Title: Just Observing
Author: Vickie Moseley
Spoiler: The Firestorm, VS9
Category: A V
Disclaimer: No copyright infringement intended.
Archives: Two week exclusive on VS10, then anywhere with
Authors Notes: This is a post ep for The Firestorm and sort of a
‘pre ep’ for Justice Interrupted. The man is an Assistant Director in
the FBI for cripes sakes, he had to know what his agents were up
Thank you Dawn, for the quick turn around and the inspiration!
By Vickie Moseley
Chicago OHare International Airport
Lariat Rental Counter
Scully handed the keys to the rental car agent and accepted the
receipt, folding it precisely twice and tucking it into the back
pocket of her purse. Without missing a beat, Mulder reached over
and placed his still bandaged hand on the small of her back as they
started walking down the concourse.
Walter Skinner waited and followed a few steps behind, watching.
Sure, he’d had a valid reason for coming with the X files Division
on this assignment. He’d been badgered by Accounting for years
about the unorthodox expenditures, the out of line medical bills
and in general, the excessive cost overruns of this, the FBI’s
smallest division. In a good quarter, the X files Division easily
outspent other divisions five and six times its size. And all with a
wink and a prayer for explanation.
But there was a totally different reason he’d decided to join in on
this little escapade. It gave him an excuse to watch them together,
in the field.
It wasn’t like he hadn’t observed them before. He’d been with them
in the field plenty of times. He could vividly recall the time he’d
called them up to help him investigate the death of a tobacco
company whistleblower only to put Mulder’s life on the line. He’d
lived under that dark cloud of guilt for the entire six weeks of
Mulder’s recovery. But this was different. He was watching them
with a different eye.
The office betting pool on the status of their sleeping habits had all
but closed its window. It had been a long time since the bet was no
longer ‘will’ they do it, but when ‘did’ they do it and what was the
preferred position for their first time. Of course, that was pure
conjecture, he hoped. He knew Mulder regularly had both his and
Scully’s apartments scanned for listening and viewing devices, but
one could never be too careful. Still, no photos had surfaced,
however grainy, and the prize money was still safely stashed inside
the second desk drawer of the motor pool clerk, placed in her
protection because her desk only had one key. The first person to
get either a signed ‘confession’ or valid physical evidence of the
fateful day would walk away with a cool five hundred dollars.
He’d had his money on April 10, 2000, missionary, for almost two
years already. Under Kim’s name, of course.
But all that speculation was not his concern. What was his concern
was the number of times Mulder had managed to end up in the
hospital in recent months. The frequent visits for various and
sundry serious injuries and their subsequent days of recovery were
starting to be more of a nuisance than even the agent’s penchant for
losing weapons, cellphones and in at least two cases, Bureau fleet
cars. As his immediate supervisor, Assistant Director Skinner had
to determine if Mulder was a danger in the field. But even more
so, as a friend, Walter Skinner needed to make sure Mulder didn’t
get himself killed, for his own sake and Scully’s.
Was their closeness causing Mulder to lose his perspective? Was
Scully watching his ass instead of his back? Was an intimate
relationship sliding over onto company time and making it harder
for them to work together? Those were the questions Walter
Skinner needed answered.
He thought back on the case at hand. It wasn’t by accident that he
offered to drive everyone to the airport. He wanted to see how
much of a stir that would cause. He’d not been oblivious to the
heated debate they’d waged with their eyes in his office. But when
he arrived at Scully’s apartment, she’d been ready and waiting, but
offered him a cup of coffee for the road. At Mulder’s place, he was
equally ready for the road, and answered Skinner’s ring almost
before the AD had a chance to press the button. Apparently, they
weren’t above spending a night apart. Score one for them.
During the case, they’d been complete professionals. Even when
he gave them ample opportunity to push the envelope, the most
he’d managed to catch them at was a little post trauma hug. No
smear of lipstick on Mulder’s collar, no love bites on Scully’s
throat at any time. To be honest, he was a little disappointed. But
again, it spoke to their professionalism and that scored them
He’d had to admit, the fire had him scared. But what he realized,
after Kara was out of the house and safe on the lawn, was that
there was nothing he or Scully could have done to stop Mulder
from trying to save that girl. If there was ever an opportunity for
Scully to fall apart with worry, watching her partner brave a
roaring house fire had to be pretty close to the top of the list. And
through it all, she’d handled herself with utmost calm. The woman
was a rock.
Mulder, in the same way, reacted just as Skinner would have
predicted. As Skinner was trying to find a ladder to get to the
second floor from outside the house, Mulder was braving the blaze
inside, and had even managed to get past the flames to find Kara
huddled in her room. Then, ignoring his injured hand, Mulder
helped the girl over to Skinner and then the ladder, then climbed
down himself. Dangerous action, yes. Necessary, absolutely.
Was the fact that Scully was anxiously waiting down on the lawn
in any way a deciding factor in his decision to risk his life?
Scully’s actions were equally commendable. Ensuring that Kara
was safe and being examined by the EMS, she turned to her
partner. The only difference Skinner could detect in their behavior
was that Mulder didn’t stand there and argue with Scully over the
oxygen mask in place over his mouth and nose. If sleeping
together managed to make Mulder a more agreeable patient, every
hospital in the DC metro area would be sending them Frederick’s
of Hollywood catalogs before the week was out.
He almost expected something to happen later that night when they
got back to the motel. A kiss in the hallway in a dark shadow
perhaps, or Mulder waiting until Skinner fell asleep and then
sneaking down the hall to Scully’s room to spend the rest of the
night. He’d feigned sleep for at least an hour until he realized
Mulder was snoring so loud, he couldn’t fall asleep if he tried. He
ended up turning the television on low and falling asleep
somewhere around the third installment of ‘Amazing Discoveries’
and the ‘Ultimate food chopper’. When he woke up, Mulder was
still dead to the world in the other bed, but at least he’d stopped
It was almost infuriating, the way they’d behaved. He couldn’t help
wondering what they were doing in the down time, on weekends
when they were alone and had no one from the Bureau looking
over their shoulders. Did they stay at his place or hers? Did he
bring her breakfast in bed or did she do that for him? Skinner
shook his head as they boarded the plane, trying to dispel the
images from his mind. It was their business. He’d come here to
make sure their business wasn’t any of his and he’d come away
Now, he was back to being just curious.
As luck would have it, his seat was an aisle seat toward the back of
the plane, and they managed to get two seats together a couple of
rows up. From his angle, when he was sure the flight attendants
wouldn’t trip over his long legs, he could see them as Scully took
their briefcases and jackets and stuffed them in the overhead
compartment while Mulder stood with a frustrated scowl on his
face waiting for her to take her seat. Then she turned and although
Skinner couldn’t see her face, he had a near perfect view of
Mulder’s. Whatever she whispered to him made the man’s eyes
positively light up with a fire deep and abiding. He gave her a
smile that brightened the whole compartment and settled down into
his seat next to her. Skinner watched as Mulder shifted in his seat
and finally seemed to be leaning toward the aisle. It didn’t take an
investigative mind to see that Scully probably had her head resting
on her partner’s shoulder.
Oh yeah, Walter Skinner smiled to himself and sighed. They were
definitely doing each other. And one of these days, they’d let him
in on the secret. But for now, that $500 was going to continue to