The first song ended and another slow one was played on its heels. Scully could tell Mulder was uncomfortable, but this was the first time in their almost five-year partnership they had danced. She was not ready to relinquish him to the teenaged girls just yet. She had always assumed his lack of desire to dance was due to inability to dance, but at least to ballads he did just fine.
"So have you found whatever information you were hoping to find, Mulder," she said softly resting her head against his shoulder. It was a lover's position, suggesting closeness or intimacy but it seemed right tonight for some reason. Soon they would be back in Washington D.C., dealing with red tape and inquisitions. Tonight she just wanted to enjoy being near him again. And he smelled so good she noticed.
Into the midnight sun
Wheels go round and round
You're on my mind
Sleep alone tonight
Sendin' all my love
Along the wire
"Well, not really. I would love to come here for a year and just follow Buffy around. She's amazing, Scully. You should have seen her. In fact, tomorrow night I'd like you to come with me if she doesn't mind both of us tagging along."
"You're not really going to stay here for a year. Are you?"
"No, Scully, it was just a joke, there's so much stuff here going on. This Halloween bit is just one of many and I sense it's just the beginning. Forget aliens, Scully, Sunnydale is a hotbed for demon activity. And that girl over there," he said inclining his head toward Buffy Summers, "stops the demons from taking over."
"Oh come on, Mulder."
"Scully, see her in action and then scoff. Read what the boys say about her and then doubt. I'm telling you she's the real deal."
They say that the road
Ain't no place to start a family
Right down the line
It's been you and me
And lovin' a music man
Ain't always what it's supposed to be
Oh girl you stand by me
I'm forever yours-faithfully
"And it wouldn't have anything to do with the fact that she is seventeen, petite, blonde, and flirted with you."
"No, not at all. I think her boyfriend would rip my head off if given the chance."
"Yeah, he doesn't seem too sociable."
"That's an understatement. And he didn't seem to like me too well."
Under the big top world
We all need the clowns
To make us smile
Through space and time
Always another show
Wondering where I am
Lost without you
"Probably thought you were honing in on his territory, Mulder. He's older, surely you noticed that."
"Yeah, I did. But the librarian knows about them, so what am I supposed to do about it. Turn him into the local authorities without knowing that anything illegal is going on?"
"No, I wasn't suggesting that. You're right, Mr. Giles seemed to know about Angel and while I sensed he did not necessarily approve he did not mind them together either. As much as it should be, we're not her parents or her teachers; it's not our place to assume they're doing anything they shouldn't be doing. They don't come across as lovers."
"No, they don't. They seem like they're just getting started," Mulder agreed. "What do we come across as I wonder?"
And being apart ain't easy
On this love affair
Two strangers learn to fall
In love again
I get the joy
Of rediscovering you
Oh girl, you stand by me
I'm forever yours-faithfully
"What do you mean," she asked her heart racing a bit at where this conversation seemed to be headed. Once upon a time she would never have considered Mulder as anything more than a partner and perhaps friend. But now that they had been apart for the past couple of months, she realized that he was more than a partner. He was her life, she had given up so much for him and the X-Files. Looking back as she had the past few months at her sacrifices she found that she did not regret many, if any, of them.
"I don't know, Scully. I just wonder what these people here see us as. Two old people trying to stay young or what?"
"Maybe," she laughed. She closed her eyes, and perhaps it was the effect of the dancing, the romantic songs. Or perhaps it was merely having been away from him for so long and seeing him up and knowing he was okay. Whatever the reason she did not dwell on it and went with her gut. Scully leaned towards him her arms encircling his neck and kissed him.
Oh, oh, oh, oh-
Faithfully, I'm still yours
I'm forever yours
Her eyes fell closed unaware that the song had ended, concentrating instead on the tentative but nevertheless full kiss. They drew apart and she cleared her throat slightly embarrassed. Tucking a few strands of hair behind her ear she glanced at her shoes. "I think the song's over."
"Yeah, I guess so. We should go back to the table then," Mulder said softly. Scully saw the look he was giving her and decided it was best not to say anything. She did not want to deal with his teasing her right now, her feelings were too close to the surface and raw.
"Yes, we should. Let's go talk to some more high school kids."
"You don't miss it? High school," he clarified taking her hand as they walked to the table they were sharing with four high school students and the older, jealous, and brooding boyfriend of one of the students.
"No," Scully said without hesitation. "I miss Melissa and Bill but no I don't miss being that age."
"Me either," Mulder admitted and Scully glanced at him curiously. He rarely talked about his youth beyond Samantha.
"So you do know how to dance," Buffy said as soon as they approached the table. Scully took her seat and glanced at Mulder who stood behind her instead of sitting. Scully noticed a tone of smugness in the girl's voice and wondered just what the two of them had talked about while they were together this evening.
"Yeah," Mulder said dryly. Even without seeing his face, Scully could tell he was smiling.
"So what else would you like to know, Mr. Mulder," Xander asked. Clearly, the boy was excited about being involved in the fray. Scully could not help but smile with a low chuckle as she took a sip of her drink.
"Oh right, sorry," Mulder said placing a hand on the table. "Tell me what it was like? Do you remember anything while you were possessed by your costume?"
"Yeah," Xander offered quickly. "I remember everything. It was really weird. I mean I was there, I could hear and see everything going on, but I couldn't do anything. It was like I was inside my own body in a straight jacket and a gag."
"Here you go," Angel said returning to the table with a fresh drink for Buffy. Scully noticed the smile Buffy gave him and she believed her earlier assessment was correct. They were dating, but Scully could tell by their hesitancy that they were still in the early stages of a relationship. She hoped the young man could wait. Scully was not one to pursue statutory rapists, particularly when the victim was classified as a rape victim based solely on her age. Scully knew though the repercussions could be harsh if the wrong person got the idea that more than dating was going on.
"Thanks," Buffy said nestling her head against his chest.
"So you knew what was going on," Scully said.
"Yeah. I saw it all. I was a soldier, my cap gun turned into an M-16 and my camouflage T-shirt and olive cargo pants turned into the real deal military civvies. I knew I had to protect Buffy, though," he said offering Buffy a smile. Scully thought she heard a predatory-like growl emit from Angel but dismissed it. No human could make a noise like that. "And it was kind of funny, she wanted me to protect her not Angel," he said with a wry laugh. She heard the growl again and was not so quick to dismiss it until Mulder placed a hand on her shoulder and squeezed lightly. Angel's eyes were no longer brown, but were yellow.
"Well, you had a gun," Scully said cautiously not sure at all what was going on. But she knew the tone of the growl well enough to know that it was territorial. "It's natural that she would look to a man with a gun to offer her protection." The growling subsided and Mulder's hand at her shoulder loosened somewhat.
Angel's eyes were back to being the brown they had been a minute ago making Scully wonder if she had imagined the whole thing. She would ask Mulder later. He had picked up on something obviously as well.
"Right," Buffy quickly interjected. "That was actually what I was thinking."
"So you remember, too," Scully said.
"Yeah. It was bizarre. Inwardly, I was screaming at the girl I had become to defend herself, but she just wouldn't listen. It was like whoever I was or whatever possessed me didn't hear me. I was wussy girl with brown hair." She tilted her head back so she looked up at Angel and Scully saw her mouth move. Whatever she said, Scully could not hear it, but Angel apparently did because he nodded his head slightly with a grimace. He did not look happy and Xander looked a little frightened Scully noticed. Interesting.
"Mulder," she whispered.
"Later," he said simply.
"Chill, Angel, I'm not making moves on your girl."
"Like her being my girl stopped you before," Angel said dryly. He glanced at Buffy, Scully could pretty well read the silent exchange between the couple. Angel probably would have let the situation go, but Xander had pushed and Angel was pushing back. Scully did not want to be a part of this testosterone exchange so she stood, taking Mulder's hand.
"Where are we going, Scully," Mulder asked her.
"Back to dance."
"Wait, I already gave you two. See what you've gotten me into, Buffy," he said with a faux frown on his face as he let Scully drag him onto the dance floor.
"Their argument has nothing to do with us, and I'd really rather not sit there and listen to it." She stepped into his embrace as his arms went around her. "Besides, I'm afraid you're going to join in, hovering over me like a man staking his claim."
"I was doing no such thing," he denied a little too vehemently. "Not that I'm complaining necessarily that you got us away from there. I just do not dance."
"Well, we've stayed here long enough we could always call it a night."
"What are you suggesting, Scully?"
Scully paused unsure of exactly what she was suggesting. "I don't know. Some Mulder and Scully time. I haven't seen you in months, haven't talked to you beyond cryptic one minute phone calls and just as cryptic email messages. I miss you."
"I've missed you too, Scully," he said grazing her forehead with his lips.
"The librarian mentioned there's a theatre here."
"I don't know that I'm in the mood for dinner and a show, Scully. Just because you got me dancing, three times, don't press it."
"Not that kind of theatre, Mulder. A movie theatre. We could ask the kids where it is."
"Don't call them kids, Scully, but yeah we can do that. Sounds good. Relaxing. I could use that."
"Dancing with me isn't relaxing."
"I have a complex about my performance, what can I say?"
Scully scoffed. "Right."
Mulder graced her with a charming smile. "All right," he said dropping his hand to the small of her back as he guided her off the dance floor. "Let's go find out where a movie theatre or some adult action is."
They returned to the table to find only Xander, Cordelia and Willow still there. "Did Buffy leave," Mulder asked, frowning when Scully looked at her. "What? We bonded, what can I say? She's like a superhero, how could I not be impressed."
"I tell myself that every day, Mr. Mulder," Xander said dryly.
"Can't compete with the older man, huh," Mulder said a hint of compassion in his voice, which was met with another curious look by Scully. "What? I was in high school once too. I remember the girls hooking up with older guys, it was frustrating as hell."
"You got that right," Xander said.
"All right, before you go off on a tangent," Scully interjected.
"Right," Willow agreed. "Because we all know that it's taken too long for Buffy and Angel to actually get to this point, I don't think much can stop them."
"Right, Will, they're so perfect for one another."
"Well," Willow said sounding uncomfortable. Scully saw her eyes lower after she had shot Xander a warning glance and was admittedly curious as to what it was about. It was not her place to worry about a teenaged girl's love life.
"Mulder and I are going to go. Mr. Giles mentioned a movie theatre. Could you tell us where it is?"
"Oh sure," Xander said and gave them directions.
"Thanks," Mulder and Scully said in unison and Mulder grazed the small of her back lightly with the pad of his thumb. She glanced at him a little curiously at the gentle touch.
"It was nice meeting you both," Willow said politely. "Will you be coming by school tomorrow?"
"Not that I know of, no," Mulder replied.
"Oh, too bad, we could use some excitement."
"You don't get enough of it with Buffy, Will," Xander asked and Scully laughed lightly. Whatever she might or might not believe the girl was capable of, it was clear that something was going on in this town.
"Well, yeah, but that's different. It's not every day that we get the FBI here."
Mulder held a finger up to his lips. "But the FBI was never here," he winked.
"I don't get it," Xander said. "Why would you come here unofficially?"
"I heard about what happened and wanted to come check it out. My interest in the unknown extends beyond my work duties and open case files, Xander."
"Okay," the boy said.
"I mean, really, you don't think these people have lives outside of their jobs," Cordelia said in a somewhat condescending tone.
"Hello Cordelia? Of course I do, but they're here outside of their jobs investigating, which is their job."
Buffy and Angel returned to the table, their hands joined. "Done dancing already," Buffy asked.
"Yeah, we're going to go catch a movie or something."
"Oh, the movie thing. Great. Will I see you again," she asked.
"I don't know," Mulder said and Scully glanced at him. "Scully and I will talk tonight and if we have more questions or need more information then you will see us again."
"Great. I'm not really information girl. Giles would be happy to answer any questions though I'm sure." She turned to her friends then. "Angel and I are going to do one last round tonight. So I'll see you guys tomorrow."
"Night Buffy," the three friends said.
"Night Angel," could be heard only from Willow.
"Good night," Angel said quietly. He glanced at Mulder and Scully, his arm draped around Buffy. "Sorry if I was behaving like an ass, I'm not really a people person."
Scully was impressed, though she suspected the apology was more Buffy's idea than the man's. "Don't worry about it," Scully said with a slight smile. "It's been interesting meeting you all."
Story ©Susan Falk/APCKRFAN/PhantomRoses.com