May 25, 2001 9:34pm Georgetown, Dana Scully's Residence

Scully sat wide-eyed reading the five new entries in her e-log. She thought the story Mulder made up over the flight a few days ago was just something he had made up just to ease her nerves for the flight. She thought she remembered some guy in a clownsuit. Clownsuit? That couldn't be right...after Oregon, she was definately taking a vacation.

She lazily tossed the dime-penny a couple of times. Tomorrow was going to be a long day. Her tickets to the Bellefleur airport having just been tucked into her overnight bag, she decided to head over to Mulder's apartment.

Mulder had called sounding oddly nervous. The words of the entry she didn't remember writing came floating through her inner- monologue as she made her way down the hallway.

A knock on his door told him that Scully was there. Maybe he would take Scully on vacation after Bellefluer was overwith. Maybe telling her about what the doctor had said in the hospital a few days ago would be easier for both of them to take if they were away from the ratrace of Washington.

"Hey, Scully." Mulder said, planting a kiss on her forehead, leading her in. He was really glad she was back. They sat on the couch, arm in arm, watching nothing in particular on the television for an hour sipping beer and muching on popcorn...buttered.

"Mulder, we need to talk."

Mulder repressed the impulse to groan with disappointment. That phrase might as well have been a death knell. Funny choice of words he just picked with the news the doctors had given him. She was going to quit the Beureau. He knew it would come someday. Someday, he would need to leave the FBI, too. This time, he wouldn't stop her. He couldn't put her at risk anymore.

"If you're telling me you want outta the FBI, I understand, Scully. I'm not going to beg you to stay if you really need to leave."

"You want me to leave?" She had never been so nervous before in her life; she couldn't place it, but she thought he had been evading something on purpose since South Carolina. But that's not what she needed to find out tonight.

"No...that's not it at all."

"I don't want to leave the FBI, Mulder."

"What...? I-uh-" Relief spred across Mulder's face, and hoped she didn't see it. It was something else, then...had she found out he was sick? "Let me finish."

"I want to talk about you and me, Mulder." Her voice wavered and in almost a whisper, she said, "...us." Mulder was completely floored. Usually it was he who brought up the subject of "us," and before, she changed the subject or told him to drop the matter entirely. That night, the walls went down, and no one caved in.