She'd never been in this part of the building before. In fact, until Fox had grabbed her hand and told her with an excited glint in his eyes that he'd "found the answers," she hadn't even known there was a basement in the J. Edgar Hoover building.
That glint was in his eyes as he pressed the elevator buttons. He was practically standing on the tips of his toes, bouncing a little like a kid at the ice cream counter. She couldn't help but laugh, and at the sound he cocked his head at her, grinning.
"This is it, Diana. A treasure chest of everything we've ever guessed at and believed in. The truth is in there, I know it is."
She grinned back, thinking of a kid she'd worked with last week who could see things before they happened, little things like the phone ringing or a knock on the front door. She thought of the prison inmate who'd helped orchestrate a crime using telepathy, though he didn't know who had received the direction, and how they couldn't prove his complicity in court. The explanations for these things could be waiting in the basement.
The elevator came to a stop, and Fox's grin turned into a business-like scowl. Not mean, but determined. Focused.
Like an archaeologist at the tomb of a dead pharoah, she thought.
It was dusty, and it smelled like an old library or museum storeroom. There was a copier, probably the first model Xerox from the looks of it, a monument of antiquity seen only in government buildings. Off in a corner was a stack of picture frames, and she guessed that
closer inspection would reveal decades worth of attorneys' general and presidents' photos.
There were stacks of boxes that had been pushed to the sides, revealing a dark grey door. Fresh fingerprints marred the dust on the doorknob. A lighter, rectangular spot at eye level told Diana that a nameplate had once decorated the door, and she wondered idly whose office this had been. Some intrepid agent, hellbent on the truth the way her partner was?
Fox walked up to the door and stopped. He turned around to face Diana, taking a deep breath as he did so.
"Diana, I have to tell you something." The glint in his eyes had faded, replaced by a haunted look Diana had never seen. Fox sighed again and bowed his head, reaching for her hand.
"We've been partners for what, a year? A little more? And we've gotten pretty close." At this she squeezed his hand. They had gotten close, and were probably close to breaking a few Bureau rules on fraternization.
He paused. She prodded. "Yes, that's true. But I don't..."
"Let me finish, Diana. We've gotten close, but we don't share everything. You don't know some things. You should. You know about Samantha."
"Your sister. She was kidnapped."
Fox swallowed hard, and tightened his grip on Diana's hand. "Abducted."
Abducted. The word's implications were not lost on Diana. They hadn't discussed Fox's recent obsession with aliens and UFOs, and she'd blown it off. He'd worked a case that had put him in the hospital with hallucinations, and she figured the research was a doctor-directed activity.
"I've been having dreams. I think I'm remembering what happened to my sister that night. I think I'm remembering her abduction, Diana. And I think this room might have some answers for me."
Diana had worked with abductees in her graduate studies, and the occasional case in the Behavioral Science division brought with it the usual implant stories. But she didn't believe in that sort of thing....did she?
She wasn't sure, now. She knew her partner to be a stable person. He could get obsessed with his work, tuning out the rest of the world while he focused on the profile. It was what made him stand out in Violent Crimes and gave him a reputation in the Bureau as one of the best field agents available. Reggie thought the world of him, and privately, so did Diana.
"Diana, I know how crazy it sounds. But I have to know. I have to see."
She searched his eyes. She knew crazy - she'd gotten her degree in it, hadn't she? She worked with it, diagnosed it. Fox Mulder was many things, not all of which were pleasant, but most of which made her light up inside, turned her on and made her knees weak.
And she knew now, if she hadn't known it before, that he was not crazy.
His gaze was earnest and intense, and he didn't flinch when she pulled her hand out of his to touch his face. He didn't move.
"It doesn't sound crazy." She leaned forward and kissed his cheek, blushing as she did so. She'd never been quite that bold with him. He turned his head a little to look at her, and their noses bumped. "Let's go in and find the truth together, then."
He nodded and turned around to open the door. He flipped a switch on the wall, and the flickering fluorescent light revealed boxes, rusting filing cabinets, desks that had seen the days of JFK.
They looked at each other and without speaking, bent to begin digging through the mounds of yellowing paperwork in the room. Stories of Bigfoot sightings, poltergeist manifestations, and yes, alien abductions. They only stopped to occasionally read aloud what they were finding, each case astounding them and
Hours passed and Diana kicked off her shoes, Fox undid his tie and discarded his jacket. At some point they had settled against the wall, shoulders touching. Fox would kick Diana's foot when he wanted her attention, and she would elbow his arm for his. It was comfortable, consuming work. This was what they excelled at.
It was the sound of stomachs growling that made Diana look at her watch. Ten past midnight.
She threw aside the red file folder she'd been looking through, one marked "X-1211-A" and filled with the messy scrawls of Special Agent James Harkins. She looked at her partner, who was beginning to nod off while reading a similar file with similar writing.
"Fox." She nudged his arm, and he grunted.
"It's late. After midnight. We should go home."
His stomach made another noise and she laughed. He grinned at her.
"Yeah, I think you're right." He put the folder on top of a box and looked at his own watch.
"Hey, look at that. Happy Valentine's Day, Diana."
She stood up, using his shoulder for balance. "Happy Valentine's Day, Fox. I didn't realize it."
"Some date, huh?"
Diana looked around the room at the boxes they hadn't gotten to, and then down at the ones they had. So much information!
"Yeah, some date. Well worth it, I'd say."
He nodded and tugged at her hand, motioning for her to come closer. He leaned down and kissed her lightly, and smiled as he pulled away. Diana put her hand at the back of his
neck and kissed him back, deeper and softer.
When the kiss ended, Fox wasn't smiling. His eyes were serious, and he ran the back of his fingers down her cheek.
"The next step, huh?"
"Partners by day, lovers by night?"
She laughed, blushing. "Yeah, that's the idea."
"Okay then." He kissed her again, briefly.
She smiled as he gestured for her to lead the way out, and stepped into her shoes. She was maybe five steps ahead of him, out the door and headed for the elevator when she heard
a strangled gasp.
Diana turned back to the room, and stopped in the doorway. Fox was standing with one arm in his jacket, and the other pointing at something on the ground. It was another file folder, one that had been under his jacket.
It was marked "Mulder, Samantha A."