I'm sorry I've been AWOL for a while. I'm easing my way back in with a relatively short new story, it should be all up within a couple of weeks.

Scully looked up at the door when she heard a bang. She smiled at Mulder as he stepped inside but then rolled her eyes when he propped open the door with the box he was carrying and then tipped it towards him to stop half of the contents falling to the floor.

"What's this…?" Scully asked looking at the box with a raised eyebrow as she stood up from where she was working behind his desk.

"Two months worth of paperwork, Skinner wants it by Monday. Apparently, there's been a mix up in processing and we need to check all this and re-do the manual forms before 9 am."

Mulder winced, expecting to be on the receiving end of his partner's frustration, but then smiled gratefully at Scully as she looked up at him with a pained expression but walked to take an arm full of files from the top of the box.

"What the hell happen?" Scully asked as she walked back towards Mulder's desk, she dropped her bounty on the edge before pushing them back to make space for the box.

Mulder sighed and leaned around his partner to drop the box into the space, then perched on the edge of the desk. "Something to do with data processing and system upgrades in the tech department. I didn't ask for details, this has been a logistical nightmare and Skinner wasn't in the mood for a chat."

Scully sighed and looked at the stacks on Mulder's desk. "This is going to be a long one…"

"…And boring…" Mulder added sadly.

"Well, if the thought of spending your weekend with me is so objectionable…" Scully started to tease with a smile.

"Scully, under normal circumstances you are always my dream weekend companion…but this could break my soul..." Mulder smiled back at her his eyes twinkling as he walked around the desk and flopped dramatically into his chair.

Scully smiled, her cheeks flushed almost imperceptibly and she looked down towards her feet. Even though she knew he was teasing, jokes like that always took her by surprise. She tried to cover and lifted her arm to look at her watch. "Well, it's a little after six, do you want to start on this tomorrow or get a few hours in now?"

Mulder let out a long breath, dropping his head back and closing his eyes.

Scully let her eyes drift down his throat and swallowed before quickly zipping her gaze back up to his face.

"Tonight?" Mulder said with a pained expression. "We might as well wake up in the morning and know we've made a start."

Smiling warmly Scully nodded, "Sounds good…" she paused and then had a thought, "Give me ten minutes?"

Mulder's eyebrows raised and then he shrugged, "Sure, of course…I mean do you have a hot date you need to cancel or something…?" He asked with a slightly tense smile and Scully swore that she heard genuine anxiety in his voice.

She laughed, "Mulder! A date? Really? Me?"

Her partner looked flushed, "I don't, I mean…it's not…its Friday night…you're a beautiful woman…why wouldn't you…I…"

Scully's jaw dropped slightly at Mulder's nervous rambling and shook her head, "To have a date I would actually have to meet a man, Mulder."

"You meet men," Mulder pointed out with nervous irritation. "You meet men all the time, barely a day goes by without some no mark little weasel leering at you…or trying to…"

Scully chuckled and grabbed her jacket, "I'm not sure what point you're trying to make, Mulder, but considering the calibre of men you're claiming that I manage to attract on a daily basis I'd say it's hardly surprising that I have no plans to cancel this evening."

Mulder ran his hand over his face and sighed with exasperation, "I didn't mean it that way, Scully. I meant…well, I mean…shit…no one is good enough for you!"

Scully paused at the door and whipped back to glare at him, "Mulder, you sound like my father! What the hell is that supposed to mean?"

Shaking his head slowly Mulder shrugged to say that he really didn't know. He looked at her with contrition, "I don't seem to be able to…can we just forget the last five minutes happened and chalk it up to 'foot in mouth' disease, Scully? Any man would be lucky to get to spend their Friday evening with you…hell, any evening with you…"

Scully felt tears spring to her eyes at the genuine warmth in her partner's voice and any irritation she had been feeling melted away. "No, I'm sorry, Mulder. I don't know why I made such a big deal about what you said. We have a long weekend ahead of us. Yes, let's start again…"

Mulder smiled and nodded, "At the risk of taking us back to the start of this spiral, where are you going?"

She smiled, "I'm going to get us some pizza, the only date night you and I are likely to have for the foreseeable future should at least start on a high."

Nodding gratefully Mulder smiled at his partner's thoughtfulness. "Get us some pie too, on me…"

Scully turned to leave.

"Oh, and Scully…" Mulder added as she walked towards the door.

Scully turned, expecting an addition to their order.

"I probably don't say this enough, but…well...you were assigned to the X-Files as my partner…I guess I just want you to know how grateful I am for your friendship. You're more than a friend…you're the closest friend I've ever had and…" Mulder's voice was nearly a whisper and trailed off a little at the end.

Scully nodded, momentarily a little speechless at his unusual sentiment. Her partner didn't exactly hide his emotions but he wasn't commonly gregarious either. "It's a two-way street, partner," she replied, scared to say too much as she felt the danger of her voice cracking.

Mulder nodded, "You're all I have, you know? I know I don't always show it…but I would never take that for granted, I have never taken you for granted. You're my family, Scully…and well…" he paused for a beat and then added firmly, "…I love you."

Scully didn't respond for several long seconds.

What was he saying?

You're my family and I love you.

Did he love her like family?

Like a sister?


She licked her lips quickly, "Yes, of course, I love you too, Mulder…of course, I do. Well, I'm going to get that pizza…and…yes…I won't be long, and..."

She ran out of the office and rushed to the elevator door, pushing the button she ran through the last few minutes in her head.

What the hell had just happened?

Mulder looked at the door, the same door he'd been looking at for the last 20mins. He'd told Dana Scully, his partner, his best friend, the love of his sad miserable life that he was in love with her…then she'd said she loved him too…and then she'd just left to get pizza.

What had he missed?

Yes, of course, I love you too…

That's what she had said; I love you too…