Title - Suitor
Author - Stephanie R
Rating - G
Category - V
Spoilers - None
Keywords - None
Disclaimer: All hail Chris Carter, 1013 Productions, and the Fox Network. They own the characters and situations, I own the plot. No copyright infringement is intended. I'd appreciate their not suing me for this little exercise in creativity.

Summary - A Halloween Vignette

Scully carefully wrote some notes regarding falsifying spectral photographs, punching the keys on her laptop to scroll down to the next chapter on the page she was browsing. Mulder looked over her shoulder, skeptically.

"I understand you may not want to outright accept the validity of those photographs, but it seems to me like you're spending an awful lot of time trying to disprove them for not believing." He looked at the notes on her pad regarding exposure times and camera types most easily used for creating faked ghost photographs.

"Well, I certainly don't have any faith in the validity of the photographs, and the credibility of the 'witness' who took them is pretty questionable too. If I can disprove these photos, maybe we can get on with the real investigation without all this ridiculous rumor and speculation about ghosts." She clicked to another page of photography information. Mulder wondered how she had found the Skeptical Enquirer homepage anyway. It bothered him a little to think she actually spent her free time looking for references to use
against him.

He turned away and rubbed his eyes, feeling a chill creep over him. Shrugging it off, he flopped down in the plush chair near the fireplace, where a low fire was still giving off a comfortable warmth. From here he could see Scully lit only by the computer screen in the darkened room. He watched her scribble another note, an aura of blue computer-screen light shimmering around her. He yawned

"Why don't you go to bed, Mulder?" She didn't turn away from the screen.

"I'm not tired," he mumbled, barely awake. He looked around at the dark wood paneling and got the impression the room hadn't changed much since it was built 200 years ago. Perhaps then too a gentleman had rested by the fire while his companion sat at the desk, writing by dim candlelight. His mind played with the idea. He felt a strange chill pushing away the warmth of the fire and surrendered to the sudden weight of his eyelids, allowing them to drift closed.

Later, he couldn't tell if it was a minute or an hour, he realized he had dozed off and struggled to open his eyes. His inability to do so was unsettling for a moment and as he finally won the battle he was relieved to see Scully was still sitting at the desk, arranging her

His relief was replaced with amazement as he watched a smoky shape appearing behind her, in the far corner of the room. As he watched, breathlessly, eyes wide, the shape congealed into a recognizable form, that of a human. He imagined he could almost make out the details of the uniform it wore, and the details of the face and hands, exquisitely formed with wispy tendrils of smoke. Coming into an unnaturally sharp focus as a man in a revolutionary war uniform, the specter looked directly at Mulder, sending a chill through him, and he realized he was frozen in place in the chair.

The figure looked away and turned to Scully, her back still turned, her concentration entirely devoted to her ghost-busting research. Mulder appreciated the irony, but right now he really-really-really just wanted her to turn around. He watched with amazement as the specter approached closer, striding over the floor although his feet did not quite reach the ground, finally coming to a stop standing directly behind her. The room was silent but for the crackling of the fire and the quite tapping of Scully's finger's on the keyboard. Mulder noted the way her image shimmered where the semi-transparent form had come between them; it was beautiful.

The specter looked back at him again, and then turned to Scully, looking down at her sitting at the desk with an almost loving expression. Lifting its insubstantial arm, it reached for her and gently laid a transparent hand on her shoulder, rousing her from her work. She lifted her head up, looking straight ahead, not turning
around to look.

"Mulder, quit goofing around." Saying his name seemed to break through the spell that held him bound to the chair. He suddenly sat up straight, regaining all the energy that had been stolen from him.

"SCULLY!" he said a little too loud.

She jumped and turned around, looking at him with wide eyes. The specter lost its form, lifting up into a cloud and floating away like smoke. Please please please let her have seen THAT, he thought. She looked at him, though her eyes were darting around the room, curious.

"Did you see it?" he asked jumping up and running to her side. He looked where the ghost had been standing. "Did you feel it?" He placed a hand on her shoulder where the ghost had, wondering if he could still detect some trace of the spirit he had just seen, but he only felt the warm wool of her sweater under his palm. She lifted an eyebrow and gave him her most skeptical look.

"Mulder, I think you were having a dream," she said slowly. "Go to bed." She shook her head and turned back to the computer.

"No, Scully, really, the ghost was right behind you. It touched you. I saw it all from over there, but I couldn't move to warn you. Didn't you see it when you turned around?" He realized his words were tumbling out too fast, but hoped she could hear his sincerity.

She turned back to him and looked around the room. "All I saw was some smoke from the fire in the room. Must have been a little down draft from the chimney. I think you were dozing off Mulder." She barely resisted rolling her eyes at his assertion, as if he were just a confused sleepy child. "Go to bed, we'll talk about it in the morning." She turned back to the computer, case closed.

Mulder stood and watched her for a moment, surprised she had brushed it off so easily. He looked around the room and saw no sign of the specter. Maybe she was right, maybe it was just a dream. He returned to the chair and settled down into it again. Scully turned to look at him.

"Mulder, go to your own room. You don't want to sleep in that chair all night." Her tone quietly scolded him.

"I will, I just want to sit here a little bit longer." He stretched his legs out in front of the fire. "Just in case anything else happens," he shot her a smile in response to the sigh she directed at him. "I wouldn't want to miss the show if he comes back."

The End

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