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Mr Spooky and Ms Starbuck

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Chapter 6

The Lone Gunmen's Residence

Saturday

2.55pm

...

A miracle is just a shift in perception

from fear to love

~Marianna Williams

...

"Hey Mulder. Do you want to come over tonight, We're nitpicking earth's inaccuracies". Langly offered looking over the tip of his large black glasses, past his computer and towards his dark haired friend who was sitting at the other side of the table.

Mulder chuckled slightly and shook his head. "I'm doing my laundry".

Byers looked up from a series of printed emails from a correspondence called 'The Thinker' and caught Mulder's eye with a smirk, obviously amused. Byers had been sitting with Mulder and Scully at the time when the vice principle had ambushed them. Skinner had asked the pair to chaperone on behalf of the teachers at the annual High School prom. He had also extended the offer to The Gunmen but Byers had managed to wiggle out of Skinner's proposal.

Scully had agreed with minimal haggling and Mulder didn't give in until Skinner reminded him of exactly how much time he had taken off when Scully was sick.

Mulder knew that Skinner understood him taking off time when Scully was in a coma even though he was sure that the older man would goodnaturedly hang it over his head for quite a while.

Besides, they hadn't that much to do really aside from representing the teaching staff of Woodrow Wilson considering most of the students were all over eighteen and responsible for themselves.

Byers had initially found the idea of Mulder and Scully attending a high school prom utterly bizarre but was quick to lay off the teasing after promising not to tell Frohike and Langly who would far less obliging if they found out.

Frohike emerged from the kitchen wearing and apron and mittens, carrying something that looked suspiciously like burnt rocks. Frohike's baking skills were on the low side of terrible but the cheesy enchiladas he often prided himself in making were for sure his speciality aside from the fact they had a grotesque amount of cheese and cooking oil.

He set the tray down on the table before turning to Mulder.

"Hey Mulder. Where's Scully?", he asked looking over the taller man's shoulder, expecting to see his usual redheaded companion.

Mulder chuckled. "She couldn't come because she's afraid to confess her undying love for you, Frohike", his voice dripping in sarcasm. He knew Scully was out of town today until the evening time when they were expected to supervise the senior prom.

He had called her earlier in the morning asking if she would like to take a spin down to Area 51 with to see if they could spot anything unusual, promising that they would be back on time so as not to miss what he had jokingly called "their unpaid night of adult labour". Scully had turned him down as she had already plans made with her older sister.

Frohike smiled mischievously at Mulder's previous comment as his jokes were sexual more often then not, especially when in the company of women. "She'll come around some day".

Mulder rolled his eyes before quickly changing the subject. "You guys hear anything strange startling or vaguely amusing lately? "

The three men simultaneously looked at him as if to ask him if he was crazy. It was as if Mulder had expected them to have done or seen something that was anything but strange, startling or vaguely amusing. Their newspaper and blog were evidence enough of that.

"I was more under the impression that you were ditching us for Scully's company at the prom tonight and besides we all know you never do your laundry, all you need to do is smell the inside of your apartment to know that". Frohike said jokingly.

Mulder burst out laughing, "We're not a bit old to go to prom, no?", he asked before adding. "And for your information I always do my laundry", before throwing Byers a slightly dirty looking across the table.

It wasn't as though he was embarrassed about chaperoning at the senior prom, more that he didn't want The Gunmen to know the extent of Scully's influence on him, what she could talk him into.

Byers threw his hands up in surrender. "The guys got it out of me. Sorry, Pal". Mulder rolled his eyes, glancing over at Langly who was looking very proud of himself. Byers frowned slightly at the long haired man as if he was planning ways to cut off Langly's lengthy blonde locks as he slept.

Frohike cackled, throwing himself unceremoniously on to a chair. "Oh, so you're not going to prom. You're just going for the spiked punch and the extracurricular activities behind the bleachers, smart move".

Mulder waved his hand dismissively. "Scully and I are just friends and that's the end of it", he told them finally, trying to steer his mind clear of what Frohike was insinuating. He already had to work hard to keep himself in check around Scully as things were without someone else pointing out what had become obvious in recent times to himself.

Langly snorted. "Mulder, you guys will still be saying that when you're married with a dog and two and a half kids".

Mulder rolled his eyes. "I'm serious, guys. Nothing is going on with us".

His mind drifted briefly to Langly's statement, thinking for what was not the first time what a life would be like with Scully as his life partner as opposed to just his friend.

He would be lying to himself if he said it was not something he wanted but as far as he was concerned, Scully deserved a lot more.

This is what kept him from opening his mouth just about everyday to tell her how much he loves her, how much he would always love her. Mulder mentally berated himself for dipping into these fantasies, reminding himself that he shouldn't be thinking about his best friend and co-worker like that no matter how he felt deep down.

Frohike chuckled before wiggling his eyebrows in suggestion. "Then I guess you wouldn't mind sharing her phone number then. Surely you'd be delighted to see two of your best friends hooking up".

Mulder shook his head in defeat. "You give us perverts a bad name, Fro".

The smaller man gave his friend a toothy smile, "My pleasure", he said, stressing the second word to prove Mulder's point.

Frohike was a total pervert by most people's standards and a lady's man in his own opinion despite the fact he hadn't been on a date in over a decade.

It wasn't as though the rest of them cared much either, they were perverts too, just in their own individual way.

Langly laughed, moving over from his desk to sit opposite Mulder. He eyed the burnt offerings that Frohike had left on the table before showing them to Byers for inspection.

"All in favour of pizza instead of this inedible crap say 'Aye'",Langly asked the group of men, tearing his eyes from the food to his friends to the take out menu resting on the counter.

Mulder, Langly and Byers all spoke up in agreement, nodding their heads vigorously, none of them wanting to taste the fruits of Frohike's abominable culinary skills.

Frohike stared them all down vehemently. "Traitors", he mumbled under his breath as Langly reached for the cordless phone to call the local Pizza establishment for dinner.

...

There is no fear in love,

Only perfect love casteth out fear

~ John 4:18

...

XXXXXXXXXXXX

Scully's Apartment

Saturday

7.35pm

...

Reaching for something in the distance,

So close you can almost taste it

Release your inhibitions.

~ Natasha Bedingfield, Unwritten.

...

Scully tossed her purse onto her dressing table. She had made a mental not earlier to sort through it not wanting to have too much stuff to keep an eye on.

She looked herself up and down in the mirror, straighten the spaghetti straps on her black dress, trying not to think too much about Mulder's reaction or opinion.

Scully quickly reminded herself that she shouldn't care what her best friend thought, should she? She shouldn't be out to impress him, right?.

She tried to convince herself that her thoughts were just a side effect of the long day she had had, nothing a glass of wine won't cure. Scully pushed away her ridiculousness before heading off in pursuit of a drink.

She headed towards the kitchen area, pulling an already open bottle of wine from the fridge and poured herself a small glass.

It wasn't as if she and Mulder could drink at the prom anyway, it was their job to supervise once they were at the hotel. The event was practically work for all intents and purposes.

Scully picked up a stack of essays completed by her Junior students for the science fair that was being held in just over two weeks.

Their work had only been handed in today and the students wouldn't expect nor want their grade back for a good while yet but Scully decided to bring a few along with her anyway. She may as well get something productive done while she was spending her Saturday night with Mulder and a whole bunch of teenagers.

Checking that she had everything that she might possibly need, Scully zipped up her bag, threw on her jacket and headed for the door of her apartment. Mulder had said that he would meet her at the her apartment at half past seven, he was already late so Scully opted to meet him downstairs instead.

As soon as she was outside her door, Scully heard the familiar sound of bells to inform her that the elevator was ascending to her floor.

She turned to see the metallic doors opening to reveal a slightly flustered looking, tuxedo clad Mulder. Scully gave him the once over trying not to notice how the white fabric of his dress shirt clung to his firm chest in all the right places. 'How the hell did he manage to pull off that?', she asked herself incredulously as he started to approach her.

Scully smiled unconsciously before internally berating herself, it was totally inappropriate to be checking out your best friend no matter how good he looked. She cast her thoughts aside, blaming it on the wine she had drank earlier.

"Sorry I'm late, Scully", Mulder said, panting slightly as he emerged from the elevator before giving her a friendly peck on the cheek. He tried to keep his own eyes locked on her face as he didn't trust himself to act appropriately if he looked downward at his best friend's short black dress that unfortunately for him had a neckline too plunging for him to be sure he would act rationally.

Mulder grinned foolishly, feeling more like the tall awkward teenager he had once been then the grown man he now was. Scully pulled him in for a quick hug, trying to ignore the stronger than usual musk of his cologne and how the smell that was so obviously Mulder, set her on fire.

Mulder held on to her tightly, forcing his hands to remain on her waist even though they were itching to climb lower.

They separated slightly awkwardly before anything happened, both feeling slightly dizzy and wanting to lock away the feelings, it was dangerous to think and feel like this, not to mention highly inappropriate.

"We should get going", Scully offered with a smile.

Mulder couldn't help but reciprocate her expression and grinned too. "Yeah, we should. Before the seniors go to hell and Skin-man decides to give us hell".

Scully rolled her eyes, "They're more mature then you most of the time, Mulder", she told him teasingly. "And Skinner loves you".

Mulder clutched at his check, feigning insult. "You wound me, Scully", he said before adding quickly. "And Skinner hates me, it's you he loves".

"Well he respects you anyway", Scully reasoned

"And I think he might actually have a little crush on you", Mulder joked, nudging Scully's shoulder lightly with his own.

"I think you might be right", she answered, feigning seriousness.

"Well, what're you gonna do about it", he asked.

Scully rolled her eyes before answering, her sarcasm barely concealed. "I confess that I'm in love with Vice Principle Skinner".

Mulder laughed before replying in the same sarcastic but playful tone. "He's one lucky guy".

"Hey", Scully protested, swatting her friend on the shoulder. "Not nice, Mulder".

The pair chuckled slightly and tried to convince themselves that their original actions had been totally friendly and had been overlooked by the other after their typical playful banter.

Together they walk towards the elevator and hit the ground floor button. Both had previously decided not to say anything for fear of ruining the relationship they already have. It was far too precious to both of them and not something they wanted to put on the line. Physical attractions are common, but a real mental connection is rare. If you find it, hold on to it.

They had both separately decided leave their feelings locked away in the very core of their beings for the time being but somehow the night seemed full of opportunities.

XXXXXXXXXXXX

Throughout life you will meet one person who is unlike any other.

You could talk to this person for hours and never get bored,

You could tell them things and they won't judge you.

This person is your soul mate, your best friend.

Don't ever let them go.

~Anonymous

XXXXXXXXXXXX

Mulder and Scully sat in the front of the car in companionable silence as they made their way to the hotel that was hosting the prom. They only really had to show up for a few hours, it wasn't as if the kids needed teacher supervision or anything, they were adults in their own right and Mulder and Scully would treat them as such.

"Hey, Scully", Mulder said. "What do you think of prom?".

Scully considered it for a second. "I think it's over-rated to be honest". Mulder raised looked at her questioningly before she continued.

"You know, it's just an excuse for a party where you're expected to drink and have sex for the first time". Scully ducked her head slightly, remembering her own prom and almost expecting her friend's next question.

Mulder chuckled slightly as he looked over at her for a second, observing her reaction. "I take it your own prom wasn't the typical American teenage girl's dream".

Scully rolled her eyes. "It's was terrible to be honest. And as for new experiences, I had already lost my virginity two weeks before and had already had my first beer nearly a year before that".

Mulder looked over at her slightly shocked that the very together women that was his best friend had once been such a wild character . "So", he said obviously amused. "Dana Scully was a rebel in her teenage years".

Scully chuckled slightly, embarrassed by the memory of her younger self. "A punk actually".

At this Mulder burst out laughing. "Scully the Punk", he announced imagining his best friend in heavy eyeliner and leather. He stashed this newfound piece of knowledge away for later teasing.

"So", he said. "What happened at your prom".

Scully shook her head. "My boyfriend at the time, Ethan Davis, called me two days before and told me he cheated on me".

Mulder looked at her sideways, feeling sorry for little Scully. He could just about imagine a younger version of his best friend after her first heart break, something all teens unfortunately had to go through. He knew from experience and from the fact that he worked with teens and their usual issues everyday.

"Bet that was fun".

"Well, I yelled at him for a while and then Ethan told me that he cheated on me with other guy. I really cared about him so I thought I could win him over again. I wanted to make it work".

Mulder chuckled but couldn't hide the fact that the idea of Scully, even little teenaged 'Dana The Punk Scully' hurting, hurt him. "I take it that you went with him anyway".

Scully nodded. "A huge mistake on my part considering that I spent the whole night sitting in the corner with a bottle of tequila while he drunkenly tried to give the captain of the school's football team a lapdance. Ethan also told the whole school that sex with a guy was way better than sex with a girl which was pretty crappy for me considering that most of our year knew or assumed that I was the only girl he had slept with at the time".

"So you lost your virginity to him", Mulder asked, trying not to think too much about Scully with another man even if that man was gay and out of the picture for the last ten years or so.

"Yep, I snuck him into my bedroom a few times while my parents were out. Ahab would have murdered Ethan if he had found out. I was kind of going through a rebellious stage during my teen years. It all started when I was about thirteen and I started stealing my Mom's cigarettes".

Mulder's eyebrows shot up in surprise. "I think teenaged 'Dana The Rebel Scully' would have ruined me if we had met about twelve years earlier then we did".

Scully chuckled, patting him on the leg. She was amused by his reaction and the thought of them having met as teens.

Even though she knew he was trying to mask it, Scully she knew him well enough to see the jealousy in his eyes. The thought of making him feel jealous made her feel kind of proud in a way that she couldn't quite put a finger on.

Mulder's eyes were alight and she could read his emotion as clearly as though they were her own. He was jealous and this was why she felt a sense of warmth pool up in her stomach, electric.

Now that she had told him more about her younger self she wanted to hear more about him. What was he like as a teenager?.

"What was your prom like, Mulder".

Mulder chuckled slightly after recalling the memory. "I went with a friend of mine's girlfriend's twin sister. She ditched me before we even got to the prom".

Scully laughed slightly, trying you imagine a little Fox Mulder being turned down. She found the thought quite endearing even though she still felt bad for him. "What did you do?", she joked.

"I kind of ran over two rabbits with my car on the way there".

Scully looked at him in surprise before bursting out laughing as soon as she caught his eye. He was actually being serious!

"What happened, Mulder?".

"Well the first one jumped out in to the middle of the road. To this day I'll swear that rabbit had suicidal tendencies ".

Scully rolled her eyes. "Rabbits can't be suicidal, you know that".

Mulder looked totally unconvinced so he continued to defend his honour. "Later, while she was yelling at me for 'murdering' the rabbit a second one ran out on the road and well...thump", he finished, gesturing wildly with his hand that wasn't on the steering wheel.

"She called a friend of hers to pick her up after telling me that I was rabbit serial killer. I never went to prom".

"You didn't go at all", Scully asked.

Mulder shook his head but decided to have a bit of fun with her by telling her what happened afterwards. "Nope", he said. "But I went drinking afterwards and ending up losing my V-card anyway".

Scully looked across at him, trying to determine what he was thinking about while his eyes had returned firmly to the road. She wasn't sure if she wanted to hear the rest of the story but asked anyway. "What happened?".

Mulder took his eyes off of the road long enough to glance at her, wondering why she'd be so interested anyway.

He decided that he would have a bit of fun with their situation, all things considered. "It was great aside from the fact that she actually drew blood when she bit me. Her name was Kristen Kilar, a one night stand. A hell of a lot more experienced than me. I had to get three stitches the following morning before I went home. Never saw her again".

Scully looked down at her hands noticing that the nail polish on one of her nail was smudged. One part of her found the idea of teenaged Mulder leaving his prom and ending up losing his virginity to some tougher and more experienced woman almost endearing, as if her usually confident around women best friend had once been a lost little puppy.

The other part of her was well aware of her own jealousy building up inside like some green eyed beast.

Mulder is first and foremost her best friend but she can't help think about what it would be like to really be with him.

Scully wasn't sure if she liked the fact he could illicit such feelings from her, it was payback time. "Sounds like a guy I met one night in college", she said vaguely.

Mulder turned to face her again, his eyes widening. "You gonna tell me more, Scully?".

This time he couldn't keep the envy out of his voice if he tried. Mulder knew from her tone that this guy was no gay eighteen year old and somehow he knew Scully heard his jealousy too.

She smirked, knowing her plan had worked. "Eyes on the road, Mulder", she warned playfully before continuing. "His name was Ed Jerse. I met him in a tattoo parlour. We slept together twice. He was hot and mysterious".

She left out psychotic as she hadn't found out that until the morning after and telling Mulder that would ruin the point of her whole plan to make him uncomfortable.

"Why were you in a tattoo parlour", Mulder asked trying to distract himself from the thought of Scully and this Ed Jerse guy. He could tell that she knew he was still curious about the guy but was uncomfortable asking her as he didn't want any more details.

Scully rolled her eyes at his expression. "Why do you think? I was getting a tattoo".

Mulder looked at her in shock. "You have a tattoo? Of what?". There were times when he thought he knew his best friend completely as he hoped she knew him. Then there were other times when she would reveal something about herself that would leave him stumped.

She shrugged. "Ouroboros".

Mulder looked at her confused. He understood what the symbol meant, just not why Scully would have it permanently inked on her body. "You mean the snake?", he asked "Why?".

"It represents cyclisation, a series of events repeating themselves. I had just gotten out of my relationship with Daniel and didn't want a repeat of what had already been", she told him sadly.

It wasn't easy after she had left Daniel. Scully had genuinely thought that she loved him, had imagined spending the rest of her life with him. At the time it didn't even bother her that there was a twenty year age gap between them. That was until she found out that he wasn't only married but had a daughter the same age as herself at the time.

It made one thing clear though: that even though we may fall in love with the wrong people and cry when we finally realise that we have to walk away. One thing is for sure. Mistakes help us find the right person and every time you think that you're being rejected from something good, perhaps you're being redirected to something far better. She only hoped that someday she would have the guts to tell Mulder, no matter what his response will be.

Mulder looked at her as if he expected to hear more. Scully continued, "Up to that point in my life I had always gotten into relationships with men that I idolised, men whose expectations I just wanted to exceed despite my own hopes and desires . I guess it probably came from my relationship with my father, I worshiped the sea he sailed upon until the day he died but I didn't want any more romantic relationship like that, it was unhealthy. I needed someone who was my equal, a person who thought as much of me as I do of them",

It was only then it struck Scully how her little attempt at messing around with Mulder had backfired and they had ending up delving into more serious emotions. Mulder already knew about Daniel, she had told him a long time ago. It was around the same time that he had first told her about Diana Fowley, a woman that Scully despised even though she has never even met her. Diana hurt Mulder, even if it was in the past and that was enough for Scully.

"Can I see it?", Mulder asked jokingly as an attempt to lighten her mood, gesturing towards her body because he wasn't sure where the tattoo was actually situated.

Scully chuckled not sure if he was serious or not. "Maybe someday".

Mulder smiled goofily. "It's not on your butt or something, Scully?", he joked.

She rolled her eyes. "I was just upset the time I got it and I needed to vent my emotions. I don't regret it though, everything I did that night was spontaneous and unlike myself but it was something I needed to do".

Mulder smiled sadly, he glanced over at her for a second. He wanted to comfort her, to pull over and wrap his arms around her body. Instead he settled for slipping his hand into her's. "Are you okay, Scully?". He knew she didn't like talking about Daniel much, no more then he liked to talk about Diana Fowley.

Scully nodded, smiling slightly at their hands entwined over the handbrake. She revelled in the feeling of his warm palm wrapped tightly around her's, a forbidden comfort. They were best friends after all, it was best if their interaction remained lacked as much intimacy as possible, even if being close to him felt like the most natural thing in the world. It was true that they spent most of their days in close proximity to each other, often forgetting all notions of personal space. It was unconscious, instinctive. Knowingly reaching out to one another was a different story all together.

Silence fell between them for the last few minutes of the journey before they pulled in the hotel car park, surrounded by a bunch of fixer upper student cars and the odd few limousines. The hotel had several Chinese lanterns hung on the trees outside and Mulder and Scully's students were making their way into the event dressed in formal evening clothes.

"Hey Scully", Mulder said, swaying their entwined hands to and fro as soon as they got out of the car and started making their way to the hotel entrance.

"Yeah", Scully answered within a smile, still not quite over their conversation.

"Since we both had shitty proms. Do you want to take two and try the whole thing again", Mulder asked, half jokingly. It was a desperate attempt to cheer his best friend up and he still wasn't quite sure if she'd go with it or be insulted.

Scully wasn't sure whether he was kidding or not but decided to play along anyway. She let go of his hand and linked their arms. "Sure, Mulder. I'll go to the prom with you".

Mulder chuckled, unlinking their arms and throwing his arm around her neck. "Let show those kids how to party".

Scully shook her head at her friend's antics. At the rate he was going he was going to put most of the eighteen year old boys in there to shame if she didn't get him to calm down. "We're supposed to be the grown ups, Mulder. Remember that? "she asked him sarcastically.

Mulder grinned widely, his hazel eyes practically lit up with amusement. "You're grown up and sensible enough for both of us, Scully".

Scully elbowed him in the ribs. "And for good reason too".

The continued to walk in the direction of the hotel chatting aimlessly about whatever came to mind. Suddenly a thought popped into Mulder's head. He didn't properly return the favour for when she had brought up Ed Jerse.

"You know I might not have gone to prom but I went to quite a few balls in Oxford".

Scully looked across at hi from under his arm. "Really? And did you have trouble getting a date from the girls who didn't think you were a rabbit serial killer".

Mulder smirked slightly. "No actually. I had filled out a quite a bit more by then and the women in Oxford seemed to like my American accent".

Scully rolled her eyes, trying not to think of a bunch of British women pawing her best friend. "Any of these stick out in your memory or were they just flings".

He smiled. "All apart from Phoebe Green. She was a terrible influence on me to be honest. I did things on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's grave that I'd rather not talk about".

Scully looked at him slightly surprised and pulled out from under his arm, walking ahead of him. She knew perfectly well what he meant and almost regretted bringing up Ed Jerse earlier on. "I'm going inside, Mulder", she said dismissively trying to ignore how much the thoughts of Phoebe Green bothered her.

...

When the past calls,

Let it go to voicemail.

~anonymous

...

XXXXXXXXXXXX

...

Sheraton Pentagon City Hotel

Washington DC

9.30pm

...

Two hours later Mulder and Scully found themselves sitting in the corner of the dance hall where the dance floor was crammed with a bunch of teenaged couples grinding on each other to the music. The other half of the seniors were busy chatting, sitting around the circular tables that were placed at the edges of the dance floor. The room was relatively dim aside from the colourful lights projected onto the dance floor from above. There was a faint smell of cigarette smoke wafting in from outside and the room was deafeningly loud due to the chatter of the prom goers and the music being played for those dancing the night away.

Mulder looked up from the latest addition of The Gunmen's newspaper having just finished the article on Langly's take on the reasons behind JFK's assassination, something to do with classified documents from Area 51. He watched Scully for a few minutes as she corrected a bunch of Chemistry essays and started writing school reports, considering the year was coming to an end. She had been ignoring him since the conversation about Phoebe Green.

'I probably shouldn't have brought her up', Mulder berated himself internally. He genuinely hadn't expect Scully to react this badly but he quickly realised otherwise as soon as he put himself in her shoes.

'How would I have felt if she had given me more details about her time with Ed Jerse'. Mulder pushed these thoughts aside, scolding himself for entertaining the notion that Scully cared for him in the same way he cared for her.

Mulder reached across, tucking a strand of red hair behind Scully's left ear. She didn't look up from her work but responded grumpily, still annoyed at him about the whole Phoebe Green scenario for some reason she couldn't quite decipher. Scully tried to convince herself that she couldn't care less about Mulder's past indiscretions and she almost did, sort of.

She knew he had been looking up from The Gunmen's newspaper every few minutes to watch her. She had felt his gaze. Scully was still pissed with him but decided to let it go because he's her best friend and she couldn't go much longer without talking to him anyway. She assured herself it was nothing to do with the way she felt her heart speed up when his gazed lingered on her for longer than would be considered friendly. It wasn't as if she had never been caught staring at him either anyway. There were times when she would catch his gaze wandering out of the window of his classroom door in school in school and in her's only to be caught in the act by a few giggling students. If she was being honest with herself she would admit that there had been a few occasions where the same had happened to her.

"A picture would last longer, Mulder".

He chuckled and slowly moved his hand away from her cheek. "I thought you said that you would go to prom with me", he said, pouting melodramatically as he tried to get a response from her.

Scully smiled despite herself, looking up from the reports. "Do the boys have any interesting tall tales cooked up this week?", she asked while gesturing towards Mulder's reading material.

Mulder smirked. "Don't change the subject", he watched as her expression gave her away, showing undeniable evidence of her previous attempts at distracting him. He knew she didn't have much interest in government conspiracies much less take them seriously.

Scully rolled her eyes at his ability to read her, chuckling quietly. Deciding to finally let their previous argument go. "What the hell! We're alive and relatively young. Let's go", she dropped her pen on to the table next to her half finished reports.

Mulder grinned, taking her hand and pulling her upwards. "I'll lead the way, partner".

"That's generally how waltzing goes, Mulder".

He laughed, pulling her close and placing one hand on her waist. She relaxed against him and put the hand that wasn't holding his on his shoulder. They held on to each other as they swayed to Cher's voice playing over the loudspeakers. It was strange how well the two best friends fit together, like two jigsaw pieces bound for unity. Even though they had never danced together before it felt very natural, as if their bodies had been moving in sync for years, perhaps in some way they had. Becoming a unit was an inevitable occurrence all you had to do was wait for the two being to collide in unison, if this was something that would ever happen.

Mulder looked down at his petite red-headed best friend. He could admit without a doubt in mind to himself how much he loved the feeling of having her in his arms. He lost himself in her sparkling blue eyes. They were electric, as if they could pull him back from anything with a single glance.

"You know, Scully. You'd expect that you would be a really positive person".

Scully looked up at him, eyebrows raised as she looked into his brown eyes. She could see that he was teasingly her but she could also see the kindness, like melting caramel and something else that she couldn't quite put her finger on but it burned brighter than the sun.

"And why's that?", she asked having a feeling that she was about to be the butt of one of Mulder's goodnatured jokes.

Mulder chuckled, resting his head on top of her's. "Because you're always looking up".

Scully scowled, her head now firmily on his chest. She was well used to people poking fun at her height ever since she was a kid due to the fact she had grown up with two brothers who were nearly a foot taller than her once they had both grown. Hell, Charlie still called her his "littlet sister" even now despite the fact Scully is eighteen months older than him.

Scully looked up at Mulder indignatly. "God only lets things grow until they're perfect. Some of us didn't take as long as others".

Mulder smiled and added teasingly not sure if she would feel about the words that were on the tip of his to tongue if he didn't pretend to be goofing around.

"Well, I guess He got that right, huh".

Scully rolled her eyes and laid her head back on his chest. Somehow they had ditched their formal waltz for the embarrassing middle school style swaying to the music. It wasn't until then they notices the crowd around them. At the beginning it was only a few of the students who turned to watch the interaction between the teachers they had long expected to get together but didn't in their time at Woodrow Wilson. It wasn't long until the chanting started.

"Kiss! Kiss! Kiss!".

Mulder laughed good-naturedly while Scully motioned for their students to settle down, pulling out of her friend's embrace. The students continued to chant until Mulder leaned across and pecked Scully on the cheek, not wanting to push her any further in front of their students for fear of embarrassing her. When or if anything ever happened between them it would be just the two of them together, on their own terms.

The crowd around them exploded in a deafening roar, whooping excitedly.

"Mulder!", she scolded playfully as she swatted him on the arm. He chuckled, placing his hand on the small of her back as they left the dancing to the kids once again, Scully's cheek and Mulder's lips still tingling pleasantly from the painfully brief contact.

...

I was walking in Memphis,

I was walking with my feet rent feet off of Beale,

Walking in Memphis

But do I really feel the way I feel.

~Cher, Walking in Memphis.

...

XXXXXXXXXXXX

It was well past three in the morning when Mulder and Scully ended up back in the car heading in the direction of Mulder's apartment building. The streets were pretty rowdy and the street lamps were like huge oranges, their light being grated, gathered and scattered on to the pavements below.

Most of the seniors had left for the after parties that were taking place in the city when the main event was over, so after a personally bidding goodbye to a few of the eighteen year olds who wanted to thank them Mulder and Scully decided to call it a night.

"Do you want to go for drinks", Mulder asked when they were only a few short minutes from his home. He being an insomniac wasn't in the least bit tired in anyway and hardly needed sleep in any event, usually only resting for a few hours at night.

Mulder didn't push it when his red headed companion didn't answer. He glanced sideways to find her dozing with her heading leaning against the window. Mulder sighed, smiling to himself and turned his eyes back on the road before pulling up outside his own building.

He leaned across, brushing Scully lightly on the cheek. "We're here", he whispered, chuckling quietly at her moment of panic when she awoke and didn't immediately recognise her surroundings.

They silently got out of the car and headed for the main door of Mulder's apartment building, nodding in greeting to the few of his neighbours who were still awake for one reason or another. The elevator was still in the process of being repaired so they unenthusiastically headed for the stairs.

"Hey Scully. Do you want to stay at mine tonight?", Mulder asked looking over his shoulder before waiting a few seconds for her to catch up with him.

"It's okay", Scully protested from behind him as they reached his floor and began to make their way down the hall towards Mulder's apartment. "I'll call a cab when I get inside".

Mulder shook his head at her stubbornness. He knew this wasn't going to be an easy battle to fight but two could play at that game. "You take the bed. I'll take the couch. You look exhausted anyway, Scully".

She groaned, knowing him well enough to know he wasn't going to drop this being just as stubborn and headstrong as herself. "Mulder, at least let me take the couch. I don't want to kick you out of your own bed".

"Scully we both know I sleep on the couch as often as I do my bed anyway. And besides", he said with a smirk, "My mother raised a gentleman".

Scully rolled her eyes, reaching up to swat the back of his head which only caused Mulder to chuckle and elbow her playfully in the shoulder.

"Fine but only if we can share the bed", she reasoned seriously.

"Are you getting ideas, Scully?", Mulder asked, winking at her suggestively. He knew perfectly well what she meant even though a small part of him that he often had to wrestle to keep in control of was hoping that perhaps he statement had another meaning. He wanted more then anything to tell her right there and then just how much he loves her. The little beast inside of him that seemed to control that minority of his thoughts roared at him to do so but he pushed it aside to be ignored for now.

The rest of him, the percentage that usually had over ninety percent control was only concerned for his best friend's well being. She looked exhausted and the least he could do was put her up for the night considering how much she means to him.

Scully shoved Mulder in the back, causing him to stumble up the last few steps to his floor. It was fairly quiet and most of Mulder's neighbours seemed to be asleep save for one who had the television turned up so loud that it could be heard from the hallway.

Scully pushed away thoughts of what he was insinuating aside. Mulder is and always will be her best friend before all else. A more emotional and physical relationship would only complicate things and put the trust they worked so hard to build over the past year and a half at risk. She told herself it was a risk she couldn't take no matter how much she loved him and wanted nothing more then to pin him up against the wall outside his apartment and kiss him passionately, all fears forgotten.

'God', she thought to herself putting her internal conflict to rest for the time being. 'It's far too late for this'.

Scully tossed her thoughts aside before masking her emotions so they wouldn't be easily deciphered by Mulder. He had a knack for doing so mostrich of the time anyway, no matter how much he would deny it saying it was her who saw through him. Perhaps it was both, a window open at both ends. It could be just the psychologist in Mulder though, or that they spent so much time together and knew each other so well.

Mulder smiled down at her from the top of the stairs, laughing at her exasperated expression.

Scully rolled her eyes, irked by her friend's antics, unamused.

"Mulder, you and I both know that I was suggesting that we share a bed like two sensible and mature adults who just want to sleep", she told him sternly as if she was addressing her class on a particular rowdy day.

He feigned shock, clutching his chest. "Of course that's what I was thinking. What did you think I was suggesting we do?", Mulder said with a grin obviously tickled by her answer.

"Screw you, Mulder", Scully deadpanned, turning on her tail and walking ahead of him before letting herself into his apartment. She was tired and not amused for she had to be in a certain mood for Mulder's sense of humour.

"You've got a dirty mind, Scully" , Mulder called after her loudly, totally forgetting about his sleeping neighbours before following her into his home, his smile wide with mirth at Scully's annoyance.

'Nice work, Casanova', he mused to himself.

...

When you meet the person who changes the way your heart beats,

Dance with them to that rhythm for as long as the song lasts.

~Kirk Diedrich

...