Too Close, An X –Files fanfiction

Prologue: Secrets and Solitude

POV Dana Scully

The worst mistake I ever made was falling in love with my partner. Not a life partner, or a partner in a romantic relationship … an FBI partner. Fox Mulder to be precise.

I was only just realizing this as he picked up a piece of burnt cloth with the end of his pen and examined it skeptically. We were both leaning down, close to the floor, searching for the confusing and misleading evidence of a homicide.

We had been called to investigate the unexplainable death of a nurse at Saint Julies center for the terminally ill in Los Angeles, California by a friend of mine from medical school: Dr. Ben Steinhart. He had contacted me the previous day; tired of the inconclusive results he had received from the local police in solving the crime. It was no X-file, but I had dragged Mulder along with me, insistent that I needed his help on the case. The pitiful truth, however, was that I couldn't last a day without him by my side. We had become a little overly attached, to say the least. I guess that two and a half years of saving each other's lives had created a connection that I felt more strongly than he did.

I turned and peered into his eyes, mesmerized by the amount of passion and need for discovery locked inside of them. His yearning for the truth was so endearing, but I assumed that the love for his work overshadowed any love he could ever have for a human being; namely me.

We were inside a vacated patient's room where the late Nurse Roberts was found dead, scorched and steaming, as if struck by lightning. The police and detectives before us had gathered most of the evidence, but Fox had just uncovered the singed blue cloth that had been caught in the windowsill and fell to the ground.

"It looks like the missing sleeve from her scrubs." I told him, clear and calculating.

He leaned towards me, saying, "I agree. And it was burned off by whoever…or whatever killed her." His face was close to mine and my heart was pounding out of my chest. Trying to pull my attention away from our intimate proximity, I examined the evidence.

"What is the brown residue on it?" I squinted my eyes. "It seems like powder."

Fox brought it close to his nose and slightly inhaled. "Its smells sweet, like molasses. We need to get this to a lab and see what makes up its chemical compound."

"That can be done on the premises," Sounded a strong and booming voice from behind us. In the frantic sensation of getting caught in a private moment, I shot up to my feet quickly, making myself dizzy. Fox slowly rose behind me, not as affected.

Dr. Ben, as he liked to be called, stepped into the room and shut the clear glass door behind him. "Is that the only thing you found interesting?" His bright eyes twinkled at me, enhancing the handsome and mature face that framed them. If I had become a Resident like Ben instead of accepting my recruitment into the FBI, I might have eventually married the man. Even though I never really loved Stienhart, he had been my best friend many years prior. I smiled back at him, glad to be in his company once again.

Mulder noticed our locked gazes and cleared his throat uncomfortably. "This cloth has burns like we saw on the body, but is covered in a thin layer of brown powder that I want analyzed as soon as possible. I checked all electrical devices and outlets and didn't find any abnormalities or possible malfunctions. Her death is still quite mysterious." He uncovered a vile from his pocket and stuffed the clue inside, capping and handing it to me. "Thanks for the offer, Steinhart, but I think we will take this to one of our facilities downtown later, for a *professional* analysis, " he said with a smug grin.

Ben's joyous demeanor dropped a couple of notches and he asked statically, "Is there anything else I can do for you?"

"Yeah" My words jumped out before Mulder could hurt him further. "Can you direct us to the patient who was in here when Nurse Roberts died?"

"Sure," he replied, taking a deep breath and pointing out the door. "She is at the end of the hallway. Saralina Peters."

We thanked him and exited the room, stopping at the nurse's station for a cup of coffee. I gulped down half a cup and stared at Fox, scowling.

"Who peed in your drink, miss angry?" He asked, which almost made me smile.

"You didn't have to demean the man. All he was trying to be was helpful." I scolded him, setting down my cup and yawning.

"Sorry. I know that was out of line. I guess I felt a little territorial." He paused. "About the… uh case. I mean. Territorial about the case." He was acting jumpy at his own words, which I thought was completely and utterly adorable.

I couldn't help but love this ridiculous and beautiful man. And I don't know what I was thinking, trying to pull myself away from him. But he was just a friend. And emotional bonds to others were a huge mistake in my line of work. It was just a bad idea.

I guess that is why I had decided to resign from the X-Files after this case. I had to resign from Mulder.

I was just too close.

****authors note**** the rest of the chapters will be longer :), this is just the prologue, after all. -HJM