Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Title: Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Author: Vickie Moseley

Summary: Sometimes, living together is almost as hard as living

apart.

Disclaimer: They still do, I still don’t, I can’t say if they are

profiting at the moment, but I know I’m not.

Archives: Written for Virtual Season 11 Valentine’s Day Special.

Two weeks exclusive engagement. After that, yes.

To the Virtual Season producers, I love you all. Happy Valentine’s

Day!

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

by Vickie Moseley

Le Bistro

17th & M Streets

Washington, DC

Friday, February 6, 2004

12:05 pm

Scully glanced over at the door of the little restaurant and spied her

mother. She stood up and waved Maggie over to their table.

“How are the roads?” Scully asked, helping her mother shake the

snow off her coat and scarf.

“The BW wasn’t that bad. They were worse in the city, actually. I

almost got squashed by a bus crossing Rock Creek,” she said,

folding her coat over one of the two empty chairs. “Where’s Fox?”

Scully had sat down again and was busy reading the menu.

“Dana. Where is Fox?”

Scully looked over at her mother, a slightly guilty expression. “I

didn’t invite him,” she said and chewed on her lip.

Maggie’s brow furrowed with concern. “Didn’t invite him? Why

not?”

Scully licked her lips and winced. “I wanted to talk about him and

I couldn’t do that with him here. I told him we were shopping for

underwear — for you. He decided to grab a sandwich from the

cafeteria and catch up on his email.”

Maggie crossed her arms and leaned back, giving her daughter a

classic raised eyebrow. “What’s the matter?” she asked, but it

sounded more like a demand.

“Mom, it’s just . . . he’s such a male!” Scully blurted out, then

realized a few other patrons had looked her way and she lowered

her voice. “It’s insufferable. He leaves his basketball right in the

middle of the living room. He has to use three towels to take a

shower — three, Mom, three! He never remembers about the toilet

seat and last night I had to scoop sunflower seeds off the sheets

before I could get into bed,” she fumed. “I just want to strangle

him!”

Maggie had the good grace not to laugh in her daughter’s face, but

it was difficult. “Dana, you and Fox have been together for over

10 years. Surely none of this comes as a surprise.”

Scully rolled her eyes as if in silent benediction. “I know, I know.

And it’s not like we’ve never shared a residence. But when he’s

sick or injured, he’s usually too weak to be a bother. And by the

time he is well enough to get into mischief, he goes home, to his

apartment. But this time . . .”

“I thought you said he was looking for a new place,” Maggie said

as she looked up and waved to the waiter nearest their table. They

ordered and the waiter left before Scully answered.

“Yes, and so far nothing has panned out. I know he’s really

looking, but it’s so exasperating. He keeps talking about maybe

buying a condo, but that would mean selling his parents homes and

the summerhouse and I don’t think he’s ready to do that yet. I can’t

just toss him out, I love him. But I think I might have to murder

him if he doesn’t change his ways.”

“Have you talked about it?”

Scully closed her eyes. “Talked, whined, nagged, screamed. All

of the above and sometimes all at once. And he does seem to

listen, for a while. But then, a day or two later, it’s the ice cream

tub on the hearth and the DVDs scattered all over the coffee table.

He’s . . . Mom, he’s a cretin and I don’t know what to do about it.”

Maggie smiled up at the waiter who served their food and when he

was gone again, smiled over at her daughter. “Well, let’s see. I

seem to remember a few late night calls from hospitals across the

country when you would have given your right arm to have him

leaving ice cream tubs on the hearth and DVDs all over the coffee

table,” she said slowly.

It wasn’t what she expected, but Scully’s eyes clouded with tears.

“I know. I feel like a . . . a shrew! Mom, I try, I really try. I say to

myself ‘I’m not going to be that way, I’m not going to sound like a

wife’ and then I hear myself yelling at him to put down the toilet

seat. I don’t want to be that way, really. I remember all those

calls, too. I remember just last fall being scared to death that I’d

never hear his voice again when he had carbon monoxide

poisoning.” She stopped before going much further, since Maggie

was still fairly clueless as to the cause of the poisoning. “Bet this

never happened with Daddy,” she said, picking at her salad.

Maggie’s unladylike snort caused her to jerk her head up and stare.

“What?” Scully demanded.

“You’re father was one of six children, five of them male,” Maggie

recited. “I think your poor grandmother gave up trying to teach

any of them to clean up after themselves. She was thrilled if they

helped set the table for dinner! I had to ‘retrain’ your father, which

wasn’t that easy, especially when he was at sea half the time. I

thought marrying a sailor would mean he’d have a military sense of

order — but I found out the minute he was on shore leave, it was

back to the old bad habits, and I was stuck with the mess.” She

stared out into space a fond expression in her eyes.

“So what did you do? I mean, he was neat as a pin when we were

growing up.”

Maggie smiled at her daughter affectionately. “I just let it go. I

realized that the times we were together were too precious to spend

either cleaning or yelling about cleaning. We spent that time . . . in

other ways,” she said, dropping her eyes to her salad. “I’m sure

you and Fox have more important ways to spend your time,” she

added, more to the salad than to Scully.

Scully blushed and dropped her eyes, too. “I can think of a few.”

“It’s really not important, after all is said and done, Dana. You

won’t remember how clean your house looked. You’ll just

remember how it felt to be in his arms,” Maggie said with a wistful

sigh. She cleared her throat, signaling a change in subject. “So,

what are you two doing for Valentine’s day?”

Scully looked up with an expression that spoke of antlered

creatures staring down Peterbilt trucks. “Valentine’s day?

Ohmigod, it’s next week!”

“Um hum. You have reservations some place, don’t you? You

won’t find any place in town that has space open for next weekend

now. I heard as much on the radio on the way down here.”

Maggie politely ignored Scully’s muttered curse. “I guess not,” she

said primly.

“Mom, we’ve been busy lately and to be perfectly honest, I forgot

all about it!”

Maggie thought for a moment. “Dana, do you remember your

father’s old buddy Chuck?”

“Chuck Nelson, sure I remember him, Mom. He’s Bill’s godfather,

isn’t he?”

“Well, he called the other day. He’s taking a post in NATO for a

year. He’ll be moving to Europe. They pulled him out of

retirement.”

“Wow, bet he was excited.”

“Yes, he was. You know he’s been a bachelor since his wife died a

few years back.”

“Mom, are you . . . and he . . .”

Maggie blushed. “Oh, Dana, of course not! Chuck is sweet, but

definitely not my type. No, the reason I bring it up at all, well,

Chuck has a penthouse at the Watergate. Full maid service and I

believe he even has a cook.”

“I say again, Wow. But why are you telling me all this?”

“Chuck and I got to talking and I mentioned that Tara and Bill

come out from time to time. He suggested that the next time

they’re out, they could use his penthouse. It has a fantastic view of

the Potomac and the monuments, a little ‘love nest’, he called it.

Anyway, all I have to do is call the Watergate and give them my

name, it’s all arranged.”

“I still don’t get it,” Scully insisted.

“Dana, think about it. You can set up a romantic dinner, have a

beautiful apartment all to yourselves and the best part . . . you don’t

have to lift a finger to clean up in the morning,” Maggie said, slyly

sipping her coffee.

“We’re in hotels a lot, Mom,” Scully pointed out.

“I believe the words you use the most are ‘flea bag motels’,”

Maggie countered. “Dana, this is a hundred times nicer than any

motel. And it’s completely private. You’d be in a world all to

yourselves.”

“It would take a lot of planning. I mean getting the food, that sort

of thing . . .”

“You have all day Saturday to do it,” Maggie said with a smile. “If

you ask nicely, I might even be persuaded to help.”

Scully looked across the table at her mother and immediately felt

her face breaking into a grin. “OK, Mom, you’re on!”

Lone Gunmen apartment

Anacostia

Feb. 10, 7:55 pm

“More pizza, Mulder?” Byers asked as he started to take the near

empty carryout box to the counter.

Mulder shoved the chair back from the table with a groan and

rubbed his stomach. “No, thanks. Five is my limit.” He looked

around the darkened apartment. “So, where are Curly and Moe

tonight?”

Byers came back to the table with two more beers. “Rocky Horror

Film Festival,” he said with a shrug.

“And you passed on that? What’s the matter? Langly steal all the

good fishnet hose?”

Byers actually cracked a smile. “No, but Frohike was cleaning his

leather jacket this afternoon. Seems there are some women who

show up regularly to this theatre. I think they’re hoping I’m by

myself all night tonight.”

Mulder almost choked on his beer but recovered quickly enough.

“So, no prowling instincts, Byers? Why stay home when the

probability is so . . . slightly in your favor?”

Byers took another swig and then stared intently down at his bottle.

“I just can’t. Not since Suzanne. . . well, you know the story.”

“Sorry. I shouldn’t have brought it up,” Mulder said contritely.

“So why are you over here? Scully at a conference?”

Mulder snorted. “No, she’s home. At least I think she’s home.” At

his friend’s worried expression, Mulder pressed on, this time

examining his own brown bottle. “We’ve been, uh, well, hitting a

rough patch lately.”

“Familiarity breeds contempt?” Byers offered.

“Not contempt, exactly. More like a whole lot of yelling,” Mulder

admitted. “And to be honest, I can’t say I blame her. I’m just not

that good at living with another person. It’s been too long and I’m

too stuck in my ways.”

Byers sat back and regarded his companion for a full minute.

“Mulder, you are so full of shit. You and Scully are made for each

other. What’s the problem here? Are you being a slob?”

Mulder winced as Byers hit the nail on the head. “I just keep

forgetting. I mean, if I remember one thing, I forget three others. I

put the seat down, but squeeze the toothpaste from the middle. I

put the salad dressing in the refrigerator but leave the fork and

bowl on the countertop and not in the dishwasher. I can’t win for

losing!”

Byers chuckled softly.

“I’m glad you can find humor in this,” Mulder shot back in a huff.

“No, Mulder, it’s just so . . . gee, it sounds so ‘normal’! I mean, you

two are like action figures, you know. You’re always getting into

some terrible situation or another, you always seem to be larger

than life. It’s just refreshing to hear that you’re both so . . .

human!”

“Yeah, well, humans break up, request to be transferred and never

see each other again,” Mulder replied with a heavy sigh.

“Like that’s ever going to happen,” Byers said lightly. But at his

friend’s long face, he reconsidered his callousness. “Mulder, you

really can do this, you know.”

“I really can retrain myself not to be a slob at 42 years of age?”

Byers grinned. “You don’t have to undergo a brain transplant,” he

quipped. “You just need to show her you’re trying to change.

That’s all women really want — to know that we’re trying to please

them.”

“Says the man with two male roommates,” Mulder muttered.

“Not by choice,” Byers countered. “And you know that! Look,

Saturday is Valentine’s Day. What are you doing for it?”

A look of complete terror crossed Mulder’s eyes.

“You did know it was Valentine’s Day, right?” Byers asked

casually.

“Oh shit. I am in so much trouble!”

“No, no, you’re not. It is not too late! Here’s what you’re going to

do . . .”

Valentine’s Day

Penthouse Suite

Watergate Hotel

4:45 pm

Maggie smiled at her daughter and looked around the room again.

Gas logs ready in the fireplace, table by the French glass doors

with the entire city just beyond. The monuments glowed in the

early evening rays of the setting sun. It was perfect.

“Mom, you’re being awful quiet. What did I forget?” Scully asked,

her eyes filled with confusion.

“Nothing, sweetheart. I was just thinking . . . You haven’t

forgotten a thing. Well, except maybe a certain ‘someone’ you

intend to share all that champagne,” she added with a sly grin.

“Mulder!” Scully shouted, as if she just remembered a missing key

ingredient. “He’s been at the apartment all day, by himself. Oh,

crap, I bet Mrs. Douglas below me is ready to shove that basketball

right down his throat!”

“Dana, tonight is not about basketball dribbling . . . it’s about

romance. Remember?”

Scully drew in a deep breath. “How can I forget? I just laid out a

fortune on lobster tails that I have to cook myself,” she groused

mildly.

“So, how are you going to get him over here?” Maggie asked,

picking up her coat and slipping it on.

“I . . . hadn’t really thought that through, yet,” Scully admitted. “I

could lie and tell him I have reservations. Or I could just be sly

and tell him to close his eyes and trust me.”

“Well, you work that out. Call me on Monday, let me know how it

goes?”

“Of course. Thanks for helping today, Mom.”

“My pleasure. Have a wonderful night.”

Scully’s apartment

Georgetown

4:50 pm

Mulder collapsed on the sofa, exhausted. But one look around the

apartment and he had to smile. The place actually sparkled! He’d

spent the day, the whole day, cleaning. He’d even vacuumed under

the furniture. He’d dusted every knick-knack, polished the mirrors,

wiped down the kitchen cabinets, mopped the bathroom and

kitchen floors and even cleaned out the coffee carafe. He’d idly

thought about tackling the freezer, but ran out of time.

While putting away the cleaning supplies he’d found Scully’s stash

of linen tablecloths and napkins. He’d even uncovered a set of

sterling silver napkin rings from some corner of her pantry. The

few pieces of good china and crystal she had, very old from what

he could gather, had been carefully washed, dried with a soft cloth

and now rested on the table, waiting for the candles to set them

afire.

Knowing he’d never have time to clean and cook, Mulder had

ordered their dinner from an upscale restaurant on M Street. As a

special on Valentine’s Day, they were delivering meals to your

door and he’d taken advantage of the opportunity. Dinner, coq au

vin, would be served precisely at 6 — or the meal was free. ‘Just

like Dominos,’ he chuckled to himself after hanging up the phone.

Yes, he had really gone through a work out. Muscles that he

forgot he owned were burning from the strain, but he’d never felt

happier. While he’d been cleaning, he realized how much of

himself there was in the apartment. His dry cleaning was hanging

in the closet, his razor, shave cream, aftershave was littering up the

bathroom, along with a pair of boxers he found stuck behind the

laundry hamper. Even in the kitchen, his breakfast cereal, with

marshmallows, found a place next to her ‘nutrition for women’

oatmeal selection. Even pictures of the two of them took center

stage on the mantel.

Sure, he’d never picked out the sofa, but he had picked out the

floor pillows that set next to the fireplace. He kept thinking he’d

lost everything in the fire, but he was shocked, as he cleaned, to

find how much of his personal belongings he’d already replaced.

And all of them were finding a home in this apartment, just like he

was. Maybe Byers had been right. Maybe it was all about the

trying.

With that thought in mind, he drifted off into a sound sleep.

6:35 pm

Mulder awoke with a start as something warm and fragrant

touched his lips. His eyes flew open to find his partner smiling at

him, a fork full of chicken posed at his mouth.

“I was afraid I’d have to eat both servings by myself,” Scully

laughed as he sat up straighter and ran his hands over his face.

“I fell asleep,” he noted. That only made her smile bigger.

“And with good reason, Mr. Clean. This place is immaculate!

Were you working on it all day?”

He nodded groggily. Wiping sleep from his eyes, he glanced over

at the kitchen table. The candles were aflame, the meal laid out on

the china, red wine in the crystal. “I wanted to do all that,” he

pouted.

She ruffled his hair and then pulled him to his feet. “You’ve done

plenty already. C’mon, let’s eat.”

She held his hand all through dinner, which made cutting the

chicken an experience, but a fun one. He fed her from his plate but

she stopped him when he was only half finished.

“As much as this is wonderful, let’s leave it for tomorrow,” she said

coyly.

“I think I like that idea,” he smiled in return. Together, they boxed

up the leftovers and rinsed the dishes to be washed later. He

started to pull her toward the bedroom, but she pulled the other

way.

“Now, it’s my turn,” she said with what could only be called an

enigmatic grin. “Grab your jacket.” At his confused look, she

reached up and kissed him lightly. “I promise, you’ll like this.”

He shrugged and put on his coat, helping her with hers, and they

left the apartment.

As they drove toward Foggy Bottom, Mulder’s curiosity was at a

razor’s edge. “We’re going to the Kennedy Center?”

“Nope.”

He watched as she negotiated the streets and headed toward a

familiar landmark. “Scully, I agree it would be really kinky to play

‘Washington lobbyist and hooker’, but . . .

“Mulder, shut up and enjoy the drive,” she growled, but flashed

him a smile with all teeth to soften her words. He bit his lip and

looked out the window. When they pulled into the underground

parking for the Watergate, she could see him flinch, but he kept

silent.

She knew it was killing him as she locked the car, took his elbow

and guided him toward the elevators. He seemed to know where

she might be going and was making a visible effort to keep his

mouth shut, but when she pulled out a key and put it into the slot

above the elevator buttons, pressing the top floor, his eyes grew

wide and she thought he might stop breathing. She squeezed his

hand and he gulped.

“We aren’t going to the restaurant?” he squeaked.

“Nope. And what did I tell you in the car, Mulder?”

He pressed his lips together so tightly, they lost all color. She had

to turn away to keep from laughing.

When they arrived at the top floor, she led him down the hall and

used the same elevator key to unlock the apartment door. She

didn’t open the door, she grabbed him by the shoulders and pressed

his back against the wall. “I need you to stand right there, with

your eyes closed, for just five minutes.”

“Scu-lly,” he whined, but at her fierce glare, he dutifully backed

himself against the wall and closed his eyes. “I just hope no one

comes out in the hall and finds me playing ‘hide and seek’,” he said

loud enough to be heard inside the apartment.

“Keep up the racket and you’ll have plenty of company out there,”

she warned. Hurriedly she ran around the living room, lighting the

candles on the mantel and the gas fireplace, then checking the

champagne. She had to admit, the place really did look great.

‘Almost as nice as my apartment,’ she chuckled to herself.

She stepped out into the hallway and pulled on Mulder’s arm.

“Can I open my eyes?” he asked.

“Not yet. I’ll tell you when,” she promised. She brought him all

the way into the living room, turned him to face the fireplace and

reached up to kiss him lightly. “Open them.”

He blinked because he was looking right into the fire. Then he

turned and looked at the rest of the apartment. A slow smile

creased his face and he gave a low whistle. “Scully, you shouldn’t

have. All I got you was a card,” he teased.

“Well, this place is all ours, for tonight. Then it turns back into a

pumpkin,” she told him.

He walked over to the glass french doors and looked out onto the

city. “You can’t rent these penthouses, Scully. How in the world .

. .”

“A friend of my parents,” she supplied. “He’s in Europe, Mom got

me the key. There’s more food in the kitchen.”

He turned around, took the two steps to reach her and gently

lowered them both to the floor. “We might need it . . . a little

later.”

Two hours later

the floor in front of the fireplace

She giggled as butter ran down his chin. He looked around for

something to wipe it off and she obliged him with her tongue.

“You were just waiting for that,” he accused her with a grin.

“Yup,” she answered with a sly smile. They were lying in front of

the fire without a stitch of clothing on, warm in it’s glow,

surrounded by empty plates and wine glasses.

He licked his fingers of the last of the drawn butter and pulled her

down so her head was resting on his bare chest. “I’ve never dared

eat lobster in the nude.”

“Me neither.”

“It’s fun,” he decided happily and she nodded in enthusiastic

agreement. “Even more fun when it’s someone else’s carpet we

dripped butter on,” he added.

“I’ll mention it to the maid tomorrow. I’m pretty sure it will come

out,” Scully said with a shrug.

“So, we trash this place and then in the morning go home to your

apartment where it’s nice and clean?”

“That’s the plan,” she answered, kissing his chest.

“I really like that plan,” he said, leaning in for a very passionate

kiss. He pulled away and lifted her chin up so she could see his

eyes. “I’m sorry I’m such a pig to live with,” he told her seriously.

“I’m sorry I’ve been turning into a shrew,” she replied and kissed

him just a thoroughly.

When they came up for air, he hugged her tightly to him. “Happy

Valentine’s Day, Scully.”

She smiled at him. “Actions speak louder than words, Mulder.”

At that moment, he couldn’t agree more.

the end.

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