Disclaimer: X-Files and its characters are owned by 20th Century Fox and Chris Carter.I just borrowed them for a few hours :)

Author's Note: I wrote this story and my other X-Files fanfic a number of years ago and thought it time to upload to this community.

Summary: When Scully's friend Beth whose main hobby is teasing Scully about Mulder visits her, Scully finds her relationship with Mulder changing immensely.

Tickled

Scully finished getting the extra bedroom ready for her friend Beth. They'd met while they were both in the Academy and grown close, but while Scully was asked to teach, Beth had been transferred to a field office in Seattle, so it had been almost 6 years since they'd last seen each other. Consequently, when Scully heard that Beth had been re-assigned to Washington, D.C., she was more than happy to offer her a place to stay until she found an apartment.

Scully was looking forward to having someone to stay with for a while. Living on her own, despite its independence, sometimes got lonely. But, the only problem she foresaw was having to introduce Beth to Mulder in person. Beth was a sweet, kind, wonderful friend, but when it came to Mulder, the teasing Scully endured from her was unbearable. With the majority of that teasing occurring over the phone, she could only guess what could happen with them together. Convincing Beth to keep her mouth shut while Mulder was around would probably be a pretty big task.

Scully heard the doorbell ring and placed a last extra pillow in the trunk in front of the bed. She hurried to the front door and, after quickly straightening her hair, opened it with one quick pull.

"Dana!" Beth dropped her shoulder bag and threw her arms around Scully. "God, it's so good to see you again."

"I missed you." Scully said, returning her hug. She pulled away and reached down to pick up one of her suitcases. "You look really great."

"Me? No." Beth followed Scully inside and dropped her other suitcase on the floor by the couch. She fell onto it, resting her head against the back. "Same long brown hair, same face--just a little older." She motioned for Scully to sit down next to her. "But you look wonderful--really mature, in a good way, I mean."

"It has been six years." Scully sat on the couch next to her. "There's so much to talk about--"

"How about you and Fox?" Beth smiled.

"Beth," Scully said, a warning tone in her voice. She hadn't expected her to start so soon.

"What, I'm just interested to know how work is going," Beth explained, her lips curled down in an expression of mock seriousness.

Scully rolled her eyes. "Now, how do I know that's not entirely true?"

"Oh, come on, Dana," Beth said. She raised her eyebrows twice and grinned, continuing, "I simply find you two fascinating."

"Why?" Scully asked, moving away from the couch and into the kitchen. She knew it was pointless in trying to divert Beth's attention from what seemed to be her favorite topic--it took up the lengthier parts of their phone conversations. But, with Beth here, Scully lost the element of hiding body language and reaction. There were so many things about her and Mulder that Beth simply didn't understand--Scully didn't want to react to something Beth teased about in a way that would only garner further teasing and further embarrassment for no real reason but a misunderstanding on Beth's part.

"Come on," Beth responded, turning around and resting her chin on the back of the couch. "You've spent more time with him than any man you've known, you haven't been on a date in, oh, three years, and you yourself said that he's the only one in the world you trust."

"That's just the nature of our work," Scully defended herself. She pulled two glasses from a cabinet and set them on the counter.

"It's the nature of your attraction."

At that, Scully turned towards and glared, only to find a very wide grin spreading across Beth's face. "It's not that way."

Still grinning, Beth said, "You wouldn't be so quick to deny it if it weren't true."

"There's nothing to deny."

"So you admit you have a thing for him, then." Beth jumped from the couch and strolled into the kitchen next to Scully.

"I don't," Scully stressed. She poured iced tea into the glasses and handed one to Beth.

"Yeah, you do." Beth sipped at the iced tea then turned the cup around in her hand a few times, seemingly studying the floral pattern around the rim.

Scully sensed Beth only getting more and more interested in their conversation and wanted to end it more than anything. She thought it was wonderful that Beth cared about her enough to want her to have someone, but at the same time, the reason Beth fixated specifically on Mulder chewed at her nerves. She put the pitcher of iced tea back in the refrigerator and attempted to find a way to end this little chat, only to have her thoughts cut off.

"You do flirt, right?" Beth leaned against the counter and added, "And touch a lot?"

That caught Scully off guard. "Well," she attempted, only to lose any coherent thought that would suffice as an explanation. She glanced at Beth and found that silly grin reminding her that she'd waited just a little too long to answer. "People touch each other...it's only natural." Feeling her face heat up, she moved out of the kitchen, afraid that Beth might start wrongly reading her body language.

"This is getting good," Beth smirked, grasping her glass of iced tea and following Scully into the living room. "Did you ever see him naked?"

"How do you go from touching to nudity?"

"Easy." Beth sat on the couch's armrest and crossed her legs. "So, did you?"

Scully bit her upper lip and allowed a "Well..." to slip from her mouth.

"You did!" Beth's face lit up.

Scully felt her face flush completely as she tried to explain, "I had to undress him when he came into my apartment poisoned." That was an innocent enough explanation that even Beth couldn't twist unless she really worked at it. She thought it best to leave out how soft his skin felt while she slid his clothes off his body. But that was only a mere personal observation in a time of stress that meant nothing anyway.

"He must have one hell of a body to make your face that red."

Damn her, Scully thought. How was she so good at making innocent events the most embarrassing moments? This had to end now. "Look, I'm really tired, and I'm sure you must be too."

"You know, you're right." Beth slapped her hand against her knee, then let the grin reappear. "Wouldn't want to keep you from your fantasies."

"Good night, Beth."

Beth picked up her suitcases and followed Scully to her room to get her things out of the way. When they reached the door she gleefully continued. "I can't wait until you introduce me to him tomorrow." With that she entered the room and closed the door.

Scully closed her eyes and fell against the wall. She hadn't thought about introducing them.

X X X

Scully left for Headquarters intentionally early in order to catch Mulder before Beth enacted her attack plan. She explained to Beth that she had some work to do and since she didn't have to be in until 9:30am, it would be silly to leave so early. So after doing 80 on the highway and sprinting to their basement office, Scully managed to have about 30 minutes to prepare herself and Mulder for blast-off.

When she got inside the office, she noticed Mulder's things on his desk, but no Mulder. "Mulder," she called. She really wanted to find him and give him some warning or his introduction to Beth could become a rather humiliating situation. Well, it would probably be humiliating regardless, but at least if he knew, she wouldn't be caught off guard. "Mulder," she tried again, slightly louder.

"In here," came a muffled reply from the bathroom.

"Are you decent?" she asked, setting her hand on the doorknob.

"Yep," he stated. "But I don't have to be."

She sighed and shook her head before opening the door. Without looking up at him, she said, "I need to talk to you about something."

Mulder leaned in towards the mirror trying to finish shaving. The hot water and gas heating had gone dead in his apartment, so he had attempted to make himself look presentable despite the confines of the office bathroom and a lack of sleep. "What is it?" he yawned.

"I have this friend."

"You're not trying to set me up with someone, are you?" He turned to face her, a tired grin tugging at his mouth.

She sighed. "Mulder." She leaned against the wall and decided against drawing the story out. Actually, the more she thought about it, the more silly it seemed to be taking everything so seriously. "She's a friend from the Academy and just got transferred to D.C." She gazed up at Mulder, finding his eyes closed and his face streaked with shaving cream. "Mulder," she called, trying to rouse his attention.

He mumbled, "Hmm?"

"You okay?"

His eyes still closed, his head wavered slightly before he answered. "Yeah, I just didn't sleep last night--the heat's out in my apartment."

He sat down and forced his heavy eyelids open partially. "So what about this friend?"

Scully noticed his face still had shaving cream in places, so she took his razor from the sink and bent towards him.

Curious, he caught her gaze. "What are you doing?"

"You missed a few spots." She ran the razor down his left cheek and reached for a towel. "Besides," she continued, dabbing at a small cut on his chin, "with your history of injuries, it would be pretty bad to bleed to death from shaving in your sleep."

"Mmmm," he moaned, managing to nod.

"Don't move," Scully said, placing her palm against his face.

"So what about this friend?"

"Oh yeah," Scully sighed. She leaned in further, bringing her face closer to his, and continued gliding the razor over his cheek. "Well, she has this thing about us."

"Us?" Mulder rested his elbows on his knees and leaned his chin in his hands.

Scully felt a knot form in her stomach, but pushed on. "She thinks we have a thing for each other."

"A thing?" Mulder smiled. "What is she 13?"

"No, but she's more than open about it." She stood in front of him, grateful for his calm reaction. "I just thought you should know." She finished shaving his other cheek and moved to do his chin. "Move your hands."

Mulder dropped his hands away from his face, but Scully's close proximity only made them land lightly at her waist. Too tired to move, he left them there, closing his eyes.

She shivered at his touch. "Move your hands."

"I did," he exclaimed, moving them again, but not away from her. He noticed her shiver again and he smiled. "What, are you ticklish?"

"A little," she admitted.

He grazed his fingertips across her sides, a mischievous grin spreading across his face.

"Mulder," she nearly shouted. His fingers triggered her nerve endings to light up and feeling her knees weaken, she rested her hand on his neck for support.

Mulder let out an inaudible moan. "Don't do that," he whispered. "What? This?" Scully asked, letting her thumb slide across his neck. When he nodded, she couldn't help grinning. "I'll stop if you stop."

"What is this, a competition?" He tickled her sides again, making her shake.

She giggled from the tickling or from the ridiculousness of the situation- -she wasn't sure which--and rubbed his neck again, making his head fall forward against her chest. "Do you mind?" she managed.

"Just let me sleep for a minute." He rested his hands on her hips and closed his eyes, sighing.

Scully placed her hands on Mulder's shoulders near the base of his neck and gazed down at his face. He actually was sleeping, she noticed. She watched his face, as calm as a little boy's, and his mouth curving into the near-smile he gave her on occasion, the irresistible one that made it difficult not to smile back. In his half-conscious state, she felt him wrap his arms further around her waist, pulling her closer against his upper body. She stifled a laugh, wondering if he knew what he was doing and to whom, but stopped when she realized she herself was caressing his neck, threading her fingers lightly through his soft hair. She couldn't resist a grin. "Mulder, do you know how ridiculous we look?"

"I don't care," he breathed against her chest, "it's comfortable."

"Come on," she whispered, stroking his shoulder.

He released his hold on her waist, stood and stretched, his long thin body seeming almost taller. He dropped his hands to his hips and smiling with half-closed eyes, said, "Just promise to wake me up now and then over the next few days."

"If your heat's going to be out that long, why don't you stay at my place? " The words were out before she remembered Beth.

"That'd be great, but what about your friend?"

"Well," she said, thinking about what Beth would construe of her invitation to Mulder. "You could take the couch, and I may be able to prove something to Beth once and for all." At least, she hoped she would.

"Won't she get weird about the supposed thing between us?"

Scully rolled her eyes and shook her head. "Weird isn't the word." She bit on her bottom lip, figuring that with patience, she could probably handle her.

A half-grin tugged at Mulder's mouth, and he held back a small chuckle.

"Come on," he said, "let's get to work."

Mulder and Scully finished some paperwork and general housekeeping on some cases before breaking for the day. Beth had called Scully after her meeting with the personnel director and asked if she and Mulder would meet her for dinner at a place called La Rose. Scully attempted a last- ditch effort to delay Beth's meeting Mulder, but with him right by her, it didn't quite work.

"I think Mulder's busy," she'd said.

"Nonsense," Mulder shouted from his desk. "I'm free as a bird."

Scully shot him a look that said, 'shut up,' but Beth had already heard him.

"Great," she giddily exclaimed. "I'm sure we'll all have a great time."

Scully sighed, "All right--we'll see you there in a half-hour."

Mulder let her hang up before he finally released a grin. "I would've met her tonight, anyway."

"True," Scully agreed. She moved away from her desk to get her coat, but Mulder took it before she could.

"Is she really that bad about us?" he asked while placing her coat around her shoulders. When Scully nodded in response, he replied, "Interesting."

Scully faced him and found a curious gleam in his eyes. "What are you going to do?"

"Nothing, nothing." He slipped his overcoat on and opened the door for her. He placed his hand on her back and guided her out. "Come on," he smiled. "We'll be late."

X X X

When they arrived at the restaurant, Beth was already there with a table for them. Mulder held the door open for her, and Scully squeezed her eyes shut and sighed, mentally preparing herself for an evening of embarrassment. The truth was, though, that by now, she was no longer quite sure who would embarrass her more--Beth or Mulder. His little comment about Beth's fixation on them being "interesting" hung in her mind the whole car ride there. Plus, Mulder hadn't spoken a word since they'd left the office--that was what she found interesting.

"Nice place--they even have music," Mulder commented while they waited for someone to direct them to their table.

They made their way through the packed restaurant to the table and Scully quickly got through the introductions. "Beth, this is my partner, Fox Mulder."

"I've heard so much about you." Beth smiled and took Mulder's hand. "You're right, Dana," she said, her eyes lighting up, "he is cute."

Scully rolled her eyes and sincerely hoped that the next hour or two wouldn't take more than a day to go by. She moved to sit down, but was stopped by Mulder's hand on hers.

"Let me get that for you, Dana." He pulled her chair out, and directed her to sit down, giving her the sweetest smile he could muster.

Scully eyed him suspiciously, curious at his use of her first name. "Thanks, Mulder," she muttered.

As Mulder sat down, he leaned close to Scully, whispering near her ear, "Anything for you."

Her skin tingled where his breath had grazed across her ear. She shot him a warning look--this wasn't the time to be playing jokes, if that's what he intended.

"So," Beth sang, dragging her gaze towards Mulder.

Another warning glance from Scully shot in her direction told Beth to stop before she even started.

"So everyone know what they're ordering, yet?" Beth stated, smiling at Scully.

They sat through nearly ten minutes of awkward silence and another ten after a waiter took their drink order. Scully noticed Beth being unusually quiet, especially with one of the objects of her scheme, Mulder, sitting right there. She was hoping Beth was heeding her request to keep her teasing to a minimum.

"I'll be back in a minute," Beth said, standing away from their table.

"Where are you going?" Scully asked.

"Just something I forgot to do." With that, she disappeared into the crowded restaurant.

Scully craned her neck back and forth in an attempt to figure out where Beth had gone. But, on a Friday night at the height of the dinner hours and the number of people that had begun to dance, it was difficult to make out what direction she might have taken. She thought she caught sight of her when a hand on her shoulder made her jump slightly.

"What are you doing?" Mulder asked.

"I don't trust her." She settled back in her chair, crossing her arms over her stomach.

"She's your best friend, right?" His voice had a slight disappointed tone to it.

"Well," Scully said, turning to Mulder, "maybe not best friend." She locked her gaze with his and returned his smile.

Beth appeared back at the table just in time. "Interrupting anything?"

Scully jerked her head towards her. "No, not at all." She rolled her eyes at the pleased look on Beth's face. "Everything all right?"

"Oh, great," she replied, nodding.

As Scully watched her expression, Beth seemed to be stifling a grin. Scully started to speak, but was interrupted by a voice over the microphone.

"We have a special request here for a song. This is dedicated to Spooky from Dana with all her love. Come on out here, folks!"

The sweet opening strains of the old 40's song, "It's Been a Long, Long Time" coursed through the air contrasting with the leveled look Scully thrust at Beth. "What are you doing?"

"Having a little fun," Beth smirked.

Scully faced Mulder, her face flushing with embarrassment and apology. "Sorry about this," she said.

He leaned towards her and whispered against her ear, "Dance with me."

"What?" she murmured.

"Come on."