Evening Dress

by Foxsong


Category: Songfic. (I said I'd never do songfic. Pass the salt - I'm eating my words. <g>)

Rated PG.

Keywords: Mulder angst and UST.

Not a spoiler in sight.

Archive at will. Please keep this link to my site at www.foxsongfiles.net

Feedback: foxsong@foxsongfiles.net . Flames bounce off my impervious asbestos nightie.

Disclaimers: The characters of Fox Mulder and Dana Scully are the property of Ten Thirteen and Fox, who are no doubt waiting up to see what time they'll get home from this dance. I have also usurped the Smithereens' song 'Evening Dress,' whose lyrics appear at the end. No copyright infringement is intended on either count.

Summary: Mulder's-eye-view of one of those Bureau formal-dress functions... and of Scully, in her evening dress.



Functions. Awards dinners. Dances -- I hate the damned things. But a couple of times a year, I have to put in an appearance and act like a reasonably sociable human being. It's one of the things about a G-man's life that they don't tell you about at the Academy... although they should. I think these things are just about as hazardous as some of the cases I've been on.

So I've done my usual thing; I've come along just enough after the hour to slip in quietly. 'Fashionably late,' Scully calls it, and teases me. She always teases me about these things, but they're easy for her. She always looks wonderful and her dance card's always full. She actually enjoys this stuff.

I've been thinking about her all day long, letting my mind wander, wondering what she'll wear, how she'll do her hair... Things I don't usually let myself think about. I make my way around the room to the bar and get myself a tequila sunrise. I'm not much of a drinker, but a few sunrises really do make the ordeal more bearable.

A touch on my arm -- I turn, and involuntarily catch my breath at the sight of her. She's wearing a long, sleek, dark, strapless evening dress; it hugs her curves the way I wish I could, sweeps along her hips to trail at her feet just the way my heart does. She tilts her head, smiling bemusedly up at me, and I realize how I've been staring. "Hey," I say, just to say something. Anything. She laughs as she takes up her glass of white wine.

"Well, I guess the dress works," she says lightly.

"It's beautiful," I say. "I mean, on you." I've just never been good at this, especially when it's important. I wonder for the thousandth time why it's so much easier to talk to her about work.

Just then Jeff White comes up behind her and leans right over her shoulder. "Agent Scully -- Dana," he says. "You look lovely tonight. That shade of green sets off your hair so beautifully." The unfairness of it slaps me right in the face. I could've said something smooth like that if I could even tell that the dress was green.

I think she even blushes a little. "Shall we dance?" he asks her, and she smiles at him. She's so beautiful when she smiles. I wish I could make her smile more often. "Why, certainly," she answers him, and says, "I'll be back, Mulder," over her shoulder as she turns away.

"See you, Spook," White says, taking her arm. 'Spook.' Great. They've got me down to one syllable now.

I guess I've known for a long time now that she doesn't love me the way I love her. Oh, she loves me; it's not that she doesn't. But I don't think she lies awake at night wishing I was beside her, wishing I was holding her, kissing her... loving her. I used to dream it would happen, but now I hardly even bother. I don't mind it so much anymore; I guess I'm resigned to it... funny, considering how I have so much trouble resigning myself to anything else.

She must love me, I decide again as I remember how, time after time, she's put up with me and my pigheaded, stubborn pursuit of some or other truth. She picks herself up and follows me, time after time, and time after time I've refused to see how miserable I'm making things for her. I only seem to see it after it's too late, and I try to make up for it, but by that time, what more can I do? The damage is done.

And the times she's been taken from me -- those were the worst. Every time I think she's gone away, there's only one thing, at the bottom of it all, left on my mind. I remember the times I've been able to hold her, and I think about her pretty face, my arms around her tight... I'd vow that when (I never thought 'if,' I never dared) she came back I'd do things differently. And somehow nothing ever changes enough. I want it to change; I want to change, and when everything's back I throw it away again. I take it all back, and I throw it away.

What a morose bastard I am. I'd better go and get another sunrise before I start feeling sorry for myself in public.

I am striking a studiedly casual pose at the bar when a tall, leggy blonde steps up beside me. "Agent Mulder," she purrs, smiling.

"Gina." From Terrorist Activities -- the department, you understand; not personally. We've exchanged pleasantries from time to time when our paths have crossed on a few cases, but nothing more. She's obviously pleased that I've remembered her name. It's not so much that I'm attracted to her -- it's this damned eidetic memory.

She must be a brave woman -- she's been with the Bureau long enough to know I'm poison to the career -- hell, to the life -- of the people who get involved with me. The Mulder Curse. Ha. Not even funny. But still she twines one sinuous, gold-braceleted arm through mine. Must be the lure of the forbidden, and all that. "Dance with me, Fox," she says.

'Fox.' How could she know? "Okay," I say, and let her lead me onto the floor.

Apparently, by dancing with Gina I've given off some sort of signal that I'm safe, because after that dance is over I find I have no shortage of partners. Maybe this isn't so bad after all. Maybe all you have to do is lighten up a little. I almost start to wonder what would happen if I applied that kind of attitude to other parts of my life, but I can't decide if it's insight, or just the tequila.

I'm dancing with a little brunette named Anita when I look up and all at once see Scully from across the floor. Who is that guy she's dancing with? They're right under one of the lights, and she throws her head back, and laughs. Just the sight of her takes my breath away again. She is radiant. She's the loveliest thing I've ever seen. How have I let so much time go by, and not even danced with her once? I lean over to Anita and excuse myself and make my way across the room to Scully.

I tap the partner-of-the-moment on the shoulder. "Pardon me," I say, "but I have to cut in." He glances from me to Scully, but she's already let go of his arm and turned toward me, so he steps back and fades into the crowd.

I know I'm grinning, and I hope I don't look too foolish, but I can't help it. She puts her hand into mine, and I rest my other hand lightly on the small of her back, and we begin to dance.

"Mulder," she says, "I thought you were never going to come and get me. You had your own little harem over there."

I shake my head. "One dance, Scully, and they all came out of the woodwork. I can't explain it."

She chuckles. "You'll end up with a reputation."

"They're my specialty, you know."

The time passes so quickly -- soon it's later than I'd thought. The band is winding things down. All of a sudden it's the last dance, and I know it'll be a slow song, a romantic song. I wait for Scully to step back, but she doesn't; one hand stays in mine, the other waits on my shoulder. The lights dim a little further. Before I even know what I'm doing, I've slipped my arm further around her waist. But she doesn't pull away -- she eases closer, and settles her head softly against my chest. I let her hand go, and lay my own gently on her hair, and I can feel her sigh as she puts her arm around me and leans into me.

In the half-light I bend my head down and kiss her hair, and then I just stay there, with my face against her hair, stroking it softly with my hand, cradling her against me. We're swaying slowly in time with the music, but I'm not even sure you can call this dancing. ... I hope it's a long, long song. I kiss the top of her head again and her arm tightens around me.

I've waited for her all my life, I think, my face buried in her soft, sweet-smelling hair. Once I'd thought it would turn out differently for us, and for a long time I was bitter when it didn't, but tonight it's all right -- it's enough. It's enough to hold her like this, enough just to see her like this... Anything I've lost, whatever I've given up -- now I know it doesn't matter. Now I know that I would give up everything to see her in this light.

The music is over. I hold onto her for a moment longer than I really have to. She doesn't make a move away from me, but when I let her go she looks up at me with a kind of sad, quizzical expression. Her eyes are asking the question I know her lips will never form.

I just shake my head and smile down at her. "It's just that it's so nice," I say, explaining. "I can't believe how wonderful it is to be with you, to see you like this -- in your evening dress, tonight." And I lean down and drop one soft kiss onto her forehead before I turn and walk away.





'Evening Dress'

The Smithereens


I've been waiting for you all my life
And now that you are here I can't believe
How wonderful it is to be here by your side
To see you in the light
In your evening dress tonight  

Every time I think you've gone away
There's only one thing left that's on my mind
And every time I think about your pretty face
My arms around you tight
In your evening dress tonight

In your evening dress tonight

Time after time - you've put up with me
Time after time - I've refused to see
Time after time - you're in misery
But what more can I do?  

In your evening dress tonight
In your evening dress tonight  

I've been thinking about you all day long
And now that you are here, I can't believe
And now I know that I would give up everything
To see you in the light
In your evening dress tonight  

(You take it all back then you throw it away)
In your evening dress tonight  

(You take it all back then you throw it away)
In your evening dress tonight  

(Take it all back then you throw it away)
In your evening dress tonight  

(Take it all back then you throw it away)