Early Morning Flight (PG)

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He was distracted from the article he was reading when her head fell gently on his shoulder and snuggled in. She'd fallen asleep. He smiled down at her, the nap came as no surprise. He had shown up unexpectedly at her apartment a few minutes after four to get her up, dressed and packed to make this flight. They'd just barely made it. Fortunately there was plenty of room on the plane.

He carefully slid the file from her hand before the contents could slip out and be spread on the floor at their feet. She probably hadn't gotten through the first page. No problem, he'd brief her later.

She'd come with him; oh she'd done the requisite small bitching about showing up at that time with no warning, complaining that the trip probably wasn't necessary. Well, it might not be, but he'd never admit that to her. And she'd come. She always came – funny he felt more secure with her beside him than with either weapon he carried. There had only been one time she had told him she couldn't go with him. His smile faded, the day she'd been informed that her cancer had metastasized. He closed his eyes in pain at the memory. No, don't dwell on that. She was fine now, the cancer in remission since the chip had been implanted. She said no one knew what had caused the remission, but he knew. Cancerman was a liar, but he believed him about this.

She snuggled in closer and he opened his eyes. From his vantage point he truly appreciated the blouse she'd chosen this morning. It was lower cut than what she usually wore. Hadn't that been part of the complaining? Something about the dry cleaners? Oh well. He could be admiring her cleavage, anybody watching probably thought he was. The reality was he was watching that small movement of her breasts, showing him her heart was still there, still beating. He suppressed his shudder, not wanting to disturb her. When he'd burst into his apartment, just a few short days ago, and found her lying on the floor her chest covered in blood – he couldn't quite stop that shiver and she stirred beside him, not waking. She'd jerked awake then, on the floor of his living room and recognized him, allowed him to clutch her to him – in fact clutching him back as through she would burrow into him. Fine with him, he'd love the opportunity to hold her safe against him for the rest of his life.

"Sir? Would you like something to drink?" Damn, he'd forgotten there was anyone else on the plane.

"No, thanks." He managed to smile at her. There had been a time when he might have spoken more, flirted, not anymore. No one else reached his standards now.

"What about your wife? Should I leave something for her?"

"Uh, no. She's fine." What the hell. People had been casting them into those roles for years. It seemed to happen more and more often now. What did they say? The longer you were together the more you looked alike? He grinned at that – she surely didn't look like a 6'2" brown haired geek, so he must be shrinking and his hair getting reddish.

She seemed to sense his amusement. She smiled in her sleep and her hand drifted to his leg, sliding down further in the seat, almost reclining. He swallowed, maybe she'd be more comfortable if she could stretch out a little. Well, there was no one in their window seat. He had the aisle; he could move the armrests and give her all three. She didn't really need all three though. Not really. He reached across her and lifted the far armrest up, then moved her up to where he could do the same to the one between them. She murmured her protest but didn't wake. He turned her; she didn't weigh anything and put her feet up on the seat.

She sighed, following through with his movements and sinking to a reclining position, her head on his thigh. Well, maybe this wasn't such a good idea. It had been harder to keep his mind on her as a colleague since he'd read that damn manuscript. The naked pretzel – his Scully and another man. Her denial had started his heart pumping again. He shouldn't have read it, he should have stopped reading it as soon as he'd realized what it was. Yeah, right.

"I made a mistake too, writing that Agent Scully would fall in love. She's already in love." That statement had nearly frozen his blood. He'd been damn careful not to show a physical reaction to the statement – at least outwardly. It wasn't until later that he realized she'd been frozen into place as well – what did that mean?

She shifted again, pressing her face more firmly into his leg. "Muld. . . "

Interesting, was she dreaming of him? She seemed secure, practically lying in his lap here in public.

He sighed; they'd have to address this someday – all of this. They'd never spoken of the aborted kiss in his hallway. She'd dismissed his declaration of love out of hand after fishing him out of the ocean. But she had to feel something for him. She was here after all, instead of in her warm comfortable bed at home. She was here beside him, right where she belonged.


Mulder, Scully, the Lone Gunman and Skinner all belong to Chris Carter,10-13 and Fox. No infringement intended.