Most of the characters in this story are the property of Chris Carter, Ten-Thirteen Productions, the BBC and other entities, and I do not have any permission to borrow them. Not that I think they'll care. However, no infringement is intended, and this story is not for profit. Feedback is most appreciated.

This one is the result of a writing challenge and born of a really wild evening. This is all there is, folks; I haven't watched enough X-Files to do any more. The quote is taken from The Calligraphic Button Catalogue, found at www.nancybuttons.com. Grateful acknowledgement is hereby made for the inspiration, and to the person, whose name I never did catch, who suggested the first line. And to Preymistress, whose fault the whole thing is in the first place!

This Could Be the Start of a Beautiful Friendship

It was dark, the moonlight filtering through the trees; and something flittering beneath, in the shadow, was in a bad mood. It had been a long night, and an early chill had reduced the insect population, and his stomach was growling.

Scully ducked as a small shape swooped past her head, and sighed, her irritation rising. She had no real problem with bats, but she and her companion had already spent forty-five minutes stumbling around the fallow field with flashlights and without results. "Mulder..." she said warningly.

"We haven't covered that corner yet," came her partner's distracted voice, and his light bobbed further away. Scully swore silently and was briefly grateful that she'd chosen a pantsuit that morning instead of a skirt.

"Come on, Mulder. This is a farce. One report of an outhouse that appears and disappears...I'd be willing to lay odds that the other reports are just people building on the story. And really. An outhouse?"

"Something that looks like an outhouse," Mulder corrected her. "The old lady said it wasn't really one. For one thing, it had double doors."

"Yeah. Mulder, she's in her eighties and wears bifocals. I doubt she can see fifty feet."

Her partner stopped abruptly and flung up one hand. "Listen."

The noise wasn't quite like anything Scully had heard before, to be honest. It sounded almost like a car engine turning over very, very slowly and not catching, muffled a bit by distance. And it seemed to be coming from the copse of trees at the end of the field.

Mulder broke into a run. Scully swore again and hurried after him, one hand automatically reaching for her gun. Given his record, who knew what bogyman could jump out of the darkness?

The sound slowed and stopped with a thud. Scully followed Mulder's light, catching up to him as he reached the edge of the little grove. He didn't really glance back at her, but she knew he knew she was there. "Come on," he whispered, and she could hear the familiar excitement in his voice.

The object was not quite fifty yards into the woods. It certainly looked like an outhouse in the dark, but when Scully played her light over it she had to admit that most outhouses didn't have miniature lighthouses on top. Or...double doors. Nor, in her limited experience, were most of them painted deep blue.

"So there's a...structure," she admitted grudgingly. "Some kind of storage shed, maybe. So what, Mulder?"

"A storage shed? Give me a break, Scully. Way out here?"

There was little reason to put one there in the woods, Scully realized. "Maybe a playhouse?" she theorized, realizing as she said so that it was too narrow and tall to make a good one.

Mulder circled it, then shone his light on the doors. "Look at this."

Scully stepped closer, then jumped back as one of the doors suddenly swung inward. She had her handgun out before Mulder was by her side, and they stared in astonishment as a man emerged from the tiny building.

He was no taller than Mulder, and was dressed incongruously in a dark velvet coat from another era and a white shirt beneath, with lace at the cuffs and a loose cravat at the throat. Brown, curly hair hung to his shoulders, and his smile was innocent and wise. His gaze examined them unhurriedly, and his eyes, clear and intense, gave Scully the uncomfortable impression that he was more than he seemed. The man raised one brow, a whimsical expression.

"Hello, Agent Mulder," he said, his accent unmistakably British. "I hear you're looking for aliens. You may call me the Doctor."