text file (18k)
They may prefer separate rooms,
but what happens when
our two agents have to share?
CATEGORIES: V, H
KEYWORDS: missing scene
SPOILER WARNING: Rain King
DISCLAIMER: Not mine; they belong to CC, FOX, etc.
(Notes, disclaimers, excuses, or whatever, appear at the end.)
When Scully returned the to the motel room that night, she had been exuberant. The case was over, they had a flight out in the morning, and she could finally go home and put this latest surreal nightmare behind her. But, she should have known it was too good last. Leave it to Mulder to douse her enthusiasm with his latest "theory."
"Oh, so, now you're saying that Holman Hardt...."
"Holman Hardt is manufacturing the weather."
*Of course. Why not?* she fumed to herself. *Why should I think anything different? It's only logical that SOMEONE must be manufacturing the weather. Just like lighting is caused by Zeus throwing thunderbolts and the accompanying thunder is God throwing strikes in his celestial bowling alley. And pigs can fly--or, make that cows. Next thing you know, Mulder will be arguing that there was no mini-twister but that the cow had suddenly sprouted wings--or, better yet, that it had been abducted by aliens intending to exsanguinate it, but they were slightly off in their coordinates and accidentally returned it to his bedroom roof instead of the field next door.*
Graciously keeping these thoughts to herself, she said aloud, "Mulder, it is still a huge leap to say that he's manufacturing the weather."
"Most people will admit that the weather plays a significant role in the way they feel, right? There's even that disorder--"
"SAD: seasonal affective disorder."
"Well, who's to say that it doesn't work the other way around--that the way someone feels can affect the weather...that the weather is somehow an expression of Holman Hardt's feelings, or better still, the feelings that he's not expressing?"
Exasperated with his latest convoluted explanation, Scully stood and crossed the room as she spoke. "Well, if Holman Hardt does indeed 'manufacture the weather,' he's not the one profiting by it, so there is no criminal activity left to investigate. Case closed. End of story. We're flying home tomorrow morning." With that, she closed the bathroom door behind her. Exclamation point.
Okay, she realized as she got ready for bed, maybe she wasn't really being fair to him. She was feeling irritable and took it out on Mulder. But she wasn't sure what was really bothering her. *Maybe it's the weather.*
*Or, maybe it's the sleeping arrangements.* The management had kindly moved her "boyfriend's" things into her room after the flying cow incident. After her initial objections, they had provided a roll-away sometime that afternoon while they were out, but there was really no point because there was no space in the room wide enough to open it. Aside from that, there was no couch or chair large enough to sleep in. There was only the bed. One bed. And it wasn't even a queen size; it was a double.
It wasn't like this was the worst situation that she and her partner had ever found themselves in. They'd survived mutants, monsters, aliens (according to Mulder, that is), any number of injuries, and plenty of uncomfortable sleeping quarters. But, this case was different somehow. There was something in the air (*no pun intended*). Maybe it was the fact that everyone in this town assumed they were a couple. Maybe it was because sometimes she felt that way, too.
Pushing that thought to the back of her mind, Agent Scully steeled herself to face her latest challenge. Teeth were brushed, face was washed--there was no more avoidance; time to face her fate. Unfortunately, she didn't have her pajamas with her in the bathroom. *And there's nothing as unacceptable as facing your opponent without the appropriate attire.* Taking a deep breath, she finally opened the door.
As she emerged from the bathroom, Scully ventured a glance at the bed. Mulder was in the same position in which she had left him--well, almost. He was sitting in the same place that he had been before, still going over newspaper clippings and files that were strewn all over the bed, but now he was under the sheets instead of on top of them, and all that was showing above the sheets was Mulder's bare chest. *Appropriately attired, indeed.* Scully sent up a silent prayer that Mulder had the decency to leave his boxers on underneath those sheets, while at the same time that nagging little voice in the back of her head was reminding her that she preferred him indecent.
"Hey, Scully, check this out. I found another article about Holman's weather. Apparently I'm not the only one who's had livestock hurled at him."
"Great." Scully didn't look over at him. *That's the ticket--ignore him. Don't act interested, it will only encourage him.*
Thus, with thoughts of encouraging Mulder, Scully reached into her suitcase to pull out her pajamas. She had only brought one pair with her, and they were silk. Silk just seemed a little too thin right now. She really wished she had brought something thicker, like flannel, or armor. But this was the only option, so it would have to do. *If I'm going to wear silk to bed, at least it could have been a negligee instead of opaque men's pajamas.*
Where did THAT thought come from?
Thankfully, retreat was only a step away and Scully escaped into the bathroom.
After giving herself a good talking to (which included several mental slaps for that negligee comment, but only after a few more inappropriate thoughts had followed right along), Special Agent Dana Scully, MD, fearless seeker of the truth and defender of the defenseless...was finally ready to emerge from the bathroom.
As usual, while she was busy waging an internal war, one bordering on Armageddon, Mulder seemed to be oblivious. Apparently he was still completely absorbed with what he was doing. *Thank God he forgot to bring his slide projector,* she mused. But, as she approached the bed, out of the corner of her eye she caught him stealing a glance at her. And then she began to wonder how much of his absorption in the newspaper clippings was just an act. Maybe he was as nervous about these sleeping arrangements as she was. She wasn't sure if that made her feel more comfortable or less.
Whether in actuality or pretense, Mulder kept his attention on the pages and clippings in front of him as Scully gently slid under the covers next to him, inevitably sending a few loose pages cascading toward him when she lifted the blanket. Still, he acted like he didn't notice. So she decided to sit there in bed, leaning against the backboard with her hands folded in her lap, until he did. Looking pointedly at Mulder, she waited for a response.
Finally, he let his eyes wander up to meet Scully's gaze, looking oh-so-innocent. But it didn't fly. He knew that she was waiting for a reaction, and she knew that he knew it. But he didn't say anything; so she spoke up first.
"Well, are you going to sit there reading all night, or are you going to let me get some sleep?" *That's it--act pissy and he won't try to jump your bones in the middle of the night.*
"If you're not interested in the weather reports, there's an intriguing series of articles here on the medical details of bovine insemination."
*Mulder, now is not the time to mention semen.* "Breeding cows. Thank you, Mulder. With the number of non-human physiologies I've had to deal with, maybe I should just become a vet. It's better than doing background checks on suspected lowlifes--which, by the way, is what we're currently assigned to do, and you never really explained to me how we ended up out here chasing after the 'The Rain King.' This case seems suspiciously like an X-File."
"Scully, you'd be amazed at the number of people in this county who purchase large quantities of manure. There could be a serious risk to national security here."
As Scully rolled her eyes and turned away from him to slide further under the covers, he heard her mumble something about "large piles of manure" that he was sure was somehow directed at him.
Mulder took the hint and a few minutes later, the lights went out. The room was silent, aside from the sounds of two people breathing. Heavily. Or, at least, that's how it sounded to Scully with no other noises to drown them out. That was one of the unfortunate things about the middle of nowhere--it was too quiet. What she wouldn't give for a nice busy highway right now, or even a good thunderstorm. Maybe if she concentrated hard enough, she could manufacture one. After all, it seemed to work for other people in this town.
Sleep didn't come right away. Counting sheep didn't help, neither did counting flying cows. Sighing in frustration, Scully opened her eyes to look at the time on the clock--only to realize that there was no clock on her side of the bed. Which only served to frustrate her further. The other side was supposed to be HER side of the bed, but Mulder had presumptuously usurped it. *It must be the same thing as always getting in the driver's seat; he just assumed that the side of the bed with the alarm clock belonged to him. Typical male--he always has to be in control.*
And then she realized that she had no idea if he had set the alarm for the morning, or if so, for what time. They had a plane to catch, and there was no way she was going to miss their flight. But first, they had to return the rental car--*granted, the rental agency is at the airport, which really isn't an airport but a trailer and a shed where the crop duster will pick us up to take us to the closest REAL airport*--and they had to check out of their room, and pack, and there were the bathroom arrangements in the morning.... They certainly couldn't share the bathroom, which meant it would take twice as long to get ready, *unless I use the mirror while Mulder showers, and if the sun was shining just right through that small frosted window on the wall inside the shower, maybe I could get a nice backlit view....*
*Focus, Dana.* She would just have to get up before he did and be ready to go before he would need the shower. That would work. If he woke up while she was in the bathroom (*just remember to lock the door--why would I need a reminder?*) he could go out for a run while he waited, *and then when he got back, all sweaty and glistening....*
Okay, so she'd have to be showered and ready and at the diner having breakfast before he got up. She just had to know what time the alarm was set for. Taking a deep breath, she slowly turned over, trying not to jostle the bed too much lest she wake her partner. Settling onto her side facing Mulder's back, she took a moment to listen to his breathing. It was steady and even. He certainly sounded asleep, but he was faced away from her so she couldn't see his face to be sure. *Now, how best to approach the alarm clock?*
The clock was a standard digital clock radio which she had mastered in her fumblings with it the night before. The red dot that indicated the alarm was set was lit, so that answered her first question. But, she still wanted to know what time. She would never be able to sleep until she figured that out. It would only require a touch of one button, and there was enough light filtering into the room through the thin drapes that she thought she could easily identify that button even from where she lay. So, it was a simple plan, really. All she had to do was lean over far enough to touch the button once, which would illuminate the time for which the alarm was set, and then she could roll back over and go to sleep.
Only, in the equation, she seemed to have forgotten how short her arms were. On the first attempt, she realized that there was no way she would be able to reach the clock from her current position. In order to reach her goal, it would require moving closer to her slumbering partner. As long as she was careful enough not to wake him, there should be no problem. There was no reason he would have to know how close they had briefly gotten while he slept.
So, Scully stretched out her arm to full length over his recumbent form and slowly inched her torso toward his. Realizing that if she reached through the space above his shoulders she'd have less distance to cover, she aimed her arm in a direct route for the clock, right above Mulder's neck. Only an inch behind him now, she had almost attained her goal. In her determination, she thrust her hand forward the final couple of inches, and several things happened at once. Scully felt her arm brush up against Mulder's bare shoulder, which caused her to involuntarily gasp, while at the same time his arm reached up to pull her arm down around him, and that tug closed the gap between them to draw her flush against his back, with her arm wound up with his across his torso and her nose buried in his hair.
Scully froze. She stopped breathing altogether, hoping that complete lack of motion would prevent him from waking further so that she could surreptitiously pull herself away. Slowly resuming her breathing, she began to plot another run at the alarm clock when a nearby rumbling startled her.
"If you wanted to cuddle you could've just asked." The rumbling had been Mulder's voice, which she not only heard but felt as it vibrated through his body into her own. Apparently, he wasn't asleep after all.
Of course, this just pissed her off. Meaning, that it embarrassed the hell out of her--both that he might have been watching her silent attempt all along and that he was actually awake while in their current position--and this served to piss her off.
"Damn it, Mulder, let go of me."
"Does this mean our spooning session is over?"
"Don't think I won't hurt you...."
"Alright, alright, I get the point."
With that, he let go of her arm and Scully rolled back over to her side of the bed to nurse her wounded pride while Mulder followed. She ended up on her back with her shoulders turned slightly away from him while he was on his side facing her, propping his head on his hand so he could look down at her face in the dim lighting.
"What were you trying to do?" He was attempting to hide his smile, but not very successfully. He was essentially laughing at her, which certainly didn't help matters.
Scully crossed her arms to punctuate her indignation. "If you must know, I was trying to reach the alarm clock. I realized that I didn't know what time it set for, and I wanted to find out."
"You could've just asked."
"Well, I THOUGHT you were asleep. You could've let me know that you weren't."
"I didn't know what your intentions were. I thought you might be trying to strangle me in my sleep, so it seemed best to play possum until I could make my move." Although he kept a straight face, the laughter in his eyes had not subsided, so Scully kept her defensive posture and refused to look at him further.
Stony silence ensued.
"What?" She looked at him in confusion, so absorbed by her frustration that she didn't recognize the answer to her own question.
"I set the alarm for 6 o'clock. I thought that would give us plenty of time to take turns in the bathroom in the morning and still have time to sit down for a leisurely breakfast before we leave. I know how you hate to be rushed in the morning. Oh, and I'd like to pay Holman a little visit before we go. You're right--there's no case left to be federally prosecuted, but I'm hoping to convince the Drought King to deal with his problem so this town can finally get back to normal."
This deflated Scully a little. There was no animosity in Mulder's tone. Not only had he shown her consideration when planning their morning, but he also agreed with her about the case being over. And she had shown him nothing but hostility since she returned to the room that evening--well, since they had landed in this town, if she was to be honest.
"'Night, Scully." He rolled back over onto his side, facing away from her.
Now she was feeling guilty. "Mulder."
He turned back toward her slightly, and she leaned up on her elbow to look over his shoulder and make eye contact with him. Now that she had his attention, she wasn't really sure what she wanted to say to him, so she said the first thing that popped into her mind. "Thank you."
He just smiled his acknowledgment back at her and then settled down on his side to go to sleep.
Scully lay back down. For the first time this night, she started to feel comfortable. This wasn't just any man in bed next to her--it was Mulder. He was sweet and caring, and above all, a gentleman. With a deep, cleansing breath, she let the tension melt away and realized that she could make it through this night just fine.
After all, it would only be for the one night.
Author's Notes: This story is a great example of what not to do--assuming facts and checking them later. When I first started to write this, I took this episode at face value chronologically, which is right in the middle of the Kersh Manure Patrol, and I couldn't figure out how they could be off investigating this X-File without repercussions. Only later did I do the math and realize that the story takes place six months after Feb. 14, which would place it during the summer, most likely the summer after season 6, when they were back on the XF.
My second faux pas is the description of the clock. I ran with the idea of a typical digital clock, but then when I watched the episode again, I realized that it wasn't digital but a more archaic model, and I have no idea how or if you can set the alarm on those things. In the end, it was too much trouble to fix these things and I just wanted to finish the story, so I left it with errors intact. After all, if 1013 isn't worried about accuracy and continuity, why should I be?
Send feedback to: firstname.lastname@example.org