TITLE: Virginia Beach (1/1)
AUTHOR: Shoshana
EMAIL ADDRESS: shoshana1013@excite.com
SPOILER WARNING: Everything through Alpha.
KEYWORDS: Mulder/Scully romance
SUMMARY: Conversation by the seashore.
DISCLAIMER: These characters do not belong to me.
FEEDBACK: Would love it.

Virginia Beach
by Shoshana

     "They're no giant sea turtles, Scully."

     "I know, Mulder."

     "You know?"

     "Whatever we're doing here in Virginia Beach, it has nothing to do with
sea turtles."

     "How do you know that?"

     "Number one, sea turtles are rarely seen any farther north than the
Carolinas. Number two, it's April. Way too cold for them if by some
outside chance they strayed this far north. And number three, you're a
lousy liar."

     "So you knew this was just a ruse to lure you to the seashore?" He
smiled broadly, but there was just a trace of disappointment in his
wind-blown face, hair wildly flying over his forehead.

     "Ruse, no. Excuse, probably. I was fully aware that you made those
motel reservations off the books and paid for them in cash. I peeked."

     "Agent Scully! I'm shocked! Snooping around my personal computer
files again!"

     "Just goes to show you can't put anything over on me, Mulder. And it
was kind of refreshing to be brought along for the ride for once, instead of
being ditched along the way..."

     "You wanna know why I lured you out to this cold and sandy beach or you
wanna lay some more guilt on my poor, pathetic ass?"

     "Oh, we're touchy today, aren't we?"

     "I"m going to withhold any libidinous comments I could make back to
that. Just to show you that I'm here in good faith and not to ravish my
partner of six years and counting."

     "Gee, you disappointment me, Mulder. I was all up for a ravishing.
So. O.K., why are we here?"

     He hesitated for a good minute or two, mentally composing
himself for what would come next. "I just wanted to get us away from
work, from D.C., from our familiar hangouts, so we could really talk.
I still don't think we're on the same page sometimes. We're a
partnership, a team. But I feel like you're concealing your true
opinions, true thoughts from me. I think that whatever conclusions
you've come to, they're not only based on evidence and scientific
theory. There's some sort of intuition there, guiding you along.
I also suspect that things are said and done behind my back.
Intentionally or not, it hurts me to think that you can't be totally
honest with me."

     Scully kept a straight face throughout Mulder's monologue, only wincing
at this last statement. "You are most likely referring to my solo visit to
Karin, aren't you?"

     Mulder nodded. "I didn't want to believe that you were sneaking
around, confronting her behind my back. But I sensed that you felt
threatened by her. You couldn't have felt she was manipulating me throughout
that case if you hadn't had a chance to speak with her privately. I still
couldn't be entirely sure. I just had a sense about it, especially after
you told me that she had a lot of secrets to conceal. I just assume
that all of us have secrets to protect, especially someone I meet online."

     "Maybe even more so those we meet online, Mulder,"
she said softly.

     "You really think she had a romantic interest in me, Scully? And for
whatever reason she was just too shy or embarrassed to act on it?"

     "I do, but I hesitate to tell you how I know."

     "This is what I mean by you not being totally honest with me. Whatever
you said to one another could have had an impact on the case. Perhaps I
could have prevented her death!," he protested.

     "No, Mulder. Please don't say that. Nothing we spoke
of could possibly have prevented her actions. Those were
private words never intended for your ears. What Karin said to me had no
bearing on the case. Only on my perception of Karin and why we were out
there in the first place."

      "I still don't think she called me out to California only to meet me.
I don't think she had Detweiler figured out when she called me. And I'm not
going to press you for details about your conversation with her. I just
think there's a bigger picture here. A lack of trust between us. It's been
festering since February when you confronted me about Diana. I can't even
begin to tell you how sorry I am about that. I know she can't be trusted.
Now. But I didn't want to feel that way then. She'd never harmed me
before. Well, maybe emotionally. I don't know if I'm ready to discuss that
with you. It was years ago, a painful time for me. I never wanted to
burden you with it."

     "Mulder, you can't rebuild our trust if you hold back when so much is
at stake. I wouldn't have come out here to Virginia Beach on such silly
pretenses if I didn't completely trust you, trust your motivation, your
intentions. I don't want to pry into your past relationships. I just
needed a more impartial hearing of my concerns at that time. And my
concerns turned out to be real ones. We probably couldn't have prevented
that massacre in the hangar. But not knowing for certain whether she was
influencing your judgment killed me inside. If anything it made me more
protective of you. That's probably one reason I went to see Karin on my
own. I was just sick of seeing you manipulated by a woman."

Scully blushed, embarrassed that she had blurted out much more than
she meant to.

     "Those are pretty strong words from someone who hides her feelings so
very well."

     Scully was stunned. They were almost the exact same words he had used
at Fort Marlene after the decon shower. She had foolishly revealed her
jealousy, unwittingly and unwillingly. Neither spoke for several minutes
now, both staring out at the choppy sea, watching the hardy birds of April
swoop through the sky.
     "Sorry, Scully. That wasn't necessary."

     "Maybe it was. Maybe we're just kidding ourselves here. Maybe we
shouldn't be partnered anymore if I can't be totally honest with you."
     Mulder opened his mouth to speak.
     "No, let me finish. I don't know if I'm ready for total honesty. I
don't know that it will enhance our partnership. I don't know that it
won't. I'm afraid of losing you as a friend, more so than as a partner.
Despite all that's happened to us the last few years, they keep gluing us
back together and sending us out in the field. I can't say I'm not happy
about that and I know you'd never let me down. But sometimes the
uncertainty, the confusion of our personal feelings makes it very difficult
for me to show up at the office without cautious trepidation."

     "Personal interest is all that I have." Now Mulder was throwing her
own words back at her. "Define personal, Agent Scully. Give ole Bill
Clinton a run for his money." A blatantly smug expression was plastered all
over his face.

     She sighed. "I guess we're playing hardball now, Mulder. I guess you
just enjoy seeing me squirm. O.K., here goes. Personal: affecting my
private life and personality. Everything that touches me, makes me thrive,
makes me whole..."
     She realized what she'd just said and stopped in mid-sentence, mouth
agape. Memories of last summer rushed back into her consciousness. She
remembered every word of that hallway conversation and could only surmise
that Mulder did too. Damn slip of the tongue! It was a losing proposition,
arguing with a psychology graduate. Every faux pas would be misinterpreted,
taken as subconscious, smoldering desire.
     She shyly looked over at Mulder, expecting a self-satisfied smirk in
response to her gaffe. A slight half-smile graced his lips (or was it a
grimace?), anguished eyes speaking volumes.
     She sighed and stared down at her sandals. Very slowly and
deliberately Mulder closed the three-foot gap that separated them. He
gently put his arm around her and they sat like that till the sun
disappeared behind them.