She snatched up the phone on the first ring, glancing toward the bedroom. “Hello?”
There was a slight hesitation. “Who is this?”
“Agent Scully? It’s Diana.” Perfect, she couldn’t have planned this better.
Scully’s chest was tight, but she forced control in her voice. “Is Mulder there?”
“He’s in the shower. Do you want me to get him?”
“That’s not necessary.” That scenario was now in front of her.
“Would you like me to give him a message?”
“No thank you.” Scully hung up without another word. Her hand stayed on the receiver for a long time. When she finally focused on it, her hand was trembling.
Diana replaced the receiver silently. The shower was still running. She moved to the desk and quickly searched it. With one ear toward the bedroom, she checked out the files he had brought home. She wasn’t looking for anything specific right now; just what he felt was worth investigating.
When the water cut off, she tiptoed to the door and let herself out, locking it behind her. She waited five minutes, then knocked on the door. She could hear him hurrying to the door and smiled to herself. He opened it wearing only his jeans, his hair slicked back and still wet.
She couldn’t help but smile, his body was even better than when she’d known it before.
“Uh, Diana, hi.” He stepped back letting her inside. “I wasn’t expecting you.”
“I know, but I thought we should talk.” She looked up at him; she was standing closer than Scully usually did. She saw him glance at his answering machine. The light wasn’t on. She turned away to hide the smile and took a seat on the couch.
“Uh, listen, I’ll finish getting dressed, okay?”
“Take your time.”
He seemed a little confused at that, but kept quiet. He returned to his bedroom and was back shortly wearing a t-shirt and his hair combed. “Sorry to keep you waiting.”
“Not a problem. I just thought we should connect.”
He took a seat on the other end of the couch. “About what?”
“Well, for one thing, I wanted you to know that I didn’t ask to be assigned to the X-Files. I wouldn’t take them from you.”
“I, I know that. Kersh is surely enjoying the irony.”
“But you know I don’t have an agenda. I can keep an eye out for you; keep you in the loop when it’s safe.”
“What about Spender?”
“I don’t know him well enough to tell you anything yet. I have the impression he isn’t that thrilled about the assignment himself.” She shrugged, “I’ll have to find out what makes him tick, but I can’t make him suspicious.”
Mulder nodded and glanced back at the answering machine.
“Listen, are you busy tonight?” She drew his attention back.
“I, uh, I guess not.”
“Why don’t we go get something to eat?”
“Yeah, okay.” He rose from the couch and glanced one more time at the phone. Damn it, three times. Things were worse than they’d thought. She was on her feet when he turned back to her.
He grabbed his jacket from the coat stand and held the door for her.
When he got home, the first thing he did was check his machine. Still no message. He slipped off his jacket and tossed in over a chair. Scully had said she’d call. Was something wrong?
He picked up the phone and pressed one as he sprawled on the couch. He heard the connection made, but she didn’t speak. He sat up quickly. “Scully?”
“I’ve called you later. I thought you were going to call me when you were headed home.”
“I’m sure you found something to do. Goodnight.” She had hung up before he could respond.
Find something to do? What the hell was she talking about? He pressed one again but this time was rewarded with a busy signal. What the hell was going on? Was this some sort of signal? Was she in trouble?
His heart pumping, he grabbed his jacket on his way back out the door.
There was little traffic, so he made good time to her place. The lights were out as he raced inside and banged on her door. It was opened quickly by a furious Scully tying her robe. “What do you think you’re doing?” Her voice was tight, cold.
He stepped inside uninvited and looked around. “Are you okay?”
“I’m tired and it’s late. What do you want?”
He stepped back from her, stung at her attitude. “I, you sounded, I thought something was wrong.”
“It is; you’re here. Now would you please leave? I was in bed.”
He blinked at that and realized she was literally pushing him toward the door. “Scully, are you sure - “
“I’ll see you at work.” She shut the door in his face and he just stood there for a long moment. What the hell? After a full minute, he turned and made his way back to his car. Before getting in he looked back at her place one more time. The windows were dark and he couldn’t see her watching him from the bedroom. Still she stepped back from the window as he looked in her direction.
She was already at her desk when he got to the bullpen the next morning. She was engaged in a phone conversation that he could tell was of no importance, just part of their new ‘assignment’. He waited for her to hang up, then approached her desk.
She looked up but she didn’t look friendly. “What?”
“I, I just wanted to make sure everything was okay,” he stammered.
“Everything is fine,” she rose and started around him with her coffee cup in her hand.
He reached out and grabbed her arm. “I know better. What the hell is going on?”
“Let go of me,” she hissed.
He glanced around and saw that they were being observed. Great, now the grapevine would be buzzing that Spooky was fighting with the missus. He dropped her arm. “We need to talk.”
“I can’t imagine what about.” She moved around him then and he stared after her. What the hell had he done? She was the one that hadn’t called him last night. He’d raced across town to make sure she was okay, but . . . Shit!
He settled into his chair and pulled over his stack of files. At least he could look busy. He made a point of ignoring her for the rest of the day, picking up a sandwich from the cart and eating it at his desk. It was a useless exercise; she didn’t return to her desk the rest of the day.
Scully parked in front of her apartment and just sat for a minute. A lousy day would have been great compared to this one. She had no right to feel this way, which didn’t change a thing. She sighed and let herself out. One good thing about this incredibly stupid assignment, there wasn’t much work to bring home any more. Normally that was nice; tonight she would have loved to have a juicy X-Files to get her mind off of . . . Shit.
Her mailbox was nearly empty, an ad and a catalog, which she tossed into the trash by the boxes. A couple of steps from her door she finally looked up to see Mulder, lounging just outside of her apartment.
She stopped dead still as he straightened up and stretched. “What are you doing here?”
“I thought we needed to talk.”
“There’s nothing to talk about.” She turned away from him, unlocking her door. He followed her inside without waiting for an invitation. “Mulder, what do you want?”
“I want to know what’s wrong. I want to know what I did.”
She seemed to deflate at those words. “Nothing. You didn’t do anything wrong. I’m . . .” She sighed. “Do you want some wine?”
“Uh, yeah. That’d be good.” The offer startled him, but anything to have an excuse to stay here a little while.
She walked away from him and he just watched, totally confused. When she returned with their glasses, he waited for her to sit, then took the other end of the couch. “Scully, what’s wrong?”
She shook her head. “I’m just . . . I need to let go of my delusions.”
“You’re a healthy, virile man - ”
He gapped at her for an instant. “I’m what? In all the years we’ve been together, we’ve never had a conversation about my virility. What’s - “
She continued as though he hadn’t interrupted. “I knew there were women. There had to be. I just didn’t want to . . . the delusions were a way of . . . “ she shook her head.
“Women? What women?”
“I just never had called at such a bad time before.” She rose, unable to sit still. He stood with her, watching her. She started to turn away.
“Scully,” his hands curled around her upper arms. “Tell me what’s going on. I don’t understand, what are we talking about?”
“I’m not surprised she didn’t tell you I called.”
“She who?” He shook her lightly, “what are you talking about?”
“Diana.” Even now she spat the word.
“Di-Diana? When did you talk to her?”
“I know you were with Diana last night. She told me you were in the shower. She made it very plain . . . “ Scully looked away then.
“Wait a minute. Diana answered my phone?”
“Mulder, it’s okay. I have no right . . . this is your personal life and I - "
“Okay, first, you have every right. Second, I wasn’t ‘with’ Diana last night. We had dinner. Dinner, that’s all. When I got out of the shower, she knocked on my door. I had to unlock the door to let her in.” He was searching his memory now. “There were things moved on my desk.”
She was watching him. He seemed to have forgotten she was there. Suddenly he met her eyes and a smile started to grow on his face.
“I-I am not jealous,” she sputtered. “I, I was disappointed that you don’t have better taste.”
“I do have better taste, Scully. My ‘women’ have to be smart, tenacious, around 5’3”, blue eyes and of course red hair.”
“Don’t.” She pulled away from him.
“Scully, listen to me. I’m not sure what’s going on, but I will find out. And for the record, I was not ‘with’ Diana last night. My ‘virility’ is still intact and waiting.”
He grinned then, “waiting.”
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Mulder, Scully, the Lone Gunman and Skinner all belong to Chris Carter, 10-13 and Fox. No infringement intended.