Written September 1998
Synopsis: When Scully breaks a date with Mulder, they spend the evening re-evaluating their relationship.
Spoilers: “The End” and “The X-Files: Fight the Future”
Disclaimer: The characters you recognize belong to Chris Carter, 1013 Productions, and Fox Television. No infringement is intended. Some of the characters and situations are my own.
J. Edgar Hoover building
“How’s it coming, you two?” Assistant Director Walter Skinner glanced approvingly around the tarped office. “It looks good.”
Dana Scully wiped the sweat off her brow, paintbrush in hand. “It should. It hasn’t been painted since Mulder arrived.”
Her partner grinned from atop a ladder. “All it took was a little fire.”
Scully rolled her eyes. “It’s taking longer than we originally expected.”
“Rome wasn’t built in a day,” Skinner commented.
“Yeah,” Mulder piped in, “but it wasn’t because the Romans kept going on dates.”
“That’s right! How is Stevenson, Agent Scully?”
She smiled at the name of the former FBI agent whom she was now dating. “Alan is fine. He told me to tell you hi.”
“Likewise. Try not to have too much fun.”
“All right, sir, thank you.”
Skinner left the agents to their redecorating, returning to his office upstairs.
“We should’ve asked permission to knock out a wall. Add some extra room for your desk,” Mulder mused, climbing down to refill his paint dish.
“Then we should’ve asked for a bigger door so that I could have a name plate, too.”
“That’s a good one, Scully.”
“Come on, Mulder, it’s been six years!”
“Okay, okay, a name plate and a desk. Anything else, Your Highness?”
“A chair for the desk?” she hinted.
She shook her head with a smile, returning to her work on the edges.
Fox Mulder poured the paint into the pan. He loved their constant, friendly banter. The one thing he looked forward to day after day was seeing Scully. When they were apart, he wasn’t a whole person. His feelings for her went to the bone.
“Have you painted this wall yet?”
He looked up to check. “Yeah.”
“That’s strange. You missed a spot. About…two feet by three feet.”
“Oh, that’s where the bulletin board goes.” He grinned at her puzzled expression. “It saves us on paint expenses. Waste not, want not; that’s my motto.”
Still frowning at him, she dipped her brush into the bucket and began to cover the spot.
“Scully, no!” He held her wrist. “No one will see behind it anyway.”
The glimmer in his eyes caused her to smile ever so slightly. “That’s not the only spot you missed, you know.”
“Yeah.” She dropped the brush on his nose. “Now the look is complete.”
He took the roller to her head. “Likewise.”
“Mulder!” She shoved her paintbrush into the bucket and thrust it before her. “En garde!”
“Come on, Scully, don’t be juvenile!” he shouted as his blue t-shirt became an invading shade of white. “All right, that’s it. You’re in trouble!”
Their war went on for quite some time. A clearing of a throat interrupted their play. Scully’s face registered surprise, and she had to level her voice. “Alan!”
Alan Stevenson leaned against the door frame. “Dana.” He paused. “Mulder.”
She crossed the room and kissed him quickly. “What are you doing here?”
“I thought I’d stop by and bring you some flowers. However, they don’t look like they’d be safe in here.” He looked her up and down, examining her multi-colored outfit. “Getting much done?”
“Actually, yeah, we just had to take some time out.”
“I see. Well, are we still on for tonight?”
“You bet,” she whispered, bringing her lips onto his.
Mulder sighed, glancing at his watch every so often. “Hey, you two, it’s been a good fifteen seconds. Get a room.”
Scully gave him The Look before turning her attention back to Alan. “We’d better get back to work. I’ll see you later.”
“Right. Bye.” He left.
She pivoted on her heel and folded her arms across her chest. “Well? Look, Mulder, I know you two aren’t fond of each other, but the least you can do is keep quiet.”
“Not when you’re standing in my doorway.”
“Our doorway,” she corrected. “Why are you so grouchy all of the sudden anyway?”
“Did you forget about our plans, Scully?”
He held his arms up in defeat. “I rest my case.”
“What plans, Mulder?” she repeated more defiantly.
“You were coming over to my place. We were going to order a pizza and watch one of those old horror movies on cable. Am I striking oil here, Scully?”
Her face fell. “Mulder, I’m sorry–”
“It’s not important.” He turned away, returning to the painting equipment. “You have Alan now. I mean…it must be more fun–your new life.”
“No more talking. If we’re going to make sure Cinderella has enough time to get ready for the ball, then we have to finish up.”
She put her hand on his back and was hurt when he flinched away from her touch. “Mulder, I’m–”
He glanced at her. “Your wall’s over there, Scully.”
She let her arm drop and continued on her section in silence.
It was nearly five o’clock when Mulder spoke again. “You should probably get going, Scully. He’s probably going to take you somewhere fancy; lottery winners can afford that.”
She put the lid back on the paint can. “He didn’t win the lottery. He collected an inheritance.”
“Lottery, inheritance. All in all, it’s just a game of luck.”
She collected her purse and glanced at him. His back was still turned. “I’ll call you tomorrow, Mulder. We can go out.”
“It’s okay, Scully. I have a lot of stuff to do.”
“Stuff.” He offered no other explanation; she knew he didn’t have one anyway. “See you Monday.”
Alan held out a bouquet of roses. “Here are the flowers I promised you.”
Scully accepted them with a small smile. “Thank you. They’re lovely.”
“Let’s go; I have reservations for seven.”
“That new Italian restaurant in Adams Morgan.”
“I love that place! Mulder took me there last week.”
She knew he was disappointed, but she could think of no words with which to console him. “So let’s go.”
During their meal, Scully chatted about work, bringing up the name of her partner every so often. “So, during dinner, this guy walks into the restaurant. He looks exactly like Elvis! Mulder, being the type of man he is, goes up to him. The next thing I know, he and the guy are serenading me with Can’t Help Falling in Love! It was a riot! My face was so red…”
Alan managed to smile. “Great.”
Margaret Scully’s home
The knock at the door was a surprise. The figure behind it was even more of a shock.
Mulder grinned sheepishly. “Hi, Mrs. Scully. Is this a bad time?”
“No. Come in.” She let him inside and locked the door. “How are you?”
“Okay. I was just trying to decide what to do, and I found myself here.” He held up a box. “I brought Star Wars Monopoly.”
“Wonderful.” She walked into the kitchen. “Are you hungry, thirsty? I have some lemonade.”
The corners of his mouth turned upwards. “That sounds great.”
As he began setting up the Monopoly board, Maggie poured the drinks. “So how have you been, Fox?”
“Dana told me you were painting the office. How’s it coming?”
“Not bad,” he repeated, distracted by a picture of his partner as a young girl, which was hanging on the wall.
Maggie noticed his line of sight and sat the glasses on the table. “Fox, I hate to see you torture yourself like this. Why don’t you just be honest with her? Tell her how you feel!”
He glanced at her. “What?”
She sighed. “Maybe you’d better be honest with yourself as well.”
“I know how you feel. Sometimes I think–”
“Wait, wait. How do I feel?”
This time she laughed. “Fox, you can’t hide it from me. I see the way you look at her, the way you’d do anything for her. Bill and I were like that once,” she mentioned softly, fondly recalling her late husband.
Mulder shook his head. “No, I… She has Alan now. She and I had plans tonight, but she broke them to be with him. Even if what you said was true, there would be no chance for us.”
“I wouldn’t be so sure of that.”
“Oh, yeah? Why not?”
Her eyes twinkled. “A mother senses these things.”
End of Part 1