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Sunshine Days

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Dana Scully had never been much of a sun-worshipper. Even with her father serving in the navy, and access to some of the most famous beaches in the world as the family vacationed, she'd found days at the beach more tedious than fun.

It wasn't that she disliked the beach - on the contrary, she loved the water as much as her sister Melissa always said she should given her Pisces sun sign. It was just that the pale complexion she'd inherited with her red hair made a day at the beach into nothing less than a constant struggle against sunburn, which tended to take all the fun out of it.

Which made Dana wonder - for the thousandth time in the last week - why she'd taken Monica Reyes up on her suggestion that they hit the beach in Mexico for the two weeks of vacation time they found themselves having to use immediately or not at all.

Well, she did know *one* reason why she hadn't just gone home...

Dana flushed at the memory of the nights she and Monica had spent together here. Neither of them had intended anything to happen, even with the tension that often ran between them, but they'd ended up tumbling into bed together the night they'd arrived and every night since.

The days, in contrast, were spent out at the beach, Monica soaking up the sun and getting more tan by the minute while Dana relaxed under the shade of an umbrella until the sun began to set and she could hit the water.

Mulder had gotten Dana over her initial guilt and fear that he'd be angry by good-naturedly laughing at her confession during one of their rare phone calls. He was apparently fine with her seeing Monica if it made her happy - as selfish as he could be sometimes, he wasn't enough so as to argue with anything that eased a rather difficult and lonely life caring for their son while he was in hiding.

That night, walking hand in hand with Monica along the beach, Dana had realized that she did indeed need something other than the holding pattern her life had become - and that there was a real possibility Monica could be that something if she allowed it.

Being herself, her thoughts had immediately jumped to the effect getting involved could have on both herself and Monica.

If she did start a serious relationship with Monica, she wasn't going to hide it - too much of her life was already spent keeping secrets and sneaking around. As a Catholic from a military family, though, she still felt a certain anxiety over how the news would go over - only Melissa had known about her bisexuality and had taken the knowledge with her when she'd passed away several years back.

Monica adored the Scullys - it would really hurt her if they rejected her simply because of her attraction to Dana. Not to mention the sly comments and subtle discrimination they'd both face at work on top of already shaky reputations...

Dana had been circling through this same train of thought for days now, knowing she and Monica needed to decide where this was going soon but unwilling to do so until she had her own head clear. Today, however, a voice suspiciously like Mulder's had responded to those thoughts by pointing out that everything they'd fought and bled for wasn't really worth much if they didn't stay true to themselves.

They had one week to decide whether or not this ended along with their vacation, and Dana knew that wasn't nearly as long as it seemed. She just had no idea how to get the discussion started, or even what she wanted from it.

Sighing, she opened her eyes and focused on the welcome sight of a bikini-clad Monica emerging from the water - very Charlie's Angels, Monica had once joked. It hit her in that instant how often Monica had been a source of light and hope in the midst of the darkness, for all of them - herself, Mulder, John Dogget, even Dana's mother Maggie Scully.

It also hit her that she didn't want to lose that, no matter what it cost to keep it.

Monica, sensing in that way of hers that something was up, wondered over and sat on the lounge beside Dana's. "We've got a week of vacation left - don't tell me you're bored already."

Dana just smiled. "I'm not bored at all, actually. It's just that I've been thinking - what happens when we get home?"

Monica smiled back. "I was wondering when we'd get around to discussing that. Honestly, I went into this with no real expectations - I know how you feel about Mulder and I don't want to interfere with the two of you. If this is all we end up having, I'm alright with that."

Dana felt a twinge of guilt at the thought of how much it must have cost someone as sensitive as Monica to keep that sort of remove all this past week - and that she hadn't seen any sign of it. "I've talked to Mulder, actually - he told me he's alright with whatever we decide, but I just don't know what *I* want. I don't want to lose either of you, but..."

Monica smiled again, still perfectly at ease. "You aren't sure if you're ready to defy convention so far as to see two people at once, one of them another woman."

"Is that selfish of me?" Dana asked, still looking uncertain. "I haven't even asked what *you* want, either..."

Monica reached out and played with a stray lock of Dana's hair. "I want *you*, Dana - I have since the moment I met you, and I'm happy with whatever form that takes. Colleague, friend, girlfriend - it doesn't matter to me as long as we're a part of each others' lives."

Dana, heart thudding in her chest, decided to take a leap of faith. "I've never told anyone but my sister Melissa that I'm bisexual - we're going to cause quite a stir when everyone finds out about us..." "Oh, if it wasn't that it would just be something else." Monica teased, grinning. "I say we get a little practice shaking things up and go take walk out in broad daylight."

Taking the hand Monica offered her, Dana got to her feet and let Monica lead her way from the shade or umbrella, noticing how warm and content she felt with the sun shining down on her back and shoulders.

Dana Scully had never been much of a sun-worshipper, but Monica might just change her mind...