TITLE: One Time
SUMMARY: How significant are moments in time?
DISCLAIMER: Not mine - CC's et al.
THANKS: To bugs and Shawne for the smut-beta - but all mistakes are mine.


He remembered ... rubbing the pad of his thumb back and forth across the soft, smooth skin on the back of her right knee. He crouched over her. His skin was superheated, his senses fried. She was naked and flushed on the pure white sheets, her hair a tousled riot of colour. The sight of her, like this, was dizzyingly hypnotic. He knew it would stay in his mind until the end.

He remembered ... the moment he slipped his hand between her thighs and she parted her legs for him. There was a tiny freckle above her knee, and he dipped his head to taste it. As his lips brushed across her skin, his eyes locked onto hers, and he watched her, as she watched him.

He remembered ... slowly nuzzling his way across the soft firm flesh of her inner thigh, up and up, to the part of her that he'd wanted to see and touch since the beginning. She was moist, just as he imagined, and he spread apart the lush pink folds with his fingers, and finally tasted her, with his tongue.

He remembered ... at that moment everything was clear; nothing was grey. But that was then, and this is now. He hunched forward in his seat, scribbling aimlessly on the rigid blue lines of his notebook. He was desperate, so he behaved normally. But ... what if she didn't want the same thing? He'd laid it on the line a thousand times for her.

What if he had been wrong?


I've been sitting right beside him for almost twenty minutes now but he hasn't noticed me. He's glanced in my direction, but I know my presence hasn't registered in his mind. I can't decide whether to be offended or amused by his introspection. It's an attitude I remember well.

Once, many years ago, Fox Mulder could hardly take his eyes off me. I haven't changed all that much; I'm still slim thanks to my $200/hr personal trainer, and my skin is smooth and lightly tanned. I dress well: today I'm wearing my second favourite Donna Karan original - a short, fitted dress with sheer black stockings and high heels. Fox was always attracted to smart, leggy brunettes.

I shift in my seat, almost brushing against his upper thigh as I cross and uncross my legs in an attempt to get more comfortable. No response. Since I boarded the plane and sat down beside him, he's been alternating between scribbling furiously in a small notebook or staring sightlessly at nothing in particular. I can't see what he's writing; I only get a glimpse of a word here and there: "psychosis", "trauma", and "motive". Official, meaningful words, words that might provide the key to a puzzle. No wonder he's so focused.

I fiddle with my magazine, discreetly glancing at him out of the corner of my eye as the flight attendant comes around with coffee and a choice of those horrible high-calorie pretzels or equally awful peanuts. His hair looks good: it's sleek, like him. The last time I saw him it was longer and almost fluffy - but that was the fashion of the times. He's wearing a suit so I can't really see the shape of his body, but it seems toned, with no hint of a beer-belly that I see in many men his age.

He accepts two coffees from the attendant and offers one to his companion. She doesn't seem to notice him holding it, and his hand hovers in the air for a moment, lost. He glances her way uncertainly, then carefully places the plastic cup of hot liquid down beside his own on his tray table.

He clears his throat. "You hungry, Scully?" It's the first thing he's said to her. When I first sat down beside Fox, I didn't realise they were companions. He doesn't seem to be relaxed with her. Perhaps they don't know each other all that well yet.

"Just eat them, Mulder." She tosses him her packet of airline-issued peanuts, barely looking up from the laptop she has opened across her tray table.

Fox's companion interests me. It's nothing to do with sexuality - I'm completely straight. It's just part of my usual competitive compare-and-contrast-my-body-with-every-other-woman-I-see-who's-aged-between-18-and-50 game. I grudgingly give her 9 points out of 10 - she's smartly dressed, and I always notice women who dress sharply.

She seems young - younger than me- she can't be much older than 30, I'm sure.

"Scully?" Fox picks the packet she's given him off his tray table and hesitates. "Are you sure? You didn't have any breakfast."


"Mulder, I never eat peanuts," she tells him, without looking away from her computer. After a moment, the packet rustles as he lifts it to his mouth, chugging down most of its contents with a crunch and chew.

"Coffee?" He hands her the cup, and she murmurs her thanks and takes a sip. He watches her out of the corner of his eye.


She sighs. "Yes?"

He wriggles like a small child, but manages not to brush against me despite the lack of legroom. "Have you almost finished the report? I could, uh, help, if you like."

She keeps typing. "Mulder, I'm finalising my autopsy notes."

Autopsy? Ick.

"Oh." He sounds unsure. "Okay."

Her fingers stop their tapping, and she looks up at him. Then, quietly, and without a word, she closes her laptop and stows it underneath the seat in front of her. How strange.

I think about whether I should get his attention, but that's never been my game with men. I like them to notice me. I'm sure he will notice me by the end of the flight. Men always do.


He remembered ... how in the dawn of morning, he cupped his hands around her breasts and drew one of her nipples into his mouth. He suckled the tight nub of flesh, tugging lightly, wanting to be slow, but hungry for her again.

He remembered ... the feel of her fingers floating through his hair, caressing the back of his neck. She held him to her while he nuzzled her breasts and shaped her body with his mouth and hands. His very soul revelled in the foreign familiarity of the two of them, together, like this. He savoured her little whimpers of pleasure; her breathless, stifled gasps were slowly driving him insane.

He remembered ... the sharp, lurching leap of excitement that snaked through him when he detected his own scent on her skin, and the fierce burst of possessiveness this knowledge produced. This privilege was his now, all his, always. He wanted to tell her, and stake his claim, but he satisfied himself by murmuring intelligibly through his mouthful of her breast.

He remembered ... knowing there was only one purpose, one meaning in his life. But now, he wondered, if she'd felt the same way. He wondered what she was thinking right now, sitting beside him. He wanted to be cool and suave, but he feared there were cracks denting his armour. Did he still shine for her?

He didn't know. He was unsure.


This flight is too boring.

Fox is hunched forward in his seat - as much as he can - elbow on the table and head cupped in his hand. He's holding his pen again and scratching on the paper now and then, but I'm positive the only scribbling he's done for the past ten minutes is meaningless doodling.

I turn, and touch his shoulder lightly. "Would you like to sit on the aisle and stretch your legs?" I ask.

I have his attention. His head swivels in my direction. "Thank you, but that's not necess-" The polite reply dies on his lips and I'm pleased to see signs of recognition slowly dawning in his eyes. "Catherine?" He's more sure. "Catherine Ryan?"

I hold out my hand. "Catherine vanArcher, now. I was married." He glances down at my bare ring finger and I shrug. "I'm divorced now, but I never got around to changing my name back." It's an open passport into the society I like to move in, that's why.

"Well ..." He looks a little lost for words and then seems to remember his companion.

He leans back in his seat and touches the woman's knee lightly. "Catherine, this is Dana Scully." His eyes flutter over his companion. "Catherine was at Oxford when I was."

We shake hands over Fox's lap, and I smile at her. "He's being polite. I actually dropped out at the end of my first year."

"So you did." Fox grins and I remember how cutely geeky he could look with that smile.

I decide to cut to the chase. "So are you two ... married?" I know they're not because neither is wearing a ring, but I like asking people that question, just to see how they react. Smile, blush, look horrified, acknowledge or deny it, - they're the usual reactions.

"No." It's a chorus, and her face is studiously blank of any emotion to the casual observer. I'm intrigued. Fox's hand slips across Dana's knee again, and he starts to rub his thumb back and forth against the fabric of her navy pants. It seems to be an unconscious gesture, but then he notices the direction of my gaze and quickly removes his hand.

This is interesting. I decide to press a little further, have some fun. "Involved, perhaps?" Fox ducks his head and smiles a little smile, like he's not going to touch that one, then glances across at the woman.

"We work together at the FBI. We're partners," she tells me in a crisply professional voice.

FBI? That's a surprise. I'd assumed Fox would be a university professor by now, buried away researching in the library or lecturing impressionable young freshmen. Or perhaps he'd be working as a psychologist, with his own practice in a major city somewhere.

Fox has dropped his head again, but he's stopped smiling now. He's adopted the same, blank facial expression as his companion. He picks up his coffee mug and begins to play with it, tracing his index finger around the rim.

"Fox, are you sure you don't want to move into the aisle seat?" I ask again. He has to sit up straight to give himself any space; his legs press against the seat in front otherwise. And I hope he realises I'm being generous. I do like the extra legroom in the aisle myself, but I know I'm going to get a run in my stockings if someone else brushes against me when they walk past.

He shakes his head. "No, it's okay. Anyway, Scully'll fall asleep in about half an hour, and I wouldn't want her to drool all over your shoulder."

She raises one eyebrow at him, but he's not looking at her. "That's charming. Thank-you, Mulder." She considers, eyeing him. "But if you're really so cramped ..." Her voice trails off and his eyes shoot in her direction.

"I'm fine where I am, Scully," he says abruptly. He glances at me and his tone softens. "But thanks for offering, I appreciate the thought."

I shrug. Who can understand men anyway?


He remembered ... later, when she was relaxed and sleepy from what he'd done to her with his lips and tongue, she pushed him onto his back and took his cock into her warm, wet mouth.

He remembered ... how she cupped his balls with her hand as her mouth slid up and down, and up and down, sucking with perfect, firm pressure.

He remembered ... brushing her face with his fingers over and over again in an attempt to ground himself, but the gentle scrape of her teeth on his cock was short-circuiting his brain. He wanted to tell her again how much he loved her, and how fucking wonderful this was, but he couldn't articulate anything vaguely intelligible. He grunted louder and louder, again and again, as her mouth moved up and down his cock; a guttural mix of gibberish erupting from the back of his throat: uuhhhhh, aahhhhhh, mmmmmm.

He remembered ... being sure they had passed the point of no return in their relationship. She wouldn't make love with him without a serious emotional commitment. But now he wasn't so positive. Had he confused his own feelings with hers? He couldn't read her layers, and the uncertainty held him prisoner. She wasn't acknowledging him in any special way. She didn't seem any different. She was behaving so ... normally.

But then he realised ... so was he.


I simply hate flying coach class. I almost waited for the next flight out to DC, but it wasn't direct and there's an important function that I absolutely *must* be seen at tonight. Maybe ...


Maybe ... I could ask Fox to attend it with me. I could. I haven't seen him for almost ten years, but I like to be impetuous and anyway, I can always palm him off to someone else if it doesn't work out - although Phoebe always used to say he was great in bed - a little shy at first, but eager to please, willing to learn and very enthusiastic. Unfortunately I never got to try him out - Phoebe wasn't exactly a friend, but someone to be wary of crossing.

There was always something about him - something appealing, even though he was too smart for his own good.

He's been quiet for the past ten minutes, leaning back in his seat with his eyes shut. He looks tired, but I'm sure he's not asleep. In fact, I don't think he's even dozing; he's too tense.


He opens his eyes immediately and glances my way, rubbing at the side of his neck and pulling at his collar.

"So, do you live in DC?" He nods, and I'm encouraged. "Whereabouts?"

"Alexandria." He loosens his tie and unbuttons the top fastening of his dress shirt. I notice there's a small red mark on the side of his neck. He touches it with his thumb and I wonder if it's bothering him.

"I live not far from there myself." I wait, but he doesn't take up the invitation. I decide to plough ahead anyway. "Perhaps we could go out for a drink sometime?"

He seems surprised, but recovers quickly. "I'm sorry. I can't do that." He's polite, but firm, but I don't even hear a token note of false regret in his tone.

"Okay." I shrug and smile to show there's no hard feelings, but I am taken aback. Maybe I'd better touch up my makeup. I stand up and make my way down the aisle to the tiny restroom, swaying and almost twisting an ankle as the plane hits an air pocket.

It wasn't exactly a rejection. After all, it could be something as simple as he doesn't drink, but didn't want to say so in front of a work colleague. Yes, that could be it. He didn't drink much at Oxford, I remember now.

I use the bathroom, and head back down the aisle to my seat. Then I stop, because ...


He remembered ... everything.

He hadn't been able to take his eyes off her as he slid inside her for the first time. He couldn't forget the tears that made her eyes sparkle, or the way she whispered his name when he was finally sunk as deeply inside her as he could possibly go.

He remembered ... how his heart twisted painfully at the way she looked beneath him. He propped himself up on his elbows, his arms trembling, and she looped her hands around his neck, bringing his mouth down to hers for a long sweet kiss. He loved her mouth.

He remembered ... beginning his first careful thrusts inside her, and easily finding a slow, smooth rhythm that made them both moan. He recalled with perfect clarity the movements of her body beneath him, and the moment the tight little walls enclosing his penis began to ripple and pulse as she reached her climax. It was sheer nirvana, and he followed her quickly, his soul exploding along with his cock.

He remembered ... afterwards, he held her tightly, too overwhelmed and exhausted for speech as his body finally slowed. That was when she said the words to him, and although he'd already known, he shook in her arms as his hot tears slickened her skin. It wasn't enough because he wanted it all, every day, but he couldn't tell her that. He knew she didn't understand, but she murmured low, soothing sounds, and her hands cradled his head in the warm, safe place between her breasts until the short, muffled gasps erupting from his throat stopped, and his trembling slowed and stilled.

He slept, waking with the dawn.


I can't believe this.

What did I miss?

He's ... he's kissing her.

He's pushed up the armrest separating them, and he's pressing tiny, lingering kisses against the side of her throat, on the curve of her cheek, across the corner of her eye. At first I think she's totally poker-faced, but then I see a tiny, secretive smile playing across the corners of her mouth. Her head is tilted back against the headrest, and her eyes are closed. He's leaning right into her; he's pushed apart her jacket and the palm of his hand is splayed across her stomach and hip. His other arm is bent up at right angles so his fingers can brush across her shoulder and weave through her hair.

He's kissing her, over and over again; slow, soft, chastely sensual kisses on her forehead, the nape of her neck, on her eyelids.

It's sweet, and it's beautiful, and it's reverent, and it's loving. It makes my heart ache for something like that in my life. Tom never once looked at me like that, not even when we were first married.

I know they haven't heard me come back, and I know I should make some sort of noise to announce my presence, but I can't stop watching him ... or them.

He's slowly working his way across her cheekbone now. He's very close to her mouth. Very close. Then she moves her head, just a little, and his lips brush hers. He lingers, resting his mouth against the side of hers, breathing quietly. He's waiting, waiting for her to draw him in, I'm sure of it. But she doesn't. She opens her eyes, raises her hand, and gently pushes his face away.

Rejected, he drops his head, and his shoulders slump.

"Mul-der ..."

"I'm sorry," he tries to say, but she stops him, shaking her head and brushing her thumb against the pad of his bottom lip. She looks very serious.

"Mulder ..." His name is a caress, whispered so softly I have to strain to hear it.

He relaxes, leaning into her, resting his forehead against hers. His palm begins to move in slow circles across her stomach and her hand drops from his face to cover it.

She plays with his fingers for a moment. Then she says softly, almost tentatively, "I want to marry you."

His whole body jerks in shock, his head rears back, and his hand trembles violently on her stomach, then clenches around her hip. He goes absolutely still, staring into her eyes, his throat working convulsively. She doesn't seem surprised by his reaction.

"Oh Scully," he says hoarsely, and then he's cramming her body against his, jamming her head into the curve of his neck, holding her tightly. He breathes into her ear. "Yes. Oh yes." He rubs his face in her hair, "Yes," he repeats as the palm of his hand slides up and down her back. "Yes, yes, yes." His hands blur over her body and he cradles her against him.

She wriggles, and he allows her to pull back slightly. But she's after his mouth and suddenly they're kissing - deep, open-mouthed kisses, again and again and again, until Fox makes a low, strangled moan in the back of his throat and pulls back, sitting rigidly straight in his seat and squeezing his eyes shut.

I decide it's time to sit down.

I glance Dana Scully's way. Her head is lowered, but I know she's smiling. As I watch, he fumbles for her hand and brings her fingers to his lips. Eyes still closed, he presses two quick kisses across her knuckles and drops her hand. He sighs, and twists in his seat, edging her body around so he can link his arms around her waist. He settles her back against his chest and dips his head, rubbing his cheek against hers. "Definitely yes, Scully." He nuzzles her hair. "But I had fantasies about popping the question, you know. You just made them all redundant."

"I'm sure you have other fantasies, Mulder." I can hear the smile in her voice.

"Yes, I do." He's smiling too, and his arms tighten around her.

I know he's forgotten all about me, but I don't mind. His head is still bent over hers, and I notice again the tiny red mark on his neck.


You know something about those marks?

They look like imprints - imprints from teeth.





AUTHOR'S NOTES: In the past month I've flown from Sydney - San Francisco - New Orleans and return, so I was determined to write a "plane-fic", an innocently rated PG one at that. But it seems I just cannot write smut-free PG fics, dammit! Anyway, I've had this lying around for a few weeks and finally decided to post now that jetlag has passed. :)

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