March 5, 2001

"Scully, do you have to go?" Fox Mulder watched his partner and lover from his sprawled out position on her hotel bed and smiled beseechingly up at her.

Dana Scully grinned and placed another neatly folded sweater in her suitcase. "Mulder, the case is nearly done. You can finish it up and then come right home to me." She finished packing and snapped it shut. "Okay?" she asked, leaning down to lightly kiss his lips.

"I guess," he pouted, before startling her by reaching up and pulling her down on top of him. She giggled as he gave her another kiss, and he marveled at the sound.

"Very funny, Mulder. You know I have to go to Hannah's christening. She's my niece, and Charlie would be upset if I missed it. Do you really want to be out of favor with both of my brothers?" she asked logically.

He sighed. "That's not fair."

"I know. But I do have to go now, Mulder," she told him, pushing his dark hair off his forehead. "It's Saturday night. On Monday morning, you'll be home."

"I'll miss you," he said softly.

"I'll miss you, too," she said, smiling at him. "But when you come back, we have that whole week off, remember?"

He brightened. "Yes, I remember. I have some really fun things planned," he said seductively.

She raised her eyebrow. "Oh, really. Wanna give me a preview?"

He rolled over so he was on top, but caught sight of the clock and rolled back off. "Nope, sorry, not today," he said smiling innocently at Scully's surprised expression. "If you don't leave now, you miss the plane, and then the christening, which means your brother will kill me and we won't get our week together." He jumped off the bed and threw open the door. "So, go now. Bye. Love ya."

Scully still lay on the bed, mouth gaping. "Well, gee, guess I can take a hint," she teased. She reluctantly got to her feet and grabbed the suitcase.

"I love you, Scully," he said, the teasing smile gone.

Her heart leapt at his words. It wasn't the first time he had said them, or even the tenth, but it still thrilled her every time. "I love you, too, Mulder." Reaching up on her tiptoes, she gave him a kiss good-bye. "And now I'm leaving. See you Monday, partner."

Mulder followed her out the door and watched her walk down the hallway towards the elevator. When at last she left his sight, he sighed and went back to lay down on the bed and start counting the minutes until he was back home with her.


It was Monday morning and Mulder was running late. He raced around his hotel room, throwing clothes haphazardly into his suitcase and slammed it shut. He didn't even take the time to make sure he had everything before rushing to check out and head to the airport. He made it to the terminal just as the last boarding call for his flight was being announced.

"Good timing, sir," the woman taking his boarding pass smiled.

Mulder grinned back, relieved. "Yeah, tell me about it. Good thing I went through that yellow light, or I'd be in trouble right now." He took the ticket stub and headed down the breezeway. He found his seat with little trouble, climbing over a young woman and older man to settle into the window seat.

He buckled his seat belt and gazed out the window with a sigh. With practice born of too many cross country plane trips, he tuned out the flight attendants' instructions and focused on trying to fit his long legs into the cramped area. The young woman on the aisle watched him, amused. When the plane was finally in the air and the seat belt sign had dinged off, she turned to him.

"Sir?" Both men next to her glanced at her. "Sir next to the window," she amended.

Mulder grinned at her as the other man opened a magazine. "Yes?"

"Hi. I'm Shelley, and you look really uncomfortable. Do you want to switch seats? I actually like the window better," she admitted.

"Are you sure?" he asked, surprised.

"Very sure," she grinned, grabbing her back-pack and standing up in the aisle.

"Well, thank you very much," he told her, grabbing his own carry on and pushing past the man still in the middle seat. "I appreciate it."

"No problem," she responded, climbing over the now annoyed man in the middle seat. "Sorry, sir, last time, I promise," she told him, and he shrugged in response, slapping on a pair of headphones. Shelley raised her eyebrows and made a comical annoyed face towards Mulder, who tried to hide his amusement.

"Thanks again. I'm Mulder, by the way." He extended his hand over the man and she shook it.

"Nice to meet you. Are you going home, or on a trip?" she asked him.

"Going home, actually," he said, eyes brightening at the thought of Scully waiting for him. "You?"

Shelley gave an internal sigh. Obviously taken, damn it. "Visiting a friend. She's at Georgetown, last semester, and very much in need of seeing someone who can reassure her that the end is, indeed, in sight," she laughed, tucking a strand of short brown hair behind her ear. "So, who's at home that you can't wait to see?" She grinned as Mulder's eyes widened. "Yes, you are that obvious. You don't have to tell if you don't to, though. I am a complete stranger, I know."

"No, it's okay. I'll grill you next," he grinned back. "Her name is Scully," he began, but she cut them off.

"Okay, wait, wait, wait. I was going to let Mulder pass, but now Scully?" she asked, in disbelief. "What kind of parents did you guys have?"

Mulder laughed. "My parents were horrible, hers were better. I'm Fox Mulder, and she's Dana Scully."

"All right, then I understand the Mulder. But Dana's a great name," she exclaimed.

"Yeah, it is. But see, we're FBI agents, and we started out as partners. Still are, actually," he explained. "We got in the habit of calling each other by our last names for the first 7 years we were partners, and even when we started dating last year, it continued. Force of habit, I guess. I just can't think of her as anything else now."

She smiled. "Best friends with benefits, huh? Sounds really nice."

"It is," he said with a nod. "She's my life, you know? And I really can't believe I'm telling you this," he said, shaking his head. "I guess my motto *has* changed from 'Trust no one' to 'Trust everyone," he grinned.

"It's a nice story," Shelley told him. "You're lucky you found her."

"Yes, I am," he agreed, smiling happily. "But it's your turn now."

They spent the next two hours chatting and exchanging stories. Shelley was telling Mulder some stories about the kids in her kindergarten class when they felt a sudden tremor in the plane. Shelley looked terrified as the seatbelt light chimed on and one of the attendants came on the speaker to tell them to close the trays and place their chairs in an upright position.

"Relax, Shell, it's just turbulence," Mulder reassured her.

She glared at him. "Okay, I know that you're used to flying, and I'm not, but that was more than turbulence, Mulder."

He reached over and took her hand. "It's okay, Shelley. Really. You know, you're worse than Scully was on our first flight, and I thought that was hard to beat," he grinned.

She managed a tight smile back. "Right. Thanks." She squeezed his hand and let go. "You know, Scully is really lucky to have a guy like you. She better hold on tight before I come back and steal you away."

He laughed. "I'll be sure to warn her."

She smiled at him as the speakers crackled to life. "Attention passengers. Please be advised that we will shortly begin an emergency landing. Please assume crash positions and await further instructions."


Scully glanced at her watch for the tenth time in the last half-hour. She knew Mulder's plane wouldn't land for almost a full hour, but the time was just dragging. She had already cleaned their apartment twice and had even reorganized the closet. Ever since he had moved in with her, they were even more unhappy when they were apart. The phone rang in the kitchen and she jumped up to get it.


"Scully, it's me," she heard through the staticy connection.

"Mulder? Is that you? Why are you calling me? Where are you?" she shouted into the receiver.

"I'm on the plane, Scully. Can you hear me? Scully, we're going to crash. I had to tell you that I love you. I love you, Dana!"

"What do you mean you're going to crash?" she asked frantically. "Mulder? Mulder! I love you, too, Mulder! Mulder?"

There was a long pause, and Scully almost stopped breathing. "You're my everything, Scully. I-"

The connection broke and Scully stood there, in shock, trying to comprehend what had just happened. She hit talk again and dialed 411 when she heard the dial tone.

"DC, Dulles Airport," she said in a rush. "Please, just connect me right away."

IML 2: Falls Apart
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