By Jeannine Ackerson


Rating: PG for language.

Disclaimer: The X-Files belong to C.C., FOX & 1013 Prod. AND most importantly: they don't belong to me.

Relationship: MSR. As always, the author cannot be held responsible for any violent reactions readers may have to the romantic contents of this story. <g>

Summary: Scully tries on a dress and thinks about why she should and shouldn't buy it.

Hi All! Melody was nice enough to give me this title waaayyy back during the Alphabet Files (wow, that was a while ago, wasn't it? <g>) Then this idea came to me and thus the story was born. I know it's not a real long one, but it is just a scene. But let's get to the story. . .

Scully stood in front of the dressing room mirror, critically looking at herself and the dress she had on.

Not bad, she thought, turning to the side.

The dress was simple enough. Just what one might expect for the occasion. Floor length, fitted and stunning. It was sleeveless, which wasn't really a problem. She'd be indoors so she wouldn't have to worry about being cold. The straight design was exactly what she liked. A lot like her slim skirts. Overall, it wasn't that bad. Actually, it felt pretty good.

But she still felt strange wearing it, let alone contemplating buying it. She glanced down at the price tag hanging from a piece of string safety pined to the side of the gown for the tenth time since she'd donned the dress.

Five hundred dollars and I doubt if I'll even wear this dress again.

She sighed heavily. Not like five hundred dollars was so bad for such a beautiful garment. It was a designer label at that. To tell the truth, it was probably a bargain. But it wasn't so much a question of money so much as of purpose.

And she didn't think she'd ever have a cause to wear it again. Or more specifically, she hoped she wouldn't have a reason to wear it. Mostly because she felt a little silly all decked out like a debutante.

But she knew that the real reason was that she was so much more comfortable with her business suits.

What with all the years she'd been with the Bureau, wearing business suits had become second nature to her. And they had so many more uses than a fancy dress like this. Easy to open jacket and a short zipper in a skirt were a picnic to the nearly two foot long zipper in the back of this dress.

She moved her hands to her hair and smoothed it back into place. It was a nervous gesture that she'd never gotten rid of. She was still scared to death of what she was getting into. Part of her loved the idea, and another part was scared of failure.

Glancing in the mirror again, she noticed that the off the shoulder drape had curled up. With tentative hands, she brushed the drape back into place. It accentuated the front of the dress. Hell, it showed off and accentuated her cleavage, making her feel less like she was 'under endowed'.

What? She thought to herself as she turned to look at her bust in profile in the reflection. Trying to look like one of Mulder's video women?

A grin spread across her face. No. She'd rather be her size than surgically enhanced and bleached till brain dead. Still, there were obvious advantages to being busty.

Then again, she thought with a secret smile, I would never get taken seriously if I looked like Pamela Anderson Lee.

She turned again, glancing back over her shoulder at the back of the dress. There was a split up the back, stopping just at the knee. It was one of the few dresses that was in the right size and style that had the slit there. Most figured that if a woman was wearing the gown, she was going to walk slowly, in measured steps, but she'd wanted a dress that she could 'walk' in.

Plus, she thought, at least if I have to go run in this thing, I won't fall flat on my face.

Slowly she turned again, taking in the length, the fabric, the way that the color brought out her hair color. It was just what she should be dressed in, but she couldn't bring herself to stop analyzing and critiquing her appearance. Or stop dwelling on the price. Or resign herself to really believing that this was actually happening.

Sighing under her breath, she took one last look at herself in the dress, still undecided on it. She just couldn't believe that she was even doing this. Her eyes started at her feet, and drug up her reflection. It wasn't until she was looking at herself straight in the eyes that she caught sight of the other set of eyes gazing at her in the mirror from about ten feet away.

Somehow she wasn't surprised that he was there.

"You look exquisite."

Then he walked up behind her and let his hands rest on the smooth material covering her hips. She could feel the heat of his hands right through the fabric at his touch.

She smiled at his reflection in the mirror. God, he always knew just what to say. Well, she amended, not *always*. He hadn't known what to say to her a lot of times and had ended up simply joking with her when she would have rather he be honest with her about how he felt. But that didn't matter now. They were together now and that was all that was important.

"What are you doing here?"

"I got my arrangements already taken care of. I thought I'd stop by and see how you were faring. So, how long have you been standing here deciding on whether or not to buy this dress?"

She chuckled in spite of herself. He knew her *too* well it seemed.

"Ten minutes. Maybe fifteen."

"What's the problem? You're beautiful and you look beautiful in it. I don't see a problem here."

"It's five *hundred* dollars!"


She stifled another sigh that threatened to become a groan. Sometimes he just had no common sense . . . Wait a minute, she rebuked herself. This is Fox Mulder. Of *course* he doesn't have any common sense. He still thinks that Elvis is alive and living with aliens on Reticula. She would have to give him a jolt of reality if she wanted him to see her point.

"When am I going to wear it again? It's such a waste of money. I think I should just wear one of my good suits . . ."

"Don't you dare! There was a reason you said you were going dress shopping; to get a dress that was right for this event. You back out now and I'll have to cancel the tux rental. And I was *so* looking forward to showing up wearing a neon green bow tie and cummerbund."

She couldn't keep the shock from showing on her face at his words. God, please tell me he's kidding . . .

"Say you didn't . . ."

He smiled at her, the brightness of the expression not lost through the glass reflection. He was teasing her. God, that man! There were days she wanted to kill him. But then there were times that she knew that she was a very fortunate woman to be loved by him. It was a fact that was reconfirmed to her every time he smiled at her and even today was no exception. Truthfully, she wouldn't have him any other way.

"I didn't. Strictly FBI issue. I even asked to see what they had in the tasteless and tacky department, but the salesgirl wouldn't show me. She said something about not being allowed to show *"Mr. Mulder"* anything that was deemed inappropriate for the function. So, when did you call them and warn them about me Scully?"

She forced herself not to smile. It was tougher than she thought. But even as she pursed her lips to keep the corners from turning up, the amusement sparkled in her eyes and she knew he caught it.

"The day I knew that this was *really* going to happen. I knew that you wouldn't have the sense God gave you to not try to pick out something atrocious."

She amusedly watched as his grin turned to a forlorn puppy-dog frown with the sorrowful looking eyes. One that she suspected he knew melted her heart.

"Aw Scully, you know I wouldn't do that to you."

"That's what you always say Mulder. Besides, you forget I know your taste in ties."

He gave her a lopsided grin. With his smile back, she felt better. Then she felt his arms come up and wrap around her waist. He was staring at her intently in the mirror and she knew that he was waiting for her to find another complaint about the dress so she wouldn't have to buy it. She looked at her reflection in the mirror and sighed a little, her doubts resurfacing again. Looked like she wasn't going to disappoint him.

"I can't wear this."

"Why not?"

"Mulder, this isn't me. I've never worn anything this extravagant. Besides, I really think that stylish cream suit of mine would be better."

"Don't start this again. You have to wear a *dress* Scully. No suits allowed. You know that. Besides, if I have to wear a tuxedo, you have to wear a dress."

She sighed heavily again, running her hand over his arm and up to the low neckline of the dress.

"Maybe we could just keep it low profile. No big reception, no dinner and dancing. Then I could wear the suit . . ."

"Scully, the invitations went out weeks ago. It's too late. And besides, do you really think anyone would let you get away with having a simple affair? Not on your life. This day has been too long in coming."

She couldn't help but smile. God knew that she'd *never* suspected the first day that she'd walked into the basement office of the X-Files that one day she'd be here, standing in front of a mirror, contemplating buying a dress for one of the biggest days of her life.

But the expense of the dress, the fact that she doubted if she'd ever wear it again plus her reluctance to face the crowd that was going to be there had her vacillating between buying it or looking for something else she could obsess over for another half hour.

Behind her she could feel him suppressing either exasperation or laughter because of her ambivalence. Releasing her waist, he rested a hand on her shoulder, the other tilting her face up so his eyes could meet hers in the mirror again. The sincerity she saw there took her breath away.

"Scully, you look absolutely stunning. When you come in wearing this dress, everyone will think that I'm the luckiest man alive. Which I am."

He smiled at her again, a brilliant flash of teeth and happiness showing there. The light in his eyes was just as bright and she remembered again why she loved him so much.

Still . . .

"Come on Scully. Splurge for once. Besides, it's not everyday that my wife becomes Director of the FBI."

With a smile, she hesitantly nodded her assent and she turned to head to the dressing rooms again to clamor out of the dress until she had to wear it to the Induction Ball being held in her honor in two days time.


Well now, was that ending enough of a surprise for you? J.

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