By Tim Scott
Rating: Mild 'R' for language
Category: V, H
Summary: Aftermath of episode
Note: Many thanks to Audrey Cooper, who was nice enough to
beta-read and offer helpful suggestions. If you don't like
something blame me, not Audrey. Thanks again.
J. Edgar Hoover Building
Fox Mulder was slowly going nuts. He'd been on his best
behavior all week, since the disastrous episode in Rhode
Island, and Scully was still watching him like a hawk. Not
that he blamed her, but the constant scrutiny was irritating.
<Face it, Mulder, you'll be on probation with her until the
"What did you say, Mulder?"
Her voice snapped him bolt upright, out of his comfortable
slouch. She was looking at him expectantly, and was that
annoyance mixed in there too? Probably. <She's waiting,
doof, say something!>
"Umm, sorry, Scully, my mind was wandering. What did you
The too-blue eyes narrowed, the jaw muscles flexed. Ooops,
bad answer. Scully carefully took her glasses off and laid
them on her immaculate work surface, her eyes never leaving
his, and dropped a tiny little sigh. Uh-oh. He refrained
from cringing, no sense adding fuel to the fire.
"Mulder, you've been acting strangely all week. You've
been mumbling to yourself for ten minutes now and it's very
distracting. If you have something to say to me I wish
you'd just say it and get it over with."
<Think fast, boy. The longer you wait the worse it'll be.>
Options began to scroll down his mental viewer:
Apologize? Nope, she'll shoot me if I do it again.
Offer to freshen her coffee? Nope, too clumsy.
A new, non-aggravating case file? Hmm, might work...
He needed some witty repartee, something to distract her
while he pawed through his memory files for something good.
What came out was: "Uhhhh..."
<Oh, real smooth, Oxford Man. Now you've done it. Yup,
there she goes...>
Scully leaned back in her chair, arms folding. Not good.
A nasty little smirk curved up one side of those damned
mesmerizing lips, and --
He blinked. Mesmerizing lips? Where the hell did *that*
come from? Oh, this was bad. Bad, bad, bad. Nasty Thoughts
during working hours? <You should be past this by now. God
knows you've had four years to get the repression thing down
pat. Goldstein's goddamn memory gizmo must have fucked up
your control mechanisms. Well, no time to run a Level One
Diagnostic now, Scully's in full swing. Worry about it
Why was it so quiet all of a sudden? <Uh-oh. She said
something and you missed it. She's waiting for a reply and
you have no goddamn idea what to say, better to say nothing
than the wrong thing but you have to say *something* before
her lips disappear. Jesus God somebody anybody help...>
Shit there goes the eyebrow, I'm doomed. The temperature
just dropped at least ten degrees and she hasn't even started
This was just too bloody much, even for Mulder. For the past
three days he'd been a model partner, doing the lion's share
of the paperwork <not that that was *bad*, she could get used
to that>, actually listening when she talked <well, she could
get used to that, too>, letting her drive the car...
Her brow furrowed. Where had she been going with this? Oh,
yes, her annoying partner. Who had ceased to be annoying
just when she had him dead to rights, damn his hazel eyes!
The big moose had let that mallard Goldstein go drilling for
memories in his head and come up empty. So to speak. Well,
big surprise there. She could have told them it would be a
dry well, for Christ's sake, all they had to do was ask. But
She had four years of backed-up aggravation to unload and now
that there was *finally* a decent excuse to go ballistic he
was being so goddamn nice she could spit.
A new tactic, that had to be it, some kind of mental judo he
was using to keep her from a well-deserved tantrum. Well, it
wasn't going to work, by God. Four years of putting up with
him and his idiotic goddamn theories that couldn't possibly
be true except that God, practical joker that He was <and
wasn't *that* proof that God was male, the disgusting sense
of humor?>, kept arranging for there to be just enough
leeway for Mulder to avoid admitting that he was wrong wrong
wrong! Well, she'd earned this hissy-fit and she was by-God
going to collect.
He'd ditched her again, for one thing. Dana's Voice of Reason
observed that it had happened over the weekend, the man was
off-duty, so it didn't count. She threw the Voice a rude
gesture and plowed on. <All right, fine, but he didn't listen
to my medical advice. He just kept running around, aggravating
his condition, the lunkhead.> The Voice agreed with what
Mulder had himself observed at the time, that Mulder was
(technically) an adult with the right to make his own decisions.
Dana, rapidly regressing now, blew the Voice a fruity Bronx
cheer and considered her options. She'd been patient, like a
Good Little Partner, but it wasn't working. They had to talk
about this, dammit, and fast, before Mulder tried some other
silly-assed thing that might get him killed, and maybe her
along with him, next time.
There. That was a completely adult conclusion based on the
available evidence. It was clear, concise and compelling. She
stuck her tongue out at the Voice and contemplated ways to
dismantle Mulder. Scalpel? Club? Grenade? Particle beam
weapon? Decisions, decisions...
This was an interesting phenomenon. Not missing time, of
course. No, there was never a Missing Time Event around
when you really needed one. No, in this case time actually
seemed to be stretching. Mulder had experienced this before,
usually during an automobile accident or other equally awful
event. It was like God was saying, "Pay attention, now, this
Not that he had much choice. Not only was she between him and
the door but she was armed, and a better shot, too. Flight
was out of the question. She'd started this rant slow and
measured and reasonable. <Bad sign, she's pacing herself.
This could take days. Wonder if there's any food in here?>
Something tickled his danger sense. Mulder looked for the
threat. He didn't have to look far. Damn, she was livid!
<Must have spotted the glazed look on my face.> She stood up,
came around the desk, and suddenly the cold was no longer a
problem, in fact it was getting damn warm in here, and his
partner didn't look so tiny any more, and <Welcome to the
next level!> spun crazily through his head as Dana Scully
stepped up to the mound and rocked and fired.
Fast ball, right across the plate.
"You self-centered son-of-a-bitch."
Ah, a traditional beginning. Well, Scully was a traditional
girl. Good thing nobody else was down here. She had quite
an impressive voice when she chose to use it. Like now. She
put both fists on his desk and leaned over it to blast his
Walter Skinner, being a man of firm principles, hadn't meant
to eavesdrop. He'd come down to the basement because he didn't
trust the phones in the building for some sensitive subjects.
Besides, it was a good excuse to get out from behind that damn
desk and stretch his legs. He'd meant to ask his two wayward
agents to meet him at a more secure location to brief them in
on a new case. Agent Scully's voice was audible five paces
from the office door.
On the one hand, listening at doors was despicable. On the
other hand, this was just too good to miss. He'd never seen
Scully lose her temper before. Well, there was that time in
Mulder's apartment, of course, but comparing the noise levels
then to what he was hearing now he'd have to say that last
time she must have just been a touch upset. Technically he
still hadn't seen it, but the audio evidence was pretty
damn convincing. Agent Mulder had obviously stepped on his
dick and was getting a long-deserved comeuppance at his
partner's capable hands.
The report on Mulder's latest exploit was the finest example
of tap dancing he'd seen in some time. Five pages that said
absolutely nothing substantial. A work of art of its kind,
if you wanted to look at it that way. Skinner had decided he
was probably better off not knowing what really happened and
declined to pursue the matter.
He'd seen the stress between them, though, and known that
something had to give. Good managers know when to nudge and
when to leave it alone. Walter Skinner was debating what to
do or not do when his red-headed agent passed Mach One with
no sign of slowing.
She discussed her partner's physical and mental shortcomings
in devastating detail before moving on to his ancestry,
personal habits and probable destination, along with some
suggestions on how to occupy himself when he got there. It
had been six minutes by Skinner's watch and she had yet to
repeat herself. He'd always known she had an impressive
vocabulary -- in fact, she loved showing it off -- but this
"But, Scully..." Mulder whined. Bad move. Skinner winced
sympathetically. The woman's voice jumped about thirty
decibels, and the tone now resembled a circular saw hitting a
nail. He wondered, as all men sometimes do, if there were
some secret method of training that enabled women to hit that
particular screeching note that could damage spinal tissue.
<At least I'm on this side of the door. God help Mulder.>
Not God, nor anybody else, was doing Mulder much good right
now. He'd seen this level of ferocity in his partner before,
of course, but it had always been directed elsewhere. It
didn't help that he'd seen her take down guys Skinner's size
unassisted. He resolved to stay behind his desk, wher it
was relatively safe. The woman seemed to gain mass and
power from movement, and boy was she moving now, pacing back
and forth and shrieking her lungs out.
Mulder couldn't decide if he'd rather be beaten, shot or
screeched to death. The woman could obviously do all three.
He tuned in to what she was saying for a moment.
"... goddamn over-educated, under-fed, no good partner-
dtiching, Brit-sniffing, pistol-dropping, UFO-chasing,
He hurriedly tuned her out again. <This has to stop, and
fast. My ass hurts, I'm losing feeling in my extremities
and my spine is turning to jello. Let's see, there was
probably a bit too much whine in my voice last time. She
hates that. I need something calm and reasonable, that's
it. She loves logic. Now, what can I use? Ah.>
"Dana, I think --"
She whirled on him. "Don't you 'Dana' me, you..."
Skinner was truly amazed. The woman was swearing like a
fishwife. He knew she spoke German, it was in her personnel
file. <That file is way too modest.> In the past two minutes
he'd heard what had to be impressive cursing in what sounded
like French, then Italian (from that time he'd loaned her to
Organized Crime Division while Mulder was laid up, maybe?),
something guttural that might be Gaelic, and two dialects of
Vietnamese that he himself happened to speak. <I must have
heard that last one wrong, surely that was anatomically
impossible? Well, she was the doctor, she should know. Then
again, there are those stories about Mulder...>
Skinner shook his head in mute admiration. He knew marine
drill instructors and navy chiefs who would pay good money
to sit at her feet and take notes. She was a Navy brat, he
knew, probably raised on bases around the country if not the
world, so some of this was to be expected, but *really*!
He felt privileged to be present at an extraordinary event,
and heartily wished for Mulder's eidetic memory. It would be
nice to be able to replay this at times when the job was
getting him down. Still, enough was enough. Skinner gave
himself a mental shake and was casting about for a way to rescue
the poor bastard when the phone rang.
<Nooooo!> she screamed silently. <I was just getting to
good part!> She glared at him as he hit the speakerphone,
the coward. Fine. She'd rest her voice for a minute. She
had time. And she felt really really good, too, she noticed,
as she sipped her bottled water. Tension release, no doubt.
With more in sight, hallelujah! She'd take what she could get,
since she hadn't been laid in... Dana firmly headed herself
off. That way lay madness, or at least intense frustration.
She settled back into her chair. This wasn't over by a long
<Yessss!> he exulted inwardly, and hit the speakerphone.
Scully's inherent politeness would force her to wait for the
call to end. <I should be able to milk this long enough for
her to get disgusted and walk out, or at least figure out my
He tried to keep the relief out of his voice. "Mulder."
"Mom?!?" <Oh, shit. Out of the frying pan, into the fire.>
He'd been so sure things couldn't get worse. And he'd been
careless, too, there was enough fear in his voice for Scully
to spot it. She was smirking over there, the bitch, she
knew something was up. Damn, damn, damn.
"Fox, your voice sounds strange. Are you using one of those
speaker things? You know I hate that."
Double shit. She was spoiling for a fight, he knew those
vocal patterns from way back. It always took his mother some
time to work up to a good screaming fit. He'd known it was
coming but hoped to would happen at home, over the weekend.
He glanced at the clock and wanted to sigh. He'd been just
minutes from a clean getaway.
"Mom, I'm just wrapping things up here. Can I call you back
when I get to my apartment?"
"No, you may not, young man. We're going to have this out
Scully seemed vastly amused by the whole thing. He glared at
her and jerked his head toward the door. <Could I have some
privacy here, please?>
The corners of her mouth turned down and she shook her head
slightly. <Not a chance.>
Her eyes were dancing merrily, the harpy. Fine. He'd just
have to do it the hard way.
Skinner was biting his hand now. His famed self-control had
deserted him. Mulder was caught between a rock and a hard
place, between Irresistible Force and Immovable Object. In a
moment his own personal ulcer was going to be Lucky Pierre.
Life was good. He leaned in closer, not wanting to miss a
Mulder shook his head and picked up the handset to give himself
a modicum of privacy. His mother's voice kept coming from the
speaker. He dropped his head to his chest in defeat. Scully
"Fox, take me off the speaker this instant!"
He sighed. "Sorry, Mom, but it seems to be broken." He smiled
brightly for a moment. Maybe he could make this work for him.
"I'm not alone here, Mom. Are you sure I can't call you back?"
"Dana Scully, my partner."
"Well, she was there when you insulted me so it's only fair
that she be present now. After all, she's practically a member
of the family by now, isn't she? You stay right where you are,
Scully flashed a 'nyah-nyah, so there' look at Mulder and said,
in her best Catholic schoolgirl tones, "Thank you, Mrs. Mulder."
He snarled silently back at her. She stuck her tongue out at
him. This was getting ridiculous.
"Shut up, you ungrateful, smarmy little snot! How *dare* you
come into my home and accuse me of being unfaithful to my
husband! Do you have any idea how painful that was for me?
No, I'm sure you don't, nor would you care if you did."
Mulder couldn't understand why he couldn't just hang up the
damn phone. <I'm a grown man, a government agent. I profile
serial killers and uncover conspiracies for a living. I get
shot at on a regualry basis and it doesn't even slow me down.
How can a tiny little old lady push me around like this?>
"Mom, do we have to talk about this now? I took you into the
next room, Scully didn't hear a thing."
Dana rolled her eyes. From her tone of voice Mulder's mother
was doing the same thing on her end of the phone.
"Oh, please! You walked me three paces away, behind a glass
door that's nowhere near soundproof, and shouted at me! If
she couldn't hear that she needs to be tested immediately.
And if she couldn't hear us, she could probably read your
lips, you ass!"
<Well, all right, Mrs. Mulder! You go, girl!> Dana threw
hands in the air, the sign for a touchdown. Mulder gave her
the finger. Dana grinned back and wished for popcorn to make
her life complete. His mother was still rolling, too.
"And while we're on the subject of inappropriate sexual acts,
don't you think it's time you made an honest woman of your
There was a very loud silence in the office for at least five
seconds. The partners stared blankly at each other, then at
the phone. Mulder cleared his throat loudly.
"Uh, Mom? What are you talking about? Scully and I are just
partners, we don't..."
"Oh, rubbish. I have eyes, you know. And even if I were
deaf and stupid your past actions have spoken for themselves.
You traded your sister for her. So. Are you going to marry
your partner or just keep fucking her?"
"Answer the question, Fox."
He was standing now. When did that happen? No, don't look
over there. Find something else to focus on, fast. His
eyes snagged on the UFO poster. Bad idea. He squeezed them
tightly shut for a moment.
Mr. Murphy was having a field day today, yes, sir...
Scully was shifting around over there, he could hear her but
didn't dare look. He had to derail this train of thought *now*.
"Mom, Scully and I are partners. Period. That's all we are
to each other. Well, we're best friends, too, but we don't --
He took a deep breath. This called for something radical.
Dana immediately knew what was coming. The man was soooo
predictable. She drew her issue weapon and waited.
"All right then, Fox. Convince me. You spend all your time
the company of a beautiful, intelligent woman. Your job hours
prevent you from seeing anyone else regularly. I know you're
not gay. From the stories I've heard of your time at Oxford
you're not inclined to be a monk, either, so what's left?
Explain it to your poor old mother."
Dana wanted to whistle in admiration. Mrs. Mulder gave good
sarcasm. She watched her partner and, sure enough, she could
almost see the light bulb over his head.
"Mom, Scully and I have never had sex because she's a..."
He had *some* sense of self-preservation left, he looked at her
before he actually said the word 'lesbian'. Just to be sure he
got the point -- this was Mulder, after all -- she thumbed the
hammer back. It wasn't pointed at him, quite, but that could
be quickly corrected.
He'd developed an interesting pallor, too. Good.
His mother's voice brought him back from wherever he'd gone.
"She's a what, dear?"
His mind was completely blank. <Stall!>
"She's a what, Mom?"
"Don't play that game with me, young man, it hasn't worked since
sixth grade. What *is* Ms Scully that could keep you out of her
<Oh, Jesus.> He looked at his partner. No help there,
a look of polite inquiry pasted on her face. <Shit.>
"Is that the best you can do, Fox? Was your tuition money
It hit him like a freight train, Pow! It was just stupid enough
to have a chance. He had to get the words out fast, though,
before he lost his nerve.
"Mom, Scully is a ... Democrat."
Scully's jaw dropped. Mulder closed his eyes and waited.
He heaved a heavy sigh. "I'd hoped to keep this from you, Mom,
but you insisted."
"Oh, Fox, I'm so *sorry*!"
Now Scully was staring at the phone. Quick, before something
else goes wrong!
"Sorry Mom but duty calls reports to finish gotta go I'll call
you tomorrow bye."
He smacked the OFF button on the speakerphone, then looked at
his partner. She appeared to be in shock. He waited, then
waited some more. He was very happy when she uncocked the gun
and put it away.
She shook her head, hard, then looked at him in confusion.
"Mulder, how... what just... ummmm..."
He looked mournful and sighed again. "Well, there went my last
"What do you mean, Mulder?"
"My mother doesn't approve of mixed marriages. I'll never get
her blessing now."
Dana Scully threw her head back and laughed until she cried.
Mulder escorted her out of the office post-haste. Maybe if he
sprang for dinner at her favorite Chinese restaurant and
grovelled the night away she'd let him live long enough to
figure out a permanent solution to whatever the hell had just
FBI Assistant Director Walter S. Skinner waited a good five
minutes, just to be safe, before he poked his head out of the
janitor's closet. The hallway looked clear. He headed for
the elevator with a spring in his step and a song in his
heart. Kimberly would know where to get Mrs. Mulder's address.
The very least that woman deserved was some flowers.