Okay - here goes. My first attempt at posting ScullySlash. (not mine. just posting for a friend - check the disclaimers etc). I'm not talented enough and if I were, I'm certainly not bold enough to post.

FLETCHER by "Dana Starbuck" aka "The Bashful One"
Feedback: no public discussion please!
Note: I am posting this for a friend who only has access to the internet thru work. I did not write this, but I have agreed to let my friend use my email account jbowne@top.monad.net. Any comments, please reference 'Fletcher' so I know to print and pass on to her.
Distribution: Archive only to ScullySlash Homepage only
Crossposting: None please!
Keywords: F/F, Scully/Other, Mulder/Other Friendship, SOTL Crossover (sort of)
Spoilers: None
Rating: NC17 for sex, ScSlash Rating - A & B
Summary: Scully becomes involved with a friend of Mulder's from his pre-Xfiles past.
DISCLAIMER: The X-Files characters and situations are the creations and property of Chris Carter, 1013 Productions and the Fox Broadcasting and have been used without permission. SOTL characters are the property of Thomas Harris and have been used without permission. No copyright infringement is intended and no money shall be made with this piece of fiction. All the others belong to the author.
THANK YOU: Special thanks to Rad, deejay and eeyore for beta-reading.


Friday, September 11th 8:15 AM

Mulder looked up from his desk when Scully walked into his office. He wasn't so much shocked at her appearance but just a little worried. She had small circles under her eyes and looked worn out. He wondered if she was feeling okay. Briefly he thought about her cancer then dismissed the thought, certain that Scully would've said something to him.

"You look like hell, Scully. You must've had a good time last night," he kidded her and at the same time was fishing for information.

"Hardly, and thanks for the compliment."

"What's wrong?" the concern in his voice unmistakable.

"Nothing. I'm fine."

<She looks depressed> Mulder thought. <Is it the work? Is she sick? Did the cancer come back and she just didn't tell me?>

"What are you doing tonight, Scully?"

"Nothing, why?"

"I'm meeting an old friend from ISU for drinks. Why don't you join us? You could use a night out."

"This isn't a fix-up, is it, Mulder?" she sighed.

"No. Trust me on this one, Scully," he said with a small laugh. "It's definitely not a fix-up.".

"I don't know, Mulder. Ask me later."


Friday, 1:30 PM

Scully sighed, looking at all the folders piled on her desk. <It never ends. Either we're out tilting at one of Mulder's windmills or buried under paperwork. It's getting old and I'm getting tired of it.> She picked up another folder. <I suppose if I stay late and work this weekend I might get to a point where I'll only be a month behind. It's not like I have anything else to do.>

She took off her glasses and rubbed her eyes. She was surprised to find tears in her eyes and she was instantly glad Mulder was out of the room. <Why do I feel so blue?> She looked at the calendar on her desk. <No, it's way to early for PMS. I'm just bored with everything - my work, my life. I hate to admit it, but Mulder's right - I have no life. I get up, I go to work, I go home. That's it. Some life.>

She dabbed at her eyes with a tissue. When she heard Mulder come into the room, she quickly made it look like she was cleaning her glasses.

"What time were you planning on going out, Mulder?"

"We're meeting at 6:30. Are you interested?"

"I need a break from this paperwork. It'll be good to get out."

"I'm glad you changed your mind."


Friday, 6:30 PM

She followed the hostess to the back of the pub.

"This is fine. My friend will be here in a few minutes."

"Can I get you anything?"

"Sure. I'll start with a pitcher of whatever you have on tap, not Bud, and not light, and a couple of glasses."

"I'll be right back."

Knowing Mulder's affinity for the facing the door, she sat down with her back to the entrance. <How long has it been since I've seen him? Two months? Three months? I know he hasn't been to the house since spring. I guess the last time I saw him was just before July 4th. It'll good to see him again. Damn our schedules. No, it's not just our schedules. We haven't been very good about keeping in touch this year.>


Scully walked into the pub with Mulder. He looked around the bar before he dragged her to a booth in the back. It wasn't until his friend stood up and turned around that Scully realized that 'he' was a 'she'. Now she understood why Mulder had laughed when she asked if tonight was a 'fix-up'.

<Interesting. Mulder doesn't have many female friends. Maybe he wants to introduce me to his girlfriend. Oh, cripes, I'll be a third wheel. I'll just have a quick drink, to be polite, and then I'll leave.>

Scully quickly gave her a once over, as if she were checking out a suspect. It was an occupational hazard that she wasn't even aware of most of the time.

Mulder's friend was a tall woman, almost as tall as he was. There wasn't an ounce of fat on her, not did she have any hips or chest to speak of. Her waist was narrow, her shoulders broad. She had intense blue eyes - so blue that Scully wondered if she wore tinted contact lenses. There were lines around her eyes and across her forehead, making her look older than she was, but she also had a few laugh lines around her mouth. Her short, thick, dark chestnut hair was streaked with gray and brushed back, except for the few uncontrollable strands of hair that fell casually over her forehead.

<Definitely not Mulder's type. I doubt they're involved at all. Maybe this won't be so bad afterall.>

"Spooky Mulder," she said, standing up and taking his hand, then hugging him.

Scully's eyes widened. She was surprised to hear her call Mulder 'Spooky', but she said it with such friendly affection, it was almost as if she herself had said it.

"Fletcher the Lecher, how are you?" he greeted her with the same affection. "Scully, this is an old friend of mine, Fletcher Buchanan. Fletcher, my partner, Dana Scully."

"Pleased to finally meet you," Fletcher said, sticking out her hand. "Mulder speaks often of you."

When their hands touched, Fletcher looked at her oddly, as if she recognized her. Scully thought it strange, but for a quick moment, it looked as if Fletcher's eyes had changed to a pale, icy blue.

"Have we met before?" Fletcher asked, inwardly kicking herself for blurting out such a trite sounding question. <Shit, what an obvious pick up line. You idiot. There's an absolutely stunning woman in front of you and that's the best you can do?>

"I don't think so...maybe around the Hoover Building," Scully said.

Fletcher suddenly realized she was still holding Scully's hand. She quickly let go and sat down, hoping her embarrassment didn't show. <Goddess, she's gorgeous. Mulder never told me she was so beautiful. He's one lucky guy. How can he work with her? I'd find her to be a constant distraction.>

Scully didn't know where to sit; she didn't think she could sit next to Fletcher nor did she think she could sit opposite her. She found her eyes too unnerving. Mulder bumped into her from behind when Scully hesitated.

"Waiting for something, Scully?"

"What?"

"Are you planning to sit any time soon?"

"Sorry, Mulder."

She sat down, facing Fletcher. Mulder slid in next to her. <At least Mulder can't see my face when he sits next to me> she thought.

"What're you having, Fletcher?" Mulder asked, taking off his tie and stuffing it into his jacket pocket.

"I just ordered a pitcher of the draft on tap."

Scully felt overdressed in her business suit. Mulder had loosened his collar and was now in his shirtsleeves, his coat crammed into the booth beside him. Fletcher was wearing jeans and a plain white t-shirt, a navy linen jacket over it. <Oh well, at least I'm not in a skirt.>

Fletcher reached into her pocket for a pair of glasses. She put on a pair of round gold-rimmed wire glasses. <So much for contact lenses> Scully thought. <Her eyes really are that blue. Incredible.>

"Sounds good. I'll have the same. What about you, Scully?"

"I'll pass on the beer."

Fletcher waved down a barmaid. "What'll you have, Scully - or do you prefer Dana?"

"Scotch rocks - and Scully's fine."

Fletcher ordered her drink and instructed the barmaid to put it on her tab.

"Interesting name," Scully commented, sipping her drink. "Do you prefer Fletcher or Buchanan?"

"Either, just don't use my first name."

"Which is?"

Fletcher shot Mulder a warning look. Scully saw it and turned to Mulder. She raised an eyebrow. <Well?>

"Don't ask me. I'm sworn to secrecy. I took an oath when I was threatened with bodily harm."

"At least give me an initial," Scully pleaded, taking a larger drink from her glass.

"Nope." The tone in Fletcher's voice was final.

Scully recognized the tone - a tone with a definite military flavor. <Sounds a little like Ahab did when we were kids and asking permission for something we knew to be outlandish. Pleading didn't work with him either.>

"I know Mulder partnered with LaManna, but did you two work together?" Scully asked, intrigued with this woman from Mulder's past, but unsure if it was because it was Mulder's past, or just her.

"On and off for what - two years or three?"

"Something like that."

"Are you still in ISU?"

"I took some time out of the department to teach at the Academy. I'm returning next week."

"We're out celebrating the fact the ISU came to their senses and brought Fletcher back." Mulder began cracking open the peanuts that sat in the basket on the table. "Will you still be at Quantico?"

"My office will be at the Hoover Building, but I'll still maintain an office in Quantico. I imagine I'll be splitting my time between the two, when I'm not on the road."

Scully ordered another scotch when the barmaid came by to refill the pitcher. Scully wasn't used to drinking, especially on an empty stomach, but she felt compelled to keep up with them. The second drink soon became a third, then a fourth.

She was fascinated with this woman, partly because Mulder hardly ever spoke about anyone from his pre-Xfile days, and when he did, it was rarely favorable. She quickly wondered if Mulder had slept with her, then just as quickly dismissed the thought. There was nothing to indicate even remotely that they were anything other than good friends and colleagues.

Scully nudged Mulder and stood up.

"Excuse me, Mulder. I need to use the bathroom."

Fletcher watched over the top of her glass as Scully unsteadily walked to the restroom.

"So, that's the Ice Princess. Why didn't you tell me?"

"Tell you what?"

"Mulder, she's gorgeous. You mean to tell me you never noticed?"

"It's just Scully."

"You must be blind," she said, draining her glass.

"Fletcher, she's straight."

"Did I say anything?" she protested.

"You don't have to. I saw the way you looked at her."

"I was just looking. I'm not interested."

"What do you mean you're not interested? Since when were you ever not interested in any woman?" he teased.

"Since I cleaned up my act a few years ago. You know that."

"Cleaning up your act doesn't mean you have to be celibate."

"And when was the last time you did the wild thing, Wonder Boy?" she asked sarcastically.

"I'd bet that it hasn't been as long for me as it has been for you."

She ignored his last comment as she filled her glass with the last of the latest pitcher of beer.

"So, does Mrs. Spooky always drink this much?" she asked, using the other nickname she'd heard around the bureau.

"No. I don't think I've ever seen her have more than one drink, two tops. Maybe you make her nervous."

"I don't think I have anything to do with it." She took a long swallow from her glass. "Forgetting the fact that she's beautiful, Mulder, your partner is not a happy woman."

"What do you mean?"

"She just has that look about her."

"She's had a rough coupla years with me."

"So you've told me."

She quickly changed the subject when she saw Scully heading back to the table. She looked a little drunk to Fletcher, but she didn't say anything. To Fletcher, she was a woman in need of a good, long drunk - among other things.

Scully sat back down and sipped from her glass. Fletcher and Mulder had begun to argue good-naturedly about something. She listened to them tease each other. It was similar to the way she and Mulder interacted, but more intense. Their jibes were sharp, but there was also a warmth to their exchanges that she and Mulder never shared.

<This must be close friends - closer then Mulder let on with me> Scully thought, a little enviously. <They haven't worked with each other in years and their rapport is still so very strong.>

Scully was also aware that Fletcher was making sure she wasn't left out of the conversation. Too often, when Mulder starting talking shop or reminiscing with an old colleague, she'd been left out. Scully was grateful, and a little impressed. Fletcher did it so casually that Scully almost wasn't aware that she was doing it.

She looked over at Fletcher who was laughing at something that Mulder had said. She hadn't heard what Mulder had said. The last hour had become a little hazy and she had trouble following the conversation. <I'd better slow down, if it's not too late.> She cupped her cheek in her hand and fought to keep her eyes open. She was so tired and truly feeling the scotch she'd drank. She looked over at Fletcher again. <She's an attractive woman, in a sort of androgynous way> Scully thought. <Now where did that come from? Must be the scotch. Drinking on an empty stomach is not a good idea. What was I thinking? How many have I had anyway? I've got more than just a buzz.>

Fletcher noticed Scully yawning for the umpteenth time. She'd lied to Mulder. She was interested in Scully - actually she was more intrigued then interested. <There's more to this woman than beauty and brains. I'd love to have her sleep in my arms tonight. She looks like she's in need of some TLC and I've love to be the one to offer it.>

"It's getting late," Scully said. "I think I'll head home."

She stood up and a wave of dizziness overcame her.

"Scully, I don't think you're in any condition to drive," Mulder said. "Where's your car?"

"In the bureau lot."

"Fletcher, can you give Scully a ride home? I'm not ready to leave yet."

"I can take a cab," Scully protested.

"Where do you live?" Fletcher asked.

"Annapolis."

"Too far for a cab, especially at night."

"I don't want to put you to any trouble."

"It's late. I need to get home. Really. It's no bother."

"Are you sure?"

"Positive. You wait here with Mulder and I'll go get my car." She threw and ten and a twenty on the table. "Let me know if that doesn't cover my share."

She finished her glass of beer. "Give me about 10 minutes," she said, and then she was gone.

"This is really embarrassing, Mulder. I can't remember the last time I got this drunk..."

"Don't be. You're tired, you didn't eat," he offered her excuses. "Besides, it happens to the best of us, Scully."

"Not to me, Mulder," she muttered.

He walked outside with her and they waited until Fletcher pulled up in a Jeep Cherokee. Mulder gave her the address and directions, in case Scully passed out of fell asleep, which she promptly did five minutes into the drive.

Fletcher looked over at the sleeping woman. She'd never met anyone more beautiful. <Careful, Fletcher. You know the rules - no straight women. And certainly not Mulder's partner.>

She let Scully sleep until she found a parking space. She gently shook her shoulder. "Scully? Scully, you're home."

"Oh, okay," she replied groggily.

"Give me your keys. I'll help you up."

"I'm so tired..."

"I know."

She carefully put her arm around Scully's waist and helped her to her apartment. She tried each key in the lock, holding Scully steady with one hand. She silently cursed her friend. <You owe me for this one, Mulder. Big time. It's not fair that I get to take this gorgeous woman home and then not get to lay a hand on her. And I think you know what you did, too, you son-of-a-bitch. Some practical joke. Payback's a bitch. You just wait.>

She finally hit paydirt with one of the keys and unlocked the door. She fumbled in the dark before finding a light switch. When she shut the door behind her, she saw the look on Scully's face.

"Oh, boy, let's get you to the bathroom, Scully."

She rushed Scully to the bathroom. They made it just in time. Fletcher gently lay her hand on Scully's back and pulled her hair off her face with her other hand. When Scully finished throwing up, she sat back on the floor, leaning against the tub. Fletcher found a washcloth and ran it under cold water, then she wiped Scully's face.

Scully sobered up, realizing where she was. She gratefully took the washcloth from Fletcher and put it on the back of her neck.

"Here," Fletcher said, handing her a glass of water. "Just sip it."

"Yes, thanks, you're right." She sipped from the glass. "I'm so embarrassed. I know better than to drink on an empty stomach," she apologized.

"Don't be. We all need to - uh - relax every now and then."

"Some first impression..." she mumbled, unsure why it was so important to impress Fletcher.

"Let's get you to bed so I can get home."

<And take a cold shower because I can hardly stand to be in the same room with you right now, Dana Scully.> She couldn't remember the last time she'd been so affected by anyone. <There hasn't been anyone else - really -since - forget about it, Fletcher, you moron. Just keep those thoughts to yourself. They're nothing but trouble.>

"Why don't you stay here, Fletcher? It's late and you shouldn't have to drive."

"It's not that far."

"How much further?"

"About twenty minutes," she lied. "I'm okay to drive, Scully. Really."

"Are you sure?"

"Yes. I'm fine."

"Call me, Fletcher. Let me know you got home."

"I'm not going to wake you up for that."

"Then let me buy you breakfast?"

"I don't think you'll be wanting breakfast tomorrow morning," she said with a small, knowing smile. "Besides, I've, well, I've.." she stumbled over her lie.

"Oh, I'm sorry. How rude of me. You've got plans." Scully was surprised that she felt what - disappointment? <Why should I feel disappointed?>

"I'll take a raincheck, if it'll make you feel better."

"It would."

"Goodnight, Scully."

"Goodnight, Fletcher. Thanks for the ride." She put her hand lightly on Fletcher's forearm. "Thanks for everything else, too."

"No problem. See you around."

Scully shut the door and locked it. In a way, she was relieved to be alone. She was exhausted and hoped that she could sleep. <I'm sure all that scotch will help, though I'm sure I'll pay for it in the morning.>

End Chapter 1



Monday, September 14th, 7:30 AM

Fletcher took the elevator down to the basement. She wanted to check in with Mulder before she went to her own office. <Face it, Fletcher, you're hoping to see Scully again, too.>

She knocked once on the open door. Mulder looked up from his desk and smiled.

"Fletcher, c'mon in."

"Love what you've done with the place, Mulder," she said, looking around the room.

"I like to think of it as home."

"Some things never change, do they?" she commented, sitting down at Scully's desk.

"Whatever do you mean?" he asked, with a knowing smile.

"I seem to recall more than one occasion you setting me up as a taxi service for some straight woman."

"Can't you be trusted?"

"Of course I can," she responded, leaning back and putting her feet up on the desk.

"I would hope so. She's my partner and a good friend."

"It's just that your cruelty knows no bounds."

"I trust Scully made it home safely."

"Have I ever let you down before?"

"Well, a few times I had my doubts, but deep down I knew you'd behave yourself."

"Unfortunately, you're so very right," she sighed. "But I'll let you in on a little secret, Mulder," she said with an evil smile and a twinkle in her eye.

"What?"

"She asked me to stay - and I turned her down."

"What?" His eyes nearly popped out of his head. He wasn't sure which surprised him more - Scully asking Fletcher to stay or Fletcher turning her down. Both would've been out of character for either woman.

"Gotcha," she laughed. "It was all very innocent. She thought I was too drunk or too tired to drive any further."

Scully walked into the room. She was surprised to see Fletcher, but also, oddly enough, a little pleased to see her so soon.

"Good morning," she said, hanging up her coat.

Fletcher immediately sat up, taking her feet down. Usually, Scully didn't approve when a woman had 'mannish' behaviors, like putting her feet up on a desk, but it didn't seem to bother her when Fletcher did it. It looked natural for her to be sitting at a desk with her feet up.

"'morning, Scully."

"What brings you down here?"

"Just slumming it, I guess. " Fletcher got up from behind Scully's desk. "Guess I'd better get going. Scully, good to see you again. Glad to see you're feeling better from the last time I saw you," she said, smiling and adding a wink. Scully blushed. "Mulder, just remember, payback's a bitch, and I will have mine."

"I look forward to it," he laughed. "Hey, Fletcher," he called out as she headed through the door.

"What?"

"Welcome back," he said sincerely.

"Thanks. It's good to be back."

She waved once and was gone.

"Sure hope she's up to it," Mulder said quietly.

"What do you mean?"

"Oh, nothing. She's just walking into a really tough one right now."

"Which case?"

"Salt Lake City."

"I'm glad it's her case and not our's."


Thursday, September 17th, 12:35 PM

"Knock, knock. Anybody in?"

Scully looked up to see Fletcher standing in the doorway.

"Oh, hi, Fletcher."

"Where's Spooky?"

"Out doing errands."

"Oh, too bad. I was wondering if he wanted to do lunch. I actually have time today."

"I don't know when he'll be back. Sorry."

"How about you? Have you had lunch yet?"

"No."

"Then join me for lunch. I hate to eat out alone."

"Okay, but I'm buying," Scully said, getting up from her desk.

"Why?"

"I seem to remember someone owed a raincheck from the other night."

"That's for breakfast, not lunch. And don't worry, I will collect on it." <Just not the way I'd like to.>

They walked to a small Greek restaurant. Fletcher spoke briefly to the owner in Greek, and then they both laughed. Scully was impressed.

"You speak Greek?" she asked as they sat down.

"And Russian, Italian, French and a little Chinese - all just conversational. Nothing all that great. I can read a menu and say a few things. I just have a knack for languages, like some people have a knack for math or art."

She handed Scully a menu. While Fletcher studied her own menu, Scully watched her. <What is it about this woman? Why does she interest me so? And just what is it that I'm so interested in?>

"See anything that interests you, Scully?" Fletcher asked.

"Excuse me?" she blushed. <Is she a mind reader too?>

"On the menu?" Fletcher asked, tapping the menu in front of Scully.

"What do you recommend?"

"Everything."

"Then order for the both of us."

"Okay." She waved the owner over to their table and ordered in Greek.

"I just love the diversity of this town," Fletcher sighed after he'd left the table. "I can find a restaurant for every type of food I could ever want."

"I never get much chance to truly eat out in this town. It's always the same place for pizza or Chinese. I just stick with the 2 or 3 old standbys. I've been here for years, and I know I'm missing out."

"That you are. I try to get out once a week for something different. Last week it was Thai food. The week before that was German and the week before that was French."

"You don't look like you'd be in to food so much."

"Why's that?"

"Well, you're so thin," she admitted, a small embarrassed smile on her face. <Why am I so embarrassed to admit that I noticed?>

"I work out everyday. I have to. It keeps my weight down and the stress levels down. Most of the time I eat pretty simply."

"I consider it a successful week when I have dinner at home once a week that isn't out of a box or a can."

"I know how that can be. I usually cook up something on the weekends so I have good leftovers. It's too easy to get caught up in takeout and junk food. It's bad enough, the crap we eat, when we're in the field. Too much coffee, pizza and burgers," she said, shaking her head.

"What is this we're having?" Scully asked. "It's wonderful."

"Don't ask. Just enjoy."

"So, how long have you been with the bureau, Red?" Fletcher asked as they ate.

"I joined in 1990. I taught at the Academy for two years." <Red? Did she call me 'Red'? Does she give everyone nicknames?> Scully didn't like nicknames, was glad that it would take a real stretch to make a nickname out of her first name, but coming from Fletcher...it just seemed right.

"What did you teach?"

"Forensic Pathology."

"You're a doctor?"

"Yes."

Fletcher nodded, letting Scully know she was impressed. <Quite a woman, Scully. Just what other talents are you hiding?> Fletcher thought. She tried not to shake her head to clear her thoughts. <Enough, Fletcher. This woman is professional, a fellow agent. She can't possibly be interested. Besides, she's Mulder's partner - and probably more than just his partner - despite what he has and hasn't told you.>

"What about you?" Scully asked, sipping her coffee.

"What about me?" Fletcher asked, smiling.

"How long have you been with the FBI?"

"I joined in '86. I did a few years in the field, in Boston, then I went into Behavioral Sciences, later ISU. I've been teaching at the Academy for the last 2 years."

"How come I haven't heard of you?"

"I keep a very low profile, pun intended. I work best that way." She looked at her watch. "It's getting late. We'd better get back to work."

"We'll have to do this again, Scully," Fletcher said as they walked into Scully's office. "I had a good time."

"Maybe you'll let me buy you breakfast this weekend."

"Can't. I'm leaving tomorrow for Salt Lake City. Don't know when I'll be back."

"Call me when you return," Scully said, handing Fletcher her card.

Mulder was sitting in the office and overheard the conversation.

"Hey, Spooky, you missed a great lunch."

"Where'd you go?"

"Xristo's."

"Damn. I really am sorry I missed it. "

"We'll do lunch when I get back, I promise."

"We'd better," he said in a voice that was bordering on a whine.

"That's awfully close to a whine, Spooky. You know how I hate it when you whine."

"Whine? Me? Never."

"Right," she said sarcastically. "I'll give you a call when I get back. Later, folks."


Saturday, September 26th, 10:00 AM

Scully set her laundry basket down and picked up the ringing cell phone. She expected it to be Mulder, telling her they had another case. <At this point, I'd even welcome a case. I'm so bored.>

"Scully."

"Hello, Red."

"Oh, hi, Fletcher."

"I know it's kind of last minute, but do you have any plans for today?"

"No, not really." Scully was a little ashamed to admit she didn't have much of a social life.

"I've got such a hankering for blue crab. Want to join me? I know of this great little place in Maryland."

"Sure. I haven't been to a place like that since - oh, probably college."

"Great. I'll pick you up about 11:30."

Scully surprised herself at how long it took her to decide what to wear. <It's just Fletcher. It's not like it's a date or anything. Get a grip, Dana.> She finally settled on a pair of black jeans, a plain white t-shirt and an over-sized gray University of Maryland sweatshirt.

Fletcher arrived promptly at 11:30. She was wearing an Orioles baseball cap, a pair of faded, baggy jeans with a heavy black belt, Doc Martens, and a black polo shirt. <Must be nice to be able to wear baggy jeans> Scully thought enviously. <If I wore those, it'd look like I was trying to hide my big butt and hips. On Fletcher, they only emphasize her lack of hips and ass.>

"What a beautiful day," Scully said as they walked out.

They stopped in front of a silver, convertible, two-seater BMW sports car.

"This is yours?"

"I like my toys," she said simply as she walked around to the driver's side.

"Is Mulder joining us?" Scully asked.

"No, for two reasons."

"Why not?" Scully asked, not sure if she really wanted to know the reason.

"He always steals blue crab off my plate. I've got such a craving for them that I don't want to share even one with him."

"And the second reason?"

"You look like you need a girls' night out." She saw the skeptical look on Scully's face. "I know, I know. It's daytime. I was just thinking along the lines of a Thelma and Louise thing."

"I don't know about that..."

"I'm just kidding, Red. I just think you need a little breathing room from him. I know how intense he can be. Sometimes when we were partners, we'd spend so much time together I felt like I was suffocating. Don't get me wrong, I love Mulder. He's my best friend. I'd do anything for him -except share my blue crabs - but sometimes, you just need a break."

Scully nodded in agreement. She put on her sunglasses and put her purse under the front seat.

"Are you a fellow Terp?" Fletcher asked as they drove off, nodding at Scully's sweatshirt.

"Undergrad, Class of '85. You?"

"Bachelor's 81, Doctorate '86."

"You have your PhD?"

"Yes."

"In what?"

"Psychology. My Master's was in Criminology."

"What about your Bachelor's?"

"Dual Major, Criminology and Psychology."

"How old were you when you graduated from high school? Ten?"

"I'm older than you, Red, and I graduated from college when I was 20."

"Well, maybe we met at Maryland."

"I don't think so. You were pre-med, right? We wouldn't have even been in the same departments." <Besides, I'd remember you, Red. One look at you would - will - stay with me forever.> "I wasn't on campus that much while I was working on my doctorate, anyway. I had a job that took a lot of my time."

"Where were you working?"

"I was in the Navy. I was Navy ROTC while at Maryland. While I fulfilled my obligation to Uncle Sam, I got my Master's and PhD."

"You were in the Navy?"

"Still am - only in the reserves."

"Where do you work?"

"ONI. I can't wait to retire."

"What's your rank?"

"I just got my fourth stripe last spring. I know I'll never go any higher, and I don't really care. I just know my hitch is up in 18 months and I can't wait."

"Why the Navy? "

"I guess I was looking for a little structure in my life then. God knows, I needed the discipline. It's worked out okay for the most part."

"Where were you stationed?"

"I did two years in San Diego - that's where I got my Master's. I finished up active duty here in D.C.."

Fletcher suddenly accelerated sharply as they hit the highway. Scully held her hair to keep it from whipping into her face.

"There's a extra hat in the glove box, if you want," she said, laughing.

"I get such terrible hat head."

"Would you rather have your hair all tangled?"

She opened the glove box and found the hat. A holstered 9 mm semi-automatic sat on top of it. She looked at Fletcher over the top of her glasses.

"Hey, I like to be prepared," Fletcher said, shrugging her shoulders.

Scully put on an old Washington Senators baseball cap and shook her head once in exasperation.

"How about some tunes, Red?"

"Radio or CD?"

"Radio's fine. Just find something we can sing with it."

"Trust me, Fletcher. You don't want me to sing."

"Why not?"

"I can't carry a tune to save my life."

"Sure you can. Everybody can sing to oldies."

"If I sing, do you promise not to ditch me?"

"I swear."

'Run-around-Sue' had just begun. Fletcher tossed her head back and heartily sang along. Scully sang when she knew the words, but she knew she was off-key. It was especially embarrassing because Fletcher had a great voice, low and husky.

"Scully, you're right," Fletcher said when the song ended.

"What?"

"Don't give up your day job," she laughed.

"I told you I couldn't sing."

"Well, what you lack in talent, you make up for with enthusiasm."

Fletcher sang along with song after song. Scully just closed her mouth and enjoyed the show.

"I love the oldies, even the sappy songs. They've got such great harmonies."

"Fletcher?" Scully interrupted, her voice a little bit serious.

"Yeah?"

"Thanks for taking me along today. I didn't know it when you called, but I really needed this."

"A little advice, Scully - you work too hard."

"So do you. I've heard Mulder's stories."

"Maybe I work hard, but I also play hard. If I didn't learn to take time out for myself, get away from my cases from time to time, well, it just wouldn't be very healthy. You - and Mulder - both need to learn it. He tries, and sometimes he even succeeds, but I don't think you even know how to have a good time anymore."

"And how much do I owe you for the session, Dr. Buchanan?" she said, a little edge to her voice.

"My initial consult is free," she said, laughing. "Sorry. I just hate to see my friends get so absorbed in their work that they don't take care of themselves."

"Apology accepted, I think."

"Good. I really am sorry if I've offended you."

"You haven't."

"Lunch is on me."

"Fletcher, I still owe you a breakfast," she protested.

"Buy me lunch next week. I'll be in D.C. Monday and Tuesday. How about Tuesday?"

"If we don't get called out of town, sure."

"Good."

Fletcher pulled into a small restaurant that didn't look like much from the outside. She locked the glove box.

"Do you want to lock your purse in the trunk?"

"Yes, thanks."

Fletcher picked up Scully's purse and carried it to the back of the car. <Boy, does that look out of place> Scully thought, a smile on her face. <I think Mulder would look more comfortable carrying a purse than Fletcher.>

Fletcher felt the familiar weight in Scully's purse and grinned. "Why are you busting my chops about carrying a piece, Red? You've got your's in here, don't you?"

"Yes. I like to be prepared, too," she said, mimicking Fletcher.

Two hours later, they left the restaurant. Scully couldn't remember the last time she'd laughed so much. Fletcher had kept telling her stories about college and the Navy that made her laugh. She also started remembering her college days, and she shared some of her experiences, tame as they were.

"What time is it?" Scully asked as they drove away.

"After 3:00. Do you have to be anywhere?"

"No. Why?"

"Well, Thelma, are you up for some bar-hopping?"

"I don't know about that, 'Louise'."

"I want to check out the college football scores and I'm in the mood to shoot some pool."

"I don't know, Fletcher. It's still so nice out. Can we just drive around?"

"Sure. Anyplace in particular?"

"No. Just drive."

Fletcher got back onto the highway so she could drive fast.

"Do you always drive so fast?" Scully asked.

"No. It's just that this car is finely tuned instrument that screams for speed. I'm only using it to its potential."

"I see. And you don't really like to go fast?"

"No, not at all," she said grinning, pushing the pedal down a little further.

"You'd better be careful. You don't want to get pulled over with a gun in your glovebox."

"I'll just flash my badge and ask for a little professional courtesy."

"You'd probably get it if you looked like you were on the job."

"Are you criticizing my choice of wardrobe?"

"No, no, not at all. You just look decidedly off-duty."

A few hours later, Fletcher deposited Scully in front of her apartment.

"Do you want to come in for some coffee?"

"I really do have to get going. I've got a lot of work piled up at home that I need to get to."

"And just who works too hard?"

Fletcher stuck her tongue out at Scully, then laughed.

"Thanks again for such a great day, Fletcher. I feel so much better."

<Oh, Red, I could make you feel even better. Really. Just let me into your life. You really do need to let someone in, even Mulder, if it can't be me. You just keep so much locked up inside.>

"Just what the doctor ordered."

"Thanks again."

"Anytime, Red. I'll see you at lunch."

<I'm going to need a cold shower tonight> she thought as she drove home. <I could stop at the bar and see if...no, don't get into that habit again, you ass. It's not worth it. And I suppose chasing after some clueless straight woman is good for you?>

End Chapter 2 - Fletcher


Monday, September 28th, 8:00 PM

Scully was sitting in her apartment, reading through the files she'd brought home, when her cell phone rang. She was grateful for the interruption.

"Scully."

"Hey, Scully, it's Fletcher."

"Hi, Fletcher." She found herself smiling at the sound of Fletcher's voice.

"I'm in Salt Lake City. I got a call right after I got home Saturday night. I don't know when I'll be back. If it's okay with you, I'll have to take another raincheck on lunch tomorrow. "

"Sure." Scully paused then asked, "Are you okay, Fletcher?"

"Yes. Why do you ask?"

"You just sound different." <You sound exhausted and stressed> she thought.

"I'm just a little tired and feeling a little rushed right now. I haven't slept much in the past two days. Thanks for asking."

"How's the case going?"

"I can't really say anything other than keep your ears open at the bureau."

"I will."

"I'll call you the next time I'm back in town."


Two days later

"Wonder Woman struck again," Mulder said, handing Scully a cup of coffee.

"Thanks," she said grateful for the cup. "What do you mean - 'Wonder Woman'?"

"Did you see the news this morning?"

"No. I was running a little late. What happened?"

"Fletcher nailed another serial killer. She's amazing," Mulder commented, shaking his head. "The bureau was called in to Salt Lake 2 months ago. She walks in 2 weeks ago, reworks the profile and gets him. Her ability to profile could qualify as an x-file."

"Was she always that good?"

"She's the best. I was glad I had the chance to work with her as much as I did."

"Why'd they ever let her out of the department?"

"It was that or lose her entirely. She - never mind, Scully. I don't like to repeat bureau gossip."

Scully was sorry Mulder had closed his mouth. She was eager for any information she could get on Fletcher, but she didn't know why.


Friday October 2nd, 6:30 PM

Scully reached into her coat to answer her cell phone as she closed the door behind her.

"Scully."

"It's Fletcher. Have you eaten yet?"

"No."

"Want to meet me for dinner? I'm in a celebrating mood."

"As well you should be. Congratulations."

"Thanks. How about it?"

"I think I'll pass. I really don't feel like going back out tonight."

"Oh." Fletcher tried to hide the disappointment in her voice. "I could pick up some Chinese?" she asked, hopefully.

It suddenly struck Scully. <She's lonely. She just broke a big case and she doesn't have anyone to share it with. How sad.> She also felt a little flattered that Fletcher had called her and not Mulder.

"Sure. That'd be great."

A little over an hour later, Fletcher showed up with two large bags.

"I wasn't sure what you liked, so I got an assortment."

"There's a lot of food here."

"It's not true take-out Chinese without leftovers - unless -"

"- you're sharing with Mulder," Scully finished for her, laughing.

Fletcher was taken with Scully's smile. <She doesn't smile enough> she thought. <It's too bad. She's got a wonderful smile and those lips...The place where kisses go to die...> She almost sighed out loud.

"What do you want to drink?" Scully asked.

"I bought some Chinese beer, too."

"Bring it all into the kitchen and we can fix a plate up in there."

"Okay."

A few minutes later, their plates heaped with a variety of food, they returned to the livingroom. Fletcher sat down in the chair opposite the sofa, where Scully sat. She didn't dare sit on the sofa next to her, didn't think she could be physically close to her, knew it would be too uncomfortable.

"Where'd you get the food? It's delicious."

"A little restaurant in Georgetown called Jimmy Chen's."

"I'll have to remember it."

"Tell him I sent you. Just ask for Fletcher's special. You'll get a better selection."

"Just how many restaurants do you have that kind of connection in?" Scully asked, a smile again gracing her face.

<She'd better stop smiling. Everytime she does, I want to melt> Fletcher thought. <She could smile and ask me to jump off the Capitol and I'd do it. Hell, I'd do anything she asked if she smiled.>

"Oh, I don't know, maybe 20. I tell you, it's the little ones that nobody's heard of that have the best food."

"I'll take your word for it. I haven't been disappointed yet."

"Next time, I'll take you to Little Sicily. That is, if you like Sicilian food."

"Sure."

<Hot damn! She agreed to a next time without even giving it a second thought.>

"Tell me more about yourself, Red. Are you from around D.C.?"

"I grew up all over. My father was career Navy."

"Retired?"

"He passed away a few years ago - heart attack."

Fletcher could see the pain that was still in her eyes.

"I'm sorry, " she said quietly. "You were close to him, weren't you?"

"Very."

"I was close to my dad, too. When he died, I was nearly overcome with grief."

"When did he die?"

"Almost 10 years ago, and I still miss him."

"And your mother?"

"She died when I was six. It was just me and dad, until I went away to school."

"Any other family?"

"Just some aunts and uncles and cousins. Nobody that I'm close to. How about you?"

"My mother, and I also have two brothers, Bill and Charlie. They're both in the Navy."

"Are you and your mom close?"

"I like to think so."

"You're lucky. I never really knew my mother. I just have a few faded memories."

Scully put her hand on Fletcher's arm in a consoling manner. "I'm sorry."

"'s okay." She stood up. "How about another beer?"

"Sure."

She took her plate into the kitchen and rinsed it off. <This is not a good idea, Fletcher. This is sheer lunacy. You should leave. Scully's straight. She's not interested. You're playing with fire and you're going to get burned.>

She returned to the livingroom with 2 bottles of beer. She handed Scully a bottle then sat down in the chair again.

"Fletcher, can I ask you something?"

"Sure." <Oh boy, here it comes. I won't have to leave on my own. She'll ask me to.> She took a long swallow from her bottle. <Breathe, Fletcher. If she asks, tell her the truth and try to leave with some pride still intact.>

"I know why Mulder's called 'Spooky', but why does he call you 'Fletcher the Lecher'?"

Fletcher smiled and blushed at the same time. "I suppose it's better coming from me than him."

"That's why I'm asking you. I've been trained to go to the source," she added with a smile.

"Well, I was involved with another agent for a few years. Mulder caught us in - uh - in a - uh - compromising position on more than one occasion." She took a large swallow from her bottle. "Later, when it was over between us, I - um - I dated quite a bit. Mulder seemed to live vicariously through all of my dates."

"Why did you?"

"I thought it would help the hurt, and it didn't. It just made it worse. And it affected me professionally." She took another long swallow of beer. "I almost got in trouble when I was on a case with Mulder. I used piss-poor judgement and I got involved with a victim's relative who also happened to be a possible suspect. Mulder straightened me out on that one and I swore, never again."

"I see," Scully said, trying to understand. <She must've been hurt badly. It seems so out of character for her.>

<Jeez, I sound like a slut.> "I don't do that anymore. I don't see anyone, even casually, anymore."

"Aren't you ever lonely?"

"Not really. Not anymore. I have my work. I have a few close friends." She set her bottle down. "So, how do you like working with Spooky?"

"Let me ask you something. Was he infuriating to work with back then?"

"Always, but one of the best."

"He says the same about you."

"We worked well together, but not like you two. You've got a good partnership." She took a long swallow of beer. "Are you two - uh - more than partners?"

"No." Scully was surprised that Fletcher had asked her. <She and Mulder are best friends. Surely Mulder shared that with her.> "He's my best friend. We've been through a lot together and I love him - but like a brother. Nothing more."

"I know the feeling. I can go months without talking to him, yet when we do talk, it's like we saw each other yesterday."

There was any uneasy silence between them. Fletcher found it hard to be near Scully, so close, yet so very far away. <I'm in trouble, she thought. Big, big trouble. Trouble with a capital 'T'.>

"Are you dating anyone?" she asked Scully.

<What an odd question to ask> Scully thought. <Why is she asking me that now? Why didn't she ask me when we were driving around last Saturday?>

"Not anyone seriously since - it was right when I joined the bureau. He was one of my instructors. We should've stayed just friends," she added.

"I know how that is. I learned the hard way. Lovers come and go, but a good friend is hard to come by and a good partner, even harder." She finished her beer. "Nobody since, huh? I find that hard to believe."

"It's too hard right now. You know the schedule we have. People on the outside just don't understand that we have to go at a moment's notice. It's hard making plans, knowing you might have to cancel at the last minute."

"And the type of work we do. Can you imagine sharing your day with a loved one?"

Scully thought about some of the cases she and Mulder had been on and shuddered. "No."

"Think of the stuff I see. Mankind at its' worse. I could never share that."

"I understand now why there are so many failed, failing or unhappy marriages with agents."

"It's a great killer of relationships, unless you're dating someone in the profession." She glanced at her watch. "It's late. I better get home. I've got a drive from here," she said, getting up.

"I thought I wasn't far from your place."

"Oh, I have a small apartment in town that I use for emergencies or when I don't want to make the drive. My real home is in Virginia. I spend at least my weekends there, and most of the week there. It's the same drive to the bureau as it is to Quantico."

"Oh, I guess you do have a drive."

"I'll be at the bureau on Wednesday morning. Call me if you'll be around for lunch. I did promise Mulder."

"We don't have anything scheduled except reports to catch up, but you know how it is."

"Call me Tuesday."


Wednesday, October 7th, 12:30 pm

"Fletcher knows the best restaurants in town," Mulder said, rubbing his hands together as the food was set on their table.

"Mulder, you don't know the difference between a good restaurant and a bad restaurant. Your sole criteria for rating a restaurant is the size of the portions, " Fletcher teased.

"A four-star restaurant for him is one with a sign stating 'All You Can Eat'," Scully added.

"Maybe this isn't such a good idea," Mulder grumbled. "It's bad enough when I have lunch with only one of you, now I've got to listen to you in stereo."

"You know one of my true purposes in life is to give you shit, Wonder Boy," Fletcher laughed.

"I'm beginning to think that's the truth."

"You always said the truth was out there, Mulder," Scully smirked.

"Can't I eat in peace?" he complained.

"I'll make it up to you, Mulder," Fletcher said between bites.

"How?" he asked uneasily.

"What are you doing Sunday?"

"Watching the Redskins, why?"

"What time are they playing, 4:00?" He nodded. "Why don't you come over, say, around 1:00 and I'll fix you a Sunday dinner and we can watch both games."

"Free food and football, how could I say no?"

"Well, your birthday is coming up. Why don't you stay over Sunday night, watch the World Series with me and we'll celebrate your birthday on Monday. You know, Federal Holiday and all."

"Sounds like a perfect weekend."

"You're welcome to join us, Scully," Fletcher offered.

"I'll think about it. I'm not really much of a football fan."

"Go for the food alone, Scully. When we worked together, I used to get a home cooked meal once a week."

"Are you saying I'm a bad partner, Mulder?" Scully said, her tone half-serious.

"No, no, that's not what I meant," he backpedaled. "It's just that Fletcher's a great cook."

"You should've married me when you had the chance, Mulder," Fletcher laughed, a private joke between them.

"You know I'm not the marrying kind," he fired right back.

"Maybe so, but you'd sell your soul for three squares a day."

Scully burst out laughing, Fletcher joining her.

"Interesting offer. Throw in the desserts and I'd have to think seriously about that one."

Mulder was a little surprised to see his too-often serious partner actually laughing. He tried to recall the last time he saw her truly laugh, and he couldn't. He looked quickly at Fletcher then at Scully. He filed it away in his brain and returned to his food.

End Chapter 3 - Fletcher


Friday, October 9th, 8:30 pm

<I wonder what Fletcher's doing tomorrow?> Scully thought as she finished washing the few dishes that had piled up in the sink during the week. <Maybe she's got an idea for something to do. Anything's better than staying home and reading another technical journal or cleaning my apartment - again.> Besides, Fletcher was fun to be around. It was just nice to have someone to talk to other than Mulder, someone she didn't have to justify or explain her work.

She searched through her briefcase for five minutes before finding Fletcher's business card. She dialed the number and waited. She was just about to hang up after the sixth ring when it was answered.

"Buchanan."

The professional sound of Fletcher's voice made Scully instinctively stand up a little straighter. <I feel like I should be throwing in a salute, too.>

"With that tone of voice, I feel like I should come to attention," she laughed.

"Who is this?" Fletcher asked sharply.

"Fletcher, it's Dana Scully."

"Oh, hey, Red, how are you?" <Why is she calling me?>

"Good."

"What can I do for you?"

"Are you doing anything tomorrow?"

"I've got an errand or two to run. Why?"

"Oh, I don't know..."

Fletcher picked up on the tone in Scully's voice. <She sounds bored. No, that's not it. Not bored. Restless. Not unhappy, just out of sorts. Oh, what a brilliant analysis, 'Doctor' Buchanan. Such keen insight. Did you forget all your training and education? Or can't you think straight around this woman?>

"You looking for something to do?" she offered.

"Sort of," she admitted.

"I'll tell you what. I'll pick you up about 10:00. Dress warm."

"Why?"

"Trust me."

"I don't like the sound of that," she kidded Fletcher.

"What? You don't trust me, Red?"

"Should I?"

"Absolutely."

"It's been my past experience that any time someone says 'trust me', they can't be trusted."

"Oh, I'm a regular Girl Scout," she said sarcastically.

"Well, I guess I'll have to trust you until you give me reason not to."

<That almost sounds flirtatious, or did I imagine that? Am I reading more than I should into everything she says? Oh, grow up, Fletcher. She doesn't mean a thing by it. It's just your imagination and your hormones running wild.>

"Guess so. See you then."


Saturday, 9:55 am

Scully found herself feeling a little nervous about being with Fletcher, and she didn't know why. <I like being around her, but she makes me feel a little uneasy sometimes, a little off-balance. I don't know why. It's not that I'm uncomfortable around her, it's - I don't know. I guess it's those eyes of her's. I feel like they look right into me and know what I'm feeling.>

She was so lost in her thoughts and when she heard the knock on the door, she almost jumped. She looked through the peephole and saw Fletcher standing there.

"C'mon in, Fletcher," she said, opening the door.

"Let me see if you're dressed warmly enough, Red."

"It's not going to be cold today. The weather forecast said it's going up to 65 today."

Fletcher walked around Scully, appraising her outfit. Scully's cheeks reddened, her body growing warm under Fletcher's scrutiny. <I feel as though I'm being given the 'once over'. Ridiculous. It's just Fletcher.>

Fletcher seemed to notice her discomfort and Scully couldn't be sure, but she thought she saw a tiny smile on Fletcher's face. It was then that she observed that Fletcher was carrying two motorcycle helmets. She was wearing a leather jacket over a sweater, blue jeans and military style black boots.

"Do you have a leather coat?" she asked Scully.

"Not for riding on a motorcycle."

"Well, put on a sweater and a jacket and I guess you'll be warm enough."

Moments later they walked down to her motorcycle, a large Harley Davidson.

"Just another one of my toys," Fletcher explained, handing Scully a helmet.

"And just how many 'toys' do you have?"

"Do you really want me to answer that?" she said with a smirk.

<What does she mean by that? Oh, god, 'toys', how stupid of me.> Scully blushed, realizing what Fletcher had implied.

"No, I don't think so," she replied, a little flustered by Fletcher's response.

Fletcher reached into one of her pockets and pulled out a rubberband. "You might want to pull your hair back first."

"Thanks."

Fletcher held the helmet while Scully pulled her hair back. <Oh, goddess, what a beautiful, kissable neck...What I wouldn't give for just a little nibble...I'd start with the neck and then...enough, Fletcher.>

"You can hang onto the bar or you can hang onto me. I don't care which. Just hang on," she instructed Scully.

She handed the helmet back to Scully once more. She got onto the motorcycle and jumped up to kickstart it. When she had the cycle balanced, she motioned to Scully to get on back. Scully rested her hands atop Fletcher's shoulders at first. The intimacy of the gesture flustered her and she quickly moved her hands to the bar.

Fletcher had watched Scully's face in the mirror and she smiled to herself. <She looks like she's got a few questions about herself> she thought. <Nah, just wishful thinking on my part.>

She drove them through the streets of Annapolis and into D.C.. She slowed down, then parked in front of an adult video store. Scully raised her eyebrows. At best, it could be called a 'dive'.

"I've got to pick up one of Mulder's presents," Fletcher explained. "Do you want to wait here or go in with me?"

"I'll wait here," she said, looking at the store with a critical eye. <On a sleaze factor of one to ten, I'd give it an eight - no, a nine. Definitely a nine. I bet my shoes would stick to the floor in there. Yuck.>

"Can I see?" she asked when Fletcher returned.

"Consider yourself warned," Fletcher replied as she handed her the bag.

"'Biker Girls From Venus' and 'Santa's Rain Dears'?" she asked, her cheeks a faint pink as she rolled her eyes.

"You do know about Mulder's collection, don't you?"

"Oh, yes. I'm more than aware of it."

"Well, you don't think he bought them all himself, do you?" Fletcher grinned.

"Why do I feel as though I'm helping you contribute to the delinquency of a minor?" she laughed.

"It's a tradition with us. I've given him at least one tape for his birthday every year I've known him. If I stopped, he'd be hurt."

Fletcher folded the bag shut and tucked it inside of her coat.

"Do you feel like going for a short ride? I thought we could take a peek at the leaves and then we can go to my house for lunch."

"Sure."

Fletcher expertly weaved in and out of traffic until they were off the highway and out of the city. It was exhilarating. Scully tried to remember the last time she'd even been on the motorcycle. Her brother Bill had owned a motorcycle when he was in college. <The only unconservative thing he ever did> she thought. She'd been on a few rides with him. He was the only person she knew that even owned one.

A few hours later, Fletcher pulled over so they could enjoy the view and stretch their legs. Riding the cycle hadn't given them much of an opportunity for talking, but Scully hadn't minded. She was just happy not to be at her desk or back in her apartment alone.

"Are you hungry yet?" Fletcher asked.

"A little."

"My house isn't too far from here."

"I have to tell you, Fletcher, this has been a lot of fun. Thanks for asking me. It's relaxing in an odd way."

"I don't get out enough on my bike. I used to get on it almost every Saturday and just drive for hours. Lately, I just haven't had the time and now the weather will be turning soon."

<I envy her> Scully thought. <She's so relaxed with everything she does. Why can't I find the ways to make my life more like her's? How does she do it? She seems to do whatever she wants.>

"Fletcher?"

"Yes?"

"Oh, nothing. Forget it."

"Okay, I will. Let's go get some lunch."

When they got back on the cycle, Scully put her hands lightly on Fletcher's hips instead of the bar. Fletcher used all of her willpower not to flinch. <Oh, geez, it's a good thing she can't see my face. Guess I better enjoy it while I can. I doubt she even knows what she's doing to me right now.>


Saturday, 12:45 PM

Fletcher steered the cycle onto a long driveway. She entered a security code in order to open the gate. Scully noticed the security camera atop the brick wall. She also noticed that Fletcher waited for the gate to close before continuing down the driveway. She paused in front of a large brick colonial house. She pressed a button in her coat pocket to open up the large three-car garage. Her familiar Jeep Cherokee was parked next to the sports car.

<Quite a house, at least from the outside. How does she afford something like this?> Scully thought as they parked in the garage.

Fletcher shut the garage door and set the alarms. She unlocked the back door and turned on the lights.

"Welcome to Buchanan Manor," she laughed.

"This is all your's?"

"Yup. Nothing like being the only child of two very wealthy parents. C'mon, I'll give you the grand tour. Just excuse the mess. I wasn't planning on any company today."

They walked into a large kitchen. With all the pots, pans, knives and other cooking utensils hanging, Scully thought she'd walked into the kitchen of a professional chef. <Mulder wasn't kidding. She must be some cook.>

Following Fletcher's lead, Scully set her helmet down on the large kitchen table next to Fletcher's. Fletcher took off her coat and draped it over one of the chairs. Scully noticed that Fletcher wore a shoulder holster for her gun. <I don't know too many women who wear their weapons that way. I wonder why she even wore it today. Maybe she always wears it.>

In a surprisingly smooth, graceful move, Fletcher took off her holster.

"You can leave your coat on a chair. I'll hang them up later. Excuse me. I've got to lock up my piece."

Scully took off her jacket and placed it on another chair. Fletcher was gone for only a few minutes before she returned.

"Do you always carry?" Scully asked.

"Always. Well, almost always. When I'm home, I take it off."

She led Scully into a large diningroom, complete with a chandelier. The table easily sat twenty, with room for at least twenty more.

"Entertain much?"

"My parents, then later my dad did. We used to host family dinners here about four times a year. I think the most I've ever had for dinner myself is maybe ten, and that was years ago."

The livingroom was huge and conservatively decorated. Several large paintings hung on the wall. <Probably originals.> The room didn't look like it got much use, except the corner where a piano sat. <I think that's a baby grand - or is it a grand piano?>

"This room - I could fit my whole apartment in it," Scully remarked.

"I guess it's the place where all the dinner guests go when dinner's over," Fletcher said wryly.

Scully followed her into another room that served as a den, but really was bigger than Scully's livingroom and kitchen combined. There were several comfortable chairs, a large sofa and matching loveseat, and a large wide screened TV. A small bar sat up against one wall. There was a sliding glass door that opened to a patio and the backyard.

"I suppose the house is too big for one person, but I just can't part with it," Fletcher apologized. "I'm the fourth or fifth generation to own it. Some of my happiest memories of my dad reside here."

Scully inspected the photographs on the wall.

"The first one is my mother and father, when they were in college. That one's my graduation from Maryland. That's my dad and me when I got my doctorate."

Fletcher was standing in cap and gown next to a tall man. There was no mistaking that it was a father-daughter photo. Fletcher looked exactly like him, only her features were a little softer. <She definitely got her height and blue eyes from him. They even share that same croaked grin.>

They left the den and Fletcher led Scully back to the livingroom. She turned on the lights leading up a staircase with a large ornately carved banister.

"If you want to have a peek, there's nothing but a bunch of bedrooms and my office upstairs."

"Show me."

"Okay."

There were five large bedrooms, 3 full bathrooms, a master bedroom and bath, and a bedroom converted into an office. Each room was decorated simply - a bed (or twin beds), a dresser and a desk and chair.

The last bedroom Scully looked in had a more lived-in look about it. There was a TV and a VCR on one dresser, along with a Nintendo game set. A small bookcase was overflowing with books and magazines.

"Whose bedroom is this?" she asked.

"Mulder's."

"Mulder's?" Scully asked, puzzled.

"Yeah. He has his own room here. He has since the first case we worked together. He keeps about a week's worth of clothes here, something to sleep in. When we worked together, we'd sometimes work around the clock. Other times, we'd just be up late watching a game, drinking and he didn't want to drive home. He still comes out here from time to time, just to get away. He has an open invitation to stay here any time he wants, even when I'm not here."

They walked down the hall to Fletcher's office. Photographs, maps and charts were tacked up all over the walls. She had filled her office with books and computers. Scully was no computer expert, but she had learned enough from the Lone Gunmen to know that Fletcher's computer equipment was the latest and best technology, easily worth thousands of dollars.

Scully picked up the framed photograph that sat on the desk. It was the only photograph in the room that didn't look as if it had come from a crime scene.

It was several years old. Fletcher was sitting beside Mulder, her arm casually thrown across Mulder's shoulders and his arm was across her shoulders. A pretty dark-haired woman who looked familiar to Scully was sitting between Fletcher's long legs, her hand on Mulder's knee, his hand atop her's. Fletcher's arm was draped over her shoulder and the woman was holding her hand. They were all laughing and looked impossibly young. They seem to enjoying a relaxed familiarity that Scully envied. It definitely showed a side of Mulder that she didn't know about.

"That was taken the first year we were all working together in BSU," Fletcher said in a small voice from the doorway. "Hard to believe we were ever that young."

"Who's the woman? She looks familiar to me."

"Clarice Starling - remember Buffalo Bill?"

"You worked together?"

"For a few years."

Scully couldn't read the look on Fletcher's face. It looked as if she were simultaneously recalling both fond memories and painful memories. <Their relationship was more than just a working relationship.> She set the picture down, surprised that she felt a little jealous. <Of what? That Fletcher has a close relationship with Mulder? They're obviously just friends. Am I jealous of Starling? Why should I be jealous of another woman?>

"That's my room," Fletcher said, gesturing with her head as they walked down the hall. "Excuse the mess."

Scully peeked into the room. A large four poster bed dominated the room. A robe hung from one post. A pair of jeans and a sweater lay across one chair, and a TV sat on one of the dressers. An opened book lay face down on the nightstand beside an empty highball glass. Scully was curious. She wanted to know what book she was reading, but she really didn't want to invade her privacy.

"What's in there?" Scully asked, looking at a closed door at the end of the hall.

"Just the place where I workout. I put in a weight room over the garage."

"I noticed a piano in the livingroom," Scully said as they went downstairs. "Do you play?" <What a stupid question. Of course she plays. Who else is going to?>

"A little."

"Well, if you play a little like you cook a little or speak foreign languages a little, I'm sure you're pretty good."

"Maybe," Fletcher said with a shrug of her shoulders. "I only play for my own enjoyment. I don't really know if I'm any good."

She led Scully back to the kitchen.

"How hungry are you? I thought I'd make us a couple salads and we could eat them out on the patio. It's such a nice day."

"Sure."

"Why don't you go wait out on the patio and I'll bring them out," Fletcher suggested. "Can I get you something to drink?"

"What are you having?"

"I thought I'd open a bottle of wine."

"Wine would be nice."

Fletcher opened a bottle of wine and poured two glasses of wine. Scully carried her glass out to the patio. The backyard was large and was bordered by large trees that seemed to be the edge of woods. All of the trees had their leaves in various stages of turning and the colors were spectacular.

Fletcher stepped out a short time later carrying two large antipasto salads and the bottle of wine. She had such a warm, friendly smile on her face that Scully couldn't help but return it.

"You're in a good mood," Scully commented.

"I love days like today," she explained as she sat down. "To a truly great autumn day," she said, raising her glass.

"I'll drink to that."

"It's so good to be outside," Scully said. "I can't remember the last time I was on a picnic - if this could be considered a picnic. Lunch is usually takeout eaten at our desks or in the car. A picnic for us is parking the car and eating with the windows rolled down."

"There's nothing like some fresh fall air to rejuvenate yourself."

"You're absolutely right."

They chatted as they ate, enjoying the view and the food. Scully found herself talking about her family, especially her father. She was surprised at how easy it was to talk to Fletcher. She listened carefully, asking thoughtful, pointed, questions. And she had the kindest eyes when she smiled.

"Were you born here in Virginia?" Scully asked as she finished her salad.

"Yes. Why do you ask?"

"You don't have much of an accent."

"Southern manners and a northern education," she laughed.

"I thought you went to Maryland? I don't consider that very northern."

"I went to a prep school in Connecticut."

"Isn't that a little unusual for a Southerner?"

"Well, I come from a mixed marriage."

"Excuse me?" she asked, a little stunned.

"Daddy was a good, proper Southern son. He graduated from a military prep school, then UVA. The first non-conformist thing he ever did was to go North for law school. The only thing that made it even remotely acceptable was that he went to Harvard."

"Where does the mixed marriage come in?" She was curious.

"When he was at Harvard, he met Elizabeth Lowell Fletcher - a pretty coed at Wellesley, whom he later married. Needless to say, the FFV - First Families of Virginia," she explained, "were not too thrilled about a North-South match. Hence, the mixed marriage label."

"How did you ever get to school in Connecticut?"

"My mother made my father promise to send me there when I was old enough. She told him that no daughter of her's was going to be educated to think she had no brain. She was a bit biased with her opinions of southern schools."

"Sounds like she was quite a woman." <As is her daughter.>

"She was. I wish I had known her."

Fletcher was silent.

"What are you thinking about?" Scully quietly asked.

"Oh, my dad mostly. I just wonder what he'd think of me now."

"I'm sure he was very proud of you."

"Oh, I don't know about that."

"You're educated, you have a good career."

"And no husband and no children. Somehow, I think he'd be disappointed with that."

<No husband and children, or that you're alone?> Scully thought.

Fletcher closed her mouth and poured them both what was their third glass of wine. She'd never been comfortable talking about her family and today was no different. <Idiot. You never learn, do you?> She put her feet up on another chair and sipped from her glass.

Scully wanted to say something. Fletcher had retreated. Her eyes had seemed to turn from blue to gray. <Cold. Very cold eyes. Just who are you, Fletcher Buchanan? How much pain are you hiding?>

"I think I know how you feel, Fletcher," she said putting her hand on Fletcher's arm. Fletcher didn't move, didn't even look at her. "I feel like I was a disappointment to my father. He wasn't all that happy with me going to medical school, and then when he finally accepted that, I turned around and joined the FBI. I don't think he ever approved of anything I did."

"And I bet you've spent your entire life trying to get his approval. I bet you still do, even though he's dead." She sighed. "What we do to please our parents...it's crazy," she commented, shaking her head. Fletcher suddenly stood up. "Excuse me." <I don't want her to see me like this.>

She cleared the dishes off the table and carried them into the house.

Scully sensed that Fletcher needed to be alone. <That's the first time I've ever seen her that way. She looks sad, hurt.> And Scully wanted to ease her pain somehow, reach out to her. <I just don't know what to say. I've never been very good talking about feelings. Maybe it's something we have in common.>

She waited politely on the patio by herself. Fletcher wasn't gone long. And when she returned, it was if the conversation had never occurred. She had a small smile on her face.

"Sorry. I didn't mean to be such a 'gloomy gus'."

"It's okay, Fletcher. I understand."

"You know something, Red? I think you do. Thanks." She squeezed Scully's hand once, then quickly let go. "Feel like watching a movie?"

"As long as it's not one of Mulder's."

"I just buy 'em. I don't watch 'em," she laughed.

They walked into the den and Fletcher turned on the TV. She found the remote and began flipping through the channels.

"Well, we've got an action-adventure shoot 'em up, a war movie, a romance, a comedy and oh, what have we here?"

"What's that?"

"Are you much of a Katherine Hepburn fan?"

"Yes."

"One of my favorites - the Philadelphia Story - is on in 15 minutes."

"I don't think I've seen that one."

"It's got her, Cary Grant and Jimmy Stewart. It's a classic."

"Let's watch it then."

End Chapter 4 - Fletcher


Saturday, 5:30 PM

Fletcher had sat in what Scully guessed to be her favorite recliner through the entire movie. She herself had sat on the couch. Fletcher hadn't said much during the movie. <She's keeping her distance> Scully thought. <She's not comfortable sharing her feelings. I wish I could let her know that it's okay.>

"Can I interest you in some dinner?" Fletcher asked when the movie had ended.

Scully looked directly at Fletcher. She had trouble reading the look on her face. <I know it's only dinner that's she invited me to but why do I feel it might turn out to be more than just dinner? And why doesn't that bother me? I think I'd like it to be more than dinner. Just what, I don't know.>

"I wouldn't want you to go to any bother," she said politely.

"I'd be fixing myself something whether you were here or not. It's just as easy to cook for two as it is for one."

"Okay. I'll stay for dinner then."

Scully followed her into the kitchen. Fletcher opened the refrigerator and looked through the well-stocked shelves.

"What do you feel like having?" she asked.

"Whatever you feel like cooking."

"Well, how about stir fry?"

"Sure. Can I help?"

"Yes, by picking out some music and putting it on the stereo in the den. I always cook to music."

"I guess I can handle that."

"Give me a holler if you have any questions."

Scully went into the den and found the stereo. There were hundreds of CD's in the cabinet under the CD player. By the time she'd picked out 3 CDs and put them in, Fletcher had already cut up the vegetables and chicken and was cooking them in a well-used wok. There was a pot steaming rice on the counter.

She stopped int the doorway and watched Fletcher cook. She was singing softly with the CD's. Scully remembered her singing in the car but tonight was different, the music softer, slower. She thought her voice appealing -deep and a little throaty - and a little sexy. <Sexy? Where did that come from? I shouldn't be thinking that about Fletcher.>

"Something wrong, Red?" Fletcher asked, seeing the odd look on her face.

"No, I'm fine. I was just daydreaming. Is there anything else you need me to do? Can I at least set the table?" Scully offered.

"Sure. We can eat in here or in the diningroom."

"Oh let's eat in the diningroom. I don't think I've ever had dinner in a house with a chandelier."

"The dishes and placemats are in the hutch."

A short time later they were sitting down to dinner. Fletcher had turned on the chandelier, but had dimmed the lights a bit. She had grabbed another bottle of wine out of her wine cellar and poured them both a glass.

"I suppose wine isn't really called for with Chinese, but it's not 'really' Chinese food."

"This is really good," Scully complimented Fletcher. "I now know why Mulder raves so much about your cooking."

"Thank you. Coming from you, it's a compliment. Mulder usually eats so fast, I don't think he really tastes any of it."

"Well, it's not out of a box or a can. Mulder would find it to be nirvana."

"You got a little color in your face today, Red," Fletcher said, noticing the slightly red cheeks. "It looks good. Nice and healthy."

"I hate to admit it, but Mulder's right." <I've been saying that a lot lately, and it's really beginning to irritate me.> "I don't get out much."

"I try to run every other day just so I can get outside. Sometimes, when I'm at Quantico, and I'm feeling stressed, I'll go out and run the course."

"What are you fixing Mulder for dinner?"

"Lasagna. I'll fix it tonight and bake it tomorrow. Have you decided if you're coming over or not?"

"I think so," Scully said, looking down, unable to look Fletcher in the eyes.

"I don't mean to be an ungracious host, but I'll have to get you home soon so I can get my Sunday dinner fixed."

"I'd like to stay and help you."

"Well, I guess you could make the salad."

"Don't trust me to cook anything?" she teased Fletcher.

"It's not a question of trust. I'm just very particular about my cooking."

<She doesn't seem to want to leave> Fletcher thought. <I wonder why. Could she possibly be interested? Oh goddess, give me this one and I won't ever ask for anything else ever again.>

<I don't want this day to end> Scully thought. <I really like being with Fletcher. I don't have to explain anything with her. She's a great listener and she always seems to know when I need to talk and when I need to listen.>


Saturday, 9:00 pm

Fletcher finished her second pan of lasagna. Scully was impressed that Fletcher had made it from scratch, using homemade sauce, and grating the cheese herself.

"Why two pans?" she asked.

"I always send a pan home with Mulder. At least I know he'll get a few meals out of it."

"He's got that pathetic act down pat," Scully said, chuckling and shaking her head.

"I know. He's the only person I've ever had even faintly maternal feelings for."

"My mother says that every time she sees him, she wants to feed him."

"He does have that affect on most women, myself included, I'm ashamed to admit."

She finished her wine and started cleaning up the mess she'd made.

"Do you want to see what's for dessert?"

"You fixed dessert, too?"

"No, I stopped at this little Italian bakery for the bread and dessert. My baking skills don't extend much beyond cakes and cookies."

She opened up the refigerator and took out a large box. Scully could see that there was another box still in the refrigerator.

"I bought extras for Mulder," Fletcher explained with a sheepish grin. She opened the box and broke off a small piece. "Try this."

She held a small piece of a canoli in front of her. Scully opened her mouth and Fletcher placed a piece in her mouth. She popped a piece into her own mouth, hardly tasting it. She couldn't take her eyes off Scully. <I don't think I've ever seen a more beautiful woman in my life. And I don't think I've ever wanted anyone more, either.>

"That's so good it's almost sinful," Scully commented, looking at Fletcher.

"Let me give you a piece of the chocolate."

Scully could no longer ignore or dismiss the feelings that were filling her. <Why does Fletcher affect me so much? I can't believe how much I -want her? Is that what I'm feeling? Do I want her? I know I want her to want me.>

Fletcher broke off another piece. <Oh, goddess, I can't believe I'm feeding her canoli and I can't believe she's letting me. I'll never be able to look at another canoli again in my life without thinking of this moment.> She held it out for Scully. This time, Scully pulled the morsel off Fletcher's fingers slowly, capturing her fingertips between her lips, her tongue lightly touching them.

Fletcher held her breath. <Did she just do what I thought she did? Oh, jeez, I want this woman so bad. If something doesn't happen soon...Air. I need some air. Or a cold shower. Breathe, you idiot. Breathe.>

Scully watched Fletcher carefully. She hadn't backed away. She wasn't sure, but Fletcher's eyes seemed a little glassy. <Why did I do that? Did I have too much to drink? No, face it, Dana, you want her. And she wants you. At least I think she does.>

"Fletcher, can I ask you a question?"

"What?" she croaked. <Here it comes. Damn. So close....>

"Do you want to kiss me?"

<Oh, no, you don't Scully. Don't put it all on me. This has got to be your decision.>

"Do you want me to?"

"Yes..."

Fletcher bent her head and laid the gentlest of kisses on the perfect lips in front of her. When Scully didn't move away, she dipped her head in again for another kiss, this time increasing the pressure. She wanted to touch her, but was afraid to, didn't want to scare her off.

Scully reached up and put her hand on the back of Fletcher's neck, pulling her closer. <I'm kissing another woman - another woman! And it's so...right...how could I have ever wanted anything else?...>

Fletcher felt Scully's mouth open, drawing her tongue inside. Fletcher groaned, unable to stop the feelings that were rushing through her. Her hands slid down Scully's back and to her waist. She pulled Scully in to her, slipping her thigh between Scully's legs.

"You're so beautiful..." Fletcher murmured, kissing Scully's neck before returning to those fabulous lips.

"Fletcher, if you don't take me to you bed right now..." she gasped, moving against Fletcher's thigh.

"Are you sure about this, Red?" <Oh, please, oh please, oh please, don't say no.>

"I think so...yes..."

She pressed her lips to Fletcher's and kissed her.

End Chapter 5 - Fletcher


Saturday night

Scully had no recollection of how they got upstairs to Fletcher's bedroom. At some point, they'd taken off their shoes and she thought, but couldn't be sure, that Fletcher had taken her sweater off - or had she taken it off herself? It was all such a blur. Her thoughts were clouded in an unfamiliar passion. Try as she might, she could only remember kissing in the kitchen and then finding herself in Fletcher's bedroom, on the bed, in her arms, kissing deeply and passionately.

Fletcher's hand dropped to Scully's waist and she slowly untucked her shirt. She lay her hand on Scully's soft, flat stomach, then slowly inched upward. Scully tensed, nervous and unsure of herself and the situation.

"Fletcher...I'm not...I've never..." she confessed.

"Red, I am and I have, so relax. It's okay." she said, giving Scully a quick, soft kiss.

Fletcher sat back for just a moment and pulled her own sweater off. She lay back down beside her and returned to her mouth. She couldn't get enough of Scully's lush lips. She kissed her deeply as she slowly unbuttoned Scully's blouse. <Just one more button...yes...now to her bra...oh, goddess her skin is so soft...where's the damn clasp?...slow down, fool...take your time...>

Suddenly Scully's hands were on her shoulders, not really pushing her away, but not encouraging her either. She stopped what she was doing, inwardly groaning at the turn of events.

"What's the matter, Red?" she asked, her hand sweeping the red hair out of Scully's eyes. "Do you want me to stop?"

"I don't know...no...I just don't know, Fletcher..." She looked away.

"Red, whatever you want - or don't want - is okay with me," she said gently, reassuringly even though her body was aching at the thought of stopping. <Just look at me, Red. Please.>

"I want you, Fletcher...really...I do...it's just that..."

"Just what?"

"It's that my body says yes...but my mind keeps saying no, that this is wrong."

Fletcher leaned over her, her mouth only inches from Scully's. Scully looked up at her. <Is that desire I see? Oh, goddess, please...>

"And your heart? What does your heart say?" she whispered, her lips almost touching Scully's lips, their eyes locked.

Scully hesitated for only a fraction of a second before closing her eyes and putting her hand on the back of Fletcher's neck. She pulled Fletcher closer and answered her with a deep kiss, her tongue seeking access to Fletcher's.

<That's it, Red> Fletcher thought as they kissed. <Stop thinking. Just let your body take over...>

She placed several small kisses along Scully's neck and collarbone. She finally unhooked Scully's bra, releasing her breasts from their flimsy restraints. She pushed the material aside, her fingers lightly brushing against the nipples.

Scully's hands were suddenly, unexpectedly pulling up Fletcher's t-shirt. Fletcher moved away just long enough to pull her shirt and sports bra off. She tossed them onto the floor, then added Scully's shirt and bra to the pile.

"You are so beautiful, Red..." she choked, her eyes taking in the sight of Scully lying back on the bed.

She slowly, gingerly lowered body on top of Scully's. She couldn't believe how sensitive her own body was. It was if every nerve in her body was on overload. At the first touch of nipple against nipple, Fletcher swore she was going to lose it. She pressed her body into Scully's, her mouth trailing kisses down her neck and across her shoulders.

Scully cautiously, tentatively moved her arms around Fletcher, her hands gliding up and down her back. <Her muscles are so hard...but her skin is so soft...> She shifted so her thigh was between Fletcher's legs. She could feel the heat even through the denim, and knew that that the warmth matched her own.

Fletcher had moved lowered and her mouth was at breast. At first, her lips were gentle, loving. As Scully's nipples hardened, she took one gently between her teeth and flicked at it with her tongue.

<Oh, god, it's like a direct line to my clit> Scully thought as the warmth between her legs rose. <I need her to touch me...>

Fletcher hands dropped to Scully's waist but she hesitated.

"Yes, yes...Fletcher...please..." she whispered against Fletcher's throat.

Fletcher fumbled with the zipper. <Oh, goddess, what a time for me to be clumsy...why can't I do this...>

Scully's hands were suddenly atop Fletcher's.

"Let me..." she offered.

She pulled the zipper down, lifted her hips from the bed and quickly pulled them off. Before Fletcher could return to her, she moved her hands to Fletcher's fly. She adroitly unbuttoned the top button.

"Take them off, Fletcher...I want to feel you too..."

Fletcher did as she was told and promptly removed her remaining clothes. She threw back the covers and then she settled her body back atop Scully's, breasts against breasts, thighs between legs.

<Incredible...her body feels better than I ever imagined...> Fletcher thought, her mouth returning to Scully's breast. She moved her hand up to Scully's other breast and began to fondle it, teasing the nipple.

Scully needed either (or both) of Fletcher's actions to be repeated lower on her body. She spread her legs a little further and pressed up against Fletcher's thigh.

<I really want to take this slow, but I don't think I can> Fletcher thought, feeling the rush of warmth between her own legs. <I want to make her come long and hard...but I don't want to rush it...oh, goddess, help me with this...>

Her hand left Scully's breast and slowly and deliberately trailed down her torso. Her fingers urgently traced every curve, every crevice. Scully's hips thrust up against her hand, demanding more contact. She sucked and nipped at Scully's erect nipples. Using her fingers, she stimulated her clit with a motion that matched her tongue.

She felt and heard Scully's desire rise, and her own desire rose with it. <More...I've got to give her more...> Her mouth wihdrew from Scully's breast and she left a trail of small, wet kisses as she moved down her body.

Scully soon realized what Fletcher's intentions were and she weakly grabbed at Fletcher's shoulder.

"Fletcher, you don't..." Her words caught in her throat at the first touch of Fletcher's tongue. "Oh, god, Fletcher..." she moaned.

Back and forth, from the source of the wetness to her clit, she went with her tongue. Scully's hips began rocking in the same rhythm. She sensed how close Scully was to climaxing. She took her swollen, throbbing clit into her mouth at the same time she shoved two fingers inside.

"Oh, god...Fletcher..." she moaned.

<I'm coming...> she thought, then she lost the ability to think clearly. The force of her own orgasm astounded her, overwhelmed her. But before she could even process it, enjoy it, another one slammed into her.

"Oh, Fletcher..." she called out, the loudness of her voice startling her.

She grabbed at the back of Fletcher's head as her hips bucked wildly up from the bed. Her heels dug into the bed as she strained against her.

"Yes...yes...Fletcher...oh, god..."

Her body went rigid, then collapsed back against the bed. Fletcher's head was beside her hip, face down and she was breathing heavily. Her arms went about her waist and she hugged her tightly as she was unable to speak as well.

<When has anyone ever made me feel this way?> Scully thought as she felt Fletcher gradually move back up her body. Before, it had always been a means to an end - strictly foreplay, nothing more. It had never been the intent of any of her previous partners for it to be the method of making her come. It was almost as if they'd been performing some duty, some distasteful obligation that they'd felt.

Fletcher lay atop Scully, her breaths heavy and deep against her neck. She felt Scully's hands tenderly kneading her back and shoulders.

"Good lord, Red...that was fantastic..." she sighed.

"Fletcher..."

"Yes?" Fletcher kissed Scully's neck, then her earlobe.

"It's never happened like that for me before..."

"My poor Red, always in control...so much so that you couldn't even enjoy sex." She kissed Scully's forehead. "What happened tonight?"

"I guess I lost control," she said, a small smile on her face. She kissed Fletcher, tasting something foreign yet somehow familiar. <Oh, god, that's me on her lips> she thought and then she kissed Fletcher even harder. She slid her hands downward and squeezed Fletcher's small rearend.

"Get on your back..." she ordered Fletcher.

"Red, you don't have to...I'm okay with this...I don't need anything..."

"I need to..." she said huskily, gently pushing Fletcher off of her and onto her back. She tucked her hair behind her ear, then leaned over Fletcher. "I want to make you feel what I just felt..."

"Oh, Red..."

She kissed Fletcher softly on the kips, then her neck. Her small hands shyly covered the small breasts. <They're so soft...so soft...> she marvelled before taking a nipple into her mouth. The hardened instantly at the first touch. Growing bolder, Scully slid her hand down further, across the stomach and hips. She felt Fletcher stir beneathe her fingers. She ran her fingertips through the short, curly hair.

"Did I do that?" Scully murmured against her neck, her fingers stroking the wetness that she'd discovered between Fletcher's legs.

"Oh, yeah...and it's time you took some responsibility for your actions..."

"Ever the comedienne..." she said, suddenly slipping one, then two fingers deep inside of Fletcher. "Oh, you feel so good, Fletcher...so soft...so warm...so wet..."

Fletcher couldn't hold back the groan that escaped from her throat.

Using only her most recent experience and her past self-inflicted ministrations as her guide, Scully began to pump her fingers in and out, finding the pace Fletcher set with the thrusts from her hips. She found Fletcher's clit with her thumb and pressed hard.

"Oh, yeah, Red...just like that..." Fletcher gasped.

She continued with her actions, feeling herself grow wet at the realization that she was making Fletcher come. She rode Fletcher's thigh, letting just the pressure make her almost climax along with Fletcher.

Just as she was about to come, Fletcher took Scully's head in her hands and kiseed her roughly, her tongue thrusting into her mouth. She moved her hand down and plunged two fingers deep into Scully. They came together in a rush, neither able or wanting to stop it.

Fletcher's head fell back against the pillows and she slowly and reluctantly removed her fingers from Scully. Scully lay her head on Fletcher's chest and listened to the pounding heart slowly return to its normal steady beat.

"Uh, Red?"

"Yes?" <Oh, I hope it was good for her. I hope she enjoyed it as much as I did.>

"Are you sure you've never done this before?" she asked, kissing the top of her head.

Scully smiled and she kissed Fletcher's chest. Fletcher's hand caressing her back was the last thing she remembered before drifting off to sleep.


Sunday, 1:15 am

Fletcher carefully got out of bed without waking the sleeping woman beside her. She pulled the covers up over Scully's bare shoulders. She put on her robe and quietly went downstairs to check the locks and alarms. When everything was set, she sat down in the dark kitchen. Her hands went to her temples and she rubbed them, then her eyes.

<Oh, boy, Fletcher...history sure has a way of repeating itself...You've either made the biggest mistake of your sordid life or...oh, goddess, I hope it's the right one. I'm crazy about her. I see her, and I want to hold her in my arms. I have since the first time I saw her.>

She went back upstairs. She took off her robe, hanging it up on its customary spot - the bedpost - then climbed back into bed.

"Fletcher, where were you? I was going to go looking for you." Scully nestled her body against Fletcher's.

"I couldn't remember if the doors were locked and the alarms set. I was distracted earlier."

"Distracted by what?" Scully asked with a knowing smile.

"Well, there was this beautiful, no, not just beautiful, but down right stunning woman in my kitchen doing really wild things with canolis."

"And then what happened?" she asked, moving so that she was atop Fletcher, her legs straddling her hips.

"And then I ended up having the best sex of my entire life."

Scully leaned over Fletcher, her breasts hanging down. Fletcher reached up and covered them with her hands. <So soft...so beautiful...>

"It would be a hard act to follow," she whispered against Fletcher's neck. "But I really would like to try and improve on your last statement."

Fletcher could feel Scully's arousal on her stomach as Scully moved against her. She slowly slid her body down so that Scully was almost sitting on her face. Scully reached up and grabbed the headboard when she felt Fletcher's tongue go inside of her, then move to her clit.

"Oh, christ, Fletcher..."

Fletcher now knew how to read Scully. She knew what she wanted, how to make her come, how to tell when she was climaxing. She kept at it, only pulling back, easing off when she sensed Scully was close to an orgasm.

"You're...driving...me... crazy...Fletcher...please...I'm...so...close..." she gasped.

She suddenly dipped two fingers deep into Scully and easily pumped them in and out. She took her engorged clit into her mouth and sucked hard. Scully bucked hard above her, her head glancing off the headboard.

"Oh...God...Fletcher..." she screamed aloud, her body tensing stiffly, then collapsing onto her stomach.

Fletcher carefully moved out from underneath her. She gently rubbed Scully's back and ass. She could feel Scully's body occasionally spasm, shudder. She leaned over and kissed her behind the ear.

"You okay, Red?"

"I can't move...I can't even think..."

"Then don't," she said, softly massaging her back.

"What you do to me, Fletcher..."

"What you do to me, Agent Scully."

"Thank you."

"The pleasure was all mine."

"Oh, I don't know about that..." She sighed. "That feels so nice."

"I can't get enough of you, Red, or your body." She kissed her back. "You're so beautiful..."

"I...I can't stay awake..." Scully apologized.

"Then sleep."

"I wanted to...you've just wiped me out...I can't..."

"It's okay. Go to sleep."


Sunday, 7:45 AM

<Oh, goddess, thank you> Fletcher said as she woke up once more next to the beautiful redhead. <I can't believe it finally happened. Never in my dreams could it have been so fantastic. Please let it be more than a one-night stand. I couldn't bear to lose her now. Please, oh please, don't let her be freaked out by what happened. I don't want to think it, I'm afraid to think it, but oh goddess, I think I could really fall for her.>

She carefully got out of bed and pulled on sweatpants and an old flannel shirt. She went downstairs and put on a pot of coffee and began breakfast. She found herself alternating between grinning and flushing when she thought about the night before. She hummed and whistled as she made a quick breakfast of omelets and toast.

Upstairs, Scully woke up to the smell of coffee. She was momentarily disoriented. <Where am I? Where are my clothes?> She closed her eyes and shook her head. <Wake up, Dana.> She rubbed her forehead. <Fletcher. I'm at Fletcher's> she remembered. She then recalled the actions of the night before and a new warmth flooded her groin.

She looked up to the sound of Fletcher coming into the room.

"Good morning," Fletcher said, setting a tray on the dresser.

"Good morning," she replied, sitting up and pulling the covers up with her.

<Uh oh. Not a good sign. She's embarrassed.> Fletcher's heart fell.

"Here," Fletcher said, handing Scully her robe. "It's a little chilly in here."

"Thanks." She pulled on Fletcher's flannel robe, then re-adjusted the covers.

<I've got a million questions for you, Red, but I'm afraid to ask you a one. How do you feel? Are you ready to run screaming from my house now? Are you looking for a way to gracefully get out of here? Please say something, Red. I'm dying here. Let me know now while it won't hurt so much. Like hell it won't hurt much. It'll kill me.>

"Hope you're hungry," she said calmly. "I fixed a breakfast for us."

"Oh, you didn't have to do that for me."

<How sweet. I don't think anyone's ever made me breakfast in bed, except maybe mom when I was a little kid and home sick. What was it - measles?>

"I don't mind. I like to cook, remember?"

She brought the tray over and then nervously sat down beside Scully. <She's nervous> Scully thought. <What is she afraid of - rejection? I should be the one that's afraid. She's experienced at this sort of thing. Not me.>

"Um, Fletcher, I do have one complaint about breakfast," she said with a smile.

"What? You don't like omelets?" she asked, a lump in her throat.

"Don't I get a good-morning kiss with breakfast?"

"Oh, Red..." Fletcher's shoulders sagged with relief.

<The world is good again! She's not leaving yet!> She leaned over and kissed her gently on the lips. Scully reached up and held her face for a longer kiss, opening her mouth for Fletcher. Fletcher slipped her hand inside of the robe and stroked Scully's nipples until they hardened, which didn't take long.

"Uh, breakfast's getting cold," she said, breaking off the kiss and reluctantly taking her hand away.

<I could get used to this too easily> Scully thought as she ate her breakfast. <I like getting spoiled.>

"I'd better shake a leg. Mulder'll be here by noon. When food is involved, he's always early."

"Oh, damn, I forgot all about Mulder. He's supposed to call me to see if I needed a ride here."

"When's he supposed to call?"

"Around 10:00."

"Relax, it's only 8:30. I just don't think I can get you home and back before noon."

"I'll think of something when he calls."

"You're welcome to borrow any clothes I have that'll fit. Actually, I've got a Redskins sweatshirt you can have. If you're watching football here, you've got to wear the right clothes." She got out of bed. "Want to join me for a shower?" she asked, pulling her shirt off.

"Can I trust you?" Scully asked, the want in her eyes unmistakable.

"Absolutely." She paused, then added, "Not."

"Good."

End Chapter 6


Sunday, 10:10 am

Wearing borrowed underwear, t-shirt and sweatshirt, and her own jeans, Scully went downstairs. Fletcher was in the kitchen, finishing up the preparations for tomorrow's dinner.

"Good morning, again," Fletcher said, kissing her on the cheek.

"Good morning," she replied, returning the kiss. "Can I help with anything?"

"No, I'm almost done. I've just got to finish loading the dishwasher."

Scully's phone rang and she answered it.

"Scully."

"It's me, Scully. Should I pick you up? Are you going to go with me?"

"Actually, Mulder, I'm already at Fletcher's. She picked me up earlier," she said, not really lying.

"What?"

"I'm getting a cooking lesson."

"You, Scully?"

"Well, you did complain about not being fed properly. Maybe I'll learn a few things from Fletcher."

Mulder bit back his response. <I'm sure you could, Scully. I just don't know if they'd be quite what you're looking to learn.>

Fletcher choked back her laughter. She motioned to Scully to hand her the phone as she toweled off her hands.

"Hey, Wonder Boy."

"Good morning. Are you behaving yourself, Fletcher?"

"What do you think?"

"I would hope so."

"You'll have to ask Scully if you don't believe me."

"How's the cooking lesson?"

"Oh, I think Agent Scully is a very apt pupil. She might even be able to boil water by the end of the day."

Mulder snorted into the phone and Scully slapped Fletcher in the arm.

"Ow. You didn't tell me your partner was so rough, Mulder."

"Isn't that how you like 'em, Fletcher?"

"Pig."

"Slut."

"On that note, I'll let Scully have the phone back. See you later, Spooky."

"Lecher."

"Honestly, you two, " Scully said to Mulder. "I only heard part of the conversation, but it was enough."

"Oh, Scully..." he whined.

"Will we see you around noon?"

"Of course. I'm never late for dinner."

"So I've been told. Later, Mulder."

She clicked the cell phone off and turned to Fletcher.

"What does Mulder have to ask me?"

"What do you mean?"

"You said, and I quote, 'you'll have to ask Scully if you don't believe me.'"

"Oh, he wanted to know if I was behaving myself. I can't see him asking you that."

"Not without embarrassing himself."

"So, what do we tell him, if anything? It's up to you, Scully."

"He knows about you?"

"Since day one almost. He used to hang out with me and, well, any my girlfriend at the time."

"It was Clarice Starling, wasn't it?"

"Yes," she said in the same small voice that she'd used yesterday.

<Sounds like there's some unresolved issues with that relationship> Scully thought. <I just don't think now's the time to go into it. Another time, and soon.>

"I guess I'll just see what happens," Scully said, changing the topic back to Mulder.

"Don't ask, don't tell."

"But if he asks, I'll tell."

"Scully, I know we haven't talked about what happened last night-"

"And this morning," she said smiling, her arms around Fletcher's waist.

"Are you okay with all of this?"

"Do you mean do I still respect you?" she laughed.

"Dana..."

"You've never called me Dana before," she said, her laughter fading.

"I realize this isn't the time to talk about it, but you'll want to soon. I just want you to know that I hope last night wasn't a one-night stand. It meant too much to me to have it be just that."

"Oh, Fletcher, don't worry," she reassured, her hand on Fletcher's cheek. "I've grown too fond of you for it to be just a little affair."


Sunday, noon

Mulder arrived promptly, his arms full of bags.

"I picked up some beer and munchies," he explained.

"Well, what time do you want dinner?"

"Whenever."

"It's baking now."

"What'd you fix?"

"Lasagna."

"Mmmmmmm. My favorite."

"Mulder, every meal is your favorite, as long as someone else is cooking or buying."

He nodded his agreement as he opened a beer. "Where's Scully?"

"On the patio."

"I'll take her a beer."

They walked out on to the deck together, Fletcher's arm around her best friend's neck.

"You're in an awfully good mood," he said. <Actually, she's almost got that just-laid look, but it's been so long since I've seen it on her face, that I could be wrong.>

"Why shouldn't I be? It's another beautiful fall day, there's a federal holiday tomorrow, the 'skins are on, I've got lasagna cooking and two of my favorite people in the whole world are spending the day with me."

"Since when did Scully join the top ten?" he asked, curiously.

"I don't know. Does it matter?"

"No, I guess not."

Scully turned around when they walked outside. She looked at the two of them together. Both were wearing faded jeans and sneakers. Fletcher was wearing a maroon Redskins mock-tee and a faded baseball hat. Mulder was wearing his team sweatshirt. <They look like brother and sister - no, that's not right. They look more like brothers.> She looked at Mulder, then Fletcher and then she smiled. <How'd I get so lucky? A great partner and - > she blushed < - a great lover - and they're best friends.>

Mulder couldn't believe the look on her face - a look he'd never seen before. <Scully looks happy. She almost looks - radiant? Is that the right word?> It was then he realized Scully was smiling - a large, warm smile that reached all the way to eyes. <She never smiles - not like that, anyway. Oh, damn, is it possible? Are Scully and Fletcher...no way. Scully's straight. Fletcher wouldn't dare.>

He handed Scully a beer and looked at her a little more closely.

"Something wrong, Mulder?" she asked.

"No," he stammered, embarrassed to be caught staring. "You just look different somehow."

Scully didn't want Mulder to look at her too carefully again, so she turned to Fletcher.

"Fletcher, how far back does your property go?" she asked, looking at the wooded lot beyond the large yard.

"Oh, twenty acres back and twenty acres left and right. I also own the same amount of property across the road. The family used to own more, but I've sold some property. I'll probably keep all of this until I leave. Owning all the surrounding property insures my privacy."

"How do you keep it secure?"

"I have my ways," she said with a small smile.

"Fletcher's security system rivals Fort Knox," Mulder joked.

"And with good reason. You know the type of trash I deal with - nobody I'd want dropping in unexpectedly."

"Then how did Mulder get in?"

"He's the only person other than me that has his own security code." She took a large drink from her beer. "How about dinner during halftime?"

"I don't know if I can wait that long," Mulder complained.

"Don't whine, Wonder Boy. I was thinking halftime of the first game."

"I guess I can wait 'til then."

"Good. Anyone for another?" she asked, raising her empty beer bottle.

They both nodded and Fletcher left to get another round. Scully tried not to watch Fletcher walk away.

"Since when have you two become such good friends?" he asked, trying to feign indifference.

"I don't know. We've just been having lunch and dinner occasionally."

"That's all?"

"What do you mean?"

"Nothing."

He was suddenly embarrassed to ask, wasn't sure if he really wanted to know. And if Scully didn't know about Fletcher, didn't know she was gay, well, he didn't want to be the one to tell her. <I'd be a little surprised if she hasn't already figured it out, but then again, Scully always was a little na•ve.>

"Mulder, the game's almost on," Fletcher said as she returned with the beer. "I even put munchies out for you."

"Great."

Fletcher closed the screen behind them but left the sliding glass door open. It was too nice outside to close it. She flopped down beside Mulder on the couch.

<They look like twins> Scully thought. <They slouch the same way, they have the same expression on their face, the same mannerisms. I wonder who sub-consciously copied from whom?> She remembered something Fletcher had said the day before - "Mulder's the brother I never had". <He could say the same about you, Fletcher. You're the brother he never had.>

She sat down on the loveseat and decided that it would be more entertaining to watch the two of them than to watch the game.

"Ready?" Fletcher asked Mulder.

"I'm ready."

"I say first play is a run," she said laying a dollar on couch between them.

"I agree," he replied, laying a dollar on top of Fletcher's.

They watched the first play in silence.

"Run," he said, putting another dollar down.

"Pass," she countered, adding to the pile of dollars.

The next play was a pass and Fletcher scooped up the pile of dollar bills. "Like candy from a baby," she chortled. "Hope you brought plenty of money, Wonder Boy."

"It's still early, and we've got another game to go."

"Good. I don't mind making your wallet a little lighter."

"Better my wallet than my loafers," he smirked.

"Smart ass."

"What's that mean?" Scully asked.

Fletcher grinned and turned to Mulder. "You said it, Wonder Boy, you explain it."

"Um, uh, limp-wristed?" he offered up as an explanation.

"What a 'charming' term." Scully shook her head. "Do you bet on every play?"

"No, only during the first and third quarters."

"How long have you been doing that?"

"How long have we been watching football together, Mulder? 10 years?"

"Close to it."

"Who's ahead?"

"I think we're pretty even."

"Anyone need another beer?" Scully asked, getting up.

"Yes, thanks. And make sure my buddy Mulder has another, too. I want to get him drunk and take advantage of him - in the betting parlor," she laughed.

"Halftime."

"Dinnertime!" Mulder said happily.

"Be a good little boy, Mulder," Fletcher teased. "Get washed up and then go into the diningroom. I've set the table there."

She went into the kitchen with Scully and together they brought all the food out. Mulder was already sitting at the table, a knife and fork in hand.

"Y'know, Mulder, it's tomorrow that you get to act like the birthday boy, not today," Fletcher commented, shaking her head. "You're going to have to serve yourself."

He set his silverware down, dutifully chastened.

She sat down at the head of the table. "I suppose it's my fault. I shouldn't spoil you so."

Scully went back into the kitchen to get the wine bottle. Mulder waited until she was out of earshot.

"But you can't resist spoiling me, can you? You know I'll always be the only man in your life, Fletcher."

Scully returned and sat down opposite Fletcher. Mulder decided not to push his luck so he patiently waited for the food to be passed his way.

"You'd better leave room for dessert," Fletcher said as Mulder filled his plate with his second helping.

"No problem. I always have room for dessert."

"Well, I'm done. How about you, Scully?"

"Yes, thanks."

Fletcher stood up and began to clear the table.

"Take your time, Mulder. I'll bring the dessert in a few minutes."

Scully helped Fletcher clear the table and take care of the dishes. She peeked around the corner. Mulder was still at the table so she put her arms around Fletcher's waist.

"This is really hard."

"What? Pretending we're nothing more than friends or keeping our hands to ourselves?"

"Both. I don't like lying to Mulder."

"We're not lying. Not really. We're just keeping him in the dark."

"I still don't like it." She kissed Fletcher lightly on the lips. "I also don't know if I can hold out through another game."

"It's hard for me, too."

She gave Scully a quick kiss on the lips, her tongue darting in, then out. Scully slapped Fletcher on the butt.

"Hey!"

"You tease."

"I am not. I'm just giving you a preview of what's scheduled for tonight."

"Oh, really?" Scully asked, her best skeptical look plastered on her face.

"Yes, really. Why don't you go keep Spooky company? I'll bring in the coffee and dessert."

"Trying to get rid of me?"

"No, I'm trying control myself and with you in the room, it's extremely difficult," she said, jokingly pushing Scully out of the kitchen.

"Okay, okay. I get the message."

A few minutes later, Fletcher carried in a tray with a pot of coffee, three cups, and a plate filled with canoli.

"Oh, boy, canoli. I haven't had these in years," Mulder said, dropping three of them on his now clean plate.

"Canoli?" Fletcher asked, holding the plate in front of Scully. "Vanilla or chocolate?"

Scully took one look at the plate and blushed. Mulder was too involved in his eating to notice and Scully was grateful. Fletcher winked at Scully and smiled broadly.

"It's almost time for the second half, Fletcher," Mulder said, picking up two more canoli to take with him.

"Okay. I'll be right in. I haven't cleaned you out yet."

"Hey, Scully, are you staying tonight?" Mulder asked.

"Well, I'm not really prepared for it."

"Why don't you take my car and go get some clothes and stuff?" he suggested.

"Good idea. I left your present at my apartment."

"Well, we can't have that can we?"

He reached into his pocket and tossed her the keys. He turned and left the room.

"Do you need directions?" Fletcher asked.

"I think I can manage. I'll take my phone in case I get lost."

"To get through the gate, just use the generic code - 411911. I recycle the generic codes every two weeks."

"Okay."

"I'll see you in a few hours. Drive safely."

"I will."

She kissed Fletcher quickly, repeating what Fletcher had done to her earlier. Fletcher playfully slapped her butt.

"Save it for later," Fletcher said, smiling.

End Chapter 7


Sunday, 3:30 PM

<I wonder if I should've left them alone> Scully thought as she drove to her apartment. <Suppose Mulder says something to Fletcher? I don't think he'd say anything in front of me, but he might if he and Fletcher were alone. I'm not sure I want him to know yet. I'm not even sure what there is to tell him. I know I slept with Fletcher last night - and hopefully tonight - > She smiled to herself. <I just think it might be better for Fletcher and I to figure out what's going on between us before we tell Mulder anything.>

She parked Mulder's car and hurried into the building. The light was blinking on her answering machine. Almost absentmindedly she pressed the play button.

"Dana, this is your mom. How is your weekend? I've got some big news about Thanksgiving." <Not as big as my news> Scully laughed to herself. "Call me when you have a chance, honey."

"Hey, Red, it's me. Mulder's in the bathroom. Just wanted you to know I miss you already. Oh, yeah, and could you pick up some juice for breakfast tomorrow?" Her voice dropped, the lust apparent. "Can't wait to see you again, especially tonight. Bye."

Scully smiled and went into her bedroom to pack. She found a small backpack in her closet. <What should I pack? I suppose casual is fine. Should I bring something to sleep in? Hmmmm. I think not. Then again, there's something to be said for the thrill of being undressed.> She blushed, remembering what had happened and what she hoped to have happen again.

She quickly stuffed her bag with a few clothes. She found her present for Mulder and wrapped it. <Now, where did I put his card? The desk drawer?>


Back at the Fletcher's, with Scully gone, Mulder and Fletcher reverted to their old juvenile habits and behaviors. They began to bet on everything they could think of - the haircolor of the next cheerleader shown in a closeup, which team would first have a player aired scratching himself, what the next penalty called would be. The list was endless and ridiculous.

Fletcher was relieved that Mulder hadn't asked her about Scully. A few times she thought he was going to say something, but he kept his mouth shut. <Maybe I'm just being paranoid. He probably doesn't even suspect a thing. I hope so.>

"Y'know, Spooky, this game really stinks."

"I don't know if I can root for the 'skins anymore."

"Such a fickle fan."

"Well, I just can't watch them anymore today," he qualified. "They just keep finding ways to lose."

"Well, I have to agree. Feel up to a little 'Mortal Kombat'?"

"Sure. You must be in the mood for a little humiliation."

"Don't be sure about that, Wonder Boy."

"Do I hear a challenge?"

"But of course. Want to make a little wager?"

"Uh, I'm a little tapped out," he said a bit ruefully.

"I'm sure we can come up with something non-monetary to bet on."


Sunday, 6:15 PM

Scully walked into the house. She put the juice in the refrigerator. The TV was off and the den was empty. She walked from room to room, looking for Mulder and Fletcher.

"Fletcher? Mulder?" she called out, trying to keep the tension out of her voice.

"We're upstairs, Scully," Fletcher called out.

She walked upstairs and dropped off her bag in Fletcher's room before proceeding down the hall to "Mulder's" room. Fletcher and Mulder were sitting on the end of the bed in front of the TV. Fletcher had turned her hat around so that it was backwards. Scully saw that they were playing some Nintendo game. <They look like a couple of kids, no, adolescent boys.>

"I brought your bag up, Mulder. You left it in the car."

"Thanks," he said, not looking up. "Shit. Damn you, Fletcher." He threw his controls down. "You've been practicing."

"When you agreed to come over, well, of course I had to practice. You kicked my butt last time. I had to uphold my honor."

"Can I have winners?" Scully asked.

"Sure."

"Watch out, Scully. She cheats," he said, getting up from the bed.

"I do not, Mulder. You're just a sore loser."

"What happened to the football game?" she asked, sitting beside Fletcher.

"The 'skins suck, that's what happened," Fletcher said, disgusted.

"It was so bad that even betting on the game didn't help. We decided to play Mortal Kombat until you came back." He stopped in the doorway. "Anyone need another beer?"

"I'll have another, thanks."

"Fix me a vodka rocks, Loser Boy," Fletcher laughed.

"Do I look like a bartender?" he whined.

"To the victor goes the spoils. Three ice cubes, please."

Scully waited until Mulder was downstairs before she hit the pause button.

"What?" Fletcher asked.

"Has Mulder said anything to you about us?"

"You mean you and I?"

"Yes."

"No. I don't think he suspects a thing. Some detective, huh?" she smiled.

"We've got to tell him, Fletcher. I don't want him to find out because he stumbles across us together."

"He's already done that before with me. It's not a great way to find out; not for anyone involved."

"He should be told. It wouldn't be good for him to figure it out when I end up sleeping in your room tonight." Fletcher opened her mouth, but Scully cut her off. "And no, I have no intentions of sleeping in another room just so Mulder can be kept in the dark."

"Do you want to tell him or shall I?"

"It would probably be better coming from me, I suppose. I know you've known him longer, but I'm with him on an almost daily basis."

"And just what will you tell him?"

"That - that you and I are more than friends, I guess."

"I'm hearing a little uncertainty in your voice, Red."

"I guess I'm not really sure what we are, what we're doing. It's only been one night - "

"- and I great one a that," Fletcher grinned, her hand on Scully's knee. She saw the look of concern on Scully's face and her grin faded.

"Red, I know it's only been one night. Hopefully, it's the first night of many, many more. I don't want to pressure you. If you're really not okay with this, well, I wish I knew what to tell you. I'm not looking for a one-nighter or even a two-nighter. I'd like to keep on seeing you, but I can't promise you anything or guarantee that things won't change," she said truthfully. "I guess you need to know what you want, Red."

"I'm new at this, Fletcher. I know I like being with you, more than anyone else I know. I like the way I feel when I'm with you. I'd like to keep seeing you, too."

"Good. We'll just let things happen as they happen. Regarding Mulder, whatever you tell him will be fine with me," she said, giving Scully's hand a gentle squeeze.

Scully reached up and caressed Fletcher's cheek. Fletcher turned her head and kissed her palm, then moved closer to Scully. Before she had a chance to kiss her, they both heard Mulder coming back up the stairs, and they parted.

Fletcher got up from the bed and took her drink from Mulder. He leaned over and handed Scully a bottle of beer.

"Mulder, are you ready for dinner?" Fletcher asked. "I thought I'd warm up some leftover lasagna and garlic bread."

"You must be kidding," Scully said. "He's always ready for leftovers."

"I'll go heat it up. I'll call you when it's ready."

Fletcher left the room, carrying her drink.

"Challenge you, Mulder," Scully said, holding out one of the controls.

"Prepare to lose, Scully," he boasted, sitting back down next to her.

"I don't think so, Mulder."

"What makes you so confident?"

"I have an eight year old nephew, remember? He's taught me all the moves on a few of the games. Sometimes, there are benefits to babysitting."

"Something tells me I'm about to be hustled," he groaned.

Mulder was astonished at how competitive Scully was. It didn't take her long to beat him handily.

"Two out of three?" he asked.

"Sure your ego can take it, Mulder?"

"You were just lucky that time."

Scully set her controls down.

"Mulder, there's something I need to tell you."

"What?"

"It's about Fletcher."

"What about her?" He looked at Scully closely. "Oh, man, did she make a pass at you?" he asked, appalled.

"No, not quite -"

" - 'cause I'll kill her if she did."

"Mulder, it was more like the other way around."

"Say what?"

"Fletcher and I..."

"What, Scully?"

"We've become involved."

"Involved how?"

"We're - um - we're more than - um - friends." She was surprised at how hard it was to tell him, to actually say the words.

"What do you mean?" he persisted.

"I'm sleeping with her, okay?" she said bluntly. "Now do you understand?"

"I'll kill her," he repeated.

"Mulder, stop saying that. It's not her fault."

"Scully, you're making a big mistake."

"That's a fine thing to say," she said angry and surprised at his reaction. "You're her friend, and I'm your friend, too. I was hoping you'd be happy for me, for us."

"Scully, I know Fletcher a lot better than you..."

"Meaning?"

"She's got more baggage than Dulles International."

"And I don't?" she snapped. "My sister's been killed, I've been abducted, I've got cancer, I had a daughter...the list goes on and on. So what? We all do."

"Scully, you're putting me in a very tough spot."

"It doesn't have to be."

"Where are my loyalties supposed to lie?"

"It's not an either-or situation, Mulder."

He looked away, unsure what to say. Fletcher was one of his best friends. To tell Scully of her past would be betraying that friendship. On the other hand, to let Scully get hurt because he knew how Fletcher could be wasn't really fair to Scully. She really needed to be warned.

"Scully, Fletcher is my friend. Without giving too much away, without betraying a confidence, I just don't think you have any idea what you're getting yourself into."

"Well, thanks so much for the vote of confidence, Mulder. I would've thought that by now you'd trust my judgement."

"I do. I just don't trust Fletcher's," he blurted.

"I know all about her past, Mulder."

"Do you really, Scully? I don't think you do. I know Fletcher. I know how she operates. I know all about her and her 'three G's' - Get 'em drunk, Get 'em in bed and Get 'em out the door."

"Mulder, I wasn't drunk, I made the first move, and I'm still here," she countered. "She hasn't shown me the door," she said, defending herself and Fletcher.

"Yet. Do you know how many bars I've closed with Fletcher when she didn't leave alone?"

"And when was the last time?"

"A leopard doesn't change its spots, Scully."

He put away the game and picked up his beer.

"Where are you going?" she asked.

"To see Fletcher."

"Mulder, don't. This is between you and I."

"No, it's not Scully. It's between you and Fletcher."

"Fine. Whatever you say, Mulder. It's between Fletcher and me," she said coolly. "And that means you stay out of it."

He shook his head slowly.

"Mulder, don't be angry with Fletcher," Scully said, her voice a but gentler. "She went to a lot of trouble for you this weekend. Don't spoil it for yourself, or me, or her."

"I'm not going to pretend to be happy about this, Scully."

"I'm not asking you to. Just give it - give us - some time, please."

"I'll think about it."

End Chapter 8


Later Sunday evening

Fletcher looked up to see Mulder and Scully walking into the kitchen. Neither looked very happy. Mulder was almost scowling and Scully, well, her eyes looked dark and her mouth formed a tight line across her face.

<Oh, damn, she told him and he's not happy about it. Should I play stupid? Act like I don't know? I wish one of them would say something. I don't like the way this is looking. It looks like I could lose both of my houseguests tonight. Truth be told, I'm not sure at this point whose departure would bother me more.>

"Supper ready?" Mulder asked, a smile on his face. Fletcher knew it was a fake smile, strictly for show.

"Yeah. I was just getting ready to call you down."

"Are we eating in the diningroom?"

"No. I put everything out here on the kitchen table."

He walked over to the table and sat down. The tension was palpable, almost suffocating. Fletcher looked at Scully, her eyes questioning her. Scully gave her a short shake of the head and a grim look. Fletcher raised an eyebrow and Scully mouthed the word "later".

They ate their dinner in silence, with no enthusiasm, no enjoyment. Fletcher was anxious and almost a little bit annoyed. She knew Mulder well enough to know that he needed to brood for a while when anything upset him. She didn't know that it was Scully's habit to sweep aside her feelings, to not want to deal with anything unpleasant.

<Maybe Scully and I getting together wasn't such a great idea. It's affecting their friendship; it's affecting my friendship was Mulder. Was a little tumble with her really worth damaging all of our relationships with one another? But it was more than just that with Scully. And I know it was for her, too. At least I'm pretty sure it was.>

"The baseball game should be starting in a few minutes."

"I'll go turn it on," Mulder said, putting his dishes in the sink.

Fletcher waited until she heard the sound of the TV before she said anything to Scully.

"You told him?" she asked.

"Yes."

"Would I be wrong in saying he didn't take the news very well?"

"No."

"And how are you doing?"

"I'm fine."

"That answer might work with Mulder, but it won't work with me, Red."

Scully looked up at Fletcher who was leaning against the counter, her arms folded across her chest. Fletcher's blue eyes had turned to gray.

<Why can't I shut her out like everyone else?> she thought. <Face it, Dana. You don't want to.>

"I - I'm a little disappointed and a little surprised at his response."

"Well, it's got to be a shock to him."

"I guess I thought he'd be happy for me, for us."

"No, that'll take some time. It's not you. It's me. My past reputation unfortunately was very well deserved. He's worried about you."

"Should he be?" she asked pointedly.

"Having a few doubts, Red?" Fletcher responded, her voice tense, almost angry.

"Should I?"

"I know where I stand. I know how I feel about you. I thought I made that clear to you."

"I trust Mulder's judgement..."

"What about your own?"

"I know what I feel."

"And your instincts? What do they tell you?"

"That I made the right decision."

"Always trust your instincts, Red." She opened up the cupboard. "Do you want a drink?"

"How about a cup of coffee? I think I've had more than enough today."

"I'll start a pot. Why don't you ask Mulder if he wants a cup or another beer?"

"All right."

Mulder was sitting in the dark, watching another football game. Scully switched on the light.

"Where's the baseball game?"

"Fletcher and I both messed up. Both of the playoff games were this afternoon. Fortunately, there's another football game."

"Do you want coffee or a another beer?"

"Coffee would be good, thanks." Scully started to leave the room. "Hey, Scully," he called out, his voice lighter, friendlier.

"Yes?"

"Could you grab me a couple of the canoli?" he smiled.

"I think so." She smiled back.

He turned back to the game, but didn't really see it. <Who would've thought it? Fletcher and Scully! God, I hope Fletcher has changed. I don't want to see Scully get hurt. Fletcher can be such an ass when it comes to the way she treats her women.>

"Coffee for both of us," Scully said, returning to the kitchen.

"How's Spooky?"

"Well, he did ask for more canoli."

"Well, that's a positive sign. Maybe this won't be so bad."

"I hope so."

Fletcher carried in the coffee and a plate with canoli. She handed Mulder a large mug and sat down next to him.

"Mulder?"

"Not tonight, Fletcher," he said simply.

"Okay."

She knew her friend. He didn't want to talk about it now. But they would, and soon.


Sunday, 10:30 PM

Scully yawned once, then again, stretching her arms.

"I'm going to bed. I'm having trouble staying awake."

"I'll be up a little bit," Fletcher said.

<I don't want to jump up and leave Mulder here all by himself. He deserves better than that. I hope Scully understands.>

"See you then."

<I want to kiss her> Scully thought, <but not in front of Mulder. Not yet. It's too soon. It wouldn't be a very considerate thing to do.>

Instead, she squeezed Fletcher's shoulder as she walked behind the sofa. Fletcher reached up and clasped her hand. She squeezed her hand back, hoping that it was enough.

"You don't have to stay up with me," Mulder said after Scully had gone upstairs.

"It's okay, Spooky. You're my friend."

"And you've got your 'latest' upstairs in your bed. You don't need to be sitting down here with me."

"Mulder..."

"Go, will you?" he said. "Don't keep her waiting."

"Mulder..." she repeated.

"Fletcher, get out of here, okay? I don't want your company tonight."

"Okay, I get the hint."

"Good."

"I'll set the alarms. Just make sure the lights are off."

"I know the routine."

"Goodnight, Mulder."

"Goodnight, Fletcher."

<He's not okay with this> Fletcher thought as she walked upstairs. <He pretends he is, but he's not.>

Scully was already in bed, under the covers. She'd left the bathroom light on for Fletcher.

"Are you still awake, Red?"

"Yes. Hurry up and get in bed."

"Patience, dear, patience. All good things come to those who wait."

<I've been waiting far too long> Scully thought. <I've been waiting my whole life for someone like you, Fletcher. I just wish I could be more certain about 'us'.>

Fletcher disappeared into the bathroom for only a few minutes. She returned, wearing a T-shirt and a pair of men's plaid flannel pajama bottoms. Scully hid her disappointment when she saw Fletcher wearing pajamas.

She turned off the light and crawled in beside Scully. She immediately scooted over to Scully's side of the bed and snuggled up behind her, her arms around her waist. She was surprised and very pleased to find Scully was sans clothing.

"Oh, Red, what a nice surprise," she said, kissing the back of her neck, then behind her ear.

"Just for you, Fletcher."

She moved her hands up and covered Scully's breasts. She slowly massaged her nipples with the palms of her hands. She kissed Scully's shoulder.

"That feels really nice, Fletcher."

"I can't help feeling a little guilty."

"About what?"

"Leaving Mulder all by himself. If you weren't here, I'd be down there with him. If I wasn't here -"

"If we weren't together, Mulder would still be watching the game by himself."

"But he wouldn't have to deal with his partner and one of his best friends in bed."

"Fletcher, stop worrying about it. He's a big boy. Something like this, well maybe not exactly like this, was bound to happen."

"I don't think so. Mulder's had me all to himself the last 5 years. And he hasn't had to share you with anyone either."

"Fletcher?" Scully said after a short silent moment.

"Yes?"

"Shut up and finish what you started."

"Yes, ma'am."

She pulled away from Scully, but only for the time it took her to shed her clothes. She moved back to the same position, her front against Scully's back.

"Now, where was I?" She returned her hands to Scully's breasts. "Ah, yes, I seem to remember these."

<I love the way she touches me> Scully thought as Fletcher's fingers fondled her nipples. <I don't think anyone has touched me the way she has. No, that's not true. I've been touched like this before, but it never felt like it does when Fletcher touches me.>

She took one of Fletcher's hands and moved it down behind her legs.

"In a bit of a hurry, Red? I would've got there eventually."

"Your 'eventually' may not be soon enough for me."

"I guess you're right," Fletcher said, feeling how wet Scully had become. "My, my, Agent Scully. You certainly are wet."

"I've been like that most of the day," she admitted.

"And I suppose you'd like me to do something about that?"

"Well, that's the general idea."

"And is there anything in particular you'd like?" she asked, her tongue encircling Scully's earlobe.

"Whatever you want..."

"Oh, I like the way you think, Red."

She gently rolled Scully onto her stomach. She laid her body fully on top of Scully, pressing and rubbing herself against her soft buttocks.

"Spread your legs," she directed Scully.

Scully did as she was told, and thinking about how exposed she was this way only added to her excitement. Fletcher's tongue was hot against her skin as it trailed down her spine. It aroused her to the point where she almost didn't feel Fletcher's hand move to her stomach, then down to her clit.

"Oh, Fletcher...I'm ready for you now..."

"I know, I know..." she murmured, her tongue making lazy circles on the backs of her thighs.

Scully pressed her hips down, feeling Fletcher's fingers glide over her clit. She rocked back and forth against Fletcher's fingers.

"What do you need, Red? Tell me."

"I need you in me..." she gasped.

Fletcher removed her hand and Scully moaned at the loss of contact. She took Scully's buttocks in her hands and spread her legs further. She lowered her face and stuck the very tip of her tongue inside of her.

"Oh, Fletcher..."

In and out she went. Scully lifted her hips from the bed, rising to her knees, her face buried into the pillow. Fletcher replaced her tongue with one, then two fingers. She too was on her knees, and she thrust her hips against Scully as she drove her fingers deep into her. With her free hand, she took Scully's clit between her fingers and stroked her.

"Yes, that's it...come on, Red...almost there..."

Scully came hard, but the pillow muffled her screams. Her hips sank back onto the bed, and she gasped for breath. Fletcher kissed her from top to bottom and back again, her lips seeming to cover every part of her body.

Scully was finally able to roll over onto her back. She reached up and pulled Fletcher down.

"You are so beautiful when you come, Red," she said, caressing her back.

"Each time I think it can't get any better, and you turn around and surprise me."

"There's plenty more where that came from," she said, kissing her tenderly, yet passionately.

End Chapter 9


Monday, 8:30 AM

Fletcher woke up to a steady, yet inconsistent thumping noise coming from outside. It was a familiar sound, but she couldn't place it. She slid out of bed, taking care not to wake Scully. She threw on her robe and went to the window. Mulder was shooting baskets, and based on the number of misses she witnessed, she deduced he hadn't slept very well.

"Shit," Mulder swore loudly as he watched another shot clang off the rim. He turned to chase the shot down only to find Fletcher standing there, one foot on the ball.

"Feel up to a game of 'one-on-one', Wonder Boy?"

"Sure. 21?"

Fletcher nodded and picked up the basketball. She tossed the ball crisply to him.

"You can go first."

"Same rules as before?"

"House rules," she agreed.

Mulder began to dribble the ball. He turned and started backing his way to the basket. He suddenly picked up his pace and his dribble. He elbowed Fletcher sharply, spun and drove toward the hoop. Fletcher had been surprised at how hard he thrown his elbow into her chest and was caught flat-footed. She turned and watched Mulder finish with an easy lay-up.

"One-zip," he said throwing the ball to Fletcher.

Fletcher immediately began to head toward the basket. She stopped, faked once, then faked twice, catching Mulder going down as she went up for the shot.

"One-all," she said as the shot swished through the net.

Once again, Mulder turned his back to Fletcher as he dribbled the ball, and once again he threw an elbow into her as he drove in for another lay-up.

"Two-one," he said tonelessly.

<So, it's going to be that kind of a game> Fletcher thought. <This must be how he's going to take it out on me.>

When Fletcher began to dribble toward Mulder, he slapped at the ball, not seeming to care that he was hitting her hand or her arm.

"You're awfully close to fouling, Mulder," she warned.

"You always liked a physical game, Fletcher."

She turned, keeping her back between Mulder and the ball. She felt his hand on her hip, but his hand check was more like a small push. She backed into him, and copying his move, used her elbow to push him back so that she could toss in an easy basket.

"Two-all."

The caliber of their play deteriorated after that. It was no longer a game. It was battle, and it was close to becoming a dirty little war. Every shot, every rebound was fought for with pushing, shoving and elbows flying. It came to a head when Mulder used a hip check that was more appropriate for a hockey rink and sent Fletcher tumbling to the ground.

<That's it. I've had enough of this crap> Fletcher thought angrily. <If it had been anyone else but Mulder, I would've decked him by now.>

Mulder offered her his hand and pulled her to her feet. Her temper got the better of her and she twisted him around, pinning his arm behind his back. She'd done this move plenty of times in the past with him, but had always been joking. Not this time. This time she was dead serious.

"It's time we had a little talk, Mulder. Enough is enough. If you're mad at me, then talk about it. Keep it off the court."

She let go of his arm and pushed him away. He glared at her, his eyes dark with his anger.

"I can't believe you slept with her," he blurted.

"And I'll continue to sleep with her as long as she wants to."

"Or until you tire of her, just like you have with all the others," he argued.

"It never bothered you before who I slept with."

"It bothers me because it's Scully."

"I think you're a being a little bit overprotective of her. You're her friend and you're her partner. You're not married to her." She looked at him, at his anger and his pain, suddenly seeing another point of view. "This isn't all about me, is it? Are you jealous, Mulder?"

"No, of course not."

"Yeah, right. Maybe not jealous sexually, but you've never had to share either of us, and you're afraid of losing us both." She put her hand on his arm. "Mulder, we've never, ever let a woman come between us before. That's not going to happen now. I won't let it."

"But it's different this time, Fletcher. You're sleeping with someone I care about. That's never happened before. Well, not since Starling anyway."

"Care about how? Are you interested in Scully?"

"God, no," he cringed. "That'd be, uh, almost incestuous."

"Then what is it? Why are you so mad at me?"

"Let's face it, Fletcher, you're reputation isn't exactly sterling. Scully deserves better."

"Scully deserves better or Scully deserves a man?" she asked pointedly.

"You know that's not what I mean. Scully can sleep with whomever she wants."

"That's mighty big of you, especially since you really don't have any say in the matter."

"I don't want to see her get hurt, Fletcher."

"Did you ever stop to think that maybe I could be the one to get hurt?"

"You? How?"

"Mulder, she could just as easily dump me."

"As if you'd be hurt by that."

"Trust me, Mulder, I could be very hurt by Scully dumping me."

"It'd be just your pride that'd be hurt, and only because you got dumped before you could do the dumping."

"What do I have to do to prove how I feel about her?"

"Are you in love with her?" he asked.

"I don't think so," she said slowly. "Not yet, but I could be. It wouldn't take much." She looked down at the ground, embarrassed to admit her feelings. "Between you and me, Mulder, I haven't felt this way about anyone since Starling."

"And we know how well that worked out."

"It's different this time."

"Different how?"

"I'm afraid," she confessed. "I'm afraid of getting hurt, of Scully not feeling the same way."

"I don't think you have to worry about Scully."

"Why not?"

"She's got it bad for you."

"Do you really think so?" Fletcher asked hopefully.

"Oh, yeah. I've never seen Scully look so happy."

<It's true> Mulder admitted to himself. <I don't think I've ever seen Scully like this. If Fletcher can make her happy, is that so bad? And if what Fletcher says is true, if she honestly has fallen for Scully, well, I guess she's entitled to a little happiness, too.>

"Spooky, I need you to be okay with this. Scully needs you to be okay with this."

"And if I'm not?"

"It won't change things between Scully and me."

"I guess I'll have to be until you prove me wrong. But mark my words, Fletcher, if you hurt her, I'll never forgive you."

"If I hurt her, Mulder, I'll never forgive myself."

She picked up the basketball and tossed it to him.

"I think it's your shot."

"Let's call it a tie."

"Okay," she agreed. "So, almost-birthday-boy, what do you feel like having for breakfast?"

"What have you got?"

"You can have eggs, french toast, waffles or pancakes."

"How about scrambled eggs AND waffles?"

"Okay, but make sure you leave room for lunch."

"I will."

Fletcher put her arm across Mulder's shoulders as they walked into the house.

"Mulder, this is a big deal for me, and I need to be able to share it with you."

"Just give me some time to get used to it, Fletcher." He grinned. "I'm not sure I'm ready to stop calling you 'Lecher'. It's the only nickname I have for you."

"Well, Spooky, if anyone could make me retire it, Scully could."


Scully was up, showered and dressed when they returned to the house. She'd already put on a pot of coffee and was taking out three mugs when they walked into the kitchen.

"Who won?" she asked.

"Well, I was going to let the birthday boy win, but he called it quits."

"Whew! You two need to shower," she said, her nose crinkling and her hand waving in front of her face.

"Are you offering to wash my back?" Fletcher asked, a suggestive grin on her face.

"I don't think so."

"How about mine?" Mulder piped up.

"Definitely not."

"It's my birthday - almost - Scully. I'll even get into my birthday suit for you."

"Sounds tempting, Mulder, but I'll have to pass."

"Damn. Well, can't blame a guy for trying," he said, shrugging his shoulders. He poured himself a cup of coffee and carried it upstairs with him.

"I've got a breakfast to cook."

"Go take your shower first. In the meantime, what can I do to help?"

"Well, you can fry up the pound of bacon and cook the package of sausage."

"You trust me in your kitchen?"

"I think so." She walked over to Scully. "So, am I too sweaty and too smelly to get a good morning kiss?"

"Well, I think you blew your chance for one when you deserted me in bed this morning."

"I didn't want to wake you up."

"That didn't stop you last night."

"That was different," she said, kissing Scully's neck.

"Go take a shower," she said, pushing against Fletcher's chest. "And you'd better make it a cold one."

"You're no fun," she whined as she left the room.

"Fletcher?"

"Yes?"

"Your whine is almost as good as Mulder's."

"Hah, hah, hah, Red."

End Chapter 10


Monday, 12:45 PM

Fletcher finished digging the small hole. She pressed the tin can into the ground with her foot.

"Okay, all set."

She walked across the backyard and joined Mulder and Scully. A golf bag lay on the ground and golf balls were scattered at their feet.

"Do you want to go first, Mulder?"

"Beauty before age," he laughed.

"Smart ass."

He selected a club and dropped a golf ball at his feet.

"Do you two compete at everything?" Scully asked.

"Quiet," he said. "I'm supposed to have silence so I can line up my shot."

"Well, excuse me."

He carefully positioned himself over the ball, took a few practice swings, then chipped the ball toward the makeshift hole. It landed several yards short of the cup, rolled a few feet, then stopped.

"Not bad for a first try."

He handed Fletcher the club.

"Let see you do better," he challenged.

"I think I can manage that."

Scully watched her carefully. Fletcher had the grace of a natural athlete. Her movements were fluid, almost sensuous. <I didn't think anyone could look so sexy in just a pair of faded jeans and a plain white t-shirt, swinging a golf club, but Fletcher somehow does. Face it, Dana. You've got it bad for this woman.>

Fletcher swung the club. Mulder and Scully watched the ball softly land about two feet from the hole.

"Lucky shot," Mulder said.

"You're right. It was a lucky shot," she acknowledged. "I doubt I could do that again."

"Your turn, Scully."

"Me? I don't know how to golf."

"I'll show you," Fletcher said, with a grin. "I'm a good teacher."

"I don't know about this."

"C'mon, Scully."

"Oh, all right."

<This seems to be quite the weekend for firsts. On the whole, this is probably the tamest 'first' I've had.>

She took the club from Fletcher and awkwardly held it, uncomfortable with it. Fletcher came up behind her. She pressed her body fully against Scully's body as she slid her hands down her arms and to Scully's hands. Her body almost seemed to envelop Scully's.

"Boy, this position seems a little familiar," she whispered against Scully's rapidly reddening neck. She briefly nuzzled her neck. "You smell wonderful, Red, and you feel even better."

"Fletcher..."

Mulder watched from a few feet away, unable to hear what Fletcher was saying. He was dying to know what Fletcher had whispered to Scully. Based on Scully's reaction and her pink cheeks, it had to have been good. <Maybe Fletcher could give me a couple of pointers, some of her beeter lines. I know she'd never share her little black book with me, but, damn, she never seems to have any problems attracting the fairer sex. It's just not fair.>

"Okay, Scully, let's do a few practice swings first," Fletcher said loud enough for Mulder to hear.

"Do you think I'm ready?" she teased.

"Oh, I think you're more than ready."

Fletcher ground her pelvis into Scully's buttocks as they swung the club together, her small breasts against her back.

"There you go. Nice and easy. That's it. I think you're ready to solo."

"I don't think so. I'd rather have a helping hand for the first time."

"Keep talking like that, woman, and I'll need a cold shower."

<Sweet, Jesus, listen to the two of them. I don't think Fletcher's the only one that's going to need a cold shower> Mulder thought. <Who'd have thought Scully could be such a tease, talk like that? Not me. Will wonders never cease.>

"Ready?" Fletcher asked.

"I'm always ready - for you," Scully said in a low voice, her buttocks pressing back against Fletcher.

Mulder and Fletcher both groaned silently.

"You're a cruel woman, Dana Scully," Fletcher said as they swung the club as one.

"Nice shot!" Mulder said as they watched the ball roll even closer than Fletcher's previous shot.

"Nicely done, Scully," Fletcher complimented.

"I had some help."

"Y'know, watching you two gave me a idea for a video."

"Just what kind of video, Mulder?" Scully asked warily.

"The best kind, of course. I even have a title for it - The 'Girls of Golf'. No, wait - how about 'Lesbos on the Links'?"

"Yeah - 'Watch 'em drive for the hole'," Fletcher added.

Fletcher and Mulder laughed out loud and Scully rolled her eyes.

"You two are a couple of perverts."

"She called us perverts, Spooky. I'm deeply offended."

"We're not perverts."

<It's good to see them back on familiar ground> Scully thought as she watched them laugh and protest her comment. <Maybe Mulder will be okay with this. I hope so. The last thing I want to do is come between Mulder and Fletcher. I don't think he has many friends, especially one as close as Fletcher.>

She reached up and pinched them both on the cheeks. "Yes, perverts, but my perverts," she said, a wide smile on her face.

"What do you think, Fletcher? Should we let her get away with calling us perverts?"

"Well, for now, we will."

"You're incorrigible," Scully added.

"Oh, I love it when you talk dirty, Red," Fletcher said, her attempt at a leer collapsing into her normal crooked grin.

"Enough, Fletcher," Scully replied, playfully slapping her bicep.

"Yes, ma'am."

She put her arm around Scully's waist and gave her a quick peck on the cheek. It was a strictly affectionate gesture and Scully was both touched and surprised by it. She rested her head against Fletcher's shoulder and placed her own arm loosely around her waist.

"Are you ready for lunch, Mulder?" Fletcher asked.

"I'm starving."

"So tell me something new," she laughed.

Mulder looked at Scully and Fletcher, still standing together. <Scully looks so damn happy, like she belongs with Fletcher.> He suddenly smiled at them.

"What?" Fletcher asked.

"Oh, nothing."

"Don't pursue it, Fletcher," Scully warned. "He's probably still thinking about his video idea."

"Am not."

"Can't fool me, Mulder."

"Well, do you think you two could stop bickering long enough to fire up the gas grill while I get lunch?" Fletcher interrupted.

Mulder and Scully exchanged a look. Mulder looked almost panic-stricken. Scully raised her hands and shrugged.

"Do you mean to tell me that neither one of you knows how to start a gas grill?" Fletcher shook her head and grinned. "Based on your total lack of abilities in and around the kitchen, well, I'd have to say that either one of you could be a walking, talking textbook case for the domestically impaired."

"I think we've been insulted, Scully."

"I think you're right."

"You two go play in the yard and I'll fix lunch," she laughed, shooing them away with her hands.

Fletcher went into the house and returned a few minutes later, carrying a large platter with several steaks and foil wrapped potatoes.

"Is that what I think it is?" Mulder asked, his eyes wide with anticipation.

"Yup. I've been marinating them since yesterday morning."

"What else have you got?"

"Leftover salad from yesterday and I'm going to roast some potatoes on the grill."

"And dessert?"

"Something special for you, Mulder. I made a chocolate layer cake."

"Vanilla ice cream?"

"Yes, and candles, too." She turned to Scully. "He doesn't want much, does he?"

"You're such a little boy sometimes, Mulder."

"But it's my birthday," he whined.

"Almost your birthday," Fletcher corrected.

"Same thing."

"You never go to this much trouble for my birthday, Mulder," Scully said.

"Well, it's never too late to change," he said, looking at Fletcher.

"Nope. You're absolutely right, Spooky."

Mulder practiced his golf swing while Fletcher cooked his birthday lunch. Scully took a few turns with the clubs, but then decided she'd rather keep Fletcher company.

"Are you going to ride back into town with Mulder?" Fletcher asked, trying to sound casual, hoping for the best, dreading the worst.

"Well, I was kind of hoping that you'd take me home." She was suddenly a little shy. "I thought that maybe you'd want to stay at my place tonight."

"Is that an invitation?"

"Yes."

"Haven't got sick of me yet?" she said, a grin of her face.

"Oh, I don't think I could get sick of you, Fletcher. Quite the contrary, actually."

"Meaning?"

"Right now, I seem to be in a bad way about you," she admitted, a little embarrassed. "I can't get enough of you."

"Nor I, you."

She looked out a Mulder who was concentrating on his shot. She leaned over and kissed Scully on the mouth. Scully reached up and put her hand on Fletcher's neck.

"Kiss me like you mean it," she whispered against Fletcher's lips.

Fletcher set the tongs down and put her arms around Scully's waist. She dropped one hand to the small of her back, then slid it lower. She began to kiss Scully on the lips, at first just touching her lightly with her tongue. She felt Scully's tongue touch her own and then Scully somehow took possession of the kiss. She moaned softly when she felt Scully's hands on her ass.

"Hey, you two!" Mulder yelled. "You'd better not let the steaks burn."

Fletcher reluctantly stepped back from Scully and returned to the grill, her breath a little heavier and her face flushed from embarrassment.

"Damn, Red. Where'd that kiss come from?" she muttered.

"I'm full of surprises. Just you wait," she smiled.

Mulder picked up the golf clubs and joined them.

"Man, I'll be glad when you two move out of this newlywed stage."

"What are you talking about?" Scully asked.

"For chrissakes, Scully, can't you control your hormones?" he teased, watching her face turn bright red.

"Which reminds me, Mulder. How to you make a hormone?" Fletcher said, recalling an old joke that they had shared many, many times.

"Don't pay her," he laughed.

"You two, honestly," Scully rolled her eyes and sighed loudly.

Mulder leaned back in his chair, a smug, satisfied look on his face.

"Scully, would you get Wonder Boy's presents and I'll get the cake?"

"Sure. Where'd you put your's?"

"In the bedroom."

While Scully retrieved the presents, Fletcher brought out the ice cream, plates, and then the cake. When Scully returned, she lit the candles.

"Oh, no, don't let Scully sing," Mulder said, his hands over his ears.

Fletcher grabbed his wrists and wrestled his hands away.

"Quick, Scully - sing!"

She and Fletcher sang 'Happy Birthday' to Mulder, loudly and off-key. They finished the song, laughing hard.

"Happy Birthday, pal," Fletcher said sincerely.

Mulder blew the candles out successfully and smiled, feeling very full of himself.

"Now we're the same age, Mulder," Fletcher said.

"Maybe numerically, but you'll always be older."

She stuck her tongue out at him, then handed her present to him.

"I bet I know what these are," he said, shaking the package.

"Maybe next year it'll be your golf video."

He opened the package, a little embarrassed because Scully was there.

"This is great. I don't have either one of these."

"I imagine I'll have to get you a new VCR one of these days."

"Why?"

"I'm surprised it still works." She turned to Scully, explaining, "All that over-use, you know."

"Happy Birthday, Mulder," Scully said, handing him the other box and saving him from further friendly fire from Fletcher.

He tore the wrapping paper off, eager to see what Scully had bought him. On the top was a bumper sticker shaped like a Nevada license plate. "AREA 51" it read.

"I'll put it on today," he said, smiling.

He reached into the box for the other present. He unfolded a large navy blue sweatshirt. Across the front it read "YOU'RE ONLY YOUNG ONCE.". Underneath that line it read "BUT YOU CAN BE IMMATURE FOREVER." He held it up, trying to look hurt, but failing at it.

Fletcher burst out laughing.

"What a great gift. I wish I had seen it. It's perfect."

"Thanks, Scully. I'll be sure to wear it the next time Skinner calls us on the carpet."

She leaned over and kissed him on the cheek. "Happy Birthday, Mulder."

"Y'know, Mulder, I think there's a present missing. Cut me a piece of cake with a scoop of ice cream before the ice cream melts. I'll go get your other present."

Scully served them all a piece of cake and ice cream, then she put the ice cream back into the freezer. Fletcher came back out onto the patio, her hands behind her back.

"Close your eyes, Wonder Boy."

"I don't know if I can trust you, Fletcher. I've already had enough surprises for one birthday."

"Trust me. You'll definitely like this present."

He shut his eyes and held out his hands, cringing at what he feared could turn out to be one of Fletcher's practical jokes.

"After this morning's game of '21', I wondered if I had made the right choice, but all-in-all, I think the day turned out well enough for you to get your present."

"Enough with the speeches," he pleaded.

Fletcher dropped an old, but never used basketball in his hands. His eyes flew open, then widened as he read the signatures inscribed on the ball.

"Walt Frazier, Bill Bradley..." He read every one aloud. "This is - this is - " he stammered.

"An autographed ball from the Knicks' 72-73 Championship Season."

"This is great! How did you find it?"

"I used some of my connections," she said vaguely.

He stood up and holding onto the ball with one hand, hugged Fletcher. "This is the best. Thank you."

"You're welcome, Spooky."

"I take back all those horrible things I said to you."

"Nah, you don't have to."

"I'm going to have to find the perfect spot for this."

They left him on the patio by himself. He was like a little boy at Christmas. He kept tossing it up in the air and catching it, over and over, then he'd re-read all the signatures, his finger tracing over each name.

"You've made him a very happy boy today," Scully commented as she helped Fletcher pick up the kitchen.

"Well, he's been a good friend, and when my connection called me on it, well, I couldn't resist."

"What was that remark about 'horrible things' he said?"

"Oh, well, we kind of had a little, um, discussion while we were playing basketball this morning."

"What kind of discussion?"

"A rather heated one," she said evasively.

"About what?"

"Our situation. I'd rather not get into now, Red, okay? We'll talk about it later, I promise."

"I'll hold you to it."

"Just as long as you hold it against me," she grinned, her eyebrows rising up and down.

"You're as bad as he is."

"You said it yourself, we're your perverts."


Monday, 7:25 PM

Fletcher parked her truck and she and Scully went up to Scully's apartment. Mulder had gone home hours ago, his arms full of his presents and leftover lasagna, steak and canolis. Fletcher had even saved him a loaf of garlic bread.

"Well, Mulder will be eating well for a few days," Fletcher said, following Scully into her apartment.

"Not as well as you will," Scully said, surprising herself, and Fletcher.

"Jesus, Scully, do you kiss your mother with that mouth?"

"What do you mean?" she asked innocently. "I was referring to me cooking you a meal or two."

"Yeah, right. Whatever you say, Red."

"You're the one with the dirty mind."

"I wouldn't call it a dirty mind. It's just full of good, wholesome, lustful thoughts right now."

"Just put your bag in the bedroom," she suggested.

"Okay."

Scully's answering machine was blinking again. She turned it on as Fletcher returned from the bedroom.

"Dana, it's your mother. Did you go away? I hope you had a nice time. Call me. I want to make plans for Thanksgiving."

"Jeez, mom, Thanksgiving is weeks away," Scully said to the machine.

"Do you want a drink?" Fletcher offered.

"Sure. The liquor's in the cupboard over the fridge."

"What do you want?"

"Scotch rocks is fine."

"Coming right up."

Scully sat down on the sofa and waited for Fletcher to return with the drinks. Fletcher handed her the drink, then sat down beside her.

"It's a little different this time," she commented.

"What do you mean?"

"Well, I finally get to sit next to you," she said, putting her arm around Scully.

"I still don't understand," Sully replied, leaning against Fletcher.

"The first time I was here, well, I put you to bed and left. The last time, I sat in the chair."

"You could've sat next to me."

"No, I couldn't. It was too hard."

"Hard how?"

"Red, I've wanted you since the day we met," she confessed. "I was lusting after you so bad."

"And now?"

"Not just lust."

<Don't push your luck, Dana. She's admitting to more than lust for you. Let it go, for now.>

"So tell me about your discussion with Mulder," she said, changing the topic.

"He wasn't too happy about us getting together. You already knew that."

"And?"

"Well, I think it's gonna be okay now."

"Why was he so upset?"

"Honestly?"

"Yes."

"He's worried about you, afraid for you. I had to convince him that he had more than you to worry about."

"How so?"

"Well, Red, there are two of us involved."

"Meaning?" Scully asked, turning around.

"Meaning nothing." Fletcher took a sip from her glass. "I had a really great time this weekend, Red."

"So did I." Scully reached out and set her glass on the coffee table.

"This is really nice, not having to be anywhere or fix anything," Fletcher sighed, stretching her legs out on the sofa and leaning back. "Very relaxing."

"Yes, it is," she said, laying her body on top of Fletcher's, her head on her chest.

<Oh, Red, I wish I could tell you how I really feel, but I don't want to scare you off.> She shifted and felt Scully fit her body into her's. <I'd never hurt you, Red. Really. You've become too special to me, and that scares me.>

Scully was a little bewildered by her own growing passion and desire for Fletcher. She kissed her gently at first, then she let her feelings get the better of her. She became the aggressor, her lips wanting to devour Fletcher's. She pushed her pelvis into Fletcher's, then slipped her leg between her's.

<Where did this come from?> Fletcher thought as Scully kissed her again and again. <I kinda like it.>

"There's something I need to do for you," Scully said kissing Fletcher's chest as she slowly unbuttoned her shirt.

"Oh, yeah? What's that?" Fletcher whispered, her arousal growing by leaps and bounds.

"Well, it's still the weekend, and since this is a weekend of firsts for me, I need to do something I've never done before," she murmured, untucking Fletcher's now open shirt from her pants.

<Is she thinking what I'm thinking? Oh, Goddess, please...>

"On the sofa, Red?"

"And what's wrong with the sofa?"

"Nothing...nothing at all..."

Fletcher groaned, feeling her pager vibrate against her hip.

"I'm not even there yet," Scully commented, unaware of the reason for Fletcher's sudden frustration.

Fletcher reached down and unclipped her pager from her belt.

"It's my fucking pager," she swore, looking at the number. "Goddamnittohell."

She got up from the sofa and found her coat, then her cell phone. She dialed the number then paced as she waited.

"Yeah, this is Buchanan...what's up, Tim?...when?...No, I can't...I'm at least an hour and a half from Quantico..." She rebuttoned her shirt as she talked. "Yeah...uh huh...yes..." She looked at her watch. "Get the team together and I'll meet you at Dulles in about an hour...yes...okay...see you then."

She shut her phone off, swearing to herself.

"A case?" Scully asked.

"Yeah. I've got to meet the chopper at Dulles."

"Where are you going?"

"New Jersey. Multiple murders. It's not a pretty sight."

Scully didn't like what she was seeing. Fletcher only minutes earlier had been warm, friendly, happy <aroused> Sully thought, her own disappointment growing. Now she was cold, clinical, and unemotional. It was like seeing a switch thrown.

"I'm sorry, Red. Duty calls. You know how it is, " she apologized.

"All too well."

"I've really got to get going."

"Do you need anything?"

"No, I always carry everything I need in the jeep - extra clothes, a crime scene kit, my computer. You know, the usual stuff."

She put her holster on, then her leather coat. She retrieved her bag from Scully's bedroom.

"I'm really, really sorry, Red. You don't know how sorry I am."

"It's okay, Fletcher."

"I'll call you first chance I get."

"Whenever you can."

She kissed Scully once, then again.

"Damn, Red, you sure make it hard to leave."

She kissed her cheek, gave her hug, and then she was gone.

Scully watched from her window as Fletcher sped off.

End Chapter 11


Tuesday, October 13th, 5:45 AM

Scully lay in bed and stared at the ceiling. She'd finally fallen asleep around 11:00 but had awakened at 5:00 and hadn't been able to fall back asleep since. She'd slept poorly, waking up several times and finding herself reaching for Fletcher. In the past, she'd never really liked sharing a bed. It had always seemed like an invasion of her privacy. With Fletcher, all that had changed.

<I've only shared a bed with Fletcher for 2 nights and already the bed seems empty without her.> She looked at the clock once more. <I wonder if Fletcher slept as badly as I did. I doubt it. This isn't anything new for her. I'm sure she's used to leaving her women behind.> She sighed loudly, not really happy that there wasn't anyone to hear her. <Stop being so paranoid, Dana. She didn't leave willingly. It's not that she left you. She left for a case. Period.>

Her cell phone, sitting on the nightstand, began to ring, startling her from her thoughts.

"Scully," she said after clearing her throat.

"Good morning, Red. I didn't wake you, did I?"

"No, I was just about to get up."

"I'm sorry I didn't call earlier."

"That's okay. I understand."

<She sounds exhausted. I hope she's okay.>

"I just checked into my room and I don't have much time. I'm going to grab a quick shower and change my clothes, then I've got to head out."

"You've been working all night?"

"Yeah," Fletcher sighed, sitting down on the bed to take off her boots.

<Damn, I wish I were back in DC with Scully. I should be waking up next to her, not sitting alone in some crappy hotel room in Jersey. This really sucks.>

"How's the case?"

"Pretty grisly."

"Any idea how long you'll be gone?"

"Just a few days. They just want us for a consult and an assist with the forensics. We'll just load all the data into VICAP. I imagine the forensics team will be gone by tonight, Wednesday at the latest."

"And you?"

"I'll probably stay while I give them a cursory profile, then I'll finish up back at the office." She yawned loudly, unable to catch it. "How'd you sleep, Red?" she asked, after excusing herself.

"Lousy," she said honestly.

"I'm sorry to hear that. Any particular reason why?" she asked, a smile in her voice.

"I think you know."

"No, tell me."

"Fletcher, don't make me say it," she said, somewhat embarrassed.

<She's not as comfortable talking about sex as I thought she was. Interesting. I wonder if she's having second thoughts about all of this. I guess a little phone sex is out of the question for now.>

"Well, Red, I've got to take a shower and get going. I'll try to call you tonight."

"Get some sleep, Fletcher."

"Is that an order, Dr. Scully?"

"No, just a suggestion. I doubt anyone could order you to do anything," she asid, smiling to herself.

"Maybe so. I'll talk to you later."


Tuesday, 7:30 AM

Mulder walked into the office and was somewhat surprised to find Scully already at her desk.

"'morning, Scully."

"Good morning, Mulder. Happy Birthday."

"Thanks."

"There's a cup of coffee on your desk."

"Thanks, but..."

He handed her the extra coffee he'd bought that morning.

"Thanks. I could use another cup."

"What are you doing here so early? I thought for sure you'd be late today."

"Why would I be late?"

"Well, you and Fletcher...you two spent the night and...uh, I just assumed..." he stammered.

"You assumed wrong," she said quietly.

<Uh oh. Trouble in paradise already? I thought Fletcher was getting beyond that. I'll kill her.>

"Did you two - did she dump you already?" he blurted.

"You're too quick with the wrong assumptions today, Mulder. She got called on a case last night. She left for New Jersey around 8:00."

"Oops, my mistake," he apologized. "Have you heard from her yet?"

"She called this morning."

<Chalk one up for Fletcher> he thought. <Sorry, pal.>

"Oh, I meant to tell you," he said, changing the topic. "We've been invited to a Halloween party."

"We have or you have?"

"Well, I was, but I just assumed you'd want to go."

"You and your assumptions, Mulder," she said shaking her head slowly.

"Don't you want to go? You had a good time last year."

"Correction. You had a good time, Mulder. I was bored. Why do you think I left an hour after I got there?"

"Well, maybe you would've had a better time if you'd at least worn a costume and had a few drinks."

"I won't even dignify that nonsense with an argument."

"Aww, Scully...why don't you bring Fletcher to the party? At least you'd have someone to talk to and dance with."

"I can't dance with her."

"Why not?"

"How dense are you, Mulder?"

"What? You're afraid to dance with Fletcher at a private party?"

"In public."

"So, wear a costume. Nobody has to know Fletcher's a woman."

"That'd be dishonest."

"As opposed to not having a good time?"

"I don't know, Mulder. I'll have to ask Fletcher." She picked up the second cup of coffee. "What's on the schedule today?"

"We're to catch up on our paperwork. Skinner's a bit irritated that we're so far behind."

"You mean, you're so far behind. I'm almost caught up on mine."

"We're a team, Scully. Can't you help me out?" he whined.

"I suppose so, as long as you ask nicely."


Tuesday, 8:30 PM

<What a dreary day> Scully thought as she sorted through her mail. Before she'd met Fletcher, she would've gone through the motions of the day and not thought anything of it. Without Fletcher around, it only made the dullness of her life that much more acute.

Her phone rang. <It's not Fletcher. She only calls on my cell phone>.

"Hello?"

"Dana, it's Mom."

"Oh, hi, Mom. I'm sorry. I meant to call you but it just slipped my mind."

"Where were you this weekend? Did you get my messages?"

"Yes, I got your messages. I spent the weekend with some friends."

"Anybody special?" she inquired, the meaning behind her words obvious.

"Mom," she protested.

"Sorry. Just one of those motherly things I tend to do."

"What was your news about Thanksgiving?" Scully asked, changing the topic.

"Bill and Charlie will both be here."

"Anyone else?"

"Bill's bringing Tara and the baby. They're going to be spending Christmas with her family so they're coming here for Thanksgiving."

"And Charlie?"

"He'll be in port for Thanksgiving and Christmas. He and Jill and the kids will be here for both holidays."

"That's good news, Mom. You must be really excited."

"I am. It's been a long time since we were all together for Thanksgiving."

"I'll try to be there," she said, her first thoughts of Fletcher and wondering what she was doing for the holiday. <Don't project, Dana. Thanksgiving is weeks away. A lot can happen between you and Fletcher between now and then.>

"Don't try, Dana. You will be here."

"As long as my work permits."

"We'll be expecting you."

Her cell phone began to ring, saving her from further conversation.

"I have to go, Mom. My cell phone's ringing."

"Call me this weekend."

"I'll try."

Scully hung up the phone and answered her cell phone.

"Scully."

"Hey, gorgeous."

"Hi, Fletcher."

<She sounds even more tired than this morning. Doesn't she ever sleep?>

"How'd you know it was me?"

"Who else is going to call me that?"

"Anyone that takes the time to know you, Red."

"Flatterer."

"And will it get me anywhere with you?"

"It already has."

Fletcher laughed. <Thanks, Red. I needed a laugh today.>

"How was your day?" she asked.

"Okay. Mulder and I spent it catching up on our paperwork. I think we're being punished."

"Why do you think that?"

"We haven't been approved for any travel in what is a long time for us."

"Why's that?"

"Partly because we've been so far behind on our paperwork."

"I find that hard to believe."

"We are."

"I think you aren't but Mulder is. Am I right?"

"Yes," she admitted.

"He doesn't change. He stuck me with the paperwork every single time we worked a case together. It must drive you nuts."

"I'm used to it."

"Doesn't make it right."

"No, it doesn't," she agreed. "How's your day been?"

"Not much better than last night. I hate working with cops who call us in and then don't cooperate."

"Does that happen often?"

"Even once is too many times for me."

"Have you had a chance to sleep at all?"

"Nope. I'm just settling in now for the night. I begged off on a dinner invitation, even though it would've helped inter-departmental relations."

"You haven't eaten yet?"

"I had lunch. I'm just waiting on room service."

"Fletcher?"

"Yes?"

"I, um, I miss you," she said, and then she instantly regretted saying it.

<Oh, you fool, Dana. Fletcher's in the middle of a case. She doesn't need to hear about you and your feelings right now. She's got far more important things to worry about.>

"Thanks, Red," she said softly. "I needed to hear that tonight. I miss you, too."

"I'll let you go. You need your sleep."

"Okay, Scully. Pleasant dreams."

"You too. Thanks for calling."


Thursday, October 15th, 12:40 PM

"Let's get some lunch, Scully," Mulder suggested.

"No, thanks, I'm not very hungry."

"She'll be back, Scully."

"Who?"

"Fletcher, that's who."

"I don't know what you're talking about."

"I've got eyes, Scully. You've been moping around since Fletcher went to New Jersey. If you're going to keep on seeing her, you'd better get used to it. Between your schedule and her schedule, you're bound to be apart more than you're together."

"Gee, thanks, Mulder. I feel better already," she said sarcastically.

"I'm not trying to depress you, Scully. It's a fact of life."

"I know, Mulder, I know."

"Is she still calling you?"

"Twice, every day."

"Be glad she's calling you. It's not easy when you've got a horrible case."

"I know. I just miss her, Mulder."

Her phone rang and she tried not to pounce on it.

"Scully."

"Hey, Red. I had a few minutes so I thought I'd call."

Scully looked up at Mulder. The expression on her face let him know it was Fletcher. She gestured with her eyes, hoping he would take the hint.

"I'll go get us some lunch."

Scully waited until he had left, closing the door behind him, before speaking again.

"He left me alone, believe it or not."

"How's he been with you?"

"Surprisingly good. He hasn't teased me too much."

"I miss you, Red."

"I miss you, too."

"Well, I've got some good news and I've got some bad news."

"Give it all to me," she sighed.

"I'm flying back late tonight."

"Will I see you?"

"No. I've got a 7:00 briefing tomorrow morning. I'm not even sure what time we're getting in, anyway. My bad news is, I won't be able to spend the weekend with you. At least not the days."

"How come?"

"I've got reserves this weekend."

"When will I see you?"

"Tomorrow night?"

"My place?"

"Sure. I'll stop and get my uniform on the way."

"What do you want for dinner?"

"The same thing I want for dessert - you."

"Fletcher..."

"Hey, I'm just being honest."

"Fletcher, can I ask you a personal question?"

"Sure."

"Is it supposed to be this hard?"

"What?"

"I'm finding it really hard to concentrate, and I'm having trouble sleeping."

"Why?"

"I find myself constantly thinking about you, about us and last weekend," she confessed in a small voice.

"Well, you can take care of it yourself or take a cold shower," she laughed.

"What?"

"Cold showers, and lots of them."

"That's for men."

"Not always. Hey, it works for me. It sure got me through the first few, uh, 'dates' we had."

"What are you talking about?"

"You know all those times we spent together, the dinner, the drive?"

"Yes."

"Red, I was going crazy. The only thing that saved me from my raging lust was a very cold shower."

Scully smiled, then pictured Fletcher in a cold shower. She shook her head, trying to clear the thoughts.

"All I can say to that is tomorrow night is not going to come soon enough."

"I agree. Hey Red, I gotta go now."

"Thanks for calling, Fletcher."

"I'll try to call again, but don't count on it. It's crazy here."

"Take care of yourself."

"You too, Red," Fletcher said, softly chuckling.

"Fletcher..." Scully replied, catching the meaning behind Fletcher's words.

"Goodbye, Scully."

Mulder returned a short time later with a salad for Scully and a big, sloppy burger for himself.

"Thanks, Mulder."

"Do you want some of these fries?" he offered, stuffing a few into his mouth.

"No, thanks."

"So, when's Fletcher coming back?"

"We're hooking up tomorrow night."

"Good thing we're not going out on any cases this week."

"The ton of paperwork we've had has been a good distraction for me."

Mulder slurped his milkshake through the straw. For days he had waited to say something to Scully. <I suppose now is a good a time as any.>

"I'm a little surprised, Scully."

"At what?"

"Well, I didn't want to say anything, but I'm really curious."

"About what?"

<Here it comes. I'm just surprised it's taken him this long to talk to me about all of this. He hasn't said a word since Sunday. That's not like him at all.>

"I know you haven't been dating much, at least not that I'm aware of, but I always thought you were straight."

"So did I."

"You mean, you and Fletcher...you've never..." He stumbled over his question.

"Yes, Mulder, Fletcher's the first woman I've slept with."

"Why, Scully?"

"Why what?"

"Why start sleeping with women now?"

"I'm not sleeping with women - only one - Fletcher."

"Well, I suppose if any woman could get you between the sheets it would be Fletcher."

"Mulder!"

"Scully, I know Fletcher, remember? I know she can be quite persuasive, quite charming."

"And you know me, Mulder. Do you really think I would succumb so easily to just plain old charm?"

"Then what is it?"

"I don't know and quite frankly, I don't care."

"C'mon, Scully, there's got to be a reason."

"You're not going to stop pestering me, are you?"

"Nope. You've become my latest X-file," he said with a grin.

"Well, it's one X-file you're never going to close."

End Chapter 12


Friday, October 16th, 7:00 PM

Scully waited impatiently for Fletcher. <What is the matter with me? It's not like we're 'that' involved. We've only spent two - almost three -nights together. Get a grip. She's only been gone four days. A few more minutes isn't going to kill you.>

She jumped when she heard the knock, then hurried to the door. She smiled when she saw Fletcher standing there, a briefcase in one hand and a garment bag in the other. She fumbled with the deadbolt before throwing the door open, surprised at her own nervousness.

"Boy, are you a sight for sore eyes," Fletcher said, setting down her baggage.

Scully shut the door and locked it behind her. She immediately went into Fletcher's arms and hugged her close.

"I'm so glad you're ho- back."

<She was going to say 'home'. It does feel like 'home' when I'm with her. How can that be?> Fletcher thought as she returned the hug.

"It's good to be back."

"You look tired," Scully said, brushing back the hair off of Fletcher's forehead.

"I'm beat. I didn't get home until almost 2:00 and I was up and in my meeting at 7:00 AM sharp."

"Come in and sit down. Can I get you anything?"

"How about a drink? It's been a long week."

"What do you want?"

"Got any vodka?"

"I think so. Rocks?"

"Yes, thanks."

Scully disappeared into the kitchen to get their drinks. Fletcher draped her coat over a chair, then she sat down on the sofa and took off her shoes. She leaned back, putting her feet up on the coffee table.

Scully looked at Fletcher's outfit when she returned. She was wearing a pair of loose, navy flannel slacks, an oversized white shirt and navy blue suspenders with pale pink designs. They were the 'real' kind of suspenders, the kind that buttoned. <Braces> she thought. <I think they're called braces.> Her shoulder holster crisscrossed under the suspenders.

On most women, it would've looked too masculine, but Fletcher managed to pull it off. To Scully, she looked very sexy. <I think I'd like to peel those suspenders off very slowly> she thought, and then she blushed.

"Have you had dinner yet?" she asked, handing Fletcher her drink.

"No, I'm not really hungry," she replied wearily.

"Are your cases always this rough on you?"

"No." Fletcher put arm across the back of the sofa in an invitation to Scully to join her. "We're just really short-staffed right now and with Stu Hendricks retiring next month, we're a bit disorganized."

"Who's taking over for him?" Scully sat down next to Fletcher, leaning against her shoulder.

"I don't know. Four of us are being considered."

"You're one of them?"

"Yes. Me, Roy Tupper, Ed Webster and Clarice Starling."

"I didn't know Clarice Starling was in D.C." she said, trying to hide the apprehension she felt.

<Why should I be worried if Clarice Starling is here in D.C.? She and Fletcher aren't a couple anymore. I really shouldn't feel jealous, should I?>

"She's not. She's been heading up the West Coast Regional Office of ISU. Has been the past few years after leaving the Chicago office."

Scully silently thanked whoever was listening. <Still, for an ex-girlfriend, she seems to be keeping track of her. Oh, Dana, stop it. They work in the same department. Of course she's going to know where Starling works.>

"I know who Roy Tupper is, but I don't recognize Ed Webster's name."

"He's being running the Southeast Regional Office down in Dallas."

"Is this something you want to do?"

"Not really. It's been on my mind all week. I'm not a manager. I'm a profiler. I solve cases. I can teach, but I certainly don't want to head a department. Maybe someday, but not now."

The whole time they talked, Fletcher gently ran her fingers through Scully's hair. She turned and kissed the top of Scully's head.

"Ah, Red, I can't begin to tell you how glad I am to be here right now," she sighed.

"Try."

"Believe it or not, I really missed just being able to talk to you like this."

"Is that 'all' you missed?" Scully asked with a smile.

"What do you think?"

"I think you should put your drink down and give me a kiss."

She took the half-empty glass from Fletcher's hand and put it on the coffee table. She moved so that she was sitting on Fletcher's lap, her arms around her neck.

"I really missed you, Fletcher."

<And I did, Fletcher. More than I thought I would. And not just sexually.>

"Oh, Red, you just missed me keeping your back warm at night," she smiled.

"Excuse me?"

"You know, on your back and satisfied."

"Fletcher, where do you come up with these, these sayings?"

"I don't know. Around," she said, shrugging her shoulders.

"Are you trying to put a damper on the moment?"

"Not at all. Right now, I'm surprised I can even think or speak clearly."

"Why?"

"Because the minute you sat on my lap, all the blood in my body rushed to my crotch," she laughed.

"Am I too heavy?" she asked, shifting her buttocks down onto Fletcher in a slow grind, a wicked smile on her face.

"Oh, no, not at all," she said between clenched teeth.

<If she keeps doing that...Oh, goddess...what's got into her?>

"What's the matter?"

"Since when did you become such a tease, Red?"

"You think I'm a tease?" she asked, starting to unbutton Fletcher's shirt.

"Let's just say I think it's a little out of character for you."

"You don't like me this way?"

"I didn't say that."

She licked Fletcher's collarbone, one hand sliding up to cup Fletcher's breast. Fletcher gently, yet firmly grasped Scully's head between her hands and kissed her deeply, intensely on the mouth. Over and over they kissed, mouths locked together, tongues entangled, hands fondling, groping one another. Their passion grew, overtaking them like a freight train.

"I wasn't going to do this," Fletcher said, breaking off the kiss to catch her breath.

"What?"

"I didn't want you to think that this was all I wanted from you, with you."

"I know it isn't, Fletcher. It's not all I want from you, either. It just seems that way right now," she said with a shy smile.

<Oh, goddess, I need to touch her. I need her to touch me. I wanted to be good tonight. I didn't want sex to be the first thing we did. I tried. I really tried, but I can't control myself around her.>

"Red," she said in a hoarse whisper, her face buried against Scully's neck.

"What?"

She slid one arm under Scully's knees and put an arm underneath Scully's arm and around her back. She struggled at first, but she stood up, picking Scully up.

<Oh, God, she's going to carry me to the bedroom. No one has ever carried me before.> She put her hand on Fletcher's neck, then kissed her with all the desire that she felt, kissed her until her head swam.

"Oh, Red, I really need to touch you right now...I need to taste you...I need to know you're real, that last week wasn't a dream..." Fletcher gasped around their kisses.

She carried Scully the short distance to her bedroom. She gently set her on the bed and looked down at her. Scully slowly pulled her sweater off, then her shirt. She wore no bra and her breasts hung freely. Fletcher almost groaned out loud.

<She's so beautiful. I could easily lose myself here with her.>

She slid one suspender off her shoulder, then the other. She reached up and took her holster off, dropping it to the floor. Scully reached up and finished unbuttoning Fletcher's shirt, then she slowly untucked it, pulling out one shirttail, then the other. She sat up a little straighter and pressed her face against Fletcher's flat, hard stomach.

Fletcher sucked in her breath and held it when she felt Scully's tongue near her navel. Her groin felt heavy, hot and very wet.

"Do you know what you're doing to me, Red?" she asked, her voice ragged.

"I have a good idea," she responded, her lips against Fletcher's stomach. She slid her hands up the backs of Fletcher's thighs. "It's probably what you do to me every time you touch me."

She reached between Fletcher's legs and gently began to massage her. Fletcher's large hands dropped to Scully's shoulders as she tried to steady herself. She wanted Scully with an aching need that was almost painful.

"You're so swollen, Fletcher...I can feel you through your pants..."

"Scully..."

She moved her hands to the waistband of Fletcher's pants. She unbuttoned them, then slowly pulled the zipper down. She tugged at them until they fell down around Fletcher's ankles. She traced her fingers along the leg holes of Fletcher's underwear and as she did, she placed her mouth over Fletcher's clit, feeling it through the thin cotton.

<Oh, goddess...either I'm going to come right now or I'm going to fall down...I can't take this...she's driving me crazy...>

"Scully...I can't...I can't...not like this...I'll fall down..." she pleaded.

Scully steered Fletcher to the bed so that she could sit on the edge of it. When Fletcher laid back with her legs dangling over the edge, she pulled Fletcher's clothes off completely. She stepped out of her own remaining clothes, leaving them in a pile atop Fletcher's.

She leaned over Fletcher, her legs straddling her hips for just a short moment. When Fletcher reached for her, she backed away, keeping her body just out of reach.

"Not yet, Fletcher...there's something I need to finish..." she whispered.

Fletcher could only groan her response. <It's not supposed to be like this...I should be leading the way...I've got to keep control...but, goddess...I'm putty in her hands...>

Scully began to rub her breasts over Fletcher's torso, then her legs. Her nipples were erect and felt hypersensitive. She knelt on the floor between Fletcher's legs and gently spread them a little further apart. She leaned forward, pressing one breast, then the other, against Fletcher's clit. She moved them down, dipping one nipple, then the other into Fletcher, sliding them around in the wetness.

"Oh, Scully...that feels so...so..." Fletcher couldn't finish.

<No one's ever done that for me...> Fletcher thought. <I thought I'd done it all...amazing...what an amazing woman she is...>

Scully hesitated for only a moment before lowering her head. At the first light touch of her tongue on her clit, Fletcher felt a new flood surge her between her legs and her hips bucked involuntarily. It was a struggle, but she managed to lift her head, if only for a minute. She had to see for herself, had to see this beautiful woman kneeling between her legs.

Scully looked up and their eyes met. She could see the smile in Scully's eyes and she tried to smile back. Suddenly Scully's lips were around her clit and she sucked hard, her eyes closing.

"Oh, god, Scully..." she gasped, her head falling back onto the bed.

Scully parted Fletcher's lips with her tongue, probing deeper and deeper. Fletcher's hips lifted up from the bed, an action she was utterly unable to stop.

<Control...get control...c'mon...you can do it...no, goddess...I can't...I don't want to...I'm losing it...>

For the first time in years, Fletcher let herself surrender to the feelings that now overwhelmed her. All those times with all those other women, Fletcher had always kept a part of herself in control, never completely letting go. That went out the window now. All cogent thoughts were destroyed by the onslaught of Scully's tongue.

"Oh, Scully...Oh, goddess..."

Scully sensed that this time was different for Fletcher, that it wasn't the same as it had been the few times they'd been together. <I'm making her come> she realized, aroused by the thought.

She returned her mouth to Fletcher's clit and attacked it vigorously, sucking it, flicking at it with her tongue. She teased Fletcher's opening with one, then two fingers. She slid them quickly in, then just as quickly out.

"Please, Scully...please...I'm so close..."

<Oh, yes, Fletcher...come for me...>

Fletcher's hips moved wildly around the bed, then suddenly stilled, falling back on the bed. Her fists, clenching the sheets, relaxed. <No...this isn't supposed to happen...> Fletcher thought as she caught her breath and felt her racing heart return to a normal, steady beat. <I can't let it happen again...don't feel it so much next time...keep control...>

Scully lifted her head from Fletcher's stomach and looked at the almost scowl that graced Fletcher's face. She slowly got up from her knees and joined Fletcher on the bed.

"Is something wrong, Fletcher? Did I do something?" she asked worriedly, her hand caressing Fletcher's forehead.

"No, no, you were fine. Great, actually," she said, forcing a smile. "I'm just having a little trouble returning back to Earth."

<Worry about it later, you idiot. Now is not the time. Just enjoy the moment for what it was. Besides, you've got a beautiful woman that's probably in need of a little attention. No, a lot of attention, and rightly so.>

Scully moved so that she was straddling Fletcher's hips once more.

"Still in the mood for being on top, Red? Feeling a little butchy, are we?" she teased, her hands on Scully's hips.

"Fletcher..." Scully almost - almost - cringed with her embarrassment over being thought 'butchy'.

"I don't mind, really," she said, grinning. She sat up so that she faced Scully. "Ah, much better, Red."

"How so?"

"I can finally touch you, feel you," she whispered.

Her hands moved up to Scully's breasts, her fingers squeezing the nipples. Scully leaned into Fletcher, wanting her to feel her desire. Fletcher released one of Scully's nipples and ran her fingers down the length of her body. She felt Scully shift, raising herself up higher onto her knees.

"Are you in need of something, Red?" she asked, teasing her.

"Fletcher, don't make me beg..." she moaned, her forehead resting against Fletcher's shoulder.

"Look at me, Red," Fletcher commanded, one arm tightly around Scully's waist.

Scully reluctantly lifted her head and looked into Fletcher's eyes.

"What? What do you want?" she asked with some difficulty.

"I want to see the look in your eyes at the very moment I go in you."

Scully felt her muscles tighten and her body become even wetter with the anticipation of Fletcher's actions. <She's not even touching me - yet -and I feel as if I could come right now, just thinking about what she's going to do.>

"Fletcher..."

"Soon, Red...very soon..."

She gently rubbed Scully's clit, feeling it harden even further. She pressed her thumb hard against it, watching Scully's face.

"Keep your eyes open, Red."

"I'm trying, but it's so hard..."

"Do you want me in you?" Fletcher asked, her fingers poised outside of Scully's opening.

"Yes...yes...please, Fletcher..."

<You're driving me crazy...please...please...I can't take it much longer...>

Fletcher suddenly shoved herself deep into Scully, watching her face contort with a rush of passion.

<Oh, yeah, Red...you're so beautiful...come now...come hard for me...>

She let Scully set the pace, find her rhythm as she rose up on her knees, then settle back down, her pelvis grinding onto Fletcher. She grabbed Fletcher's neck and kissed her hard on the lips as she rode the waves of her climax.

"Oh, god, Fletcher..." she called out, her face now buried against Fletcher's neck.

"Oh, yeah, Red...come...come for me..."

Scully cried out, her body collapsing against Fletcher's. Fletcher held her tightly, supporting her. She slowly leaned back, pulling Scully with her. She could feel Scully tremble and she caressed her with her hands and lips, trying to still the fire that still raced within her.

"You okay, Red?"

"I think so...just give me a minute or two..." she panted.

"Y'know, Red, I can actually think of one positive factor when we're apart," she said, stroking her back and kissing her gently on the top of her head.

"What?" Scully asked, her face pressed against Fletcher's chest.

"The get-togethers are dynamite," Fletcher said, grinning.

Scully laughed and kissed Fletcher's chest. She slowly eased her body off so that she lay beside Fletcher, her head on her shoulder and her arm around her waist. Fletcher curled her arm around Scully's shoulder.

"I gotta tell you, Red, I'm a bit, uh, surprised with your actions tonight. Not a 'bad' surprised," she quickly added.

"Fletcher, I'm a little ashamed," Scully confessed.

"Of what? why?"

"I'm not used to feeling this, uh, this kind of desire, for anyone. I've never really - I can't - sex has never been all that, uh, earth shattering, for me. I always felt like something was wrong, that I wasn't supposed to enjoy it."

"Oh, Red, are you just now finding out that sex doesn't have to be sinful or dirty? Sex is supposed to be fun, to be enjoyed."

<It's even better when it crosses the line from sex to making love, Red. And, try as I might to fight it, I'm very close to that line right now.>

"Fletcher, you just seem to have awakened my dormant libido."

"I guess I should be flattered," she said, hugging Scully. "You can be sure that I'll certainly reap all the benefits of your newfound passion."

End Chapter 13


Saturday, October 17th, 1:25 AM

Scully woke up, and looked at the clock. She frowned when she saw the time. She reached for Fletcher, but Fletcher was on the other side of the bed. Her arms were folded across her chest, her face a cross between a scowl and a grimace. Scully moved closer to her and placed her hand on her shoulder. Fletcher's body was rigid and cold to the touch.

"Fletcher?"

Fletcher twitched once or twice, then moved away from Scully, her back to her.

<Is she having a nightmare or does she always sleep like this? I don't remember her being like this last week.> She leaned her body against Fletcher's, her arm around her. <She's so cold. Could she be sick?>

"Fletcher?" she asked again, her concern growing.

Fletcher mumbled something in her sleep, then she sat up abruptly, startling Scully. She shrugged Scully's arm off as if she were waving away a fly.

"My briefcase..." Fletcher muttered, swinging her legs around to the edge of the bed. She pushed the hair out off her face, then rubbed her eyes.

"Is there something wrong, Fletcher?"

Fletcher got out of bed, ignoring Scully, acting as if she wasn't even there. She grabbed her pants off the floor and put them on, pulling one suspender up over her bare shoulder. She walked, almost stomped, into the livingroom. She stumbled in the dark as she searched for her briefcase.

Scully got out of bed and threw on her robe. She stood in the doorway, listening to Fletcher. She found the switch and turned on the overhead lamp.

"Turn off the goddamned light," Fletcher snapped, her voice as cold as her skin.

Scully caught a glimpse of Fletcher's face before she flipped the switch to 'off'. Fletcher's face was crossed with lines of concentration and her eyes were dark and lifeless. <What is the matter with her? Why is she acting like this?> She was almost frightened by Fletcher's actions.

Fletcher found her briefcase and sat down at the diningroom table. She fumbled with it before opening it and taking out a small tape recorder. She cleared her throat before speaking.

"Uh, note. The order of deaths is currently incorrect. We've got the time of deaths wrong. Re-check the watches. The first victim, uh, Briggs, should be last, or one of the last. Re-check his last movements." She paused to rub her eyes. "UNSUB is a white male, aged 30 to 35. College education, possibly more. Has dark hair and very pale skin. Knuckles are rough, probably chewed on."

Scully continued to listen from the bedroom doorway as Fletcher's profile came out in a torrent of words. <Is this what she goes through on all her cases? If it is, it can't be very healthy, mentally or physically> she thought.

Fletcher snapped off the tape recorder and returned it to her briefcase. The whole process had taken less than ten minutes but it had completely drained her. She slumped in the chair, her chin touching her chest.

Scully tentatively stepped into the room. She cautiously placed her hand on Fletcher's shoulder. Fletcher's body was covered in a cold sweat.

"Fletcher?"

Fletcher exhaled loudly, sounding like she'd been holding her breath.

"Fletcher, are you okay?"

Fletcher mumbled an unintelligible response. She acted as if she didn't know where she was, like she wasn't awake. Scully took Fletcher's arm and helped her to her feet.

"Let's go back to bed now, Fletcher."

Fletcher allowed herself to be led back to the bedroom. <She acts like she's sleepwalking> Scully thought as she helped Fletcher out of her pants and back into bed. <Good thing she tape-recorded all that, because I doubt she'll remember any of it tomorrow.>

She tucked the covers around Fletcher, then slipped in beside her. She wrapped her arm around Fletcher and held her close. She didn't go to sleep until well after Fletcher had fallen into a deep slumber.


Saturday, 5:45 AM

Scully reached over and turned off the alarm. Fletcher never even stirred. She was on her stomach, her face buried in the pillow. Scully reached out and rubbed Fletcher's back with a light hand in an effort to gently rouse her.

Scully stifled a yawn. She'd slept fitfully and her nerves were feeling a bit frazzled, still a little confused and bewildered by Fletcher's actions during the night. She didn't have a clue as to how Fletcher would be once she was awake.

<I don't like this. I don't like it at all> she thought, continuing to stroke Fletcher's back in an effort to wake her up. <It's not that I know Fletcher all that well, but now I feel like I don't know her at all.>

"Fletcher? Fletcher, it's time to get up," she said when she felt Fletcher respond to her touch.

"Just a few more minutes," Fletcher groaned, not wanting to get out of bed.

"Not too many more minutes, sailor, or you'll be late," she said.

When she saw Fletcher smile, she felt immense relief. <Much better> Scully thought. <Not at all like last night.> She pressed her breasts into Fletcher's back and kissed her behind the ear. Fletcher rolled over and stretched, then put her arm around Scully.

"Good morning, Red."

"Good morning to you, too." She kissed Fletcher on the mouth, her tongue lightly brushing her lips. "How'd you sleep?" she asked, curious.

"Fine. Why do you ask?"

"Just wondering." <I bet she doesn't remember a thing. She certainly acts like she doesn't.>

"What time is it?" Fletcher asked.

"Almost six."

"Then we have time," she said, her hand slowly sliding down the curve of Scully's back.

"No, I don't think so," Scully said, grasping Fletcher's hand and removing it. "You have time for a shower and breakfast, and not much else."

"I'll gladly skip breakfast for a different kind of meal," she said, trying to convince Scully to stay in bed.

"I think you need to take one of your cold showers this morning," Scully said, getting out of the bed and putting on her robe. "I'll go put the coffee on. I hung up some towels for you on the back of the bathroom door."

"You're no fun this morning," Fletcher grumbled.

Twenty minutes later, Fletcher walked into the kitchen. She wore her khaki Navy work uniform and she carried her sweater and garrison cap. For Scully, a wave of memories washed quickly over her when she saw Fletcher standing in her kitchen in her Navy uniform.

"Something wrong, Red?" Fletcher asked, pouring herself a cup of coffee.

"No, not really. I'm just feeling a bit nostalgic, seeing that navy uniform. Takes me back to when I'd see my father in his uniform, ready to leave port."

"How do I look? Do I pass inspection?" she asked, turning around.

"Oh, most definitely," she said with a smile.

"Good."

"Sit down and I'll get your breakfast."

"Thanks."

Scully brought a plate of scrambled eggs and a bagel out to Fletcher. She was suddenly struck by the domesticity of the moment. Here she was, in her robe, fixing 'her' sailor a breakfast. <I've become my mother> she thought with a wry smile.

"Hey, this is great, Red. Thanks. I didn't realize how hungry I was."

"Well, you didn't have any dinner."

"And who's fault is that?" she teased. "I don't think I was here fifteen minutes and you were already seducing me."

"I did not, and it was closer to thirty minutes," Scully laughed.

"Whatever."

"Should I expect you for dinner?"

"I think so. I'll call you when I leave. Best guess, not before six."

"Okay."


Saturday, 2:45 PM

Scully finished putting away the few groceries she'd bought for dinner. She heard a knock at the door and looked through the peephole.

"Mulder," she said, opening the door. "What are you doing here?"

"I'm not interrupting anything between you two, am I?" he asked with a smirk on his face.

"Sorry to disappoint you, Mulder, but Fletcher's gone for the day."

"Where is she?"

"She's got reserves this weekend."

"That's too bad."

"Is there something you wanted?"

"No, I was in the neighborhood and thought I'd drop by."

<He's bored. He doesn't have anybody to play with today.>

"Why don't you visit your friendly nutcases? I'm sure they must be doing something exciting, like hacking into some supercomputer."

"There're not nuts," he protested. "Besides, they're at some conspiracy convention in Dallas this weekend."

"Now there's a place I'm glad I'm not at today."

"Have you had lunch yet?"

"Yes."

"Oh, well..."

"Actually, Mulder, I could use the company this afternoon."

"Really?"

"Yes. I've got some questions for you."

"Let me guess, about a certain FBI agent who happens to be-"

"Don't say something you'll regret, Mulder."

"I was going to say, who happens to be my friend."

"I just bet that's what you were going to say." She headed for the kitchen. "I'm going to get myself a coke. Do you want anything?"

"Got any beer?"

"I think so."

"How about something to eat?"

"Mulder, are you ever going to stop mooching meals off of me?" she laughed.

She took out their drinks and found some cheese and crackers and some carrot sticks for him to munch on.

"That's the best I can do right now, Mulder," she said, handing him his beer and the plate of food. "I'm fresh out of junk food."

"This is fine, thanks."

She sat down on the sofa next to him.

"Mulder, what kind of profiler is Fletcher?"

"Boy, you don't waste any time getting to the questions, do you, Scully?"

"I'm curious, Mulder. What's she like?"

"I already told you, the best."

"How many cases did you two work together?"

"Well, in the three years we were in the department together, maybe twenty or thirty."

"That many?"

"We all carried an active case load of close to one hundred cases at any given time."

"I never realized how many cases there are. Is that how many cases Fletcher has right now?"

"No. She's only been back a few months. She's probably got maybe twenty or thirty cases. Why do you want to know?"

"What was it like working with her?"

"Maddening, entertaining, educational, aggravating. Take your pick."

"What makes her such a good profiler?"

"Fletcher has a photographic memory. She can go to any crime scene, see it once and then tell you exactly where everything was five minutes, five hours, five months or even five years later. She doesn't miss any piece of evidence, no matter how small. Her cases are always forensically air-tight."

She was glad she was catching Mulder in a talkative mood. He didn't usually share much about the people he knew, preferring to keep his knowledge to himself.

"How about her psych profiles?"

"Always on the mark. She knows her stuff."

"But?" Scully persisted, seeing the look on his face; a look that said he wasn't telling her the whole story. Scully knew the look only too well.

"Well, I have a theory on why she's so good."

"Do I hear an X-file?" Scully asked with a smile.

"Honest, Scully. She knows things about the UNSUB that she couldn't possibly know from just the evidence. I don't care how good she is at her psychological profiles."

Scully remembered Fletcher's rambling on about the skin color and something about his hands. <Knuckles. She said his knuckles were rough. How could she know that? She couldn't have got that from the forensic evidence.>

"So what's your theory?"

"I think Fletcher makes some sort of psychic connection with the UNSUB."

"Mulder..."

"You've never seen her in action, Scully. I have. You've got to see her on a case. You'll think it, too."

"I think she just immerses herself into the case too far. If she's worked on that many cases, it would stand to reason that she speaks from experience."

"Well, she does subscribe to the theory 'to know the art, you have to know the artist'. In some cases, I think she goes a little too far. It's almost like she identifies too closely with the UNSUB, gets too far into his mind."

"So she walks the line with her cases?" Scully asked, repeating a term she'd heard at Quantico.

"Sometimes." He noticed the worried look on her face. "Did something happen last night, Scully?" he asked.

Scully pursed her lips and remained silent.

"Fletcher went on one of her walkabouts, didn't she?"

"Her what?"

"That's what I call them. I've seen a couple. When she's on a case that she's having trouble with, she just can't shut her brain off, even when she sleeps."

"Well, I thought I'd provided her with enough of a distraction last night so that she'd be able to sleep."

"I'm sure you did," Mulder said with a knowing smile. "But you have no control over this. She doesn't even have control over it. An idea or thought will hit her while she's sleeping and she just acts on it. She won't ever remember doing it. She'll just play her tape back and wonder where the hell the it came from."

"It's not fun to watch. It's even a little frightening."

"Don't take it personally, Scully. She's not even aware of it." He finished his beer. "It used to drive Starling nuts, especially when they worked a case together."

"Why?"

"Starling's a lot like you, Scully. She prefers to deal in the facts and the evidence. She can profile with the best of them, but she's much better working with drawing her conclusions from the evidence. She had a lot of trouble with Fletcher's walkabouts in the middle of the night. She couldn't, wouldn't, take them seriously, even when the results were right on."

"Is that why they broke up?"

"It didn't help."

"How'd they ever get together?"

"Don't you think you should be asking Fletcher that?"

"I get the impression that the topic is off-limits with her."

"I guess it still bothers her, even after all these years."

"How long were they together?"

"A long time for Fletcher," he laughed. "Over two years, maybe three."

"When did they break up?"

"Oh, I guess it was 4 or five years ago. It was after I left BSU."

"Tell me, Mulder, friend to friend, what's the whole story between Fletcher and Starling?"

"Why the sudden interest, Scully?"

"Fletcher told me something very interesting last night."

"What?"

"Did you know that they're both being considered to take over ISU when Stu Hendricks retires?"

"No, I didn't. I can't imagine either one of them being the other's boss."

"Now do you understand why I want to know what happened? If Starling's going to be around..."

"Feeling a little threatened, Scully?" he said with a smile.

"No," she lied.

"Right. Whatever you say, Scully." He got up from the sofa. "I'm getting a refill. You want anything?"

"No, thanks."

<I wish he'd tell me> Scully thought. <I want to know what I'm up against. If Clarice Starling comes back to Quantico, how will that affect Fletcher, us?> She leaned back and sighed. <I don't even know if there is an 'us'. I'd like to think there was, that there could be. I just wish I knew how Fletcher felt.>


Saturday, 4:30 PM

All day long, Fletcher gave thanks for the monotony of her deskjob. She'd closeted herself away in the office and read all the memos, orders, and latest postings. It was something she could do almost mindlessly. Just commit them all to memory and ask no questions.

Despite the boredom of her duties, it had still taken all her powers of concentration early in the morning to stay focused. She kept thinking about Scully, how she hated to keep leaving her. <And it's only been twice! I've only been called out on a case once and then I had duty this morning. What's it going to be like when we're both juggling cases and in and out of town? Maybe this isn't such a good idea, maybe it's going a little too fast.>

She took off her glasses and set them down on her desk. She rubbed her eyes then leaned back in her chair. <I don't know if I'm ready to get involved with Scully. I don't want to stop seeing her, but I don't like that I'm feeling so much for her so quickly. This is not good, Fletcher.>

"Come," she said when she heard the knock on the door.

"Excuse me, Captain," a tall, thin lieutenant said as he opened the door.

"What's up, Duffy?"

"I've got the latest reports for you."

"Thanks," she said, taking the stack of papers from him.

"Will you be joining us tonight at the 'O' club?" he asked, sitting down on the chair in front of Fletcher's desk.

"I can't. I've got other plans," she said, her words surprising him.

"I bet Commander Hughes will be glad to hear that. He's still recovering from the last poker game."

"If he'd concentrate on his cards instead of the women officers..."

"I hear you, Captain. I also know that's why you and Captain Igawa always invite a lot officers to join you."

"Where'd you hear that nonsense?"

"Captain Igawa himself told me."

"I would never stoop so low."

"I know how competitive you are, Captain. I wouldn't put it past you," he laughed.

"I'll forget you said that, Duffy," she replied with a small smile. "This time."

"Aye, aye, Captain. Message received."

He smiled, saluted and left the office.

Fletcher looked over each report, stopping when she came to one in the middle of the pile. She looked at her watch, frowned, and then sighed as she picked up the phone.

"Scully," said the voice on the other end.

"Hey, Red."

"How's work?"

"Same ol', same ol'. Listen, I've got to stop at my apartment before I get there. I've got to pick up my dress blues. Some big meeting tomorrow. Do you need me to pick up dinner?"

"No, I'm all set, thanks. What time will you be here?"

"Sometime between 6:30 and 7:00."

"Good. Dinner'll be waiting."

"Where are you picking up dinner?"

"I'm not. I do know how to cook, you know."

"Sorry, my mistake."

"Don't let it happen again," Scully laughed.

"Okay, then. I'll see you for dinner."

"'bye, sailor."

End Chapter 14


Saturday, October 17th, 6:30 PM

Fletcher was in a hurry to get to Scully. She didn't notice Mulder's car parked out front as she sprinted inside the building. She knocked on the door and was startled when Mulder answered the door.

"Hi, honey, you're home," he said, smirking.

"Smartass," she said closing the door behind her.

"Better a smartass than a dumbass."

"Somehow you manage to be both, Mulder. Where's Scully?" she asked, hanging up her dress blues.

"Slaving in the kitchen for you," he laughed. "I'm jealous, Fletcher. She's never fixed dinner for me before."

"I see you're staying," she said, noticing that the table had three place settings.

"I was invited."

"You mean you invited yourself."

"Same thing."

"Not quite, Mulder." She took off her hat. "I'd better go say hello to her."

"Yeah, I'll leave you two lovebirds alone," he teased, sitting back down on the sofa to watch the end of a college football game.

"Mighty big of you, Mulder."

"That you, Fletcher?" Scully called from the kitchen.

"The one and only," she replied, walking into the kitchen.

"How was reserves today?" Scully asked, closing the oven door.

"Thankfully boring," she said, kissing Scully on the cheek, her hand on Scully's hip.

"Do you know how sexy you are in that uniform?" she asked, putting her arms around Fletcher's waist.

"Wait 'til you see me in my dress blues," she said with a grin.

"I'd rather see you out of them."

"Guess you'll have to wait until bedtime for that."

"I don't know if I can."

"You'll have to."

"Will you make it worth the wait?"

"I think I can manage that," she laughed.

"Good."

"What's Mulder doing here?"

"He was bored, I guess. He stopped by late this afternoon. I'm kind of glad he did, actually."

"Why?"

"I was lonely. I missed you," Scully admitted.

"I think we're both going to have to get used to the hellos and the goodbyes."

"I know. It doesn't mean I have to like it."

Fletcher pulled Scully closer to her. She could feel Scully's soft breasts against her own and she instantly felt the familiar stirrings in her groin. <Damn, it doesn't take much with this woman. She just feels so damn fine in my arms, like she belongs there.>

"Fletcher, why don't you get out of that uniform -"

"You've got a one-track mind, Red," she teased.

"Let me finish," Scully laughed.

<I love to make her laugh> Fletcher thought as she laughed along with Scully. <Something tells me she doesn't laugh much. It's too bad. She's got a great laugh. I just love the sound of it.>

"I was going to suggest you change into something a little, uh, well, I was going to say a little more comfortable," she said with a wide smile, "but based on your train of thought right now..."

"With the way _I'm_ thinking?"

"How about something a little less formal than your uniform?" Scully said, ignoring Fletcher's comment.

"Yes, ma'am."

Twenty minutes Fletcher was wearing a pair of jeans and a t-shirt and sitting beside Mulder. Her hair was still damp from the quick shower she'd taken. A bottle of beer rested between her legs, just as it did for Mulder.

Scully looked at them and smiled to herself. She suddenly remembered the books from her childhood. Melissa had most of the Nancy Drew books and Scully had devoured all of them. From there she went on to the other mystery series. <The Bobsey Twins, no, that wasn't it. What were those books Bill and Charlie had? The Hardy Boys! Definitely the Hardy Boys. Fletcher and Mulder are Frank and Joe Hardy.>

She almost laughed out loud, but instead announced, "Dinner'll be ready in about fifteen minutes."

Fletcher picked up her bottle and gestured to Scully. "You can sit on my lap since Spooky's being so rude."

"What do you mean?" Mulder said.

"How about giving your seat up for Scully?"

"Why? There are plenty of chairs."

"You just don't get it do you, Mulder?"

Scully smiled, realizing that Mulder was about to be educated.

"What's to get?"

"Did you ever think that Scully and I might want to sit together?"

"Sorry," he apologized, getting up from the sofa. "Old habits are hard to break. I'm just used to sitting next to you when we're watching a game." He almost sounded disappointed, sad.

"Oh, don't pout, Spooky."

"You didn't have to move, Mulder. I'd be more than happy to sit on Fletcher's lap."

"I bet you would," he smirked.

Scully stuck her tongue out at him and sat down on Fletcher's lap.

"Ooh, Scully, how about a little lapdance that I can watch?" he leered, sitting back down next to Fletcher.

"You pig," Fletcher said, laughing. She playfully punched him in the bicep.

Scully remembered what had happened the last time she sat on Fletcher's lap and she suddenly blushed. Mulder noticed and raised an eyebrow.

"Guess I missed it already, huh?"

"Mulder..." Scully blushed again.

"So what's for dinner?" Fletcher asked, rescuing Scully from having to respond to Mulder.

"Something very All-American and none too fancy."

"What?"

"I know something you don't know," Mulder taunted in a singsong voice.

"A Scully family favorite. Meatloaf and mashed potatoes."

"And dessert?"

"That's a secret."

"Will Mulder still be here for it?" Fletcher asked with an evil grin. "Or is it a dessert just for the two of us?"

"Fletcher!" Scully flushed again, a deeper shade of red.

"She's so easy to embarrass," Fletcher said to Mulder. "How can you work with her?"

"It hasn't been easy."

Scully slapped Fletcher's shoulder. "Let me up. I've got potatoes to mash."

"Do you want some help?" Fletcher offered.

"No, thank you," she said, getting up from Fletcher's lap.

"You two seem to be getting along fairly well," Mulder said after Scully had left the room.

"Why wouldn't we?" she asked sharply.

"Well, let's just say I'm pleasantly surprised."

"Still don't trust me, do you, Spooky?" Fletcher asked, a trace of bitterness in her voice.

"I'm still keeping my eye on you, Fletcher."

"Gee, thanks for the vote of confidence."

"Dinner's ready," Scully called out as she carried in a large dish of potatoes. "Fletcher, would you bring out the meatloaf?"

"Sure."

"Did Scully tell you about Halloween?" Mulder asked during dinner.

"No. What about it?"

"He wants us to go to a party with him."

"Could be fun - as long as we dress in similar costumes," Fletcher said.

"Like what?" Mulder asked, intrigued.

"I don't know. What about the Three Stooges?"

"No way," Scully said.

"I think I've got an idea but we all have to agree to it."

"What?"

"I'll come up with four ideas and I'll put them in a hat. We'll draw a costume and we have to wear it. It won't work if we don't swear to agree to it."

"I'm game," Mulder quickly agreed.

"Okay, I'm in," Scully said cautiously, "but it better not be too outrageous." "Trust me."

Mulder and Scully looked at one another, raising their eyebrows as if to say 'What have we gotten ourselves into now?'

"What are your ideas?" Scully asked.

"Frankenstein, Dr. Frankenstein, Igor and the Bride of Frankenstein."

"So I could end up as Igor?" Scully asked.

"Yup. Still interested?"

"Sure."

"We'll draw after dinner."

Fletcher helped Scully clear the table and put away the food. She shooed Scully out of the kitchen, then she dragged Mulder into the room.

"I'll give you a choice, Mulder."

"What?" he asked, a baffled look on his face.

"You can wash or you can dry."

"Uh, I'll, uh, dry."

Fletcher tossed him a dishtowel as she filled the sink with soapy water.

"Y'know, Wonder Boy, if you ever wonder why Scully doesn't cook you a real dinner, ask me. I've got a few ideas."

"Like what?"

"Like you could work on your manners. Do you ever help Scully with the dishes or picking up the table?"

"We usually just have takeout."

"Surely you use real plates and silverware." He remained silent. "Just pitch in from time to time, Mulder. Or at least offer. She's your partner, not your nanny."

It didn't take them long to wash and dry the few dishes. Scully had already cleaned up her cooking dishes.

"Thank you," Scully said, kissing Fletcher on the cheek.

"Hey! What about me?" Mulder whined.

"Did he really help?" Scully asked Fletcher.

"It took some arm twisting, but, yes, he did help."

"Thank you, Mulder." She kissed his cheek as well.

"Okay, on to Halloween," Mulder said, rubbing his hands together.

"Do you have any note paper, Scully? I need something that will all be the same."

"Will post-its do?"

"Perfect."

On four post-it notes, Fletcher wrote down each idea. She folded them and then put them in her cap.

"Ladies first," she said to Scully. "Close your eyes."

Scully covered her eyes and reached into the hat. She picked out her slip of paper, looked at it, then smiled.

"My mother will be so disappointed. To think, I could have been a bride."

"What'd you get, Scully?" Mulder asked.

"Dr. Frankenstein."

"How appropriate."

"I'm next. Hold the hat, Mulder."

He held it high above Fletcher's head. She reached in, shuffled the slips of paper, and then chose one.

"Oh, goody. I'm your creation, doctor."

"Which one?"

"Frankenstein, the monster." She took the hat from Mulder. "Feeling lucky, Wonder Boy?" she asked, shaking up the remaining slips. "Do I detect a bit of nervous sweat on your brow? You shouldn't be nervous. You've got a fifty-fifty chance of getting Igor."

Mulder reached in, looked at the paper and groaned.

"No way. I'm not being the Bride of Frankenstein."

"No sore losers allowed, Mulder. A deal's a deal," Fletcher said firmly.

"I can't show up as the Bride of Frankenstein," he whined.

"Sure you can. It's Halloween. You'll probably win First Prize."

"How can I possibly come up with a costume?"

"We'll help."

"Yeah, I bet you will," he grumbled.


Saturday, 10:15 PM

"I never thought he'd leave tonight," Fletcher said, getting into bed. "I love Mulder, and I enjoy his company, but sometimes, he just doesn't realize he's overstaying his welcome."

Scully slid under the covers beside her. "For a minute there, I thought he was going to ask to stay on the sofa tonight."

"He reminds me of one of the lost boys." Fletcher was on her back and she moved her head so that it rested on Scully's chest. "You know what I'd really like?" she said, her hand lightly stroking Scully's thigh.

"No, what?"

<I can't believe how much just the touch of her hand affects me> Scully thought.

"I want us to have a night together where we don't have any interruptions. No phones, no pagers. A night where we don't have to get up the next morning. I want to be able to stay in bed all night and all morning with you."

"And what would you do with that time?" Scully asked.

"I'd start the evening with a really good bottle of white wine. Then I'd light a bunch of candles and draw a hot bath."

"Well, you're off to a good start."

"I'd just like to soak in the tub with you, hold you in my arms. And then when the water cooled off, I'd towel you off and carry you to the bedroom."

"So far, so good," Scully said, her body beginning to feel warm. "Then what?"

"I'd kiss every part of your body, except one. And I'd take my time, too. I wouldn't want to miss any part of your body." Her hand moved up a little higher on Scully's thigh. "I'd then go to the one spot on your body that I'd skipped."

"And?" Scully lifted her hand to her own breast and began to lightly rub the nipple.

"I'd make up for my neglect." She smiled to herself. "We'd go to sleep in each other's arms. And if either of us were to wake up, well, there'd be an instant replay, and then some."

"You and your sports analogies," Scully teased, a smile on her face.

"And in the morning, I wouldn't have to get out of bed for breakfast. You'd be my breakfast. Scully 'over easy' or maybe Scully 'over hard'. It would all depend on my mood."

Fletcher rolled over onto her side, her face even with Scully's. Her eyes quickly took in Scully's hand on her own breast, the flushed look on her face. <Yes! The desired effect. She's aroused. Good.> "Something wrong, Red?" she asked with a smile.

"I wouldn't say _wrong_," she sighed, looking at Fletcher, desire in her eyes. "Do you know what you do to me, just by talking?"

"No, tell me."

"I'm so..." She couldn't say it, her embarrassment getting the better of her.

"Say it, Red. Tell me," Fletcher urged, her own desire rising as fast as a Japanese bullet train.

She looked into Fletcher's eyes and found no ridicule, no judgement in them. "I'm so...so wet," she whispered, her desire, and her trust in Fletcher overcoming her embarrassment.

"Maybe I can make you wetter," Fletcher replied, lowering her head between Scully's legs in an instant.

They were both right. Scully was wet, and Fletcher did make her even wetter, particularly when she stuck her tongue deep inside of Scully.

"Oh, god, Fletcher..." she moaned, her legs drawing up.

Fletcher slid her hands to the back of Scully's thighs, lifting her legs and draping them over her shoulders, all the while never losing contact with her tongue. Scully's hands dropped to Fletcher's head and her fingers were soon tangled up in her short hair. With every stroke of Fletcher's tongue, Scully's hips lifted up from the bed.

"Oh..." Scully moaned. "Oh, yes...God, Fletcher...yes..."

Fletcher replaced her tongue with her fingers causing Scully to moan even louder. She took Scully's clit into her mouth, rolling it between her lips and her tongue. The more she sucked and nipped at it, the more Scully thrashed beneath her.

Even when she felt Scully come, felt her body grow rigid, Fletcher kept her fingers buried deep inside of Scully. She continued to slide them in and out in a slow, steady rhythm. <I need to be closer to her...I need to feel her body next to mine> Fletcher thought and she quickly laid her body on top of Scully's. <So soft...her body is so soft and warm...>

Scully responded by wrapping her legs around Fletcher's thighs. She clenched her muscles tight against Fletcher's fingers, trying to hold them, trap them. <She feels so good in me> Scully thought, her breaths coming deeper and faster.

Fletcher looked down at Scully and their eyes met.

"Keep that up and I'll come again for sure..." Scully gasped.

"And what's wrong with that?"

"Nothing...absolutely nothing..." Scully spread her legs a little further apart. "Fletcher..."

"What? Tell me what you need..."

"More of you..."

"Are you sure?"

"Yes...please, Fletcher..."

Fletcher slowly added a third finger. It wasn't as tight a fit as she thought it would've been. Scully was more open and wetter than she'd ever been with her. Fletcher rotated her hand, pressing her thumb hard against Scully's clit.

"Oh, Fletcher...that's it...you feel so good..."

Scully began to rock her hips and Fletcher thrust her hips down to meet her. Scully's hands were on Fletcher's hips and she spurred her on.

"Fletcher..."

It sounded like a question. <She sounds like she's confused> Fletcher thought.

"Scully?"

"Oh, God, Fletcher...I'm coming...I can't stop it...it's...I can't..."

Fletcher felt as if she were one with her as Scully began to climax. <What's happening?> she thought. <Oh, Goddess, I think I love her.> It was a good thing that Scully had closed her eyes. If they hadn't been, she would have seen amazement, and fear, in Fletcher's eyes.

Scully's whole body grew taut and she clutched at Fletcher with her arms and legs. She called out, almost screaming, Fletcher's name, then her body grew limp. Fletcher's body relaxed right along with Scully's and she collapsed atop Scully.

"Oh, yeah..." Fletcher groaned into Scully's pillow. "So good..."

"Mindblowing comes to mind," Scully sighed heavily.

Fletcher lifted her head and kissed Scully very tenderly on the lips.

"Don't you just love it when a big one sneaks up on you?" she whispered against Scully's fuller-than-normal lips.

"Maybe it started to sneak up on me, but it sure feels like somebody just ran me over with a tractor-trailer."

Fletcher kissed Scully once more, then hugged her close. She was nearly overwhelmed by her feelings for Scully. <Careful, Fletcher. Don't say it. Now's not the time. It's too soon. Don't let the heat of passion get the better of you. You just think you're in love with her.>

She gently rolled her body off of Scully and she laid on her back. Scully cuddled up next to her. Fletcher wrapped her arms around her.

"I want to just hold you, Red. I want to hold you all night."

<And I'd like to hold you every night from now on, Red. And that scares the hell out of me.>

Scully slipped her arms around Fletcher's waist and laid her head on Fletcher's chest.

"Wow, Fletcher...that was something else..."

"Yeah, it was. Pretty special for me, too."

"I felt like you were right there with me, like we were connected."

"I know."

<Please stop talking about it, Red. Please. I don't want to talk about it.>

They lay in silence, each lost in their thoughts. A few minutes later, Fletcher felt Scully's body shaking. <What's wrong now?> she thought, then she realized Scully was laughing.

"What are you laughing at?" she asked

"Oh, I'm just picturing Mulder as the Bride of Frankenstein."

End Chapter 15


Thursday, October 29th, 8:30 PM

<God, what a lousy week it's been> Scully thought as she unpacked her suitcase. She tossed the washables into the laundry basket. <I have _got_ to get to the drycleaners this week> she thought, hanging up the one suit the still looked presentable. She sighed heavily. <And I thought _last_ week was bad. At least Fletcher and I had lunch - once - last week. We never even _saw_ each other this week. And don't even get me started about the weekend. I'm still a little angry that she went up to Boston the way she did. She didn't even try to see me before she left. Just a quick phone call with a very vague explanation. What was it she said, 'family matters'? Right.> She sighed, annoyed with herself. <Oh, Dana, stop being so paranoid. Fletcher really hasn't given you any reason to feel jealous.>

Scully slid her suitcase under the bed. <Oh, well, at least Fletcher's called me every day. She's been really good about that. It's just that phone calls, cold showers and...> she blushed <...well, they're _all_ poor substitutes for the real thing.>

She put her dirty clothes into the laundry basket and shoved it into the closet with her foot. <I don't feel like doing laundry tonight. Maybe tomorrow.> She walked back out into the livingroom and began to sort through her mail. <I wish Fletcher would call. I miss her. I really thought the time apart would be good for us, but it's just made me miss her more.> She tossed the mail back on the table. <Not tonight.>

Her cell phone began to ring. <Please, not Mulder. Let it be Fletcher.>

"Scully," she said, answering the phone.

"Hey, Red."

Scully smiled without even realizing it.

"Oh, Fletcher, I was just thinking about you."

"Oh really? And what were you thinking?"

"I was hoping you'd call."

"What are you doing tonight?"

"Nothing, why?"

"Good. I was hoping you'd say that."

"Why?"

"I'm on my way to your place." She paused then added, "if that's okay with you."

"Of course it is. What are you doing home? I thought you'd be gone for at least a few more days."

"I decided to come home tonight." Fletcher cleared her throat. "Can you play hooky tomorrow?"

"I suppose, but why?"

"I thought we could spend the day together. You know, finalize all of our Halloween plans."

"All right. It would be nice to have a day off. I'll call Mulder tonight and tell him I won't be in tomorrow."

"I should be there in about 15 minutes."

"Good."

"See you then."

Fletcher turned her phone off. <Damnit. What am I doing? I get back to D.C. and the first thing I do is call her. I've got it so bad and that ain't so good.> She hit the steering wheel once with her hand. <Maybe I should call her back and cancel. No. I want to see her.> She flipped on the radio and hit the scan button. <Christ, nothing but ads. How 'bout some tunes, guys?> She gave it a few more passes then snapped it off in disgust.

She thought about running the yellow light that was ready to turn to red, but decided against it. She hit her brakes hard - too hard. <Settle down, fool. So you miss her. Big fucking deal. It's not anything to get in an accident over.> She drummed her fingers on her thighs. <Yeah, I have missed her, and not just sexually. Face it. She gets to you like no one else has in a long, long time. Not since Clarice. Not good, Buchanan. Not good at all.>


Thursday, 9:00 PM

Scully called Mulder at home, hoping he wasn't there. She wasn't eager to talk to him tonight. <Let me get his answering machine. Please. The last thing I want to do is to tell him _why_ I'm taking tomorrow off.>

"They're heeeerrree. And I'm out after them. Leave me a message."

<That message is worse than the last one> Scully groaned as she waited for the beep. "Mulder, it's me. I won't be in tomorrow. I'll call you sometime."

No sooner had she hung up than Fletcher was knocking at her door. <Slowly, Dana. Slowly. Don't appear to be too eager.>

She calmly opened the door. Fletcher appeared to be practicing her own form of self-restraint as she casually walked into Scully's apartment, her hands clutching her briefcase.

"Hey, Red. Long time, no see."

Scully closed the door behind Fletcher. "Hello, Fletcher."

"Are you sure it's okay that I stopped by? I know it's late."

Every part of Fletcher wanted to take Scully into her arms, but she didn't. She was feeling too much and it scared her.

"No, I'm glad you came over."

<She looks so...lost? Why is it so awkward for us? Why am I being so distant?> Scully thought. <I really missed her and I want her to know it.>

"Scully?" she said, setting down her briefcase.

"Yes?"

Fletcher still couldn't bring herself to tell Scully how she felt. <Back off, you fool. You don't even know what Scully feels for you.> She took a step toward Scully and drew her into her arms. She held Scully close to her, trying to convey all that she felt with just the hug. <Damndamndamndamndamn. Why does it feel this way? Why do I have to feel so much for her? And why does she always have to feel so damn good in my arms?> She squeezed Scully a little tighter, as close as she could. <I don't want to let go of her.>

<Where did this come from?> Scully thought, enjoying the hug. <It feels so good for Fletcher to hold me like this. I don't believe she's ever hugged me this way, with so much...what? Feeling? Warmth?> She pressed her face against Fletcher's chest and tried to return the hug.

"Fletcher?"

"Mmmm?" she replied, her face against Scully's neck, her lips beginning to leave a trail of soft kisses.

"Will you stay the night?"

"Anything you want, Red."

"Anything?" she asked, smiling.

"Anything," Fletcher repeated.

"Then let's go to bed. Now," Scully said firmly, her hands moving up Fletcher's back.

"Yes, ma'am."

She reluctantly released Scully from the hug, instantly missing the touch of Scully's body against her own. Scully took her hand and began to lead her toward the bedroom.

"I need a shower first," Fletcher protested.

"Well, it'd had better be a short one and _not_ one of your cold showers." Laughing, she gently pushed Fletcher toward the bathroom. "Hurry up. I'll be waiting. It's been a long two weeks."

Scully took off her clothes and got into bed. Fletcher was still in the shower. She felt her stomach, then her groin, tighten and tingle with anticipation. <God, I've missed her...and her touch> Scully thought, her hands sliding down to her hips. She slowly moved one hand down and over. <I'm so swollen already, and Fletcher hasn't even touched me yet.> Her fingers crept a little lower and she was surprised to find how wet she was. <I hope Fletcher hurries up> she thought, her breath quickening.

"Looks like you've got a headstart on me, Red," Fletcher said softly.

Scully jumped when she heard Fletcher's voice. Fletcher, a towel around her waist, watched Scully from the doorway, the only light coming from the bathroom. <Oh, goddess, I think I could come just by watching her. She's so goddamned beautiful.>

Scully pulled her hand away, embarrassed to have been caught touching herself.

"No, don't stop," Fletcher said, her voice heavy with hunger for Scully.

"What?"

"Show me, Red," she said, walking over to the bed.

"Show you what?" Scully asked nervously.

"Show me what you do when I'm not here. Show me how you touch yourself."

"Fletcher..." Her voice trailed off as she turned her head away from Fletcher. <I can't do that...oh, why did I ever even touch myself...why couldn't I have waited...>

"Don't be embarrassed, Red," Fletcher said tenderly.

She sat down on the edge of the bed, next to Scully. She gently put her hand on Scully's chin and turned her head so that she was facing Fletcher once more. "I happen to think it's incredibly, uh, stimulating. It just makes me want you more." She leaned over and kissed Scully's forehead. "And it's very flattering to know that I have that kind of effect on you."

"Very much so," Scully admitted, beginning to feel her desire flare up once more. <Oh, Fletcher...what you do to me...>

Fletcher took Scully's hand and moved it back between her legs. Her fingers intertwined with Scully's as she guided her hand past her clit.

"Feel how wet you are, Red..." she whispered, letting go of Scully's hand.

"Fletcher..."

"For me, Red..." She kissed Scully lightly on the lips. "I'll help...but not yet..." she whispered, her voice hoarse.

Keeping her eyes locked on Fletcher's, Scully parted her lips with her fingers, dipping inside, then removing them slowly. <I can't believe I'm doing this, but Fletcher just...> She could hear Fletcher breathe in sharply and she looked up at her. Fletcher was hardly breathing and her eyes were focused on Scully's hand. <I think I'm turning her on as much as I'm exciting myself> she thought headily. Her moist fingers began to knead her throbbing clit. She couldn't help it. She closed her eyes and began to breathe harder. <I need her to touch me, too. I'm so close...>

"Do you need me now, Red? Do you want me to touch you?" Fletcher asked, her heart racing.

"Yes...yes..." she almost sobbed.

"Open yourself for me..." Fletcher urged, her hand on Scully's thigh.

Scully spread her legs, then using both hands, spread her lips. Fletcher dropped her head and began to lick Scully very slowly, very deliberately. Her tongue probed, gently at first, then deeply, almost roughly.

"Oh, god, Fletcher...so good..."

Her hands moved to the sides of Fletcher's head and she held Fletcher's head tightly. <So good...so good...I'm so close...>. She moaned loudly as she moved up against Fletcher's face. Fletcher's hand was suddenly pulling one of her hands back and returning it to her clit. <What does she want?...should I touch myself again?...I'll come if I do...> She pulled on her clit, waiting for the explosion that was on its way.

Fletcher withdrew her tongue from Scully and her lips found Scully's fingers. She took them into her mouth briefly, then began to suck on her clit. She slipped her thumb into Scully, turning it back and forth. Scully continued to pull back on her clit, wanting Fletcher to suck it harder.

"Oh, Fletcher...I'm coming...don't stop...please...oh, yes...yes..." Her hips lifted from the bed and she sobbed out loud, her hands on the back of Fletcher's head. "Fletcher...oh, god..."

Fletcher moved her body up and her mouth captured a nipple. She continued to drive her thumb in and out, rocking her body with Scully's, beginning to bring Scully to another orgasm.

The phone on the nightstand began to ring. Fletcher stopped what she was doing, jarred by the noise, the loudness of the ring.

"Don't answer it," she groaned.

"I have to." She reached for the phone and cleared her throat before answering. "Hello?" she said, trying to sound matter-of-fact.

Fletcher's thumb slipped out of her <Oh, no, don't go, Fletcher> and Scully almost moaned at the loss. <Damn, almost _there_ again...> she thought.

"It's me, Scully."

"Mulder..." Scully sighed. <He has the _worst_ timing in the world.> Suddenly, Fletcher had slid two fingers back inside of her. <Oh, god, that feels _so_ good.> She shifted, her legs spreading back apart.

"Why aren't you coming to work tomorrow?"

<Because hopefully I'll be _coming_ all day> she thought, her mind focusing on Fletcher's fingers faintly stirring deep inside. She stifled a sigh as her muscles contracted around Fletcher's fingers.

"I need to take a personal day."

"Everything okay?" he asked, concerned. <Scully _never_ takes personal days> he thought.

"Everything's -" Fletcher pushed a little deeper into Scully and Scully had to bite her lip to keep from gasping out loud. "- fine, Mulder," she said in a tight voice.

"I just wanted to be sure. I know you haven't seen Fletcher in awhile..."

"It's been almost two weeks, Mulder, and I'm okay with it now."

"Why now?" Scully didn't answer, couldn't really answer. Fletcher had taken her nipple into her mouth and whatever it was she was doing with her tongue, well, it felt wonderful. "Scully, is Fletcher there?"

"Yes," she managed to say.

"When did she get back?"

"Mulder..."

Fletcher lifted her head. "Will you just tell him goodbye and that we'll see him on Saturday?" she said with some irritation in her voice.

"Am I interrupting something?" he asked.

"Honestly, yes, you are, Mulder."

"Sorry." <Oh, brother, I wonder what _exactly_ I'm interrupting?>

"I'll call you tomorrow, Mulder. Okay? Goodnight."

She pressed the disconnect button, not even waiting for Mulder's goodbye. Fletcher took the cordless phone from her and tossed it into the closet. It bounced off the wall and landed softly into the laundry basket.

"I don't want any further interruptions," she said, her mouth returning to Scully's breast.

Scully slid her hand down Fletcher's chest, then her stomach. Her fingers stopped briefly to feel the wiry, damp curls before continuing their downward path.

"You're so swollen, Fletcher," she said, taking her clit between her thumb and index finger and rolling it ever so softly. "...and so wet..."

"Because of you, Red...all because of you..."

Fletcher moved her fingers again, feeling Scully's respond. <Oh, yeah, Red...I love being inside of you...> Without warning, Scully shoved two fingers up into Fletcher. Fletcher gasped out loud.

"Oh, Scully...oh, god, that feels great..."

"I want to make you come, Fletcher..."

"It won't take much..."

"Come with me..."

"Oh, Red..." Fletcher moaned.

Fletcher let Scully find the pace for them as they rocked together in a slow and steady rhythm. When the pace began to increase, Scully reached up and drew Fletcher's face down. She kissed her again and again, almost bruising her lips, until she threw her head back, her body straining with the force of her climax.

Fletcher looked down at Scully. Their eyes met one last time before they came. <There it is...> Fletcher thought. <That connection for me...for us...she feels it too...I know she does...I...oh, goddess, I'm coming...> Fletcher shut her eyes and felt herself surrender to the powerful orgasm that shook her own body.

They clutched at one another, holding each other tightly until the tremors stopped. Fletcher kissed her gently on the lips, her body still fully on top of Scully's.

"Oh, Red...incredible...you're so goddamned incredible..." she sighed.

"You're not so bad yourself..." Scully said, a small smirk crossing her face.

"So glad you approve..." She began to withdraw her fingers from Scully, but Scully grabbed her wrist. "What's wrong, Red?"

"Nothing. Just leave them in. I want to fall asleep with you still in me..."

"Red, keep talking like that I may just have to make you come again..."

"Maybe later, Fletcher...right now, you just feel so good to me, in me...I just want to sleep this way..."

Fletcher kissed Scully as tenderly as she could, trying again to convey her feelings with her actions. <Oh, Red, I don't _think_ I'm in love with you. I _know_ I am.>

"I won't leave, Red...get some sleep..." she whispered, kissing Scully again.


Friday, October 30, 10:00 AM

After stopping at Fletcher's apartment so she could change her clothes, they stopped for breakfast.

"I love going out for breakfast after the morning rush," Fletcher said as they left the diner. "No crowds, and I can take my time."

"Well, you ate almost as much as Mulder usually does."

"Hey, I burned a lot of calories last night," she said with a grin.

"Where to now?" Scully asked, ignoring Fletcher's comment.

"Off to a store where I've got some goodies reserved for our costumes."

"Oh, really?"

"Yeah, the owner's an old friend."

<She looks so relaxed today> Scully thought as she watched Fletcher steer through the mid-morning traffic. <It's been weeks since I've seen her this stress-free.> Fletcher caught her looking and she smiled at Scully.

"Penny for your thoughts, Red?"

"Just daydreaming, I guess."

"I'm glad you took today off."

"It feels almost decadent to have stayed in bed until 8:00 on a weekday, and then not even go to work."

<And it sure was wonderful to wake up in your arms, Fletcher.>

"Doesn't it? I always try to take a day off when I really _need_ it, and I really needed one."

"I bet you did. You looked so tired last night."

"I was, but some time with a certain doctor and I'm cured."

Fletcher smiled again. <I sure am smiling a lot today, but I can't help it. I must look like the village idiot.> She tried to tone down her smile, but failed. <I just feel so fucking good when I'm with her. I miss being with her. I need to be with her more.>

The words to an old song came to mind and she whistled the tune, not daring to sing the words out loud.

'Chances are 'cause I wear a silly grin the moment you come in to view, chances are you think that I'm in love with you.'

"Y'know, Red," Fletcher said, taking Scully's hand as they waited at a traffic light, "I have to tell you something."

"What?" <Fletcher has the oddest look on her face.>

"Last night - all our nights together - have been great. No, not great. The sex has been fantastic. For me anyway," she added.

"I hear a 'but' coming," Scully said.

"But this is what I've really missed."

"What?"

"Spending the day with you. We haven't done in it weeks."

"Well, our schedules haven't been very cooperative."

"I know, but me going away last weekend...I should've put it off, but I _had_ to take care of some family matters - financial stuff. I thought about asking you to go with me, but it wouldn't have been a very good trip. I was in meetings with lawyers and financial planners and it was all very time consuming."

<Finally, she's telling me why she went to Boston.> Scully stopped the sigh of relief that threatened to escape from her lips. <I was never _really_ worried. Not much, anyway.> Scully turned her head away from Fletcher and rolled her eyes. <Right, Dana. Just keep telling yourself that.>

"Well, anyway, I just wanted to thank you for taking the day off. I bet it was hard for you."

"I don't do it very often," Scully admitted.

"When was the last time you took a personal day just to play?" She chuckled when Scully didn't answer. "Just what I thought. You don't."

"Maybe I just never had a good enough reason to take a day."

<This conversation is getting a little too close for me> Fletcher thought. <Maybe I shouldn't have said anything.>

"My errand won't take very long," Fletcher said, changing the topic. "We'll be done by noon. Is there anything you'd especially like to do today?"

"Do you have anything in mind?"

"The only thing I _have_ to do is to stop by my house some time this weekend."

"Can we stay there tonight?"

"Sure." She smiled at Scully. "How about dinner and a movie?"

"Maybe."

"Surely there's something you'd like to do."

"I'm sure we can think of _something_."

"Oh, Red, I like the way you think," Fletcher grinned.


Fletcher parked in front of store with a black and white sign that said simply "MARVA'S". Scully followed Fletcher inside. Masks, vintage clothing, and costumes were hung everywhere. There was order to the outward chaos, but you had to really look for it.

A black woman looked up at the sound of the door. She came out from behind the counter. She was slender and tall, but not as tall as Fletcher. Her skin was dark and her eyes even darker. She smiled warmly at them. <She's beautiful> Scully thought. <Really, _really_ beautiful. Stunning, as a matter of fact.>

"Fletcher!"

"Marva, long time, no see," Fletcher greeted her.

"Get your ass over here and give me hug," she ordered in deep voice.

Fletcher laughed and went to her. They hugged one another closely. Scully felt an instant surge of jealousy, but then realized that they were holding each other as close friends, nothing more. <Still, I wonder if they have some sort of a past.>

"Looking good, Fletcher."

"You too." She turned to Scully, her arm still loosely around Marva's waist. "Marva, I want you to meet a _very_ good friend of mine, Dana Scully. Scully, this is Marva Owens, the best damn makeup artist and costume consultant in the entire metro region, Baltimore included."

"Pleased to meet you," Scully said, extending her hand.

"Likewise."

"Do you have everything, Marva?"

"Oh, yes, and I outdid myself, if I do say so myself."

"Is it in the back?" Fletcher asked.

"As always. I thought you'd forget."

"Why?"

"It has been a long time since you've been here," she said, her tone gently reprimanding Fletcher.

"I've been busy."

"I can _see_ that," she said, looking at Scully.

"Glad you understand," Fletcher laughed.

"Always. I know you _so_ well, Fletcher."

"Sometimes too well," Fletcher replied, a sheepish grin on her face.

"Let's go look at what I've got for you."

Marva gestured to the other clerk to watch the counter. She opened the door to the rooms in the back.

"Still the best _white_ ass in D.C.," Marva laughed as she followed Fletcher and Scully to the back of her shop.

Scully's eyes widened and she looked at Fletcher. She was amazed to see Fletcher's cheeks redden in embarrassment. She wanted to laugh out loud. Even Mulder couldn't make her blush.

"What do you want to see first?" she asked Fletcher.

"My makeup and costume."

"Well, get your jacket off and try this padding on first."

Fletcher handed Scully her jacket, then pulled the soft pads over her shoulders.

"If you put on a t-shirt, preferably a long sleeved one, you'll just look a little muscle-bound around the shoulders and biceps. Beef you up a little."

<Beef her up?> Scully thought. <She's already got broad shoulders.>

Fletcher moved around and flexed her arms.

"How does it feel?" Marva asked.

"Pretty good."

"Here's your coat," she said, dropping an old, black, men's suitcoat into Fletcher's hands. "I hemmed the sleeves up so they'll be about two inches too short. You should wear some plain, black pants - chinos would work fine - and heavy black shoes or boots. Try a pair of Doc Martens or those military boots you seem to like so much." Marva looked at Scully, then rolled her eyes. "She has the _worst_ taste in shoes."

Scully laughed, agreeing with Marva.

"I do not," Fletcher protested. "I just prefer comfort and practicality over style."

"You can have all three if you'd just take the time to look," Marva countered.

"Now _that_ is something I don't have much of, and when I do have it, there are other things that I'd rather be doing."

"I'm sure," she laughed.

Marva motioned to Fletcher to sit, then pulled Fletcher's hair back.

"Would you give me a hand, Dana?"

"Sure. What do you need me to do?"

"Hold her hair back off her forehead."

Scully stood behind Fletcher and did as she was instructed. <Hard to believe it was only a few hours ago that I was running my fingers through her hair...> She pressed her body into Fletcher's back. She saw Fletcher's neck flush a faint pink and smiled. Scully watched as Marva carefully fitted some sort of clay over Fletcher's forehead. She fussed a few minutes before stepping back to admire her handiwork.

"What do you think, Dana?"

Scully came around in front of Fletcher to look at her. Marva's talents had given Fletcher a very Frankenstein-like brow, complete with a very realistic scar across the top.

"Wow," was all Scully could say at first. "That's really good."

"Thanks. It's been fun creating it." She handed a small bag to Fletcher. "Here's the makeup to match the skin tone. It's got a very faint hint of green to it." She dropped four metal pieces into Fletcher's hands. "I guess you could call these electrodes? I've put some glue in the bag so you can attach your's and your bride's."

Scully grinned, thinking once again about Mulder as the Bride of Frankenstein.

"And the _bride's_ costume?" Fletcher asked.

"In the other bags. I included falsies to fit the bra you told me to get. I also put in step-by-step instructions for applying the makeup. I wasn't sure if you were doing it yourself or not."

"Well, Scully here will make sure I do it right."

"Thank goodness. I know all about your lack of skill in the makeup department." Marva turned her attention to Scully. "Dana, do you need any help with your costume?"

"I just thought I'd wear scrubs and a lab coat."

"No, no, that won't work at all." Marva looked appalled. "You absolutely _must_ wear black pants and an old-fashioned surgical gown," she said in an overly dramatic tone. "You should also tease your hair out a bit, give yourself that crazy scientist look," she added, taking Scully's hair in hand and rearranging it.

"She's right, Scully," Fletcher agreed.

"Do you have anything to help me out?" Scully asked.

"I think so. Let me check my computer."

She left the room. Scully looked over at Fletcher, who was still sitting in the chair.

"She did really good job on your makeup, Fletcher."

"I knew she would."

"She's very talented. Aren't her skills kind of wasted in a small shop like this?"

"She's always wanted to own her own business. She still does consulting for all the major theaters and college drama departments in the area. She goes in, designs the makeup, sometimes the costumes, trains the staff, then leaves, her wallet substantially heavier."

"How'd you meet her?"

"Working a case. I had to do some research and she was highly recommended."

Scully wanted to ask, but didn't dare. <I wonder if they slept together? I've got to stop this, or I'll drive myself crazy every single time I meet one of her friends.>

"What does she have for Mulder?"

"It's a secret. I don't want to spoil the surprise," Fletcher grinned slyly.

Marva returned to the room, a large smile on her face. She handed Scully an old surgical gown.

"You're in luck. Try this on."

Scully slipped her arms through and Marva fastened it behind her.

"It's perfect," Scully said. "Thank you."

"Anytime. Any friend of Fletcher's is a friend of mine."

"Speaking of which," Fletcher interrupted. "How's your other half?"

"Karrin's doing very well, thank you very much. She was finally made an attending in the Peds Department at St. John's."

"Excellent!"

"Well, it's good and it's bad," Marva allowed. "She's finally getting paid what she deserves, but I barely see her during the week."

"We'll all have to get together soon."

"As long as you're cooking or buying."

"Sure. You can both spend the weekend at my house. Maybe next month or after the holidays."

"That'd be great."

"In the meantime, let's get this money matter squared away." Fletcher handed Marva a credit card. "Put Scully's costume on my card, too."

"Okay."


After chatting with Marva for a few more minutes, Fletcher and Scully left.

"I like her, Fletcher. I hope we can spend some time with her."

"Glad you approve. We go back eight or nine years. She's helped me through some tough times and we've stayed good friends." Fletcher put her hand on Scully's knee. "So, where to now, Red?"

"I need to stop back at my apartment for a change of clothes."

"And after that?"

"Use your imagination," Scully said coyly.

End Chapter 16


Saturday, Halloween, 6:45 PM, Fletcher's Apartment

"What was Mulder doing?" Fletcher asked as she pulled the pads out of the bag and tossed them onto the bed. She reached into the dresser drawer and took out a black t-shirt with three-quarter length sleeves.

"Sitting on the sofa and talking to himself about how he was never going to agree to anything you suggested ever again," Scully laughed, sitting down on the bed.

"What a sore loser." She looked over and caught Scully yawning. "A little tired, Red?"

"I didn't get much sleep last night."

"Why's that?" she asked with a somewhat smug grin on her face.

"A certain _someone_ kept me up most of the night."

"I didn't hear anyone complaining," Fletcher said innocently, looking through her closet for her pants.

"I'm not complaining now. Just stating a fact."

"What happened to that nap you were going to take?"

"Very funny, Fletcher. You know damn well that my nap today turned into a little afternoon delight for you."

"And for you too, Red." She walked over to Scully, pulled her up from the bed and hugged her. "I just can't help myself when I get you alone. I feel like I've got to make up for all that lost time."

She bent her head and kissed Scully gently on the lips. Her hands crept down, cupping Scully's buttocks as she pulled her against her body. Scully sighed, opening her mouth and drawing Fletcher's tongue inside. She shifted her body so that she was straddling Fletcher's thigh. She could feel Fletcher's body respond to her kisses and Scully smiled.

<Enough> Scully thought. <We don't have time for this. I never should've started anything.> She stepped back from Fletcher's embrace, her hands pushing Fletcher's hands away.

"We don't have time, Fletcher."

"Oh, you're a cruel woman, Dana Scully," Fletcher breathed heavily.

"And you need to cool off," she replied, a smile on her lips.

"Keep kissing me like that and I'll never cool off."

"Work on it," Scully laughed.

Fletcher tried to scowl, but laughed instead. She gently tugged Scully back into her arms and began to kiss her neck. <How about a little tit-for-tat, Red?> Fletcher thought. <You start me up and then just stop? Uh uh. Not fair.>

"Fletcher..." Scully weakly pushed against Fletcher's chest.

"Y'know, Red, if Mulder wasn't sitting in the livingroom..." Fletcher began to nibble at Scully's neck, behind her ear, then down to her shoulder.

"What?"

<Does she know what she does to me when she starts talking to me like that?> Scully thought. <And when she kisses my neck...right...there...yes, that's the spot...> Scully sighed, her body beginning to respond to Fletcher's words and touches.

"I'd take you right here, right now," Fletcher continued, her hands slipping under Scully's sweater, her thumbs drawing circles around and on her nipples.

"Fletcher..."

<My legs feel so weak...> Scully thought. <I love it when she touches my nipples that way...Damn, she's making me so wet...>

"And I'd make you come long, hard and loud, just like this afternoon..." she finished, her lips gently sucking on Scully's collarbone.

Scully moaned, her mind and body recalling what had happened only hours earlier. She felt another flood of warmth between her legs. <We can't do this...Mulder's only a few feet away...no, not now...>

"Fletcher, please...we really don't have time for this..." Scully said, wishing Fletcher would stop, but her body wanting Fletcher to continue.

"Okay, Red," she said simply, releasing Scully.

<Now who's being cruel> Scully groaned at the suddeness of Fletcher's departure.

Fletcher turned her back to Scully and pulled off her shirt. She pulled on the pads and the shirt, then she put on the suitcoat.

"How do I look?" she asked.

"What?" Scully asked, still a little bewildered at Fletcher's actions. <How can she do that? Just turn it on and off like it wasn't anything?>

"I said, how do I look?" Fletcher repeated, turning around once to show off her costume.

"You look like a football player or a body builder," Scully commented.

"But does it look real?" she asked, taking off her jeans.

"Yes. It hides your chest and makes you look very muscular." <And you'd better put your pants on soon, Fletcher Buchanan or I'm going to give you a little taste of your own medicine.>

"Good, good." She reached for her black pants. "Aren't you going to change?"

"Not yet. I thought I'd wait until after I did your makeup and Mulder's makeup. I don't want to get any on my costume."

Fletcher stepped into her pants and pulled them up. She paused before zipping them up, an evil grin on her face.

"What's that look for?" Scully asked.

"Is there anything else you'd like to add to your creation, Doctor?"

"Meaning?"

"Any missing 'equipment' you'd like to give your Frankenstein?"

"I don't get it."

"Figure it out, Red," she laughed.

Scully looked at Fletcher's face, then her hands that remained on the waistband of her pants. Fletcher looked down at her zipper, then back at Scully. She raised one eyebrow.

"Fletcher..." Scully blushed deeply, finally understanding what Fletcher meant by 'equipment'.

"Y'know, Scully, I started calling you 'Red' because of your hair. I think I should've called you that because of your propensity for blushing," Fletcher laughed.


Saturday, 7:15 PM

Mulder stood in the livingroom, wearing a plain gray t-shirt and a pair of sweat pants. He looked down at the clothes on the couch. He picked up the high heeled shoes, then dropped them. "I'm not wearing these."

"Then what'll you wear?"

"My sneakers. That - that dress," he cringed as he said the word, "looks long enough to hide them."

"We'll see."

He picked up the large white bra and held it up in front of him.

"What size bra did you get?" he asked.

"44-D," Fletcher said, hiding her smile.

"I'll be _huge_," Mulder whined.

"Hey, if the good Dr. Frankenstein here is making me a 'bride', she damned well better make me one with big tits, especially since you ain't much to look at Mulder."

"You're no catch, either, Fletcher."

"If you two don't stop bickering, I'll..." <I'll what? Turn the car around?> Scully thought. <Now I know how my parents must've felt. How many times did I hear 'Don't make me stop this car'? Fletcher and Mulder's bickering is worse than Bill and Charlie's _ever_ was.>

She turned her attention back to Mulder. He wasn't about to go down without a fight, without expressing his displeasure at least several more times. He grumbled and fussed before finally putting it on over his t-shirt. Scully stepped behind him and fastened it.

"And how am I supposed to fill it?" he asked, looking at the empty, sagging cups.

"What do you think, Fletcher?" Scully asked, a tiny smile on her face.

"Well, you could always go with the old standby," Fletcher said, her arms crossed in front of her, a semi-serious look on her face.

"Which is?" Mulder asked warily.

"Kleenex."

"No, I think he needs something else."

"Yeah, he needs something to make them a little perkier," Fletcher grinned, pulling at the cups and pretending to look inside of them.

"Cut it out," Mulder complained, twisting away from Fletcher.

"Good thing _all_ your cups aren't empty, Mulder," Fletcher grinned.

"You're really enjoying this, aren't you?" Mulder said, pouting.

"Oh, very much so," Fletcher laughed.

"Hmmm. What to use, what to use..." Scully pondered, circling Mulder, her finger tapping her lips.

"Oh, what have we here," Fletcher commented, reaching into the bag. She smiled and handed Mulder the falsies.

"No way," he groaned. "Nope." He folded his arms across his chest.

"Oh, yes, sir. A deal's a deal. You've got to be suitably attired."

"If that's the case, I don't see _you_ stuffing yourself, Fletcher," Mulder said with a smirk.

"What do you mean?" Scully asked.

"You know what I mean, don't you?" he said, looking at Fletcher.

"I don't need to stuff myself, Wonder Boy. I've got _plenty_," she laughed.

"Hardly."

"Oh, bite me, Spooky," Fletcher grinned, grabbing her crotch.

"Fletcher!" Scully's voice sounded like a reprimand.

"Sorry, Red. Mulder just brings out the juvenile delinquent in me."

"Yeah, right, blame it all on me," Mulder said, his eyes rolling.

"Honestly, you two can be a bit much," Scully said, exasperated. "I keep forgetting I'm the only adult in the room."

Fletcher ignored Scully's remark. She picked up her camera and snapped a couple of shots of Mulder and Scully.

"So help me, Fletcher, if anyone else sees those photos..." Mulder warned.

"Relax, Spooky. I'll develop them myself."

"Mulder, will you finish getting dressed so I can do your makeup?" Scully asked.

"I can't fucking believe I'm doing this..." he swore, fumbling with the falsies.

"Oh, let me. You haven't got a clue," Fletcher said, setting down her camera.

"And you do?"

Fletcher took the falsies from Mulder and put them in the bra.

"Gee, Mulder, you're almost as big as..."

"Don't say it."

"Well, put it this way. Next year you can go as Dolly Parton."

Scully held the dress out to him. He looked at her, his eyes saying 'I'll never forgive you for this one, Scully.' She smiled and thrust the dress into his hands.

"After this year, I may never go to another Halloween party again," he mumbled.

Mulder pulled the off-white cotton dress over his head. He struggled with it until Scully came over and helped him pull it down. She zipped it up, then stepped in front of him to get a good look.

"Very nice, Mulder. Very, uh, bride-like."

She covered her mouth with her hand, trying to smother the laugh.

"Go ahead and say it, Scully."

"I'm sorry, Mulder." She giggled. "I was just thinking that this isn't quite what my mother had in mind when she pictured a wedding for us."

Mulder gave her one of his patented smirks and waited for her laughter to subside.

She patted the chair. "Have a seat."

Mulder sat down and Scully wrapped a towel around him. She carefully followed the notes Marva had provided. When she finished, she stepped back. Mulder almost looked feminine. There was only a hint of eye shadow and blush. It was the lips that did Fletcher in. They were deep red, almost black.

"Oh, man, Mulder, you're...you're...I'm speechless..." She choked back her laughter.

"Where are the electrodes, Fletcher?" Scully asked.

"In my pocket. Want to get them yourself?" she grinned.

"I don't think so," Scully replied, holding her hand out.

Fletcher dropped them into her hand, then handed her the glue.

"Don't forget, Fletcher. You're next," Mulder warned.

"What's that supposed to mean?"

"It means, behave yourself," he replied.

"Yes, _ma'am_," Fletcher cracked.

"You two are worse than teenagers, I swear," Scully muttered.

After she attached the electrodes to Mulder's neck, she motioned to Fletcher to sit down. Fletcher flopped down on the chair and grinned.

"Better stop smiling, Fletcher. I don't think I recall Frankenstein the monster ever smiling," Mulder said, opening a beer.

"Don't you dare drink that beer, Mulder," Scully ordered.

"Why not?"

"I don't want to have to keep fixing your lipstick. Go find a straw in the kitchen."

"Why, oh why, couldn't I have picked Igor," Mulder muttered under his breath as he left the room.

Scully stepped between Fletcher's legs and leaned over, makeup in hand. Fletcher quickly looked over her shoulder to see if Mulder was still in the room. When she didn't see him, she began to lift her hand. Scully caught the movement out of the corner of her eye.

"Move it and lose it," Scully warned in her best 'federal agent' voice.

"Okay, whatever you say, Red."

"What has gotten into you, Fletcher?" Scully asked, beginning to apply the makeup.

"Other than you?" Fletcher retorted.

"You are _so_ bad."

"It's Halloween. Of course I'm going to be bad." Fletcher tried out her most charming smile. "If I promise not to play any tricks on you, will I get a treat?"

Scully smiled, unable to stop herself. She thought about the black lace underwear she'd packed and blushed. "I've already taken care of it."

"Oh, really? I love it when you surprise me, Red."

"Good. Now sit still. I'm almost done."

Fletcher sat calmly as Scully finished applying the makeup. She held her hair back herself as Scully attached the false forehead. After she affixed the electrodes, Scully leaned over and kissed Fletcher lightly on the lips, not realizing that Mulder had returned to the room and was watching.

"All set, Frankenstein," she said, stepping back.

<Still in the honeymoon phase> Mulder thought, sipping his beer through a straw. <I wonder how long _that's_ going to last? Still, Scully does look pretty happy whenever she's around Fletcher. And Fletcher, well, I guess I haven't seen her this ga-ga over anyone since Starling.>

"Nice job, Scully," he complimented her.

"Thanks."

"You need to go get dressed, Scully. I want to add the final piece to Mulder's costume in private."

"Okay, but don't wreck my hard work."

"We won't," they promised.

Scully went into the bedroom and took out her change of clothes. She smiled as she put on the black lace bra and panties. <My little post-party surprise for Fletcher.> She quickly pulled on the black pants and white turtleneck. She tossed the surgical gown on the bed, then sat in front of the dresser and began to tease her hair out, trying to make it as wild as she could without overdoing it. <I wish I had paid more attention to Melissa and her friends when they used to tease their hair in high school.> She set the comb down. <Well, that will have to do.>

She picked up the surgical gown and walked back into the livingroom. She stopped dead in her tracks, her eyes wide open. Mulder and Fletcher were sitting next to each other on the sofa. Atop Mulder's head was a wig that stood at least a foot high. If it had been blue instead of black with white streaks it would've passed for Marge Simpson's hair. <God, that's perfect> Scully thought.

"Well, if it isn't the happy couple," she said laughing.

End Chapter 17


Saturday, Halloween, 9:15 PM

They could hear the music from the party when they pulled into the parking lot. A friend of the Lone Gunmen had rented an empty storefront in an abandoned strip mall. The windows had been covered with the usual tacky Halloween decorations - witches, black cats, skeletons, ghosts, cobwebs and the like.

"Well, it looks a little better from the outside than last year's party," Scully commented as they approached the entrance.

"It's because they've got a cover charge this year," Mulder explained.

A large man, taller than Mulder and at least fifty pounds heavier, stood in the doorway, his body covered in gauze.

"The mummy, right?" Mulder asked.

"Your powers of observation never fail to amaze me, Mulder," Fletcher said sarcastically.

"Five bucks, please," the mountain of bandages rumbled.

"I've got it," Fletcher said, reaching into her pocket and taking out a small wad of cash. She handed him a twenty.

"I hope the drinks aren't more expensive than last year," Mulder said, ignoring Fletcher's comment as the bouncer stamped a black jack-o-lantern on the back of his hand.

"Still two bucks for a beer, a buck for a soda," he answered.

"Well, who's the designated driver tonight?" Fletcher asked.

"Mulder's already had several beers."

"Do you want to drink or drive?" Fletcher asked Scully.

"I'm not a big beer drinker. I'll drive."

"Great. Here you go," she said, handing Scully the keys.

They walked further into the dimly lit room. The interior design followed the exterior decorating scheme, only to excess. Dry ice had been thrown into several buckets strategically placed around the room and the vapors filled the air. There were at least two, and possibly more, mirrored balls hanging down from the ceiling, spinning slowly. The 'Peppermint Twist' blared from the speakers.

"Oldies?" Fletcher said, trying to raise one eyebrow but failing because of the makeup.

"The first hour is 60's, the second hour 70's and so on," he explained.

"Remind me to disappear at 10:00," Fletcher said. "I'm not much for disco. Anyone ready for a drink?"

"I could use another," Mulder said.

"Remember the rules," Fletcher said, trying not to shout to be heard over the music which had suddenly increased in volume. "If you set your drink down, leave it and get another one. I don't want anyone taking any chances. We don't know everyone here."

"Yes, mom," Mulder smirked.

"I'll go get the first round," Fletcher offered. "Beer, Mulder?" He nodded. "Scully, what do you want?"

"Diet Coke, Pepsi. Anything's fine, really."

"Okay. I'll be right back."

She disappeared into the thick crowd of aliens, Borg, vampires, and ghosts. Scully watched the crowd in amazement. Star Trek seemed to be well-represented, every character in abundance, though Star Wars was a close second. She looked at Mulder, his eyes on the crowd as well. <He finally looks relaxed enough to enjoy himself> she thought. <Good. I suppose the beer he drank on the way helped.>

A short man in a powder blue track suit with some sort of animal ears and nose attached to his face walked toward them. A number was pinned to the front of chest and a long tail hung from the back.

<I don't get it. What is he, a ferret? What's the number for?> Scully thought. <He looks familiar...Frohike?> Scully silently groaned.

"Great costume, Mulder," he said, laughing.

"I could say the same about yours, Frohike, if I could figure out what you're supposed to be."

<Thank you for asking, Mulder> Scully thought. <I thought I was the only one who didn't know what it was.>

"Think rodents and sports," he said cryptically.

"Sorry, my brain must be fogged from the noise," Mulder said.

"Rats," Frohike said.

"Excuse me?" Mulder replied, not sure if he'd heard him correctly.

"I'm a member of the rat race," he explained.

"Clever."

Frohike turned to Scully. "Dr. Frankenstein, I presume?"

Scully placed a small, faintly amused smile on her face. "Yes." She saw Fletcher returning with their drinks and her smile widened. Fletcher nodded hello to Frohike and handed a can of beer to Mulder and a can of diet soda to Scully.

"And I was so hoping you'd grace us with something a bit more flattering," Frohike continued.

"Something more _revealing_, I suppose."

"That's between me, myself and I," he leered unsuccessfully. "Would you like to dance?"

"Uh, no, thank you. I have a date," she said, taking Fletcher's arm. She felt Fletcher flinch ever so slightly. If she hadn't been holding her arm, she never would've known it. <What's the matter with Fletcher?> she thought.

Frohike raised one eyebrow, looked at Mulder, then Fletcher, but said nothing. He spotted someone else he knew and disappeared into the crowd after excusing himself.

"Great move, Scully," Mulder said with a smirk, taking a swallow from his beer.

"Why?"

"Why don't you tell your 'date' on the dance floor," Mulder said to Fletcher, who was chugging her beer.

"Do you want to dance, Scully?" Fletcher asked as a new song started, this one slower and not as loud.

"I guess so. Sure."

Fletcher quickly finished her beer as Scully handed Mulder her soda. Fletcher took Scully's hand and led her to the dance floor. <Good song for us> Fletcher thought. <Good ol' Aretha and 'Natural Woman'>. She smiled and put her right hand on Scully's hip and took Scully's other hand in her left hand. Scully laid her hand on Fletcher's right shoulder.

"Well, this is a first," Fletcher said.

"What's that?"

"We've never danced together before. Are you sure you're okay with this?"

"I doubt most people know you're a woman. In this crowd, with all the beer being drunk and the drugs that are probably being consumed, I'm sure you'll pass as a man."

Fletcher pulled Scully closer, her thigh pressing against Scully's mons. Her hand slipped from Scully's hip to the small of her back. Her fingers slowly traced small circles over the base of Scully's spine. She laid her cheek against Scully's, her breath hot against her neck.

"Keep that up, Fletcher, and we may have to ditch Mulder."

"We won't be going anywhere for awhile."

"Oh, really? Why do you say that?"

"You know how I like to tease you," Fletcher grinned.

Scully slid her hand down Fletcher's chest, her hand brushing against Fletcher's breast before resting on her hip. She hooked her finger into the waistband of Fletcher's pants.

"Two can play that game, Fletcher."

"Ooh, I like those kind of games, Red," she replied, a lascivious smile on her face. "Nobody loses. We both win."

She spun Scully once, her thigh still lodged between Scully's legs.

"Fletcher?" Scully asked, trying hard not to concentrate on the ever increasing pressure that Fletcher was placing on her clit with her thigh.

"Yes?"

"What did Mulder mean earlier, with Frohike?"

"Oh, Red..." Fletcher sighed. "Frohike knows me. All of the Lone Gunmen know me."

"What are you saying?"

"You just 'outed' yourself to Frohike."

"Frohike?" Scully's face crumpled in disbelief. "Does he know about you?"

"That I'm gay? Yup."

Scully buried her face against Fletcher's shoulder. "Do you mean to tell me that the first person I've told other than Mulder was _Frohike_?"

"Yup."

"Oh, no..."

"Relax, Red. At least he'll leave you alone now."

"Yes, there is that." Scully's smile was small. "Fletcher, is it too late to change my mind?"

Fletcher took in a deep breath. "About what?" <Don't panic. Breathe. Find out what she's talking about first.>

"Do you think you could drive tonight? I need a drink or three."

"Sure." Fletcher tried not to sigh out loud with relief. "I've only had one beer."

"Thanks."

Fletcher let go of Scully's hand and put her arms around Scully's waist. Fletcher stopped dancing suggestively and instead held Scully, affectionately, lovingly. They danced to the rest of the song in silence, each lost in their own thoughts, their bodies swaying together with the music.

"Y'know, Red, you had me a little worried there for a minute," Fletcher said as they walked off the dance floor.

"How so?"

"I thought you were going to...well, change your mind about _me_. About _us_."

"Oh, no, don't worry, Fletcher. I don't think I'll be changing my mind about that." Scully squeezed Fletcher's hand.

"How about you get us a couple of drinks? I'm going to ask my bride to dance," Fletcher said, changing the topic.

"Okay. What do you want?"

"Anything but diet."

"I'll be right back."

Fletcher sauntered over to Mulder who was talking to a small group of people dressed like aliens. <How appropriate for Mulder> she thought with a grin. "Excuse me," she said taking Mulder's hand and pulling him away from the group.

"C'mon, wallflower, let's dance," she laughed.

"Fletcher..."

"Loosen up, Mulder."

Fletcher pulled Mulder onto the dance floor. He took Fletcher's hand, beginning to lead.

"Uh, uh. Nice try, Spooky. I'm leading."

"Why do _you_ get to lead?"

"Who's wearing the dress tonight?" She firmly took hold of Mulder's hand and began to lead him in the dance.

"This is too weird," he said looking over her shoulder at the crowd, hoping no one saw them dancing.

"Will you relax?"

"You'd better behave yourself, Fletcher."

"Why do you say that? Afraid I'll cop a feel of those 44's?" She laughed out loud at the face he made.

"I'm never coming to Halloween party again with you," he whined.

"Sure you will. It's tradition. I'm just sorry I missed last year's."

"Why?"

"Then I could've met Scully last year."

"I never would've introduced you then."

"Then why did you introduce us now?"

"I don't know."

Fletcher began to whistle the theme song to the 'Twilight Zone'. "Looks like you've found another X-File, Wonder Boy."

"I need another beer," he said, letting go of Fletcher's hand as the song ended.

"Thanks for the dance, Spooky. I sure hope I didn't waste the last slow dance of the night on such an uncooperative partner."

"Meaning?"

"I'd better have another slow song to dance to with Scully."

"I'm sure you will. If not, I'm sure the lack of the music won't stop you," he smirked. "Nothing stops you two from..."

"From what?"

"Never mind." <I'm not going _there_ tonight> Mulder thought.

They walked over to Scully who'd returned with another round of drinks. Mulder quickly took his beer and took a long swallow from it.

"What a cute couple you make," Scully needled Mulder.

"I'll never forgive you - either of you - for this."

"So much for suffering in silence," Fletcher said, rolling her eyes at him.

"It's only for one night, Mulder," Scully said, trying to sound sympathetic.

"Hey, Spooky, I've got a great idea for next year."

"What?" he asked warily.

"You'll love it. You can wear your everyday clothes."

"What is it?" he repeated.

"Scully here can dress up like an angel and I'll dress up as the devil. You can go as yourself."

"I don't get it," he said, a puzzled look on his face.

"The Good," she said nodding at Scully, "the Bad," she said, placing her hand on her own chest, "and the Ugly," she snorted, pointing at Mulder.

Scully burst out laughing, then giggled when she saw the wounded look on Mulder's face, which was only made worse by the makeup.

"I'm just teasing you, Spooky," Fletcher grinned, her arm around his neck.

"Why do you have to be so mean, Fletcher?" he whined. "What have I ever done to you?"

"Do you want me to start listing everything chronologically, or would you prefer another method?"

"Forget I said _anything_," he grumbled. "I'm going to go find someone else to talk to, someone a little less cruel."

"But, honey, it's our wedding night..." Fletcher called after him.

He walked off in a huff to the sounds of their laughter.


Saturday, 11:35 PM

Scully set down another empty can of beer. She slipped her arm around Fletcher's waist.

"Where's Mulder?" she asked Fletcher.

"Off with that bunch of aliens again. I think they're from the local chapter of MUFON. They think he's their Lancelot in their quest for the Holy Grail of UFOs."

Scully giggled, the beer affecting her more than she thought. "Fletcher, is there a bathroom in this place? My bladder feels as though it's about to burst."

"In the back, past the bar, I think."

"Come with me."

"Every chance I get." Fletcher smiled.

"Fletcher..." Scully shook her head. "Help me find the bathroom."

"Anything for you, Dr. Frankenstein."

She followed Scully toward the back of the room, her legs stiff and her arms in front of her, imitating Frankenstein. Scully stopped and asked several people for directions before locating the hallway. Two women, one dressed as a vampire and the other dressed as Elvira - <Now there's a costume I haven't seen in years> Scully thought - walked toward them. They were both giggling and their eyes were bloodshot.

"Is the bathroom this way?" Scully asked.

"All yours," Elvira said with a knowing laugh. "Last door on the left."

Fletcher immediately smelled the smoke and knew the two women hadn't been smoking cigarettes. The vampire's lipstick was smeared and Elvira was sporting what appeared to be a fresh little 'love bite' on her neck. Fletcher grinned at them and quickly winked.

"Thanks," Fletcher said, nodding once to the women.

"Don't mention it. Have a good time."

The two women continued down the hall, laughing and holding on to one another.

"What did she mean by that, Fletcher?"

"Oh, nothing. She was just being polite, I guess."

<Geez, she must be drunk> Fletcher thought. <She's not _that_ na•ve.>

"Do you want to go first?" Scully asked, opening the door.

"No, you go ahead. I haven't had that much to drink. I'll wait here for you."

Fletcher leaned back against the wall, her arms folded across her chest. Scully looked around the bathroom before closing the door. It was tiny, surprisingly clean and full of smoke. She could hardly see in the dim light. It took Scully a few moments to recognize that it wasn't cigarette smoke.

<When was the last time I smelled pot? I certainly remember the first time - > she smiled to herself <God, how old was I then? Junior year of high school, I must've been 16. One of the few times Mom and Dad let me go anywhere for a weekend by myself.>

* * * * *

"That's not a cigarette, Melissa."

"Relax, Dana. It's only pot," Melissa said, holding the joint out to Scully.

"It's still a drug."

"Oh, don't be such goody-goody. Just live it up for once."

"I don't smoke," she countered.

"Bullshit, Dana. I've seen you swiping Mom's cigarettes."

"I don't do that anymore."

"Do you ever do _anything_ even a little bit bad?"

"No."

"Just try it, Dana. I won't tell and if you don't like it, I won't bother you anymore about it. You know what Dad always says."

"What?"

"Don't tell me you don't like something until you've tried it," Melissa said in a voice sounding a lot like their father.

"He was talking about food," Scully protested.

"He was talking about life," Melissa explained, trying to sound worldly and profound. "C'mon, Dana, just this once."

"What do I do?" she asked, taking the joint from Melissa.

"Inhale slowly, but hold it in as long as you can, then exhale really slowly."

* * * * *

<I didn't get high that time much to Melissa's disappointment> Scully thought, a small, sad smile on her face. <I only embarrassed myself by coughing non-stop. I suppose it was just as well. I don't think I would've liked that slightly out-of-control feeling that comes with being high.>

She washed her hands then splashed some water on her face. <I miss you, Melissa. I wish you were here so I could tell you about Fletcher. I know you'd understand.> Scully looked up into the mirror. Her face looked a little flushed and her eyes were starting to get bloodshot. <Too much smoke in here. No wonder those two women were giggling.>

<I wonder what's keeping Scully. She's been in there a long time> Fletcher thought, looking at her watch. <I'm giving her another two minutes. If she doesn't come out of there by then, I'm knocking on the door and going in after her.> She began to tap her foot. <I wonder if she's okay? She was putting those beers down pretty fast - well, fast for her, anyway.>

<I feel so odd> Scully thought. <And, oh, god, I hate to say it, but it's the perfect word for how I feel - horny. I'm _not_ going to last.>

<That's it, I've waited long enough. Something's happened to Scully> Fletcher thought, putting her hand up to knock. The door popped open.

"Scully, you okay?"

"Fletcher, can you come in here a minute?"

"Sure."

Fletcher stepped into the tiny room. Scully shut the door and locked it before turning the light out.

"Red, what's going on? Turn the light on."

"Not yet."

"Where are you? I can't see a damn thing."

"You don't have to see anything," Scully said, her hands finding Fletcher's hips. "Just feel your way," she said, playfully.

"Uh, Red -"

Scully pulled Fletcher's head down and silenced her with a deep kiss. She leaned her body against Fletcher's, pressing Fletcher's back against the door. Fletcher's body responded immediately and she shifted her legs, needing to feel Scully closer. Scully's hands dropped back to Fletcher's waist and she untucked Fletcher's shirt. The muscles in Fletcher's torso contracted at the first touch of Scully sliding her hands across her bare, flat stomach.

<No, I can't do this> Fletcher thought. <No. Not in a restroom; not with Scully. It's not right. Maybe with someone else - and I have - but not with Scully.>

She gently, yet firmly, grabbed hold of Scully's wrists and removed her hands from her waist. She reluctantly broke off the kiss.

"Easy, Red," she said lightly.

"What's wrong, Fletcher?"

"I can't, Scully. Not here. Not now."

"Why not?"

"I don't know," she lied. "The smoke, it's a bathroom..."

"Are you sure?"

"Yes." She felt Scully pull away from her. <She's mad. I know she is. Damn.> "You're not mad, are you, Red?"

"No, just..."

"Just what?" Fletcher asked, feeling the wall for the light switch.

"Just nothing."

Fletcher flipped the switch. Scully had moved to other side of the tiny room, and she was leaning against the sink. She didn't look mad, but she didn't look very happy either. <She looks disappointed> Fletcher thought.

"Are you sure you're not mad?" Fletcher asked again.

"Yes, I'm not mad."

"I'm sorry, Red," she apologized. "It's just that every time with you has been special, and groping in a restroom is not my idea of 'special'."

"Fletcher, you don't have to apologize." Scully returned to Fletcher's arms and gave her a quick kiss. "Let's get back to the party."

"Okay."

Fletcher took Scully's hand and led her back to the party. 'Time Warp' from 'The Rocky Horror Picture Show' was now playing, signaling that the clock had struck twelve.

"I don't think we missed anything," Fletcher said, watching the dance floor.

"Do you see Mulder anywhere?" Scully asking, scanning the crowd.

"There he is," Fletcher said, pointing Mulder out to Scully.

"Oh, God, he's dancing," Scully laughed. "He even looks like he knows what he's doing."

"He's seen the movie a few times."

"Have you?"

"Oh, yes." Fletcher grinned.

Scully shook her head, giggling uncontrollably at Mulder out on the dance floor. A woman dressed as a Borg was next him and a werewolf was dancing behind him. They, and the dozens of others on the dance floor were singing along. <Never in my wildest dreams did I ever expect to see Mulder as the Bride of Frankenstein doing the 'Time Warp'.>


Saturday night/Sunday morning, 1:30 AM

Scully clutched Fletcher's arm to steady herself as they walked down the hallway.

"Now this is a scene I'm a little more familiar with," Mulder said, standing behind them with a drunken smirk on his face.

"What's that?" Fletcher asked as she unlocked her apartment door.

"You bringing home a drunk woman, Fletcher."

"I'm not drunk, Mulder," Scully said, only slurring her words a little.

Fletcher just glared at Mulder. "Don't push your luck, Wonder Boy, or I'll make copies of those photos of you in drag and post them to department-wide email."

"Good. My social life could use a boost."

"Careful what you wish for," Fletcher warned as they stepped inside of the apartment.

Mulder immediately pulled off the wig atop his head and threw it on the diningroom table. Scully flopped down on the sofa and watched.

"Unzip me?" he asked Fletcher.

"Does that mean we can start our honeymoon?" Fletcher leered.

"Only if you promise to be gentle with me, dear," he leered back.

Fletcher unzipped Mulder's dress. It was off in a flash and he tossed it on top of the wig.

"I've got to get this off," he said, trying to unhook the bra.

"Let me," Fletcher offered.

"Yeah, I imagine you've got plenty of experience unhooking bras," he said with an evil smile.

Fletcher pulled Mulder's bra strap back and snapped it.

"Owww."

"Do you want my help or not?"

"Yes, please." As soon as she unhooked his bra, he handed her the falsies and the bra. "I hope I never see those ever again."

"I'm so disappointed, darling. I didn't know they weren't real," Fletcher teased. "That's it. False advertising. I'm having our marriage annulled."

"If I don't beat you to it."

"Why would you want to have it annulled?"

"Well, I doubt you'd be able to consummate this 'marriage'."

"Smartass," she said, throwing one of the falsies at him.

"On that note, I'm going to bed," Scully announced, getting up from the sofa. She placed her hand on Fletcher's ass. "Want to tuck me in?"

"I'll be in after I get my makeup off and help Mulder get his makeup off."

"Don't take too long," Scully said, kissing Fletcher.

"I won't."

They watched Scully walk unsteadily to Fletcher's bedroom. Mulder looked at Fletcher, tempted to say something, but holding it back instead.

"Yeah, yeah, I know, she had a few too many beers," Fletcher sighed.

"Is that all?"

"What do you mean?"

"I don't know. Scully just seems a little out of it tonight."

"She went in to the women's room and got a little over-exposure to some second-hand pot smoke. I didn't think she was still affected by it, though."

She found the bag Marva had packed. She rummaged around in it until she found the jar Marva had included with their makeup.

"There is a god. Thank you, Marva."

"What is it?" Mulder asked.

"Professional makeup remover. C'mon, I'll help you with yours."


A half hour later, Fletcher said goodnight to Mulder and went into her own bedroom. Scully lay on top of the covers, sound asleep and clad only in her black lace. <Oh, Red, I do like what you've got on. Was that supposed to be my treat? I hope you'll wear them again for me _real soon_. Damn, you sure do look good in them. Too bad you've passed out and I'm too tired.>

Fletcher sighed and began to get out of her costume. After putting on a pair of sweatpants and a t-shirt, Fletcher took out an oversized t-shirt for Scully. She unhooked Scully's bra and put the t-shirt on. <Another time, another woman, I might've...well...better to not think about such things...> She helped Scully under the covers and then quickly joined her. She took Scully into her arms and kissed her on the forehead. <Well, another first for us, Red. We've never just _slept_ together before.>


Monday, November 2nd, 9:50 AM, FBI Building

"AD Kersch will see you now," the secretary said.

Kersch motioned to them as he finished a phone call. They seated themselves in the two chairs facing his desk. Mulder could barely keep the contempt off his face.

"Effective December first, you're both being re-assigned," he said abruptly, skipping any small talk.

"Sir?" Scully asked, stunned.

"And our new assignments?" Mulder asked, his jaw clenched tight.

"You're both going on temporary assignment to Quantico."

<God, am I going back to teaching? What have we done to deserve this?> Scully thought.

"Doing what?" Mulder asked, coldly.

"ISU is severely understaffed right now. You both have unique abilities that they need right now." He looked at the paper on his desk. "Agent Scully, you will be assigned to the Forensics staff at ISU. Agent Mulder, you'll be helping out with the profiling."

"Who ordered this?" Mulder asked.

"Stu Hendricks and Roy Tupper _requested_ this."

"And if we refuse?"

"I don't suggest that you do." He looked sternly at them both. "This is not a punishment. ISU is experiencing an overload. They truly need your help."

"And how long is this _temporary_ assignment?" Mulder asked.

"Six months. I suggest you wrap up any ongoing investigations right now, including the paperwork."

Scully looked at Mulder. <We won't be partners. We'll be working in Fletcher's department. I wonder if she knows about this?>


Monday, 10:00 AM, Quantico

Fletcher sat down in the chair in front of Stu Hendricks' desk. He shut the door before sitting down behind his desk.

"What's up, Stu?" <He looks wiped out> Fletcher thought. <Retirement couldn't have come at a better time for him. Not so good for the rest of us, but good for him.>

"There are a few things we need to discuss."

"Any particular case? I left my briefcase in my office."

"No, this is a private departmental briefing for you." Fletcher remained silent. "My successor has been chosen. I hope you're not disappointed, but we've decided to go with Roy Tupper."

"Disappointed? Hell, no. I never wanted the job anyway."

"Are you sure?"

"Oh, yeah. I'm glad it's Roy. You've made the right choice."

Fletcher was happy. She liked Roy. They'd worked together often and she respected him and his work.

"Well, I wanted to tell you in person. I didn't think it would be fair for you to hear it through the office grapevine."

"I appreciate that, Stu."

"And, there's some other news that you need to know. The department's being shuffled up somewhat."

"How so?" Fletcher leaned back in the chair, curious.

"Well, to start with, we're making you second whip, if you want it."

"Really?" Fletcher raised one eyebrow, her only reaction to the news. "And if I don't?"

"Then we'll probably offer it to Ed Webster."

"When do you have to know?" <Not Ed Webster> Fletcher groaned silently. <He's too old and half the department will quit if he comes back to Quantico.>

"Now, unfortunately. It affects the other plans we have for the department."

"Then I guess I'll take it, as long as I can still work my cases. I don't want to be caught up in all that bureaucracy shit."

"Second in charge means you'd just be acting department head when Roy's not available. You'd always be SAC on your cases, just like now. You'll just be full-time here in Quantico - no more DC office." He shuffled the papers on his desk. "We're going to be sending you on the road for the next few weeks."

"Doing what?"

<On the road again? I'll _never_ see Scully. I'll be spending my weekends here trying to get caught up. Damn.>

"We need you to make an appearance in a couple of the division offices, spend some time with them and the locals. We need to get everybody thinking they're all under the same umbrella again. I also want an update on their top cases. I've split up the offices between you and Roy. You've got the northern ones and he's taking the southern ones."

"Okay." <Like I have any choice now. Still, it'll be good to see what's going on in those offices, see if they're following procedures or not.>

"What are the other changes?" she asked.

"We're closing the New Orleans office and dividing the staff between Atlanta, Dallas and here. Bill Ramsey will be taking over Dallas, Ed Webster's going to LA, Jonetta Ross is taking over Atlanta and Arthur Dorgan's coming back to Quantico. We're also picking up two more profilers and three more for Forensics here."

<If Ed Webster is going to LA, then where is Clarice going?> Fletcher thought.

"Who else are we getting?"

"We've picked up for profiling Jack Parker from Richmond and an old friend of yours, Fox Mulder. He'll be on temporary assignment until we can get caught up."

<So Mulder's coming here to Quantico. What about Scully?>

"Who for forensics?" she asked casually.

"Two technicians, Elly Klingler and Josh Washington, and a pathologist, Dr. Dana Scully. Dr. Scully is also on temporary assignment."

<Mulder and Scully working here, with me? Hell, they'll be working _for_ me. Who would've ever thought we'd be working together? There's one for your X-Files, Spooky.> She laughed silently. <I wonder if they know yet?>

"One more thing," Stu said, breaking into Fletcher's thoughts. "I'm sure you noticed that Ed is going to LA." Fletcher nodded once. "Clarice Starling will be taking over in Richmond." He waited for Fletcher to react, but she didn't. All he noticed was her jaw clamped shut, as if she were grinding her teeth. "Are you okay with that, Fletcher?"

"Why wouldn't I be? She's a good choice for the post."

"I know your past with her has been, well, a little rocky," he said tactfully.

"That's in the past," Fletcher replied, her mouth tight.

End Chapter 18 - End Part I