting shadows on his cheeks.
Her heart beat almost painfully hard in her chest as she looked at him. There was nothing she would not do for this child—no beast she wouldn’t battle, no villain she wouldn’t chase, no illness she wouldn’t strive to cure. If nothing more, she could give him a safe place to sleep. She ran her fingertips over his peachfuzz hair and turned to go back to bed.
The shape was there in the doorway, as if she’d caught Mulder trying to sneak in. Dana said simply, “Don’t wake him,” and walked through the ghost to leave.
She got back into bed and gathered John once more into his arms. “Everything okay?” he mumbled.
She kissed his hair. “Yes.”
In the morning John left early to meet his parents at the airport. Dana took a shower and bathed the baby. She heard the children scamper up and down the hall, and the sound made her smile. “That’s your brother and sister,” she whispered as she lifted William from the bathtub. She wrapped him in his towel. “They’re looking after you. Are you going to be all right, with ghosts for babysitters?” She tickled William’s cheeks and he laughed, squirming and waving his hands.
Dana’s room smelled of honey, as did the landing and the nursery. “Love you too, Emily,” Dana whispered. She diapered and dressed William, and quickly dressed herself. With William gumming a teething ring in his carrier, Dana made up the spare room with fresh sheets and towels, put a vase of flowers on the bureau and opened the closet to air it out. If we do have another child, she thought, it’s going to get crowded in this little house.
She heard the car pull into the drive, so she scooped up William and hurried to the stairs. John was holding the front door open for his parents—his mother silver-haired, his father’s hair still dark, both of them slender and long-limbed like John. “Dana, my folks, Hannah and Sam,” John said when Dana hesitated on the stairs. “Mom, Dad. This is my wife.”
He said this in a warm, proud voice, a smile on his face like the one he’d worn when she promised to love, honor and cherish him until death.
She took a deep breath and put a smile on her own face, and descended the stairs to meet her in-laws.
There was much hugging and kissing and exclaiming over William, who accepted these new people with many looks to his mother for reassurance. John carried their luggage upstairs, then his father wanted him to show off the new garden in the back yard. William began to fuss for his lunch, so Dana took him into his room to nurse and Hannah joined her, looking at William’s toys and books on their low white shelves.
“That’s a beautiful chair,” Hannah said when their conversation about baby care lagged.
“John made it.”
“Oh, he did? I knew he was getting good at carpentry but I had no idea. Rocking chairs are hard to make.”
She ran her fingertips over the back. “Dana . . . you met my son through work, didn’t you?”
“He was assigned to my division after my former partner was killed.”
“But you don’t work anymore?”
“No. Not anymore. I’m just a full-time mommy.” She smiled down at William, who smiled back at her.
“There’s nothing ‘just’ about full-time motherhood,” Hannah said in reassuring tone. “I was a nurse until I retired three years ago. I worried so much when the boys were small, how they’d turn out with their mother gone almost every night. But Samuel . . . he was very gentle with them.”
“Is that where John gets it?”
“Doggett men,” Hannah said, shaking her head slightly. “There’s a magic to them.” They exchanged a smile of understanding, then Hannah said, “His phone call to tell us you were married was a huge surprise, though. He’d mentioned you, of course—quite frequently, really—but I didn’t think anything would come of it. He’d been so set against remarrying after Lu—after Barbara.”
“It took us by surprise, too.”
“I gathered that.” She wandered to the changing table, p
icked up a bottle of baby powder and set it back down. “I hope you understand, Dana—he’s still my baby.”
“I love your son very much,” Dana said. “He’s been nothing but good to me. When my former partner died . . . he and I had been very close. I was devastated when he died. I wouldn’t have come through that without John. I realize,” she added, “that it sounds like I married him out of obligation, but I didn’t. Losing my partner made me accept that when love comes, you have to grab hold of it and never let go.”
Hannah smiled and touched William’s head. “I like that,” she said quietly.
* * *
Naps, Dana decided, were what they all needed. It was going to be a long night, Hannah and Sam had been traveling all day, and she and John had been awake half the night. Naps while William slept, she said, would do all of them good, and since she was the doctor in the house everyone else agreed.
She put William in his crib, and John’s parents settled into the guest room with the door closed. In their room John drew the curtains, casting the room in a golden semi-gloom, and turned down the sheets on the bed. He sat down on the edge to take off his shoes as Dana lay back against the pillows, and she watched him through half-closed eyes.
She said softly, as he lay down beside her, “Have I said I love you yet today?”
He smiled and gathered her to him with one arm. “Yeah, but I don’t mind hearing it again.”
“I love you,” she whispered and wrapped her arms around his chest. “I’m so . . . grateful for you.”
“Uh-huh.” She nodded and kissed his neck. “Grateful that I know you. Grateful that you were sent to me. Grateful that you love me.”
“I see,” he murmured. “I thought we were supposed to be sleepin’, not sweet-talkin’.”
Dana ran her hands over his soft t-shirt and said, “Maybe a little more sweet talk would help us sleep.”
John raised his eyebrows, his mouth starting to smirk. “Ah,” he breathed. “You just wanted to get me into bed.”
“Guilty.” She moved herself on top of him and lowered her head to kiss the slight cleft in his chin. “I just wasn’t sure what I’d do once I got you here.” She kissed his mouth. He groaned when her tongue touched his.
His hands rested on her waist and his fingers inched her t-shirt up out of his way. He stroked the small of her back and the bumps of her spine. “Wow,” he muttered, “you’re actually wearing a bra today.”
“Out of consideration for your mother.”
John chuckled and pulled her t-shirt up farther. She rested on him and raised her arms so he could pull the shirt over her head. They kissed. She rose up on her knees and reached behind her to unhook her bra, John watching her with a hungry gaze.
“You’re so pretty,” he murmured, his voice like a lion’s purr.
Dana smiled and started to lean forward, but he stopped her with hands on her shoulders. “Let me look at you a little.”
Dana nodded and exhaled. She traced his arms and watched his face as he caressed her ribs, her breasts, her collarbones, her arms, with gentle fingertips. When he’d touched her to his satisfaction he looked into her eyes and said quietly, “I still wake up in amazement, Dana. I hope I always will.”
Her eyes brimmed and she leaned down again, resting on her elbows and wrapping her arms around his head. “Kiss me.”
“Kiss me first.”
She kissed his mischievous smile, his heated cheeks and his sleepy eyes. “I love being with you,” she whispered. “I love how beautiful you make me feel.”
“You are beautiful.” His hands encircled her waist and he kissed her cheeks and brow. “You’re my sweet girl.”
“Mm . . .” Dana began to drag herself up and down his body, pressing her hips against his erection, pressing her breasts to his chest. She panted against his cheek, wanting him so much she was trembling. John groaned in response, his hands losing their gentleness as they moved over her body. He rolled a nipple between his fingertips, getting a moan from her throat, and rolled them onto their sides so he could suckle her.
“John,” she whispered into his hair. “Oh, John.”
She opened her eyes and thought she saw a shape by the window. But no—Mulder said he couldn’t stay and watch—and it wouldn’t be the children, she felt their absence now as much as she felt their presence when they were near—
“You okay?” John whispered roughly.
“Yes.” She kissed his mouth. “I love you.” His mouth closed around her other nipple, tugging the sensitive tissue, and her eyes squeezed shut again.
They had to be quiet—they didn’t want to disturb his parents or the baby. It was easy at first—muffling their moans with kisses, giggling a bit and telling each other “Shh!” But when Dana took his cock into her mouth he had to bite his fist to stifle the sound, and when he pushed her onto her knees and thrust into her he had to cover her mouth with his hand. She licked his palm, curling her body forward and spreading her knees wide to bring him deep inside her. “Dana,” he growled into her hair. “God, woman.”
“Harder,” she whispered and kissed his heart line. It felt like a secret language, talking into his hand like this. “Harder, John.”
Her forehead rested on her folded arms, and his hand slid from her mouth, down her neck, fondled a breast, stroked her belly and probed between her folds to find her clit. He rubbed her clit forcefully, the peak between two fingers, and Dana’s teeth nipped at the sheets. “Harder!” Her hips thrust back to his with an urgent beat. “Oh, John, harder, please!”
He groaned and pulled her upright, making her sink even deeper onto him. “Trust me,” he muttered, one arm around her waist and the other crossed over her breasts. She turned her head towards him, her body tense and eager, and wrapped her hands around his wrists. She felt like she was balancing on her toes, letting him ride her hard enough to pierce her heart, her brain, her soul. He pulled her face back and kissed her, his tongue fierce against her teeth. She thrust one hand into his hair and the other between her thighs, rubbing her clit with the side of her hand. She was so close—so filled with him—so hot, so wild—
He must have known—he covered her mouth again as she cried out, her body going rigid and then falling forward onto the mattress. She gasped against the sheets, and felt John panting behind her. He kissed her spine and kneaded her hips. “Baby . . .”
“Yes.” She peered at him through her tousled hair. “Anything you want, baby. Anything.”
John pulled out of her and flipped her onto her back—she was as loose as a rag doll with satisfaction—and laid his body over hers, holding her face between his hands. He kissed her. “I want to look into your eyes.” He pushed into her again, slowly, and she shivered and sighed with pleasure. She looped her arms around his neck. She raised her knees high, digging her feet into his hipbones. Her hips rolled to meet his. He buried his face in her hair, groaning, and thrust rough and fast. He sucked on her hair. His fingers nearly crushed her hands as he held her arms over her head. He kissed perspiration from her face and between her breasts, and rubbed his five o’clock shadow against her nipples, making her legs quiver. Her toes flexed, her nails dug into his back.
She kept her eyes open, and saw how his eyes grew wide as if in wonder as the deep spasm shook his body. He bit his lip to keep from shouting, and his body went weak in her arms.
Dana raked her hand through his damp hair and kissed him. “Love you, baby,” he muttered and his finger stroked her cheek. “Love you.”
“Love you too.” She shifted a little to hold him more easily, and he nuzzled his face against her shoulder.
“Do we have enough time to sleep?”
“Just for a bit.”
“Mm.” He gave her mouth one more sloppy kiss and laid his head on her shoulder. “A bit’s all I need.”
He was asleep in moments, and Dana felt herself drifting as their heartbeats slowed. The air was heavy with the fra
grance of sex and the scent of sulfur—
Her eyes flew open. Sulfur—God, was there a fire? She inhaled again, looking around the room, but saw nothing unusual and could smell only John.
She shook her head and laid it back down. John nuzzled closer, humming sleepily. “Dana?”
“Go to sleep,” she murmured, and closed her eyes to take her own advice.