To Touch III: To Know

      Dana Scully closed the office door, leaving her partner and her
superior alone together.  She smiled a little to herself, despite her
worry.  Fox Mulder was hurting badly after that last little caper with
Linda Bowman.  Walter Skinner was the one to help him now, if they'd
only stop running in place.

                              *    *    *

      Mulder thought he was keeping a big secret.  They all did.  
Scully, though, had a sense about these things.  Melissa thought she was
psychic, but that was ridiculous.  It's all a matter of mannerisms and
subtle reactions - purely scientific in nature.  Not that she expected
every man who saw her to be attracted to her.  She was not vain, and she
certainly pegged men as straight who didn't look at her twice.  And men
as bi who never looked at anything else with her in the room.  There was
just something about men that she could always know.  One day she'd sit
down and figure it out, but not now.  Not when she was finally picking
up the pieces after her cancer and after her daughter, rebuilding her
life again.  

      She could remember walking into Mulder's office for the first time
with crystal clarity.  He turned around in his chair, looking at her
through those glasses that made him look so adorable.  It wasn't fair. 
*Her* glasses made her look forty.  *His* made him look cute.  

      Her first thought was, "Oh, he's gorgeous.  This could be fun." 
Her second was, "Too bad he's nuts."  Followed by, "It doesn't matter,
he's gay."  She just knew it, again.  It wasn't anything he said or did. 
He didn't hit on her, and he treated her as an adversary (well, she had
been sent to spy on him) but not as helpless or stupid or weak.  He 
assumed that she was competent and went on from there.  She even liked
that he called her Scully.  There were times now that she responded to
it better than to Dana.

      He was gorgeous, and he was nuts, and he was unmistakably
brilliant and intuitive.  He read people like they were books, and he
remembered every book he ever read.  They tossed theories about like
racquetball and even when they reached an impasse they never lost
respect for each other.

      When did he become her best friend?  When did he become her only
friend?  Everyone else was dull next to Mulder.  Everything was dull
next to Mulder.  She knew she was more intelligent now.  She had to be
just to keep up.  And he needed that competition.  He also needed
something to rely upon.  Someone he could call in the middle of the
night.  Someone to drive three hours to bail him out of a drunk tank or
to lock him in a storage room or shoot him in the shoulder if he needed
it.  Scully liked being needed.  She became a doctor to help people, she
joined the FBI to help better.  No one needed more than Mulder.  He was
sometimes more than one person could manage.

      "Hey, Scully.  You awake?"
      "What is it now, Mulder?  It's 2AM!"
      "I just had this dream.  I don't remember it now, but I woke up on
the floor again."

      "Buy a bed, Mulder.  They're lots more comfortable than couches
and you don't fall out of them."

      "I can't get back to sleep.  Can I come over?"

      "Now I won't get back to sleep either.  Is that your plan?"

      "Misery loves company."  And she'd throw on some sweats and put a
frozen pizza in the oven.   The frozen pizzas she bought just for times
like this.  She should get an award for Co-dependent Partner of the
Year.  And they'd talk for a couple of hours until she fell asleep on
*her* couch while he channel s