Title: Masquerade
Author: Jen
Written: October 1995

This is my first *attempt* at posting fanfic. I hope *someone* likes it, just a *little* bit. I always wanted to post something. I'm taking my first step now. Normal disclaimer, no infringement of copyright intended, blah , blah, you know the story. OK, a few warnings, some bad language, no *graphic* sex, and for all you who don't like the idea of M&S getting together, do not read. OK, forewarned is forearmed. All comments, flames, occasional death threats, should be sent.

Enjoy!-Jen


 

" Mulder, you have *got* to be kidding me." Dana Scully shook her head and frowned at her partner. "Common Scully, live a little." Mulder's hazel eyes flashed with amusement. "I thought the whole idea about Halloween was death and ghosts and stuff."

"Actually, it's based on an ancient belief..."

"Allright. That's enough Mulder." Scully walked across Mulder's office and picked up something from his desk. The mask dangled from her hand. "An alien? You're going to the ball dressed as an alien?"

"No, you are." Mulder ducked as a plastic coffee cup sailed over his head. After the storm had passed, he straightened up to his full six foot one and looked down at Scully, studying her hair. He thought * Sometimes it's red, sometimes, auburn, what is it, mood hair? Hmmm*. Scully rose her head and he snapped out of it. "Actually, I don't know what I'm going as, I'm still working on a more difficult problem."

"What's that?"

"Convincing you to go with me." It wasn't a complex request, just a party held by Michael Freen, a senator and long time friend of Mulder. He was beginning to think Scully was distancing herself from him. Last week it was lunch, the week before, she wouldn't even go for a walk. Mulder hadn't given any of this much thought. It was probably just one of her moods, but today it was starting to bother him, and he didn't know why. "Is something wrong Scully?"

"Of course not, I'm just not sure I want to go"

"With me?" She gave him a suprised look, "No...I just think it would be better if I don't go." Mulder noticed she failed to hold his gaze. * What is with her?*

"Please." This was accompanied by his best wide-eyed-little-child look. Scully couldn't help herself, she laughed. Shaking her head and smiling, she walked slowly towards Mulder. "Fine, but I don't want to see your face." She turned around and walked to the door, after tossing the alien mask on his desk. "Just not that face." She walked out the door. The sound of her heels echoed down the hallway. Mulder walked back over to his desk and looked at the mask. "I don't want to see your face." He smiled . "Thanks for the idea Scully."


Dana Scully paced back and forth in front of a full length mirror. "Stay still!" Her sister, Melissa, was adding finishing touches to Scully's costume. "I swear I'll prick you if you don't stop it." Dana frowned. "I look like an imbecile. Whose idea was this anyway?"

"Yours, so deal with it. I'm almost finished... there." Melissa stood away admiring her handiwork. "You know, you only get a chance like this once in a lifetime."

"What?"

"You know.." she let the sentence drop off. Dana turned on her.

"What?" Melissa shook her head and smiled. "Playing the part so soon?"

Scully had to smile. Her costume. It was Mulder's suggestion. Sort of. She had been thinking about one of their conversations. After a comment she made to him he replied "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.' Lucky for him he got out of the room in time. She had told Melissa about it, and the costume was started. Dressed in a flowing array of reds, grays, and whites, she was transformed in to her sister's impression of a Fury.

Her petite figure was emphasized by the flowing cut, the slippers were heels in disguise, adding height, in a word it was perfect. In a few short hours Mulder would be there to pick her up. Why then, did that make her so nervous? Mulder and Scully had decided to suprise each other with their costumes. At the time it sounded like a good idea, but now. *Stop it* she scolded herself * you're acting like a schoolgirl*

Melissa broke into her thoughts. Holding Scully at arm's length, she smiled, then the grin took on a hint of malice. "You look great. *This* will impress him." Melissa began to laugh as Scully's face fell. "Oh no, forget it, you are *NOT* backing out now."

"I just .. well, I ..."

"There is no excuse not to go, and you know it. Now let's finish with your hair. I have a few styles I'd like to try...."

Twenty hairstyles and an hour later, Scully sat in her room alone. Melissa was at the front door handing out candy to the few children out trick-or-treating. She heard the children's laughter and Melissa's mock-screams.

Scully sighed. She didn't understand why she suddenly felt uncomfortable around Mulder. They had been through so much together, she had saved his life countless times. They were partners, friends. Mulder probably was her best friend. Who else could she put her trust in, depend on? She wondered what she would do if he wasn't there for her, if he was gone. It could happen. The ones you love can be taken away from you before you can even say goodbye. Her father was a good example. She shook her head and blinked her eyes before tears came. Tonight she *would* have fun. She would forget about these feelings, they would pass. They would just have to.


In an apartment across town Fox Mulder was having a hard time settling his nerves. He was ready early, his costume simple, black tuxedo, flowing opera cape, and a simple white mask. He had contemplated earlier putting on the alien mask under the Phantom one, but visioning Scully's reaction, he quickly decided not to. Scully, ...Dana...what was his problem? Sitting on his couch, staring at a blank TV screen, he imagined what she was doing right now. Was she finished, waiting for him, was she just as nervous as he was? What if he told her? Would she laugh at him? Did she even feel the same, just a little? * God, stop it Mulder* he said to himself. * What do you expect, that you'll walk up to her, tell her you love her, and expect her to just jump into your arms....into your bed... NO!*

He threw a cushion across the room. It landed by the TV, and settled down softly. He *couldn't* ruin their relationship. This was getting far out of hand. He had found himself, recently, staring at her for no reason. Memorizing her face, her eyes, her everything. Yet to him it wasn't enough. "It's just gonna have to be enough." He spoke out into the silence.

There would be no more of these "fantasies". He and Scully were * friends * Yes, they were probably more than that, but lovers? They couldn't, could they? Mulder couldn't even sort out his own feelings, he didn't even know if he was in love. Too many times he had thought he was, but it always ended terribly. He checked his watch. It was time to go. It was time to put his whole thing behind him. Picking up the white mask, Mulder walked out of his apartment, and into the night.


Mulder passed some kids on the way to Scully's door. Their smiling masks and laughing made him cringe. How many times had he and Samantha gone trick-or-treating when they were younger? *Not enough* It still hurt so badly. His sister's disappearance haunted him night and day. He wouldn't ever stop looking for her, never stop trying to bring her home. *would Scully be able to live with me if I never found Sam, is that why I can't love her *. Mulder approached her door. He hesitated, then knocked. Melissa answered it. "Mulder! You're just on time. It's a good thing too since Dana's been...."

"Hello Mulder. Nice costume." Scully walked out of her room, cutting Melissa off before she could do any harm. *No worries* Scully thought. * Just because you've never seen him look this good before doesn't mean..*

Mulder broke that thought, thankfully. "You don't look too bad yourself." * you don't look too bad..... yeah, fast thinking Mulder, real good answer, make a fool of yourself while you still have the chance..*

"Mulder, is something wrong?" Scully was looking at him with concern. *Damnit* He thought. *Zoning again*

"No, I'm fine." He saw a knowing look on Melissa's face. "Well, are you ready to go?"

"Sure, let me get my coat." Mulder helped her into a dark blue wool coat, and they walked to the door, where Melissa stood in their way. "OK, ground rules, no drinking, smoking, loud boisterous laughter or indecent signs of affection...to *anyone* in public. Got that?"

"Yes mommy dearest, anything else?" Mulder asked with a deadpan expression.

"Be home by midnight, or you'll turn back into pumpkins."


The drive to the senator's house was a quiet one. Scully stared out into the night, Mulder stared at the road. Scully suddenly jumped as Mulder laughed. "What?"

"I just figured out what you are! Athena, no, umm, Venus, yeah, one of the goddesses. Right? He smiled and looked at Scully from the corner of his eye."

"Guess again."

"Ok, a Greek maiden, Roman, no wait, I know, Maid Marian." Scully shook her head. "She-devil?"

"MULDER!" Laughter erupted in the car and the tension was eased.

"So what the devil are you then?"

"I'm a Fury."

"A wha.. oh!" The car began to swerve as Mulder laughed shamelessly. Scully smiled *this* was more like it. No seriousness, no hidden emotions. She settled back in her seat. "So, what are you?"

"Dracula."

"Where are your fangs?"

"Oh, those, well, I figured that they may come in the way if..."

"Please," she said and rolled her eyes. "I know you're the Phantom, stop fooling around."

Holding the mask up, Mulder said "How did you guess that? I swear Agent Scully, sometimes you know things no one else could."

"You are impossible, Mulder."

"I know, but that's why you love me."

The statement was meant as a joke, but the implications hung in the air between them, and not a word or a glance was exchanged until they reached the house.

Michael Freen's mansion was located on the bank of the Potomac. It was a lovely old state house. Classical Greek columns lined the front, marble steps leading up to the door. As Mulder opened Scully's door for her, he placed on his mask.Scully looked up. With the mask he was transformed. She hardly recognized him. She pulled out a mask of feathers and rhinestones and put it on. Mulder stared at her for a moment. "Not a Fury, I liked the goddess thing better." Scully didn't hear him. "Hmmm?"

"Nothing."

They walked into the house, where they were greeted by Senator Freen. "Mulder, I'd know you anywhere."

"What, you *recognize* me?" He shook his head. "My disguise isn't enough?" He pouted.

Scully laughed. "Maybe you really *should* have worn the alien mask."

"No, then *anyone* would have recognized him." Michael smiled. "I guess I only recognize you because I know you so well. However, not very many people can say that. It's only us select few." Grinning, he turned to Scully. "Perhaps though, you'd let your lovely partner here dance with me?"

"Be my guest. Uh, if it's all right with her, of course."

Scully smiled. "Of course." She danced with the senator and a few other people , but she didn't pay much attention. Later, standing by the punch bowl *great, I am back in high school* the thought about what Michael had said. 'because I know you so well.' Funny, Scully hadn't recognized Mulder once he put on the mask. Did that mean she didn't know him at all? Scully always knew there was a part of him he never shared. Some part he kept locked away, but didn't she know him enough.

She came out of her reverie as a masked man made his way towards her. Mulder. The Phantom slowly walked up to her. She smiled. "Mulder, where have you been? If this is the way you treat your date, you can expect to have a very small number of them." He didn't speak, just held out his hand. She took it, and waited for him to put his arms around her, to begin to dance. Yet he didn't. Instead, he began to lead them away from the dancers, from the colorful costumes, the laughter. They were leaving it all. Is this what was happening, she thought. Are we...? She sighed. "Mulder...where are we *going*?" The figure beside her turned and smiled. She shook her head in frustration. They walked out into the night.

Back in the party, Mulder emerged from the bathroom.


Mulder walked out of the bathroom. Adjusting his cape and securing his mask he surveyed the room. * I've been a jerk* he thought * I really was paying no attention to her.* Mulder didn't catch a glimpse of Scully, yet he had been watching her earlier. Dancing with other men. The strangest thing was, every time she went to a new partner, he cringed. Watching her, his heart broke. How could he *not* love her? This whole 'forget it' thing wasn't working. How could it? He was just going to have to deal with it. Maybe not by telling her, but at least by accepting the fact. He could work it out from there. But now, he had to find his *date*. With a smile, he walked over to Michael. "Hello Mike, where's the Fury?"

"And the flame?"

"Yep. I seem to be neglecting her."

"Well, actually, I haven't seen her. I don't know. She couldn't get lost in here, my house isn't *that* big." Laughing, the senator went to talk to some other guests.

An alarm went off in the back of Mulder's head. *Where* was she? Did she get so mad that she just left? * and what, take your car?* Then where the hell was she!

He was beginning to panic when Michael's wife approached him. "Agent Mulder." Mulder smiled at Ali Freen. She always used titles. Never first names, always the diplomat. "I thought you had left."

"I was in the bathroom that long? God, I'm going to have to stop reading the magazines."

She smiled. "I guess I'll have to bring that up with Michael, won't I?"Shaking her head she continued. "But seriously, I could have sworn I saw you and Agent Scully leave her a few moments ago."

Mulder let that sink in. "What."

"I said I could have sworn..."

He never heard that repetition, he was already running out the door. Seated in his car he began thinking. * He looked like me?* Phantom mask, his mind was racing. Opera cape. * where the _hell_ was she?* Tuxedo, tails and all. * Dana's alone out there* Where could she be. *opera*

He didn't have time to just drive around. * musical, masks, drama,* The city was huge. "Theater," he spoke into the silence. The Phantom of The Opera had just finished running at the Kennedy Center. Could it be? Well, that was his only hope. He stepped on the gas.

** Scully opened her eyes. *where am I* She slowly tried to raise herself, but found her arms and legs bound. "Fox?" she called softly into the darkness.

What had happened? She strained to remember. The ball, Mulder, ignoring her, finally coming to her, walking out of the mansion. Then, before getting to his car, the towel, the chloroform. Mulder holding her till she passed out. *NOT Mulder* Blackness. Now, she was cold, and alone.

Mulder,for all she knew could still be partying, flirting with every woman he saw. Forgetting Dana Scully was alive, at least for now...

"No," she whispered. A match was struck somewhere near her. A candle was lit. A dark form came slowly towards her. "Who the hell are you?"

The figure moved closer. A face came into view. *NO* She opened her mouth to scream.


Mulder was flying down the road, ignoring other drivers who repeatedly blew their horns, stop signs, and homeless men on the streets. He crossed the bridge, the Kennedy Center was in view. Pushing on the gas even harder,he got closer. *She _had_ to _be_alive* There was no way to handle it if she wasn't. "No, she isn't, she can't be." He slammed on the breaks as he approached a red light. *Well,* he thought,* no use getting killed first, she can't save you this time, it's your turn,Fox*

He finally reached the Center. Parking in one of the spaces in front of the building, he ran up to the main lobby. A security guard asked if he could help him, Mulder just mumbled 'FBI'. Most of the lights were out. The last play had ended an hour ago in the Terrace Theater, the only people left were the stage crew. He glanced around. Souvenir stand, coat check. Towards the end of the hall he saw a door. 'Opera House Stage Door' Taking a deep breath, he opened the door....


Mulder opened the door. "FBI" he yelled.... into the darkness. It was pitch black in the opera house. The only light came from emergency lamps on the catwalks.

He slowly moved around the area, jumping at his own shadow. * Dana, * he thought *Please be here, alive*

He heard a strangled scream. "Dana!" He ran towards the stage, towards her voice. A burden was lifted. She wasn't dead, yet. He had to hold on to that. He needed something. Walking along the stage, behind curtains, around props, Mulder softly called her name. "Scully, ... Dana....."

There was no answer. No sounds. Gun in hand, he searched, every corner sending chills down his spine. Moments passed like that in the dark, the only sounds were Mulder's footsteps and his voice, occasionally calling out her name. After time his cries held more sorrow. More fear.

"Looking for someone, Fox?"

Mulder spun around. There, in the box tier, was a man, dressed identically to himself. He was holding Dana.

"Scully!" he yelled. She was limp, like she was dead, *No, just unconscious.*

The white mask offered startling contrast to her red hair. To her head, he held a gun. The madman laughed. "Afraid, Fox? Careful what you do, it would be a shame to have to hurt her. Don't want spoiled goods, do we?"

"What do you want?" Mulder was cold. This man was insane. From past experiences , he knew madmen couldn't be trusted. Talking sense to him, reasoning him, there was no way. He could only hope to stall him, to get that gun away from Dana. She still hadn't moved. "What have you done to her?"

"Nothing as of yet. But, we can change that, can't we Fox?" *Why is he using my name?* The mask tilted to one side. "I can give her to you if you want."

Mulder took a deep breath. "Yes, just let her go. "

"Do you *really* want her?"

Exhausted , Mulder spoke "Yes, damnit, I want her." * I've always wanted her* He shrugged. "Who are you? Do we know each other?"

The Phantom laughed. "Don't know who I am? Is that possible? Let's just say, I'm your conscience, your nemesis."

"What the hell are you talking abou....."

"One last time Fox, do you want Dana?"

"Yes." Too late. He said the word.

"Allright then, enjoy." The Phantom pulled the trigger.

"NO!!" Dana fell off the balcony. Mulder felt his life crumble around him. He turned to the Phantom. "You fucking bastard." Mulder fired three shots, all hitting the Phantom square in the chest. Mulder watched as he slumped down , until he couldn't be seen.

Then he broke down. "Oh God, Dana..." He fell to his knees. "No!" Looking at the red velvet seats, all he saw was blood. * It's finally happened. I've finally lost what I truly needed. Dana....* His eyes filled with tears. Finally they flowed. Huge, racking sobs came from his form, kneeling over on the stage. "Dana , I'm so sorry."

After time, he walked to where she fell. Along the way, he picked up her mask. No blood stained the feathers. He ran forward. An arm hung over a chair. He held his breath, and looked over the edge. Glass eyes stared back at him, the jaw of the plastic face gone. This wasn't Dana. His heart soared, relief overwhelming him, making him dizzy. She was alive somewhere. Maybe.

He turned to run back for the stage. There, in the dim light stood Scully. "Dana" He ran up to the stage. She smiled. "Mulder, where have you been?"

"I ... I'm so sorry, I didn't know.."

She held up her hand. "Don't say a word. It's nothing."

"No, it is. I thought I lost you Dana. I know I never would have said anything, but I realize now that I have to. Dana" he took a deep breath. "Dana, I ...." She looked up into his eyes.

"You what?" He slowly bent down to her upturned face. When their lips touched, she didn't shirk away from him, instead, she gave herself up to it. After a moment of eternity, he pulled back.

Turning away from Dana, he ran up to the box seats. As he reached box number five, he stalled. Opening the door, he stepped into the box. No one was there. No blood was on the floor. He ran through each box, no sign of anything. Exhausted, he leaned over the railing.

Scully spoke from the stage. "You won't find him Fox." At the sound of his name, he turned. "He isn't here."

Mulder ran back down to her. "Then where the hell *is* he? I shot him, damnit, three times! There isn't a possible way he could have escaped."

Scully shook her head. "Fox, let's go."


"What are you saying Scully? That he just disappeared?" They were sitting in Mulder's apartment. Or, Mulder was sitting.

Scully was standing, with a cushion from his couch in her hands. Placing it back on the couch, she sat down. "No. What I'm saying is he was never really there."

"I did *not* imagine him." She shook her head. "I believe you." Silence filled the room for a moment. Mulder placed his head in his hands. Scully sighed. "When I first gained consciousness, I saw him." *I can't say this..oh God*

"He looked like you.." Mulder's head shot up. Scully rushed on. "About ten years after you were dead." The memory came rushing back. The decay, the pure malice. It couldn't have been him. Tears rushed out. Mulder held her, stroking her head until the sobs stopped. Minutes later, she raised her head. "I'm sorry."

"Don't be." He smiled. "I'd be scared to tears if I saw myself dead too."

"Mulder, you are impossible."

"I know, that's why you love me."

"God, I wish you weren't always so right."

Mulder turned to her. The implications of what she said burning his mind. "What are you saying Dana?"

"I love you Fox." The three, no, four words he had wanted to hear for so long. He was filled with joy. It was difficult to think, difficult to keep himself seated. He noticed Scully was looking at him funny. * She thinks I don't ...* He laughed. He couldn't help himself. He soon noticed his mistake.

She stood up and walked to the window.

He jumped up. "Dana, I didn't mean to laugh, I mean I never meant to..."

"I understand Mulder, I just thought.."

"Call me Fox." She spun around. He took her into his arms. Slowly, she tilted up to meet his lips. A sigh escaped him. He tightened his arms around her, around the one thing he ever wanted. Their kisses lasted for minutes on end. The bridges had been crossed, then burned. They had stripped away the masks , the silence. They'd passed the point of no return.

Fin

Well, there ya go! All done. How'd ya like it? It's been great writing it. Makes me want to write more. Hee Hee . - Jennifer


"Once there was a childlike innocence, now there is only the truth"

"Life is like a choose your own adventure book.... except you don't get to choose your own adventure."

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