Chapter 4

Ethan's POV

"well"…

I have to admit the long pause isn't doing much for my ego.

It was a pleasant surprise to bump into Dana today. Not completely outside of the realms of possibility given that we do both work in D.C, but not expected either. Going against the cliché of made for tv romance films, I have not spent the past couple of years pining for Dana. Yes, I was upset when we broke up, and yes it did take me a while to get over her, but I did and I moved on. A met my ex-wife a short while later, we relocated and I was blissfully happy until I found her in bed with another man. The only time I ever really thought about Dana was once during a drunken game of truth or dare when I was asked if I had ever done the 'wild thing' with a red-head. Anyway, I moved back to D.C, got on with my life and then came to this restaurant today for a lunch meeting with my boss that never happened.

I meant what I said, I enjoyed catching up with Dana. The reason why we split up was more to do with work than with our personalities. As a young tv producer i was often working long shifts at very unsociable times, coming home at all hours, but the good thing was, is that I always had Dana at home to come back to. Dana was teaching at Quantico at the time, so was home every night by 6. Then when she started on the x-files and was assigned field work , she was never around at the same time as me, more often or not I came home to an empty apartment. We barely saw each other, and in the end we realised that neither of us were at the stage where we wanted to sacrifice our careers for the needs of the other, so we broke up.

My invitation today didn't come out of a burning desire to get her back in the sack asap, rather from having spent a pleasant 2 hours talking and reawakening an old friendship. If that were to lead to anything further down the line, I wouldn't exactly be opposed to the idea, she is an attractive and extremely intelligent woman after all.

She's looking at her partner outside the corner of her eye. Good God don't tell me she needs to get his permission to go out with some one so that it doesn't interfere with an assignments! Mind you he always did seem a bit controlling and all encompassing as far as work is concerned.

"..i don't know Ethan, what with the hours we work, …"

"That's okay" I say a little too brightly, and I hope not desperately sounding, "I do mostly day time work now, so I'm free most evenings….."

"I see…" she says, and I can't help but feel that there is a 'but' coming.

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Phoebe POV

I am loathe to say it, but my seduction of Fox is not going according to plan. Firstly there was a slight bump in the road when he invited his partner out to lunch with us. That didn't deter me, I always was one to rise to a challenge. When that Ethan chap turned up I couldn't believe my luck – it was just what I needed to distract Agent Scully, and reading men as I can, I could tell that he was certainly interested in her. Unfortunately it was Ethan's arrival that threw my plan off the rails. Ever since he showed up at our table Fox has been distracted. None of my amusing stories, flirtatious glances, seductive technique at eating prawns or my failed attempts at playing footsy have worked.

In the end I had to take one for the feminist team and ask him out myself. Which he declined in a round about way. I am trying to look indignant and hurt, but alas it has gone unheeded as Fox is too engrossed in Ethan's attempt to ask out Agent Scully. I almost wish the pair of them would leave so that I can get Fox's attention.

I can't for the life of me think why Agent Scully is hesitating – Ethan is a good looking man, and she is fairly pretty I suppose, now that she seems to have tamed her hair and learned how to coordinate her colours- they would make a good couple.

"I see.." she is saying "but the thing is, I am sort of involved with someone, so I don't think it would be a good idea…"

The poor chap looks slightly crestfallen but he recovers well. "It's just when you said you weren't married you didn't mention anyone else, I thought…I'm sorry I shouldn't have been so presumptuous…"

"No, Ethan" she pats his arm "It's okay, it's complicated…."

He attempts a small smile, "do you think it would be okay to meet up for a coffee then? In public, in the middle of the day? Surrounded by people? Just so we can finish catching up? You could bring him along too, I'd like to meet him"

To give credit to the man, he is persistent. I would have said it was obvious that Agent Scully isn't interested, he must be slightly dim to not pick up on the signs. When a woman says no, she says no. I would never throw myself at a man that wasn't interested. That and in my opinion men and women can never be "just friends".

"Well, um.." She blushes, which given the colour of her hair, is not a good look on her. .

"You already have" Fox's voice cuts across the table, causing all eyes to look at him.

"What?" Ethan looks confused and slightly irritated. "with all due respect buddy, this conversation is between Dana and I .I know you are technically her superior, but I thought what Agents did on their own time is their own business."

"It is" Mulder replies calmly, " I was merely saying that you have already met the person with whom Scully is 'involved'."

"When?" Ethan asks cautiously.

"7 years ago, Dulles airport, you dropped Scully off before we caught our flight to Bellefleur ,Oregon"

A look of comprehension dawns on Ethan's face and I am glad he understands what is going on because I don't.

"It's me" .

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Scully POV

Right now I don't know whether to kill Mulder or kiss him. My homicidal leanings come from the fact that Mulder has openly told Ethan and Phoebe that we are more or less in a relationship after having pussyfooted around the matter and never having actually talked about it with me first. But I also want to kiss him as he has pretty much declared that he does want to be in said relationship with me, and the look on Phoebe's face is priceless. If her mouth opens any lower she'll be letting the flies in.

"Oh so you two are…" Ethan trails off.

It actually did me a favour to run into Ethan today, it made me realise that my feeling for Mulder surpass those I had for Ethan, who had been my most serious relationship to date, we did live together after all.

"Yeah" Mulder squeezes my hand under the table and snakes his arm around my shoulders. Happy as I am over Mulders declaration of sorts, I am not too pleased about this caveman display of 'my woman, so back off' body language.

"Are you serious?" Phoebe declares, having finally found her voice. "Fox, she's hardly your type!"

That's it! I have just about had enough of her, only the fact that Mulder is holding my hand prevents me from reaching for my gun. "Deadly serious" I tell her, emphasising the word deadly, because that's what she will be if she carries on.

"And what exactly is my type Phoebe?" there is a tone in Mulders voice that challenges her to be egotistical and describe herself.

"Taller" she mumbles, throwing her serviette onto her plate. Should I take that as a symbolic gesture of a white flag?

"why did you agree to come out to lunch with me if you knew you were dating her all along?" she whines

"But Phoebe, " Mulder says as innocently as he can "didn't you say it was a lunch for friends? Well that's what we are, friends isn't it…?"

Mulder playing the dumb routine is always a good one. Phoebe is squirming in her chair having been backed into a proverbial corner.

"Yes..well…I…" and then she gives up. Phoebe Green, wordless. Oh happy day.

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Mulder POV

My arm is around Scully's shoulder in public! My arm is around Scully's shoulder in public and she has not tried to move it or threatened to shoot me. This must be love.

Admittedly she is going to chew my ass later for blurting out that we are in a relationship without having spoken to her first, women are fussy about these kinds of things. Who cares when my arm is around Scully's shoulder in public and I am holding her hand! Let's hope the hand stays in her lap though as we could have a 'situation'.

Ethan seems to be taking this revelation like a man, Phoebe on the other hand is sulking like a toddler. I think it is more to do with the fact that it's Scully I am seeing, as those two never really did hit it off.

That and she always did have issues with accepting that there are attractive women out there aside from herself. I do feel sorry for her slightly, it was this self-love that blinded her to the fact that I was not interested and haven't been since oh I don't know… 1983?

"I see why it's complicated" Ethan says eventually " I suppose the FBI doesn't like partners to get romantically involved"

"..Yes" Scully says. That and the small issue of cancer, abductions, stolen ova, governmental conspiracies, bounty hunters, dead family members, 7 years of pent up sexual tension and our complete inability thus far to voice our true feelings for each other. Complicated indeed.

"well, seeing as we are finished here, I think I had best be leaving" Ethan stands and throws some money on the table to cover his meal. "I..um..congratulations I guess.."

"Thank you." Scully replies "It was nice seeing you again" she smiles, and whereas before I would have felt like punching the nearest wall, I now feel vaguely safe in the knowledge that Scully won't be jumping Ethan's bones anytime soon.

"I should go too" Phoebe gets to her feet. "I hope you two will be very happy" the sentiment isn't quite reflected in the tone of her voice, but she is trying at least. "It was, um, good to talk to you Fox.."

"where are you headed?" Ethan asks "we could share a cab?"

"Okay" a smile tugs at the corners of Phoebe's mouth, she always did recover quickly. "lead the way" she links arms and they stroll out of the restaurant.

I turn back to Scully "See, perhaps they will both fall in love and…" I trail off when I realise that Scully is giving me The Eyebrow.

"So we're dating now are we?" she asks.

"well, you see, I thought…..and…..then..Ethan..he…" Why is it only with Scully that I turn into a jibbering idiot?

"right" Scully says softly, as I study my fingernails.

"Look.." I lift my head up to apologise but am cut off by Scully leaning over and kissing me square on the lips. "wuh.." I say when it ends.

Scully stands, dragging me up with her "come on Mulder"

"Come, uh, go where? "I splutter.

"Home, to 'discuss' things further" she says in a 'come-hither' drawl, before dragging me toward the door.

I trail behind, throwing the bill at the waiter on the way out, and all of a sudden I am pleased that Phoebe Greene showed up at work today….

THE END