Title : One Moment

Author : Gwoman

Feedback : Please!!! gooddog@in4web.com

Rating : PG

Category : MSR

Spoilers : FTF, Triangle

Keywords : MSR

Summary : Mulder wonders about their path, and Scully makes a decision.

Disclaimer : Agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully and The X files are the sole property of Chris Carter. Obviously. If they were mine, I would never have let them out of their basement office. No infringement intended.

Authorís note: As this is my first piece of fanfic, I am more than acutely aware that I could not have gotten here alone. I want to thank Zuffy for all her patience and rereading, the Lone Gunwomen for their two cents, and Gsister, with tossing a word in edgewise. Feedback might encourage me. Canít hurt to try!!

One Moment

Scully gazed deeply into a pair of bright hazel eyes. "How did we get here?" they seemed to say. She rested her hands gently on Mulderís shoulders. His hands were light on her cheeks, framing her face and insisting she look at him.

In one moment, Scully thought. Just one moment, all that they had could be changed. If she moved forward just a fraction of an inch, if she smiled in just that way, she could be responsible for enriching, or possibly damaging this amazing thing they had called friendship. Partly responsible. She knew exactly how Mulder felt. How did they get here?

Scully recalled the case they were working on. More big piles of manure. After doing all the appropriate background checks on this latest investigation, they each went home to their apartments. Less than an hour later, she received a phone call from Mulder.

"Hey Scully, how about some pizza? Iíll buy." She glanced at her watch. 9:30 already. His doleful request compelled her to forgo her usual cloistered evening activities.

"All right Mulder. Do you want to come over?"

"OK. See you in a bit Scully." As the click signaled the end of the conversation, she speculated the reasons behind this phone call. Usually Mulder called much later if he felt like just talking. Usually he talked about the cases they were on, or the cases from the past. Usually he didnít offer to buy. No sense dwelling on it, heíll be here shortly, she thought.

When he arrived, steaming pizza box in hand, she poured beverages and they sat in the kitchen and methodically devoured the pie. Itís amazing how hungry scut work can make you, Scully thought.

"Youíre right, Scully," Mulder said, startling her to the fact that she had spoken out loud.

"Lately weíve just been chasing inane lawbreakers. I am looking forward to the day they give us back the X-Files."

"What if they donít Mulder? What then?" Scully stood, started to clear the table of napkins and empty glasses, and fixed Mulder with a steady gaze. "There are no signs that they intend to ever give us back the X-Files. What if itís over and we are left doing this probational crap?"

Mulder looked at her sharply. In six years he was used to her playing devilís advocate. But she was hitting a little too close to the mark for comfort. "I will continue to do probational crap until we get the x-files back Scully. What will you do?" He swatted the ball back into her court.

Scully returned his gaze, point for point. She knew what he was really asking. At what point would she want to leave, and take that transfer that she was ordered to take. "I will be here with you," she stated. His brows lifted slightly, and his pupils widened. "My place is with you, Mulder. Why do you doubt that?"

Finally, Mulder lowered his head. When he remained silent, she turned to finish clearing the table. She swept the table clear of crumbs and swung around to find him staring at her again. Mulder said a lot with his eyes. She swallowed hard at what she was reading in them now. "Mulder?" she whispered.

"I donít doubt you, Scully." Unknowingly, they had quoted each otherís words from equally intense conversations. He held her eyes for another moment or two, then lowered his gaze. He leaned back into the kitchen chair with a woebegone expression. "Thatís the only thing I donít doubt right now," he sighed.

Scully sat down, hiding her feelings behind an expression of intense concentration. "Mulder?" she asked cautiously. "What is it? Why did you come here?" She waited patiently while he drew circles on the tablecloth with one long finger.

When he finally raised his eyes to hers, she was shocked to see such uncertainty. "What are we doing Scully?" he queried. "Why do we seem to be playing right into their hands?"

Scully sat back quickly. This was bad. For Mulder to be losing his faith now, after all they had just witnessed, was a bad sign. "How do you mean?"

"We keep chasing after the X-Files. Maybe they want us to. Maybe they are actually trying to divert us. While we keep on pushing, and insisting that we get our work back, we may in fact be putting ourselves right where they want us."

"Mulder," she said seriously. She captured one of his hands in both of hers, leaning forward intently. "You know as well as I do, that we canít predict what they want, or what they will do next. If we stop chasing our goal, and start trying to anticipate their intentions, we will never achieve the truth. You know that."

Mulder looked down at their clasped hands on the table, and then raised his gaze to stare into her eyes. He brought his empty hand up to intertwine with hers. "What I do know, Scully, is that I never could have gotten this far without you," he stated. He held her gaze for what seemed like an eternity, until she finally averted her eyes. She sat, unseeing, threading her fingers in and out of his.

"Mulder," she whispered, eyes still downcast. She ran the tip of her tongue over her bottom lip, nervously. As she mentally reviewed her options of response, the phone rang, shattering the uneasy quiet. Scully rose from the table, keeping her eyes low. "Excuse me, Mulder," she murmured. She moved to the living room, to pick up the phone by her desk, ignoring a deep sigh of frustration from Mulder.

She turned her back to the kitchen and picked up the phone on the third ring. "Hello? Oh, hi Mom." She listened a moment, then quietly interrupted her mother. "Mom? Can I call you back? I am kind of in the middle of something. Yes. I will. Ok Mom. Bye." As she replaced the receiver, she stared out the window, focusing on her reflection. She felt, rather than heard Mulderís approach. She watched in the window, as he stepped directly behind her.

"Scully," he said roughly. "In all our years together, I know I have had some pretty bizarre theories, and out-there explanations, but you have always at least heard me out. So how come, when I told you I love you, you turned away from me?"

Scully whirled quickly to face Mulder, her eyes dancing rapidly over his face, trying desperately to capture the sincerity of his intent. Mulder brought his hands up slowly, to frame her face.

"I love you, Scully," he insisted. Her eyes locked with his, and she could read only truth in his eyes. She nervously moved her hands up to rest easily on his shoulders.

In one moment, Scully thought. Just one moment, all that they had could be changed. If she moved forward just a fraction of an inch, if she smiled in just that way, she could be responsible for enriching, or possibly damaging this amazing thing they had called friendship. She thought of all they had been through, to get them to this point. Six years of searching. For answers, for trust, for little green men. Grey men. Did she want the responsibility of distracting them from their quest? For being the one to extinguish the flame?

"Mulder," she stated quietly. "I canít let you get this close to what you have been seeking for so long, just to have it taken away." She let her hands fall to her side, and stepped back away from his touch. "I canít." She turned, walking back into the kitchen.

"You just did, Scully," Mulder sighed. "You just did." He let himself out the door, quietly shutting it behind him.