July 6th, 1999, 6:00 p.m.
Scully took another delicate bite of her nachos, trying to
some modicum of gentility amidst her male companions. She and Mulder
had decided to stop by the Lone Gunmen's lair after work to see if
they had discovered any new dirt on Diana, anything about her
whereabouts the last few months. Disappointingly, her phone bill had
very few long distance calls, all innocuous enough at first glance.
They still hadn't established whether she was still an F.B.I. agent.
Her employment records stopped sometime in February, right after the
massacre at El Rico.
Even though they'd had little success in their hacking pursuits
day, everyone present was in a decidedly light-hearted mood. The
Lone Gunmen were going to DefCon 7.0 this Friday and were buzzing
with excitement. They were trying to persuade both Mulder and Scully
to come along, in spite of their little gambit there last spring.
That trip had resulted in wild, uninihibited behavior from the female
agent, accompanied by giggle attacks of frightening proportions.
Scully had forgiven them, aware of Byers' attachment to Suzanne
Modeski and his need to aid her cause at the time. Though Mulder had
been sorely irritated that they'd imitated his voice and lured Scully
into a potentially dangerous situation, at least the whole fiasco had
ended well, if not comically.
Frohicke had copied surveillance tapes from the hotel, bartering
some porno videos he had brought along for that very purpose.
Security guards were apparently lacking in integrity that day,
unaware that the giggling redhead in the footage was a F.B.I. agent,
one who would hunt them down and slice them up with an autopsy knife
if she had half a chance. Mulder had gotten an opportunity to see
Scully under the influence, surrounded by ravenous men in the hotel
lobby. She had been giggling, hamming it up, saying very unScully-
like things, such as, 'I wonder which one of you is going to light my
The video footage from the elevator was even more revealing.
Frohicke had just rescued her from the mob of men fawning all over
her; he and Scully were alone in the metal box. She had developed a
case of the hiccups, accentuating her light and airy voice, as she
stumbled over his name repeatedly. 'Hic, hic, hickey!' fell out of
her ordinarily somber mouth, her eyes sparkling at him like she'd
just discovered a long-lost friend.
Mulder shuddered to think what would have happened to her if
Frohicke had not discovered her in the nick of time. He liked to
think that nothing would have happened, even under the influence of
drugs. She had seemed playful, but he thought her uninhibited
behavior would only have gone so far, before her more sensible
instincts reined her in. Or at least he liked to think so.
The Gunmen had already convinced him that a trip to the nation's
premier hackers convention might be entertaining and possibly yield
promising leads on several X-Files he had on the back burner. On the
other hand, Scully was being courted with the possibility that they
could unearth more data on Diana, by making contact with a few outlaw
types, too shy to communicate on the web without knowing just who the
hell they were dealing with.
"Scully, you'll love it. We can play 'Spot the Fed'," and
always the annual 'Capture the Flag' competition," Langley added
"Oh my, that sounds so exciting Langley, I can hardly wait to
the largest gathering of computer vandals in the universe," she said,
"Have you guys considered that Scully and I might be prime
in the 'Spot the Fed' competition?" Mulder interjected.
"Oh not you guys, especially if you lose the suits. You don't
like typical snitches. Especially Agent Scully..." Frohicke looked
over at the object of his affection, who was taking his teasing good-
naturedly, in the spirit of the evening.
"Yeah, Scully. You could never look as devious and shifty-eyed
Mulder here. You have too much character," Byers jested.
Scully giggled and they all looked at her at once, igniting a rosy
tinge to her cheeks. She was having a great time tonight. Being
around these guys reminded her of all those good times she spent with
her brothers as a child, blending in easily, jumping at the chance to
tag along on their more 'masculine' adventures.
"O.K. I'll come along to Las Vegas with you!" she said, to
surprise. "If you'd just asked me the regular, normal way last
spring, I would have helped you out, especially considering Byers'
predicament. There wasn't any need to bamboozle me into anything."
Frohicke gave her a sweet, fraternal smile and said, "Agent
why would anyone want to bamboozle you?"
"Ahem!" Mulder cleared his throat loudly, behind
"I think that's enough, Melvin. Scully's coming along, no more
Scully laughed at his protective attitude, touched that he cared
much, but annoyed that she'd lost an opportunity to verbally spar
"Alright, then we'll make plane reservations for Friday
for all of us. And I'll reserve a suite with three bedrooms. Any
objections, Mulder, Scully?" Langley looked over at them, saw no
protests and loped off to finalize their plans.
Friday, July 9th, 1999, 7 p.m.
While Mulder drifted in and out of consciousness during the plane
trip out to Vegas, Scully quietly tapped away at her laptop, buoyant
with energy. She had anticipated the trip all week, and hoped that
it would be more exciting than last week's festivities with her
mother. She'd wanted to take a vacation for a long time, but didn't
feel like going it alone, or with her Mom. She wasn't sure if she'd
have had the guts to invite Mulder by herself, even though they
routinely took off on 'unofficial' X-Files together.
Having the Lone Gunmen along made it seem less like she and Mulder
were running off on to some romantic hideaway (which wouldn't have
been such a bad idea) and more like a mission to find the truth about
Diana. Although that was one of her expressed goals, she was
perfectly willing to have as much fun this weekend as humanly
possible with three unpredictable computer geeks and one equally
A partner with whom she'd been trading playful subtleties all week.
She didn't want to curtail their flirtatiousness too soon. She had
all but owned up to her feelings about him the day they returned from
the Fourth of July weekend. The same day Diana had set foot in the X-
Files office once again, months after her disappearance. She'd left
her phone number for Mulder, but to his credit, he hadn't bothered to
ring her back. He was wary of her motives now, willing to sit tight
till reliable information came to light.
Scully finished one last task on her laptop before turning it off
and sliding it into her briefcase. She glanced over to see that
Mulder was either asleep, or enjoying the pretense of being asleep.
She decided to do the same with a deep sigh. She slumped down in her
seat and rearranged her casual t-shirt for modesty's sake, leaning
back against the headrest.
"Having second thoughts, Scully?"
"Mulder! You are awake, aren't you?"
"Just catnapping in and out. So...I asked you if you're
second thoughts about flying out with us?"
"Whatever would make you think that?"
"That was a satisfied sigh, Mulder."
"I'll have to catalog that one in my memory bank,
She swatted at his nose playfully, barely landing a glancing blow.
"Not everything is about sex, Mulder!"
He raised his eyebrows to humorously counter that assertion,
receiving a 'do-not-go-there' look for his efforts.
"I just finished up a bunch of loose ends, expense reports, E-
you know. I'm just happy to be totally free to enjoy the weekend.
And you know Mulder, sometimes, a sigh is just a sigh..."
"And a kiss is still a kiss..."
Her cheeks reddened at the path this conversation was trailblazing.
She fully expected innuendo out of Mulder, but this one brought back
some precious memories of last summer, almost a year ago. She had
managed to sublimate them for the most part, and feeling them rush
back around her while she sat so close to the reason for her disquiet
Mulder realized the reason for her distress, too late, of course.
He attempted a salvage operation by changing topics, "Um, well, I
hope we have a good time. To tell the truth, I'd like to lose the
three stooges and see some of those attractions I've never had an
opportunity to see in Vegas. There's only so much geeky conference
chatter I can stomach. They'll be up all night in the suite after
they get back from the regular convention activities. Nobody will be
sleeping much while there at it."
"That's no problem in the city that never sleeps..."
"I'm really glad you came along, Scully. I can't imagine
anybody but you to the various Elvis shrines around town."
"I think that may the sweetest thing you've ever said to me.
touched," she said dryly.
"Only for you, Scully. Only for you." He reached over
her left hand gently. "Try to get some shuteye. We'll be up late
He released her hand from his grasp, smiling groggily. He turned
toward the aisle, adjusting his pillow so that he could sleep on his
left side, stretching long legs before him. He felt furtive
movements beside him, as Scully removed the armrest between them,
leaning her pillow against his back without a sound. She silently
scrunched into the cushion of his back, and let out a sweet sigh,
sending shivers down Mulder's spine and a smile to his face.
Amerisuites Hotel, 8:00 p.m., Las Vegas time
"So Frohicke, explain to me why we are down to two bedrooms in
wrong hotel?" Scully was a bit miffed at the obvious change in
plans, as they trooped through the Amerisuites Hotel, luggage in hand.
"We were on a waiting list for the Alexis Park Hotel. I guess
overbooked. Sorry, Agent Scully. We get free breakfast as a
"Yee ha, free breakfast," she said dryly. "And
either call me Dana or Scully. This Agent Scully crap is getting on
"And it's not such a cool idea at a hacker's convention,
"Let's get settled in the room guys, and lady. We have to get
to the hotel and do some heavy duty networking. We want to be free
to go to 'Hacker Jeopardy' at 11 p.m.," Langley said excitedly.
"Yeah, and don't forget the 'Hacker Death Match' is already
progress!" Frohicke reminded them.
"What's that?" asked Mulder.
"Uh, little geeky hackers in giant inflatable sumo suits.
really a lot more entertaining than it sounds, Mulder," said Byers.
"Gee, I think we'll pass on that one," Scully said, as
the hotel room, all five of them. "'Hacker Jeopardy' doesn't sound
too bad, though. What do you think, Mulder?"
"Lady's choice, either sounds fine. I just want to go get some
now. That airline food was inedible. What do you say, guys, Scully?
They all agreed on at least one thing that night, stowed their
luggage away, and headed over to the other hotel for food, drink, and
in the case of the Lone Gunmen, renewed acquaintances. Scully was
fervently praying that she wouldn't run into anyone vaguely familiar,
from her last time here. She'd never gotten a full account of her
actions that weekend, and suspected that all four of her male
companions knew plenty more than they were admitting.
The restaurant was busy due to the convention and the five of them
squished into a booth to eat. Mulder and Scully were flanked on
either side by their companions, not terribly crowded, but close
enough that both of them became fascinated with their menus
immediately, anxious to concentrate on anything but one another. By
the end of the their plane trip earlier, Scully's hand had gravitated
to Mulder's hipbone, only to be covered by a larger, rougher one
moments later. They'd snoozed like that till the end of the flight,
only slightly embarrassed to find themselves holding hands when the
seatbelt sign dinged on.
It goes without saying that they felt a little uptight about
displaying such affection in public, even in front of their friends.
They'd been so cautious, a unspoken, mutual agreement that whatever
they were nurturing here, it had to progress with the speed of a
tortoise. Scully had half expected a swarm of killer bees to descend
on them when she woke up, his large hand enveloping her much smaller
After a few beers, Langley and company began to receive more and
more visitors to their corner of the restaurant, till all present
were tight as packaged sardines. In what may have been the single
most impulsive act of her last six years of existence (yes, even more
so than that inane tattoo), Scully slid onto Mulder's lap, ostensibly
to accommodate the mass of humanity surrounding them. Actually, it
was the third beer that dissolved her inhibitions, even though she'd
been following her own sage advice and eaten a sandwich with the
Mulder felt like he'd won the lottery, balancing her in his lap,
arms securing her there. And desperately trying to conceal evidence
of instant arousal. It was a lost cause, one he gave up willingly
after the fourth beer. He felt her snuggle closer to him as the
alcohol made her sleepy; he ordered them coffee so they wouldn't be
conked out by ten. Eventually, they all finished eating and drinking
their fill and the Lone Gunmen, including a few female hackers they
had been 'acquainting' themselves with, headed over to the 'Hacker
Scully vacated his lap slowly, fully aware of the change in his
physiology. She'd been pretty comfortable there for the last hour or
so, and was anticipating a full re-enactment of identical scientific
circumstances later on. She was confident that no matter how soused
she got, Mulder would never take advantage of her, and he'd been
holding his liquor much better than her anyway. She wanted to get
away from the others, take a walk somewhere, and that's what she
proposed right now.
"Let's go out on the strip, Mulder." Now that she was out
booth, she could feel her legs again, experimentally flexing them,
assuring herself they were still functional appendages.
They had already promised their friends that they'd meet up with
them later, whenever that may be. Mulder grabbed Scully's hand now,
and said, "I know just where to take you." They smiled at one
another and went out onto the strip, braving the Friday night crowd.
It was a pretty large one for a July night, especially considering
the floods Las Vegas had experienced the previous Wednesday.
He seemed to know where he was taking her, and she knew he'd been
poring over maps of the Las Vegas strip at the office one day last
week, so she followed willingly, curious as to their destination. It
didn't take all that long to get there, and the weather had actually
cooled down quite a bit as the evening wore on. She recognized the
facade of the Bellagio resort, thousands of fountains surrounding its
grounds. You didn't have to be a hotel guest to watch magnificent
reflections on the manmade lake; water spouts and elegant (for Las
Vegas, that is) architecture shining up from a crystalline plane.
He put his arm around her and said, "I wish we could stay
She took his hand and looked up at him, reflections from the lake
lighting up the angular planes of his face. "We can stay here next
He gazed down at her illuminated face, touching one finger to her
cheek. "So, you'd like to come out here again, sometime?"
"Does that surprise you?" she said, a bit of concern
showing in her
"A little. I guess I've been expecting this dream to end soon.
thought you might tell me to go to hell as soon as we left the
"Oh, Mulder, you're more secure than this..." He shook
gently from side to side, still smiling down at her. "Oh yes you
are. I won't have you imagine anything else. I'm here for the long
haul, you goof." She wrapped her arms around him and they stared at
the lake for a good long while, before he led her over to a stone
bench to rest.
He put his arm around her, she settled in close beside him. He
kissed her pale forehead, rearranging stray hair, tossed around by
desert breezes that night. He was pretty sure she'd like him to kiss
her. There certainly didn't seem to be any rules of engagement
tonight. She'd made the first move, really. He thought maybe she
wouldn't mind too much if he made the second.
So, with one arm still securely wrapped around her, he captured
face with his other hand, smoothing his thumb over her cheek. She
placed her own hand over his and brought it to her lips, kissing the
palm. He moved his hand behind her neck, leaning down to meet her
lips, as her hands embraced his face as well. Neither of them cared
to let go too soon, lost in the heady sensation of their first real
kiss. And when they did pull apart to look at one another, their
hands remained in place, each of them afraid this magic might be lost
if they budged an inch.
They finally shifted, only so they could more tightly embrace this
time, kissing with more passion than either had felt possible in
their lives. Every kiss, every lover, they'd had before their own
coupling disappeared from consciousness. It would only be the two of
them now, no shadows from the past could disturb this bliss, no
apparitions from the future could taint their time together.
Eventually, slowly, they came back to mother Earth, their bodies
still close, but quieter now, their minds free floating, imagining
what the other one was going to do or say next. Mulder still reeled
with new sensations, scarcely believing that this was reality, that
this could not be stolen away, could not be ripped from his very soul.
"Hey," he said, stroking her hair with a gentle hand,
wander around a little more?"
"Sure, where to?"
"Oh, just to see the MGM lion and that pyramid thing. They'll
They held on to each other tightly and explored the Las Vegas they
had never seen, the one only tourists on vacation enjoy. All
previous times either of them had been there, they had been on
assignment, or in Scully's case, coerced into a emergency situation.
Mulder couldn't believe they were having such a wonderful, romantic
time, just walking around town. He'd set his goals low this weekend;
he would have been ecstatic if she had allowed him to hold her hand.
Kissing her had been an extra he had not foreseen, one that he was
thanking some god above for, whoever they were.
When they got back to the hotel, the guys were clustered around
their laptops with their new 'girl friends', delighted to see them,
not at all surprised that they were bonded together with super glue.
They stayed up awhile, quiet observers more than participants, then
excused themselves and went to Scully's room. They turned on the
television and watched movies as long as they could, falling asleep
in one another's arms, on top of the cool taffeta comforter.
Come morning, Mulder woke first, the call of nature strongly
beckoning him. He kissed her cheek and slid off the bed, as she
continued to slumber, shoving her face deeper into her pillow. When
he returned, he carefully sat on the bed, so that she would continue
to sleep, so that he could continue to watch her. It was only seven
a.m. and he rather doubted that anyone else was awake. Lucky him.
He got to lay close to his lovely partner and watch her dream good
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